Tuesday, 17 February 2009

31st August 1985

Such a perfect evening in Horley, just by Gatwick [airport], staying in a guest house before my flight [to Beijing] tomorrow morning. The journey straining, because of my suitcase, bag, and typewriter, but at Reading, an hour's wait, resting my arms on the open window. The end of one of the few real summer days this year. Blue sky with fluffy white clouds against occasional dark grey. The country so green and soft and full from the last few months of flood.

Then this evening, through the churchyard to an old pub, where I ate outside, there being no room inside; midges in the air, and the air itself just chilling but kind and very still. The clouds turning orange as I read Graham Swift's Waterland. Dreaming. Neck tingling.

After eating, walking further through the garden to the river. Cows on the far side, steep banks, a willow, thick grass, the water quite swift. Never silent because of the 'planes and the road, but entrancing. The sky shading from pale blue through white to silver, and the pink, the silver reflecting in the water.

Back to the churchyard and into the church; nice young woman explains its history, mostly medieval. There is an old man who remembers being confirmed in the church during the war. Beautiful brass of the calmest of wimpled ladies.

Back through the graveyard. Earlier, when I had been eating, there was a fair American girl who came to talk to me, and now there are Americans who overtake me wandering. The most English of days.

1 comment:

  1. Laura, what a beautifully written diary. I am full of anticipation. I wonder what your first impressions of China will be. Who will you see first? How long will it be before you can communicate with those around you? What will you see?
    Thank you for sharing your incredible experiences with us.