I’ve done and seen so much in my weeks in England with Brian. There’s more I want to do, but I’m running out of time. We have cousins and friends we want to visit, endless sites to see and so many things we could do. But in the end I’m getting tired and have been a little under the weather. So we spend my last week hanging out with Brian’s parents, whom I love. Ray makes wonderful dinners, and sometimes follows them with a crumble or other fresh-baked goody. We enjoy the luxury of being lazy at home with them and only leave the house for a stroll along the sea to the De la Warr Pavillion for hot chocolate on a cold and windy day, a movie (The Lady in the Van, which was hilarious) with lots of seniors, and a bingo night out at the local R.A.F.A. with Ray and Wendy. They have the whole family over for an early Christmas Sunday roast dinner, complete with crackers and Christmas pudding. I’m going to miss Brian and his family and hate the thought of leaving. But I have a new adventure waiting for me…my first job in two and a half years. And that job will help us to start our future together.
We make a trip to London before I fly back to the USA and stop in to visit the famous Ace Cafe. We have a full English which leaves me feeling even less well. I stop at the gift shop for a sticker and a tee and while there I spy one of my favorite moto authors books for sale. Lois Pryce is one of the people whose adventures inspired my trip.
We visit the legendary motor sports raceway at Brooklands. It’s museums are filled with incredible historical motorcycles, cars and more. There are several aircraft here too, including a Concorde that you can tour. And there is a bus museum which is surprisingly (to me) really interesting. Brits are the best at museums.
Brooklands was the worlds first purpose-built motor racing circuit and was the birthplace of British motor racing when it opened on the western edges of London in 1907. The track was 2.75 miles long and is said to have been the inspiration for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which was built a couple of years later. Brooklands was also home to an aerodrome and after the track was damaged by enemy bombing in WWII in 1939 it was converted full-time to an aircraft manufacturing and testing site, which it had already been used for part-time since WWI.
Brian and I walk over to stand on one of the only remaining stretches of the original banked track. I can’t imagine the history this place has seen.
The slopes of the track are slippery on this rainy day, and covered with moss. I’m not going to be able to climb even halfway up the 27-foot higher outside edge of the track. But I’m here. And it’s impressive. We wander between museums and linger as long as we can until even the gift shop is ready to shutter for the night. Then back to the South Downs area and toward Pevensey and to my favorite pub for dinner before we go home….
I’ve got packing to do. And tears to shed. Hugs to give. Last looks to take. At least for now.
I’m boo-hoo-ey. I’m going to miss England. I’m going to miss Ray and Wendy and their beautiful warm home and lovely garden, Brian’s Nan, and the whole Clarke family. I’m going to miss my tall handsome Englishman. But all my travels have taught me how small the world can be for those of us who wander it more freely. In a way, a flight to England isn’t much different than a flight across my country. I won’t let time get away from me or from Brian if I can help it. We will never stay away from England for too long.
As this will post on Christmas Eve, I want to say I’m thinking of my English family today, and every day, and send them my love. Happy Christmas to some of my favorite people in all the world. xoxo