On July 6 we picked up Stan’s sister and brother-in-law, Bob and Carolyn Jennings at the Manchester airport. This was Bob and Carolyn’s first visit over to this side of ‘the pond’. This big island was a blank slate, with cities like London, York, Brighton and Canterbury just waiting to explore. Where would we begin? And how could we make the best of the two 4 day time slots we had off in our busy schedule? “We came to see you, so we will go anywhere, as long as we’re with you.” Those words were said over and over… and they really meant it!
Again our strategy was to bring them back to Quiet Waters to rest up from their jet lag. However, coming back from Manchester we visited the town of Wem and tried to imagine Mom King’s relatives living in the town that gave them their name. We then took a detour to Cambridge and then a further detour to an amazing Pub carvery where we ate to our hearts delight. By this time, Bob was dropping off to sleep in the back seat of the little green machine, which by this time had been fixed once again. Bob and Carolyn spent the next few days helping us at the retreat house and showing Stan how to catch fish. I don’t know what is wrong with him, he would say he is just lousy at fishing.
On our first 4 day journey we headed to the cliffs of Dover. We first went to Felixstowe and stayed in a hugh room where each of us had our own bed. It felt like a massive sleep over. The next day we went to Dover Castle and saw tunnels that were there in the Roman era as well as an underground hospital that was constructed in the middle of the 2nd World War and then used until after the war for maternity patients. Bob and Carolyn (more Carolyn than Bob) were equal to Becky for wanting to go to every charity shop we could find. Bob had a mission to find Stan a red T Shirt that was golf worthy for less than 2 pounds. He achieved it in the 453rd store we were in. By that time Stan didn’t like red and refused to wear it. Okay, he did wear it but only because Bob found it. On the way back to Quiet Waters we saw Sandwich (home of the British Open in 2011) and Canterbury.
Again back at Quiet Waters we fished, did our chores and ate meals with the guests – some of which challenged our dear American relatives to remain the polite, kind people they are. They had this really interesting experience of being called ‘parochial’ and then right before their eyes saw someone act it out for them. Bob and Carolyn were amazing, ever interested in the guests and so helpful and kind to us.
Our last 4 days were spent traveling to York to visit some distant relatives of Stan’s mom. It was really interesting to see the family resemblance in the warm hospitality that they extended us. We then headed off to the British Open at Royal Lytham. It was a beautiful day in the sun watching some really great golfers. We could hardly believe that we were there. We all had our picks who would do well and going in to the last day it seemed most likely that Stan was going to win (he’s writing this now), which usually happens because there is balance in the cosmos and since he can’t fish worth beans he usually can pick the winning golfers. But behold everything tilted on the last day and Ernie Els came through to upset the world and put Bob once again as the golfing guru of our foursome.
Bob and Carolyn were a wonderful encouragement to us. It was like resting in the arms of people who genuinely loved us, and it was lovely!