02 September, 2006

back to London we go

Well, it happened. The summer ended! We woke up today to strong breezy winds high in the trees in the meadow, and lots of little helicopters floating down out of the trees over the terrace, and the beginnings of fall foilage (as my friend Alyssa's mother-in-law is wont to say) showing a hint of what is to come. We'll have to find us some English foilage. Surely that's why they call this New England, because they already had all the good stuff over there?

Jill and Joel and Jane came for one last brunch, a crowded, hot affair at the Laurel Diner, where it turned out I was too nervous to eat. Avery claimed empathetic nervous stomach, but later the plate was discovered at home upon which had reposed her two ritual Saturday morning doughnuts, so we think that was the more likely cause of her lack of appetite. Jane was CRAZY! She has entered that half-year stage that if her cousin is any indication, will be the only time of her life when her parents are sorely tempted to put ads in the paper indicating her availability. But so far Jane's craziness doesn't have the tinge of Addams Family that Avery's did, as in her famous line to me, "You have NO FACE." Jane's wackiness takes the form of endless amounts of energy and liking to say things fifty times, plus developing a strong dislike for her car seat. Ah well, this too will pass and she'll be doing other things that drive her parents mad, so there you go.

Yes, I'm crouching here on my front porch, for no good reason, and fall is literally in the air. Also Hurricane Ernesto.

As you can see, the horrid movers (actually they were very nice) came and delivered the 87 boxes of essential property that heretofore had been residing in Whippany, New Jersey, and dumped it all in the storage room of our Big Barn. Thereupon we went through each and every one to find my box of slides of Camille Claudel sculpture, and it was the only thing that did not surface. The only thing. But we did find miles and miles of books that Avery and I are very keen to have with us in London, and Joel has kindly taken them off to mail for us. All my Beany Malones! Lots of Betsy-Tacys, all kinds of treasures. The copy of our neighbor Anne's mother's memoir, "The View From Morningside," that I looked for forever in London among my books. Avery hunkered right down on the filthy floor of the storage room and began to read, so we just stepped over and around her. Finally all was neat and tidy, and we went to visit Young Rollie's baby goats! They are quite simply the cutest animals you've ever seen, and strangely clean. They do not, however, come when they are called, but when they jolly well want to. And Judy brought by a last basket of perfect produce from her farm stand: a new variety of heirloom pear (red and juicy even though not soft), an heirloom tomato that was a sort of purplish red, the first of the season's Connecticut apples, impossibly crunchy and flawless. They have been peerless neighbors. To think of the farm functioning peacefully while we're away, the farm stand produce giving way to pumpkins, then to Indian corn, then Christmas trees. Where will we get our tree in London? I have vivid memories of the sad Charlie Brown Christmas trees of our past holidays in London; maybe they've got up to speed since then and there will be a decent one to grace our curving garden windows in Warburton Street.

And Anne across the road should be so proud of herself: the Southbury Land Trust purchase of the 93 acres surrounding our house has been celebrated with a new sign! How lucky we are to be huddled in the midst of undevelopable land, adjacent to the gorgeous Phillips Farm.

Well, I'm leaving behind beautifully pruned rose bushes, peony bushes, the hydrangea tree and the tiger lilies that were blooming so dramatically when our car pulled up here that evening in July. There will, we hope, be renters to appreciate all the growth and blooms in June. Do you think they'll mind the piles of books on every flat surface, or the rows of herbs and oils and vinegars on the shelf above my kitchen counter? I could make everything only so impersonal. And then we'll be back. I wonder what the autumn term at King's College has in store for us? Competitions no doubt, and performances and fairs and homework and... a new girl! That's right, Avery will no longer be the New Girl. Now it will be her turn to show someone around. We'll let you know how it all goes, and how the kitties take our return this evening! Have a great autumn.

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