Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Learning to Live in England, Part 30

Tuesday, August 24

Yesterday and the day before were glorious days, the only days I would actually call 'warm' since we've been here.  But today is full of gloom and rain and a ferocious wind.  September, aka winter, is coming, and it's time for us to decamp to Greece.  We will be leaving here on Sunday for London, and flying Greece on Monday. 

Last week all went by so fast, and I became so hopelessly behind in writing about it, that I can only summarize it here.

Tuesday, we hosted the Doctors Underwood for dinner.  They are both GPs, retired now, who had separate practices in separate towns.  Mrs. Doctor Underwood is very active in the Ormskirk Parish Church (Sts. Peter and Paul); she cleans the church and gardens and does all sorts of other things.  She told me the Anglican Church taught her that sex was always wrong, in any and all circumstances, 'and how are you supposed to live with a guilt like that?'  I rather think she may have acquired a mistaken impression of the Anglican teaching, but as she is an intelligent and educated lady and still has that impression, so must quite a few others, I suppose. 

She said she has a Catholic friend, with whom she has gone to church, and their mass is exactly the same as the Anglican, leading her to the opinion that there is no difference between Anglicanism and Catholicism.

'Well, how would you feel about having a pope?' I asked.

'Oh, no.  Never!  Absolutely not.'

So there is at least one big difference, isn't there?

Mr. Doctor Underwood is 'a committed atheist.'   He didn't say much about it except the usual, how can there be a good and all-powerful god who nevertheless allows volcanos and earthquakes and such.

I didn't make any reply, as the answer to that is rather long and complex; first, for example, we have to define what 'evil' really is.  And then agree whether death is the end for anybody.  And so on and so forth.

Demetrios contented himself with pointing out that while some forms of knowledge come from outside us, entering via our senses, other forms of knowledge proceed from within us.  Zero, for example.  Nobody ever saw a zero.  Our knowledge of what that is comes from inside us.  Or infinity.  Nobody has ever seen infinity, but we all know what it is, what we mean by it.  The knowledge of God is something like that; it comes from within.

Wednesday, our new loveseat ('two-seater') arrived, unexpectedly early.  We were dismayed.  It dwarfed all the other furniture in the room.  Never mind we had measured and re-measured and measured yet again; never mind it was the smallest one we could find.  It crowded and dominated the living area.  We couldn't return it and couldn't exchange it.  We couldn't come up with anywhere to put it that would look right. 

Finally, we phoned David and Julia, because we know them to be people of excellent taste, to request them to come give us advice.  So they came for supper, and before it was served, David had come up with a miraculous new room arrangement that looked quite acceptable.

But by the next morning, we were unhappy again.  It was acceptable, but only barely, and this flat is too darling to mess up with what is barely acceptable. 

It took us the agonizing better part of the day, but we finally came up with a new arrangement we actually love!  And amazingly enough, it involves keeping all three two-seaters!  We would never have dreamed that could be possible, in a room that small, but the room actually looks more spacious and better proportioned than it used to.  The compromise is that it means opening the drop-leaf dining table whenever we have company for dinner and that will make things a bit tight.  But that's not all that often.

Saturday we went to Southport, just to walk around and enjoy the holiday atmosphere there.  We missed the annual Southport Flower Show, which we had intended to see, but as it was rainy Thursday and Friday, and we were too late Saturday and busy Sunday, we didn't get to go.

Sunday Yannis took us out for a meal after church, something he has been wanting to do for a couple of weeks.  We went to a huge Chinese buffet.  He dropped us off and said, 'I'll just go park.'

Climbing out of the car, I said, 'See you in a minute.'

Well, the minute stretched into ten, and Demetrios said the parking must be quite far away; and then, into fifteen, and Demetrios said he was beginning to worry.

When 25 minutes had gone by, we went through the buffet line, but we couldn't enjoy our meal.  (It was terrible in any case, even had we not been so upset.)  We didn't have Yanni's cell phone mobile number and we simply did not know what to do. 

We had finished dessert when Yanni walked in, 45 minutes after we had arrived.  That's how much trouble he'd had parking!  By then, he had to eat alone, which wasn't the best arrangement, and we were in a bit of a hurry to catch the train back to Ormskirk, because Julia and David were to pick us up and take us to their house.

Anyway, from there it went well.  We caught our train, had 20 minutes to relax until the Bates came to collect us, and spent a lovely evening with them, and with James and Kim as well.  David roasted some lamb, my favorite meat, and there a fabulous bought cheesecake for dessert, that tasted like candy more than cheesecake. 

I am struggling, hard, to keep make my meals regular, reasonably healthy, and small.

This week is going to be quite a whirl of teas and dinners and goodbyes, and it may be a week from now, or more, before I can post again, although I'll try.


Anam Cara said...

Have a safe trip if we don't hear from you again.

Your posts are wonderful. I trust we will learn as much about Greece as we have about England.

Where will you be there?

DebD said...

Demetrios' comment about knowing God was wonderful. I think I'll have to borrow that one - quite soon.

Enjoy your last week in England and I hope your travel's to Greece are uneventful.

Anam Cara said...

I always looked at the question of why bad things happen to good people in light of what Jesus said in Matthew 19:17, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."

If no one is "good" then we can change the question to "Why do bad things happen to bad people?"
Hmmmm, no brainer to me.

(I know that is pretty simplistic and certainly doesn't answer why good things happen to bad people....)