Bowen Arrow

Dear Olde Englande!  Despite the sterling efforts of its best and brightest, the malady lingers on.  And a haunting, plaintive, lilting tune it is.  With a 60-hour hiatus at home in between, I have moved from the luxuriant rain forest of Central America to the luxuriantly rainy gardens of an English spring.

Cold and wet – no surprise, really – and that’s holding the blossoms up nicely, all perky and rigid, as if cold predisposed them to eroticism – poisonous yellow labernum, fragrant lilacs, a gnarly pink chestnut, redolent honeysuckle, golden gorse, and, just outside my window, white (and literally ephemeral) sistus – the hundred blossoms on this bush die and fall each evening, but a hundred more appear by the time I return each night.  All these and more nod in the wind around the thatched-roof cottage called Stapleton’s Chantry, where Julian, my sponsor and head of the European College of Bowen Studies, has put us for the weekend.

From Heathrow to Paddington, from Paddington out into South Oxfordshire, with easily satirzable names like Didccot and Aston Upthorpe, Tiddington and Wittenham Clumps, Blewbury and Shabbington – hard to even say them with a straight face.  But a morning walk is always a pleasure in UK, where the automobile has not yet stamped out all sense of humanness.  Past walls of brick and flint, strangely-angled corners of homes poking into the tiny roadway, an old church mottled with lichen and numerous repairs – who owns a Boxster way out here and parks it on the street?

Everyone names their house here – here’s a sampling from my morning walks:  Cobbles, Cromlix, The Apples, Chapeley’s, Riddle House, Seton Cottage, Forge Cottage, Orchard Cottage…

Last night it was up to the pub in the dark and the rain for a $7 glass of beer and a tough sirloin drowned in chips (fries) for a mere $35.  Tonight was a long drive for a pale imitation of an Indian curry.  There is no respite from bad food except for the breakfast at the B&B.  In the rooms, tiny TV’s, repetitive condescending news, a slightly musty smell, the tatter of the rain on the window.

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