Paul and Margaret Hardy
Margaret is at:
15 Kentings, Comberton,
Tel 01223 263232,
mobile 07739 755623
Paul is at:
1400 Barton Rd - Apt 2416,
92373, CA., USA
Tel +1 909 748 7936
Mobile +1 (909) 709 0625
The Hardys are coming home to England, albeit in stages. Paul has enjoyed his work at ESRI in Redlands, California, and we have achieved a lot of interesting travel this year, both local and further afield. On the down side, Margaret never got a work permit in the USA, and she was very homesick
She came back to England for a couple of months in the summer to get away from the heat of Redlands, was offered a job, and has stayed. Our tenants went back to Canada in June, so we both came home to Comberton in July to redecorate the house and rescue the garden. The tenants had looked after the house brilliantly (apart from the dishwasher which they hadn’t used and had had its wiring eaten by hungry house mice), but the garden was somewhat wild. Margaret has spent many happy hours putting it back into order. She has been living in our bungalow in a minimalist environment for the past few months as our belongings and furniture are still in Redlands.
Margaret was offered a job as Property Manager for the company through which we’d let our bungalow. She did this for three months and found the job interesting (having been both landlord and tenant), but a man made her an offer she couldn’t refuse, which tempted her back into teaching. So, at October half term, she took up a post as history and geography coordinator in a 9-13 middle school at Potton in Bedfordshire, where she taught 11 years ago. Sadly she doesn’t find her students nearly as rewarding as their Californian counterparts. The American kids she worked with expected to work to get somewhere (these weren’t the kids of rich residents of LA, but the children of recent immigrants or ‘ordinary’ Americans), but too many British kids expect everything handed to them on a plate. She is looking forward to getting her bus pass next summer!
Paul is finalising negotiations for a move back to the UK for the end of the year, working jointly for the ESRI US parent company and the UK distributor, but based in Cambridge. Margaret is coming out to Redlands on 20th December and the removals people pack our furniture on the 21st. She’s obviously not destined to live in ‘a furnished property’ just yet! We’ll need to clean and fix the apartment on the 22nd, hand the keys back on the 23rd, and then we’ll drive to Death Valley for three days over Xmas. We’ll have a few more days in Redlands to say farewells, sell the car, etc, before flying to the UK on the 30th, arriving home on New Year’s Eve. We don’t think we’ll be up to celebrating on New Years Eve, but we invite our friends to come round to 15 Kentings for homecoming drinks and nibbles on New Year’s Day between 11:30 and 14:00 (RSVP to 263232 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Needless to say we’ve enjoyed more travels during the year. Highlights include:
Mexico (on a Ramblers’ trip) – Mayan temples in Palenque, vast ancient cities such as Teotihuacan, mixed cultures, excellent museums in Mexico City.
Yosemite NP – Wow scenery, with wonderful waterfalls and seriously big redwood trees.
Anza Borrego desert state park (nearby, towards San Diego) – Spectacular spring flowers, surreal landforms.
Arizona – Saguaro cacti, javelinas (I am not a pig!), red desert landscapes, excellent walking with friends Lois and Ron (Canadian snowbirds).
Oregon – this state has it all. We spent a week driving down the beautiful rugged coast, then back to Portland inland via rivers, forests, lakes, volcanoes, deserts and the Columbia River gorge. Particularly memorable was Crater Lake NP – we’ve never seen water so blue, framed by sheer rock walls and snow banks. It is said that Crater Lake has only two seasons, winter and August – and some years it only has winter!
Washington (state) – Paul was confined to a conference, but Margaret went off exploring, including a visit to Mount St Helens (somewhat smaller than before the eruption) where the ‘Visitor Centers’ were ’awesome’.
Colorado – A trade show for Paul, but he added on a couple of days to explore the Rockies, including experimentally playing his concertina at 13,000 feet on Mount St Evans!
Madison, Wisconsin – Yet another conference for Paul, in the self-proclaimed cheese capital of the USA. Highlight on his day off was visiting Taliesin – home of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Europe – Paul had business visits to England, Wales, Paris, and the Netherlands. Margaret explored new parts of Paris, and was very taken with Delft.
And of course, England – Margaret has enjoyed rediscovering East Anglia, with delightful walks in Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, and also discovering hitherto unknown parts of London, with friends made in Mexico! Paul came home for two weeks in October/November and the weather was England at its best – taking Mother out into the Derbyshire dales amid blue skies, green hills, white sheep, silver lakes and russet trees.
We’ve enjoyed entertaining visitors in the US (more trips to San Francisco, San Diego etc), and look forward to hosting American (and English, French, Canadian, …!) friends in the UK. It’s probably wise to wait until our furniture arrives home – hopefully in late January.
We will miss many people from the USA, and many places, particularly the San Bernardino Mountains and National Forest (despite more close encounters this year with rattlesnakes – it’s been a good year for them!).
We were very impressed with the many National and State Parks in the US, and particularly with their ‘interpretive centers’. Even the smallest park has an explanatory film with fantastic photography of the flora, fauna and geology in every season, plus interactive displays, 3D models and historical exhibits. Close outside are interpretive trails with interesting identification and explanation panels. UK visitor centres could learn a lot.
The chance to live and experience a very different culture has been rewarding and mind-expanding, and there is a lot of truth in the adage that you don’t really appreciate somewhere until you’ve been somewhere else!
With every good wish for Christmas and the New Year
Margaret and Paul