Final Days in Beckenham…

I was walking today along the lake at Hideaway.  The wind was bitterly cold and since it had rained almost non-stop for 24 hours there was water standing on driveways and sandy loams that were my neighbors’ gardens.

The weather was a lovely departure from balmy temperatures bringing with them allergic reactions from spores and leaf dust causing violent bouts of heavy sneezing.

Much as I dream about living in a temperate climate my few years in England have given me an appreciation for the ever-changing seasons.

The earthy warmth of the woodlands during rare hot summer’s days; the crisp, hint of smoke in the air, tang of Autumn; the bite of freezing temperatures in the depths of winter; and the gentle, fresh waft of almond blossom on the breezes of Spring.

Contentedly I began to think over the weeks that had past since I’d arrived back in America.  Surprisingly the time has gone by slowly.  I read as we get older and there’s not a lot of novelty in our days anymore time flies.  A changed routine, a challenging hobby, a shift in routine, can give the appearance of time slowing.  And it has.

The time between Sundays as we rule out churches in our quest for a St. Joseph’s in Richardson or a  St George’s in Beckenham, seems like weeks.

I thought,

“Where was I this time last month?”

Incredibly I was still in England nearing our move out date.

I focused on the final day when my brother was supposed to come over and move out his stuff and help me sort through the kitchen.

He’d taken the day off and was going to come over after the gas man had been, (British Gas schedule their visits in blocks, somewhere between 8am and 1pm he’d been told…)

He phoned and said he was on his way,

“I have to be gone by 3pm to collect the boys from school.”  It was his visitation weekend.

He showed up in a mad dash at precisely 3pm with a bag of spanners in his hand and a tape measure to determine whether the dining room table would fit in his car, without its legs.

After five minutes he was gone…to pick up his sons with promises of being back.

He declined to use movers who would have done the deed in a moment.

Our final evening was looking dim.

Hubs took the legs off the table and packed my brother’s share of what was left of the estate in boxes.  There they would stay in his garage untouched until moved again to a new house sometime in the very distant future.

He returned to the flat at 6pm with Sam and Nathaniel and they helped load up his car with the boxes we’d packed, the table and other smaller items.

Gone within minutes, again…

My brother’s girlfriend with the SUV arrived 30 minutes later.  We chatted and waited.

He returned and the large stuff made its exit in earnest.  We had emptied and made accessible all the furniture he had agreed upon.

The going was slow and hubs and I were chomping at the bit.

Finally we caved and helped by moving dressers and chairs to the building’s vestibule.

“Bye!” we waved, “see you in the morning, we’re off to the pub and dinner!”

We left my brother, his sons and girlfriend, heaving and struggling in the dark out in the car park.

We had a lovely time, a couple of halves at the Jolly Woodman,


and a stroll down the road to find a restaurant we had never been to.

Branded beckoned to us.

Situated opposite our favorite Italian it promised steaks, chicken and salads at a reasonable price and there were plenty of diners to commend its excellence.


We sat by a window and enjoyed Beckenham High Street at night,


We lingered over coffee wondering how late we would have to be to give my brother time to finish?

I snapped a photograph of a bus in front of the Alms houses in the twinkling lights of night,


and one of our church, to pass the time.


They were gone by the time we arrived home.

The flat was beginning to echo.


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