JOAN:

Letter from Riding Mill: A short epistle from Northumberland seemed in order as we spend the end of the English summer "back home" with family.

The prospect of the two long flights seemed daunting this year but the 17 hours to Dubai followed by seven hours to Newcastle-on-Tyne went speedily and comfortably. We are now into our third day back in Geordieland.

If you had arrived here from the moon, the wonderful Geordie accent would reassure you that you were among friends and good people. My sister and husband Clive are saintly in the way they welcome us and spoil us during our annual stay with them. Riding Mill offers English village life just as New Zealanders imagine it. I love it.

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I have just read the Parish Magazine and it is a beautifully written, informative document, totally reassuring in the present frightening world climate, that life continues on in a caring community and will continue on no matter what. The villagers are English with all that that implies.

I shall attempt to write a little each week about our time here. Gilly, my beloved sister, has just come in from the garden. The weather is still and warm though autumn is here and the light, balmy evenings remain. Clive has been with friends Melville, Mal and "Ugly Bob" to a pub on the Roman Wall to chat and watch cricket. As I end this short letter, we all settle down to watch Match of the Day on the telly, while still not knowing if India will beat England in the cricket.
mjstreet@xtra.co.nz