Henley-on-Thames, Hambleden, Marlow, Turville, Frieth, Skirmett... so many names, towns, villages, farms -It was all too much in one day to keep track of everything so please don't ask me to tag the photos. I remember the names, but I can't tell you which is which. What I do know is this: I took the train (The National Rail train, not underground, DLR or overground - it is quite confusing) on the Sunday afternoon from Marylebone (in London) and got off at High Wycombe (West of London). Lieze-Mari was waiting for me at the station, with Mrs. Mathieson's little automatic, red car parked outside in the parking lot. From there we drove through Marlow, just to see the town and get off at the riverside and further on towards Frieth (I think). Mrs Mathieson lives in a little farmhouse near a village. For my Afrikaans friends who are confused with the terms farm, village and town, as I am: She basically lives on a plaas in the platteland, but not all alone and secluded from everyone as we would know a plaas in the Vrystaat. It is almost like a small town with big open gardens and fields all around the houses. Her sister-in-law lives right next to her and her daughter and son-in-law also lives there. They drive through from London every weekend. They live in the bigger house right next to her.
Lieze-Mari is there to take care of 92 year old Mrs. Hermione Mathieson, bath her, cook for her, drive her and take her for a walk every day or so. It seems like a very peaceful life, though the towns and villages are all very close to each other and they are not as secluded as you would maybe imagine. Rural England is so beautiful and you really experience a real English culture out there, not like the International, multi-cultural City of London. Mrs. Mathieson was married to a English conductor and musical director, and she herself was a proffesional ballerina until the age of 25. It seems like the whole family is very artistic and it was wonderful to meet her and talk to her about her life and experiences. I took my violin along to play her a bit of music as a thank-you present.
Lieze-M and I had a looooong walk through the hills, the woods and the villages on Monday morning, then we drove to Henley-on-Thames, had a pub lunch and a starbucks coffee, sat in the library for a while and walked through the town until it was time to go home. I drove back to London with Mrs. Mathieson's daugher on Monday night. The day was too short, but at least I got to spend a whole day with my friend, share her bed, have long walks and explore a part of England that is completely new to me. It was a good recharge before going back to work on Tuesday. She will only be working for Mrs. Mathieson until the end of August. I imagine that it won't be a easy goodbye. Wish I could go back to visit her only one more time before she has to leave that lovely part of the country.