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Shimba Hills, Kenya 1988


We lived at 33 Loma Media, Santa Barbara,  for twenty-three years, longer than either of  us lived anywhere else. Until 1969, Bernard was teaching at Ohio University and at the University of California, Berkeley,  but this was his true home, and he spent all his free time at home at Santa Barbara, with me.
California, 1978
I took up an appointment in the Department of Anthropology, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the fall of 1966.  Friends recommended a good “realtor”, to  whom, after a telephone  consultation with Bernard , I gave specific directions  as to what we were seeking – in terms of location, size, and, most important, view. She quickly found our dream house, on the Riviera, but it was priced a little beyond what we could  afford. The realtor, convinced that this was indeed the home for us,  lent us the last few thousand dollars,  (which we were able to repay in a timely fashion) and we lived in contentment  there for many years.

All during his years at UCSB, Bernard regularly swam one mile in the Campus swimming pool, every day  at lunch-time, saying  that it was partly to avoid dreary lunches with his faculty colleagues. But he truly loved the exercise, which he sorely missed in the last ten years of his life, after his spoiled heart-bypass surgery in 1993.

Bernard taught in  the Department of Geography at UCSB from  1969 to 1973, but he found the department uncongenial : the emphasis was heavily on remote sensing and technology, whereas Bernard was firmly in the “human geography” school of Carl Ortwin Sauer. As a result of his feeling out of place, as well as having abrasive colleagues, Bernard resigned , unfortunately at a time when suitable academic jobs, at least in the Santa Barbara area, were scarce. Bernard then enrolled in the School of Library Science at UCLA, completing the normal two year M.L.S.  course in one year. He took a small apartment near UCLA, and  drove from Santa Barbara to LA  early every Monday morning, returning every Friday late afternoon. During all our years together, Bernard did most of the cooking, until his final two years, after his stroke. But I managed to prepare special celebratory dinners for us, on these Friday evenings. And I spent some week-ends with him in LA, so that we could see friends, or go to shows or art exhibitions.

As part of his library training, Bernard  worked as an intern at UCSB Library, in the reference section. As usual, he tackled his duties conscientiously and fairly; on one occasion , several students were waiting to ask Bernard questions, when a pompous Professor (of whom we knew many) marched to the front of the queue, and announced, “I am Dr. Fullofwind, please  attend to me”. Most librarians would have been cowed, but Bernard replied, “And I am Dr. Riley, back of the queue please.” . .He had hoped to get a post at the UCSB Library, but soon discovered that he was ”over-qualified”. Some of the senior librarians  were clearly threatened by  Bernard, because he  had a Ph.D as well as the M.L.S.

After a year as a Research Associate, working on our Kenya data (see KENYA), Bernard resumed teaching, in 1975, this time in the much more congenial  and new Environmental Studies Program. Santa Barbara had  suffered a disastrous oil spill  from an oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel; This covered our beaches in oil, did enormous damage to bird life, and galvanised the local people , and the University, into action, One  result was the creation of the innovative Environmental Studies Program, (ES) which gave Bernard, and later me as well,  many  fulfilling years of teaching and research experiences.

Bernard initiated a three quarter course on  “Third World Environment : Prospects and Problems”, which proved very popular. He taught other courses, one on “Mining : Environmental Effects”, but the Third World course  was the main one. After  the first year, we decided that the course would improve if he and I co-taught it – Universities in the U.S. are much more flexible on these sort of arrangements. I took a half-time appointment in Environmental Studies, and half-time in the Department of Anthropology . Until we resigned in 1989, Bernard and I taught the course together, the emphasising  the physical aspects, and I the social ones. It worked,  and it was a marvellous education for us, for each year we were gathering new material.

Gaviota Beach 1974

When ES started, it attracted a curious mix of students, including some of the brightest ones, with a deep commitment and a readiness to work hard. But there was a large fringe of “flower children”, who tended to come late to lectures, barefoot, flowers in their hair, beatific smiles, all ready to save the planet, but  with little idea of academic discipline. The then Chairman  of ES,  Dan Botkin,  remedied this by making Biology and Calculus requirements for the degree. Bernard and I had to be demanding in our courses, which the best students appreciated.

A beardless Bernard nr San Diego 1975
UCSB had a grandly named “Office of Instructional Consultation”, established in order  to improve teaching methods.  Bernard took full advantage of the Centre, developing a series of modules to accompany the course. Each module consisted of about fifty  colour slides, to illustrate one week’s lectures, accompanied by Bernard’s brief explanations. Multiple sets were kept in the Centre where students could go at any time to watch and listen. Their feedback was very positive. We used the Centre in another way, volunteering to have one of our lectures video-ed; then five members of the Centre spent an hour with us, criticising us, in minute detail. It was both an uncomfortable and a beneficial experience;  few faculty members availed themselves of this opportunity, perhaps believing that they already knew all the tricks. Bernard and I were regarded as good teachers; in fact in one year we were given  the Distinguished Teaching Award – but Bernard rightly thought that  there was always more to learn.

Figueron Picnic 1978 with Peter Hodge,Lito, Dawson

Socially, we led a rich life in Santa Barbara. We mixed with our academic colleagues, taking our turn to entertain any “visiting fireman”( a distinguished visitor) after the talk or seminar they had presented. We were  “chuffed” (as Bernard would have said) when Claudia , the wife of a colleague, told  a friend that she always went to parties at Bernard and David’s, ‘Because they treat us as people, not as wives”. We did not permit, in our home,  the usual separation of sexes, the men standing around the bar, talking football and motor-cars, leaving the women on the side-lines.

We gave frequent dinner parties, Bernard delighting in experimenting with new dishes, and in the table arrangements. I saw to drinks and did the washing up. On one Saturday evening, the telephone rang about 9 p.m., in the middle of a dinner party. The caller asked to speak to Bernard; when I asked who was calling, she said “This is Abigail van Buren”. Now this was , at the time, one of the most famous names in the U.S.A.  : “Dear Abby”, the best known, and  most widely syndicated,  “agony aunt”  in the nation. Bernard had written to Dear Abby, joining the correspondence about body odours, some previous writers having been disparaging about women’s body odours. Bernard pointed out that, during his daily swim, he could smell, even underwater, some of his male colleagues, including a distinguished – or at least well-known – Professor of Sociology. Bernard had signed himself “Wet Nose in Santa Barbara”, and Abby was checking up to see that this was a genuine letter.  We all  listened, agog, to Bernard’s part of the conversation. Bernard’s letter appeared a few days later, and one of our guests, said, a touch enviously, “Bernard, millions of people will read your letter, and if I publish an article I am lucky if there are 20 readers!”

In addition to our dinner parties, we entertained groups of students both under-graduates and post-graduates, at Sunday patio lunches – we had a large patio at the rear, ideal for large-scale entertaining.  One colleague, commenting on these student parties, wondered why we did it, saying “I have enough trouble with my own kids without bothering about any others”. Perhaps it was easier for us, not having our own children?

To give Bernard a break, I did the catering for these occasions, having learnt a few simple dishes, such as Lasagne, easy to prepare for 25 or 30 guests. Several of the undergraduates were initially nervous, some confessing that this was "the first time I have been in a Professor’s home”. This reminded us of a similar shameful (to us)  confession by Africans, usually wives,  visiting us in James Court,  Bulawayo : “this is the first time I have been in a white man’s house, as a guest”. Ouch!

We always invited some of our graduate students to come early, to help us. These students were helpful in another way : during our frequent absences, travelling, we liked to have a house-sitter, to look after the house, to water the garden in the summer months.  and to keep our cat. Moshi, company.  Moshi, half wild bob-cat, had come to our backdoor as “an emaciated wreck”, according to Bernard – I was away at the time. Bernard, who loved cats, soon transformed Moshi into a large, very self-possessed, cat, friendly but dignified, who loved all our guests.. It was easy to persuade students to leave their small apartments, with no view, and to move into 33 Loma Media while we were away.

In addition to the university, our neighbourhood provided a socially  rich field. Early on, we were “adopted” by our neighbour, Harriet Carter, a remarkably hospitable, engaging, bright .dynamic, curious, articulate lady, who, with her husband Vic, gave jolly parties where we met the more interesting neighbours and other friends. We soon joined an informal group which drove  to Mount Figueroa, some fifty miles away, at least twice a year, once in the Spring for the wild flowers, and once in the late Fall, when we stopped at Paradise Valley to gather mistletoe. We enjoyed many  picnics there, and it became a favourite place to take our visitors, for an impromptu picnic.  Bernard soon mastered Californian flora, and there would be frequent cries of “Bernard, tell me what this is”.
 Apart from our rural excursions, we also made regular trips to Los Angeles, usually on a Saturday, calling first at the Grand Central Market in downtown LA, which offered a huge variety of Mexican, Chinese and other exotic foods : Bernard  was in his element, finding rare ingredients for the splendid dinners he prepared.  Then we would go to a matinee at the recently built  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre or the small, more experimental ,  Mark Taper Theatre. We saw some magnificent, memorable productions. LA was a two hours drive away, if we avoided rush hour, so we could easily be home by early evening. If we wanted to attend a concert, or see an opera, we would not be home until after midnight, but as the next day was a Sunday, that was not  a problem.
Oloera St Market LA 1974 with Karel W

On several occasions, we exchanged houses with David and Elspeth Jack, then studying at UCLA, who welcomed the change in our relaxing  home in  quiet Santa Barbara,  while we were glad of a week-end in the Big City    We also exchanged houses – and cars -  twice , in the summers of  1967 and 1969 with Chuck and Hilde Kaigler, who had a charming view home, with sweeping views over Honolulu, in the Manoa Valley. Each  time we spent six weeks there, giving us a chance to see much of the Islands. We were helped by our friend Dora Seu, from UCB, who introduced us to her Chinese – American family, who gave us penetrating insights into the history and  social factors and  introduced us to  spectacular locations  We even went to  Molokai, the least visited of the Islands, where the Seu family had friends.

On our first visit, in 1967, Songdai Seu,  Dora’s brother, invited us to his home to see – and comment on - a four hour  TV special on Africa. I was, as so often over the years, very  proud of Bernard for the way he answered all the questions, and gave clear and concise explanations, during the breaks. Bernard would not allow me to gush,  and to praise him extravagantly ,but if I said, afterwards,  “Bernard, you tried”, he was satisfied : this was Ghanaian English, meaning “you put on a wonderful show.”  Songdai’s mother  old Mrs. Seu,. kept appearing,  in the advertising breaks, throughout the four hours , with Chinese delicacies, each time saying “nothing special, nothing special” ; this became our refrain when Bernard had prepared an elaborate dinner :  “oh, nothing special.”

We were so taken with the island of Maui, that we even enquired about both  buying property, and  the possibility of teaching at the local Community College. This was a time, 1969, of much unrest and uncertainty in mainland universities, but we soon realised that we were being unrealistic.

During our first stay, in 1967, we took one hour’s  surfing lesson, then we drove down each morning at dawn to surf at Waikiki. We went early to avoid the crowds, and  also because we were by no means expert at handling the surfboards, which were much heavier than today’s boards. We were quite pleased with ourselves, at ages 41 and 44, at having mastered the waves at Waikiki .

Holland 1978
Netherlands 1988

Alaska 1988
Bernard was always ready for travel. Whenever I asked him, ”Shall we go to….”. I seldom finished my enquiry, before Bernard enthusiastically said “Oh, Yes, lets go”. We drove once across the continent, starting in western Canada , and finishing in New York, all in our VW Other trips took us to New Orleans and the Southern States ( driving, again), to Las Vegas (once!), and many times to San Francisco. We also explored, in our short breaks, the vast and varied western states,  going to Death Valley, most of the major state and national parks, Lake Tahoe, where friends had  cabins. I introduced Bernard to the Central Valley of California  where I had done intermittent fieldwork in Patterson. As usual, Bernard got on equally well with my diverse friends, who included wealthy “Anglo”  “growers”, as well as my Mexican-American farm-worker hosts.
Before we left the U.S. in 1989, we made a long trip to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington and also did a cruise to Alaska. Bernard was the ideal travelling companion, curious, knowledgeable, but eager to learn more, even-tempered; he got on well, with his simple, open manner,  with everyone we met along the way. He and I shared many of the same interests, and , importantly, we were both , in Bernard’s phrase, “larks rather than owls” : we liked to be up early, to see the dawn. if possible

Brazil 1979

 We went several times to Kenya (see KENYA), which is half-way round the world from California. We were able to vary our route by paying a little extra. In this way, we once spent three weeks in South America; other times we returned via  Bernard’s wartime bases, Singapore and Hong Kong, and  then a week in Japan. Another trip, in 1977, took us to West Africa, to Senegal, Mali, and  Upper Volta (nowBurkina Faso), and  brought us back via Seychelles, Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.or Australia. On all these trips, Bernard was as excited as a young man going abroad for the first time, he had a marvellous boyish enthusiasm. He always took scores of colour slides, many of which we used in our Environmental Studies course on the Third World.
In 1978, we went to our most exotic  destination, and the Falkland Islands, for a fabulous three week holiday over Christmas; then, few people knew about the Falklands, it was before the Argentinian invasion, We had been invited by Jim Parker, whom we had met in Ghana, who was Governor of the Islands. Jim and Deirdre, his wife, ensured that we had a memorable stay, meeting most interesting people, both residents and visitors, and visiting distant locations, especially New Island, a great place for bird life. Bernard had bought  supplementary telescopic lenses for his camera, but the penguins, albatross and other birds were so unconcerned that the extra lenses were superfluous. Again, Bernard soon acquired an extensive knowledge of the Falklands flora.
Falkland Islands 1978

We made one of our group tours in 1980, joining a small group for a visit to Costa Rica, organised by UCLA,and headed my  Mildred Mathias, a distinguished botanist, who enrolled the help of the leading  expert on Costa Rican birds. We had an exciting time, discovering  numerous new (to us)  plants, and new birds, such as the toucan. The trip covered the main ecological areas, but our part was cut short when I  broke my ankle, in a careless accident, and was laid up for two weeks in San Jose. Bernard scoured the bookshops for English books (“long ones”, I asked for) for me, to keep me busy while he explored the capital.

Returning from Kenya in 1981, we flew to Lagos, Nigeria, as we had been invited to discuss plans for the new Capital, Abuja, with special reference to the resettlement of the people who were already occupying the proposed site. Bernard and I had been interested in resettlement, since our time in Rhodesia, with the Kariba Dam, and then in Ghana, with the Volta Dam, both of which necessitated the involuntary resettlement of thousands of people. In Kenya, we had been told that visas were not necessary for British passport holders, but at Lagos, we were refused entry and deported on the next flight to Rome.(This was probably a retaliation for the Nigerians who had been refused entry to the U.K.). We had intended to go to Rome, where we had an appointment with officials in FAO, (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations)  to discuss work we had done in Kenya  Having ten days in hand, before our appointment, on the spur of the moment we flew to Israel, to be warmly greeted by Arline and Zalie Miller, good friends from Rhodesia. Thanks to our hosts,  and friends at the Hebrew University, we saw much of Israel in our short stay,

Lome, Togo 1988
In the 1980’s, we also visited Tanzania for a consultation on woodlots for fuelwood;  Malawi for a FAO Workshop on fuelwood again; Botswana to see  the Okavango delta;  Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana, for a survey of onchocerciasis resettlement, and also to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of  Nana Asiedu Agyemfra IV, the chief of Larteh , Ghana (where I had done fieldwork, and which Bernard knew well)  This was a jolly affair, lasting several days – “Larterians” have a flair for well organised, happy  parties.
Okhavango, BOTSWANA - July 1986

India, January 1988

Sri Lanka, 1988

Our most ambitious travels took place in early 1988, when we had been invited to a FAO conference in Bangalore, India. Before the conference we spent nearly two months retracing Bernard’s path in WW11.And after the conference, we were invited to spend two weeks looking at problems of using eucalyptus for fuelwood, in the state of Karnataka. Two Indian foresters accompanied us, and arranged a fascinating and educational tour for us. Bernard , in his earlier stay in India, forty years previously, had had problems understanding and accepting the caste system; on this trip, he – and I – were often shocked by the bland disdain shown by our Brahmin guides towards the Dalit (“Untouchables”), reminding us uncomfortably of apartheid South Africa.

New Delhi february 1988


Mount Lavinia Hotel,COLOMBO 1988
Our 1988 visit to South Asia  coincided with the 40th anniversary celebrations of Independence for both India and Sri Lanka. Bernard had been present at both original celebrations, which greatly impressed our local friends, most of whom had not been born in 1948. We were enjoying a drink on the veranda  of the Galle Face Hotel in Sri Lanka. When the owner heard Bernard telling our waiter of his early experience, she embarrassed us by declaiming , loudly, “Oh, those were the days, when we were Ceylon. It is a great pity that the British left. Look at what Sri Lanka is today…..” She was a “Burgher”, who had had a relatively privileged position during the days of the Raj, but was now looked down on by the native Sri Lankans , somewhat similar to the “coloureds” in South Africa.
We visited the U.S. in November, 1991, to celebrate Harriet Carter’s 8oth birthday in Santa Barbara, much enjoying meeting “the old gang” again. We stopped on the way in the mid-West, renting a car and driving to Indiana University, of which  Bernard had many fond memories. A few years later, we finally – we had long hoped to do this – managed to travel to New England in the fall, and the fall colours were magnificent that year. We also  saw several former students, and some other friends in the Eastern states; this was one of Bernard’s last journeys when he was still fairly fit.

For the section detailing our many visits to and work in Kenya please visit our KENYA section by following this link.



Two years in U.K. 1984 - 1986

Our friend and  Santa Barbara neighbour, Dwight Gilmour, died in 1978, leaving his estate , after a few small bequests, to us.  Dwight, a retired court stenographer, was an inveterate travelelr, and he told us that he admired our adventurous spirit, and he hoped that we woudl use his legacy to make further trips abroad. We did. The main value of the estate was in two plots of land, one of which was vacant, the other having two houses on it. Initially, we were in despair, because so much needed to be spent – about $100,000 each for our builder to renovate the dilapidated houses; for inheritance tax; and for lawyer’s fees.

We were able to rent out the two homes, then decided to build our dream home on the vacant plot. We enlisted the help of Graham Kaye-Eddie, a South African architect living in California, who after several discussions with us, designed a wonderful home. This was to be on three levels, each about 30’ square, and the whole supported by steel poles which would make the structure earthquake proof. Knowing that we travelled much, Graham designed the lower story to be a self-contained guest apartment that could be used by our house-sitter when we were away. The top level, which would be our living quarters, would command a 360* view. We took Graham’s plans to building contractors and building suppliers, for estimates, and everywhere we went the plans excited much interest and admiration.

The next step was to get approval from the Santa Barbara  Architectural Board of  Review, which looked at all building plans before they went on to the City Planner for final approval. This board consisted of conservative Santa Barbara architects, for whom Graham’s innovative design was TOO RADICAL. One member plaintively asked us if we would not like to build in the more traditional Santa Barbara style, meaning the prevalent “mock Spanish”. The meeting was adjourned without a final decision, but we were discouraged, and it was shortly after this meeting that I had the fateful conversation with Adil Yakub ( see below) which drastically altered our future.
33 Loma Media Santa Barbara,1989
Had the Board of Review approved Graham’s  plans, we would have gone ahead immediately , making a start on our dream home. And, had we done that, we would have been locked in to mortgages and commitments, and would not have considered the possibility of two years in London. We were disappointed at the time, but later recognised it as a lucky break, because our years in London led to  a widening of our horizons, and to fuller lives for us both.

 (We sold the plot in question, the buyer eventually building a house that was far more radical  than our proposed home; he simply persisted and over-rode  the objections of the Board of Architectural Review)

The University of California has for many years organised  a student exchange programme, under which nearly 2,000 students spend a year abroad, mainly at universities in Europe, but with growing numbers in Latin America, Australia Asia and Africa; smaller numbers of foreign students spend a year at one of the nine UC campuses. The Education Abroad Program (EAP) was administered from an office on the Santa Barbara campus, where we were.

The biggest and most popular programme is for the UK and Ireland, 160 UC students going each year to one of sixteen universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The programme was run by a Director and an Associate Director, assisted by a British administrator, all based in London. The Directorship was for two years, and was – according to “General Consensus” - such a plum job that it was given as a favour by the President of UC to one of his pals.

What made the job so desirable was that : No teaching was involved; The associate director had the difficult task of translating British numeric symbols (First;  2:1, etc) into American  letter symbols (A-;  B+;  C, etc). While by no means a sinecure, the “load” was considerably less than what a UC professor would  normally carry; The Director was meant to “keep an eye” on the 160 US students, nearly all of them were so busy (a) enjoying themselves,(b) studying, and (c) getting acculturated, that they needed no or little attention; Part of the job consisted in regular visits to the contributing universities, and such visits were almost always pure pleasure; The location, London, was much sought after;  The two year stay meant that salary was tax-free – under IRS rules, a stay of more than seventeen months abroad exempted a tax-payer from paying US tax.

In September 1983,  I walked from our home in Santa Barbara to the bus station, to catch a bus to campus.  Bernard and I each had a car, but – partly because we taught in Environmental Studies, and wished to set an example – we did not take both cars onto campus. Sometimes I left earlier than Bernard, went by bus then we would return home in his car. On this morning, I sat next to  a friend,  Adil Yakub, a Palestinian Professor of Mathematics, who worked half-time in the EAP. In conversation with Adil, he told me that several EAP directorships, were due to be filled for the following academic year. He suggested  that I would be ideal for London, urging me to  apply?”

That evening, I repeated our conversation to Bernard, making light of Adil’s  improbable suggestion. But Bernard said, seriously,”You apply ; you will get it, then I will come with you and we will have two years in Britain!”. Rather than displease Bernard, I agreed to apply, being convinced hat I had no chance of being selected.

Twenty-seven people applied, and to my surprise and our delight, I was appointed .My toughest interview was by a student, who had spent the previous year on exchange in the UK. He was particularly interested in my relations with  undergraduate students.  What office hours did I keep? Was I available to students? I told him  about our  regular entertainment of undergraduates at our Sunday patio lunches.He must have regarded us favourably.

S.Ynez Valley 1988 with Dan, Botkin,Thelma
We rented a flat in Kennington,  South London, from our old friend Kim Lister, and moved there in July 1984, staying in London for two years. Neither Bernard nor I had spent  more than a few days at a time in Britain, since 1955, so we were  out of touch with present conditions. This two year period gave us a chance to get to know Britain again. We renewed our knowledge and love of London,   and we  travelled a lot,  visiting the various British and Irish  universities. Bernard was not officially part of EAP, but his scientific background enabled him to discuss the science students'  problems with insight and understanding. We also travelled on our own,  within Britain and to “the continent”. What we saw, we liked, and we  decided then that we would settle in London when we retired in a few years’ time. Had I not met Adil on the bus, I  would not have applied for the EAP post, nor would we have moved to live in Britain.
Santa Barbara 1989
We both retired from the University of California on June 30, 1989, and were spending our last months in Santa Barbara, preparatory to relocating in December  to  England, where we had bought the London flat that we had rented in 1984-1986. Our friends Leslie and Pearl Rubin were then living in Santa Monica, a two hour drive – except that by then they no longer drove. When their son, Neville,  (who was then with the International Labour Office, stationed in New York) visited them, in October 1989,  he hired a car and drove his parents to Santa Barbara, to see us. I had recently been in England, for the wedding of my god-son, Adam Lister, and had taken the opportunity of looking at properties to buy in North London. Partly influenced by friends who lived in Islington and  the northern suburbs, we had decided to upgrade – to sell the Kennington flat, and to buy a bigger house in another area.

Over lunch, we explained our plans to the Rubins, and Neville was puzzled; he immediately said  “ You have a perfectly good flat already. Why not keep that and buy a place in the country?” After lunch, Bernard and I  looked at each other, and wondered why this had not occurred to us – it was the obvious solution for us. Bernard, the geographer, drew a triangle -  Salisbury, Bath, Exeter - on the map,  and we decided to look in that area for our country home. Our friends Jim and Deirdre Parker, with whom we had often stayed in Yarlington, Somerset, invited us to stay while we were house-hunting, which we started doing in early December, 1989. Within a few days we had found what we wanted, in Sherborne, and moved in to “Tanrhocal House” (Tanganyika, Rhodesia, California)  two months later, living there happily until we moved to South Africa, nearly ten years later.

We are sure that without Neville Rubin’s timely lunch-time intervention, we would have bought, foolishly, a bigger home in London, and thus not enjoyed the many joys that living in Sherborne brought us – not least the ability to get away from London when it was too hot and/or crowded.

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