April 16, 2011


PLACES. Cuckfield is a small town in Sussex. Bill had booked a room for me the first time I stayed in the Ockenden Manor. We had dinner there together.
The last time I stayed at the Ockenden Manor I had dinner with him there too. It was summer and we drank the Villamagna bottle I had brought him from Spain.
-Charge it as house wine, he told the waitress, handing her the bottle.
Bill retired soon after and died pretty soon too from a cancer. I had left the Company some time before, to pursue a different career back in Spain.
Bill used to live in Cuckfield the years he worked in the UK. Even when he was posted in Japan and Australia he always kept his house, but he couldn't enjoy it much on his retirement.
At least the years we worked together in the UK he could enjoy Cuckfield. During that time he organized many dinners and business meetings at the Ockenden Manor too. I always enjoyed the place and the food.
The last time was a hot summer day, and after the dinner with Bill, I walked in the common in the night. On the cricket ground, where I had played sometimes against the  Advertising Agencies' teams, I laid on the ground looking at the stars, holding tightly with my hands to the fair grass of England.
Cuckfield es un pequeño pueblo de Sussex. La primera vez que estuve en el Ockenden Manor, fue Bill quien había reservado una habitación para mi, y cenamos allí juntos.
La última vez que dormí en Ockenden Manor también cené allí con él. Era verano. Recuerdo también que con la cena bebimos la botella de Villamagna que le había traído de España.
- Cóbrelo como vino de la casa, le dijo a la camarera dándole la botella.
Bill se retiró de la Compañía poco después y murió casi seguido de un cancer. Yo la había dejado algún tiempo antes para seguir una carrera distinta de vuelta en España.
Los años que vivió en Inglaterra Bill vivía en Cuckfield. Incluso durante los años que estuvo en Japón y Australia mantuvo su casa allí, aunque no pudo disfrutarla mucho cuando se retiró.
Al menos los años que coincidimos en Inglaterra pudo disfrutar de Cuckfield y organizaba muchas cenas y reuniones en Ockenden Manor. Siempre disfruté del lugar y su cocina.
La última vez fue un día caluroso de verano. Después de cenar con Bill, salí a pasear por la noche por el campo. En el lugar en que solíamos jugar al cricket a veces, con las Agencias de Publicidad, me tumbé sobre la hierba mirando las estrellas, agarrándome fuerte a la fina hierba de Inglaterra.


  1. Hello:
    This post has made us a little wistful and sad, both for your loss of Bill and for the Englishness of somewhere like Ockenden Manor.

    But, you are right to remember, and to remember the many happy occasions spent together at Cuckfield. And, with the passing of time, the sadness disappears.

  2. beautiful post...the melancholy of it all, yet remembering the actual events, then lying in the grass and holding on to life....we all do that....and it is always poignant...cause life is short, and it happens so darn fast....

  3. This post has reminded me of a manor an old friend of mine owns in Somerset. Our friendship hoes back 30 years from a chance meeting on a bus in Amsterdam. It has also bought back wonderful memories of lying on my back in our backyard at night in Australia looking at the stars!

    Thank you for the memories!

  4. You mentioned a Kir Royale...I love a true Champagne Cocktail. Sugar cube, bitters to soak the cube, then pour the champagne. One of my favorite drinks...no cherries allowed! Sometimes I'll add a splash of Navan on top.

  5. the grass is certainly greener. :) lovely insight into your world. I miss the old decay of the UK. xx

  6. The first sentence can be the beginning of an exciting novella. It's great that you had such a friend who was able to fill a certain space in our life with something interesting and meaningful.

  7. Beautifully written,Pet.
    I love the part when you grabbed the grass~ i'm here to visualize it!

  8. You write very well, melancholy and sadness are visible from the words