Wallingford Town Hall  1976

Text Box: We were staying with Gerry’s Aunt Min and Uncle Wallace around the time of their 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to give them a present. I decided to do a drawing of the town hall in Wallingford, where they lived.

I borrowed a kitchen chair and drove to the center of town to draw. I only had a few days so I think I went out twice a day. I screwed up the arch around the door to the church in the background. I made it round instead of pointy. Luckily I hadn’t done the roof yet so I made the bricks really dark to cover up the curve and drew the actual arch as it should be. After we got home I made a photocopy of the drawing before we sent them the original as a gift.  The drawing looks dark because of the old photo copy. I’m not including close ups in this chapter for this reason.

In the 70’s we alternated vacation destinations and went to Europe at least every other year. In television you work holidays and they end up getting tacked on to vacation time so we were able to get away for four to six weeks at a time. Rentals in Europe were incredibly cheap. There was no internet so we had to do a lot of research by mail. We found a rental agency in England, Taylings Holiday Cottages, which published a catalog annually that listed rentals all over the British Isles. The listings went into enormous detail so you knew exactly what you were in for. The first Taylings catalogue we sent away for included a rental on the grounds at Windsor Castle. It required a letter from your barrister and a cleric. You also had to promise not to bicycle on the Cloisters.

Rentals in Europe were more difficult. We liked renting in France so we would get a government pamphlet which listed real estate agencies. We would find an area we wanted to rent in and write to all the nearby agencies. They would send us listings which weren’t nearly as detailed as Taylings’ but it worked for us for a long time.

We would almost always split our vacation between England and France. Gerry’s grandmother came to America around 1920 but kept close ties with her family in England and Gerry loved visiting her grandmother’s brothers and sisters. We would usually get a rental somewhere in England but spend a week or so visiting relatives. We would then make our way to our rental in France for the rest of the time. We always tried to end up in France because the food was better there.

Min is the aunt that would make afternoon tea while we were visiting and there would always be other guests. We would all be crowded around the dining room table which would be so full of plates of meat and cakes and bread that there always seemed to be one more plate than there was space for. Inevitably someone would be stuck holding a plate for which there was no room. As soon as someone else asked for something to be passed the first person would get to put their plate down in the new space while the person who asked for the item to be passed would be stuck with the serving plate until someone else asked for more.

All material copyright 2010 Neil Borrell


Email   neil@borrellcompany.com

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I did this drawing as a 40th Anniversary gift for Gerry’s aunt and uncle in Wallingford, England.


Neil Borrell        



Click to read Hazel Basil by Neil Borrell

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