Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ravenglass, and Peter Frost-Pennington

(From my paper journal 9 June 2007)

And then we rolled into Ravenglass-for-Eskdale station, in the little town of Ravenglass. We struggled off the train with our trunks and bags.

I expected we'd be met at the train by someone from the staff at Muncaster Castle -- maybe Sadie, with who I'd worked out the details of most everything concerning the trip by email.

We didn't expect:

(1) that there would be a huge crowd at the station, or
(2) that we'd be met at the train by a Pennington!

But the little station was flooded with people. For a terrified second, I feared we'd be the center of a media happening, and here I was looking a right mess, and well-tired.

And then behind us, we heard, "Jane? Is one of you Jane?"

And there was Peter Frost-Pennington, heir to the Pennington lands and legacy, sent to fetch us at the train.

We greeted him enthusiastically, and he was completely British and precious. Alarmingly, he seized our luggage and carried it to his Range Rover and loaded it up. This was very unsettling to me: how could I allow landed gentry to carry my luggage? *We* should have carried *his,* if he had any. I said, "It goes against my nature to let anyone with a hyphenated surname do menial labor for me."

While inside I trembled in incredulity over a Frost-Pennington lugging my trunk, I trailed after Peter on the way to his Range Rover, and Jenny trailed after me. I think we may have been telepathic, or at least empathic; this was the first in a series of situations where we communciated silently without even using meaningful glances.

Peter was animated and cheerful. He is like an extremely clever and capable version of Hugo from "The Vicar of Dibley" in his mannerisms and speech -- but what particularly struck me about Peter were the qualities he has in common with the best parts of the Bristol Renaissance Faire community: energy, enthusiasm, humble generosity. I miss him. I am sending him a Jeff Semmerling smile mask, and I'm sending one to the Soans as well; Ive just bought them and brought them home.

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