My Visitor from China

The mists of March and early April have lifted.

Spring opens the land to the long view.

From a low rise you can see all the churches sitting like tall-necked birds on their nests of graves.

There are white hawthorn blossoms in the hedges and bright green meadows of new grass.

Norman had asked me for a favour. Would I entertain his visitor from China?

“I am going away,” he said, “so I just can’t do it.”

“What should I do?” I ask.

“Drive her around. Show her things”, he says.

My visitor is in the travel business. “More tourists are coming to the West, so they are researching different parts of the country — I’ll pay you”, he said.

“Forget it”. I said. “You can cover the petrol”.

I collect Ms Tan from her hotel in town at 9:15 in the morning.

She says” “Please call me May. My Chinese name is  M-E-I, so it is easy choice.”

On the way to Glastonbury we stop at a lay-by. Almost hidden in the cow parsley is a metal plaque mounted on a post. It tells us that, here, in the year 878, Alfred set up a camp from which he moved against the Viking raiders.

“The only king we call ‘great’”, I said.

“Why you call him great?” asked Ms. Tan.

“Good question”, I said. “I will think about that”.

“This your project,” said Ms. Tan, smiling. “You must explain me.”

I took her Glastonbury and other places and we had a very enjoyable and interesting day.

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