We are so happy for the few days with Arthur*…
Reported by Nancy K. Tang (65FA)
We arrived at Heathrow early in the morning of April 17th, 2008 after an all-nighter over the Atlantic. The drive to Chesterfield, a mere
three and a half hours, was not without incidents, but we arrived safely at 10 Ridd Way just short before 1:00 p.m. Arthur was already
waiting by the large front window in his dining room, wondering whether he should start lunch without us!
We were happy to see he was in good spirit. Shortly after, the three of us were having lunch at one of his favourite restaurants by the
lake, within walking distance from his home, enjoying a rare afternoon of warm sun in England. His wound from the second operation in
January was almost healed and he only used the cane as a precaution when he went out. After lunch, we had a leisure walk around the
little lake, greeted by a few neighbours walking their dogs and a couple of water fowls swimming peacefully by. It was comforting to
know that Arthur was feeling his strength coming back to him.
Later at home, we gave Arthur his Birthday presents and also a gift from Susan Wong (FA61). He read with muse and affection the
Birthday card from the FA65 graduates in Toronto, Ontario. He excitedly told me how surprised he was to receive emails and greetings
from students around the globe throughout the week.
He had a tentative plan for the next day. After his hospital visit in the morning, we would visit the countryside and small towns nearby.
Then we would meet his daughter and son-in-law for dinner at a restaurant midway between Arthur’s home and theirs.
Arthur woke us up at eight (Please don’t be alarmed, after being with us in Toronto a few times, Arthur knows we are late sleepers. As
long as he knows where the juice, cereal, bread, butter, jam and toaster are, he is good at taking care of himself in the morning until I get
up and make the coffee! ) and he already had set the breakfast table – juice poured, croissants being warmed in the oven, and coffee
ready. To show my appreciation and partly cover my embarrassment, but truly from the bottom of my heart, I flew to his side and gave
him a big hug and yelled, “Happy Birthday!”
We opted to drive him to the hospital rather than letting him drive himself while we waited at home. Actually I delegated the driving to
James as I can only handle an automatic! Honestly, after being the navigator during our stay, I wonder how many tense moments James
had actually given Arthur with his driving! The fact was, it was quite a challenge for James to drive a standard transmission car after forty
years, and on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, not to mention the various sizes of the numerous roundabouts, if you know what I mean… For
the next couple of days, while sitting at the back seat, I heard many times Arthur spoke with his usual gentle voice, “Take a right turn here
but keep left!” or “ It’s best to stay on this side of the road!”
At the hospital, the doctor gave Arthur a clean bill of health after a short visit. His infection was all gone, but Arthur preferred to have his
dry bandage on just to protect his ankle for a little longer. That we totally agreed.
So with the three lighter hearts, we made our ways to the Peak District National Park, to test once again, James’ driving skill on windy
and winding roads. We were up at Stanton-on-the-hill through steep and curved one-lane served as two-lane roads, passing through
farms and acres of rolling hills and tranquil dales, a real English countryside reminding us of some British movies, like “Sense and
sensibility” or “Little women”. We had lunch at another Arthur’s favourite place, the Lathkil Hotel. Our table by the window overlooked the
valley below. There were endless green pasture with stoned walls (My 2007 trip-mates to Kentucky, USA: remember our trip there and
Cecilia Chu, our FA65 friend, told us about the walls created by the skilled stonemason from Ireland?) with lots of pheasants running
around. There were also horses, all covered with blankets and sheep, round and plump as the shearing season had not begun.
After treating Arthur to his Birthday lunch, we stopped by Bakewell and bought a Bakewell pudding, recommended by Helen Cheng
(FA66) as a must-try! This ‘pudding’ is definitely a pie - with crust and filling! Had the Brits got confused all that time and call it a
The ‘Birthday Boy’ treated us to a wonderful Italian dinner in Matlock Bath where we met Hedy Ann and Bob for the first time. He was
very jubilant that day, counting the number of telephone calls he had been receiving from old students. He chatted with Savio Lee (FA64)
in California in the morning. At home after dinner, with a broad smile on his face, he told us by the phone message from Mi Ki Kan
(FA57) in Toronto, he listened to Susan Kan’s angelic voice singing Happy Birthday to him!
The previous day, we had a very lovely tour of the Chatsworth, the Stately home of the Duke of Devonshire. We felt it was only right for us
to offer our help to Arthur with his packing since our visit had kept him busy for many days. On this rainy Sunday, Arthur finally gave in
and let us helped him with some packing. Having stayed in this ‘little bungalow’ for eighteen years and with so many books, gifts and
memorandum collected through the years, it was not easy for him to downsize to a one bedroom apartment. James went up to the attic
to sort out the last bits of stashed away and we made room in his garage for future storing. Then we sorted out a few boxes for Hedy
Ann to pick up in the afternoon for her future garage sale.
Visit to Woodland Padlocks in Wolverhampton
When Arthur suggested that we could visit the Woodland Padlocks on the last day of our visit, we gladly complied. Arthur’s future home
is in a retirement complex run by the Quakers. The Padlock Flats is in a very nice and serene surrounding in the town of Wolverhampton,
about 2 hours’ drive away. We met with the very friendly staff and even visited the home of one of his soon-to-be new neighbours. It was
good to know he will be joining the weekly gathering of German speaking group and he will be among some theatre loving neighbours.
Later in the afternoon, after shopped and bought the two major appliances, stove/oven and freezer/fridge, Arthur is another step closer
to begin his new life in the new home, in a new town, meeting and making new friends.
It was not easy to say good-bye but we were delighted to spend his 88th Birthday with him. We also know that we will meet again soon,
if not in Hong Kong by November, then in Canada which he plans to visit after his Hong Kong trip, maybe in 2009!
Arthur, we cannot wait to see you again! Have an exceptionally happy year of being 88 years young!
*I have been feeling kind of awkward to call Dr. Hinton by his first name even for the last several years he has repeatedly insisted that we
should. I made a conscience effort after I learnt this common practice of addressing everyone by their given names in senior complex
has its benefits.
Check out the photo gallery for James and Nancy's visit to Mr. Hinton here!
|Happy 88th Birthday Dr. Hinton!