Getting Little Gidding, No Kidding
I am a huge T.S. Eliot fan, so I decided that on my next trip to England, I would visit all the places the Nobel Prize winner wrote about in his Four Quartets: Burnt Norton, East Coker and Little Gidding (Dry Salvages would have to wait for a trip to Massachusetts).
Having found Burnt Norton to be a private estate, my husband and I went on to visit East Coker in Somerset and then on to Little Gidding in Cambridgeshire. I had assumed that Little Gidding was a village, with St. Johns chapel in its midst. I was surprised to find it was a more of a hamlet — just a small collection of buildings at the end of a long, narrow road. As we got out of our rental car and headed towards the large manor house with a sign that read "Ferrar House, teas, gift shop, B&B," I told my husband, "What ever you do, do not mention T.S. Eliot." I was sure that the people of the manor had had enough of tourists intruding on their quiet life and going on about Mr. Eliot.
But, as we entered the House, we were greeted by a lovely woman named Judith who immediately took us around the house and then asked us if we would like to join them for lunch in the kitchen. We said yes, and found ourselves having lunch with not only the wardens of the house, Judith and Tony Hodgson, but the founder of the U.K. chapter of the T.S. Eliot society, Bob Miller. I was in heaven. My husband just smirked at me. After a wonderful lunch, my husband and I went out to see the chapel, and found copies of the Four Quartets inside.
We have since returned to Little Gidding and have become great friends with Judith and Tony. And, believe it or not, we are considering becoming the next wardens of Ferrar House, as the Hodgsons are retiring soon and we've been asked if we would like the job.
So, if you have a literary passion, go and follow it. For who knows what it could lead to?
— Cheri in Seattle, WA
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