Tuesday, 27 September 2016
A Dittisham pilgrimage
I've been off the radar from friends and relatives for the last few days because my wife and I have been travelling. This afternoon, we arrived at the small village of Dittisham which sits by the edge of the River Dart in the county of Devon, England.
Tonight in Devon, there are at least some 30 Old Frees who have descended on Paignton; about 40 if you count their family members as well. The 40 of us are probably a record number of Malaysians who have gathered in Paignton all at the same time.
As Penang Free School celebrates her Bicentenary on 21 October 2016, what better way is there than to make this special pilgrimage to the place of Hutchings' birth. The convoy of six cars that left Penang about two-and-a-half months ago are scheduled to arrive at Dittisham tomorrow at 11 o'clock with the few of us who flew in from Malaysia and other parts of Europe, but we - Allen, Liang Teik, Saw See and I - are the advance party who have come first. We feel it is more meaningful -- and symbolic -- for us to stay in Dittisham tonight instead of faraway Paignton. And so far, we have been swept away by the friendliness of the few Dittisham folks who were aware of our arrival this afternoon, in particular, Helen, who is one of the chief organisers of tomorrow's church service.