I’m back, but still recovering from the „holiday“. At the moment I am in between washing, ironing, working on my photos and generally catching up on life. Thank goodness I still have a week’s holiday.
My flight to London passed well, although I had an hour’s delay as the flight coming in was delayed an hour. I spent the time at the airport buying gifts for my English family and friends in the duty free. I didn’t have time during the week before. On top of this I had to choose the day where there were gales reported on the English coast bringing high waves with threats of the Thames being flooded. As Dagenham, where I was going, is not far from the Thames I was wondering if I would have to swim to my dad’s house. I was lucky as the gales managed to go past the English coast and everything was under control. I was also lucky that my one time school friend (who is still my friend after nearly 50 years and godmother to my youngest) was waiting for me at the airport with the car. Dagenham being only 20 minutes from the airport I should have been quickly at my dad’s house, but unfortunately it was rush hour traffic so it took almost an hour. London doesn’t change much really.
I soon packed my case out, distributed my gifts and sat down to an English cuppa – the first one after a year. I never really liked tea when I lived in England, but somehow I now enjoy it when I am in England. I found my dad now has a few more tv programmes, something called freeview, but although the quantity is more, the quality doesn’t seem to be. I also started reading “The Sun” newspaper again. Not that it’s the ongoing winner for the Pulitzer prize amongst journalism, but my dad likes it for the racing results. For his 92 years he is keeping fine and so is his girlfriend who lives opposite, although she is a little bit older – 93 years old. Dad said that he can’t walk so fast any more when we go out, but I reassured him that I was slowing down as well with my 60 years.
So how do I feel after living in Switzerland for the past 40 years. To be quite honest, like a fish out of water. I have problems with the English money – we had pounds, shillings and pence when I lived there. Although it is all decimal system now I should have been able to manage ok as we, on the continent, have only decimal system. Unfortunately the English only use decimals for money, everything else seems to have remained in Imperial.
What is the second thing you do when going away (the second thing, as the first thing was drink a cup of tea) is to phone up Mr. Swiss and tell him I arrived ok. He gave me the latest news on the cats and the weather in Switzerland – it had started snowing a little bit, and how he managed at the supermarket buying food, so everything was under control. He gave me best wishes from the girl who works in the butchers department at the supermarket – she asked me to bring her a packet of Assam tea back from Marks and Spencers. So after settling in I spent my first night in England after a year’s absence, with the background noise of police cars cruising through the area on emergencies. They sound quite different to Swiss police cars and seem to have a lot more emergencies. There seemed to be only one cat living in the street where my dad lived, and many dogs, so I was awakened the next morning by a dog barking at the cat that was sitting on the shed in the dog’s garden.
As it was Saturday dad had to make his weekly pilgrimage to Joe Coral the local betting shop. We decided to walk, although he often takes the local bus. London transport is free for senior citizens from nine 0’clock in the morning. On the way to the betting shop I was busy taking photos of the local colour. I saw a red London pillar box and decided this would be a good subject. These always have the monarchs abbreviation engraved on them, usually ER for Elizabeth Regina. The one down the street where we were had the emblem G R on it (King George?) which showed that it was an antique. We arrived at the betting shop safely and my dad carefully filled out his bet. Not just a bet, but a combined bet, win or third place etc. etc. something like quantum mathematics (I am sure if my dad had had the chance when a young man, Stephen Hawkins would have had a rival - my dad with the Andy Capp).
After completing the important business we went on to buy a day ticket on for the bus as an excursion to Romford shopping market was planned for the afternoon.
I think this will do for a beginning to blogging. I am a bit out of practice so have to tackle this blog thing a bit slowly at the moment.