How to fill the hole of a whole month's absence from my blog? Instead of wringing my hands and apologising madly for being such a bad blogger, citing reams of extenuating circumstances, I should of course take a leaf from Special Agent Gibbs' book in NCIS, his rule number 9 being 'Never Apologise'. So I shall just swan in and borrow Meredith's meme designed for catching up with friends you haven't seen for fifteen years in ten simple bullet points. Fifteen years/one month... the answer has to be bullet points:
1. The rest of our time in England was packed full of seeing old friends, most of whom we hadn't seen at all since we moved to SA. It was wonderful how easy it was to pick up the threads again as if no time has passed and so great to see them all. Each of our children got to meet one of their name-parents (our equivalent of god-parents) again for the first time in about three or four years, and it was amazing to see that they still had an instant close connection with them, following them around and climbing all over them as if they'd seen them every day of their lives.
2. From a quiet Somerset village we went to stay for one night in a friend's North London flat in a street full of take-aways. The novelty of pizza and Chinese, the thrill of nipping down to the shop two doors down at eight o'clock in the evening for milk and butter for breakfast had me bouncing around like a kid playing house, but after a noisy night filled with London traffic and pub closing time I was very happy to be moving on - even though I was leaving my husband to several more nights of take-away food and noise, while he stayed in the big smoke for some work meetings.
3. We went to North Norfolk to a typical seaside town. The children invested their pocket money in shrimping nets and we had one perfect sunny morning on the beach, building castles and looking in rock pools. The other windy, cool and rainy days we spent riding on a steam train, walking in some amazing rhododendron woods, playing croquet and trawling the souvenir shops in an agonizingly slow pocket-money spending-spree.
4. We discovered the joys of Satnav borrowing our friends' Tomtom to talk us into and around South London. Apart from the fact that I was concentrating so hard on it that I missed a turn that I used to know off by heart, it worked well and the novelty of it kept us all entertained for ages. It did have a major wobble once on our return journey when it tried to send us back into London again, instead of the road we knew we were supposed to take. We almost followed it and then rumbled its cunning plan and got ourselves back on the right road again, much to its annoyance.
5. We had a totally touristy day out in central London and introduced the children to the joys of trains, the tube and London buses, took in the dinosaurs in the Natural History museum and ate ice cream in Trafalgar Square. We even took a cab and asked the driver to take us to Victoria Station via Buckingham Palace, thus underlining the fact that we are no longer cool Londoners. The children were rather disappointed by Buck House - not their idea of a palace at all.
6. The first thing that struck us when we reached home was how enormous our house felt after all the houses we'd stayed in in England. It has since shrunk back to its normal size and feels just right again now.
7. Role reversal on the domestic front as a big re-writing and editing project has chained me to the computer for the last two weeks and my husband has been doing the school run both ways to give me more time to work.
8. Middle Daughter's birthday that she had in England this year still had to be celebrated with a party at home complete with treasure hunt and cake, so last weekend was spent composing a butterfly treasure hunt and the weather co-operated with sun-shine and the first white daisies flowering.
9. Middle Daughter finally had the dental surgery that we agonised over for so long and then postponed for months because she had a cold every time it was booked. The whole general anaesthetic thing was majorly stressful for both parents and not something that I want to have to do again with any of my children if I can possibly help it, but she is fine, her teeth are fine now and it's over.
10. We've been ODing on NCIS watching series 3 at a rate of two episodes per night, every night and then being so horrified at Gibbs' apparently retiring that we had to go out and buy the next series for my husband's birthday present. Nothing like a bit of stress, drama, corpses and tension to make you look forward to your evenings on the sofa in front of a fire.
Normal blog service should now be resumed and I may even get round to posting some photos, I've hardly even looked at them yet myself. Lots of love and thanks to everyone we saw, as well as those we didn't quite manage to meet up with this time. It was great to go back to England and after the initial disorientation it's great to be home again too.
Labels: England, Living in South Africa, Meme, Travel