Tag Archives: UK

Saturday Night…

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It was a fine evening for some fire twirling, a few beers or 3 and some great music….

SaturdayNight

Despite what many would have you believe, the UK isn’t all bad. As the summer finally arrives, beer gardens are as tempting as they ever were. Turn the telly off, call a friend and go visit one.

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Water, water, everywhere….

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For the car wash and golf courses, but not a drop from a hose, for the veggie garden….

How the hell is it not OK for me to water my veggie garden using the hose, which would be a fraction of the amount used by this car wash alone, not to mention the golf courses, which are apparently exempt from the hose pipe ban?

Better to keep the car clean, and whacking tiny balls, than to let me grow my own food. Right. I forgot, got to save the planet and all that….

Paragliding….

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At last, a sunny afternoon….

On our weekend wander over the South Downs, we came upon a sky full of paragliders as we reached Beachy Head.

One of the ladies undertaking an afternoon of this, happy to chat about it, told me after getting her licence (You need a licence to paraglide? Who knew…..) about a year ago, this is one of the first chances she’d had to get out. August apparently had been a wipe out, due to it being too windy.

As flier after flier zipped past, before gently drifting upwards, the obvious thought crossed my mind,…. I fancy a go….

The Thames @ Twickers….

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Spent a grey day in Twickenham, on out current vagabonding experience in the UK….

A bit of a grey day, but thought I’d try the effects on the camera. Swans and pigeons and, of course, Canadian geese!

Thames @ Twickers(2)

Thames @ Twickers(1)
Just to the right of the shots, is a pub, where many a summer evening was whiled away, as the sun went down, with a pint in hand.

In fact, along the Richmond/Twickenham stretch of the River Thames, many a pub was frequented as we strolled along, or cycled. Not that it’s all ab out the pubs, but after a days fishing on the water, or a walk on a sunny afternoon, some pub grub and a pint can’t easily be beaten.

I’m on the lookout for a decent Ploughman’s now. Any suggestions?

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Initial Musings….

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I’ve put off writing something regarding our "visit" to the UK after 6 years, but I’ll try to get it down here….

First impressions;

1. Where are all the bangers? All I see, everywhere I go are newish, sparkling motors. When I was starting out, I had a banger, most of the first time drivers I knew had one. We were students, it was all we could afford, or all our parents would stump up the cash for. What happened? If you’re telling me you can’t afford to live here, to buy your food, I can see why…..

2. The food…. it doesn’t seem all that pricey, to be honest. Everything we bought in Canada was twice if not 3 times as much, and not as good quality either. So, maybe if you hadn’t splashed out on state of the art mobile phones, the shops of which are always busy, you might be able to eat properly. Just a thought….

3. The big stores, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, WHSmiths, all look tacky, or tatty inside. What happened? There are sale, or deal signs everywhere, bombarding you when you get in. Luckily, I’m immune to ’em…. On a positive note, the smaller independent stores look to be a lot more inviting.

4. Most places seem a lot cleaner than I rememeber. Parts of London we visited weren’t as bad as they used to be and even railway platforms we stopped off at were not bad.

5. Speaking of railways, we took one from Eastbourne to Richmond, buying a One Day Travelcard. Cost? GBP 9.50 each. Now I know it was after 9am, and we had to return after 7pm, but I didn’t think that was too bad for a day trip to London, allowing us to use the bus, train and underground all day unlimited. The odd thing was, the website I was looking at the night before said it was going to be GBP 19 each…..

So, some things change, some things stay the same.

Oh, but the telly programmes, are utterly, utterly crap. Sorry, but they are. In fact, words fail me as to how bad that really is. Please, stop trying to tell me how wonderful the BBC is. The nature stuff is OK, but the rest, is mind numbingly awful. And ITV….. please….

Should I return full time, the TV licence won’t be on the list of things to get, I assure you. Give me my Netflix account and the library anyday.

A highlight though, one thing we have enjoyed so far, was spending a Saturday afternoon in the pub, with the kids, watching Arsenal play Chelsea. Being an Arsenal fan, the boy was in his element, cheering with the crowd when they scored, groaning when they conceded a goal. There were fans of both sides, there was no animosity, no violence nothing, only good humoured banter back and forth. Bugger getting Sky to watch it, I’d take a pint with a group of like minded fans anyday.

Pictures to come….. and more insightful commentary…..

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A Change Was Needed….

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Having been in a bit of a rut, unsure of what to do next, decisions have been made and we’re off on a bit of an adventure….

”It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” Alan Cohen

Faced with 2 options, neither of which we were keen to go ahead with, the 3rd “definitely right” plan, failed to present itself. So until it does, what better than an “extended holiday”….

Breaking the cardinal rule of “never go back”, we’re heading to the UK for a bit, visit family and friends not seen for too many years whilst we have a bit of a rethink as to our next destination. It should be interesting, as those same family members not seen for 6 years, are being descended upon, unaware of our plans, which we kept “shtoom” until now.

So, for now, we bid farewell to the Okanagan as the snow on the tops of the mountains, seen from the windows, hint at the return of winter. Although warnings of imminent –20Deg in the UK mean we ought to pack the big coats and snowboot cleats.

All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.” Amelia Barr

Whilst there, in the pipeline are football camps, stage schools, recording sessions and live gigs. So, for now, stay tuned. There’s a change a’coming…..

Libraries….

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As I’ve often maintained, here in the Okanagan, at least, the library system is THE best thing ever….

….. in the UK though, they seem to be under attack. Again.

If You Tolerate This….
It’s hard not to feel utterly despondent at the current plight of public libraries.

“….. a good library should offer escape routes down the most extraordinary avenues, pathways into different worlds from the one you’ve left outside.”

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Having not been in the UK for over 5 years, I have no idea what the situation is like, but I do remember the one we frequented in Richmond was always full of young kids with their mums and dads. I remember the one in Eastbourne being the next best thing, with DVD and CD’s rentals. Have they really found themselves that unused? Totally empty? I find that hard to believe.

With the cost of living increasing every time I look and with job security uncertain, the library would and should be, I would have thought, a place to learn new skills, or to develop existing ones and chart a course for yourself over the next few years. New languages easy to try via CD or audio book, tips and books on growing your own food, beekeeping, building a shed.  Far from being depressing, this period we find ourselves in could be, as Wire says, allowing you to find “pathways into different worlds from the one you’ve left outside.”

So, wherever you live, turn the TV off, get your shoes on and bugger off to your library. Support it. You never know what you’re going to discover or what ideas you’re going to have. One day, when it’s too late, you may suddenly realise what you gave up when you allowed them to get rid of them.

The rest of us are waiting for and, relying on you.

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