Here the Story Ends

Trip Start Aug 17, 2008
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Trip End Feb 09, 2009


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, February 6, 2009

On Tuesday morning, Kathy, Colin, Tom (his school was closed due to snow) and I went to a "Breakfast screening" of Mamma Mia (yes, we know it is already out on DVD).  The "breakfast" part meant that we could have a free coffee and pain au chocolat before the film.

I have seen the film before, but I do love it so much.  As Meryl Steep began singing "The Winner Takes It All" to Pierce Brosnan, everything went dark.  I wondered whether the snow had caused a power failure.  The film started up again, and for a moment it looked as if everything was okay, but within seconds it was dead again.  And again.  And then it was just sound, no picture.  And then the house lights went up at staff were out the front apologising and talking about a malfunctioning prjector and refunds.  They were going to keep trying, and if people wanted to wait 10 minutes, they could.  We did.  And they eventually got it running again, but I was sure it was going to cut out at any moment.  It didn't, and we finished the film, which was good, as I really do love it! But hey!  Who as ever had that happen to them at a cinema?  There are probably lots of people, actually, but never before had it happened when I was there - and it was brilliant!  Haha!



Back at Kathy's, after the film, it was snow time.  Tom was very keep to built a snow Winnie the Pooh, so out we went, Kathy, Tom and I, to build snow bears.  I decided to give giant snow balls a try, rolling them along the ground like they do in films & books.  It worked!  But because the snow was quite a thin layer, my tracks were altogether too telling. 



Kathy, Tom and I all made individual bears, and mine ended up wearing Tom's scarf, while Tom ended up throwing bits of Kathy's bear at her as snow balls. 




This esculated into great snow ball fights, at one point Tom chasing me around and around a circular garden and vice versa.  We were out there for quite some time, but not doing much else, so I can't really make big long paragraphs about it to make room for my plethora of pictures. 



That evening, Kathy, Colin and I went to see a play of 'Sir Gawain & The Green Knight', which was incredible.  Done with only 4 actors, it was quite modern and art-y, yet a fantastic performance of the story.  I was blown away!  And the soundtrack was amazing, sort of medieval chamber music, set to a beat and with awesome keychanges, making it sound edgy and modern as well as medieval and Authurian.  And in was hilarious - it was a brilliant interpretation, and almost Monty-Pythonesque in some places.  Very well done - and a great translation (Armitage).




Home.  Sleep.  Next Morning.

It hadn't snowed again, so all the snow was melting - including my snow bear, who had survived honourable overnight. 




I spent the morning playing with Tom - he was telling me everybody's ages, and the names of cricketters and their famous catches.  Then he got out his toy dinosaurs and acted out a cricket game, and he commentated like a little champion!  It was amazing!  I was genuinely impressed.  I now know the names of a lot of the England team, or can at least recognise the names, and I know that at least 2 are left handed. 




After lunch, Kathy and I went out into the town and had a poke around a medievel furniature museum and then had hot chocolate in a cafe, while we chatted and got to know each other a little better (being 18 year older than me and living in Canberra, we had never had much opportunity to be close, and she moved to England when I was 11, so we haven't really seen each other since we could talk as equals).  We had a wonderful talk, and she is a really super person. Love her!




Back home.

Over dinner Kathy, Colin and I all chatted about the family, piecing together histories, and anecdotes, catching up with the Australian family news.  We were up until midnight looking at photos and the family tree (which Uncle Bert had given me a copy of).  It was such a lovely evening.  Brilliant indeed.

Sleep.

In the morning, when I woke up, I looked out the window. I was greeted by visions of fresh, glittering whiteness.  It had snowed overnight. I packed, had a call from a mum who was concerned about my travelling considering the forecast snow, watched Tom play cricket in the hall way wearing his policeman's hat ("cricket helmet"), and then said good bye to Tom as Colin took him off to school.



Kathy and Ii were waiting for olin to get back before going down to the bus station, but time was ticking away and we had no choice but to leave.  We arrived at the bus, and who would you think we saw? None other than Mr. Grumpy himself, the coach driver I had had on the way over.  The first thing he did was tell us of - we were there 7 minutes before the coach was due to leave, & we were meant to have been there 10.  He really told us off!  And if he had had a slightly more scary role than a coach driver, I may have been scared.  What a weirdo!  Anyway, I got on the bus, and listened as he yelled at some other people.  I heard Kathy on the phone to Colin, so I went up the front and said good bye to him via phone.  Then it was time to leave.

The trip was fine, despite the snow, and at Goucester, where we stopped for another driver to drive for an hour (although our main driver stayed on the bus to take over agai after that), our driver had a great time telling the other driver about the guy who had driven up beside the coach just as it was pulling away, which he had refused to let on - "It was ten thirty-THREE!" the driver boomed gleefully, expecting horror at the bold lateness of the passenger and wild support for his meticulous punctuality by not stopping for him.  He seems to me like the type of person who enjoys making out other people as fools, and he, himself, as brilliantly organised and correct. The new bus driver was a nice guy, so said "oh, right" as understandingly as he could, before sitting in the driver's seat and making a friendly and welcoming announcement over the loud speaker. 




We arrived at London 10 minutes early, and I walked to London Victoria Train Station, where I enjoyed a hot chocolate before catching a train to Staines, a nice British bloke helping me get my suitcase on the train, changing at Clapham Junction, where another nice British bloke helped me get my suit case off the train.  I arrived at Staines, nearly tripped over as I lugged my suitcase off (someone had sort of offered to help, but I had declined, which only made me look more foolish - but on the first train the blokes had said "here, let me help you" and "I'll get that off for you, if you'd like", which made it easy to say "yes please" & "thank you".  This guy at Staines phrase his question differently: "Are you alright with that?" which, while still kind and thoughtful, made the automatic response "yes, I'm fine", not "yes, you can help".  I would have had to have said "actually.. would you mind?", which would turn it into me asking him, which was just a bit... more awkward.  It wasn't a big problem or anything, just a little observation that how you phrase your question affect the answer - does it sound like you are asking out of politeness, or that you are genuinely ready to help?).

I arrived at Debs and Rob's, where Rob had come hom early from work to be here.  Nice to be back here, it's true (and to have the day while the other two are at work to just sit on the computer updating my blog).  Debs cooked cheese and spinach lasagne for dinner, and then we had Cornish ice cream and watched an episode of "Tribe", and Debs and Rob laughed at me because I shortened the word "documentary" to "doco".  Apparently they don't do that over here. 

So, here I am.  Tomorrow night I catch a big plane.  It leaved at 9:30pm, so quite a late flight.  I will wake up Saturday morning, about 9, I would guess (8pm Saturday in Australia), I will be awake all day, and get on a plane at 9:30pm (8:30am Sunday in Australia), I then have an 11 hour journey, a change in Bangkok, and then a 9 hour journey, arriving in Sydney 6:30am Monday morning - that is 34 1/2 hours after I first wake up on Saturday morning here.  I will try to sleep, of course, but coming over I hardly slept - I find it tricky to sleep on those long flights because you are soooo uncomfortable.  And I will be excited! 

I am ready to come home, you know?  I am sure I will regret spending today inside on my blog instead of making the most of my last full day in England, but it is sooooo grey and horrible outside (it has been raining, so all the snow is washed away) and it is cold!  I think we are going to the cinema tonight to see Revolutionary Road. 

I may get rugged up and go for a wonder into Staines shopping area soon - take my book and find a nice cafe or something.  I have to do something! 

But... as much as I have ADORED my time away, I am ready to come home.  Especially now it has all slowed down.  I am ready to have my own things, and unpack my suitcase, and buy and cook my own food again, and have internet access all the time, and show off all my new stuff, and unpack the boxes I sent home from France & find out what I put in them, and enroll for honours, and lodge my insurance claim, and get my teeth fixed, and show off my photos (the ones I have since Dublin, and the older onces I can get from Rach and La Rochelle freinds).  And my friends... I am looking forward to seeing my friends again.  And my mum, and my gran.  Very much looking forward to that... 

For this trip, Europe & the U.K. have given me all they can.  So, until next time, I bid the U.K. adieu, and to you I say: see you Sooon!!!!!!!

Love you all!  Thanks for coming with me on the trip via my blog.  Sorry I wasn't so good at updating while in La Rochelle.  Hope these last few weeks of travelling has made up for my previous silence. 
Expect a final entry when I am home with any news of the flight, and my feelings on being home.


Bisous!

Gem
xox

P.S. there is a video I have uploaded to this entry which I can't weave through the text like a photo, so make sure you see it if you are interested - up the top of the entry, where the thumbnails are click "view all 11 thumbnails" or something like that, and you should be able to find the video in there.

Also, I was featured in Travelpod's Blog!  Check it out: http://blog.travelpod.com/
I am in the England Snowstorms entry, from February 2.  Don't know why they chose that photo - I don't think it shows the snow very well!
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

friends_of_gem
friends_of_gem on

Although it's sad you have to leave...
I've - well, we've all - kind of missed you, and will be glad to see you again.

Cheers,
Jess

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