We just took our first trip back to the UK. The reasons for that were in a previous post. It was, of course, good to see family and attend Gaelcon (a huge Irish Games convention). It was, of course, necessary to consign our 15 boxes to the shippers (and pick up some warmer clothes). It was, also, sadly, necessary to take the Harley to the dealership. As we’ve posted previously, bringing vehicles out here from the UK on a permanent basis is next to impossible (we believe it helps to be of State Retirement age but, with the UK State pensionable age rising by the nanosecond, we’re looking at 5 years at the soonest which is a long time for the bike to be sitting in Ashley’s mother’s garage). On the plus side it was lovely weather for the ride from Luton to the Kings Road and the autumn colour on the trees was fabulous. We managed to get everything done and spend time with family and some friends. But I did find it very strange.
I am not sure that I was ready to go back to the UK. Everything here is still very new and exciting and I am really enjoying watching the seasons change, following the round of seasonal activity going on around me. I missed two weeks of this. The clocks have gone back and the sun goes down earlier because of that, because of the turning of the year and because it now goes down behind one of the higher mountains. When we first came out it went down just to the left of the castle. Whilst we were away the leaves fell off the tree that obscures our view of the castle. So we can now see the whole of the castle. Until the leaves come back.
Apart from friends and family there is nothing I was missing about the UK. I don’t miss the UK food. Well, OK, I am extremely fond of masala dosai. Which I didn’t manage to get whilst in the UK. We just didn’t get a chance to hit the Palm Palace in Southall. We did have an excellent meal in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Hitchin and some very good gourmet pub grub and Italian food in Willesden. The Queens Park / Kensal Rise area has come up a long way in the world since my childhood. Though I did keep pointing at buildings and informing Ashley ‘there used to be a cinema there’.
We arrived home fairly late on 5th November. We had left a bottle of wine in the fridge. We ate some cheese and some olives. We could have eaten nuts but I think we forgot we had them. This was fine (we had a burger at Gatwick). We drank the wine. We soaked barbunya. We lit the calor gas. It was good to be home…
Negative points about being home included the (probable) cat blood all over the roof terrace. It looked like some poor injured creature had dragged itself back and forth and all over the cushions. It took a lot of scrubbing to get it off. Dead flies everywhere. Easy enough to dispose of dead flies but they have been replaced by live ones. We have no idea where they come from. No fresh food in the house on Sunday and everything shut. Except one fruit and veg man on the market square opposite Tansas and, fortunately for us, the chicken shop. We bought aubergines and water melon, as well as foods you might well expect in this season (mandolins, beetroot, carrots). Yes, it’s November. We have eaten well.
No one, so far, has given us meat for Bayram. Though 7 local children have been round – not sure what they were wanting. The first lot (three little girls) got mandolins and the second lot (four young boys, who very properly kissed my hand and raised it to their foreheads) got dried apricots. They seemed surprised. I wasn’t really expecting visitors for this Bayram and am still not sure what they were expecting (it was clear they were expecting something). A truck comes round regularly playing loud music and collecting sheep skins.