London – day 261 (J)

As the world awoke to news of the UK’s decision in the vote to Leave/Remain in the EU, the posts and comments on social media and news feeds was hard to stomach. People that were ‘out’ were now regretting it, finding out their repercussions – with the truth becoming clear as the morning progressed – and finally realising what their decision has meant, stood for and what will / won’t happen. The people who voted ‘in’ were equally vocal; writing tirades of comments, directed at no one in a way of venting their frustration and anger. The two sides were equally amusing and yet not funny at all. The implications for Katherine & I with our travelling is just one of the many aspects of how F**ked up the whole situation has become. My transition with the NHS was a close second. It just struck a cord and I would love to present a lot of people the Darwin Award. 

But, life goes on and my clothes were grateful – they would have jumped in to the washing machine themselves after all the running around yesterday. Then I ploughed in to the pile of redirected post that has been coming here while we’ve been away. Nowhere in the bundle of letters and statements was there a letter from work back in October. The new one had arrived and I would deal with that in due course. With films on in the background I was easily distracted and had a quick dash to get ready to leave for the evening. 

I needn’t have fretted. With trains still severely disrupted because of the weather I was lucky to find a train passing at all, with the PA saying it wouldn’t stop and everyone hesitant to board when it did pull up. Thus, I joined Clare only a tinsy bit late in the Cabin for a pre-show drink.

Our walk across the river, jostling between commuters, tourists and the kamikaze bike riders was, for me, one of the few things I didn’t miss about being in London. Do people ever learn to look around them before they slam on the brakes and take a photo?? I had far less patience and tolerance for it in the city than I did in most of the countries I’d been travelling through. How odd!!

The walk did prove fruitful, with the discovery of a newly opened Five Guys next to Charing Cross station. The question of where we should eat for dinner was easily answered and I was able to tick off another ‘I Miss’ item from my London list. The guy at the till gave me the funniest look, trying to be as positive as possible, when I said I wanted all the toppings. When you pick all the items in black on the menu it’s called ‘All the works’. When you order the extra few items in red, on top of the ‘works’, they look at you like a gluttonous idiot. Thus, to go with our Cajun chips and Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke, I had on my Bacon Cheeseburger… mayo, relish, onion, lettuce, pickle, tomato, green pepper, jalapeño pepper, mushroom, grilled onion, mustard, ketchup, hp sauce, BBQ sauce and hot sauce. Of course, only writing it out now for the blog am I aware of what was actually on the monster burger and I possibly might have toned it down (just a notch). The musical ‘Funny Girl’ was incredible. The seats weren’t the best, with the the rails in front slightly obscuring the view and the unfortunate souls directly in front of the rail leaning over so far as to block everyone else’s view (despite being told not to several times). But, you needn’t have seen the stage – one was there for the songs, in particular from the leading lady, and wow did she deliver. Natasha Barnes is a good friend of Katherine’s and she was gutted to miss such a big show. They went for drinks one evening after her performance in ‘American Idiot’ and Tasha told her all about being the upcoming play and how she would be the stand-in for Sheridan Smith. It was the same show that made it big for Barbara Streisand and Tasha got her chance to shine when Ms. Smith was indisposed due to family circumstances for a bit. The air in the Savoy Theatre was charged and I had goosebumps when she hit some of the high notes. At the interval I’ve never seen so many people buying a program and they were all looking her up in the biography section. I was blown away and one of the first to jump up out of the seat for a standing ovation. She had recovered from a funny wardrobe malfunction with a moustache and delivered a performance that people will remember forever. Clare and I were both signing the infamous lines of the songs on our walk back to the train station, stopping briefly to take a photo under the London Eye, all lit up for Pride Week.Friday 24th June 2016

Shepparton- day 261 (K)

My morning routine has now become a routine! Which is a strange thing to admit since I’ve not had a set routine for over nine months whilst we have been travelling – just get up and go with the flow!! A week in Australia and I already have a routine… Wake up, Skype Jayne, shower, make coffee and muesli and watch the news. It may not seem particularly interesting but it’s strangely reassuring to have a set routine when I wake up.Having finished my breakfast and caught up on foreign affairs, including the shocking result from the EU referendum, before giving the house a quick clean (got to earn my keep, after all!!!). Got started on the job of removing the sticky tape off the door of Ashleigh’s bedroom, which we had all been picking at gradually over time. 2 hours later and a huge amount of elbow grease, the door was perfectly clean and sticky free!The rest of the afternoon was spent completing, revising and editing my travel scholarship application form for World Nomads and Lonely Planet. The prize? A three day writing workshop in Melbourne and an all expenses paid 10-day road trip around Australia. It has also got me motivated to start applying for any travel competition I can find, so I started googling – there are so many!! Need to restrain myself, or Jayne and I won’t have any plans or reservations for our trip around Australia… Ashleigh is coming home from Melbourne university tonight for a week so I cleaned her room and moved my stuff into the spare room as Tracey is bringing a blow up mattress home. Headed out to the fish and chip shop to get some dinner for all of us – I ordered anything on the menu that I had no idea what it was or something that we can’t get in England. Potato cake burger was a winner, the chicken garlic ball as a chicken kiev and the pineapple fritter with cinnamon sugar was divine!! Ate whilst watching the AFL game between Collingwood and Fremantle.As Collingwood is the team that Tracey supports and my first AFL game, it was great that they won and is the first time that Collingwood has beaten Fremantle since 2012!! We talked about going to see a live game but there are no games being played locally when Jayne gets here – might have to see one without her… 11 days to go!!

Friday 24th June 2016