Travelling & London – day 387

387 days… 1 leap year and 3 weeks of travelling. Of course, day 1 of the adventure was always journaled as being in Delhi, when in fact day 1 could have been leaving the UK. BUT, by the time we noticed that little blip in our counting we were already a hundred days or so into the journey and my parents were printing out the blogs, and unbeknownst to us, so was Tracey. So, the adventure has come to an end and so too have tales that have filled books and cyberspace. img_0671

Writing the blog entry for this day a few weeks later, it is still fresh and clear the day we came home. The simplicity of the airport, the familiarity of meeting Nicola in the arrivals hall (thank you Nicola for collecting us, #1 Third Wheel), the navigation of the route back to Raynes Park, seeing the same buildings still under construction. All of it made us feel like we had never been away.We stayed at the Travelodge down the road from the flat – one of the few projects in the area that got completed in our absence – as our tenants hadn’t technically left yet. But, we later found out that they had been in the US for almost 6 weeks and the flat was being repainted in their absence. We could have moved in home straight away. But, the hassle they had given us during our year away was continuing. Ugh! [Insert sad emoji face and a sigh of despair] Lots of bits and pieces to slowly put right in the days that have passed and more still to do… the single biggest problem they caused was not paying Thames Water and other bills. Poor management by the letting agent and a fault in the Royal Mail redirection service meant we had come home to letters from debt collectors and bills that weren’t even ours. But, that was not part of day 387 and shouldn’t be included in this eulogy.A spot of breakfast with Will and Nicola and we headed off to the storage locker. Still too early to check in at the hotel, we rummaged through the contents of the bin to get at work/interview clothes and essentials we’d need in our first few days. Dragging it all back to Raynes Park was tiresome and jet lag and such was kicking in. A nice warm shower, a bit of daytime British tv and we managed to get through the afternoon. A kebab from the lovely Turkish lads down the street for dinner and it really was starting to feel like we had never been away. img_0677Friday 28th October 2016

London – day 258 (J)

I was being super organised and preparative and took the big bag with nearly everything in, down to the store locker. It was weird plonking it on top of all the boxes and then waking away from all the memories and keep sakes. 

The medical centre was its usual helpful self without the lovely Sandra. Nurse Louise has left and they didn’t want to book me in for an appointment with the male nurse. As the receptionist went off to talk to people in the back room about a solution, the other receptionist was asking if it was ‘a sensitive female issue’ and explained that this nurse wasn’t allowed to see women. Hmmm!!! Not sure when or why the rule changed, and I think given the circumstances I think I should have a wild card to see any nurse I so wish. But, shouldn’t complain and when he asked repeatedly for the name of the injection I was quite curt and eventually left them to their doodles. The next visit to the centre will no doubt have a new batch of nosey, pimply adolescents with an ego complex. 

I killed some time catching up with the charismatic Allistair, our letting agent while abroad. All is well with the flat and the accountant will get a telling off for sending me every file as ‘document1.docx’. It surely makes sense to have at least a month, year or initials on it. Too much to ask? Nevertheless, it’s nice to know the place is in safe hands and our adventure can continue. 

Lunch with Azra and Serj at Jin Go Gae was perfect. A nice mix of dishes; 2x types of beef, sticky chicken, fried omelette, 2x types of kimchi, chestnut jelly, a shredded spring onion salad and a bowl of massive lettuce leaves. With a miriade of dips and sauces. It seemed to go too quickly and they were kicking us out of the restaurant.

I spent a lazy afternoon with the kids and finishing the HD clean up. I even had a beautiful phone call from Lee which was nice as we didn’t manage to meet up on this occasion. I was blown away (again) by the exceptionally talented Narae, who, the minute she came in the door, started a rack of lamb roast dinner. All my walking around and exercising after lunch was needed as I couldn’t stop myself from eating the meal. We made Katherine jealous in Oz with our photos and when Ed went back in to work, myself and Narae plonked ourselves in front of the tv, streaming ‘Love Actually’ from my iPad. Tuesday 21st June 2016

London – day 255 (J)

A much more relaxed, but no less adventurous day was had. Still zombied from travelling and all the walking yesterday, I surprisingly bounced out of bed and got ready. I was seeing the doctor at 09:10 and I couldn’t miss the appointment. I had to make it a month in advance while I was still in Myanmar. But, I needn’t have worried. I got a lift to the station from Ed as he was collecting someone before a seminar in Oxford, making my morning dash even easier. Blood tests ‘A’ OK (except cholesterol), there was no issues and was able to get a new set of prescriptions. Thus, the adventures can continue and Katherine has loads of options of where we can go traveling. 

Up the road to Hawkins Beauty Clinic I was able to organise a dinner date with the lovely Azra for Monday. I then splurged and had a roast veg quiche in the cafe, catching up with her son who is doing some amazing work with Imperial College London, developing some cool gadgets and engineering feats for UAV’s (drones) and intelligent software programs for terrain exploration. 

The storage locker is only down the road. A convenient factor in our choice to pick it day one. So, I strolled down the A3, with a lollipop, ‘dancing’ (probably much to the amusement of drivers), listening to the most ecliptic mix of music that was on my phone – The Piano Guys, Goo Goo Dolls, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, plus others. The locker was exactly how we left it back in October. Scary stuff. Sorting through the boxes looking for the solar charger cable I came across such random memories and crates of junk that will be donated on our return. Needless to say, didn’t find the cable, so everything went back in, in a different Lego style jenga puzzle, making room for the big bag that I’d soon be leaving there.  I picked up a lychee flavoured coconut drink in Korea Foods next door and some cake (later discovering it was a rice cake, not sponge cake). B&Q had a small propagator tray and some compost, so I have a project for Alex some evening to plant seeds and continue his current interest in plants. I got some washing done back at the house, put on the dishwasher and got the photos off the big camera from my escapades in the city for the blog. 

Ed popped back to the house and long story short, I was invited to an evening meal with Narae’s parents to celebrate Father’s Day. Off to Nando’s for a feast. Now, maybe it was just this place, maybe it’s the new style, I don’t know… but the restaurant was crazy. You walk around loads getting the stuff you want/need for the table yourself, order food at the one main counter and run back and forth to fill up drinks. I felt like I should have been making kissing noises like they do in Myanmar to grab the attention of the staff. But, alls well that ends well, with buckets of chips being left over on the platters. They were just screaming “Eat Me!” Oh chips, how I’ve missed you, which is something I didn’t realise until faced with the opportunity of eating my body weight in thin strips of fried potato goodness. A slightly dramatic evening when Alex got his fingers jammed in the front door of home. He was an absolute trooper! The remaining trio of the evening got to Skype Katherine as she was waking up and then I pretty much passed out. 

Saturday 18th June 2016