The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Gadding about here and there

on October 16, 2014

I’m pleased to say I’ve settled down back into fairly normal behaviour after the first few days of giddiness and intense overexcitement at being back in the UK and functioning on very little sleep.

The cold is rather sobering too.

So far I seem to have also spent my first two Sundays here in a very similar state of a sleep deprived stupor spurred on by the intake of alcohol the night before. Which will also continue this weekend in Stockholm but will come to an abrupt end when I am in the company of my Dad, Mr Li and my Mum again the week after that.

It’s been two weeks since we landed and #2 looked out of the plane window and disappointingly declared to me ‘But there’s no snow Mummy’. Followed by several days of ‘Why is it cold everywhere Mummy?’, instead of just in particular artificially chilled aircon rooms. Nearly everyday we have ‘When is it going to snow Mummy?’, to which I explain, it would be snowing now if it was just a bit more freezing cold to turn this constant rain into snow but not so freezing cold that it becomes too cold for snow. Someone explain that to me, because after all these years I still don’t get how it can be too cold for snow.

It has been raining a lot. Not a jot of blue in the sky to knit a sailor’s buttonhole has been seen for days in this part of Yorkshire. As I drove up and down to Cambridge for the Sister In Law’s Hen Do on Saturday, it was like passing through the seasons on fast forward in the space of two hours.

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Thankfully, I’ve mastered the art of driving again and have only stalled the car four times in nine days. (The car is still fine Mrs Cake Pops) I’ve decided for the duration of my six weeks and three days back in the UK, I’m not going to reverse park into a space once, which is the unspoken rule of what you must do in Singapore.

Luckily I enjoy driving because we seem to have spent quite a bit of time in the car as we gad around here and there. To the point where #2 has been singing, ‘I don’t want to go to school, I just want to break the rules’. What? You’re only four where did you hear that? On the radio in the car Mummy. Which is much better than the ‘You stupid idiot’, that #1 has picked up in the car from our driving excursions in Singapore. Whilst no means perfect, there is courtesy on the roads in the UK.

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I guess with having travelled 13 hours on a plane to get back to the UK, an extra hour or hour and a half in the car doesn’t make much difference if it gets you to the people you really want to see.

Luckily local radio doesn’t irritate me as much as the local radio stations in Singapore which makes my ears bleed. However I don’t know why I was surprised to come across a local radio station I once was so familiar with, still being in operation. It’s like coming across a packet of Beanfeast in the supermarket and marvelling at its very existence. Like just because I’m no longer a Student then all things Student cease to exist.

At least from all this driving I can safely say the expansion of my bum will be due to the constant sitting down on it and not on the growing numbers of chocolate eclairs, crumpets, crisps and fish finger baps I’ve been having. Incidentally, I located my preferred Sainsbury’s Jumbo Eclairs yesterday to show my Mother in Law just why these make the most satisfying chocolate eclairs. Bigger than your average one so you don’t have to eat two which is just gluttony.

Chocolate eclair count to date – 5.

It’s still hard to believe how three years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Naturally you and I don’t look any different but the children certainly do. From babies and toddlers they are growing into confident, funny young people.

In Singapore, #1 and 2 are always surrounded by lots of their peers either at school or in the condo. They asked in all seriousness earlier this week whether there were children in England.

So to prove there were, we set off towards Warrington along the M62 where some old friends of mine live. I say old, they are very young. We used to live on the same street (in Chester-le-Street) and our families have known each other decades. He was that annoying 1st Year to my 5th Year Prefect, who thought it would be very funny to just be annoying. But I’m pleased to say he grew up, met his lovely wife and is now totally agreeable.

I love how children just want to play. There’s a small degree of shyness at first and you wonder whether they’ll get on but before long they are tearing around inventing off the cuff games, laughing uproariously and having a great time.

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I have to say that #1, 2 and 3 are doing really well with all this gadding about and being thrust into the midst of people you could say were complete strangers to them. Even if they have met them before on our previous trips back, it’s unlikely they’ll remember. But I’m very proud of how quickly they get on with it. I haven’t had any hiding behind me or refusing to get out of the car. They’ve just gone wherever I’ve taken them.

The only times I’ve thought it wasn’t going so well is when introducing #2 to some four legged family members. As I’ve mentioned on a previous occasion, she seems to have inherited my natural fear of all things animals. Although I have to say that I’ve started to overcome it somewhat because #3 doesn’t have the fear of all things animals gene.

It’s really disconcerting when you land upon relatives and your children run amok. It’s worse when they scream like a banshee and start climbing up you like scaling the heights of a coconut tree. The first time I got a welly boot in the face, the second time I was wise to the situation and only suffered a socked foot to the temple. Yet take #2 into a pigeon loft, birds flapping around, not a problem. Absolutely loved it. This is also an advancement on two years ago where she would scream like a banshee if pigeons were lurking around us at an outdoor cafe. So I think in another two years times she’ll be fine with the dogs.

We’re not the only ones to have left London and an old colleague and AA regular, Jimboni, has moved up to Hebden Bridge with his wife. I’ve seen some fabulous photos and updates on the goings on of Hebden Bridge that I couldn’t miss out on visiting their new home town.

It’s a shame the hour long drive took place in the dark which meant I never got to see the scenic views along the way. Or the majestic natural canvas that greets them every morning. But I did get to sample a very small glass of local ale and come away with bottles of many more.

Do you know The League of Gentleman? It’s one of my favourites. Tubbs and Edward in particular. As I was driving down the seemingly endless road off the M62 and passing through towns named Luddenden, Mytholmroyd and Friendly, you naturally start imagining a local town for local people. Would I find anything there?

I did indeed, it’s a beautiful town. Bigger than I thought with lots of pubs and bars. You’d have a week long hangover I imagine if you did a pub crawl round them all. So after a very small half of Ringmaster, we left to see their new home. As we headed towards the door, I noticed Jimboni was without his country coat. Oh it’s on the coat stand says he. And no one steals it? That’s quite amazing.

There aren’t many places that would happen still, perhaps not even in my beloved Newcastle, Durham and Chester-le-Street. Which is coming up next on our travels and I just can’t wait!

In the meantime, there’s another 40th to Embrace.

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