Published: July 7th 2008December 23rd 2007
I think I have started using the term "home" in an increasingly flexible sense lately. Is England really home for me? Or is Crete...or is Fiji, as by December I had been living there almost a year. Well, I think I can have many homes, as many as I like in fact, as long as there is a reason to call somewhere home, and it feels like home, then home it is.
In this instance I was coming home to England to see my parents, my brother and a whole load of friends. I wasn't coming back to England for the weather, that's for sure. In fact, even before my arrival at Heathrow I was bracing myself for what I knew was going to be a bit of a rough start. My body was going to have to cope with the shock of going from 35 degrees to 0 in 24 hours. Ouch!
What happened? I caught a cold of course, a pretty nasty one too. Advice for anyone who is undertaking a 24 or more hour plane journey: don't try to do anything too strenuous for the couple of days after you arrive. Unlike silly me, who arrived
in Southampton on one day and then decided to go to Bristol by train the very next day. Ok, I had my reasons, namely, my company’s Christmas party which I did not want to miss under any circumstances as it was a chance to catch up with everyone from work who I had not seen for a whole year.
But, the 3 hour journey there, plus 3 hours back, plus the effort of actually participating in the party pretty much destroyed the last remnants of my immune system, which was already in pretty bad shape after the 24 hour travelling back to Europe. I hardly even drank a drop of alcohol...but sure enough the next day I had what was the beginning of a nasty cold which lasted more or less a whole week. But hey, nothing was going to stop me enjoying being back amongst friends and family.
And sure enough on the 23rd of December I was up in Winchester for our annual, it’s-not-Christmas-Eve-quite-yet-so-get-your-butt-into-gear-and-come- down-and-have-a-drink-with-your-mates, party, otherwise known as "The party on the 23rd". Not an original title I admit but as you can see, a lot shorter than the more descriptive title! Hard to describe
this gathering, apart from to say I whole load of people turn up who have known each other for what is now a bloody long time!
This time there was a new addition to the gang, Santa’s little helper! Er, I mean Tomoko’s and Toby’s sweet little boy, Calvin. Otherwise, it was the Usual Suspects, and it was great to chat, have a glass of wine and generally catch up. Needless to say, not much had changed and yet a few things had. I guess we are all growing up (some of us reluctantly and slowly!).
Well, after that on the 24th I headed off to Edinburgh. It is an 8 hour train journey, which as you can imagine did not contribute to making my cold any better. But my Scottish adventures will be described in a separate blog coming up next.
For the time being, I just want to add that I did pay a visit to the metropolis of London - of course - and visited Jon on his boat - of course. It’s always nice there under the Albert Bridge by the river. The mornings are gorgeous, even if it freezing cold! Also I
couldn’t help but find it very very strange indeed to be in the middle of such a crowded, busy, noisy, enormous megacity after the peace and quiet of Fiji. I was so surprised by all the movement, people and colour that I even took a photo inside Kings Cross train station. Talk about culture shock.
There are more photos below