Ode to England

I departed for Australia eight years ago as a hardened, slightly disillusioned Londoner seeking sun, adventure and blue skies. And if I was honest, love. And I found it. From speedboating with dolphins in Sydney’s Pittwater to new friends…..then, a proposal and two babies followed. What a ride. What a lucky country. But there is something about England that remains under my now sun-tanned skin. It comes in waves, sparked by the most random of small things such as the weirly large shape of Australian Brussel Sprouts or the lack of jolly pub beer gardens on a trip out to the bush. You can patch home-sickness up with Skype, Downton Abbey and roast dinners on a Sunday but it remains dormant, simmering in the background ready to soak you in nostalgia at the strangest of moments. And yes, sometimes with a touch of yearning and sadness. I adore my new life and the fact we are now settled in Melbourne, and I’m so proud our two children who are sounding more Australian by the day. But I have to say it’s been the most comforting of pleasures to be back in England and Wales in these past weeks, two years since our last visit. We have stuffed our faces with Revels, bakewell tarts and fish and chips (properly soggy and soaked in vinegar not a slice of lemon!)
We’ve shared laughs with my Welsh in-laws and their wonderful village neighbours in that self-depricating, up-lifting humour where every sentence ends on a high-note. We’ve listened to the Archers on Radio Four (live at 2pm!) drunk shandies in pubs older than any building in Australia. We’ve fished in ancient, meandering streams in the New Forest, explaining it’s incredible secrets and history to our children with tales of William the Conqueror. We’ve seen their little eyes widen when we drive past ruins of ancient castles and churches. In short, by leaving England has made me fall in love with it like a heady teen. We won’t be moving back on a love-high whim. But I now appreciate Britain with a new perspective. Something the slog of long office days and misty, squashed tube rides managed to erase while I was actually living here. Soon, we head home. Home is now our new house in Melbourne. We miss it. But don’t worry olde Britain, the children will want to back to visit again soon. And so will I. image


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