Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Christmas Tale

We began our descent and glimpsed our first sight of the mother country! We wished our German flight buddies the best of luck using up their ambitious supply of condoms and searched yet again for the duty free that seemed to elude us at every airport. Clearing customs, or should I say being welcomed back into the Queen's bosom after an ancestral induced absence, we made our way in search of our friends, hosts, and reason for being at this particular destination. It’s fair to say it was simultaneously the weirdest and most natural thing in the world to see Perraine and Heather standing there, and definitely seemed like only yesterday since we last saw them, and not 2 years ago.

There is a blurred recollection of apologising for being late (like we had some control over it), then throwing pound notes at Heather and begging her to manage our lives until ready to work it all out for ourselves. Thus the purchase of our Oyster cards was made manifest and we were bundled onto our first Tube followed by a black cab and taken to a place simply known as home, in a place called Blackheath near Greenwich Park.

Home had a Christmas tree with presents under it that had labels with names like Sha and Foo written on them!!! Luckily, we had the foresight to gift wrap the NZ dental floss they begged us to squeeze into our luggage the day before leaving NZ. This along with the Kiwi Quiz and obligatory calendar of NZ scenery - 1 of 3 they would open on Christmas day - our dowry was placed accordingly under the tree of Christmasness.

The following day we joined Heather on a trek to our first British farmers market to source our Christmas day produce, this was the beginning of the realisation that our food choices and ability to purchase ethical food at reasonable prices had just grown exponentially.

A church in Blackheath en route to Farmers Market

Old buildings are starting to become very interesting

We also had a quick wander through Greenwich Park and surrounds, where we would return at some point in the future.

Sha and Heather in Greenwich Park

Perraine was feeling poorly, hence it was just Stu and the girls

Looking towards London's beleaguered financial district

I kid you not, jousting used to take place down on that green field many years ago!

Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson

Sha and Heather with Nelson - some wag has been out with the chalk

The Tube
The first few days were a mish-mash of catching up, settling in and organising necessities such as bank accounts and grasping the transport system. It’s worth mentioning what an incredible piece of branding the Tube symbol is.

The first time we rode the tube, it was a surreal feeling of ‘wow I am on a tube’ mixed with boring familiarity. You wonder how you instantly adopted the London ‘bored with the tube’ look, then realise it’s the branding.

That's not unusual...

Typical bored tube commuters

Permission is seldom given to film or photograph a tube train or station for any commercial use whatsoever, so you wonder how you are so familiar with the branding, and then you remember all those Underground map t-shirts adorned by kiwis returning home from their OE, those same kiwis who still wear them with holes ten years later to remind the rest of us what losers we are for not destroying our liver 3 times over in a London squat.

Tomorrow: A Christmas Tale Continues


Ness and Dave said...

Great first post Sha (I assume this was your humour this time??)

Great to start hearing about your UK travels.

Love and miss you both

D & V xxx

Foo said...

I like to think of it as a fusion of talents, but yes, Sha was the master writer (although, just like a good cocktail, there were a couple of dashes of Foo mixed throughout).