Sunday, September 19, 2010

England Trip Part 2

Well, I eventually got to England after an agonising 13 hour and 45 minute flight from Kuala Lumpur in cramped conditions with barely adequate service. I don't think I'll be flying Air Asia long haul again. I then made the mistake of packing my UK passport in my min luggage and having o travel through customs as an Australian citizen. The foreign national queue took abot an hour longer to get through customs than the UK/EC passport holders. But finally I got through and met up with my brother and his wife, Jon and Angie, who were there to pick me up.

The only observation on the way to my family's place was the amount of traffic on the roads which is much busier than in Australia. It was amazing to see my parents again for the first time in over 5 years, but I couldn't stay awake that much longer and crashed out for the night.

That first night I had a good 8-9 hours solid sleep and woke refreshed. I decided in the morning to take a walk to the town centre of Basingstoke to see what had changed in the time I'd gone. The walk from my parent's house to town is a couple of kilometres and hadn't changed at all. As I got closer to the town I passed through some of the older parts of the towns which are pretty quaint.
This lovely old building is called "Laarsen's Bar" but when I last it, it was a fairly rough pub called "The Three Feathers"

The older part of the town is really quaint, and there are still some shops that I remember from when I was last actually living in Basingstoke about 25 years ago. From Laarsen's Bar in the above picture, if you walk down the hill you come to a completely covered area (it didn't used to be) like a shopping mall. For me this has taken some of the character away from the town, but I suppose Basingstoke could be seen as a modern shopping town now. I did have an espresso and it wasn't as bad as I expected, still a bit weak though. I'm not sure how, but somewhere in the mall I must have twisted my ankle (probably looking in every direction but the one I was walking) so I got a bus back to my parent's.

In Australia I miss virtually nothing of the UK. It has been great to see my family here, people always being the most vivid memories of any move from any area (check your nostalgia button and see what the vivid memories are linked with and I'm guessing most of them will be associated with doing things with people). But a couple of things we don't get in Australia that I immediately latched onto are the breakfast cereal "Shreddies", and "Walkers Cheese and Onion Crisps".

Is this the best Cheese and Onion crisp in the World?

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