This is a blog about an ex-pat Brit with an Australian twang, rediscovering her homeland after 35 years abroad.
As road trips go, this one came and went faster than a speeding train but, oh garçon, did we pack it in! For two straight days (et nuits) we ate, drank, walked, window shopped, walked, ate some more, drank and marché encore.
As you may recall, Russell and I made a New Year’s resolution to pack a bag and travel beyond the county borders of Suffolk at least once a month. We failed, spectacularly, straight out of the starting gates.
We have discovered the joys of ‘wintering’. It’s a no-brainer when you think about it. Winter is here. It’s real. There’s no avoiding it. So, we may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
Today is 2nd January 2022 and I have already blown my new year’s resolution. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the leftover mince pie I had for dinner last night. It’s far worse. We haven’t done a road trip this month.
Vive La Difference! as they say in France. But we’re not in France, we’re in Blighty, the Old Dart. And for me, there shouldn’t be any differences. Coming home to England should be like shrugging on an old coat and knowing exactly where the pockets are. Except some of the pockets have moved.
“You’ll only do it once,” they said. Those wise sages who think they know everything about living in an English cottage built for our 16th-century ancestors who were, on average, 5’5″. They are of course referring to the inevitable – and painful – head meets beam scenario. They are wrong about only doing it once.
If I’d known last month what I know today, it wouldn’t have helped. Four weeks ago I thought we could get off a plane in London, buy a car, and drive to Suffolk to start our big adventure. But it didn’t all go according to plan.
I thought yesterday’s roller-coaster ride had run its course when we finally relaxed over a glass of wine and a middle eastern feast at Za Za Ta. Instead, it reached a crescendo of panic when I received a frantic call from the UK around 8pm.
Our life in Australia is now packed into four suitcases. We have no car, no house and no Plan B. There is only one way forward.