Day 154/155, Wednesday/Thursday 6/7 June 2012, Brentwood
Happy birthday Ali : (a bit late I know)
I didn’t take too many photos the past couple of days (though I assure this changed when I went to London the next day !)
My body clock is going to take some time to adjust I suspect, I think seven hours difference may be harder to cater for than twelve. Anyway I was awake at 2:00 am and could not go back to sleep, nor could I be motivated to read or write blogs or emails either. At least the bed is comfortable, the room is peaceful and it is nice and cool, lovely!
I was up at 7.30 and after breakfast and some hastily scribbled instructions I took the twenty minute walk into Brentwood town centre. It was such a great walk, Brentwood is in the London green belt so is not crowded, the streets are narrow and quiet and surrounded by trees and houses that I could never afford, a lot of mock (or real) Tudor and Victorian buildings. Brentwood town centre is a typical English town main street, not a village and not a city – so a mix of the big brands like Boots, Marks and Spencer, Next etc as well as small local business – a shoe repairer for instance (I never did leave my sandals in Bangkok : ). I had a coffee at Starbucks, free wifi of course and bought a map book of England and one of Europe at WH Smiths.
My main mission for the day was to attempt to open an English bank account. I had heard this was a traumatic and often fruitless mission, so I was full of doubt when I went into Lloyds – chose at random. I was pleasantly surprised to walk out fifteen minutes later with an account number and an internet banking log in! So easy, I can now transfer some money from New Zealand and stop paying fees every time I use my ATM card.
After town I milled around at home for the rest of the afternoon, did lots of emailing and messaging of people I know in the UK and Europe so I can try and come up with a bit of a plan for the next month. My current thinking is to go to France after Coast Path Run on 2nd or 3rd July and then down to Spain to visit my cousin Ian. Then back to London at some stage after that – to look for a real job.
I had a wee burst of enthusiasm late in the afternoon and went for a run around the local streets for an hour, it all felt good and I was pleased that I was still able to knock an hour out, and not all of it was at a crawl ! One of the great things about England after so long in Asia is able to drink the water directly from the tap – so luxurious – we in the west do not realise how damn lucky we are some times.
I had another pretty lousy sleep and woke early again. Thursday was a repeat of yesterday in part, in the morning I walked into Brentwood and dropped my sandals in to the repair shop and had a coffee at Starbucks and used the wifi again. I do have good internet at home mind, so do not need to do it, just nice to have a latte !
I am staying with my mum’s brother and his wife, at lunch time mums other brother Jim and Dad’s brother – Alan and his wife – Joan and one of my cousins from that side – Anthony, came over for lunch. It was so nice to see everyone, you do not realise how much you miss extended family connections until you are away for a long time. Had a very nice time catching up and I look forward to visiting people when I return from my wanderings in a few weeks.
In the afternoon I went round to my cousin Paul’s house with my uncle and aunt. My cousin and his partner, Helene, who is French, have two year old twins and go back to France during the school holidays (they are teachers), so my uncle and aunt mind the house and feed the cats. It was about a 10km drive and it was nice to be out driving round some of the local countryside. England is so English ! Paul and Helene’s house.
Just over a week until Coast Path Run starts. I am very excited and a wee bit nervous ! Please keep an eye on what is going on – and of course donate to the cause.
I have to now figure out how to do sub menus in WordPress so I can fit England and Europe in !