Where it (almost) all began.

Wednesday 13 February 2013 – London Bridge

Awesome sunrise this morning !

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I have spent most of the past few days coming up with a plan that eventually gets me back to New Zealand. A plan that I can afford; a plan that has some interesting and challenging things to do; and a plan that has some relaxing under the sun. After a few iterations I am very happy with what I have organised for myself and I am now committed as most of the flights are booked and paid for!

I leave London on March 9 and spend almost a month in Sri Lanka; I will get my fill of Buddhist and Hindu temples as well as elephants and other wildlife. I am really looking forward to re-uniting myself with some temples!

On April 5 I fly to Singapore where I meet the 36 metre yacht Infinity. We sail from Singapore to Semporna in Malaysian Borneo arriving there on May 10; visiting a load of amazing dive spots on the way, hopefully this will include a dive at Sipidan, as I have been dying to dive there.  From there I fly to Sydney and eventually on to Auckland some time in mid-May.

With a departure date in mind I will now try and see as much of London as I can.  I will have to leave the rest of the UK until I come back, and I will definitely be back, probably sooner rather than later. There is unfinished business here.

So, with my leave date in mind I finally got around to visiting North Cheam in the London borough of Sutton. I lived in Windsor Ave in North Cheam from the age of two until my family emigrated to New Zealand in 1973. The last time I did a walk by was in 1986, so it was time to revisit. I have really good memories of living here.

The internet has made ad hoc visits to places like North Cheam so much easier, maybe less fun – jury is out on that one. Transport for London has a fantastic website for working out how to get places by all manner of transport and from the final bus stop I GoogleMapped the way to my old home and school and drew myself a map on a piece of paper. I am not all technology…

North Cheam was pretty much as I remembered it. It has not gone up or down market, just a typical lower middle class London suburb, clean and tidy and lived in.

I do not really remember what 177 Windsor Ave looked like in the 1970’s but I doubt it has changed a heck of a lot since then, maybe a few licks of paint.

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One of the great things on being a sixties kid in the suburbs was being able to play in a local cul-de-sac and Frogmore Gardens was mine, only a few metres from my front door, this was my after school and weekend football field and games area. Too many cars for street ball games now !

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I did remember the alley at the end of the street that led back to a side street cut through to the main street, and I even remembered a lot of the old street names. I surprised myself.

The one thing that had changed was my school, Cheam Park Farm. I recall it was all brick and the white extensions on the front were not there – along with the big fence !

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The one thing that had changed from when I was a child was how long it took to walk from home to school, I was sure it was a lot longer !!!

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About wheresphil

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, now living in London.
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