We’ve all been to England!

18 July 2010

Ah, this was long overdue. We spent the last week in England. Initially, only the children and I were to travel, but since Rolf has a good job and a considerate boss, it was so arranged that he also came to England at the same time. Rolf worked in London during the week, and we met in Ascot for the weekend. Ascot was fab, it was just like coming home. The children stayed with their friends, I stayed with Marion and Norbert (thanks again everybody for your flexibility and hospitality — we changed our plans on where to spend the first night on our way from the airport… bad planning on my behalf, but no problem for our dear friends). We had a busy schedule, I met so many people, I was just a tad socialized-out on my way back to Lyon. The children had a wonderful time seeing their friends and also the opportunity to spend a day at their old schools. Lucy’s comment: ‘It was like it has always been’, so no change there, I reckon she could slot in again without problems.
Linus: ‘It was great. People asked whether I’ll be back tomorrow’. What I found a bit bizarre was that Linus was not allowed to sit in the lessons for security reasons (I have to date not considered my son a risk to health and safety but there you go… England can be complicated, so many rules and regulations). Instead, he spent his day in the… YES, THE LIBRARY, like he did for a large part of the academic year in France. Maybe it’s fate telling him to become a librarian. He didn’t mind much, he is used to this, but he greatly enjoyed the breaks in the company of his friends there.

Both children were happy to return to France after our visit, and I was too. Somehow, although not entirely settled, we belong here now. Maybe it’s just because we don’t have a house to go to in England, maybe it’s because we are slowly but surely putting down roots in France — we felt so at home in Ascot, we loved being there, but we have also moved on and are at home here too. I guess it’s good to have so many places to call ‘home’. Linus is very keen to return to the UK soon. His friend is planning to dig a pond in the garden and Linus would very much like to help. It would be great if this could be arranged. I guess the only thing that Linus really still misses is a close friend to meet up and plan projects with.
I was also in part happy to return to France because the situation in England seems to be dire at the moment. I visited my old workplace and found myself glad I left after I’d seen my old colleagues. Rolf told me about the situation in his old workplace and I am truly grateful we left last year, it seems like a lucky escape, because there would not be a job for my husband now. I am sad that Britain is struggling so much at the moment, so many changes, so little money for public services. France seems a bit more stable to me. Maybe this is only because I don’t understand the news and am living in a happy state of ignorance? But people seem less concerned here.
Still, you can’t beat the shopping in the UK… TK Maxx, Marks and Sparks, Fat Face…. We had a picnic with lots of friends last Sunday, a perfect excuse to go shopping at Waitrose’s. How I love that shop and boy, we bought way too many things, but I loved buying all those unhealthy foods that we had to do without for the last year such as coleslaw, kettle crisps, chocolate chip biscuits, various dips, pre-packed sandwiches… ah, the delights of England, and the kids insisted on Sicilian lemonade (not very English, I know, but it’s part of our picnic tradition). The children would have loved a fish and chips at Finley’s in Lulworth Cove, but we did not have time to fit in a visit to Purbeck. Maybe next time. It was somehow comforting to eat those foods again, but they certainly belong to England, we don’t need them here, we have other things. Cherries for example, they are so cheap at the moment, as well as melons and peaches, much more expensive and certainly less tasty in England, so we have now particular ‘France food’ too. Should we move on (I hope we won’t for a while), we would eat fruit and cheese on visiting Lyon and feel so at home…
I’m hoping we can all go back to England for my graduation (I don’t want to miss the opportunity to wear one of those cloaks and hats!!! 🙂 ). Aside from the attire, it’s a nicely organised event, my last one was in the Barbican Centre and it was a really special day… and I would love to catch up with everybody. Although we spent a week and saw a lot of people, it still seemed like too little time to catch up properly. But now that we are back here, we’re looking forward to seeing friends from Germany who will come to visit tonight and stay for about 5 days. Afterwards we’ll go camping together in the Alps. So I better get to the market to buy some lettuce for dinner now, have a super Sunday et Ă  très bientĂ´t!

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