Every time I go back to the old country it feels like I’ve pressed a Pause button on the life in Philly, and then pressed Play back in London. The only real changes are, for the most part, superficial and so it feels like no time has passed. The problem is that as a result of this, coming back to Philly and pressing Play feels like no time has elapsed, and so the entire vacation (holiday) is lumped together with all of the other English memories. It feels like the break never happened; obviously the memories are there, but they don’t feel recent.
The other problem is that international travel is still, even in 2010, a major pain in the brown-eye. By now we really should have the ability to pop over to London for the weekend, and then come back via a small sojourn in Amsterdam – finishing off the end of Sunday night with a couple of pints in New York. Ideally I’d like to be able to get on a 321 at the top of the road and spend the day in Eltham with my family, then catch a 99 up to New York for a few drinks before popping onto a 9 to Manayunk and getting into bed. Why is that still not possible, scientists?
As a result of the enormous hassle of travel, a two week “break” is filled with desperate attempts to do everything, see everyone and relax at the same time – which results in stress and failure.
As the whole experience is already drifting away from memory here is a list of things wha appen:
- Seeing my ever expanding family – which now includes the loveliest niece in the world and some of the best Roast Lamb dinners available on the planet.
- Spending time with K8 and family whilst working on moving from one ISP to another. It also provided ample time for slagging off Dame Shirley Porter, Blair and Murdoch.
- A great first Friday night at the pub. I think. At the time it seemed like the best night I’ve ever had – and then I woke up in footscray, on the 321, sitting next to a box of fried chicken, with the bus driver shouting at me: “I tried to wake you up”. There’s no lonelier place on earth than Footscray at 2am. Probly. After staggering for what seemed like hours, with tears of tiredness and defeat, I managed to get a lift home. I still don’t remember how. It may have been the result of an outstretched thumb, but he may also have been a cab. But maybe not. I vaguely remember giving him a score for the journey – but still can’t be sure. I was in bed by 4am though – so no harm done…physically anyway.
- Many visits to many pubs with old friends who managed to instantly fall back into friendship without aggro or annoyance at how crap we had been, individually or bi-directionally, at staying in touch with each other. Perhaps that’s a good definition of a friend: someone with whom you can meet after years of minimal contact, and still feel as comfortable as the last time you met. Frankly I’m always amazed when someone can be bothered to talk to me after not seeing them for a number of years – especially when they’re someone I really like and miss. It’s quite a comfort to know that despite how much we’ve changed, we can still have a laugh in a pub.
- A computer fair where I managed to buy an iPod shuffle ripoff (which took micro SD cards) for a tenner.
- Spending time with my family. Yeah I know I’ve already said this – but it was really excellent.
- Quality curries, and quality bitter. Szn made this even more special by not only joining me in a post-curry Calvados but also by suggesting a drink in the Dacre. Perfection.
- The grass is greener there. Then again that does make sense when you consider the utterly depressing amount of persistent pissing rain that comes down.
- Sutcliffe Park and all of the local birds. We miss you.