17 March 2005

I'll be home a little late, Mum...

When I left Adelaide on Boxing Day I was fully expecting to back by early Feb, but with Joanna and Jonathan already in Poland, and no work in prospect the door was open for a grand adventure. And so it has proven to be.

After meeting J and J in Berlin and spending a few excellent days there, we took the train over to Poland, arriving in Miedzyrzecz where Joanna's mum works as a psychiatrist at the local hospital. A week and a half there and then on to Krakow for a few days—a marvelous city dripping with history and photo ops. A flying visit to the ski slopes of the Tatra mountains (there and back in a day), then I was off to England with Joanna and Jonathan set to join me a couple of weeks down the track.

On my arrival in England I received an email from a headhunter, and the next morning donned my only travelling suit and went off to an interview, and a few days later had a job offer for 6 months or so. With no job to return to, the opportunity to be closer to Joanna's family in Poland for a while and the chance to spend more time in the land of my Father, replete as it is with childhood memories, it was a no-brainer really. Why then did it consume so much brain for so long? Well, I had to worry about accommodation, schooling, transport, the exorbitant cost of living, commitments in Australia like home, mortgage, car lease, choirs, badminton club, not to mention friends, etc. I found myself changing my mind several times a day, swinging from one absolute certainty to the opposite one. But with no work in Adelaide the alternative was to work in Sydney or Melbourne and commute home to Adelaide on weekends. Ultimately, England seemed easier.

So here we are, living in Redhill, Surrey in a 2 bedroom exec apartment costing 3 times what it would in Adelaide. We are strolling distance to supermarkets, trains and buses, which you need to be when without a car and when petrol costs more than twice as much as you're used to. I am working for a firm in the financial sector in the adjoining town of Reigate, where Jonathan is also going to school. London is half an hour away by train, but trains are expensive, and the trip is tiring once you factor the underground connections and the amount of walking you typically have to do.

But this extended working holiday has already allowed me to fulfill a few dreams. I have been to see the Arsenal play at Highbury for the first time in 37 years as a supporter. I have been to Disneyland, Paris (purely for Jonathan's sake, of course). I have visited a few childhood haunts I have not seen for more than 30 years including the idyllic township of Wisborough Green in Sussex where I lived briefly as a child. I have been to Stonehenge, Brighton, Hastings, Salisbury Cathedral and just last week seen Les Arts Florissants doing Rameau at the Barbican Hall.

Detailed coverage to come. Meanwhile, the grand adventure continues...
Go to eebahgum!

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