Monday, December 16, 2013

On to Bristol and a Special Friend

   The time came to say good bye to Norfolk.  It was sad as it was such a big part of my life, I had my first teaching job there, lived with friends from college and had adventures. I met my husband of thrity years there and had my first two children while living in Norfolk.  So many memories come flooding back and staying with a treasured friend makes it hard to say good bye.  I am grateful for my time here and hope to come back for an extended visit in a few years, when I am fully retired.
Andy drove me to the station in Kings Lynn and we said good bye. What an amazing man, such a great Dad and always so positive.

We passed by the beautiful flat fenlands. These fields are so fertile and farming is huge here. I fell in love with th fens when I lived here, in Kingls Lynn and Downham Market and later  in a tiny village called Upwell. The scenery is so beautiful, with so much sky.
I set off on another complicated journey to Bristol, lol.  Travelling by train is a great way to see the country and very relaxing, most of the time.
The first stretch was to Cambridge and then the train to London Liverpool Street. 

All these London stations are so massive.
Next, I had to catch the tube to Paddinton station. The staff were so helpful in directing me to the correct platform and it was easy to find my way.

Once again another awe inspiring railway station.

At Paddington station I had time for a hot Cornish pasty and a coffee before catching my connection to Bristol Temple Meads. 
My wonderful friends San and Denny met me there and ushered me out into the evening.

Bristol Temple Meads Station is just beautiful, kind of like a fairy caste when seen in the evening light.

I had a fabulous visit with San, who I went to college with in Scarborough so many years ago.  We shared rooms for three years and then went on to move to Norfolk together for our first teaching jobs.  We sharied a house in Kings Lynn with two  college  friends who also got teaching jobs in Norfolk.  
Natuarlly we are very close. Even when I was six thousand miles away in Canada we seemed to travel down parallel paths. I had four kids and she had five, I opened Magic Puddle Playschool, a Waldorf style preschool and her kids went to a Waldorf School in Bristol.  It was uncanny. :-)

We went out one evening and shared a meal, and then danced to a busker outside the restaurant.  Then we spotted a tall ship docked on the River Avon and it was one of the ships her sons had sailed on in Cornwall.  The captain came ashore to speak with them and it was great, as they got invited to go aboard on the following Thursday. Unfortunately I had to leave on Wednesday, so I missed out on this opportunity.

After settling into San's beautiful Georgian home and feeling as if I lived there, it was very hard to say good bye. It was at this point that I really realized how much these people mean to me and how connected emotionally I am to them. It was the reality brought home as to how living so far away from loved ones is really a difficult thing. It has been my life story and usually you can somehow distance yourself and make everything alright. But when it comes right down to it, it is very hard.  Here I am experiencing these wonderful reunions and knowing my family that I hold so close to my heart are all in Canada, which is my chosen home, so far away. Canada is the country that nurtures me and whereI
 Ii belong. Separations from loved ones  will always be a part of my life story and I just feel blessed I have the freedom to travel and see people whenever I need to. I treasure the times I have had in England as it has contributed to who I am today.
Good bye for now my dear friend, but I will be back, even if it takes another ten years lol.  I know it will be sooner.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Airports and Railway Stations

Vancouver Airport is full of surprises. The departure lounge had such amazing art on display. It was all fresh to me.
After passing through the security gates I had to stop and take some pictures of the great carvings. 

Just past these amazing pieces of first nations art and the water feature beside it, I came upon a big tank containing fish, it was so unexpected. 
I got a window seat and my flight left at 9:00 at night, so I was hoping to get some sleep, and I did. 

I travelled with Canadian Affair/Air Transat and they always gave us dinner and also a free glass of wine. Very unusual nowadays.  We had a nice continental breakfast a few hours before we touched down in London Gatwick.

I was pretty lucky to travel when I did as the day after I arrived it was windy and stormy and the airports closed down.  Also the east coast suffered from flooding and the highest tide surge since 1953.  
From Gatwick I caught the train to St. Pancreas Station. There were some great London sights along the way. I actually caught sight of Canary Wharf and suddenly saw the London Bridge on the Thames. I managed to get a quick picture.

St Pancreas Station was an amazing building. 

I walked across the street to Kings Cross and once again I was surprised by the architectureal features, both modern and old. 

At Kings Cross I caught the train to Kings Lynn, where I used to live in 1971.  It is so hard to believe it was over forty years ago. :-)

At Cambridge we were told to move into the front four coaches of the train as the train was being split.  We ran up to the front four coaches and they were packed. lol  

At Ely lots of people got out and we got to sit down for the remainder of the journey.  It was quite an emotional moment when we pulled into Downham Market as I taught there for so many years. 
Kings Lynn station hadn't chaged and I was so excited when my friend Andy arrived to pick me up.

Here is the cafe that looks just the same as when I used to commute to Downham every day as a new teacher.  
I arrived to a house full, celebrating a birthday and I have had a magical time here in Terrington St Clements.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leaving Home

I had a great send off on my journey.  I had special times with all my kids and my friends before taking off on my travels. 

Thanks to everyone for all the love. Cameron turned firve and we had a wild party with 14 five year olds, mostly boys. Then a family party.

On Monday I went into Vancouver and ran some errands and went out for dinner with my kids at a great little restaurant called the Wallflower.  
Tuesday Luke went with me on the Canada Line to the airport and we had a great meal together before he waved me off at the gate to the departure lounge. 

So off I go into the wild blue yonder.