On the 17th of August we celebrated 1 year in London and I can’t believe how fast time has gone! If we count our ‘working holiday’, we have now been travelling for 16 months and have no plans to return for another 12 – what an amazing honeymoon!
We have slowed the pace just a little bit so that we can enjoy the amazing summer that we are experiencing here in London. According to all reports, London has not experienced a summer this warm and sunny in almost 20 years. I quickly learned that “enjoying the summer” basically means spending evenings, Saturdays and Sundays at one of many London green spaces and parks with a rug, picnic, Frisbee, a bottle of wine and a bunch of friends. As much as I loved the northern hemisphere winter I could definitely get use to this lifestyle!
Determined to see as much of London as possible, we recently decided to picnic in the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks. Two trains and a bus later, we arrived at Richmond Park and proceeded to get somewhat lost in the magnitude. Maps were no help and the lack of mown clearings was bewildering. We were literally lost in what seemed to be heavily forested English countryside. Navigating our way to one of the large ponds in the centre, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon watching the wildlife enjoy the warm summer day.
Summer in the UK is also rugby league season. Dan has been playing for South West London Chargers and on the weekend both of the club’s teams played in their grand final matches. So we picnicked at the rugby league fields in Chiswick and occasionally asked someone what the score was (joking! Of course I am a very attentive supporter). In a day of mixed emotions one team lost and one team won. Unfortunately Dan was injured in the first half of his game and has been hobbling around ever since.
Now that it is the end of the rugby league season I am looking forward to checking out a bit more of London on my free Saturdays. This August bank holiday weekend we will be joining a million others in Notting Hill for the world’s largest street carnival of music, colourful costumes and amazing Caribbean food. I am very much looking forward to it!
My “Notting Hill Carnival Survival Guide”, inspired by our awesome experience at last year’s carnival, featured this week in the London based Australian Times paper. I am still keeping up a weekly column for the Life section of the paper and at the beginning of the week news.com.au featured one of my tongue-in-cheek pieces about expectations and the reality of Aussie life in London. While not all of the ‘realities’ are relevant to Dan and myself, I couldn’t help but use some of the hilarious stories we have heard from other expats. For a laugh, check it out here.
The warm weather continues here in London and we are enjoying it while we can. The days are starting to get shorter and the nights are starting to get cooler, so I am sure that autumn is not far away. While I treasure the summer, I am quite looking forward to winter. This year will be the first that we do not have family nearby, so we have decided on a white Christmas somewhere in Europe.
With only 12 months to go we are frantically prioritising holidays and things we must do before we leave Europe. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or tips on what we should not miss! Feel free to share your hints and stories in the comments below.