‘How long will it take us to get to Paddington?’ I asked my cousin ‘The G-Man’. To his answer of ‘An hour at most’, I added 45 minutes. Notorious is he for underestimating traffic, and I hate rushing when I’m travelling. Moving from place to place is stressful enough, never mind adding 2 x 18kg suitcases, recalcitrant teenager, precious small backpacks, AND a time deadline.
Yes, we’re on the move. From the comfortable, 3 bedroom flat near Brixton where we’d first landed, laughing and talking with fav cousin G-man, down to his sister’s place in country Somerset (known as Toy Town in the family). Sister ‘C’ has 3 kids, and no TV; G-Man’s flat we’d christened ‘Wifi Heaven’. This is going to be interesting…
First, a bus, two tubes, and [thankfully], several escalators. Then a fast train journey through autumn fields, speeding so much that the approach to every station seeps the smell of burning brakes. My son ‘15’ suddenly asks me to imagine a time when the countryside would have been full of horses, villagers working, Vikings marauding, and castles. History is layered here like diamonds under coal, pushing down through the ground, overlapping and influencing each other in ways that our white Australian culture can’t understand. We both stare out of the window, drawn away from our books by the vision of ancient histories…
Then the guy opposite us leaves his lunch litter behind, and the spell is broken. I go on an ‘old lady rant’ (OLR) to poor son about Everything That’s Wrong With The World. I even catalogued the crime:
Don’t get me started on the symbolism of not tidying up after yourself: mining, fracking, islands of plastic etc etc etc. That OLR is always ready to go! Let’s jump ahead to walking through cousin ‘C’s’ door to the smell of a roast chicken dinner: SO WELCOMING. I’m instantly at home, and secretly wondering if there’ll be gravy?
There was. And roast potatoes better than mine, as 15 specifically pointed out (apparently it’s a parboil/olive oil/butter thing). SO GOOD.
We wandered the narrow streets after dinner, trying to comprehend that some of these buildings were built in the 12th century. The 12th. And did you know that in those days, you were taxed for the amount of space you took up on the ground, so houses got wider as they went up?
But the greatest event? Both of us sleeping all the way through the night for the first time, and waking up to this:
We love Medieval Toy Town. And they even have Wifi 🙂
I remember these engaging old structures from my own travels (and the bottles of un-homogenised milk from my youth). On the subject of errancy: whose are those delinquent boots resting defiantly on the seat opposite? (More youthful memories…)
OMG I remember those milk bottles, they even have the foil caps!!
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A solid memory that one! And the cream on top mmmmmm
Ugh I hated the cream on the top, wait… What am I talking about, I hated milk haha!!
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