Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Back to Blighty

The glorious West Berkshire downs
I'm back.

With a new name and new picture, but I listened to my audience and have kept the "Nappy Valley", despite the fact that we're not going to be living there any more. We're currently in rural West Berkshire, but due to move to the wilds of southeast London in September. There, we will have to negotiate the perils of school uniform fittings, moving American furniture into a narrow London town house and having no idea how the British school system works (Year 4? What's that? My son should be in third grade).

So far, being back has seemed a little unreal. None of us are at school or work yet, and days have been spent either catching up with friends and family or sorting through our mountains of stuff we kept here in storage. We've been enjoying the glorious British countryside, appreciating the lack of humidity and mosquitoes, admiring the golden fields and hedgerows, not minding the fact that most days have required socks and an 'extra layer'.

The Littleboys have been engaging with British wildlife by adopting a striped caterpillar and keeping him in a jar. And they've been engaging with all our friends' children by running madly with them around gardens and learning all about British snacks and drinks (they'd never seen a Hula Hoop or Fruit Shoot before, let alone drunk Ribena). They've tried new sports, such as cricket, which they treated as if was baseball, throwing the bat to the ground after hitting the ball. They seem excited so far, although clearly the start of term is in their minds; their stuffed animals and Lego are often lined up in classrooms as one toy joins the "new school".

Bee the caterpillar: the latest addition to the family
Certain things seem very strange; driving a manual car again, with the gearstick on the left, has taken a while to get used to; the smallness of parking spaces at the supermarket; having to pay four quid an hour to park in London on a meter. But it's been comforting to hear people who sound like me in the playground, to speak to people on the phone and have them immediately understand what I say, and to be offered a nice cup of tea (or a glass of wine) the minute you arrive in someone's home. Although I'm a bit worried by the fact that since being back I've particularly appreciated Radio 4, Waitrose and reading the Observer food section; I fear I have definitely joined the ranks of the middle aged somewhere over the past four years.

But I don't think the move will really sink in until September, particularly as we're heading off to Anglesey next week for an extended bank holiday with all the cousins. In the meantime, I'll be ekeing out the last of the British summer to the soundtrack of Woman's Hour and drinking endless cups of tea.


13 comments:

Nota Bene said...

How wonderful...firstly because you're back, and secondly because you can rediscover Britain and the British way of doing things...as for the boys, they will have a marvelous time, and no doubt be the envy of their new friends who will regard them as very exotic creatures indeed!

MsCaroline said...

I'll be looking forward to hearing how you handle your US-sized furniture problem - I am still moving furniture at least once a week (why? it's not like the space or the furniture sizes ever change) in the hope of finding a magical solution. I know you're happy to be back home, but, like me, I'm sure there are some things about the new country that you will wish you could have taken back with you (besides cheap and ample parking.) Best of luck with getting settled in and looking forward to hearing about it!

PantsWithNames said...

Welcome back to this side of the pond. Great to have you back. If you fancy a meet up so the many LBs can throw around an American football (we have a green one for some reason, and it is the top toy of choice at the moment) whilst we try to catch the end of woman's hour and sip tea, then give me a shout. Great to have you back NVG. x

Melissa said...

Welcome home! I remember that West Berkshire countryside well...

Re the US furniture, good luck. We have just sold the last of ours (sniff) because it just won't fit.

Looking forward to hearing how you settle back in (and like the new name/pic by the way)

Metropolitan Mum said...

Welcome home! Fantastic picture, I hope you'll all settle swiftly and without and hiccups. Dxx

Iota said...

Love the new header, the new title, and the fact that you've co-incided it with your arrival back. Very efficient.

Iota said...

Now I've been back a year, I'd forgotten that about Hula Hoops. (Probably not enough sugar and/or additives for the American market!)

Clare Taylor said...

Funny you should say that about R4 - I found myself LOVING it when I was home over the summer. Not so much middle-aged, I think, as just recognising quality, finally. (Oh, alright. We're middle-aged...)

About Last Weekend said...

Holy heck that country is so so green. That's what I miss out in California, the brown (we're supposed to say "Golden" nothing negative allowed here in CA) the deep lush green of England. Great to hear about your homecoming

Susanna said...

Welcome back! OK, so we missed each other in SF, but let's have lunch in Henley!

Expat mum said...

Cor - didn't that go quickly. It's unbelievable. Love the new header thingy too!

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Welcome home - and as for being 'middle aged' you'll know for sure one you don't want to miss an episode of The Archers...

Muddling Along said...

Welcome back - hope that the re-entry isn't too disconcerting

Have a great time in Angelesey (all the best people are holidaying in Angelesey this weekend!)