Goodbye United Kingdom

A sad day as we prepare for our departure.  We will be happy to be back in Canada, but we are leaving so much behind.  From the beautiful trees, to the Brits subtle sense of humour, to it’s great history and chaotic present…not to mention easy access to visit Sean and Jessica in Germany.

Currently awaiting that FedEx parcel person to pick up some rather large and heavy boxes.

A sad day.

We are in Madrid tomorrow night, then a week in New York before flying home.



Land’s End, St. Ives, Falmouth, Penzance and Mousehole England

Of course when I went to the car rental agency they gave me a ‘big’ car for the tiny roads of Cornwall.

We used Falmouth as our base for exploring the southwest, from Land’s End, Penzance to a wonderfully named village, ‘Mousehole’.  [Where a grocery store on High Street carries the name, what else,…’hole foods’.]

Cornwall with it’s lush vegetation was a delight to the eyes with stunning landscapes and flowers.

A challenge were some of the roads.  Reverse is the most useful gear when encountering a large oncoming caravan, with nowhere to go but back for a quarter mile.

At that point it was time to long for the wide roads and open spaces of Canada — but not too much.

Hmm…time for reverse. Unfortunately the green vegetation hides the stone fences, so reverse is the alternative to scraping the side of the car. As usual English drivers were patient and, of course, polite.  In this case it was the other driver’s turn to back up.  Thanks to Surinder for this picture taken using her phone.
Not sure if we can squeeze past this one or not — on the other hand never argue with a sewage truck.

Wedding Day in England

Today was a warm sunny day in England, a great day for a wedding.   We watched the wedding of Harry and Meghan on television then had to leave home early for Heather’s choir to sing at one of the many hundreds street parties held throughout England, this one in Southbourne.  We were joined by a visitor from Regina, Colleen Slater-Smith.  And we were also joined by our landlords, who joined us for the street party.

We have loved the British sense of community with many get-togethers, and a royal wedding is a great reason for a street celebration.  These are some of the photos from the day that capture some of spirit of the community and of England.


The Choir




Heather with the choir

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Afternoon Tea with a Special Friend

While Angela was visiting from Canada, we celebrated her milestone birthday with Afternoon Tea at a local hotel, The Miramar.
As the wedding of Harry and Meghan was fast approaching we were given complimentary champagne to mark the occasion.  Also, in the photograph below, note the American and British flags, to mark the pending union.
Again, birthday wishes to Angela, and I hope this outing was as memorable for you as it was for me!
On a side note, a repeat patron of this lovely historical hotel was the late J.R. Tolkien.

Heather’s Little Pieces of England

Over the past few months I’ve had fun visiting charity shops that sell second hand clothing and household articles.
I wanted to collect something practical that would have sentimental value and be easy to pack.  Hence, the collection of tapas sized dishes that you see below.
They have added some colour and character to our flat here in Bournemouth, and they will be lovely momentos of our year in the UK.  So far I have used them to hold spoons, teabags, candy, olives, earrings and soap!

Windrush Immigration Scandal in the UK

We wanted to post this story from the Guardian because it highlights, in a much more serious situation, our experience with UK Immigration.  Amelia Gentleman deserves the Pulitzer prize for her work as a tireless journalist.

Like the abused person in this story, we attended that same office in Croydon.  His abuse by the UK Immigration department was on another level entirely – it wrecked his life.  His experience of the department on a much larger scale is very similar to ours.

When we paid for information on their profit making fee for service call centre we received either no information, or erroneous information.  Then when we made a claim to that department they said they had changed contractors and those calls were not available to them to corroborate our story.  Hard to imagine!

It becomes easy to predict that a department which runs on little or no accountability will see other scandals.  Something is seriously amiss in the UK government administration.

This story is particularly poignant – the man wept after they left the immigration office in Croydon – we didn’t cry when we left but we were angry:

From the story:

“In a rare insight into the workings of Lunar House immigration HQ, Hubert Howard recounts how he lost his job and was denied benefits after the Home Office said he was an illegal migrant.”

“What happened to my files? What happened to my previous applications? Every time I called they said they didn’t know anything about me,” Howard said, managing to control his dismay and incredulity at the extraordinary change in official attitude towards him.

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