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:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/10/its-destroyed-my-life-windrush-victim-recognised-as-legal-citizen-after-13-years

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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The South Coast – Hurst Castle & a Walk from Milford on Sea

A warm [at last] two kilometre seaside hike on a shingle peninsula from Milford on Sea to Hurst Castle.  As you can see from the photos below Hurst Castle is not the prettiest and quite utilitarian in appearance.  It was established by Henry VIII on the Hurst Spit in Hampshire between 1541 and 1544. It was at the time one of the most powerful forts on the coast to protect England from the French.
We took a small ferry ride back to Key Haven.  In keeping with our critter theme, there’s a photo of a fetching sailor dog piloting our ferry.
From Key Haven we took a meandering meadowland walk to our bus connection at Milford on Sea.
We were only three quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, another day day out we have planned within a couple of weeks.
A summery day with the Isle of Wight in the background

 

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The Ombudsman & UK Immigration

This is the body of our most recent letter to the Ombudsman:

As per our previous correspondence we had on three occasions requested a response from UKVI to our letter of review request submitted to them on September 15, 2017.  We now have a copy of their letter dated October 16, 2017 that was the subject of those requests.

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Our Extended Neighbourhood – Roadtrip with Friends

We had an enjoyable visit with our dear friends James and Angela, who visited while on their way to Scotland.

We had a great time showing them around Bournemouth, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Corfe, and Swanage.

A highlight was the 25 minute ride on a historic steam train through the Purbeck Hills past the Corfe Castle.  The observation train car we were in has a colourful history.

The car was used to transfer injured service men during the Second World War.  Then, for thirty years it resided in San Francisco as a dining car in a restaurant before being returned to Swanage and restored to the revered tourist train of today.

 James and Angela are now off to Edinburgh, Inverness and Stornoway.   We wish them a great journey!

 

Tea time
These guys are regulars where we had tea. Unlike Canada most restaurants welcome well behaved dogs, adding to the charm of lunch or dinner.

 

Train at Swanage

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