Back to the land of English
Raj: After what seemed like a long flight and 32 stops on the metro, we arrived back in Tooting, London. Back to the comfort of family, familiar surroundings and English! After 3 months in Europe everything seems so cheap in comparison. The "pound shop" brings the excitement of cheap things, including ice creams, cheesecake and chocolates so I'm very satisfied. I've been to the pub or drinking everyday (as you do) including taking in a Sunday football match where Man C bet Man U 4-1, with animated cheer by the pub patrons, all part of the event. Our craving for a proper curry saw us dine at a Pakistani restaurant (in the top 50 in England) where all the dishes were delicious albeit a bit hot - felt it the next morning!
The last few days have been spent in the country south of London. We visited the Stonehenge, quite amazing with all it's mystery as historians can only speculate the purpose of it's existence. We spent a night in Somerset with Niru (my uncle), his partner Barbara and their labrador Psoraya (also affectionately known as "stomach on 4 legs"). Barbara's 17th century large restored cottage with gardens is in a quaint village with great walks and a few pubs, and completely different from the hustle and bustle of London. While there, we drove around neighbouring villages, had lunches at a couple of traditional English pubs and visited an apple orchard with a cider brewery, renowned for producing cider brandy. While not my drink, we settled for buying a bag of cider vinegar potato chips and a bottle of medium-dry cider.
I've also started putting my mind to all the things we need to do for our return to NZ at the end of October so that we have a phone, internet and one road legal car to get us going. We also have the challenge of how we get all our additional purchases back to NZ and no doubt some more purchases while in the USA. As for USA, we have plenty to figure out as well, which I'll happily leave to Vikki as the chief decision maker and tour guide!
Vikki: It's nice to be back in London, with the comforts of home and the English language. There is a little more sight seeing we want to do in the city but to date we've just stayed in Tooting, getting a few bits and bobs from the local shops and as Raj mentioned, planning for the States and then back to NZ. We had a couple of days down country in Somerset, visiting Stonehenge on the way and then relaxing in the local village. The countryside is lovely as are the quaint villages and local pubs. We've dined on great pub grub and had the best home cooked meal since we left NZ (thanks Barbara). While the kids are enjoying English TV for the first time properly since we left, they are also keen to get out and about and see more of London so hopefully will head out more in the upcoming days and run out that energy!
Anouk: Quite a few days ago we arrived back in London! The most exciting thing so far has been when I went to a jewellery shop to get my ears pierced!!! Just before I got my ears done I got given a special liquid that I have to put around my ears every night for 6 weeks to stop them from getting infected. I also have to turn my earrings around so the hole doesn't close up. I had 4 choices of earrings and I chose a pair of little glass pieces set in gold plated metal. It didn't really hurt but I did say ouch. When it was over and done I turned around and looked in the mirror and I loved them. We walked down to my uncle Niru's card shop to show him my earrings. As a joke he said I should get a nose ring as well! My mum told me that the shop that we went to get my ears pierced was the same shop where my cousin Shivali (in Hamilton) went!
Two days ago uncle Niru drove us down to Somerset which is his other house where he lives with his partner Barbara and their dog Soraya. Soraya is a labrador and a girl. We first decided to take Soraya for a walk up the hill. The walk was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, it only took like 20-30 minutes. The next day we had to leave Somerset for London and sadly had to say goodbye to Barbara and Soraya. I really miss Soraya because I really enjoyed patting and playing with her. She loved playing tug-of-war with her new toy that we gave her. She was really strong because she made us fall down when she pulled hard.
Harley: We are now in London. A highlight has been going to Somerset. My uncle Niru drove us there where he owns another house and with his partner Barbara. On the way we stopped at Stonehenge. Stonehenge is ancient stones placed in a circular shape that are about 3500 years old!!! Nobody knows why or how Stonehenge was built or created. It was built over several centuries from about 3000 to 2000 BC. Stonehenge is made of two different types of stones - sarsen and bluestone. The largest sarsen stone weighs 45 tonnes!!!
Afterwards we went to Somerset, unpacked and then took Barbara's dog Soraya for a walk around the hills. Soraya is a 7 year old black labrador. The next day we went to an apple cider brewery. We walked around the orchard where the apples are grown. The orchard is 150 acres and grows 70 varieties of apples. I thought the apples tasted very sour.