Saturday, July 16, 2005

Part 13: I Left My Heart in Sitges and my Credit Card at Paddington Station

16/7/05, 11:00am, Woollahra, local time

And so I'm right back where I started from. Thankfully, unlike most holidays, it feels neither like I just left nor that it was over too quickly. In fact, I was more than a little relieved to get out of the UK on the last day.

I spent my remaining weekend in Leeds, an old-school mining town gradually getting tizzed up a la Newcastle (ours, not theirs) that reminded me a fair bit of Adelaide in terms of size, outlay and people, not to mention the looks of horror you receive from non-Leedsters when you tell them you're visiting there. As if it wasn't freaky enough living down the street from Liverpool Street Station only days before the bombs, however, what would be the odds that I'd also be staying two streets over from the residential homes of the alleged bombers that were raided in Leeds, on the day the raids took place? In this regard Leeds was less like Adelaide, with the helicopters, armed policemen everywhere you looked, bomb threats and robots detonating bombs. I was staying there with my friend Liz (whom I forgot to mention is the single greatest freestyle club dancer in the Western hemisphere, as I found out and neglected to mention during my London adventures), who kindly took me around the sites of Leeds (OK, that didn't take so long), the moors of this gorgeous little hamlet further along the train line called Ilkley (I resisted the urge to bust my Kate Bush moves and cry out "Heathcliff!" and such), and out for a crazy night in Manchester, only very little of which I remember, including but not limited to lying almost unconscious in the middle of Manchester station at about 2am. Staying in a city full of people who naturally sound like Marjorie Dawes was a thrill, and I reciprocated the novelty with my Kath Knight nee Day impersonations as the second season of K&K had just commenced there.

A nice, relaxing (sort of) way to wind off the trip, the bastard Heathrow Express train ticket machine at Paddington station devouring my credit card notwithstanding (I thought hey, if that's the greatest drama of my trip I've done pretty freakin' well).

Touching back down in Sydney yesterday morning was of course reassuring, surrounded by familiar languages and accents and taxis, but also felt a little like coming down. I can only begin to imagine how it's felt for my friends in Europe who've had to return to Australia after 8-10 months, let alone one. Europe was a tremendous high and reality is a spiteful, smug sort of mistress. I know I'd like to get back to the other side of the world ASAP and hopefully for an extended period of time. For now though, it's back to the Local People whom I've missed lots, and cuddling up at night with the million new memories I now have safely tucked away. I have my definitive psychological happy place to which to take myself as the need arises and I feel a lot more confident of what I take can on prior to this trip. So ciao, au revior and see ya later Europa. It's been fab.


At 16/7/05 3:51 pm, Anonymous Bazza (Crows cheerleader) said...

Welcome home sweetness at least you did'nt lose your you know what!or did you?
By the way, Leeds is no way like Adelaide, they don't have the CROWS.

At 16/7/05 6:15 pm, Blogger Miss Ember said...

Welcome home, Samwise, one of my fave Local People! I missed ye!
Miss Ember

At 16/7/05 9:56 pm, Blogger bee-eric said...

Yea! A mention at last!
Finally getting over the Manchester hangover. You should have mentioned the one English boy who had a quiet little technicolour yawn at said station, it certainly out-does your little nap!
Isn't it great to be back in time for the Australian winter? I know i'm enjoying the cold (not).

At 18/7/05 3:22 pm, Anonymous Zhasper said...

I've just fallen in love with you all over again...

Full text feeds in my aggregator! Woot!

Thanks :)

At 20/7/05 3:27 pm, Blogger Jellyfish said...

Welcome back. Have muchly enjoyed reading about your adventures, sir!

At 22/7/05 4:32 pm, Blogger j(aded) said...

Glad you're back home safe and sound! Have lived your trip vicariously this past month and feel very much exhausted for you :)


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