Life In Marlow!

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I would swear that name Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud) was really given by the British to New Zealand, to draw attention away from their own cloudy grey country! The caustrophic grey blanket is forever lingering, but I am forever optimistic that summer will eventually arrive.

Marlow - well to sum it up, picture the Thames, crammed brick faced shops, dogs that don't like to walk on the grass, expensive cars, swanky people and rowing clubs - that's Marlow! About the size of Warkworth and located about 1hour by train into Paddington it's in the perfect place for people who want the life style and can afford the commute. I feel fortunate to live in Marlow; it has a lively cafe, lounge bar and restaurant scene and yet given 5 minutes walk and you're in the beautiful English country side or following the romance of the Thames. From a practical perspective, one of the best things about Marlow is its relative safety; I can happily go running in the evenings without any worries. Three minutes down the road in High Wycombe I sometimes look over my shoulder during the day time! England is abit funny like that - the street you are on can be really safe and yet three streets over a whole different world awaits.

I've alot of visitors in Marlow including Hanna, Deb's, Nicky and Ginette. Between old friends and new I have successfully checked out most of the bars and restaurants in Marlow. My favourite is this funky little lounge bar called "Claytons Lounge". Apart from serving delectable Tapas, there's a life size picture in each of the three women's toilets of a naked man in various states of "excitement". I had picked my little town as being the epitome of prudish English society, now I am not too sure if I have misjudged it or if the styly porn in Claytons was just a bold move. Either way, I go there.... alot. Dejan informs that there's nothing in the guy's toilets.... nice to see that management are keeping the women happy!

Destination Southampton - an interesting place if you know the right people and that I do! Having been bombed to shreds in the second world war the city has been rebuilt with architecture that resembles something that makes Hamilton, New Zealand, look pretty in comparison. Unfortunately there's a protection on this large ugly building near the train station (can't remember what it houses) but it not's not unlike a grey block spaceship. Why they have protected it I do not know, but I think nearly every other building in England is more attractive than that particular one. Thanks to Pru I have found that beyond the dreary architecture lies some fabulous people, which have treated me to some absolutely outstanding weekends in Southampton.

A trip to Windsor made me feel like a princess (laugh as you may!). I imagined myself banqueting with the Queen in evening dresses and sorting through masterpieces to hang on my wall (yes I am a great dreamer!). It was so cool, I felt like pushing down the barriers, sitting on the chairs and checking out the beds, but at age 28 I figured I couldn't get away with acting like a 4 year old that doesn't know what the barriers are really for. I loved every minute of Windsor, the difference being the fact that it is still inhabited - not just another castle of ruins. It seemed more real. What's more, a New Zealander looks after all of the Windsor grounds - how cool is that!

English culture seems quiet different to the good old Kiwi way in many respects. I am going to make a few huge generalisations here, but just to note a few observations - visits to peoples homes are usually planned - you don't just "drop in" like you do at home, the radio or stereo isn't on all of the time in English homes like it is New Zealand homes, people dress a lot smarter and take more pride in themselves here, single people often live at home into their 20's, the word "minga" can be applied to nearly everything, the work day can start pretty much anytime between 7.30 and 10am (un bloody believable!) depending on how much poetic justice one puts on traffic delays.

There are load of delights in England that one cannot long beyond - the theater for one pub.... The Lion King, The Woman in White, Les Miserable... Chicago (yes I have become a regular theater junkie), the ability to walk pretty much anywhere in this country without risk of being shot or yelled at by the local farmer, central heating, public transport, history, English pubs, awesome supermarkets, clothes clothes and more clothes (Tasha I wish you were here, but Hanna is doing pretty well at helping me when you're not around!) and Christmas Cards! I received sooo many Christmas Cards over Christmas time, it's so great, everyone gives them - it really is the land of the Christmas Cards!

So, there you go - that's just a few notes on where I have been, where I live and about my life in England. I've also been lucky enough to go up into the Cotswolds for work (absolutely beautiful), over to East Anglia when I first arrived to see Angela (who was on a locum placement there) and up to Nottingham to see my cousin. Slowly and surely I am getting out and about and seeing a lot of things and it really is a great country.
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