It hit me one day – winter was coming and I did not want to be around for another cold, grey, and miserable winter so I decided to escape back home, and back to a warm summer.
As well as the cold, grey and miserable winters, it was that place where it doesn’t really snow yet there can be ice on the roads in the morning making it hazardous to walk down the street to get to work. That place where there’s plenty of your country men and women, and your ancestors came from there, and it costs a fortune to do just about everything. Have you guessed yet? Yes, I’m talking about London, England.
I’d already been living there for nearly a year longer than I planned, the plan being one year. I’d done some travelling but it was time to leave. Winters in London are really depressing. It’s not so much the cold weather, but the continual grey sky. If the sky was just blue for a while it might be a lot more bearable. It was also the short days which meant travelling to and from work in the dark. Maybe I was too used to mild Australian winters and was spoilt and just couldn’t handle a different winter climate, I’m not sure.
I really wanted to go home and have an Australian summer but it was going to be hard to leave England. I’d finally made some good friends there – it had taken a while. I’d made friends with people I lived with and I’m still in touch with one of them now. My upstairs neighbours in the last flat I lived in were fantastic. They invited us to their regular Tuesday night food and video sessions and I did other stuff socially with them also. I’d made friends with people I worked with as I’d worked in the same place for nearly one year. In fact I could have got a good job with British Airways who were associated with my work which probably would have meant cheap flights home but even that did not entice me to stay.
I still wanted to go home. I went on one final trip to Israel and Egypt and organised a travelling partner for a trip through India on the way home. I also organised a couple of tea chests for the goods I’d collected and didn’t want to part with. I found a person to replace me in the flat and realised that finally I wouldn’t get hassled to pay for that TV licence. I still don’t get why you have to pay to watch a television in England after you’ve already paid to buy a television.
For my last few days in London I stayed with a couple of friends and said my goodbyes to everyone and finally the morning came where I caught the tube to Heathrow for the flight to New Delhi.
It took two months to get back to Australia via India but it was worth it, and I knew I was home as I left the Melbourne airport and the money collector at the car park gate said, ‘No worries mate’ in that unmistakable Australian accent.