Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Stoical End to 2013

Despite what I wrote in my last post, the world has not yet adopted my idea of moving New Year!
In fact, as I sit here typing, fireworks are lighting up the skies of the world's capital cities, making their way slowly from one side of the world to the other.

The odds of my making it still awake through till midnight are slim indeed though. For twice a year I now have an appointment with St Mark's hospital down in London, just to keep a check on things. The run up to this is always a bit stressful, but it was nice to end the year confirming that there are no major problems on the immediate horizon. But a good whack of sedation does not make for staying up late, or for a spot of celebratory alcohol.

The journey inside the M25 reminds me every time of the wisdom of our decision to move out to our own piece of rural England.

There are people everywhere, and houses crammed in, and noise, and everybody's in a rush. Then there's the traffic. Last time, we left over four hours for what should be a two hour drive. We arrived, stressed out, with only a couple of minutes to spare.
So this time we gave ourselves oodles of time to get there. With two and a half hours still to go, we pulled up into the hospital car park!

And so we decided to fill the time somehow. When we lived in south-east London, the sight of Canary Wharf towering above all else told us that we were heading back into the capital. Likewise, our arrival into North London is greeted by the Wembley Arch reaching its protective arm over the suburban scenery.  So I decided to go have a closer look. I have to admit to being quite impressed, but I was even more taken aback by the mass of modern hotels and homes which now surround it, quite a change since, as a boy, I last walked up Wembley Way towards the Twin Towers.

Since then, the world has moved on a lot. But maybe one particular corner of Lincolnshire has lagged behind a little! When we first moved here, perfectly nice people would ask us if, as teachers in London, we had to teach "all that multicultural stuff". There was nothing malicious in the way it was said, but it was futile to explain the many benefits of living in such a rich, cultural diversity.

Well, today we were reminded of this. As the rain lashed down, and the congested traffic chugged and splashed past, we came across this gem.

There are not many shops like this in Spalding. A few 'Eastern European' shops, yes. But I'm afraid that Indian cuisine beats Eastern European hands down. Like kids let loose in a sweetshop, we stocked up on spices, chickpeas and rice. Some of the exotic vegetables  looked tempting too, but we're still eating our way through the Christmas fayre, especially since I had to go on  a restrictive diet prior to my hospital visit and also those relatives we had over for Christmas left a couple of days early (don't ask!!!).
Back to those vegetables, they even had yardlong beans, but not as nice as the home-grown ones I've got in the freezer.

Well, I really can't stay awake much longer now. Tomorrow is the 11th day of Johnuary 2014 and I've got skirting boards and doors to be oiled. Danish Oil - the best thing to come out of Denmark - Vikings, Peter Schmeichel and bacon not excepted!
But I diverge.

Here's looking forward to an enjoyable and successful 2014 for everyone.

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