Monday, 13 March 2017

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago Susan and I left Australia to start a new life in London.

We were emboldened by a certain amount of optimism and naivity. Because it was at the absolute start of the internet era we had looked online from an internet cafe at options for housing and jobs, but it was slow - which we took to mean slow internet rather than lack of options in London in 1997. Between us we had a 4 week booking at a "holiday apartment" in south-east London, a certain amount of savings, a suitcase of clothing and two bass guitars.

I'm not certain of the house number any more, but I think our first place of residence
in the UK was 322 Devonshire Road, Honor Oak. Its the place with the brown fence.

For a while we actually followed the path we thought we would. There were concerts, shopping for new wardrobes, Susan got exactly the job we hoped she would get, and I re-entered education. We even managed to rent a historic house. Over time we settled in to life in London, then realised that it meant we weren't doing stuff any more, that real life in all its banality had caught up. We took a couple of trips to Europe as soon as the financial situation levelled out, started going to the occasional concert again, but it no longer felt like the adventure we wanted to have.

Our second house in London was in East Ham, just around the corner
from where I lived when I was 6 years old

We started looking for another change - and after a while things started to take their own course, one we never thought we would be on. Almost 8 years living in France, owners of a part stable of classic cars, with excellent friends and neighbours. For one of us every day is an adventure as soon as he steps out of the door - words to try to recall, workarounds for grammar, remembering to say "bonjour". Susan has the potager and real soil, something we never had in London, and a growing circle of scientific type friends. Sometimes the challenges wear us down, but we are a pretty resilliant team and one of us eventually comes through. We try not think too much about what the future holds, because at the moment we are enjoying our life here and quite frankly the thought of being forced to change it is too depressing.

But twenty years...



Jean said...

Twenty years is indeed a long time. You have made huge and brave changes to your lives in that time.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

I think you should add to your achievements that you inspired us to come and live in France for a wonderful six years before we, too, moved on to pastures new. But we won't be moving again!!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Interestingly I surveyed ALL of Newham Health properties in 1998/99 so you would have been around there then. Col

Post a Comment