Life chugs along and we are now in South West London. The weather, raining when we left Anguilla (was the island crying, sad to see us go?), was delightful in New York and, after a little rain when we arrived in Southampton, has brightened into several days of Indian Summer now we are in the suburbs. We have picnicked twice with my parents in the sunshine and my father has complained of the heat!
We have noticed several changes to England. The green brigade has become more vocal since we left in January 2001. Now the environment is a community concern. The local recycling and waste disposal facility near my parents' home has just been reorganised and residents are trying to get used to the new layout and ways of doing things. Sign posts are low down and not easily visible from a car, so there are lots of pedestrians carrying or dragging large bags of rubbish from their cars to the point of disposal, often some distance away. I am sure that this will be sorted out eventually but for now, there are a lot of confused recyclers in Kingston! The point though, is that there are a lot of recyclers - the message is getting through and people are doing their bit.
I noticed that Woolworths, the store where I had my first Saturday job back in the dark ages, is in financial trouble and the huge shop it had in Southampton is now no longer there. Shame. I used to love wandering around this massive branch. You never knew what you were going to find on its shelves, although the last few times I visited I did wander if the decision makers at Head Office actually knew what their customers wanted. There was a bewildering assortment of pink TVs, sweets sold by weight and cheap household products. As I say, part of the charm was not knowing what you were going to find when you browsed. I shall miss Southampton's store when we move back to the area next week.
There seem to be a lot of large cars for sale now. No doubt this is due to the government's road tax amendments, which make it very expensive to run high powered, fuel inefficient vehicles on Britain's road nowadays. Joe and I are looking for another car and find we are spoilt for choice amongst those cars with engines bigger than 2.0 litres. We were thinking of a small hatchback, about 1.4 -1.6 litres and are finding that we are not the only ones who want such a car. Prices are high and we are blinking! We will keep looking I think.
We are staying with my parents for a short while. This is proving quite a nice way to reacquaint ourselves with our home country. As I have mentioned, we have been out picnicking and I took my mother out for a 'girls day out' to London yesterday.
This was a real eye-opener to me. My mother is not good on her feet after a very short while and so I decided to dig out the wheelchair she dislikes hugely and take that along with us on our day out. I called the railway and booked assistance and checked the various venues we might go to, to see if they were wheelchair friendly. They were, so off we went. Southwest trains were excellent and staff there provided ramps to get on and off the railway carriages with no hassle, City Cruises from Waterloo pier were equally helpful (as were several passersby - thanks gentlemen) so we had an enjoyable trip up and down the river to Greenwich and back, two taxi drivers were very good indeed in getting mother into their taxis with portable ramps that appeared as if by magic and the staff at Brown's Hotel, where we went for afternoon tea (wonderful), were completely unfazed by a lady in a wheelchair. This all made the day very enjoyable indeed.
Ok all for this post. We are helping my parents to sort their shed out - a mammoth task!