Ando Does England
Another transcribed email from back in the day…
After complaints from many of you readers, the editor has decided to make this one concise. So here goes…
Had a real slack last week before Christmas, with 3 out of 12 people in the department actually working, the rest on holiday. On 24th flew to London and was met by my sister Sally. Within an hour the bags were dumped at the hostel in Victoria (£13 a night – very cheap and in a great location) and it was down to the pub. A call home at midnight completed that formality and we continued our Christmas celebration with everyone at the hostel.
In London I was able to see and do most of what I wanted to: Buckingham Palace (probably THE most boring palace on earth), Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (but not THAT big), Westminster and St Pauls (you’ve seen one big church you’ve seen ’em all), Harrods (Just Another Expensive Department Store), the National Gallery, the London Underground (for anyone who’s been to London – Mind The Gap!), Soho, every single Circus and Square in the town, etc etc. The list goes on… Anything I missed I’ll catch in Oc 99 when I’m back for the Rugby World Cup. Tried to catch a rugby game with Sal on Boxing Day (Wasps v. London Irish) but were thoroughly dicked around and pissed off when we found it’d cost £70 just to get to the ground – one way that is! Saw “Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels” instead. Great film. *****
After Sal left on the 27th I was down to Surrey to surprise “Malaria” Sarah and stay with her family for a few days in Chertsey, a lovely little “very English” village near the Thames. Sarah’s on the improve and getting stronger every day, expecting to get down to Australia around Feb. It was great to see her again in much better shape than the last time in Bangkok! I was made to feel really welcome and was invited to all the family Christmas get-togethers. I also saw Hampton Court Palace, a beautiful, enormous place with fantastic gardens that King Henry VIII used to use as a holiday house. Lucky him.
Back up in London it was New Years Eve. Decided not to go to Scotland as it’d cost me a fortune to get up there (about £100!). After getting into it at the hostel, I left my walk a bit too late to met a friend at Leicester Square. In my inebriated state I found myself geographically embarrassed in South Kensington and heading in the wrong direction, and had to run all the way from there to a packed Leicester Square in about 10 minutes (anyone who’s been to London will understand what distance I’m talking about!). Made t in time, but the rendezvous stuffed up, and I ended up spending midnight by myself (well, with 100,000+ pissed idiots) packed into Trafalgar Square. Horridly crowded and really crap, I won’t do that again! I walked back to the hostel at a more sedate pace in an absolutely foul mood, but soon got back into the swing of things and made a much better night of it.
Last few days were spent visiting a couple more olde friends in Olde London Town and generally taking it easy. Flying out on the 3rd, we had a really hairy landing approach into Zurich. I loved every minute of it, but people’s screams kinda ruined it. Zurich came and went through my window as the plane was thrown all over the place. The pilot put her down nicely and everyone clapped and cheered – when he came on the intercom you could hear his voice was all quavery however, so it MUST have been a good one.