Sunday, 12 August 2012

I went on holiday!

I just got back from 2 weeks of holiday back in the UK. I'd been away three and a half months by then, and I had tickets for the final day of the rowing at the olympics, and there was no way I was missing THAT, so off I went.

All in all it was wonderful to be home. The weather was good, and the UK in summer (where there is a summer) is a very nice place. I drank lots of tea and lots of ale, and ate lots of pub dinners. And lots of Olympics. Started with an opening ceremony party at Emma's, complete with torch relay against the other flats and me breaking my toe in a particularly competitive egg-and-spoon race. Then the cycling road race on Putney High St - amazing in it's combination of the everyday ('I'm on Putney High St. I used to row near here. That's where I used to shop') and the amazing ('Holy Crap there are flags everywhere! And those people are going so damn fast! And COME ON CAV'). Then the gymnastics at the O2 - spectacular and fascinating, and a legitimate opportunity to perv at underage men in lycra with massive guns. Then a morning at the big screen in Hyde Park to watch some athletics and some rowing.

And lastly, and best off all, the rowing at Dorney, again combining the everyday with the amazing - the day before I was practically skipping, and odd to think I was excited about going to Dorney. Normally I hate Dorney! And I was going to Dorney on the train not in a car full of rowers and smelly wet rowing kit. And when I got there I wasn't going to lie in a front loader, being soaked, but instead to watch the best rowers in the world compete. And it didn't disappoint - of course we got soaked, but what would a trip to Dorney be without getting soaked, and it gave us an opportunity to one up one another about 'the wettest I've been at Dorney'. And we ran into a few people we knew, of course. It started with the minor finals, which was fun because we could all see things they were doing wrong, before building up to the real finals - where we watched Team GB win two Golds and a Silver, including Golds for two people in the men's four who we all knew slightly from Oxford boatie-ing.

Generally as well the country had a different spirit - everyone was so happy, and there was flags everywhere. In the US and Israel I found this creepy, I think because they were there all the time, but as an unusual outburst of patriotism and realisation that actually our country could put on a pretty good show and could be actually pretty good at sport and hey even the weather was fine, all coupled with the knowledge that in a week or two we'll be back to our normal, grumbly selves, it didn't seem so uncomfortable. And as a returning exile delighted by everything I found in my homeland ('It's so GREEN!' 'Aren't pubs the most wonderful cosy homey things in the WORLD!' 'Gosh it's so easy to travel around here, the distances are so manageable' 'Aren't our old buildings so PRETTY!' 'Yes, yes I do want another cup of tea'), it suited my mood exactly.

When I wasn't Olympic-watching I spent a lot of time (though never enough) with friends - some of whom I barely saw when I lived in the UK, because there's something about being back for a short time that makes you pull your finger out and see people, rather than assuming that you can see them whenever so never bothering. I even ran into a few randomly - Alex from Pembroke in Cardiff, Rob from Georgia at the Olympics, and Mishi from Geneva in Oxford. Apparently the UK is a very small place - who knew? Anyway, lots of catching up was done by all, and I left much reassured that I will still have friends when I go home.

Picking up on the politics was fun too - what's happening at the ERS, what's happening with the local Lib Dems, and how Labour in Oxford are introducing mental plans to screw over people in multiple occupancy houses, which in the case of Oxford is basically everyone under about 40. Sad not to be there to help fight it, but sure they'll do something equally daft again, so I'll have future opportunities.

All in all then, there were two things that made it a wonderful holiday - picking up the threads of my life, and experiencing the UK in a way that I never have before and will never have the chance to do again. Which couldn't really have been much better.

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