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Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder?
On my first few visits back to the UK from Portugal I couldn’t find a single thing to be happy about – I just sulkily longed to be back in the Algarve. Now the visits have become more routine, I am finding a few (just a few!) reasons to not completely hate the time I spend back here. (The usual disclaimer with regard to it being great to catch up with friends and family applies!)
This time round, our works brings us to Southampton, somewhere I have never been before. It was quite exciting to put the TV on in the hotel yesterday just at the point when the
queen smashed the bottle on the new Cunard Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, down the road.
Other that the obvious satisfaction in knowing that the queen herself made an appearance during our very own maiden voyage to Southampton, I have actually found this city to be quite agreeable, with a relaxed student vibe.
As with most places in the UK nowadays, Southampton does also seem to have its share of “got a spare fag mate?” chavs and troops of young single mums with hoop earrings sufficiently large for dolphins to use them for tricks, but the trendy students seem to dilute them down to the level of minor irritation rather than major annoyance.
Once again, being back in England is making me notice new differences—both comparisons between here and Portugal and differences in how I am, now I live such a vastly different life.
I walk a lot slower nowadays. I have already got used to London seeming faster on previous visits, but if Southampton feels like a fast-lane to me now, I must have really slowed down to a Portuguese pace!
A lot seems unnecessarily complicated and illogical around these parts too. How on earth a tourist is supposed to select the correct train ticket from the vast array of choices at the Gatwick ticket machines is beyond me—and I lived here nearly all my life.
A few more days and we’ll be back in Portugal again, until then, time to do some work at UK pace and enjoy a few things we have been looking forward to – Thai food and fish and chips being the priorities.
So, I’ll be back when I am back in the hopefully sunny Algarve, by which time I am sure to have found some reasons to moan about England again!
Have a good week.