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United Kingdom

Unexpected trip home

St Albans


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This is the reason why I came home for a few days between 5th - 10th September.

Very sadly in the second half of last month my father was diagnosed with a brain tumour. A massive shock for all, but I was constantly kept in the loop via email and video chat - I am so unbelievably grateful that Google video chat exists - so the distance between Ecuador and the UK didn't seem so far, and when I wasn't talking to my family, teaching helped keep my mind off things. When teaching I could forget everything except the students and the lesson content.

Luckily the tumour was able to be removed, so he had the operation on the 9th. I managed to get some very short notice time off work to be able to come back to the UK for a few days before the operation. As you can imagine, it was wonderful to see Dad, Mum and rest of family again, plus Dave, who drove down from Manchester to see me. Dad was able to stay at home in the lead-up to the operation rather than at the hospital, which was great.

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I arrived in the UK after dark. The next day when I stepped out of doors I could smell autumn in the air. It had rained during the night and I could smell the earth and leaves. All it needed to top it off was the smell of bonfire smoke and it would have been perfect. Guayaquil doesn't really do seasons; from May to the end of November it's hot, humid but dry, and from December to the end of April it's even hotter and more humid and it rains. A lot. I have yet to experience the latter but from what my students have told me, the rain then is something to behold.

I picked blackberries at the Wick (a small piece of local woodland with a large field attached) and walked into town a couple of times for a look-around. Nobody had told me that two or three of the shops in St Peter's Street had been torn down! I turned the corner by the Blacksmith's Arms and gaped at the gap that had appeared. A hotel's going to be built there. I remembered seeing articles and arguments about a new hotel in the Herts Advertiser for months before I left the country in May, but didn't know it was actually going to go ahead.

On my second trip to town I took the opportunity to have some takeaway fish & chips, despite first being knocked sideways by the price. It was worth it! Other food I had over the course of my stay was a lovely slow-cooker beef stew, blackberry and apple snow (fruit topped with meringue and baked in the oven), lasagne, and chocolate chip bread and butter pudding with custard. Delicious.

I managed to visit Dad in hospital in London in the evening on the 9th, after he'd come round from the operation, before flying back to Ecuador the next day. The tumour was successfully removed!

Posted by 3Traveller 14:04 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london united_kingdom dad dave mum st_albans british_cuisine Comments (0)

First blog post!

St Albans

This is a test entry more than anything else.

I walked around St Albans on Tuesday taking some photos, firstly to have as a reminder of home once I'm in Ecuador and secondly because who knows, I may find that they come in handy at some point when teaching. I took ones of the Clock Tower, French Row, St Albans Abbey Cathedral, Fishpool Street, the war memorial garden with the tower of St Peter's church in the background, Verulamium Park and the stream/ ford at St Michaels, and the Robin Hood and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pubs.

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

Disused side entrance at the Clock Tower

Disused side entrance at the Clock Tower

Eleanor Cross sign on the Clock Tower

Eleanor Cross sign on the Clock Tower

Another sign on the Clock Tower

Another sign on the Clock Tower

View of St Peter's Church taken from the war memorial

View of St Peter's Church taken from the war memorial

Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban

Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub

Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park

Roman remains, Verulamium Park

Roman remains, Verulamium Park

Ford at St Michael's

Ford at St Michael's

Pub sign on historic Fishpool Street

Pub sign on historic Fishpool Street

Historic Fishpool Street

Historic Fishpool Street

The White Hart Inn

The White Hart Inn

The Robin Hood pub

The Robin Hood pub

The Robin Hood pub sign

The Robin Hood pub sign

I'm off to Manchester on the Megabus tomorrow, returning with Dave on Sunday. Then I'll have two full days in St Albans before I leave at 6.20am on Wednesday morning (the 15th)! I really want to visit the bluebell woods in Sandridge before I go, so long as the weather's good, so hopefully I'll be able to do that on Monday or Tuesday.

Posted by 3Traveller 12:34 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom cathedral clock_tower st_albans roman_remains french_row verulamium_park fishpool_street st_peter's_church historic_pub Comments (1)

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