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Late 2002: Into the U.K.

After arriving in late November, we moved in to a small flat and got going with all the things that starting off in a new place required: pub lunches, dinner parties and other onerous responsibilities...

WELL TRAINED. This is actually a picture taken INSIDE A TRAIN under the English Channel. You can't actually drive under the Channel but instead your car/bus/moped is rolled into a huge carrier train that does the transporting (see their official site) while you sit inside your vehicle and listen to a CD because there's no radio reception underwater! This is Laetitia behind our Paris-London coach whooping with relief after clearing British Immigration (which we did IN FRANCE before actually boarding the train). She always gets a bit tense at official Immigration points, probably a legacy of her run-in with Chinese border guards when we were leaving mainland China after a short holiday there in April 2000. MADE IT!

Our street...

The first week here was spent with our respective brothers in different parts of the city, after which we moved in to our flat and began the long process of getting settled again, arranging bank accounts, phone and internet services etc etc. This was the 4th time we'd set up a new place to live since 1997! Pain. We now lived in a small flat in a decently leafy street in the building on the left of the picture. Unfortunately, we can also hear the nearby underground trains, too!



That was then, but this is now...


CHANGE OF SCENERY. Here's a nice example of just one of the reasons that we're enjoying life in a different part of the world. On the left is the kind of view we had to cope with living in Seoul, while on the right was our view from our London flat. Don't get us wrong - there are many things which we'll miss about life in Korea and Taiwan, but the concrete jungle of Asian cities is not one of them.
  FRIENDS AND FAMILY. We spent the first night here with L's brother, Phil, and her sister-in-law, Joanne. They lived in the southwest of the city, near Kew Gardens, and were renting a lovely place. It was really nice to see them again and we had a lovely time eating, eating, and erm, eating. There might also have been some wine involved...
OI'M 'ENRY THE 8TH , OI AM! We'd been to London quite often before this, so had done all the tourist stuff already, except for a visit to Hampton Court Palace (which I remember my brother Shelley visiting back in the mid-70s when he became the first person in my immediate family to go to Europe).  OI'M HENRY ATE OI AM!

BACK TO LIFE. Since getting to the UK in October, this was our newest abode - Kilburn, in the northwestern suburbs of London. We lived in the multicultural borough of Brent (visit the local council's website for more about the area). No, the whole building did NOT belong to us - we rented a studio flat overlooking the rear garden. 

Christmas comes but once twice a year! With two sets of relatives in London, we were lucky enough to have TWO huge dinners to celebrate the occasion: Xmas Eve with Laetitia's brother and sister-in-law in SW London, and then Xmas day with my brothers on the other side of the city. All that bubbly - coupled with TWO turkeys and mountains of mince pies - took a superb toll. Roll on, New Year! (Burp) CHRISTMAS IN RICHMOND !
WHERE I WORK! HERTZ SO GOOD. I applied for one job on arriving and got it. Lucky me. It offered a combination of things I like: nice cars, lots of driving, listening to loads of different radio stations very loudly, no dress code, seeing the countryside, being able to take a day off whenever I want to, plus earning the rent - the little things. It meant a 90-minute commute to Heathrow Airport every morning, but it was a living and tided us over nicely until we were ready to move our of London.
SU-SU-STUDIO! My brothers have had their own band called Lumiere for years, and they do frequent gigs, for which they have to do almost as frequent rehearsals. Here I am with them in a north London studio. Actually, the only brother in the picture is the manic axeman Ryan. Cade, who does lead vocals, was busy elsewhere. WITH LUMIERE IN REHEARSAL STUDIO

Have a look here for more about what we were up to in London or follow us to Bristol on the 2003 page.


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