Tag Archives: Harrods

London, 2011

In September of 2011, I received word that my grandmother has passed away in England. She was the last of my grandparents left, and even though you are not meant to have favourites, she was mine.

My mother and I flew to London to meet my father in Weymouth. My bestie was living in London at the time, so I decided a detour was in order before the funeral.

My bestie was living in the suburb of Forest Hill in a lovely large house with a cute English garden and patio. Her partner was working on the London Olympics hence the temporary move from Australia.

We went shopping on Oxford St where I very much enjoying being back in familiar London with the beautiful old buildings, red double decker buses, telephone booths and John Lewis.

A visit to Harrods was a delight. The detailed ceilings in the jewellery and food halls and that made it seem more like a museum than a shop. Then there was the life sized beefeater and policeman teddy bears and the London themed Christmas decorations section. We found Paddington Bear, an indoor merry-go-round filled with stuffed animals and shared a glorious ice cream sundae.

The next day we had tickets to The Lion King in the West End, but we decided to explore the surrounding area first. I spotted St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Whitehall Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from a bridge.

We went to Covent Garden for some Christmas shopping. I also picked up some England only products for myself, saw the biggest paella I have ever seen and spotted one of the many White Lion pubs in England. The show was in the beautiful old Lyceum Theatre and was very entertaining, especially the costumes.

Too soon it was time to bid farewell to my bestie and head to Waterloo to catch the train to Weymouth. A brief, but fun packed visit where I was glad to have been able to catch up with my bestie in her new home.

Related posts: England, 2006, Europe, 2003, England, 2002, England, 1997, England, Singapore and Malaysia, 1988

It’s an English Thing

Whenever somebody asks me where I am from, I always pause to answer.

I was born in Weymouth, England to an English father and a Sri Lankan mother. We lived in and out of England for the first few years of my life, I went to pre-school there, and then we moved to Australia where I grew up in Berry, NSW and was brought up as an Australian.

However, my father never really lost his accent (I still pronounce garage differently to everyone I know), I received a UK passport at birth and have spent a few trips, including a gap year, back in England.

My grandmother never left Weymouth and I always loved going back to visit her. The green rolling hillsides, the little wishing well behind her house and the thatched rooved cottages. The typical English seafront, the rocky beach and the harbour filled with fishing boats. The gorgeous Dorset countryside of quirky towns, white cliffs plunging into the blue Channel and walks through fields picking blackberries along the way.

I also love the city of London. Red telephone boxes, double decker buses, Big Ben, the tube and my favourite Tower of London. I love the parks, the palaces, the plays and the feeling of being at the centre of the world when you walk down Oxford St. I like mixing with the hip crowd at Covent Garden, standing on the edge of Greenwich Mean Time and imagining what it would be like to live inside the houses of Notting Hill. I enjoy seeing the gold encrusted Buckingham Palace gates, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and the bustling Piccadilly Circus. It’s also fun meeting all your Australian mates in a London pub as they are living there temporarily too.

So of course, I am Australia, but I also identify with all things English.

I was brought up on Sooty and Sweep, Noddy and Blue Peter on the TV, Punch and Judy shows at the sands and reading Beatrix Potter and Rupert at bedtime. I enjoyed eating treats from grandma like Hula Hoops, Hob Nobs and Quality Streets.

It’s always fun to go shopping at Boots, Marks and Spencers, H&M and window shopping at Harrods. I love drinking at one of the many great traditional English pubs with the same names in different places like The Golden Lion, The Red Lion, The Swan, the White Hart, The George Inn, The King’s Arms; and running to get into a nightclub before lock out. I have seen people being out on the pull for a snog, have worn a thong on my bottom instead of my feet and flitted off to Europe for a long weekend to escape the long dark winters.

The English culture is not so different to ours which makes it easy to relate to and it’s those little details that help strike up a conversation with a visiting Brit come to Australia to escape the bad weather for a time.

So, I guess I’m not English, as you are from where you grow up. But it is nice to know that I have the experience and knowledge to morph into an English person if needs be.

Related posts: It’s a Spanish Thing,  Toys, People vs Place, England, 2006England, 1997