An Autumn Trip to the UK

The UK is not my favourite place nowadays and I refuse to go there in the depths of winter as I find it just too cold so I relented to a visit in October for 2 weeks.

On arrival at Stansted Airport we went to the car hire office to sort out the car we had booked.  We had in fact booked a Ford Focus and found they could upgrade this to a Mercedes C220 as a special deal, Chris was well pleased and thought he was the “bees knees” driving around in it for 2 weeks and he said he would like to bring it back with him, unfortunately it would not fit into his suitcase!

The first few days were spent in Billericay, Essex with the inevitable shopping expeditions and a chance to catch up with Chris’s 2 sons and their partners.  I must say I don’t normally like shopping all that much so tried to keep to the list I took with me.   The one thing I find in the UK is that I drool over the shelves in supermarkets, something I never thought possible, and although our North Cyprus supermarkets are getting better all the time, they still don’t quite match up to the huge range and variety on offer in the UK stores.

After the first few days we made our way to Sussex where we stayed with Chris’s brother and his wife in Crowborough, a really nice market town where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes novels, lived from 1909 until 1930 when he died at the age of 71.

This also gave Chris the opportunity to visit his mother who lives in Buxted, previously the home of Buxted chickens.  It is people of a certain age who will know the name of Buxted – in the context of Buxted chickens which were widely sold and advertised in the sixties and seventies.

We had a a nice Sunday lunch in a village near Battle and then a trip to Bexhill-on-Sea with a walk along the promenade. It was a nice sunny day which brought out people to enjoy the good weather and stroll with their families.  At the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill there is a replica of a bus on the roof which is overhanging and moves slightly up and down.  This was an ingenious idea and was sponsored by Eddie Izzard, based on the bus in the film “The Italian Job”.  Of course there were many people taking photographs to look as if the bus was being supported by their hand.

Click here; Bexhill Bus  to learn more.

Further along the promenade there were some people with old bicycles one of which was a penny farthing, that was a blast from the past. Talking of a blast from the past it was interesting to see a plaque commemorating the fact that this area is where the first car racing was held in the UK.

Click here: Bexhill – Birth of Car Racing to learn more.

While I was there I also had another shopping expedition to Tunbridge Wells which is a nice town with a good shopping area and also we had a short trip to look around Uckfield which had a 2 screen cinema and from the outside looked like an old-fashioned picture house, which is what it was called   –  the Picture House.

Back in Essex we shopped in Brentwood, Harlow and Chelmsford and we also made an attempted visit to see neighbours we had in North Cyprus who had returned to the UK and were now living in Colchester.  What a nightmare!  We got to Colchester with no problems and then spent about 1½ hours going around in circles knowing we were close but not quite finding where we needed to be because of the one way systems etc.  There was no point in phoning them as we had no idea where we were and in the end we had to admit defeat and telephoned our friends to apologise as we had another place to visit and had run out of time.  As Chris said, if he had taken a Tom Tom he could have driven there with no problems.   We then headed for Clacton-on-Sea and had a stroll around the now deserted sea front amusement park and along the pier right to the end, where the sea was a murky shade of grey/brown.   By now the weather was decidedly damp and getting a bit colder, so we headed into the town and had a nice meal of fish and chips before heading back to base.

While out one day Chris took me to see a huge reservoir at Hanningfield in Essex, complete with ducks and swans, it was getting towards dusk and there was a rather nice sunset.   I was amazed at the size of this expanse of water which is in fact a reservoir and my thoughts were – North Cyprus take note, this is the way to conserve water, big time.

I find the areas in and around Essex and Sussex to be very rural with panoramic views and many lovely villages.  Of course it was autumn and the leaves were all turning to their beautiful shades of red and brown, this is a season I have always liked and travelling along the country lanes and seeing all this wonderful colour does tend to make me just a tad nostalgic.

Weather-wise during the 2 weeks, it was actually quite pleasant with some sunshine and not at all cold, although the last 3 days became wet, grey, damp and miserable and I was getting very agitated and eager to get back to my home in North Cyprus.

So, what were my impressions of the UK.   I think it is nice to be able to catch up with family and friends and maybe pick up a few things that we still don’t see here in North Cyprus but the weather doesn’t suit me any more and the amount of traffic I find very off-putting.   It is nice to see the green countryside and look at some of the lovely houses and cottages so while I am there I have very mixed feelings, although most of the time I was counting down the days until I could get back to North Cyprus and now I am back here I appreciate the life I have in this country.

by Margaret Sheard

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