Centre of Melbourne

Getting reacquainted

After clearing customs this side of the pond we headed for the first item on the UK-Must-Eat list: a proper bacon sandwich, something I had been hankering after since before Christmas. It was a disappointment, but I have been consoling myself by rediscovering other British delicacies such as prawn sandwiches, cheese and onion crisps and sausage rolls. M&S is truly wonderful.

Road signs, number plates, chocolate bars, favourite shops and all the seemingly, insignificant paraphenalia of life all add up to create the individual look and feel of home. It can feel a bit disorientating to be in a place that looks very familiar, but at the same time not quite right. Of course that could just be the jet-lag, coupled with the boy’s very bizarre sleep patterns.

Edinburgh was as impressive and beautiful as ever. Despite the fact that we were in Scotland for the Jubilee we did manage to find some bunting and crash a street party. No Jubilee mugs in sight though – I only mention it as receiving one in 1977 was one of the formative, memorable experiences of my young life. 

Street Party in Edinburgh

While in Scotland we had a rare family day on the beach with sausages and mushrooms cooked over a grill, warming up the kids who had been previously frolicking in the freezing waters of the North Sea. The water was so cold that even I was not tempted by the offer of a wetsuit to jump in for a refreshing and bracing dip. We also managed to scare ourselves stupid by going on a ghost tour in the old, underground streets of Edinburgh.

It has been mainly freezing and wet. I had forgotten how it can be this cold in June. Seb commented on rain in Scotland: ‘does it ever stop raining?’ When we drove over the border and Garnet said ‘We’re in England now’, he answered – ‘and it’s raining Daddy’. 

Typical British summer really. It does make you realise how spoilt you get to constant blue skies and infrequent rain. My theory is that there is so much land that there is not enough weather to go round in the US. This means that the blue sky is more of a filler between brief periods of concentrated weather.


It has been lovely to catch up with friends and family, which of course is the main reason for the trip. Seb loved being with his cousins and we have been reminded that the closeness of old friends and family is what we miss most of all really!

We spent a week in Melbourne. It was just lovely being back again. All three of us had huge grins on our faces as we crossed the Swarkestone Causeway for the first time. 

We spent the days with our friends and exploring the place where Seb was a baby and I learnt to be a mum. We checked out our house and I still love it. I was trying to keep my emotional side in check, but it was released by the suddenly familiar clanking drain cover in the back garden and the wobbly finial (Googled it!) on the stairs. 

Obviously there are some worrying changes looming, but most of the differences in the village appear to be for the better, including the woman from Ruskins taking over the kiosk at the res, and the addition of a very fine Sweet Shop.

Old Haunts

Our stay was punctuated with lots of reminiscences, champagne and socialising. The week was rounded off in style with a fabulous birthday party for the boy with all his friends that he wanted to see and most of the mums I wanted to catch up with. 

As with every birthday party there were a few dodgy moments. The most worrying was the upset caused by the fighting with, and popping of, the balloons that had been carefully arranged prior to the party by the birthday boy.

His actual birthday has been celebrated with a lazy day at his cousins house, complete with party tea, too many presents and lots of playing and chocolate. 

A huge big ‘Thank You’ shout out to all our friends and family for welcoming us back so warmly and letting us disrupt their lives! 

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