Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Impressions ...

We've been back in the UK now for just over one week.  We have only taken the boat out once as we have been busy getting together all our bits and pieces for our extended cruising plus visiting Elaine's dad and brother in Macclesfield; whilst we were there we also sorted out our bank account and registration with a doctor - the latter was slightly tricky after a bit of an inquisition by the reception-nazi at the doctor's surgery, who wanted to know who my doctor was 30 years ago - and what their postcode was.  She wasn't at all impressed to know that the whole housing estate had been demolished years ago!

So, these are our observations of the UK so far ...

  • Apart from the quack's receptionist, we have found everybody we have encountered, eg, shop assistants, hospitality staff etc to be unbelievably helpful, exceptionally friendly and humorous !

  • The standard of driving is excellent, as usual !  So far we have done a few thousand kilometres and we have only witnessed one Aussie-type driver - as in, crap and dangerous !  I love driving here !!! :)

  • Thirdly ... the pubs !  Our local at the moment is the Coffee Pot in Yardley Gobion where we are now on first name terms with the owners and staff.  Tonight we went up there to watch a band and how refreshing it was not to have to leave by 8 pm because all the 'young uns' are about the invade the place (ie, as in Manly, NSW !).  We reckon the average age was 50... it is just, so, so nice !  As regards pubs, we have also take the dogs into 3 of the 4 visited and they are made very welcome.
As regards other happenings, we picked up the cats from the cattery today and they are very relieved to be back with us in our new home.  They are settling in really well - however, we haven't started the engine yet !

One other exciting thing that happened in Macclesfield was that Elaine's brother gave us our new mode of alternate transport !  I (Paul) now have an 'as new' mountain bike and Elaine has a Raleigh fold-up bike - with the famous Sturmey Archer 3-speed transmission !  We've not been out on them yet - but they have been cleaned and polished and stored nicely in the cratch !

We are also getting to grips with all the new technology - we now have a Mi-fi which enables us to connect up to five different wireless devices.  So far, we have our laptop, wireless printer and new mobile phone happening!  Talk about extremes - we are going to be living a simple life - but all high tech at the same time ! 

So - all' is good aboard NB Caxton; we are really loving our new home  - we are planning to go out on our first 'solo' trip on Tuesday (after the long Easter weekend) - until then we will be making sure we are all ship-shape - and maybe do a bit of relaxing too !!!


  1. Ahh you've met the Doctors Receptionist. These are a specialist breed very akin to concentration camp personnel but with a thin veneer of civility built in. Their specialist role is to make sure that access to medical care is as difficult as possible and that your stress levels go into the red zone before you get an appointment. Welcome to the NHS.
    So pleased that you are enjoying your new home!!

  2. I'm coming over there from OZ in Aug/Sept and hiring a narrow boat in Scotland for a week.
    After reading yours (and other) post I want to go NOW