Since I am now living on the other side of the world to my family and most of my friends this blog is about things I enjoy, things I notice, people I meet, people I miss, history, planning for the future, love and life in general! I guess it's about whatever pops into my head which I want to share with my friends and family... and who knows? I might make some more friends along the way!

29 September, 2008


Because I think about the differences between living in England and living in Australia on an almost daily basis I thought I'd do a random blog about the things that cross my mind from time to time...

Light - The light in England is much... 'softer' than the light in Australia. Even on the days that were (apparently) the hottest of the summer, I didn't get a sense of it being as bright as it would be at home, even on some of the not-hottest days of summer... At this time of the year, when the sun is setting and it's dark by 7pm (& no, we haven't finished daylight savings yet!) the sun sits lower in the sky. I have a sense that it's permanently late afternoon!
Roads - I have yet to come across a 'grid' formation in any town or city, let alone a village. Whereas in Australia much of our boom happened in the last 150 years, meaning that more planning of expansion of road trasport occoured - even in the days when that still meant horse-drawn vehicles and cattle drays - in England many of the roadways were originally footpaths and legal 'rights of way' from one village to another, possibly following a, now redundant, stream, or going the most level way. There are few roads which give you more than a few hundred metres of visibility once you are off the main motorways... come to think of it the main motorways often only give you a few hundred metres of visibility! The narrow, twisting roads from village to village are tretcherous, and I actually prefer driving on them at night when headlights give you an early warning if there's a vehicle coming (at up to 60mph/100kph) around the next sharp bend! The age of things! - In Australia we get excited about something that is more than 100 years old! I mean - that's almost half the age of our 'modern history'! Anything that goes back to convict days, or to the gold rush of the 1850s is remarkable! Here, it's pretty ordinary to see houses which have dates on them from the 17th & 18th century which are still lived in. The fact that parts of the farm house I live in are 200 years old is barely worthy of comment... In addition to the amazing age of current dwellings, there are churches which have Norman towers (like the one in Hadlow) and castles dating from around 1070 in their origins (as in nearby Tonbridge) and Roman ruins dotted here and there, not to mention truly ancient monuments such as Stonehenge or the chalk giant on the hillside at Cerne Abbas There is, standing about a 5 mintue drive from where I live, a place called Soar Old Manor which was built in around 1270 and is in remarkable condition today! and my own flickr set of photos: Traffic lights - There are many, many more roundabouts in England - and you will rarely see traffic lights at the end of an off ramp from a motorway, as you do in Melbourne. Granted there are many more traffic lights in London than in the country, but even larger towns like Royal Tunbridge Wells has more roundabouts and pedestrians crossings than traffic light controlled intersections. Somehow it works better too, although I don't think it would in Melbourne. To be honest drivers here are more patient and polite and will give way to folk waiting to turn, or show basic courtesy when there is a traffic jam. The state of some of the roads would cause accidents and public outcry in Australia, but people here accept that it's part of life, give way to someone else, and wait their turn.

So, there's a few of my little musings... I am sure there will be more, but I wanted to put these down while I thought of them...

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