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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Back To The Home Country Part 1 ほんごく 本国

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

2022 年 9 月 24 日

Often on hikes I am looking down at the river Rhein, watching the boats and admiring the castles. On Friday I was doing just that, but just a bit higher. LH928 to London City was on time, leaving in the early morning sunshine from Frankfurt, and giving me a fine view of Boppard......ライン川

I had been invited to a birthday celebration 🎉たんじょういわ in Sussex, and was looking forward to seeing family and friends alike during my stay. So here I am in the departure lounge: It is early morning and I am tired, with a slight headache. In this fragile condition I am irritated by other passengers eating in public. They unrap their crinkly paper bags and stuff a roll into their mouths.Then it's the drink. Screaming children fray the nerves, as does the banal notification ping from a phone. On these occasions I always regret not bringing headphones. Fuelling up with a cappucino I look below the table......テーブルの下に...🤣

And have a laugh.

It is extraordinary. There is so much time, energy and money invested in technology and safety measures onboard an aircraft, but not apparently in comfort. I can feel a sort of horizontal bar across the back of my seat. It is awful. Who designs these seats? 誰がこれらの座席を設計したか Is this some sort of built-in hardship to keep you awake? I wonder if the complimentary sliver of chocolate is meant to make you feel happy....?

When you fly in to London City Airport you land between old shipping docks. ロンドン シティ空港に到着すると、古い船積みドックの間に着陸します.This is not the London of Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace or West End theatres. This is the gritty, former working heart of the metropolis. Everything is mixed up. Brick chimneys hint at the 19thc. slums.......

A 1920's flour mill factory awaits renovation, 古い工場、東ロンドン...

and plate-glass monoliths of the 21st.c. proclaim "IT, Innovation, Investments....". Oh, and luxury flats. This is the new London. Docklands. It is still messy and ugly in places, but it will evolve.....ドックランズ

I walked out of the airport and took one stop on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Pontoon Dock. The very name of the place fascinated me, hinting as it did of the former maritime history of this area....

A ten minute walk brought me to the Thames flood barrier. I have always wanted to see this thing, it having been big in the news years ago when it was completed. In the event of a high spring tide coupled with an easterly wind, it holds back the water, preventing flooding. Here it is.....テムズ川の防潮堤。

A selfie was of course mandatory....

History lay in the mud.......歴史。 泥。

And a fine promenade with an Olympic park offered a lovely green space and view of the river.....素敵な公園

..... including wave-like topiary....トピアリー

....and funny notices.....面白いメッセージ

A view of the Thames Barrier..テムズ川。 洪水防御

After all this excitement I needed a cup of coffee. The only practical solution was a nearby Starbucks (!). I ordered my Café Latte and a bun and got out my money. "Sorry, only cards" said the girl. Damn. I had forgotten that London is going cash-free. As my British bank card didn't work (it has been lying unused for too long, which software developers hate) I had to pay from my German bank. But I got the coffee in the end. Phew. Even a Starbucks coffee can give you a lift sometimes! ☕

Friday evening found me in Walthamstow in north east London, home to my singing and 'cellist colleague Rachel. I noticed this sign at the station......女王が亡くなった.

And cyclists-friendly installations........

Meeting the local animals.....動物たちに会いに行こう

In fancy or in fact......(a wild fox emerges from the railway cutting to sniff around the pub)...


...and a taste of British word-play.......😁

Saturday. Caught the train to Haywards Heath in Sussex, using the wonderful Thameslink Service from St. Pancras.

The modern, comfortable train glides with miraculous ease through the architectural chaos of south London. First you slide into Blackfriars Station, and sit on the bridge above the Thames for a minute or two. This gives you a great view of the river with St. Paul's Cathedral...電車からの川の眺め

Then somehow you pass by the medieval cathedral of Southwark.....サザーク大聖堂..without actually hitting it....

....over bridges built by the Victorians,

and sleek new versions of Georgian buildings....

...and Dickensian chimneys.....

Half an hour or so later the view is becomes is Sussex gliding by, seen from the Balcombe Viaduct.....Always, when I came home from University or from working in London, crossing this viaduct was a sort of rubicon, or right of passage. Now we really are getting home, I always used to think. One of my parents would pick me up from Haywards Heath station and then we would start catching up on all the news. 子どものころの思い出.

All that is now in the past, and I have to catch a taxi to the my home village of Cuckfield. I visit the church, which is gloriously lit up by the friendly sunshine.....故郷

The wagon vault medieval roof which I would examine during tedious sermons.....

And the centuries old yew tree still keeps watch outside....イチイの木..樹齢数百年

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this trip to the UK was a chance to meet friends and family. And it was friends whom I have known for well over 30 years who were celebrating a round number this year. However, they had little idea who was actually coming, as two clever daughters had organized the whole event. 賢い娘たち.....

So it was with a fun sense of conspiracy to be picked up from the church in a florists` van and whisked to the venue 😉. The birthday lunch was a very happy occasion, full of laughter and reminiscences. I felt privileged to be there 😊.


The river Thames has featured prominently in this post, so I have chosen the character for river this week. It is very simple.......かわ...Kawa/Gawa......And as currents do not always run straight in rivers, neither does my calligraphy.....

I send out this blog pretty randomly to whoever I think might be interested. Some of you have subscribed (if you are on your mobile then open the menu at the start), which means you get a deluxe notification via email. Thank you! Some of you though have not been receiving the notification emails. Could be they have ended up in your spam folder. If you don't want to be sent this blog, don't hesitate to tell me and I shall take you off the list. No problem.

この投稿を読んでいただきありがとうございます。 新しい投稿のお知らせを受け取りたい場合は、上部の購読フォームに記入してください。 ありがとう!Nigel.😊



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