Jan 22nd – Feb 3rd
Our first week in the UK was spent staying at a local AirBnB while we attempted to set up a bank account, get UK phone numbers and look for a place to live. All of these things were challenging; in the UK, if you don’t have proof of current address and/or a postcode, everything is a struggle, and a lot of it you just plain cannot do. Luckily we found a bank that would let us open an account just using Lloyd’s working visa and my British passport.
In the meantime, however, we had some good experiences and acquired other all-important items. For example, I got boots, and stopped sloshing around in the rain in canvas sneakers dragging my flared jeans in the mud. After a fun (not) experience with a cheap umbrella, I also obtained a waterproof coat.
I got to explore the Southampton Common for the first time, and saw my first white swans, squirrels and red breasted robins. I also had my first mushy peas and discovered that I actually rather like English beer; this warm stuff far outstrips the Australian cold beer in my opinion. We met with Lloyd’s new boss for lunch, who turned out to be absolutely lovely, despite my removing my soggy socks and sneakers in the pub in order to dry them by the fire.
All considered it was an adventurous and fascinating first week full of excitement and more rain than I had ever known existed in the world. Our AirBnB hosts, Amy and Vic, were very helpful during this time and the following week which we also spent in their home, and reassured us when we were sure getting the necessities set up was completely impossible. Throughout all we maintained the ability to laugh at ourselves; on the worst of the days, when everything had gone wrong, we came back to the AirBnB to have one of the most memorable moments of these two weeks. Finally somewhere dry, we did the adult thing and started making hot tea. Lloyd reached into the fridge, announcing that he would snack on a peach, and raised the resulting fruit to his mouth to take a bite. Turning to me, deadpan, he announced dryly, ‘It’s a nectarine’ and we both collapsed laughing for an unreasonably long time at this final scene in the episode of unfortunate events.