Monday, January 15, 2007

Of my Ecco shoes and Leeds Castle

I opened the shoe cupboard and smiled when I saw my old pair of Ecco shoes. Nice sturdy walking shoes. I bought them at one of the discount factory outlets of course. I don't believe in paying retail prices for anything. These shoes, I wore them last on my backpacking trip. My situation has changed. My role has changed. My body has changed. But the shoes are still there and they feel very much the same. I had almost bought a new pair of walking shoes to come back here, now I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I kept the pair and didn't send them to the charity shop or the shoe bank.

London however is changing. One of the things that was most noticeable for me was how much more expensive everything is. The cost of travel cards have gone up. Your money doesn't really go very far here, especially not with the current exchange rate.

Today was the first day we saw any sunlight. I almost spent the day at home watching the re-runs of celebrity Big Brother. I haven't seen Big Brother for a long time you know! And guess what Jade is back in the house doing her old thing. But luckily he dragged us out to Leeds Castle. I had thought that Leeds Castle would be in Leeds. But no, its in Kent, good, old green Kent.

I don't know what it is but the sight of green grass all round and the smell of fresh air was just making me heady. The headache I had in the car ride simply disappeared when we stepped into the grounds of Leeds Castle. What is there to do there you wonder? Well I like feeding the ducks and the swans. I could just watch them for hours and hours feeding on every bit and morsel of stale bread I brought. Now I remember what I missed so much about being here, being amongst the greenery.

We did have tea with scones and clotted cream. Yums! I had wanted to get some fish and chips but they ran out of those. Just tea and puddings. I like it at their restaurant, the staff friendly and cheerful, and the patrons relaxed and often smiling.

I know I am odd. But I actually adore the cold, love the grey and happy in the rain. The grey and the wet don't bother me as much. Perhaps thats why the people are so grumpy over there, the heat just melt your brain! But it was sunny today and the view was breathtaking. Even though the branches were bare but the trees are all still there, standing proudly in the sun.

I have 3 more days to wear the shoes before I leave them here again. I don't have the inclination nor the luggage space to bring the shoes back with me. I made lots of good memories with those shoes, and I hope I get to come back to them more often.

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