The good, bad, and ugly of New Year’s Eve in London

I couldn’t leave England without experiencing the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Last night will go down as one of my all time favourites! I only wish every weekend was so much fun. Every epic night, however, comes laced with some strange elements… Enjoy the short list and make 2015 the best year ever!

-“Tickets no longer availiable” sign appearing in front of Buckingham Palace.
-World’s longest queue for N1 zone.
-Super friendly security guards all over the place.
-Running into lovely (Conservative) Canadians who want Harper out.
-Bags not being checked whatsoever.
-Stranger politely offering to show privates to my friend.
-Meeting someone named after Hugh Grant, but spelled Huw.
-Getting leg spasms from standing for so long.
-Finding one random pub open till 5am as most people obliviously walk passed it.

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A Stroll (And A Chuckle) Through Highgate Cemetery

London cemeteries are definitely next on my list!

Lady Of The Cakes

Today, I met up with some old friends in Highgate, North London. After a hefty dose of coffee and cake, we decided to take a stroll through Highgate cemetery, resting ground of many famous authors, artists, revolutionaries, thinkers.

At first, we were a bit apprehensive about having to pay to get in (£4), but it was truly worth it. Our only regret was that we’d not arrived earlier, as the gates shut at 5pm, giving us just an hour to explore this amazing place. It has everything: dignity, beauty, nature, and, above all, a touch of humour.

White Flowers

Highgate Cemetery 1HC Writer

Funny ;-) Funny 😉

Married to his job...? Married to his job…?

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Probably the cemetery's most famous "resident" - Karl Marx was buried in 1883. Probably the cemetery’s most famous “resident” – Karl Marx was buried in 1883.

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My chums, Tanja, whom I first met nearly 25 years ago when we were both au-pairing in the Midlands, and her lovely husband Russ. My chums, Tanja, whom I first met nearly 25 years ago when we were both au-pairing in the Midlands, and her lovely husband Russ.

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Highclere Castle and Garden

In reality Highclere Castle belongs to the Carnavaron family but in the hearts of most television viewers it belongs to the elite cast of “Downton Abbey”, a fantastic show I began watching shortly before moving to England myself. I made it a point to visit the castle as soon as I possibly could but it turned out, however, that one cannot simply stroll onto private property unless it’s during the public viewing periods. So it was that I booked a ticket in the middle of July to both the castle, Egyptian exhibit, and the gardens- and had to wait impatiently for months.

Nonetheless, the experience was as great as I’d hoped and I strongly recommend a visit to anyone who steps foot in this country especially since it’s not terribly far from London. The gardens were beyond spectacular and I even managed to meet Don, a caretaker who has been happily working there for over 40 years with no plans to retire. Hats off to this extraordinary family for allowing the public access to their home for a reasonable price. Season five of Downton Abbey is about to begin and I cannot be more excited to watch this fantastic show!

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Difference Between England, Great Britain, and UK Explained

Difference Between England, Great Britain, and UK Explained

Despite being born in Scotland many decades ago I have to admit that up until moving to England I was not fully aware of the differences between England, Great Britain, and the UK. An Irish friend once tried to explain it to me but I shrugged with indifference. It seems at least one individual cared enough to make a video about this dilemma so it could be a bit clearer to any curious mind.

A Year in London: Revisiting 10 Observations

1. I still think it doesn’t rain that often.
2. Fish and chip shops are not as common as Tesco’s.
3. The tube staff is always extremely friendly.
4. Most people are bilingual or trilingual.
5. Families take pride in their miniature gardens.
6. Cyclists are invisible to drivers and pedestrians.
7. Individuals shout when you stop or slow down whilst walking around tube stations.
8. Almost everyone adds milk to their tea, along with a biscuit.
9. Talking quietly during a concert or movie makes others visibly upset.
10. Everyone loves to talk about the weather.

Cloud Gazing in Epping Forest

I recently had the privilege of camping with some Year 7 students as part of my school’s outdoor youth program. It was a lot more enjoyable than expected. One reason was the fantastic weather; something quite rare in England. Watching 12 year old attempt to cook and clean for (many) the first time in their lives was a bit depressing though so I took to cloud gazing. 

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Charles M. Schulz once wrote: “Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations.” 

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England and the World Cup

I like a good football match as much as the next person but the people in this country seem to have something of an obsession with the sport. Whether it is students playing outside (or in), teachers and other professionals incessantly discussing one or all matches, or shops selling football paraphernalia- there isn’t a day that goes by without football in the air. Yes I know the World Cup is on and England won once in the 1960s but in my opinion there is something unnatural about the importance placed on the sport here. Nonetheless, one of the greatest English bands of all time, New Order, released “World in Motion” in 1990 and consequently guaranteed their place in music history every four years.