Since my last post almost 2 months have passed. In that time we moved into a 6-month rental house, had our container arrive with all our earthly possessions, bought a car and had our cats safely delivered to us from the old country. The piano doesn’t fit and we can’t get the guest bed base up the stairs (apparently a South African household doesn’t quite fit into an English house…) but we are making do with what we can unpack. Many things are staying in boxes because we are moving again in under 6 months when we buy/secure a home, and I am still wearing only the clothes I packed into my suitcases brought over on the flight with us. Unfortunately it’s all too much to talk about in one little blog, so I’m going to have to leave most of it out for now.

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To the Manor born

My first 8 weeks in the UK have been exciting, confusing, overwhelming and, well, more confusing. I’m not just talking about the fact that I can’t spin through a supermarket anymore to quickly grab a few essential (due to the fact that I stand staring at shelves of un-known products and brands, not knowing which way to go). So many things are confusing that I feel a bit like I’m falling down that rabbit hole and everything is upside down. Not in a bad way, mind you – just a wonderland of things I have to get used to.

Some things in wonderland are all kinds of awesome. Primark. Jeans with a 34inch inseam (which means they actually come down to my ankles, not half way up my calves like *most * jeans I got back in the old country). Charity shops. ( I bought the most gorgeous pair of ankle boots – perfect fit – for JUST 3 POUNDS!!!)

I’m totally impressed with the post and home delivery in wonderland. It’s my new favourite thing to do; Order things in the post and wait for them to arrive; Send things in the post and wait to hear that they have arrived – it’s a whole new world out here! I have become so at-one with the post, that I have ordered a mop, coffee pods, groceries and joined a nappy club. All delivered to my door the next day. It’s amazing and probably a little dangerous, because I might have one too many glasses of South African wine I found at the local and decide to order a cat shaped sand-box sack dispenser off an app on my phone before I’m stopped…but still, a great tool! It all works so well. One click and viola. If I’m not home to accept my parcel, someone in the row of houses on our street will accept it on my behalf, and a little piece of cardboard will be slipped into my letterbox telling me which house number to go looking at. Sometimes the neighbours bring it to me before I can even go enquire! Sometimes they just leave the things there on my door step…One day, I came home to find a big box of nappies waiting un-tampered with, un-stolen on the front porch. Not behind locked gates or 6ft walls – a door step right out there on the street. And all was fine.

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This adorable ‘hairy coo’ arrived in the post :) A birthday gift for my son from his uncle in Scotland

Which brings me to another thing about wonderland.

The rules. People seem to be so law abiding here, maybe because there are so many rules? Or maybe because they are mostly too cold to commit crime? (a little English weather joke there – too soon?) Whatever the reason, there is definitely a stronger sense of ‘doing the right thing’ here than I’m used to. It’s lovely, but I’m also a little bit worried that I could step outside the lines simply because I didn’t know they were there to begin with. Invisible lines are hard to keep in. For example, on the roads there are signs showing the speed limit just like in the old country. But sometimes, there is this round, blank white sign with a black line through it, which apparently means ‘National Average Speed’ – of which there are 3 possibilities. So you see the sign, it could mean you need to go the national average speed of 30 miles per hour, or the national average speed of 60 mph, or the national average speed of 70 mph. Do you see how that could be confusing? Apparently it’s quite easy to figure out which one it is based on the surroundings, but for a newbie fresh off the boat, it might take a while to get my head around.

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Sorry officer – was I not going 30? 50? 70 then? Did I mention I’m from Africa…

Amongst the new rules and all the law-abiding citizens, I’m quickly making this my home. Wonderland has so many wonderful things to focus on it helps keep me from packing my bags and catching the next flight home. Like balm to an itch, which of course I feel because I’m only human and its been 8 weeks since I’ve seen a familiar face or gone to a favourite pilates class or walked my beloved sea point promenade or been to a big, chaotic family Sunday lunch or had sushi with my girls. Wonderland doesn’t have any of those things, but it is full of gorgeous scenery, long beautiful (safe) walks, green forests and parks and lakes and fields (I live out in the country about an hour away from central London) quaint towns and loads of historical sights. When a piece of a castle is part of your every day walk with the child, life feels pretty OK.

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Our local castle – not a bad way to spend an afternoon

The piano doesn’t fit and we can’t get the guest bed base up the stairs, but when you come home from your walk past the castle to find that your lovely neighbours left flowers on your doorstep with a note thanking you for allowing their workmen to park in your drive way (I didn’t mind at all and have the free space) I think I’m going to be just fine.

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