Monday, December 13, 2010
Mr bagnall, darling of the universe
It only took thirty seconds in England before I never wanted to leave (but don't worry, Nan, I promise I will). Of course, my ebullience probably had something to do with the fact that I'd just been cosseted for twenty hours on my two (count them, two) business class flights instead of being slowly withered into a jetlagged wretch by cattle class.
I had no idea what to say the first time the stewardess asked me if I wanted anything, Mr Bagnall. But I soon got the hang of it. Beer, wine, juice, coffee, hot chocolate, nuts, Lindt chocolate, cheese and crackers, three-course meals, croissants, toast, bacon, eggs. Yes. Just, yes.
And it seems that this blog was aptly named after all, because ordinary things being viewed in a different light has characterised all my experiences so far. For example:
Rexona = Suremen?
And even on the planes. Being addressed as 'Mr Bagnall', of course, but then there's the strangeness of turbulence. It's such a familiar, comforting sensation, almost exactly the same as a car trembling over the road late at night when you're a kid and your parents are driving and you get to relax and go to sleep. But then you realise that you're about seven hundred thousand kilometres in the air and it becomes a little more disturbing. Same thing with lightning - I love when it storms and you're all warm indoors, but seeing the flashes outside your window when you're actually in the sky is a bit different.
Anyway, I got there, zipped through customs and all that without any trouble, and got picked up by Gilly at six in the morning - it felt like six at night. Everyone always talks about how early it gets dark in Europe in winter, but you don't hear so much about how late it gets light. It was still dark at eight. I've been into Winchester's main street most days since I arrived and seen cafes, the university, the markets, and the cathedral.
Everything here is amazing. It's all so cool and old. Wollongong has about three cool cafes; here every second cafe is an old converted townhouse with four levels and a blackened spiral staircase spining through it. And English pubs are so cool. Much cooler than the ale, which is as warm as I've always heard. But surprisingly delicious.
It's like I'm so amazed by everything because it's a Western culture - it's so close to ours, but so different. I have to keep reminding myself I'm the one with the accent. I can't believe those accents are completely normal for all those people, that they don't bat an eyelid at the architecture all around them, or the canal, or the statue of King Alfred, or anything. They even play that cardgame we (Alex and Alissa & co.) always play where you have three face-down cards and three on top of those facing up and three in your hand, except they call it 'shithead' and the loser has to wear underwear (or 'pants', as they call them) on their heads and with a few other alterations. I played with Gilly's family at her parents' house because we stayed Saturday night for her mum's birthday and their early Christmas celebrations, which was great. Of course, being the universe's golden child at the moment, I had amazing luck in both games, twos and tens and aces practically throwing themselves at me so that I won the first game and came second or third in the next.
Anyway, I'll try to be more comprehensive and entertaining in my next post. I've been spending all morning updating my travel journal and mandiary (mandy-ar-ee) and responding to Facebook messages, so I grow weary.