Tag Archives: Cheshire

The Great Escape

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When I left Israel at the end of July, I left  sirens and explosions, booms and rattling windows. Now I am back. The sirens have stopped, normal life resumes.
I lived in a bubble for 5 weeks, little or no news, only sporadic social media use, a promise to myself not to read the hate or get involved in the arguments about right and wrong in this age old, never ending fight.

Luckily my bubble was full of parental love, family support, old great friends, gin & tonic at 5.30pm and a bedtime of 11pm. Scattered liberally with picnics, chocolate biscuits, fish and chips, roast dinners and ice cream for the kids every single day. Yes it was a bubble but it was a great big happy bubble (with only a few meltdowns on everyone’s behalf – myself included).

 
IMG_2804I re-discovered a friendship, watched as my kid’s started to converse with one another in English and kept busy, really really busy. As I look back I am amazed by the many incredible experiences my childers had. I could write a guide book to keeping small children amused in Cheshire. Bruntwood Park, Lyme Park, Tatton Park, Torkington Park, Bramhall Park. Styal Mill, Walk Mill, not one but two country shows complete with fairground rides and a pony ride. One trip to North Wales to visit relatives and crab off the jetty, a trout fishing expedition resulting in fresh trout for dinner and a ride on a steam train. A hideous trip to Legoland Discovery (the kids loved it), a walk IMG_2876around Salford Quays, a visit to Jodrell Bank and the Manchester Science Museum and number one son went on a night time bat walk (there are more bats in our garden than he saw). Phew. Where did we find the time? And that’s before we mention the camping trip where they pedalloed and kayaked and slept under stormy canvas, over excitement with the cousins, treasure hunts in the garden after tea, building woodland dens and damning streams.

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All this under the shadow of the situation back home that only the adults were aware of.
This wasn’t real life. It was a holiday, an extra long, extra fun holiday – perhaps I was over compensating for my perceived notion of their fear back home. In reality they had no fear, they don’t understand and even when number 1 son saw a rocket being exploded above his head a day before we flew it was my hands that were shaking, not his. His words, ‘why is it a real rocket?’

The coming back is hard.  Coming back is always hard from any holiday – who doesn’t want to escape reality for a prolonged period? The goodbyes are getting harder and harder.  For a moment at the airport I almost said to my mum, ‘I don’t want to go, don’t make me go’, but the truth is that she wasn’t making me go and I am not a child anymore.  My children and my husband need me to act like an adult and accept real life.  If I want to stay in the UK then not getting on a plane after an extended holiday is not the best way to go about it. But what a great holiday, thanks Mum and Pops x

 

 

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Wake me up when September ends

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IMG_0985After almost 2 weeks in the UK, husband arrived to spend the last week with us.  He kept asking, ‘how does England look to you’.  My answer was always the same, ‘green’.  Israel is now shrouded in heat haze with dusty roads and fields, sandy and burnt, so England was like a lush paradise in comparison.  I was told by just about everyone that they’d had fantastic weather but as it was raining when we landed and the gardens and fields were the green that only regular rainfall produces I figured ‘fantastic’ was sunshine and showers.  On leaving the airport no. 1 son shouted, ‘I told you it would be raining’.  Having not seen rain for many many months the kids thought it was great and revelled in donning wellie boots and coats to splash in muddy puddles.  To be fair we were lucky in that no one day was wall to wall grey skies and constant downpours.  We were never housebound as a result of the wet and that to me is indeed ‘fantastic’ weather.

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I have since considered hubby’s question about how I saw England on this trip and I realised that after almost 10 years in Israel I now see England through the eyes of an outsider.

Here are my top ten things to appreciate in the UK as a visitor or as a visiting ex pat:

1. The sound of church bells – nothing to do with religion but to me quintessentially English.

conway2. Fish and chips – as a resident Brit I never ate them, now I can’t think of anything tastier, especially when sitting on a quayside enjoying the sun.

3. Supermarkets – what choice, what prices, be still my beating heart and fight to keep the wallet in the bag.  Israel is so much more expensive in terms of consumer goods and the choice is limited so a trip to Tesco was heaven (especially when converting from shekel to pound)

4. Friendly service – shops, cafes, bars, National Trust staff (we met a lot of them),all so chatty and friendly.

5. People letting you pull out when indicating in the car and waving thank you when you do the same.  A–M-A-Z-I-N-G.

6. Booze.  Every social occasion involves booze.  This is not a complaint, a 5pm G & T with my old pops and a few glasses of vino with friends and family is always a winner in my view.  However what I didn’t bank on was my lack of resilience and the feeling of being more than a little under par first thing the next morning.

7. Following on with the booze theme – pubs and pub gardens: child friendly, day light throughout the evening and who doesn’t love bitter shandy?

0608. Fish fingers – kids loved them, I love them, why oh why don’t they have Birds Eye here?

9. CBeebies closing at 7pm.  Does that mean the childers go to bed at 7.30pm?  YES THEY DO – not that mine did (it was holiday time) but as I am slightly out of sync with most Israeli parents who put their kids to bed around 9pm I was happy to discover my 7.30pm rule is not mine alone.

10. Calm, a feeling of safety.  Partly because in my little corner of Cheshire I feel safe and the UK in general does not have the frenetic energy of the stressed and worried that often becomes the norm here, and partly because one can never feel 100% safe in Israel – especially at the moment.

So why do I want to sleep through September?  I am back and surprisingly not sinking into homesickness but Israel is still hot and as humid as the seventh circle, there is an ‘outbreak’ or not (depending on who you listen to) of polio, oh and Assad is threatening to bomb us if the US bomb them.  Back to normal then.  The heart racing, lump in the throat fear that pops up most unexpectedly when the words ‘gas masks’ are banded about.  Finally and perhaps weirdly, September is holiday season – Rosh Hashanah is firing us off this week into a month long holiday bonanza. Having survived happily with the childers being with me 24/7 in the cool UK for the past 3 weeks they went back to nursery and pre-school at the end of last week only to break up again on Tuesday.  Oh purlease – less than a week and it’s time for another holiday? In this weather!! I am hoping for a 10 degree temperature drop, peace in the region and a Shana Tova (Happy New Year) for everyone.

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