Week three, part one : What have the Romans ever done for us?

The Monty Python fans among you will recognise this quote and it has been in my thoughts this week as our transition/holiday continues.

Just outside Cardiff is the Roman town of Caerleon (Isca to the Romans) , home to Roman Baths, a Roman Amphitheatre and the largest excavated barracks in the UK. I loved re-discovering my European heritage and knowing our land has been occupied and enriched. Reading the bathing rituals was very enlightening and I’m sure many parents of teenagers wished they bathed as thoroughly as the Romans did! Personally I took great pleasure in watching a group of Primary School children visiting the Baths and enjoying the interactive displays and trying on replica clothes. What a fantastic way to connect to the past and make it come alive. I know the students at my previous school love going on trips to museums and the library where they can make their classroom learning take its place n the outside world.

I thoroughly recommend a visit http://www.caerleon.net

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We still have daughter’s friend (and my honorary daughter originally from Australia but who has lived in Hong Kong for the last five years) with us, hence us all having a holiday. This time last year we were all in Hong Kong seeing the incredible Terracotta Warriors exhibition in the Hong Kong Museum of History and we all enjoyed remembering our visit. http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/History/en_US/web/mh/exhibition/2012_past_04.html

I celebrated my 50th birthday with daughter(s) and son in the Roman city of Bath and discovered how much the Romans have done for us! The Baths there have been excavated over the last three hundred years and I really appreciated how many archeologists since the 1700s have been fascinated by the Romans and have worked hard to share them with the general public. The girls listened so intently to all the audio prompts, son enjoyed picking his favourites and then looking and taking it all in visually. It was a joy to see them interacting in their own way and at their own pace.

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The second photo shows towers of tiles which supported a floor. Hot air was pumped underneath creating central heating!

We also visited the Jane Austen house and my very dear Hong Kong friend and work colleague was in my thoughts all day as we share a passion for all things Austen (including the delectable Mr Darcey)…she had even sent me a Jane Austen card and bookmark for my birthday. Here’s me with the nearest I could get to Mr D! I have discovered there is now a Mr Darcey statue in Hyde Park but sadly the Rolling Stones are playing on the day I could visit it 😦 Instead, do click on the link and take a virtual look 🙂

DSC_0328   http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/lifestyle/giant-pride-and-prejudices-mr-darcy-statue-surfaces-in-hyde-park/5897.article

Re-connecting with friends is always fun and via my brother in law I now have a friend in Wales who came with us to two theatre shows. We enjoyed open air theatre in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff watching Guys and Dolls and then sang our way through the Rocky Horror Show at the New Theatre Cardiff as they celebrated their 40th anniversary tour.

Finally we said a sad farewell to father-in-law and incredibly flexible host to us and are now in London staying on a houseboat belonging to two of my closest and oldest (in the nicest way as they are both younger than me) friends and their children. One of the best reasons for coming back to the UK is to be closer to family and friends. I am incredibly privileged to have four friends who very conveniently married each other so we are three couples who love each other and our offspring, being godparents to many of our children. I am so happy this weekend to be seeing one family and catching up with their news. I’m so happy that we don’t have to fit everything into a weekend before we leave for HK and don’t see them for another year. This time I can come again very soon and get to know them in deeper ways again and also less intense ways, like knowing what their favourite wine is or how they take their tea. In some ways that does make me miss the deep friendships I have left behind but rather than be sad about it, I am viewing it as an about face; re-establishing UK friends on a more permanent basis and visiting HK friends yearly. I am determined to work hard at keeping both sets of friendships whilst understanding life changes and moves on. I am also thinking how moving back to a Home country affects different people in different ways. Another wonderful and relatively new HK friend  I made has relocated back here just a week later than us. I know it is a totally different experience for her and her family but what we have in common is shared experiences and memories of places and events unique to us and that is very precious. I look forward to meeting up with her and taking our friendship into the UK life we now both have.

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