After an uneventful flight and travel up to Derby from Heathrow we arrived cold and very tired at Chez Dann in the afternoon. We huddled on the chairs trying to keep warm and stay awake as long as possible . Dinner of traditional fish, chips and mushy peas went down a treat. We all retired to bed immediately after, exhausted.
Woke at 3:40am and stayed awake for a couple of hours before dozing again and knocking my iPhone onto the floor shattering the glass. Great start to the day!
Rez went to pick up the hire car and Zahra and I headed down for breakfast. Oh the choice! Zahra plumped for multi grain shapes and I went for toast. Toast – with sliced bread that doesn’t contain sugar and soya margarine. It really is the simple things you miss. Lovely cuppa too. Sat chatting with Alex over breakfast catching up was therapeutic- sometimes all that is needed is a ‘normal’ conversation to make you feel whole again.
Changes in the City
Rez returned with the car and we headed into town and parked in the Intu centre. Smooth, litter less roads without cows – what a treat. The first thing we noticed was that there is a whole new building gone up opposite the Intu and the old hospital has been demolished. We’ve only been away 6 months and there were big changes. No one was at the ticket machine handing us a car park ticket – yes we still could wind down the window, reach out and press that button – what a miracle! The lifts down to the shopping centre (not the Americanism of ‘Mall’) were not manned by someone pressing the buttons for you – again we seemed to manage this task without help, what a relief!
Walking through the Intu was revealing – lots of shops closed and the pretzel place has gone (much to Zahra’s disappointment – she was really looking forward to a pretzel). Outside the Intu even more shops have shut. It looked like a city in a recession but you know the economy is growing apparently. The high streets speak for themselves on that point.
We headed into Manor Pharmacy for our booster jabs. The pharmacist greeted us by name – he remembered us. There was a reason for that we later found out. We filled in the forms and headed into the consulting room at the back. After taking our seats an apology ensued. There was a mix up just before we left for India which resulted in us missing one of our jabs. All fine but we would have to have it today, along with another set they had recommended but needs to be done now, not then. So we thought we were going in for a couple of booster jabs and it turned out we were having 4 sets of jabs, 2 in each arm. Zahra was brave bless her but she still cried – they weren’t pleasant to be fair. We all now have arms that feel they’ve been punched repeatedly. We have to go back again after 6 months for the final jabs. As RR only pay for one trip back a year (this one) that’s going to be an expensive set of jabs.
We headed into the Intu to buy a treat for Zahra for being so good. She wanted a beef pasty from Birds (a Derby based bakery that do fabulous bread and cakes as well as pies and pasties). I have to say I don’t think I have seen her enjoy anything so much. “Mummy, delicious” was all we could get out of her. Again, something that simply doesn’t exist in Bangalore.
We headed into Lush and bought a bath bomb – again something that we have been unable to find in Bangalore. Baths are not usual in houses and apartments (everyone has showers in wet rooms) so there isn’t much of a market for bath bombs. Zahra loves to have a soak in the bath.
Meeting Phil, Emma and Phoebe – RR welfare
Sausage roll, chilli and chips – I kid you not. I couldn’t eat it all but it was delicious. It was lovely to see Phil, Emma and Phoebe, catching up, sharing our experiences and seeing how big Phoebe has grown! Rez also got to see lots of work colleagues in the welfare (the RR social club, basically a big pub , a great social venue and very popular on a Friday lunchtime).
Shopping at Boots and Costco
Now we had a long list of toiletries to pick up whilst we were in the UK so we headed off to Boots. Boots is a Nottingham based pharmaceutical company that has cornered the market in toiletries, make up and gifts ( as well as being a dispensing Chemist). They have a wide range of products and always have deals on. It was a good job they did have deals on as we stocked up on another 6 months worth of toiletries – it was a very large bill but received 25% discount in total. We will now be able to use lots a familiar products when we’re back in Bangalore. As well as having some suncream – which we are really going to need over the next few months as the height of summer see temperatures rise even further.
Derby Hockey Academy
Zahra was delighted we went to the Derby Hockey Club Academy. She used to play every week before we went to Bangalore. There is nowhere for her to play in Bangalore so she hasn’t picked up a stick for at least 6 months. She was so pleased to be able to join in and see some of her old hockey buddies and school friends again. The hockey academy is a great success. Derby Hockey Club started it 2 years ago and it has grown massively – there were so many children there, of all ages, enjoying skills training and running around having a quick game.
It was freezing cold. Oh my goodness we were wrapped up but the cold went through to the bones. We were stood for an hour at the side of the pitch chatting (with me occasionally being called to assist) and froze. I was so glad to get into the car and start to warm up.
Church meet at the Oak and Acorn
We were now late for meeting up with the church folk (true Indian style) and when we arrived the pub was packed with all our lovely friends. It was a bit overwhelming and I had to take a few seconds at the door to compose myself. I really have missed them all so very much. The church we have been attending in Bangalore is a big one and despite attending for 6 months, and being the only white people there, hardly anyone has even said hello or introduced themselves. It is so vastly different from the experience we have at Woodlands Church on Oakwood, which is a small church with a very welcoming congregation and very active in the community.
I’m not normally a hugging person but everyone got a hug whether they wanted one or not! There was so much choice on the menu I struggled to choose but I eventually went with steak and kidney pie, mash, peas and gravy. It was delicious but I couldn’t manage it all.It was a lovely evening catching up and chatting with friends. Zahra fell asleep whilst I was eating – she was too tired for dinner herself – jet lag really kicking in for her. She slept on the seat whilst we continued chatting.
We eventually headed back to Chez Dann and after putting Zahra to bed, chatted for a while with Matt and Alex in the kitchen. A long lovely day.