Leaving Home

Back in March, I finally said goodbye to the UK for the foreseeable future – a one-way ticket to Taipei seemed as final then as it does today.  We may be able to get back for a few weeks in late summer for the annual family get-together, but the cost is putting a dampener on that idea at the moment.

Leaving England was fraught with difficulties.  It was late March; this was the scene in Oswestry:

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Dad struggling along Wilmot Drive.

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This was Western Avenue on Saturday morning.

It had snowed hard on Thursday night/Friday morning, leaving maybe 6 inches of snow.  A bit of a pain, but not too serious a problem.  Then it snowed again on Friday night and Saturday morning, doubling what had been left the day before.  I was scheduled to leave Manchester Airport at 9 o’clock on Sunday morning; we couldn’t get dad’s car out of the garage, let alone down the lane to the main roads.  I had no option but to book a room at Manchester Airport, order a taxi to pick me up on Morda Road and catch the train from Gobowen.  The worst part was not having to literally drag my (huge) suitcase along the road, but that I missed a final pint or two and a pork pie over at the cricket club with me old dad.

I really cannot recall ever having witnessed snow like that in England – so much in such a short time, so late in the winter.  A fine farewell gift.  25 degrees and more awaited me in Zhubei.

This is where we live at the moment:

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Being on the 12th floor of 13, living in an earthquake zone has become rather interesting, although one of the most recent quakes we experienced was up in Taipei last weekend when we were on the 9th floor of 38.  Brown trouser moment, if ever there was one.  Another one actually woke us from our slumbers the other day.  We both leapt out of bed and rushed to find Christopher still fast asleep; the whole experience was so uncomfortable that I didn’t even consider the old “did the earth move for you too, darling?” gag.

I like the mix of high-rise and temples and we can just see the river from our flat.  The frogs (who seem to inhabit the paddy fields which line the river banks) make one hell of a racket at dusk and during the night.  Think McCartney’s Frog Chorus and then think again; he was waaaaaay off the mark.  Ribbet.  They appear to be in competition with the cicadas.  Ten years ago, where we are was all farmland.  Development since the opening of the High Speed Rail line has been incredible.

Anyway, time moves on; yesterday I received my Resident Certificate, so I can officially stay here for as long as necessary.

I’ve been cycling a lot and ruminating on the driving standards here.  Watch this space for more in the next few days.

Finally, today marks 101 years since my gran was born.

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