The words culture and shock come to mind. After a brief spell in London, I had the feeling that I wouldn’t really get down the culture shock road, but its hit me now. Motorways and good roads, and buses that aren’t full with loads of legroom and no goats and chickens to deal with… it’s pretty nice really. Right now I’m in the canteen in Bristol, enjoying a pint of Orchard Pig, awesome, some cool jazz playing in the background and a whole pub full of hippies all being hippy all around me. In the six hours I’ve been back in Blighty I’ve made friends with some tramps outside Victoria station, met two polish girls who thought I was some travelling hobo (close) and then walked across Bristol with a broken belt and spent half the time pulling up my trousers and sharing my Portsman cigarettes with all the homeless people outside the pub. None of these things are particularly special, but they are special to me. Because this is where I am from, because this is where I got the idea to go to Africa in the first place, this is the place I had to come back to, and it’s the place I shall stay while I’m here. I have a job interview on Friday (yep I know, that was quick!) and then start work for the main job on Monday, if the Friday thing doesn’t go so well. £40,000 a year is a lot to turn down, so we’ll see how it goes.
Beautiful people, beautiful music, wonderful cider and amazing artwork all over the place. It’s difficult to remember what it is I hated about this so much that made me leave. Honestly, even though this is the third time I’ve come back to England, this is the first time it feels really different and special. I’m poor. Really poor. I can only afford one more pint before I have nothing left, but hey, what is the world coming to if a man can’t spend his last few quid on a pint in his favourite pub. Life gets better…
Work shall begin in earnest, and I have already began painting the picture of the festival in Zanzibar to those around me. This is the place to make it happen. I can hear conversations amongst musicians going on all over the pub, two guys with Macbooks are discussing their set layout for a gig this weekend, the DJ is playing Ella Fitzgerald now and I really need him to come if that’s how he does it, and above all else, it’s just so lovely to be back. There’s a marshall amp sat in the corner, a load of CDs from local artists being sold on shelves on the wall, each table is hand painted with mad artwork and everyone here is dressed so well and so cool. Even the little toddler who keeps coming over to check out my guitar is wearing cool hippy little shoes and her dad is smoking rollies and has a head of dreads that makes mine look juvenile in comparison. Coming home never felt so good.
I’m going to see my Grandma on Sunday with my Auntie Lesley, and will be travelling up to Scotland some time next week to see mum and Simon and the kids, it’s all a bit too much. Going from daily sweating, drinking and constant shifting around the place working and fixing things back to this… I am in awe of this country, and feel proud to be British again. Everything works here.