Rob was uncertain whether Lee Abbey International Student Club was going to prove suitable accommodation, given his judgment was based on his experience 35 years before when he lived and worked at the LA community. Family members are still in a state of hysterics to learn that he was part of the maintenance team given his record at home. Despite the maintenance issues being weirdly similar to all those years earlier (eg. broken loos, torn curtains, blown light globes etc.), Lee Abbey turns out to be a terrific, central haven, with a warm and safe environment and very cheap for London. Ellie chooses to stay on for some extra days, before joining Rob and Vic in Ireland.
London was always going to be about catching up with old friends and sharing experiences.
Fresh from our arrival in London that afternoon, champagne in hand, our conversation with Carl and Theresa flowed in the drawing room where the grand piano, Theresa’s 50th birthday present to Carl, rested before the French doors facing the manicured garden. Over dinner, there was a great deal of warmth and humour exchanged between the two families and reminiscing of things that have transpired in the 27 years since Carl lived with Rob in Melbourne.
Rob and Vic stayed at Linda’s in 1986, and the last time Rob and Linda saw one another was when she was pregnant with Holly, so the curiosity factor was high for all, particularly with offspring present; The WOW factor kicked in when we met at Covent Garden, spending the next 5 or so hours exchanging stories and laughing about past times whilst walking the streets of London. Holly imagines visiting Australia while Vic and Rob and Linda would like to spend more time together – all things are possible!
Museums, cathedrals and monuments aside, London is marked by Ain’t Nothing But the Blues bar, Jersey Boys, a brilliant piano at Lee Abbey for Ellie and Rob to play; and a visit to Harrods where Rob showed Ellie his old workplace. The Pet Accessory Department has now expanded 10 fold since the days when he worked there, including offering beer slabs for dogs. We consider a dog dress for metro Ted but at 80 pounds each, we dismiss the idea.