Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm feeling a bit wistful today.

Wistful, according to Merriam Webster, means full of yearning or desire tinged with melancholy. I had just finished my grocery shopping and I decided to have a quick browse at the British Food Aisle. I rarely buy anything because a) the import prices are too expensive and b) they rarely have what I am longing for, but the items on display did start me yearning for things from my past.

So what am I yearning for today?
Barretts Fish and Chips - They aren't the best, but they were my local 'chippie' for all the time I lived in Norwich. It's a familiar comforting taste and smell.

Toffypops - ahh the glorious guilt of eating just one and then discovering you have 'scarfed' down the entire packet.

The Norfolk Coastline - There is a wonderful smell at the coast - a mixture of salt and fish. Combine that with the cry of the sea gulls and a cool breeze and it is just wonderful.

Public Buses - I miss riding on the bus, I miss the noise, the convenience, even the complaining when it doesn't arrive on time. I miss the running late at night to catch the last bus home. I can count on one hand the number of times I have ridden the bus in the U.S.

To explain the pic above, it was taken in my hometown of Norwich. Underneath the city there are a large number of Medieval Chalk Mines. The weight of the buses on the Unthank Road over many years caused the road to sink and the bus slid into it. In the U.K. we have a candy bar called a 'Double Decker', their advertising campaign? 'Nothing fills a hole like a double decker'!!!

English Sausages - Just about every butcher had their own blend of meat and spices. American sausage just doesn't taste the same, I like it (esp. in a bacon explosion), it's just different.

Going 'down the city' - Norwich Town Center is like one big open air shopping mall. You can wonder around for hours looking into the shops, browsing the market. Odds are you would run into somebody you would know. Houston does not really have a pedestrianized center, going to the Mall just doesn't feel the same.

Well that's what immediately springs to mind, I'm sure there are a lot more things if I sat and reflected.

Merriam Webster defines 'Homesick' as follows: longing for home and family while absent from them. I don't think I'm homesick, Houston feels like home to me now. I'm not missing family, I do a great job of staying connected to my family in the U.K. and I have a wonderful 'family' here in the U.S. now.

Every item that I've listed above, and the many more that I could name are doorways into memories, doorways that don't see much traffic now that they are no longer easily accessible. But just typing and reflecting has helped oil the hinges, and often the memory of something is better than the real thing....though one of Barretts battered deep fried pineapple rings would be lovely right now.


JWebb said...

nice memories, Peter . . . caused me to consider some of my own . . . though none would compare to the seaside and open-air market in Norwich.

Ginger said...

I met a teacher from Norwich at my last teacher conference. She made me want to be there and these pictures solidify it..

Network Geek said...

Good gravy! I think I work with a guy from Norwich! I'll check and see.

Also, to take care of some of those cravings, have you been to the British Isles store in Rice Village? They have a lot of those uniquely UK food items that you cannot get most places here in the States. I'd bet they'd have your candy, if not sausages. And, I bet the owner, if he's there, can recommend a place to get sausages like you'd find at home. He's a wonderfully friendly guy who's almost always happy to order things you might miss, or help you find them.

Pete the Brit said...

Yes I have been to the store in Rice Village, it's a nice memory jogger, but the prices are expensive! I've also occ found english sausages at Central Market!

Deidra said...

Aw so sorry you were homesick. That is an awful feeling. I can't imagine how that feels with an ocean separating you it was hard enough with several states. Love you.