1999 - A Year in Review

1999 Country of Living: England

Well, 1999 has been a very busy year for me. I have travelled a great deal, seem some new things, learned quite a bit and, to top it off, gained a year on my increasing number of years…Count the white hairs (at least I have some to count).


In what has to have been the biggest upheaval has to have been moving. Having been informed in August, just prior to my leaving for Australia, that I had 2 months before I had to leave my flat in Guildford (well, Burpham) for the reason that my landlord was having marital problems and wanted to move into it and find a new place to live. After getting back from my holiday, two weeks later, I quickly found a new place in Woking only to find out that my previous landlord no longer needed the flat. I suppose the good news was that the new flat (though more expensive) was much bigger and nicer than my previous home, with new carpets, appliances and a fresh coat of paint (never mind being a five minute walk from a train station – 30 minutes to London by train).

Having been in my new flat for some time now, it is a much quieter home (despite the closeness of the trains) and I am much happier with the way it looks. My new address, by the way, is:

  • 9 Waverley Court
  • Woking, Surrey GU22 7XJ

(in case you missed it).


I have been to a few new places this year, I got to go skiing with mother early in the year in France. Could not believe the prices (VERY reasonable) and the skiing was absolutely wonderful (though I did get badly sun-burned – I wince every time I see the pictures). The only complaint I would have about the trip is that we stayed at a “hotel” that was specifically for English skiers so we really did not experience a lot of the local culture scene (they served English food as well – URGGHGHGHGHGHH!!! Small wonder I cook my own food when living here). I was quite surprised that mother and I actually did quite well on the slopes, keeping up with many who have been skiing for quite some time (once I relaxed I tended to go, shall we say, a BIT faster). We skied for 5 days, getting up early each day, eating breakfast then straight to the slopes where we would ski until, basically, the slopes closed at night (we were given a ride both to and from the resort). Next year we hope to do it again…perhaps in a different area (or even country) this time. Handy to have Europe so close…

I kept down my extra-country experiences until August when I took a coach (bus) trip to Edinburugh for the Fringe Festival and the Tattoo (marching military bands – biggest tattoo in the world). I went to many shows and also managed to squeeze in a few of the local sites as well. A very good trip.

The next weekend I was off to Australia (which, perhaps was a bit tiring after the previous weekend) for about two weeks with mother. It was good to have someone else along (someone else to take the blame if you get lost or if things go wrong – though, for some reason, she did not ever seem to want to…have to find someone I can pin things on…) to experience things. I have always wanted her to go to the Science Fiction conventions that I visit every year and this was a good excuse to visit a country I have never gone to and take her to the convention at the same time. We were very busy and did a lot of driving. We found Australia to be a lot like Canada (except people have different accents, drive on the other side of the road – no problem for me, and they have strange animals – many of which we saw when driving around) with the largely unpopulated landscape and relatively untouched land, even in the south, were we stuck to for this trip. I think I will be going back to see a bit more. Really liked Sydney and mother and I climbed the bridge! Really great…


Well, I have continued my travels about England, visiting places such as Blenheim Palace, Stratford-Upon-Avon (saw the Royal Shakespeare Company there also), Cornwall/Devon, Leeds Castle, South of England Agricultural Show (Autumn and Summer), Greenwich (to see the observatory) and numerous trips to London (I get there at LEAST once a week if not 2-3 times). Lots of pictures, many of which can be found here.

I do get out to see a lot of shows and what-not, including the Royal Tournament (sort of a populist version of a Tattoo), Blood Brothers (musical), Snooker (Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley), the Bolshoi Ballet (and orchestra), the Proms (yes, the ones at the Royal Albert Hall AND the last performance – all in all I attended about 25 performances at VERY reasonable price), The Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon (OK, not centre court, but heck…), An Inspector Calls (drama), and many others that I cannot even remember now…

I have started taking Cantonese lessons. Now, this might seem a bit strange and perhaps even ridiculous but I DO have reasons. I promised some friends in Hong Kong as well as Canada that I would attempt to learn a bit of their language and, seeing as I was not doing anything besides work ANYWAY… Never mind the fact that I believe I am TERRIBLE at other languages (bad memory) so this is a TERRIFIC challenge (one of the most difficult languages to learn – no doubt). The lessons are strictly for the spoken version of the language and concentrate only BRIEFLY on the written (which is not, strictly speaking, Cantonese). The lessons are held every Tuesday at the University of London, just north of the British Museum so I drive every Tuesday to Wimbledon and take a train and tube to get there (makes for a VERY long night and drive home).


Same, ol, same ol…I am continuing working as a Computer Consultant, currently on contract at Suzuki (GB) near Gatwick (about an hours drive from where I live). It is a good place to work (well, reasonable) though has more than it's fair share of political problems though I am also facing problems with my company as well…But that is another story.

Next Year

Well, things are looking good for next year as I plan to go skiing again with mother in the spring, visit Chicago for the Science Fiction Convention in August and, hopefully, have a visit from one or more other relatives…? My Cantonese lessons continue into the new year so hopefully I will begin to sound like I actually know what I am saying…one always hopes for miracles.

I have no specific plans, as yet, for New Years though the celebrations in London look quite good no transport is available in or out of London anytime after midnight (the earliest train I can get back to Woking is something like 5 AM). I am THINKING of driving into Wimbledon (a favourite trick of mine) and taking a train in, but I have not yet decided. Might be a bit late for a hotel…