The Fateful Location of my Isle of Wight Incident

2000 - A Year in Review

2000 Country of Living: England

Another year in England. This has been a year of a lot of travelling and shows. My house in Woking is growing to be quite comfortable (though a bit cool in fall and winter…insulation does not seem to be popular in this country).

I saw the new year in at the biggest party of the millennium in London, watching the fireworks on the Thames (finding a spot just opposite the houses of parliament and Big Ben for the fateful hour). A LOT of people were there and at one point it took myself and a friend about an hour to cross a bridge because of the crowds. The atmosphere was great and I would do it again…despite the fact that this year there seems to be no celebration at all in London because of the problems last year with public transportation and the number of people (millennium eve they closed the whole of the core area of the city to any street traffic – underground and trains were EXTREMELY busy).

I have continued my studies of Cantonese with my moving from the University of London to courses on Wednesday night at the University of Westminster (just north of Oxford Circus).

When mother came to visit for her normal early spring ski holiday (so it seems) we visited the two big attractions in London for the year: The Millennium Dome (much maligned because of the amount of taxpayers money put into it) and the London Eye (world's largest ferris wheel - yes, bigger than the one(s) in Paris) – See my run-down here.

Of course, one of the biggest events of this year was the arrival of my first nephew – Howard William Cade born on September 25th in Winnipeg by my sister Brenda and supported (much needed I tell you!) by her husband Ken.

"Howie" Cade


I have been to a few new places this year, I got to go skiing with mother early in the year in Switzerland in the rather exclusive resort town of Zermatt (accessible only by rail; see here for a quick overview of the town and the skiing). The skiing was fantastic despite our travelling so late in the season with a large amount of snow falling every day. We skiied right beside the Matterhorn on the border of Switzerland and Italy and the scenery was absolutely fantastic – the first time I had ever skied on a glacier!

I continued my travels in Europe throughout the year making it to Berlin in late July (taking in Expo 2000 in Hanover while I was there!) and Rome in October.

Closer to home, I managed to see a bit more of England this year with my trip to Yorkshire in April then Isle of Wight later in the same month where I had a close encounter with the edge of the road on a roundabout after being thrown from my bike after a long hill. I continued the visit a few weeks later when I returned to complete the bike trek I had begun (and out of necessity, stopped abruptly) earlier.

The bike has made my world a bit more interesting with my being able to get to a large number of local places that are outside of walking distance but only a short ride by bike (mountain bike, you understand). Myself and a friend made it all the way to Kingston by following the Basingstoke then Wey canals and, eventually, the Thames (a 2 hour trip each way – see my write up on the Wey here with LOTS of pictures). Taking my bike with me when I travel has also made the countryside come to life for me (and given me a GREAT work-out – LOTS of hills here!).

When mother visited we made it up to Warwick castle, one of the best in England (though a bit cool that time of year!).

In the summer I made my regular pilgrimage to the World Science Fiction Convention, this year held in Chicago. A very nice town with lots to see and do (fantastic pizza!).


This year seems to have been the year for shows and opera. I made it the following shows in London (see here for my more complete list):

  • The Beautiful Game - The latest Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with lyrics by Elton John. Definitely NOT Cats with a load of swearing and very hard- hitting political statements about this Northern Ireland football team during the troubles…
  • Copenhagen - A very intensive play about the relationship between Werner Heisenberg (creator of the “Uncertainty Prinicipal” and one of the founders of modern quantum mechanics), Niels Bohr (“god father” to many physicists of the day) and his wife (Margrethe Bohr).
  • Notre Dame de Paris - A modern re-telling of the Hunchback of Notre Dame with a very minimalist staging. Toe-tapping music and tremendous dancing.

Madam Butterfly (the opera) was put on at the Royal Albert Hall in January which was staged “in the round” and on top of a Japanese water garden. Very good.

Opera continued with my visiting the new Royal Opera House in London seeing first Tristan & Isolde in May, then War and Peace in July performed by the Kirov opera company then, late in December, La Cenerentola. When in Rome I saw Rigoletto performed by a small, professional, group of musicians. When the Glyndebourne Touring Opera visited my home town of Woking I saw their fantastic production of Don Giovanni. Even the English National Opera I visit in November with an eclectic program of Folk Songs (Berio), La Strada (Rota) and The Prisoner (Dallapicolla) - a free ticket was given to me by one of my Cantonese classmates (!).

Mother and I were able to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo which are a great a-capella group from South Africa (most famous for their work with Paul Simon on his Graceland album). This is the second time I have seen them, the first time being last year in the Royal Albert Hall, this time we saw them at the National Theatre.

I managed only one visit to the Proms this year in London at the Royal Albert Hall, saying hello to the friend I met last year when attending every day for quite a few weeks…

Astoundingly I have been able to see a few things in the local theatre in Woking (which also plays host to various west-end shows when they tour the country):

  • The Hobbit - A stage version of the classic Tolkein story. Very strange.
  • The Seagull (Royal Shakespeare Company) - Chekov's story of middle-class politics.

Rounding off the year is my trip to the Battersea Power Station in London to see Cirque de Soliel's production of “Quidam” – I am really looking forward to this one.

Next Year

I already have a number of things planned for the new year including a ski trip with mother (again) to Austria which should be quite good early in the year. This follows her and her husband, Alex's visit while on their way to and from South Africa. The summer brings my normal trip to the World Science Fiction Convention, this year in Philadelphia.

Without any work on my work permit, this will be my last year in the country so I hope to do a fair amount of travelling around the country and, perhaps, visit Ireland and northern Scotland, perhaps taking my bike along…I will try to keep my head together (literally).

If I stop moving, experiencing all that this world has to offer, I stop living.

Visit here for my review of 1999.