On missing home, and having fun with friends in London

In three days Paul and I will have been in the UK for three years! Sometimes I can’t believe I have been away from Australia that long. About six months ago I got really homesick and was desperate to either move back or go back for a visit. I’m not feeling like that now but I definitely do want to go back this year. There are a lot of people that I miss and I’m really looking forward to seeing Brisbane (and the rest of Australia) with fresh eyes. I think it will be interesting. Brisbane was such a big, scary but exciting place to me when I moved there at the age of 17 (after growing up on a farm outside a small town). I guess this time it will be different 1) because I’m coming from somewhere much bigger than Brisbane, and 2) I spent 11 years in Brisbane so I know it pretty well. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it’s changed and if it is anything like I remember it (I think I’ve had a tendency to romanticise a lot about Australia while being away). There are things I’m really looking forward to (like visiting my sister in Canberra – I think it will be very cool to be shown around Canberra by a local – and someone who knows my interests). Paul and I are really keen to do more travelling in Australia. He has seen quite a bit but I haven’t really.

I have just had a really fun weekend. On Saturday evening I went to a talk on feminism and atheism. The woman giving the talk is the convenor of the group London Feminist Freethinkers (a secular, feminist group) that I’m very keen to get involved with. Cheryl and Kara came to the talk too and afterwards they came over to our house and we made pizza and watched Spaced. They live on the East side of London and Paul and I are often going over there to see them and do stuff so we were excited to be bringing them over to the West side where we live.

On Sunday, Paul, Kara and I walked around Richmond Park (which is huge – almost 1000 hectares). It was a very windy and overcast day with rain on and off but we enjoyed the big walk out in nature! We saw lots of deer (but no fawns) and we walked through the grasslands and woods. We really enjoyed the unobstructed line of sight to St Paul’s Cathedral from Henry VIII’s Mound, the highest point in the park (see image below I got from Flickr). There is a legal requirement that the view to St Paul’s Cathedral (16km away) be kept free so no buildings can be built in the way. The mound has a telescope mounted so you can more easily see the Cathedral (you can only see the top of it and it’s quite small). It was pretty cool. There are other protected views in London to St Paul’s Cathedral.
St Paul's Cathedral from Henry VIII's Mound, Richmond Park

We met up with Daniel S for dinner (he’s in town for a conference) and today he and I are going to the London Transport Museum.

On the way home last night we saw a lady at Russel Square tube with a huge, gorgeous blue parrot with a very long tail (I’m not 100% sure it was a parrot). It stood on her arm while she was buying a ticket and when we got down to the platform it was sitting on her shoulder.

I recently watched a lecture (on Youtube) by Bart Ehrman on biblical scholarship and discrepancies in the bible (Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know) which was really interesting. I’d like to read some of his books (Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew). And I watched a National Geographic show about the Gospel of Judas. I think all that early Christian history is really fascinating. The problem I find (as a lay person) is that it’s often hard to know who to trust (i.e. who has the credentials and are they using good historical sources, etc).

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