I was thinking to quit blogging and just leave it as it is. I was uninspired for a while, even though I have a lot to tell but somehow I thought it would not be interesting enough for others to read. Yet, my experience of living in the UK is a new chapter in my life and I should have something new to tell. However, having been an expat, I have learned that whenever I meet people that I used to know and who know I have been away for a long time, they are not really interested in my story as they are more interested in their own stories. So this is my way of recording my stories just in case somebody is interested or if I get dementia… then I still have this blog to look back to.
What can one do with free time, for holiday or entertainment? When I lived in Jakarta, simple entertainment was going to a shopping mall and really the same when I lived in Singapore. In Jakarta people drive to a shopping mall and do some window shopping for a bit before ending up in a restaurant or coffee shop for a break. A more complex way of entertainment is to travel to a nearby town or city or even countryside, say Bogor or Puncak for a week-end holiday.
In Jakarta people drive to a shopping mall and do some window shopping for a bit before ending up in a restaurant or coffee shop for a break.
That was my life for many years and for the last 10 years after leaving Jakarta when I worked and lived for 10 years in Qatar and Bahrain. In these places, they are rather small countries, where cheap entertainment is a shopping mall for either watching a movie or pop in to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. More exotic than this means a holiday outside the country. However, since moving to the UK its all different and I think I am lucky to live in the UK. I am able to witness the beauty of the famous English villages and the landscape of the countryside, where people regularly visit to enjoy its scenery for pleasure and recreation.
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt (as I explained in my previous post) is just 45 minutes away door to door from where I live and is a wonderful place to chill out from busy city life. Honestly, the term “arboretum” is new to me as it is different from a Botanical Garden and also different from a flower garden. In an arboretum one will see many varieties of trees, from evergreen trees to deciduous trees (trees that shed leaves in Winter). As expected, most trees are from the Northern Hemisphere, or rather from countries with 4 seasons. I should not expect tropical trees and this is how I learn about the local environment and it’s plantation.
People don’t always have an exotic holiday for an entertainment; a day trip for a stroll with the dogs in the woods or country side were already a good exercise very refreshing and enjoyable.
Last Autumn I visited Westonbirt Arboretum in the middle of the shedding of the leaves, where it produces glorious colours of different variations of Acer trees.
In winter, as most of the trees are bare, one cannot hide behind trees, as there are only tree trunks and twigs… And then there are different colours in Spring:
I think I will comeback in Summer to see the difference, and I should expect different colours again, and maybe learn more about Acer trees, as it’s one of the most colourful trees (at least in my opinion).
What I love most about Westonbirt Arboretum is the 600 acres of land which is divided into 2 areas, one on the left from the coffee shop which is the bigger section and where they have their Maple Loop, with hundreds of Acer tree varieties, where in Autumn, it creates wonderful colours. To me this area is the best bit, as they allow visitors to bring their dogs so that your four legged friends can run and sniff around as well as socializing with other dogs. To me this is where I stalk other people dogs and imagining myself as a dog owner (as where I live I cant own a dog).
However, if you prefer to walk without dogs running around, on the other side of the coffee shop, (Old Aoboretum as per map below) is the section of the arboretum where you can walk without somebody else’s dog running around which might drive you crazy.
Westonbirt Arboretum opens 7 days a week, from 9am-5am; the Cafe Shop and the shop opens from 9.30-5pm
For further information, visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt