According to reliable sources, summer in the Northern Atmosphere started in June. Yet, looking back at past weeks, there's more rain than sunshine. Looking back at the last six months, you don't even know whether it was winter, spring or summer :P.
This is the English weather.
Cold, wet and unpredictable, you rarely see the sun, let alone feel the warmth. So, it's small wonder that people tend to seek greener pastures over the English channel :).
We went to Europe during Easter. Not a good time, really, as Easter is considered peak season. Room rates tend to be more expensive and places of attraction can be overly-crowded. However, as we were pressed for time and hubs didn't want the kids to miss school, easter hols was it. Everyone was excited, especially hubs who had been meticulously planning every detail of the trip.
Oh, yes... before some tongues start wagging about where the MONEY came from, I can happily tell you straight TO YOUR FACES that we used our own savings. Unlike government-sponsored undergraduates, the scholarship that we received as postgraduate students sekadar cukup untuk menampung sara hidup sekeluarga. House rent in London, Bristol dan kawasan yang sewaktu dengannya, is pretty high compared to other places in the UK. Many Malaysians from other parts of the country terlopong bila dengar sewa rumah kami... Tapi... tetap bersyukur dengan rezeki yang Allah bagi ni. Yang buat PhD dalam negeri apa kurangnya... Dapat tukar kereta baru dan renovate dapur lagi ... kan? kan? kan? Rezeki masing-masing.... :)
From Bristol, we set out to Dover around midnight to catch the ferry to Calais, France. It took us about 3 hours to reach Dover. Passports check was a breeze, but we had to wait a little for the ferry to arrive. We took the first ferry out because it was the cheapest. Cheap pun, comes with a price - the drivers had to sacrifice their sleep for this trip. Luckily they were seasoned, nocturnal drivers! :)
|Dover, UK. 2 April 2012|
When the ferry arrived, the cars were directed into the ferry. After parking our cars at the ground floor, we proceeded to the passengers' lounge, upstairs. While waiting for the ferry to reach its destination, you can get some snacks, buy tax-free items, watch TV, sleep or just relax on the seats provided. Ala... macam naik feri kat Penang tu, tapi yang ini selesa sikit lah... :)
The journey from Dover to Calais took another 90 minutes. Once in French territory, the drivers had to quickly get accustomed to driving on the right lane. At roundabouts, have to turn right, instead of left. Speed pun, control gitu, sebab takut kena bayar saman on-the-spot. Kelam-kabut jugak masa keluar dari Calais because all signboards were in French and the satnav went bonkers for awhile. However, once the drivers got their acts together, it was smooth-sailing from then onwards.
|Turbines at dawn|
|Frosty April morning|
|Trees planted in a straight line.|
What I found unique and peculiar was the trees in Belgium seemed to be planted in a straight line? To mark boundaries, maybe? Well, one website claimed that the trees were planted that way so that the fields would not appear to be thickly-wooded as compared to those in the British Isle.
|... dan lagi :)|
I can see that the Belgians put great effort in harvesting energy from their natural source - the wind. We Malaysians should also emulate them. Forget turbines, the wind in our region is not as strong; but we do get an abundance of sunshine, don't we? It's about time we seriously consider harvesting solar energy... Boleh ka?? :)