This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.
For all our gallivanting, we haven’t spent time in London very often as it’s so expensive. The WOW moment I want to share with you occurred only in November 2019. Remember those heady days when travel was relatively straightforward and one could jump on a plane and, passport in hand, head to the other side of the world?
I was attending the RootsTech conference in London, so I scheduled a couple of days ahead to do some more sightseeing. A couple of blogging mates and I had planned to meet up at Kew Gardens where there was a Chihuly glass exhibition on show. The amazing thing about blogging is that you get to know people from far away. It was exciting to know I could meet up again with long-term mates, Sharn from Family History 4U and her hubby, as well as Angela from A Silver Voice from Ireland…. and did we have fun together!
We were barely in the gates when the amazing Chihuly exhibits captured our attention and excitement. However, as we entered the Waterlily House, I was brought to a standstill with my mouth open, uttering “WOW”! The glassworks of white waterlilies were pure magic and I could have happily stayed looking at them for hours but we did need to share with others.
The joy continued as we wandered through the gardens, admiring the different trees and discovering glass displays along the way. It was great to have Angela’s northern hemisphere expertise to help us with unfamiliar trees and plants. There are some truly incredible specimens in the gardens.
Eventually, worn out by our adventures, the ladies retreated to the cafe for coffee and more chat.
We had been so inspired by the Chihuly glass that a few of us decided to make the trek from Docklands back to Kew for a night showing. Equally impressive, with a different perspective, we voted round 2 of our adventures a great success. We were grateful for our beds and zzz when we arrived “home” close to midnight.
LEAVE and TRAVEL
I realised that some readers may be mystified by how we managed so much time off work for our gallivanting in Oz or overseas.
Australia does have much better employment conditions than other places. So let me give you some background.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
1970-1973 : Leave entitlement was three months every two years and the expectation was it would be taken and someone would relieve in your position. To clarify, you had to wait the two years before you could go on leave. This could feel like a long time between visits with family and friends. We also got airfares for the family from the place of recruitment. That still meant accommodation costs and car hire to pay while away. Hence the appeal of travel overseas often with a detour/transit to see family.
1974-1978: Our conditions changed to six weeks every year, remembering we were a significant distance from “home” base.
Married women were contract employees only 😦
Annual leave conditions are typically four weeks a year for full-time employees. The next 10-12 years were more committed to tag-teaming school holidays and short camping trips.
The other employment bonus is three months long service leave after 10 years with one employer. We reached that goal in 1992 and celebrated with a big trip…of course!
Northern Territory conditions were closer to PNG entitlements, partly because of distance and the NT’s historical association with the Commonwealth. By the time we worked there we were empty nesters, so could benefit from the longer leave although we very rarely took six weeks – too much hassle when you didn’t have an equivalent relief person.
I’m guessing at least some of you will be green with envy by now. 🙂
Have you visited London? What’s your favourite place or activity?
Have you seen a Chihuly exhibition anywhere? What did you think?
Have employment conditions assisted or limited your holiday options?