On the weekend of October 23rd, I had the pleasant opportunity to visit a British home as part of the HOST UK program. I heard about HOST UK relatively late into my course in the UK. It is essentially a program for foreign students to experience REAL British life by visiting a British home for a weekend. You are profiled thoroughly and paired with a suitable host. I applied at about April and it took almost 6 months for me to be communicated to. I was called several times and moved dates I was then told be going to a place near Somerset (Never heard of it) and would be staying with the Pattens. Dave Patten is an advertising man and owns a marketing firm called Merry Marketing so I was looking forward to discussing some PPC and CPM.
Day One: Arrival and a loooooong Walk
I was received at the Train station by David and Brian (the second student guest) and we drove down to the village where he lived. I was looking forward to a village but alas is just like the suburbs. It reminded me of UNIBEN campus of the early 90’s when school was not in session, peaceful. We got down I was introduced to his lovely wife Lynda. As soon as I walked into the door I was greeted by two rascals, Moppet and Matilda, the basset hounds. They sniffed and sniffed until I had no smell. After a quick snack, we went walking with the dogs. On the ways I saw a corn plantation which brought back so many memories of growing up. I was taken to several places of historical importance. I visited a church that was one thousand years old, I touched a chest that was built in the 11th century amongst others.
Day Two: Glastonbury and My Cooking:
For those that do not know Glastonbury, it is the site of Britain’s biggest festival and also the site of so many myths. It is a spiritual place. On Saturday, we paid a visit to Glastonbury where we visited the Tor; I had to drag my lazy ass up the hill. And the sight form the top of the hill was lovely; we got don and went to visit the town. I I had pondered visiting a palm reader but on getting there I changed my mind. The woman looked like someone who would look into my future see it bright, and try to darken it. So I did not take the chance. I visited a shop that sold Marijuana seeds and everything possible makes form it from toothpaste to G St**ngs (I swear!). Afterwards, I went to various places that sold all types of scents from “touch and follow” (love portion) to the type that calm the nerves. I saw some retired hippies roaming about. It was an interesting place to visit.
In the evening, I prepared Jollof rice for the house. They seemed to like it but I was hoping there would be no after effects, luckily none of them that any stomach upset so I guess it was all good!
Day Three: The coast, Cream, Scones and Tea, Au revoir…and the bloody Scousers!
Sunday came and I woke up quit late, using the excuse of the change of time. We had porridge for breakfast no Not Yam porridge but oats, that is what is called porridge here. Quickly said goodbye to Lynda . Brian, Dave and I then went down to Quantock beach for a little picnic. It was another loooog walk again (I know, I am a lazy bastard :)). As soon as the clock struck 2 my mind was no longer (Man U was palaying liverpool) there I was, wondering how many goals Rooney would have put past Reina. We made some brief stop overs and quickly got to the train station. Luckily there was a pub by the Station so I quickly said goodbye to Dave and Brian. I entered the pub and everyone was looking at me strangely (I forgot to mention that in my three days and visiting several places, I was the only black face I saw. I actually felt special Nick Griffin should be relieved). The score was 0-0 when I began watching with 30 mins to the end. i’ll leave it there. But just know I was not smiling when i left the pub! After the match i got on the train back to my Coventry (the Benin of UK)
1. It reaffirmed my belief that the elderly Brits are very nice and welcoming. The women remind me of my grand mum 🙂
2. I prefer the suburbs to the city (British village that is). What made me like the ‘village’ was the air of unity I sensed. Everybody knows everyone. It was the birthday of a lady and poster boards were places around announced she hit the big 40. What was interesting was that only her first name was used and they all know who it was. It reminded me of the good days when neighborhoods were like large families.
3. I have to play more family games. I could not remember the rules of Jackpot, or Go Fish.. Damn you Facebook! We spent too much time with computers, I cannot remember the last time I played ludo, snakes and Ladders or even scrabble . No, not the one on FB, with a human being physically.
4. I will have a Dog.
5. I realized that everywhere in Nigeria has as much history if only we preserved it all.
I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my trip. Many thanks to David and Lynda Patten, they were PERFECT hosts! If you are a foreign student in the UK, I would greatly suggest you participate in HOST UK.
I really hope to visit them again.