Catching up - Family and Friends plus Celebration - Days 291 - 303
A catch up here, a fortnight of seeing family, friends and a celebration. It feels like a Holiday!
“So you are off on holiday again soon,” said Gan. “Holiday? Holiday? It’s not a holiday – we are travellers” I replied. Gan looked at me puzzled. “What’s the difference to holiday and travelling?”. I took my time to consider. “A holiday usually has an end date, a time of leisure and/or travel which is different to your usual way of life. Travelling is a way of life and often with no definitive end date” Our time back in the UK is coming to an end. For us, it seems like a holiday from our usual travelling life. What a wonderful time we’ve had catching up with friends and family. Time has run out, just this weekend left, and we still haven’t seen everyone we wanted to see. (Tim has been making a list ready for 2019 - this is very odd – that’s something that I would usually do – I am sure we are morphing into each other). So the last two weeks I’ve slept in 8 different beds and met up (in order) Jo, Robert, George, Hetty, Emily, Max, Michael, Shannon, Tony, Carol, Glyn, Katherine, Dawn, Barry, Julia, Hugh, Fiona, Jules, Bruce. Kath, Phil, Chloe,Toby, Finlay, Jac, Simon, Dawn, Martin, Joel, Laura, Dee, Marta, Mark, Olek,Rachel, Matt, Jane, John, Andrew, Helen, Jak, Chris, Jan, Simon, Nicole,Anna, (Tim saw his work friends), Mel, Jo, Martin Freda Gan, John, Georgia, Ewan, Guy, and Ans …plus gallons of coffee, tea and wine. We have visited a number of places with highlights being West Norwood Cemetery – another of the magnificent seven, Richmond with Tony with in-depth conversations about generalising and life. Kew Gardens, where, after paying our entrance fee, we ended up sitting and chatting at the Orangery with our inspiring friends Glyn and Carol for nearly four hours! We zoomed up to the lovely town of Stamford, described as ‘the finest stone town in England’ by Sir Walter Scott, seeing friends nearby. Did you know that Boudicia visited Stamford in AD61?
Back down to London for an early celebration of my sister Jac’s “special” birthday. Dawn and I arranged a magical mystery tour for Jac, first going back in time to the roaring 20 with a trip on the Belmond British Pullman. What a grand day. Champagne, delicious food, attentive service as well as a visit to the Roman Palace in Fishbourne. This was discovered in 1960 whilst a housing estate was being built. Imagine that! Onto the majestic Arundel castle, home to the Duke of Norfolk with stunning gardens including a stumpery, rose garden and veg garden. Well worth a visit. The next day we surprised Jac with a trip down Regents Canal on a narrow boat. The family did well, bringing food and wine with a delicious birthday cake made by Laura. Jac was extra surprised to see her very close friend Dee there as well. A glorious sunny afternoon gliding down passed massive Regency Mansions and the hyenas from London Zoo. The relaxing calm atmosphere changed to the groovy sounds and sites of Camden, with smells of burgers and tourists milling around, taking photos of us going through the lock. A busker even sang Happy Birthday to Jac which was lovely. Shame we couldn’t throw a bob or two into his hat, we were too far away. We said our farewells; done a lot of that recently; and travelled to Charing Cross. Just as we got out of the station, the cyclists from the Tour of Britain rocketed past us. Wow, what timing! Back to Warmington for a week, where we are staying literally around the corner from our old home and staying with our dear friends Hugh and Fiona. Our week has consisted of seeing friends, chatting, eating and drinking coffee and more coffee. We really appreciate those who have been able to see us and lovely that some have even laid on delicious meals so that we could meet up with a number friends. What a week. As well as expanding our stomachs, we have been making a few changes to our luggage and weighing items to ensure we can get within the 7kg limit. Mmm…Tim, do you really need 10 pairs of socks?