ENGLAND ~ We needed a holiday from the holiday!!
Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
27Trip End Jan 29, 2012
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After the longest flight in the history of flights (or so it seemed to me), we arrived to a brisk morning in London. Whilst it was cold early, the weather was great for the rest of the day and believe it or not, the trip! Aside from one day where it poured with rain the whole day. That was the day of course, that a dear friend of mine chose to take the children and I to Legoland Windsor. (So her fault really!!) But more of that later! It was fabulous to see my Mum and Dad at the airport - and made the long trip worth it already.
It had been six years since our last visit and so I had not seen the HUGE new bridge that had been built to get on and off the island. (The Isle of Sheppey) The island did look so green and I must say that, because of our trip around Australia, I looked at The Island with different eyes and I have to say it looked wonderful
The reunion with my sister and her boys was fabulous and even though the boys are now a grown up 18, 19 and 21 - the connection that they had with my children was special. Even though I am sure they had mates to be with and things to do, they all spent quality time together. Something that I know the children and I will never forget. It was lovely to see the wonderful young men they have become and we miss them terribly.
One of the first things we did once settled in was take up the offer from another good friend of mine, Christine, to go to London for the day, she did all the homework on it - all I had to do was get the children up and ready by 7.30am! We had to get going early as she had booked a tour and it included 'The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace'. Or would have done......We managed to pick the only day in the last goodness knows how long, that the IRA gave a terrorist bomb warning! Not kidding! Thankfully it all went off without a bang! (Literally!)
We managed to arrive at the Mall, just as the police had closed it - even beat the tabloids to it! The Changing of the Guard was 'on hold' - My pleas of "But we got up really early" did not make a difference and we were encouraged to leave the area swiftly
We caught the tourist bus jumped on and off as we saw the sights of London - saw the same sights a few times as couldn't really get the hang of which bus went where, but it was a lovely day and London was beautiful. Of course nowadays a trip to London would not be complete without going up in the London Eye, even managed a pose up there!
The other major day out, was as mentioned previously, Legoland Windsor. It did rain all day! We picked up some raincoats and made the most of it. Not the most flattering of fits, but dry is the magic word that wins over style. As the name suggests a tremendous amount of things are made from Lego. It was also a theme park and what Kerry - the friend who took us - and I did not realise that once you were in the queue, you were also on the ride! Whaoooooooooooh! The children said I had to curb my screaming, I said "Well you need to queue up on your own then!" They didn't want to do that, so I screamed my way around the rest of the rides and think Kerry had a squeal or two
One of my favourite parts, was the nice and sedate mini Lego London. Sooo cool, we even managed to finally see the 'Changing of the guard, Lego style" Those little guys were marching up and down I tell you!! Little legs going for their lives.
Another friend of mine Clive, lives just up the road AND has young children. Win, win, the children could play with children their own age and I could grab a small glass of vino bianco, with the option of a few more. Clive also is one of the Sheerness Lifeboat crew members, so kindly offered for us all to go out on the boat on a Sunday morning with the crew.
I was really, quite, almost, nearly keen and excited. Mostly I was worried about the sea sickness, that I suffer majorly from. But I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to take the children round the wreck of the USS Richard Montgomery, which sits just off the coast of Sheerness. I thought it would be good to learn a bit about it first and popped on a DVD made about it. HOWEVER, it was all dramatic with grim overtones, starting along the lines "Just off the coast of Sheerness, in the sight of playing children (grim, scary music now starts) is a disaster waiting to happen." I turned it off at this point, as we still had to go on the lifeboat and sail round it
The wreck is of an American Liberty ship built during WW2, it was used to carry cargo during the war. The ship was wrecked, in the Thames Estuary in 1944 with around 1,500 tons of explosives on board!! Yes they are still live and does hold a bit of a threat to the island. I thought it best that they just observed it at this point. We've lived with it for years - or had at the time of me going to press!!
I was concerned as the two other major days out had resulted in a bomb scare and the only day of rain of the whole trip - so not withstanding the wreck going up, I thought for sure the crew would get a call and we would be caught up in the rescue of the year. Thankfully it all remained calm - the sea and the radio - The crew showed us some maneouvres and Adam got to steer the boat. It was a fabulous trip and my stomach held its own! So thanks very much to Clive and the Sheerness Lifeboat crew.
Obviously a lot of my time was with catching up with friends and family. My mum and dad kept the children busy (or rather the children kept them busy!) and I was able to go out and catch up with friends I haven't seen for years, for a cuppa, lunch, dinner or drinks
One of the highlights of the trip was the party that my parents organised. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year, the children and I came over and it was also my mums 70th birthday, so we thought a party was in order. Family and friends came from all over the country and it was a night of memories and remaniscing, very special.
It was fabulous and not being able to be with them is something that I miss terribly. It was really intense and emotional for me. The love and connections that I have with my huge family and my mates, makes it tough to deal with at times, so had the odd moment of sadness. Then downed a few scotch and cokes and got on with partying!! :)
All too quickly, our time was at an end and to send it off we all came down with colds. It actually worked in my favour a bit, as with all the goodbyes I had to say and the tears I shed, I was lucky that the redness of my nose (from all the blowing) was matched beautifully to the redness of my eyes. :(
We all missed Fabio and wanted to get back to him, but it's a double edged sword as to be with him, we had to leave everyone in England
I'm going to try to save to do a splash and dash for my 50th birthday year.... So if there are any lotto wins out there, do give me a thought!!
So we are back on the trip, actually on the Gold Coast at the moment, five minutes from Surfers Paradise - more like Surfers Concrete - a tad too populated for me, but still not a bad place to be for a while....
I'll keep you posted.