Home again home again jiggerty jig!
We are back in Malaysia after a wonderful 2 months in the UK. I can’t believe how quickly the time went.
We arrived in the UK on the afternoon of 26th October. It was cold but at least it wasn’t raining.
We had a lovely day with James for his 30th birthday on 1st November, starting off with breakfast at a posh London café, moving on or rather up The Shard – what a fantastic view.
Lots of famous monuments on view.
We continued onto Sandown racecourse to watch the boys become little boys again playing on the big boys go-carts. Hair nets compulsory.
After a birthday lunch at Thomas’s flat the four of us joined a Thames river cruise for a delicious dinner to end the special day.
I spent the next 2 weeks sorting and clearing my Mum’s bungalow with my sisters. A difficult job but good that we could do it together.
The weekend of 15th/16th November was the Blue Water Rally reunion where we met up with so many of our wonderful cruising friends and talked about our adventures together. The old gang of ‘Enchantress’, ‘Lucy Alice’, and half of ‘Fai Tira’ were there. It was great to see everyone. Sadly I forgot to take my camera.
We continued to Pitton, Wiltshire to spend a few days with Bill’s Uncle John and Auntie Lary, it was great to see them looking so well. Thanks for taking us on the lovely guided walk around the beautiful Wiltshire countryside in the last of the Autumn, and that lovely pub lunch.
Thursday 21st November would have been Mum’s birthday so my sister’s and I decided it would be a fitting date to lay her ashes to rest. Sleep tight Mum, God Bless.
One of our difficulties was meeting up with our younger son Thomas and his new partner Sonal as they live in a lovely one bedroom flat but it’s in London, way out of our budget for a hotel let alone the train fares to get there! So my sister-in-law and Thomas’s godmother Claire stepped in and invited us all to spend a weekend with her and her husband Gordon at their home in Sussex. We had a great time with them including a fantastic walk along the beach at Church Norton, Pagham to Selsey revisiting and showing Thomas and Sonal some of Bill’s favourite childhood haunts.
Also during November we were kindly given a bed for the night by some past (I won’t say old!) cruising friends. Liz and Julian of ‘Golden Dawn’ WOA members and John and Pam of ‘Cosi’, great to see you guys.
At the end of November we drove to Wales to spend almost a week (and several bottles of wine!) with our cruising buddies Norman and Sara of ‘Norsa’. The weather was kind to us and we went for some great walks including 886M up Pen Y Fan, around the Gower coastline and the Cardiff barrage. Thank you to them for having us and hopefully we’ll meet again on the high seas soon.
We left Wales and drove south to Dartmouth to meet half of ‘Fai Tira’ otherwise known as Petey Poppet who proceeded to take us on a pub-crawl of Dartmouth. Even in the winter Dartmouth looked very pretty and Pete and Judy live in one of the quirky but beautiful houses that has stunning harbour views. Judy cooked a beautiful meal and Pete thought up some new jokes of the usual standard, so we had an excellent evening.
Pete even managed to stay awake most of the evening but, as those of you that know what Pete’s like, he eventually dozed off.
The next day we headed east again stopping for a terrific evening with Ian and Glenda of ‘Lucy Alice’ at their new home in Christchurch before heading to Kent the next morning. We spent a wonderful long weekend with our friends Gill and Nigel who live opposite our old house in Teston giving us a chance to meet some of our old neighbours. It also gave us another opportunity to meet Thomas and Sonal and her family. We had a delicious meal with Meena, Sonal’s Mum and Amit and Jen, her brother and sister-in-law.
During our time in the UK we heard that Bill’s Auntie Jean had died. Fortunately all four of us had visited her together when we first arrived in the UK before she became ill. So before we headed to Scotland we attended her funeral. Although a sad occasion it gave us the opportunity to meet family members that we wouldn’t have had the chance to see. Thank you Maggie and Wendie for inviting us and we’re sorry for your loss.
We flew to Scotland on 16th December after a pre Christmas dinner with my youngest sister Amanda on the 15th. Scotland was another few degrees colder but James had the heating on ready for our arrival. I started to feel really Christmassy but then James decided he and his Dad had time to replace his bath and decorate the bathroom!
The weekend before Christmas James drove us to Aberdeen for a weekend with David and Susan of ‘Enchantress’. As it was David’s birthday it was a double celebration. Again the weather was kind to us and Susan took us on some cold but beautiful walks along the Buchan coastline.
This is the ruin of Slain castle, it looked wonderful set up on the cliff top. It was great spending time together again and having a wee dram or three!!
Monday 23rd Thomas arrived in Scotland for Christmas. We spent the first day shopping together but on Christmas eve we decided to go and find some snow. We drove to Aviemore and did indeed find some snow and very cold it was too.
Thomas proceeded to make a snowman so we could all have our picture taken with it. After hot cocktails in a lovely old pub we drove back to James’s house to prepare for Christmas.
The Christmas tree was surrounded by presents by the morning and we spent several hours opening them all while drinking Bucks Fizz through comedy straws.
Thomas cooked a delicious dinner, aptly helped by James and Sonal, while I sat and relaxed. Bill did all the washing up.
Boxing day we all went for a lovely walk up into the surrounding forest behind James’s house before James drove Thomas and Sonal back to the airport. We stayed another few days and then we too flew back south.
Sunday 29th Angela cooked us another lovely Christmas dinner before we had a mammoth packing session to pack all the items Bill has bought for the boat in the UK. We had 65kgs in 4 bags although our allowance was 60kgs but fortunately we got away without paying any excess baggage.
We flew out of the UK on the 31st after sad goodbyes to Thomas and Sonal and my sister Angela. I walked through customs control in tears.
I want to say a really big thank you to my sister Angela who let us base ourselves at her place, took in numerous parcels and drove us around. We’ll see you in April. XX
We checked into the Best Western for 5 days while we sort Camomile out to relaunch her. We can keep an eye on her from our room.
So I just want to wish everyone around the world a Happy New Year.
Love from Bill and Sue xx