Very busy day = saw 2 places in Peterbprpugh. Drove down to Leighton Buzzard to revisit Avaline Court. On the way, an estate agent from Bedford invited us to inspect a couple of places there. We had a quick lunch at a cafe, viewed Avaline, and drove back to Bedford. We then returned to Milton Keynes to stay at The Yew Tree Farm overnight. Had dinner in LB - The Lancer and went to Tescos for a few odds and ends. A very busy day!!!
Visited Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey), Arrived half hour early, but were able to get in. Wonderful place. It was also the home of the Lord Carnarvon who found Tutenkharmon's tomb, so there was an extensive display of the archeological digs in Egypt. We had lunch at the castle and drove to Peterborough. Traffic was awful. We had tea at Johnny and Frankie's American/Italian restaurant.
Went to an old Roman Villa. Still being renovated to enable viewing. It should be great when it has finished. We had a very lunch in a tea tent. Graeme had bad hay fever. We stopped in the village of Asthall Leigh at a pub called The Maytime Inn for afternoon tea. Stayed overnight at Travelodge Tolworth Chessington.
Met with Aunty Pam today in Cossington, Had lunch with her in a little pub which had wi-fi. We skyped Jen so she could chat with aunty Pam too. Had a walk around Milton Keynes in the evening. Found the shopping centre - huge! Had Italian for tea at L'Artista
Saw 2 more flats (Avaline Court and Magnum Place). Liked both. Lunch in a little cafe in Leighton Buzzard and tea at the Flying Fox
Drove to Milton Keynes. Visited flat in Linsdale. Had lunch at The Red Lion in Leighton Buzzard. Visited Bletchley Park (Spyworld) and had dinner at The Globe.
Location: Kent, UK
Drove to Rochester. Lovely village = very proud of Dickens. Had lunch in a nice little cafe. Visited the castle, bought some things in the shop. Drove on to Leeds castle. Once the home of at least 6 English queens. Great place. Viewed outside of flat in Ashford. Back to The White Hart for tea.
Location: London, UK
Plane arrived late. Graeme was waiting and we went back to Travelodge. After a rest went to local hamburger shop for chickenburger. Didn't do much - went to White Hart for tea
Graeme has been in England since Sunday. I caught the train at 8.30am for the 5.00 flight. Jen and Mon came to see me off Half an hour into the trip I got a txt msg from Qantas telling me the flight was delayed by 4 hours. Too late to go home. Finally departed at 9.30pm. At least I managed an exit row seat. Once we arrived, we circled London for 20 minutes before landing - thenhad to wait 20 minutes for a gate to be open. I got through customs in less than an hour - then had another wait for the bus to the hotel.
Last night we had a wonderful time in the bar and having dinner. This morning we bumped into a couple of young Dubbo girls who are a complete scream. They are on our flight, staying at the same resort, even coming home on the same flight next week. It's been a hilarious morning already - they are so frank and honest and funny.
Location: Paris, France
Got to our hotel in Paris about midday after having a bit of a sleep in. We immediately set off for the city via a shuttle to the airport and then a train. On the bus to the airport we had a nice chat with a boy heading home to Cronulla.
The first thing we did in Paris was look for a Cafe as we'd skipped breakfast. Then we walked along the Seine. From Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. Seeing The Bastille, The Louvre, Jardin des Tuileres and Place de la Concorde (Cleopatra's Needle). We went up the Eiffel Tower to the second floor but we didn't have time to go any further.
We then caught a taxi to Momtmartre. The taxi took us around the Arc de Triumph and down the Champs Elysees.
After dinner we wandered around looking for a train station and ended up finding The Moulin Rouge!
Narelle and Jennifer arrived home on Saturday, after many delays and hours and hours on aeroplanes! Graeme is continuing his tour around France, He'll be home on the 23rd.
Location: Avallon, France
On Monday we left the Schmidts at about 9.30am and drove straight to our house in France. While Graeme was going around the house with the people who look after it when were at home, he hit his head on a low doorway quite badly. We think now that this may have given him mild concussion. This didnt stop him (or Narelle and Jennifer) from going to the little local grocery shop in the village square to buy supplies. We explored the village a little bit looking for a place to eat but there was nothing appropriate so we drove to Avallon and got some McDonalds. We discovered they also have internet there! After a quick meal and email check we then went to the supermarket to buy some more stuff for the house. We went straight to bed when we got home.
The next morning we had a nice long sleep in before we got up to go out for lunch at our local pub. We then drove in to Auxerre and wandered around looking at all the nice old houses, churches and the river. We thought wed stop by McDonalds and upload Planetranger but when we got there the Auxerre Maccas didnt have internet! We decided wed have a nice drive to Avallon to admire the French countryside (it is really stunning in some places) and then have internet and another ice cream. After wed all checked our email accounts, we realised Graeme had left his bag at Auxerre with his $2000 video camera inside of it. So! We sped back to Auxerre McDonalds as fast as safely possible. Luckily an honest person had handed it in and we retrieved it. The hero of the day was Narelle. She hadnt used her French since she learnt it at school 30 years ago. Graeme thought it fitting that his favourite song (Viva La Vida by Coldplay) was playing when they left.
Just before we were about to go to bed we heard fire crackers going off for Bastille Day so we followed the sound to the village square and watched lots of children between the ages of 6 and 10 let off fire crackers. At 10pm we even joined a parade around the whole village and watched a spectacular fireworks display.
Location: Balingen, Germany
Today we drive to Balingen to visit Petra, Rainer, Anabel and Jonas. We got here at about 3pm and had a quick afternoon tea before we went to see Burg Hohenzollern. We went on a tour of the inside of the castle and saw lots of really historic and interesting things. We spent almost just as much time in the souvineer shop as we did in the castle, barely resisting the temptation of buying a crown for Jennifer.
We walked to a restaurant for a traditional German dinner which was very enjoyable and then we had a walk around Balingen. The highlight of today would no doubt be the ice cream parlour (for Jennifer anyway and she doesn't like ice cream that much!). They had a hot chocolate that was really made from melted chocolate! They had entire meals made out of ice cream. For example, their "Spaghetti Ice" is ice cream moulded so it looks like spaghetti, covered in strawberry sauce so it looks like bolagnaise and then white chocolate is sprinkled on top so it looks like cheese. They had steaks, egg and bacon, lasagne and lots more!
Jennifer had an ice cream that looked like a peppermint choc chip mouse.
Anabel was very disappointed that we leave too soon for Jennifer to go to school with her.
Tomorrow we drive at least 5 hours to France.
The walk yesterday consisted of Graeme, Jutta, Fabienne and Lily the dog. Narelle and Jennifer stayed back at the house becoming better acquainted with Ariane.
Today we were going to go see a castle that we've heard a lot about. Douglas saw it when he was in Germany in 2006, it was the highlight of his trip. Apparently an eagle had taken a dead chick off his head and we were going to see the same eagle today. Unfortunately, the entire castle was closed so we missed out. We did walk up the mountain though and took some really nice photos that we'll upload sometime. Tonight Bertie's cooking a BBQ for us because it's a traditional Australian meal!
The plane flight only took half an hour or so, but the drive was about 6 hours. Not the best thing to do when you have a bug but both Narelle and Jennifer are a lot better now.
We arrived at Jutta's house at about 8.30pm and Narelle and Jennifer met Ariane and Fabienne for the first time since 1996 (first time they'd ever met Fabienne actually). Ariane will be staying with us for three weeks when we get home.
After a quick visit we went to the Guesthouse where we will spend the next few nights.
Might not be able to update for a while. We're going for a walk today. Graeme has already been for one and got soaked.
Location: Heathrow, UK
Jennifer was too sick to go with Graeme and Narelle to visit Brenda + Denis and Uncle Maurice + Aunty Dorothy one last time, but she still braved the long drive to Heathrow.
We spent the next day looking at Windsor Castle. Jennifer was a bit too ill to really enjoy it as much as she should've. When looking at some porcelain that was hundreds of years old Graeme remarked that he was disappointed it wasn't dishwasher proof. This didn't help Jennifer's illness at all.
Graeme and Narelle walked around Runnymeade Memorial where King John signed the Magna Carta. Then Graeme went around an Air Force Memorial.
At the moment we're at Heathrow airport about to fly to France and then drive immediately to Germany.
Location: Wrose, UK
Narelle was still feeling quite ill this morning so she couldn't come with us to visit Uncle Maurice and Aunty Dorothy. The visit was very brief, followed by another very brief visit to Aunty Brenda and Uncle Denis. Almost as soon as Uncle Denis got in, Graeme and Jennifer had to leave. We came back to Sue and Rod's for 10 minutes before we left to pick up Aunty Joan to take her with us to Knaresborough to meet up with Janelle and John, workmates of Graeme who live in Tamworth, Australia. Aunty Joan took us on a guided walk around to the entrance to Mother Shipton's Cave but we didn't go inside. We walked across a bridge that Mother Shipton made a prediction about in the 1500's (or thereabouts). This prediction was the third time that the bridge fell, the end of the world would come. According to Aunty Joan, it's already fallen down twice.
When we came back into town after our little walk, Aunty Joan shot off to find a Fish & Chip shop so Jennifer could experience a Yorkshire meal. The general consensus was that it was the best fish ever tasted.
A few hours later though and all the grease and oil made Jennifer very sick.
On the way home, it started to rain. Aunty Joan made it go away by waving her umbrella at it and yelling at it to stop. It worked!
This evening we took Aunty Brenda and Uncle Denis to Michelle and Adrian's (who we were supposed to stay with tonight and tomorrow) where Jennifer kept running upstairs to be sick!
Hopefully it was just the fish and she'll be ok for the drive to Heathrow tomorrow.
Location: Wrose, UK
Unfortunately when we woke up this morning Narelle was really sick with hopefully just a tummy bug. This meant that we had to cancel our stay with Michelle and Adrian and we'll be staying with Sue and Rod for two extra nights. Luckily they're really kind and haven't kicked us out. Graeme and Jennifer visited Trevor and Christine in the morning and stayed chatting until after lunch! Graeme and Trevor talked themselves hoarse not leaving much room for Christine or Jennifer! Their cat Ozzie was rather shy and ran away whenever Graeme went near, but grew quite fond of Jennifer by the end of the visit.
We got back to Sue and Rod's to check on Narelle and have a very quick lunch. Then tried out the British shopping centres to get some wine and chocolate. Graeme had left his GPS at Sue and Rod's so we came very close to getting lost on the way to Paul, Oriel and Matthew's!
Luckily Graeme's memory wasn't too bad for his age and we made it. We had an absolutely wonderful BBQ dinner cooked by Paul. Paul took Graeme and Jennifer for a walk down to the 5 Rise Locks on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. We have photos!
Location: Wrose, UK
The weather cleared up yesterday so we went for a walk around Shipley and Saltaire. We walked down the canal to see Saltaire and a canal boat came floating along with a Siamese cat sitting on it with its nose in the air enjoying the nice breeze. There was also a dog on it.
We then drove to Haworth and saw the place the Bronte sisters lived. Narelle and Jennifer had afternoon tea in the Apothecary Tea Rooms. It was really good there. Graeme went off taking photos. After our meal we walked up and down for a little while, going into gift shops, looking at postcards and patting animals.
We made a detour around Thornton where we spent ages following a sign to see the birthplace of the Bronte sisters. We saw a picture of it on a map in a park and decided that was enough.
We visited Aunty Pat for a few hours before coming back to our final night at Sue and Rod's. We took them to dinner at The Terrace Room.
Location: Wrose, UK
Yesterday was sort of a day of relaxing. We went shopping at the local supermarket and then bought some souvineers for people and went to a cafe for lunch. The cafe was called Interlude and had a 1920's theme. To get the waiter's attention you just had to ring a little bell. It was really good, and so was the food.
It was raining pretty heavily so we couldn't walk around Shipley or explore the cemetery like we'd planned.
Dad went for a little walk anyway and only just made it back in time to go out to dinner with Sue, Rod, Aunty Joan and Uncle Mick.
While there, Dad was filming a greeting from Aunty Joan to show to Grandma when we got home, Aunty Joan didn't know what to say so Narelle told her to tell Grandma that her son was a ratbag. So she did.
Graeme and Douglas had joined Sue and Rod at the same pub when they came over in 2006. When we got home we looked up the photos of it and not only was Graeme wearing the same shirt he had three years ago, but so was Rod.
Location: Wrose, UK
Uncle Alf and Aunty Joyce accompanied us to a nice big old manor that Richard III and Henry VIII had both visited. Parts of it were built in the 14th century!
After we'd had a look around that, Uncle Alf had to go home. Aunty Joyce accompanied us to Lincoln Cathedral which was very impressive. (We WILL get photos up... sometime.).
We arrived at Aunty Pam's for lunch at 2pm after dropping Aunty Joyce home again. We went to the Badger's Bitt for lunch.
After we'd said goodbye to Aunty Pam we drove back to Yorkshire. Cooled down at Sue and Rod's for a bit and then went to visit Aunty Pam's son Mark and his partner Ellen.
We're in the middle of a heatwave in England right now with temperatures soaring to over 30 degrees!
Today we're going to have a look around Shipley and then Sue's taking us to Undercliffe cemetery. Should be fun.
Location: Scumthorpe, Lincolnshire, UK
Visited Marion for a few hours yesterday before we went out and explored York. We had a look at the Shambles, the markets, the Minster (a big church) and had a walk along the city walls. There's apparently a saying that if the scaffolding on the Minster ever comes down then the church will turn Catholic... no need to worry about that for now.
We then drove to Lincolnshire where we booked into a Travelodgein Scumthorpe. Then we met Uncle Alf and Aunty Joyce and spent a few hours reminiscing.
Then we had dinner at the pub across the road from the hotel.
This morning we're having McDonald's for breakfast. They have a "McDrive" here instead of a Drive Thru. We're also very close to a Pizza Hut and a KFC. Remind anyone of a song?
Location: Wrose, UK
Yesterday we took Aunty Joan and Aunty Dorothy out for a drive. They thought we were just going to go around Shipley but instead we took them all throughout this part of Yorkshire.
We had lunch at a place called The Lister Arms, parts of that building have been around since 1702.
We kept driving until we got to the Gordale Scar, which is a formation of rocks that was cut away by water a long time ago. Aunty Joan walked with Graeme and Jennifer all the way to the end, worrying Graeme. Aunty Dorothy unfortunately couldn't make the walk and stayed back talking to Narelle.
After that we kept driving, pausing periodically so Graeme could take photos or send Jennifer out to take photos. (Which we still haven't got a chance to upload...).
Another pretty place we stopped at was Malhalm Tarn. A tarn is a small lake with streams running to and from it.
The rest of the day was mostly driving. There was a nice valley called Wharfedale that we drove through. We passed Bolton Abbey which were just beautiful ruins.
This morning heading off to spend a day in York with Marion and then we're spending the night in Lincolnshire with Uncle Alf and we'll also see Aunty Joyce.
This morning Narelle cut the bread too thin for the toaster so Graeme told her she had to have raw toast for breakfast. N + J aren't going to tell him when we're leaving for York.