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Richard and Philippas holiday

Its time for a change in life ... the kids have fallen (pushed) out of the nest and we don't want to work as hard as we have been . So its a year off to discover new places people and FOOD .

Diary Entries

Monday, 02 April 2007

Location: New Zealand


1st April, 2007

For the first time since starting this diary I am at a loss as to what to write first. I will assure you though what I am about to say is no April Fool’s joke. I may as well hit you with the punch line first and explain myself afterwards- Richard and I are back in the Land of the Long White Cloud (NZ). Some of you will already know this as we have given you mild heart attacks knocking on your doors over the last few evenings, with no prior warning. The results of our escapades have varied in response, I must say, from the “screeching” Helen calling us all sorts of rude names for no advance warning, to the death-like silence from our daughter Amanda in Sydney. However friends Rosemary and Wayne were very pleased to see us. We had arranged with their son to say he was going to be home for the night, so we knew they would be home. When Richard and I turned up instead of their son they were delighted because their son only comes home when he needs money and they had been wondering what it was going to cost them this time!

Let me back-track a bit and fill in a few gaps for those of you who don’t know yet. The early Spring in England was magnificent, the blossom, bulbs, sunshine even 16 degreesC over the last week or so. Richard and I had been going on glorious walks across the park, down through the woods and along the wheat fields for about and hour and a half every morning. The promise of a lovely Easter was looking hopeful and thoughts were turning to holidays. Richard and I had spent several days getting the campervan in as good a condition as we could, waiting for the phone calls to come in from keen buyers, well we waited and waited and waited, not one call. We were getting quite frustrated at the lack of calls, despite a lot of advertising, so we dropped the price, but still nothing. We didn’t want to travel in it too much or we would have to clean it again and again so we put it back at the farm.
Then , of course, we both got the flu, which as I’ve told you, lasted a couple of weeks. We were both getting very frustrated at having nothing to do and then when our friend Mary-Jane went home to NZ we both decided we were ready to go home too. We had done everything we had set out to do and it was time to come home and see our children and catch up with friends.

So we set off with the van to Gloucester and left her with a retailer who sells on behalf of clients. He seems very confident he can sell it and has had a busy to start to the year. He seems to think our lack of response was because in that price bracket the Brits like to have the back-up of buying from a retailer and not privately. So that was that, the only thing holding us back was sorted. Now to plan the trip home. We had intended to come home via Hong Kong but when it came down to it we just wanted to get to Sydney and see our daughter Amanda. We arranged with her boyfriend Bradley how to surprise her and so he arranged to meet us at a café near her office and he would bring her in for lunch. Brad’s mother, Elizabeth, kindly met us at the airport and came to lunch with us, along with Brad’s brother Ben. The minute Amanda walked into the café I regretted the surprise. She abruptly stopped and stood dead still, all colour drained from her face and she was totally speechless- a rare phenomenon in Amanda and Richard! It took what felt like several minutes before she spoke and several hours before she came back to life. I worried she thought some disaster had brought us home unexpectedly. Anyway, once the blood returned to her brain we had a lovely few days with her, Bradley and his family. It was nice to see where they are so now we can picture it when we talk to them.

Jason was the only person who knew we were coming home. He met us at the airport and I know this sounds silly, but it was so nice to see that both Amanda and Jason still looked the same, I don’t know what I expected, taller, fatter, who knows, but it’s lovely to see them as they were (if any of you can understand what I mean).

So for now we are staying with Richard’s mum Pat in East Auckland. We cannot get back into our own house for 8 weeks unfortunately, but friends have kindly offered us a cottage near our own house, so that will be very convenient. For now though the essentials need to be sorted like getting Richard and new leg, a car and , of course, a job!!! Guess I shall have to get one too, don’t know how we shall adjust to regulated hours and no more mid-day siestas – might have to work that into my contract!!!

Before we left the UK we had quite a few farewell occasions so the last 2 weeks were filled with food and drink and we managed to put most of the weight we had lost with the flu back on. My mum’s bridge ladies are very sad to see Richard go, not many young men available for afternoon tea and bridge. He got quite fond of his “bridge girls” especially when they started making cakes for him. Had they not all been over 80 a wife could get jealous!! It was lovely to get to know all mum’s neighbours so well and to be included in their lives as well. I know mum will especially miss us being at home and most of all at dinner time, but keep up with the veggies mum!

It has been an amazing 11 months and it has gone so quickly. Being back in NZ feels strange, the first few days felt like we were in a dream that we recognized but were not quite sure where we fitted in. We have certainly seen and done a huge amount. We are, of course, asked where our favourite places were and the answer surprised even me. I had waited 25 years for this trip and Italy had been my main focus. I did enjoy Italy but what surprised me was that having seen and read so much about it over many years when you actually see it for real it is just as you imagine and therefore perhaps a little less exciting. I think Richard and I both agree on our favourite places and although I put them in the following order they are really so very close together it is hard to distinguish:- Turkey, Southern Ireland and Norway.

Having said that, I don’t tend to take England into consideration because to me it is not a holiday destination, it is home where I was born and bred. England is now so very overcrowded and has many problems, as many people discussed with us. However England , as England was and should be, can still be found. Get out of the cities and it is still there, and how beautiful it is. I do miss seeing the four seasons living in Auckland. I miss seeing autumn change, the ploughed fields and spring bulbs of England. But what I loved most about England was how “at home” I felt. It is now 27 years since I moved to NZ but I can still come back to England and just slot back in. That is because my mum and sister are still there I know but it is also because of good, long time friends I pick up with whenever I return. I know Richard found it more difficult , to him of course, England is a foreign country and he missed his good friends a great deal, but he did enjoy the country side and history.

It really is time to settle down now, find work, pay visa bills and get back into life’s routines before winter sets in. I will keep the web site going for a while to let you all know what we end up doing job wise etc. But until the next update I just want to thank everyone who has “traveled” with us via the site. It’s been great fun to have you along for the ride, and you’ve kept us sane in times of potential madness as we divorced each other over road directions time and time again, as we polished off bottle after bottle of wine along the Loire and Rhine rivers and as we coped with Richard’s accident and homesickness for the children and friends in NZ. May those of you still traveling have pot-hole free roads and cheap wine to help you on your way. To any and all of you if you make it to this side of the world, come and see us, it would be great to see you again.

So time to sign off for now with one last thank you and that, of course, is to my mum – thanks for everything doesn’t really say enough mum but what more can I say! It was lovely being home for so long.

Be in touch again soon,
Best wishes,
Philippa and Richard

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Location: UK

10th March, 2007


Goodness me , has it really been a month since I last spoke to you all? Time flies when you are having fun. Well actually I can’t say it’s all been fun in the last few weeks.

About three weeks ago my good friend Jenny, whom I went to college with, helped me get a few old college friends together for a bit of a reunion , after 30 years. It was great to see everyone and compare wrinkles and grey hairs. We all got on as if it had been only yesterday that we saw each other, which is great. Louise very kindly hosted us at her pig farm near Enstone, Oxford, we had a few laughs, got the old photos out and ,need I say, a few wines were had by all.

Then, whammy, two days later Richard and I both came down with a really good dose of the English Flu. Talk about knock you around, every bone and every muscle ached and shivered, then took it in turns to sweat, for 6 days. Couldn’t even be bothered to get out of bed to eat, that shows you how sick I was!! It then took perhaps another week to feel like we had any energy and even now , several weeks later, I am still quite full of cold. Can certainly do without getting that again, thank you!

A few days later my aunt rang, she has been very keen for us to go to Kew Gardens to see the crocus and daffodils that are now out around the park. It was a pretty miserable day
to be out and about but we went and saw them. The grounds are huge, about 300 acres, I think, and when the trees are out would be a lovely park to walk around. There was a little train that went around the outside so we went on that to save some energy.

Once we were up and about and feeling better we headed off to spend 4 days with my sister and family. While they were at work Richard and I took ourselves off for nice drives around the district and then spent the evenings with them all. We always get well fed up there as they enjoy cooking and always make something quite different to what we normally eat. Jill will be 16 shortly and doing her O’levels and then after her A’levels is planning a gap year in NZ, so it would be great to have her stay with us for a while. (yes and Eloise!) Ricky is 12 and sprouting rapidly , Richard spent a few more hours challenging him to computer games – guess which one enjoyed it most! They are all coming down here next week for Mum’s birthday and Mother’s Day (UK) , don’t panic Amanda and Jason the NZ day is later in the year (May). I shall remind you nearer the time!!

Other than that, well what have we been doing? Richard plays a lot of bridge, he fills in when mum is missing a fourth and also plays twice a week with one of the neighbours at the local club. I am now so far behind him I don’t know why I am bothering. Shall have to start again when we are settled back home.

The weather has been lovely, the daffodils, primroses, crocus and snow drops have all been out for a week or so, even the trees are in blossom. It has been very wet but that tends to fall at night with the last week being very sunny during the day.

No news re the selling of the van. We have it advertised well and just have to sit and be patient (not always easy).

I have been digging out some of my favourite childhood pudding recipes like jam roly poly and steamed ginger pudd and thought I would have a go at them. Richard is keen to try making brawn too. We have also got rather addicted to duck lately and had a wonderful whole, crispy duck at the local chinese a few days ago.

Enough about food, only reminds me it is nearly time to start the dinner. Well boys and girls, hope, as usual, all is well in your world. Hopefully D-day is not too far away, we will keep you all informed.

Over and out ,
Philippa and Richard



Friday, 09 February 2007

Location: Bath, UK


7th February, 2007


Time to get the old gal out of hibernation (no, not me ,the campervan )and head off again. This time we went down to the south west of England and to the town of Bath to see the Roman baths there. It is a lovely town built in a golden sandstone, many of the building were built in Georgian times. The baths that the Romans built were really quite amazing , they even had lead drainage pipes in them . We also went around the town on an open top bus but the chilly wind rather took the edge of the enjoyment of that.

We stayed in a very nice campsite in Bath in a lovely valley. At night you could hear the owls tooting and in the morning the dawn chorus was lovely to hear. However, despite the sunny weather, the temperatures dropped somewhat overnight. We woke about 3am freezing our whatsits off. Richard was dispatched from the bed to get the heater started , but what we had forgotten was that Butane gas freezes and the heater was all but useless! The frost outside was very heavy but lovely to look at. The next night we had it sorted and lit the heater before going to bed so by the time the gas froze the van was already reasonably warm. It took a very long time to boil the water for a cuppa the next morning though. Even the toothpaste was frozen.!!

We then headed back down to Salisbury to see Mary Jane and family and spent another good evening with them. That night was not quite so cold as we stayed up on the race course which is at the top of a hill , so the frost was not so heavy up there. The following evening we headed back over to Cheddar Gorge, but yours truly had read the campsite book incorrectly and when we got there the site was shut. So we headed north to Bristol. As we pulled in to the campsite just behind us came another van. It was an amazing co- incidence that the owners of that van were Rick and Maureen Carter who had crossed over to Spain with us on the ferry some months ago. The next day we had a good wander around Bristol and then spent the evening in the pub next door with Rick and Maureen . It was good to catch up with them, then after dinner we went back to their van for a few hands of Bridge

The night was cold again and in the morning everyone was talking about the forthcoming snow storms heading for southern England. We decided that perhaps we should take some notice of these and so we headed off early to see Bill Baker in the Forest of Dean, south of Hereford. We had met Bill on the trip to Italy and always promised him we would make it down to see where he came from. It was a lovely morning seeing him again but sadly cut short by the need to get back to Amersham by dark. We had intended to keep going north to visit family of friends back home but were very glad we called it off. We woke on Wednesday morning to 5 inches of crisp, white, beautiful snow! Very grateful to be in a warm house.

Richard could not believe we had had the snow. All the way back from the Forest we had had sunshine and he was positive it could not snow by nightfall. He was delighted to see he was wrong, come morning. We could not resist the winter wonderland outside and got all dressed up and went out and made a snowman!! Hard to believe our daughter is sweltering in 40 degrees in Sydney right now.

Well next week Richard and I celebrate 25 years of wedlock. We shall not be doing anything grand to celebrate, just dinner out somewhere. It will be sad not to have our children Amanda and Jason with us as they have been a major part of the reason for such happy years together. Speaking personally I can’t wait to enjoy another 25years + with Richard. I know he would say the same, otherwise I would hit him over the head with my new copper saucepan! All I wish for the future is that our children find as much happiness with their choice of partner as Richard and I have found together.

Enough soppiness. Just to make you all very jealous I have to tell you that we had a major win on lotto today – 154 pounds sterling !!! Not bad I say, and here’s to another one please!

So for now we have to sit back , let the snow and eventually the slush clear away, then have a major assault washing and polishing the van. We have had a few calls about it which is pleasing but nothing definite yet. We are still hoping to head up to the Lake District but need to watch the weather for a week or so I think.

Hope you are all well, wherever you may be. Those of you working – tough cookies!!!!
Could you please get the weather sorted in NZ so it is worth us coming home.

Signing off for now, the finally defrosted Cains.



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Recent Messages

From coral and david
hi to you both glad you arrived home safe and sound. so glad you enjoyed your trip around europe it was a shame we did not manage to have a get together before you left it would have been lovely. i have just tried to sed you an e.mail im not sure if it went it said that your e.mail address was not right perhaps you could let me know if it has changed
anyway lots of love to you both coral and david x x qu
Response: Hi guys, yes we got home in one piece and are now settling down to find jobs - oh joy !!! Cant get back into our won house for another 6 weeks but staying in a friend's cottage nearby. No regular internet access at present so will send you email address soon, about to run out of money on this one. Philippa
From Claire
Hi Richard and Phillippa
Just catching up on your news. Congratulations on 25 years. It's great when you have the right partner and you 2 obvivously chose well. I love the photos of the snow, it looks so pretty. How are the van selling and home coming plans going? You will have to have a movie night to make us all jealous about your travels.
Kate was capped last Friday so that was a special day for us. Otherwise we don't have any real news. Murray is too busy at work which I guess is better than being not busy at all. I am looking forward to the holidays next week.
Enjoy Spring time "Oh to be in England now that April is there" (Browning in case you are wondering) and all that.
Love Claire and Murray
Response: May catch up with you sooner than you expected, arrived back NZ last week and slowly getting around to getting in touch with everyone. Not back in our house till early June, but will hopefully be at John and Alison's cottage after Easter. See you soon. R & P
From Amanda
Can you put up some photos of the weekend with all the family? Thank you! XOXOX
Response: When we can get our own computer up and running, using internet cafe at present.
From Loren
Happy 25th Anniversary you too! What a year you've had to celebrate :) Looking forward to meeting up with you soon - only 10 days of work left and a few weekends to go (can you tell Im in countdown mode??)
See you soon!!
Loren & Rangi x
Response: glad to hear you are so excited, nothing like that feeling of walking out of your job!!!!!
Unfortunatly we are both dying of flu right now, don't remember having my body overtaken like this by aliens for a very long time. Oh for some sunshine to warm the aching bones. However spring is trying very hard and by the time you get here should look lovely. The snowdrops, crocus and early blackthorn blossoms are out and the daffs not far behind. Not really cold just had a few dull , grey days lately. give our love to Mum and Dad.Love P & R
From Rosemary
The snow looks beautiful - but I can do without the freezing temperatures - rather have Amanda's heatwave at any time! Congratulaions on 25 years, you're a special couple.
Heading to Ohakuri this weekend, I think. Love Rosemary and Wayne
Response: Give our love to Hugh and Mandy and hope things are getting sorted and settled. Love to be down there with you, by the time we get back there it will probably be snowing there too!!
Lots of love P & R
From Amanda
Brad said "Can we make ours out of beer bottles cos it is the only thing cold around here"...
Response: I think he just wants a good excuse to drink them all first!!
From phil and richard
dear phil and richard

glad you had a good time in the canaries they are lovely islands we were in lanzerote mid january for one week. maggie and ron should have been with us but maggie wass still in hospital so we went on our own (by this time she was out of danger but still not well). maggie is out of hopital now she came out on friday the 9th feb., she was in 7 weeks in total. she is recovering now at home with some t.l.c. from ron ,family and friends. getting stronger each day. love to you both keep well and happy holidays

coral and david x x


Response: Hi , good to hear from you and so pleased to hear maggie is now home. i dare say recouperation is going to take some time. What a terrible experience for all of you. Do send her our best wishes.
Planning on a trip up to Lake District soon, but are really trying to sell the campervan now. Just spent the last few days cleaning and polishing it. Once sold we can plan our trip home to NZ which we are now looking forward to. Keep in touch.
Philippa andRichard
From Amanda
Awesome snowman guys- you really did the family proud with that one...
Response: do I detect a little sarcasm in your comment .... . We will have a little competition . You have a week to send us a photo of your snowman . Brad is allowed to help you .

Love Dad
From John and Judy
Happy new year to you both. No jobs..... well that could be an opportunity in some peoples' books! Shaun's still in London and will be for a while and Gemma's looking forward to going over there in June after she's finished uni. Jude and I are still working hard (at least we like to think we are) saving up for our trip to the UK and Europe in September. Glad to here you guys had a really enjoyable Christmas and new year,
John and Judy
Response: Hey guys, nice to hear from you. We have just been over to Tenerife for a lovely week and are heading down to Bath next week, then hopefully up to the Lake District, weather permitting. Starting to think about coming home but still have no idea when, got to sell campervan first! Look forward to catching up when we do get home and before you head off. Say hi to everyone from us.
Philippa and Richard
From Loren
Hi there!
Glad you had a good Xmas and New Year - what a laugh about the boss! Sounds like an idiot! Glad you can get on the road again sooner though :)
Quick update... Rangi & I enjoyed Xmas in Napier with the family, and then a week with Claudia in Auckland. Your daughter helped out a lot then too ;) - Cant believe she is disappearing so soon - I will miss her lots!
Rangi got his visa, we have booked our flights (arrive Heathrow Sun arvo on 25th March!!) and I have given work 2 months notice, now just to get a bank account...
It's really starting to happen - we'll be having that pint in a pub sooner than we realise!!
Much loves to you both and Jean - hope Richards leg is getting better?
Loren & Rangi xxxx
Response: Hey guys, Thanks ever so much for waking us up the other morning!! No , its was good to hear from you all and know you had been having a good time without us!! Thanks for wine-ing and dining the daughter on her last night in NZ. Keep in touch re your arrival times/dates.
Cheers, Philippa
From Claire
Wow 2 messages in a week from me! Gourmet cooking obviously runs in your family! What an exotic sounding lunch. Especially at this moment I am munching on a carrot stick. The girls and I have gone on this fat burning diet which involves eating mostly this sort of vegetable soup and I can't quite face it for breakfast just yet. Sorry about the jobs but the silver lining is you can go off and travel again. I love the sound of wassiling. Enjoy your travels the sun is trying to shine here hope it continues and gives us summer.
Response: Keep up with those carrot sticks, they sound just yum!! Hope the party went well and the night was dry. All the best, Richard and Philippa
From Amanda
Hi Mummy and Daddy
Miss you lots and lots, the website is looking good- i might have to get one going when I leave for Aussie etc...
Love you lots and lots,
Amanda
Response: Good, then we can keep track of you too!! Off to Tenerife on 20th for 7 days , bit warmer over there. Talk soon.
Lots of love Mum and Dad
From coral and david
hi you two hope you are both well. hope you had a lovely christmas and a very happy new year to you. enjoyed the photos of norway. we haven't been to norway it certainly looks a lovely place. we would like to do a cruise on the fiords sometime.


keep well and happy
coral and david x x xt
Response: Hi guys,
Yes we would thoroughly recommend a trip up the fiords, just beautiful even in November. Off to Tenerife on 20th for a week then possibly down to Bath for a few days. Hope you had a good Christmas.
Philippa and Richard
From Judith and Tom
Hi Phillipa and Richard
See you are still roaming around.
Hope you had a good Christmas and everything goes well in the New Year. Hope you can have a few more adventures before returning home. Take care Judith and Tom
Response: Hi you two, lovely to hear from you . Yes we are still planning on travelling some more but are working for a month or two at present earning a few pennies. Next stop will be Lake District, Scotland etc I think. Just starting to make a few plans for the New Year now. Hope you are both well and had a good Christmas. Are you planning any more travels? It is lovely to have these occasional messages appear from people we have met while travelling. We had some really good laughs with you in Italy, it was good fun, despite some of the sleeping arrangements. All good fun to laugh about after the event! Keep in touch, the web site will get going again when we start travelling again in March. All the best for the New Year.
Love Philippa and Richard
From grahame Struthers
Hi Guys,

Just to let you know the Pale Ale band is still in full force and played dates of Raglan and Hamilton last weekend - this weekend is Waimauku - I suppose you remember where that is?
Groupies followed us round in the form of wives - Claudia is unemployed at present and getting used to it.
Have a great Xmas and New Year, trip sounds pretty good.
Cheers Grahame
Response: Hi ,Great to hear from you. Pleased to hear you are keeping busy Graham and even more pleased to hear Claudia is not!! Richard and I both have temp jobs mine 'til Christmas , Richard's till end of Jan. working for a gift shop. |Pretty boring stuff, but pays the bills. Getting cold here but still sunny most days. Not much travelling going on apart from odd long weekends. Put campervan to bed for a few weeks now. Hope you both have a good Christmas and pass on our regards to all. Shame we can't be there to gate -crash the Waimauku 'do', could do with a good party. Love from Philippa and Richard
From Rosemary
Hi Guys,
I open your site every other night hoping for the next installment! (Shows how interesting/busy my life is). How wonderful to catch up with Tove and Octavio and the children. Norway looks cold - still 2months til the shortest day! Matt enjoyed Guyfawkes at Jason's place on the weekend, apparently they were asking about Christmas - so Eleys, Shewins, Cains and others - you all know the invitation stands for Christmas breakfast at our place! Can't believe the year is on the wane, but with a hot dry summer forecast we are looking forward to the break. We'll think of you as we sit in 30+ heat and sip our chilled wine while you snuggle around a heater with your warm beer. I hear the ABs gave the Lions a thrashing this morning. Love and best wishes
Rosemary and Wayne
Response: Wish we were there with you at Xmas , missing you all.

Richard and Philippa
From Amanda
Thank you!@!!!! love to you both!
Response: You were as cute as Elise at that age .

Love Dad
From begoña!!!!
hiii!!
Im so happy!!
I've got your postcard from santiago!!
how are you??!!

Did you know that my parents didn't belive me when I said that you STILL traveling around Europe!!...they used to tell me that it was imposible....now, they belive me!!
...so...thanks again for the post card!!
ahahaha!
=)

Guys, I hope you remember some spanish words when you visit CHILE!!...ok??
keep enyoing your trip!!!
take care and lots of love for you!!

besos y abrazos!!
Response: Hope you saw the photos of the Torp Rivas family. It was great to see them all again. We often think about you and have your photo in our little photo album we brought to England with us. Tove was pleased to see it. Octavio was also saying we must come to Chile, we will one day hopefully. I know Amanda wants to come again. Lovely to hear from you, give our love to your parents.
Love Philippa and Richard.
From Amanda
I want some photos of my host family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love you!
XOXOXOXOXXOXO
Response: O.K, O.K, O.K !!!!!!
From Loren
Sorry to hear about Richards leg! Hope it heals well and the new leg is better than your other one ;)
Dont your niece and nephew look like your mum Philippa!!
Still keeping up with your travels and great photos - a few more of the two of you would be good :) Rangi applies for his visa in a week or so, so *nearly* getting into the swing of things!
Big hugs and kisses and loves,
Loren x
Response: Good luck to Rangi . Keep saving the money you will need it believe me . Back on the road again , off to Norway to see Amandas host family .

Richard and Philippa
From coral and david
ji sorry to hear about richards accident with his artificial leg just when everything was going well and enjoying your hol in portugal. as yoiu say richard has to get used to his new leg. hope you have a good rest richard and okay for your shows in november.
look forward to still reading th diary by the way the photos of lisbon are lovely
take care lots of love to both

CORAL AND DAVID X X
Response: All fixed and back on the road again . Off to Norway to coooool down a bit and see some friends.
Richard and Philippa
From Megan
Hello!!
How are you both?
I am now on your side of the world in Exeter and am plesently suprised by the weather... But i am only here till the end of Nov then its back to Canada... Someone has to ride the mountains!!! Sounds like your having an amazing time and i would love to catch up at some stage... But i know the two of you have such a hectic lifestyle, but someones got to do it.
Hope the Legs better Richard.
Safe travels,
Love Megan
XOXOXOX
Response: Hi there fellow traveller, good to hear from you. Will be in touch onphone over next few days. Give those legs a good rest before you hit the slopes
again. Hi to Jane and , Giles and Sam. Love P & R
From Rosemary and Wayne
Hi Guys, Looks like , apart form a few days rain, that you have landed in an endless summer! How are you travelling around Spain - in your campervan? Philippa, your narrative is so easy to read, thanks for sharing your trip with us all. Late snow in the cental north island has been terrible for the spring lambs but all the snow board kids are looking to get unexpected extra trip down to Ruapehu this season. (that is if it doesn't continue to erupt - minor lahar). Wayne is still finishing the deck and steps to the backyard and I have an assignment to write this weekend. Erin heads back to Invercargill tomorrow am until Dec. Back into the swing of the last term on Monday then before you know it, it will be Christmas. Love and enjoy some mantadillo sherries for us. R & W
Response: Get back to work you 2 . Too many school holidays ... thats your problem.

love Philippa and Richard
From Mary and Geoff
You seemed to have had a whale of a time in Italy, We are just back from Tuscany and loved your shots taken a couple of weeks before us in Florence, Sienna and Pisa.

Looking forward to your next saga - the Spanish and Provencal part. Keep up the good work and see you on your return to Garden Court for a rest ?

Mary and Geoff
Response: Good to hear you also had a good trip. We are in Lisbon today and the weather is slowly warming up. Seeyou early Nov.
Philippa and Richard
From maggie @ Ron
Hi you two

Hope you are both well after your trip to Italy . It has brought back lovely memories of when we went to italy with coral and david with the caravan.The pictures are great.Its unfortunate you could not visit the ice palace in Chamonix it so nice to see but nearly killed ron due to the steps but we made it. We had a lovely restful 2 weeks in menorca the weather was great wine good we spent most of our time round the villa and pool only going out for meals at night it has done ron the world of good. I dont know where the time is going it will soon be christmas. I hope you enjoy your trip to spain we always love going it will be lovely to see how you get on. Dont know where your heading in spain but if you get to benidorm a visit to benidorm palace is a must. Good luck to you both happy and safe traveling and dont forget if you are around our region look us up you will be very welcome.

Love to you both
Ron @ Maggie
Response: Hi guys,
We are in Spain for 4 weeks so hoping to get to see a reasonable amount. Yes will touch the southern coast but where not yet sure. Will be in UK over winter somay well head your way, will keep in touch. Good to hear from you again.
Philippa and Richard