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Vee and KJs Britain and the rest trip 2006

Kia ora Katoa, HI All,

Vee and I are off to Singapore, Britain, Belgium, Portugal and wherever else we like the look of for 5 weeks starting 14 September 06. I was born in England but have not been back since coming to beautiful New Zealand as an 11 year old. It's quite a rush to be going back, even though NZ is my real home. Come on you Spurs!!

Mum say's I must go to the Globe Theatre !!! So what mum say's goe's. It's all new to me, our 10th wedding anniversary and trip of a lifetime (or hopefully the first trip of a lifetime). So special to be going to see some of the homes of our forebears, catch up with the rellies KJ hasn't seen since ????? and of course spend some time with special friends.

Diary Entries

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Location: Rangiora, New Zealand

Vee's final chapter of her first BIG o.e.

Words cannot describe ...

They say that travel broadens the mind - blooming heck ... why did I wait so long! I yearn for (and will hold forever in my heart and head) the rolling hills, luxuriant in greenery; trees and green, green grass as far as the eye can see. Hand made stone (mostly ancient) walls, post and rail fencing, castles on every village hill, historic buildings, mostly stone homes: old and new, thatched rooves, narrow cobbled roads (which I originally thought were mad and scary - but weren't at all) passing within inches sometimes of someones front door. Even the blue of the sky and colour of the clouds was evocative: why can't everywhere be like this; I will keep forever listening to the church bells ringing on Sunday morning only 100 metres or so away; everything seemed so peaceful - every memory and experience a vignette or snapshot to keep until we come back.

Other than this, my highlights would be mostly the people - who I miss terribly. Not just people; our friends and family - the connections seem closer now somehow though we are so far away. Another reason (not that I need one) to go back for further exploration. The English people; pretty special in all their diversity: Jamaican, African, Anglo - most of them obliging, not too many miserable gits! The Anti Terrorist team members and copper at Gatwick airport - scary but reassuring at the same time. The Welsh; joyful, lyrical and melodic "alright then", pragmatic. The Italian opera set in Paris performed by the Welsh National Opera Company in Swansea, conducted by a Pole and attended by a pommie and a kiwi!!! PRICELESS; and the melting pot of both Singapore and (tourist) Portugese residents. Chinatown in Singapore was special; the Portugese natives so friendly and helpful - language barriers aside. And most people were INTERESTED in you and listened to you; no condescension or very little. Everyone was so helpful -and it was not threatening at all walking down through the "slum" area of Lagos; I felt more threatened by the Singapore pariahs trying to hook you into their shop (but that's another story).

Sights and things I want to see again/experience again:

I want to see more of England and Wales and spend more time with the lovely people of the North. I especially would like to spend more time in Oxford; do a walking tour of the universities. London requires more than the 5hrs we could spend there: (note to Vee - take much more sight seeing money for the sights of London). I would like to spend more time in Bath and the surrounding area, amazing Georgian terrace housing stacked up on the hillsides, so much history to explore. And I want to go back to soak up the atmosphere of Lambourn and Cheltenham.

Portugal was great for lots of other reasons: the weather (though we had beautiful weather in England), being so warm ALL the time. It would be great to see more of the Portugese countryside - I've been told there are castles everywhere, but I didn't see one. Six days was nowhere near enough time.

I want to swim in the South China sea again (as at Sentosa Island).

We had the most wonderful time. 5-6 weeks was great, but I would happily go for much longer. Keith and I had a ball together mostly; only a few minor mishaps and disagreements - the driving and navigating worked out well, I only pointed us in the wrong direction a couple of times and KJ only went (of his own volition!) the wrong way once (in Wales - on a roundabout). We both loved the same things and appreciated the little things. I think that it is only I though, who would move there for a short time for the experience. We have sussed the places we want to go back to, the places we still want to go to; and even though we came back to some not so stress free things, it has not dampened my enthusiasm for our 10th wedding anniversary trip. What a blast - 10 and 12 hour plane trips, 7 and 9 hour bus trips, driving on the right (wrong) hand side of the road, currency rate aside :-))

So I don't care that we may be paying for this (and the water pump!) for a year (groan) - we will always have this wonderful time tucked away to go back to every now and then, like a well loved book. Thanks Keith for having all these wonderful memories and places for us to go back to; through these we have made our own, and thanks for the last 10 years - it's been an amazing time. Bring on the rest!!!

Friday, 27 October 2006

Location: Rangiora, New Zealand

KJ The Trip for Me

Highlights, not so highlights, learning (practical and metaphysical) most likely to return to, the whole thing. These are the things I’ve considered. I may mix them up a bit.

Probably the learning from the whole thing was how truly resting and recharging it can be to have a lengthy time away from work and the pressures that go with it. This is the longest holiday I’ve had since leaving school. A week or two here and there just doesn’t leave the same sense of being refreshed and ready for the fray again.

Highlights: Emotional - Connecting with family and special friends. I’ve got to say that for my first major trip the most important thing wasn’t the places we went but the people we spent time with. Connecting with my Aunt Jean and her family alongside of reconnecting with my brother and his wife, allied to spending more time with friends Tony and Sarah and their beautiful daughter Evelyne, add meeting Tony’s wonderful family too and you’ve got a complete ‘whanau’ experience. Jean’s knowledge of our family and local history of the North East was amazing. Spending time with her and seeing her glow with the pride of having my Dad as a brother, touched me in more ways than I can probably recognise fully at present. It was like instant acceptance by all of that family along with an assured sense of belonging.

Sitting on the wall of our old home in Headington (Oxford) and walking into the garden where Mal and I played as kids. Remembering when my sister Karen was born in the front bedroom, smelling next door’s apples without the actual scent actually being in my nostrils. Meeting people like Jefferson on a beach and talking of real things almost immediately. Meeting everyone (but the one assistant manager in the clothes shop at Aberafan ) in Wales.

Having to leave all of these people and things.

Highlights: Places and events

White Hart Lane, being there, despite the jerks and the constant foul language (and the crap football ).

Wales. The opera at Wales. Actually ‘taking a trip up to Abergaveny’.

Headington. Heading back to Headington. Remembering where things are or were.

Actually standing on Cheltenham Racecourse looking down the straight – thanks Dick Francis.

Durham, Chester Le Street, Workington, Keswick and all the treasures and memories that went with it. (Did I mention Wales?)

Portugal, The Algarve, the beach, the pool, the shops, the town, the disappearing car and the challenge of finding it. The Portugese people.

Singapore, especially on the return. The river trip, Sentosa Island, shopping.

Spending it all together with Vanetta and having an extra special night out for our 10th anniversary (including the challenge of the pushy chef) truth is I really enjoy dealing with people who try to shag me about. But reiterating, spending it with Vee and recognising how important it is to share experiences in this way.



Not so highlights:
Travelling for 10 hours plus in a plane.

The obvious acceptance of F and C as a regular part of lamguage in many parts of England.

Recognising that despite my heritage how little of me is actually English.

The crappy room next to the lift in The Peninsula-Excelsior at Singapore.

Warming to special connections and then having to leave.

$3 to the pound.

Coming back to so much chaos.



Places I must go back to:

Wales, Oxford, the North East, and of course Portugal and the Algarve.

It would also be nice to do a trip just to Singapore for a fortnight some time, there’s just so much to see and experience.

Home, the horses, the peace, and the appreciation of what home really is.






Thursday, 19 October 2006

Location: Changi Airport, Singapore

Kia ora katoa, Hi all,

A short break before boarding the plane back to Christchurch. Changi is still our favourite airport in the 'whole world'. They have I Squeeze foot-massage machines for free, it is spacious, clean, reasonably easy going (you only take your shoes off for reasons of massage, not security) and my special favourite, they keep the smokers in a big glass cage. Vee says they probably just thought I was mad as I acted out EMPHASYMEA through the glass, and she said I spelt it wrong too.

We had a good rest followed by a good shop today. Cloud cover made sunbathing less demanding as an option. Both of us think we are ready to return home, if not yet to work. I hope Sooty still recognises me.

Cheers KJ

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Location: Hotel Miramar, Singapore

Us again!

Last leg of our wonderful trip but we've done so much since we last connected.

We spent Saturday and Sunday at Oxford after driving back from Wales in the morning. That trip went well as did the drive. Really getting the hang of these British roads (almost - Vee has a story for you all regarding a roundabout in Wales :) ) Travelling over the Severn Bridge was great both times and you only have to pay the 4.90 (pound) toll on the way into Wales, makes sense to us.

Met Tony's parents and Gran. Lovely people, we really enjoyed our time with them (and the dogs - two noisy boxers). We stayed at a wonderful B&B on the Saturday night, closer to Oxford city and it was outstanding, run by South Africans who (surprise) were into rugby. Left to wet eyes and hugs (that was just Tony and me!) on Monday morning. Got into London by coach around midday. Spent a terrific afternoon "doing" London via the open/hop-on hop-off bus. Saw a little of everything and some things a bit closer. So much to see tho'. Highlight for Vee (because she couldn't fit it all in) was Westminister Bridge and the river ride, for KJ was - the whole thing, as I wasn't fussed on doing it at all but was very pleasantly surprised. Did'nt get into Tower or actually to the Globe Theatre but saw both from outside.

Flight to Singapore yesterday was okay. Vee found it a bit long as she couldn't seem to sleep at all. Watched a heap of movies tho'.

At first planning to rest up a bit today, we had a swim after breakfast and settled to lie-in a bit. However, the hotel maintenance had other ideas and started drilling (something important we hear) about 10am. We decided to leave them to it and went to Sentosa Island for the day. It was be-a-utiful! We did the cable car (Vanetta will probably try to tell you I moved about especially to make it swing but don't believe her... you know how she tries to make me look bad) Not that that would be hard !!!!!!!!!! (Vee). Then we walked the jungle trail down to Soloso Beach and that was about it for two hours, too nice to move and a hiveful of attractions to choose from. It was stunning swimming in the South China Sea in a protected inlet, lying on a pale yellow beach and the sun found it's way through the haze today to celebrate our arrival. All this AND Ben and Jerry's ice cream. If you haven't tried this yet it's amust - let me recommend Chunky Monkey.

We came back to the hotel about 4pm and rested awhile before going out for a late supper. It is our 10th wedding anniversary today. We walked down to the Grand Copthorne and had a (mostly) scrumptious meal. It was late and they tried to press my curry main on me halfway through the soup and accepted my suggestion that this was not a good idea but then tried to bring the same meal out looking dry and half-warm (assuring me that it was fresh - bollocks!) and of course then took it back for good. We got free desserts in recompence. The desserts were probably the highlight of the meal even though Vee's steak main and my French Onion soup were pretty wonderful on their own.

Last night (after almost no sleep for 20 hours on Vee's part) we went for what Vee calls "one of Keith's walks around the block" and after 'aimless wandering' (Vee's words again) we found the centre of Chinatown and it was as amazing as Tony said it would be. We really saw the locals at their natural best - not many other Pakehas around. We had some lovely peanut and red-bean balls cooked in sesame from a roadside stall. Just terrific, despite how it may sound to some. It was great soaking up the atmosphere and as always we found our way back 'as if by magic'.

We fly back to Christchurch tomorrow night, but Vee has plans to go shopping during the day and we will also try to get a little more sun beside the pool. We have so many lovely photos to show you all but don't feel competent in uploading them straight from the camera so hope you will bear with us and visit our site again over, or after, Labour Weekend when we can sort them out from home.

We will have a good think about the trip as a whole and do an observation of things from an individual perspective then too. Thanks for bothering to check in on us - KJ and Vee.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Location: Aberavon, Wales, UK

A late night update. (11pm)

We've had a busy but exciting day again in Wales.

The hotel we are at is great and we started by filling up on the breakfast supplied in the price. We then went for a drive along the coast road to "The Mumbles" and a little bit further. It was grey and misty, bordering on bleak but quite magnificent coastline.

We did a little souvenir shopping at Mumbles, posted some more cards and returned to Swansea to do some more shopping and a quick trip to the bookies. We had (initially) planned to go to the races at Warwick today so we had a bet there instead. Of course tinny Vee backed two horses that gave returns including an 80 -1 horse that got third and she had it each way. I backed one winner and we both came out just a little ahead. I managed to 'force' Vee to buy some clothes and she wore some of her new stuff out to the opera tonight. Shops were okay but the staff were too few almost everywhere and at one place (sadly where we bought most) the assistant manager thought it below her to serve and we had to wait ages to give them our money. At another place, a good sized clothes shop, they don't have any rooms or even a cubicle to try things on. It seems it's the same for that whole chain. Not a great idea in our eyes so we moved on, only to come across the staff previously mentioned. Vee had to wait 10 mins and beg for service to purchase a couple of things at Boots too.

Anyway....

We came back to the hotel, rested a little and then drove to Swansea to see the La Boheme. It was an older, smaller theatre but just great for the closeness to the spectacle. It was Vee's first live opera and only my second. The cast and scenery were great, the lead tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones (didn't you just know it :)) was outstanding. We finished it off with a late supper at the Chinese restaurant almost next to our hotel. Lovely food and classy service.

Driving back to Oxford tomorrow.

Stay in touch. KJ and Vee


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Recent Messages

From Tony
Keith, Van,

Wonderful to read your thoughts on the trip, having had a little time to digest things.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Oxfordshire, start planning the next one now :)

Love,

Tony, Sarah and Evelyne (AKA The Boss) x
From Tony
KJ and Vee,

We need more photos on your website of your second stint in Singapore!

So glad you had such a wonderful experience on your holiday. Sarah, Evelyne and I are looking forwadr to seeing you guys in Lily Road, next year :)

T, S & E
x
Response: Have a look now, KJ has done some more (and more too of England etc). We have also done a summary of our trip and thoughts - you and Sarah were the most amazing hosts; and are the best friends we could hope to have - a big THANX to all of you. Boy I miss you (and Evie !!) looking forward to seeing you all again.

love V xxx
From Vix n Mal
Thank you both for the wonderful up dates we have both enjoyed sharing your travels, much love to both and Happy Anniversary XXXXX VIX
Response: Thanx Vix
It's been great doing it along the way, have now updated with last minute thoughts and some more photos. Hope to talk soon, otherwise see you next year !!
luv V xxx
From Trace
Happy Anniversary.
Tracexx
Response: Aw shucks
thank you Trace
you're a honey
xxx
From Trace
Hope you're having a good time in Singapore.
Looking forward to seeing you at the airport on Friday. Got the day off to come meet you and take you home.
Till then.
Tracexxx
Response: See previous reply.
xxx Vee
From Vix n Mal
Hi there , thanks for the postcard, Wales does look beautiful, we got as far as Hay-on - Wye, the book centre of the world(so they say) . No luck with work up here ,and as normal no response from the special needs home, but thats life.I'm enjoying working in the grooming shop , but is only 4 hrs a day and as you know its not enough to keep our heads out of water. Bye 4 now and take care xxxxxxxx
Response: Hiya
We had a great time in Wales (again). Sad to hear about the work Vix, something will show up and it will be just right for you. See todays entry for an update on what we have been up to here in Singapore.
Talk soon, luv Vee and KJ xxx
From Sharon
Hello there, was just catching up on your many travels and thought I would drop a line. Have just spent a hour or so out with the mares giving them a brush and cleaning out their paddock etc. They are all fine, at the moment have some out around the drive eating the long grass as none in their paddocks, but they are survining! ;-).
Dont worry, since the pump nothing else has broken (touch wood) although I have to say everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong!!!
Its sunny today but strong winds. Ive had a bit of time off so sadly back to work tomorrow (which Vee...Im sure you are missing lots...yeah right)
Take care, enjoy your time left. I feel like you have been gone forever......
Love Sharon
Response: Hiya
Glad all is now going well. Thanks for taking great care of the horses. Tracy has told us about the winds, yay - sounds as if we have a hot windy summer ahead. Tracy will be picking us up on Friday, so we will see you after work. NOT missing work, but am missing everybody. Please send my love and warm wishes to all at work.
love Vee and KJ xxx
From Karen
Hi there,
glad to hear the trip is going so well, eve the oprea sounds great!!
No news here just hanging on for dear life as the winds continue!
Love Karen
Response: Hi All
Yes Wales and the opera were great. It was a true internation evening, see my reply to my mum (MumC) in the messages on todays entry. We have had no windy days, just beautiful weather wherever we go. Stay tethered to the earth. Talk soon, luv Vee and KJ xxx
From Trace
Hello you two. La Boheme live...WOW.
Sounds like you are having an amazing time, and I am soooo jealous. No not really, but certainly thrilled that you are having such a wonderful time.
Shame about the service in the stores though. You'd think with all the unemployed over there there'd be no excuse to be understaffed. Still, at least you had a collect with the horses.
All is well here. We went to see Th' Dudes last night. What an amazing show, it was just fantastic. Bruce came and got us after and we all went backstage to say hello to Les and Dave etc. Will probably go again tonight, I am trying to persuade Trav to come this time. Even though Hannah didn't know their music, she still really enjoyed it, so much that she bought the tee shirt:-) Its really hot here today but a strong norwester. They're saying its going to be a long hot windy summer. Beats waking up to frost thats for sure (and I did on Weds, my car was white from front bumper to back). Am finally in the finishing stages of the wedding dress so am feeling relieved about that. Was panicing a wee bit this time last week. Kids are both working today so am going to sew all day. Too hot to be in the garden. Lawns will have to wait till tomorrow.
Ok, better go and get on I suppose. Keep enjoying.
Love you.
Tracexxx
Response: Glad you enjoyed both concerts, yeah the opera was amazing. Check my email reply to mum re the opera and the international flavour of that particular night. We have had amazing weather, NO windy days, little rain and right now (sitting in air conditioned splendour) it is about 31 C degrees outside. We have had a great day and plan to make the most of tomorrow. Thanks so much for taking the day out to come and pick us up on Friday. Good on you for getting onto the dress, I'll bet you were getting a bit anxious - not long to go now.

See you Friday, take care and love to Kidz. Love you, Vee and KJ xxx
From Sheryn
Hi Guys
To add to your cultural experience of the Opera, I have the NZ vs Aus netball score to report - 43-37 to US!!!!! Yippeee, after Thurs' loss, it is now down to Monday's game to see who wins the decider.
Trade safe guys
oxoxxo
Response: Thanks for the update on the score, good we beat Sth Africa in the cricket too :-)) Talk soon, love to kiddles, Vee and KJ xxx
From MumC
Hi to you both,still not missing work I see, never mind enjoy every minute COS YOU ARE ON THE HOME STRAIGHT. had a busy afternoon shopping for shoes with Tracy Vicki Courtenay and Ashleigh, Ashleigh got hers and I got mine.[Iknew you wanted to know that]. Every one is well here.Looked up Portugal on the map, it's not very big is it, about two inches long and half an inch wide. How lovely to be able to see La Boheme in that particular setting, that will certainly be a lifetime memory.Must close and get tea will write again soon. Love to all. takecare of each other, love you both. Mumxxxx
Response: Yes, we had a wonderful night at the opera. It was stunning. We joked about it being a truly international night: an opera written by an Italian (Puccini) about some french students, performed by the Welsh, conducted by a Pole watched by a pommie and a kiwi !!!

The last weekend was nice with Tony, Sarah, Evie and Tony's parents and grandmother. They are lovely people and it was great to talk to them.
Glad to hear all the arrangements for the wedding are going well, I think I have a dress (bought in Wales). Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Take care, love to Dad.
Love you, Vee and KJ xxx
From Trace
Hi guys,
Hope all is well.Things are good here. The weather is finally on the up. We had about 23 here today and expecting 25 tomorrow.
I spoke to the pump people again today and she said that its all good about your old pump. They have got it all there, and she was ringing the plumber again today to be doubly sure.
We're going to Th Dudes on Saturday night. Apparently their tour is going really well with sell out shows and some encore shows as well.
Just so you know, broadband is fantastic, its so fast - amazing. Not that I get much of a look in. We have bought 1gig a month for downloads and the kids managed to use that up in the first 36 hours so now we (I) have topay for another one. Its a good thing they've given us 10 free for the first two months. 1 should last us a month, hopefully once the novelty wears off.
Really looking forward to seeing all your photos when you come home, and hearing all about it. Also hopefully helping to make plans in the future to go back with you guys. Better go and get dinner I spose. Keep enjoying.
Love ya lots.
Tracexxx
Response: Hiya once again chickie
Thanks again for your efforts on our behalf.
We are now in Port Talbot, South Wales - not far from Swansea in one direction and Cardiff in the other. We were going to travel back up toward the North of England tomorrow and go to the races at Warwick and make our way from there back to Oxford - HOWEVER - as things do with us we have changed our minds as La Bohemme is showing at the Swansea Royal Theatre and it is lovely here. Keith is not well with a headcold and we have decided that it is not worth busting our boilers to get all the way back up on the M4 when we can stay here, use the pool and gym, go over to The Mumbles (which is one place we definitely decided early on we wanted to go to - Catherine Zeta Jones has a house there we are told). It gives us a more leisurely time and we can have a good look at The Mumbles and Swansea too - without having to be out of the hotel by 10am. Funny how things work out :-))

Broadband eh? We are hoping to get that if available out our way.

Love to all, looking forward to seeing you soon. Thanx once again Trace you are a gem.
Love from us,
Vee and KJ xxx
From Sheryn
Hi Guys
Mum is beginning to wonder what she has done to drive all her kids overseas!!!Kurt is having a ball but missing us. He turns 40 today (old bug*er!) Being back in NZ has been a cold experience but good. Still awaiting furniture - all I can say, is thank god for carpet as I have been spending a lot of time on the floor of late! Take care and keep safe - love reading about your adventures. xxxx
Response: Yeah it's a dag that they are all away.

We are now in Port Talbot, South Wales. Were going to have a quick look at The Mumbles tomorrow and back up to Warwick and Loughborough before heading back to Oxford, but now we are here and La Bohemme is showing in Swansea we have bought the last 2 tickets !!! and will be staying. It is beautiful here just as it is in the rest of Wales that we have seen.

Welcome back to NZ the Jacques clan - look forward to seeing you all.
Take care, luv
Vee and KJ xxx
From Bren
Hi to you both
Your trip sounds fantastic and it is good to know you are enjoying it.
Memory lane is good to see I thank you both.

Mum is fine, been up there and spent time with her which was great for both of us.
She is going to John's sister to get the updates of your travel, Ngaire prints them all out for her so she is happy about that.

Take care

Love you always
Bren
Response: Bren,

Yes, that's great that Mum can get that support from Ngaire.

How are you? Happy Birthday for Sunday. Guess you must be 59??

I'll update the site next so won't repeat stuff in here. Last road-trip for us before we fly out to Singapore on Monday night.

Take care, stay in touch.

Love KJ and Vee
From Kurt
Hi ya guys from Hoi An in Vietnam. Funny how all 3 boys are away at thge same time for a change. I am having a blast as I am sure you guys are,I look forward to seeing the phots and hearing more when I get back to NZ and a reliable pc. Hored a scooter today and took my life into my hands driving on the right (like V) so know the issues, albeit 84mill pther scooter riders here seem to be on the road at the same time (NO KIDDING!!).
Love to all

Kurt
Response: S,ile... it must be threatening and exciting at the same time.

What sort of things are you doing?

Happy Birthday for today.

Vee and I are in Wales again, the South this time. Update will be on site next thing.

Love KJ and Vee
From MumC
Hello you two, glad your O.E. is going well, but we do miss you and it will be luvly to have you home, are you missing work yet ,stupid question. Have tou been to London yet, you have to go to visit the Queen. You know you could write a book about your travels, it would make a very interesting read. All is well here now that the dust has settled from the things that happened last week.Must close and go to bed [been up since 5am] and the time now is 9-30pm]. love to all, take care of yourselves and each other. Missing you both. Will writeagain soon. Love you both. MumC XXXX
Response: Hello to you too :-))
Look forward to seeing you too, we are loving our stay and in some ways just do not want to leave. However, it will be great to be home in our own bed, own house and to see everyone and cats n dogs etc. After much debate and changing around we are going to have our last day in London. It has been too awkward to date for me/us to get away to get the bus up to London and as we don't have to be at Heathrow until 6.00pm on Monday we will be able to spend the whole day there. I already know what I want to see (KJ is just coming for the ride) and we can get on and off the tourist bus where we want to for the day, then get the tube to Heathrow in the evening. Looking forward to the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels.

We are now in Port Talbot near Swansea in the South of Wales. Have decided to stay another night to see all the sights we had hoped to and will also take in an opera tomorrow night in Swansea. Off to The Mumbles tomorrow for some sightseeing (might even see Catherine Zeta Jones) but just going to hang around the hotel here today as KJ is not too well. We are opposite the beach, it is as beautiful here as the rest of Wales that we have seen. This is our "last hurrah" before back to Oxford on Saturday and Sunday with Tony and Sarah and Tony's parents who have come up from Bromley !!! to see the baby and us.

Looking forward to London on Monday and the final 2 days in Singapore on the way back. Will try and phone before we leave Oxford.
Take care, love you and love to Dad.
see ya, Vee and KJ xxx
From Sheryn & Co
Hello Guys - your trip log is aawesome. Keep the tales coming. Hope the tan doesn't fade - no chance of getting one at home - it hailed here today!! Thanks for the photos - cannot wait to show McKenzie the one of her fav. horse Sooty! Talked to your ma yesterday and she is doing great. Take care of each other and keep up the fun times
Love us
oxoxoxoxo
Response: Great to hear that you are following our site. How are things back in NZ?

How is Kurt going on his travels?

Love KJ and Vee
From Trace
Hi guys
Good to talk to you yesterday Nett. Sorry about the pump news though. I had the bill yesterday but haven't paid it yet. I thought I'd send them a cheque for some and see if I can drag the rest out till you get back, then sort out the rest. Glad to hear that you have had such a good time. I guess for you two the time is going all too fast, while for us it seems you have been gone ages.
Vicki is home now, they're not really sure what was wrong so are leaning towards a virus, her heart is good though so thats a relief. The weather is crap here again, snow in the south and a new dusting over the alps that you would be lloking at if you were at home. hard to believe its spring its been so cold.
Nearly time to knock off. Should be going to the gym tonight but I've had a sore back for days and today is expecially bad, so I don't want to exacerbate it at the gym. Will leave it till tomorrow. Anyway, have got broadband to install on PC at home tonight, which kids are getting impatient for.
Right, till the next time then.
Love you both heaps.
Tracexxxx
Response: Trace,

Thanks again for your efforts. Can you please assure that the guy drops the original pump (all of it) back to our place.

Take care. Hope to get broadband on ourselves when we return.

No time isn't rushing by thankfully.

Love KJ and Vee.
From
HI
Caught up with youon7 th
October thanks to Ngaire and her compuiter. Looks as if youare having a great time, keep it up, will catch up again later.Love mum.0
Response: Always good to hear from your, stay in touch.
love from KJ and Vee xxx
From Trace
Hi guys,

Guess when you read this you'll be back in the UK.
Sorry to have to tell you theres been a problem with your water pump. The tarp covering it got blown off with this nasty weather we've been having and the motor got wet
from the rain and burnt out. So they've had no water out there today.
It's been sorted but not cheap I'm afraid. Perhaps after you've spoken to Sharon tomorrow night you might like to give me a call so I can explain what's been done. No need to worry though, main thing is to have the water on
so the horses will be ok.
ph # is 3850165
Please don't fret about it though. I don't want to spoil your holiday but don't want you to come back to a huge shock, which is why I thought I should give you the heads up.
TTFN
Tracexxx
Response: Hiya Trace
Yeah we spoke to Mark last night and he told us all the news. It's OK we can't do anything about it over here and these things happen - we may be able to claim on insurance anyway. We DO however, thank you so much for all your efforts, hope it hasn't been to much of a hassle/worry for you though. Will give you a call so that we catch you 1st thing Monday/Tuesday morning.
Having a wonderful time again, nice and relaxed this morning (Sunday), waking to the church bells ringing - Keith and Tony have just got back from a footy kick around at the park and Sarah has just come back from church and is off to her mums with Evelynne for lunch.
Have a good one.
luv KJ and Vee xxx
From Lara
Hi ya

Just saw your photos from England. The angel from the North looks amazing. Wow, I cannot wait to hear about that.

Wearside also looks so beautiful. I get a flood of feeling when I think of you being Dad. It must have been very special.

OK, love you heaps

Lara
Response: Lara,
Yes, there was such an overpowering mix of emotions at times.

Glad to see that you are keeping an eye on our travels. We have today and tomorrow left in Portugal. It is so lovely we are tempted to ring and try to rebook a flight back to Blighty for Sunday. Could be a big cost though.

Today is clear and warm, again. Have planned to spend the day at the leisure centre swimming and sunbathing.

Tak to you again soon.

All our lovre Dad and Vee
From Lara
Hi ya

Sorry it's the slack daughter here. It sounds you are having a blast. I am so glad you got to some of where you lived Dad. That must have been a special moment.

How is the weather in Lagos? Is it hot? How is the apartment? teh view must be amazing form what you showed me earlier this year.

Where are you off to next?

Love you heaps and heaps.

Lara
Response: Hiya Darling Daughter,
Lagos is wonderful. The apartment is better than we expected and we probably didn´t need the rental car. If we could we would be here lonegr and plan to return at first chance. I think this time of year is a great time to be here.

Love Dad
From MumC
Hi to you both. Am absolutely loving the pretty comprehensive travelogue, just like being there. you will both be multi-lingual by the time you get back. Think of all the things tou have done and give yourselves a pat on the back. We are both well and Dad's health is better than it/s been for a while. Portugal sounds really idyllic and the language not too much of a problem but Ahh are you missing work yet, I hope not. Iam looking up your website most days, have to keep up with the news you know. Not much in this letter but will close and get the tea, will write again soon. Take care , lookafter yourselves and love to you both. Mumxxxxx
Response: Yes, it´s great to have this website isn´t it? I´m so glad for you that you have worked out how to get into it and you are doing really well by all accounts. Keith has just done an entry today about our trek around Lagos - up hill and down dale - to find the b ... y car!!! Boy did we get some exercise and see the city - it was all part of the fun though. We have thought about seeing if we can change our flight back to England tomorrow, but are not too sure if we could afford it? Will phone and see what the cost would be. I wouldn´t say we are bi lingual yet, but our understanding and confidence gets better every day and the locals are very understanding anyway - and there are LOTS of English and Germans around. It is beautiful here - have we told you that yet? We are already planning on when we can afford to come back. You and Tracy would love this trip (England and Portugal); if we could you get on the plane. So glad that Dad is better, hopefully that eases things for you too?

We are having a lovely lazy day today, it is Republic Day here today which just means that the schools and a lot of businesses have the day off, nothing has closed as far as we can see, though the train is running to a different schedule. If tomorrow is our last day here, we may not be able to get to the internet until we get back to Blighty so there may be a delay. We intend to have a last look around the streets and maybe have a swim at the beach or the grottoes. We don´t have to have the car back in Faro (about 1 1/2 hrs away) until about 5.30pm as we have to book in at 6.30pm for our flight back.

take care, love you and love to Daddy
Vee (and KJ) xxx

From Trace
Shopping to do and sun to lie in......rub it in why doncha.
Just wanted to say thanks to you for setting up this site. It is so incredibly cool to be able to keep up with your travels and in turn keep you posted on haps in NZ.
Porygal does sound amazing. Wish I could click my fingers and magic myself there. Good too that you've seen both sides, not just the good stuff.
As you've heard Nath is at Viks. I would have liked to have him at mine but he would have been on his own a wee bit what with us all working. He assured me last night that he would have been ok on his own, but I wouldn't do that to him. He has been having a pretty good time at Viks, and helping keep Jake entertained, so its a win win I think. Have tried phoning there this morning but they're out and about again.Weather has been appalling here for the last few days, lots of rain and big winds, temps quite low. High of ten today.
But don't worry about us, you just carry on shopping and lying in the sun.......
Love ya both,
Tracexxxx
PS, If these messages are too long let me know, I do tend to ramble on:-)
Response: Trace,

No communication with you could be too long (unless there was sport to watch).

It´s great that everyone has kept Nathan´s care in mind. Thanks a lot.

We are getting nervy about leaving tomorrow and have planned the day here at the leisure centre. Very sunny but ba lovely dry heat today.

Gotta do the general update so I´ll get on with it.

Love and hugs KJ and V
From Sharon
Hello!!
Your trip sounds fantastic....ive had the week off myself..but its bloody freezing here...I assure you, you are not missing out on much! I see you know nathans at Vickis. Hes coming home on saturday as hes missing me beaten him up each day...
All animals are alive...freezing but alive! Bessy still thinks im a crazy cat eater and wont come near me.
Vee can you please give us a call soon? I am staying at mums for the next day or so but Mark will be at home if you call there, or my mums number is 03 382 1973. Dont worry I havent burnt the house down or anything! I have my nephew here, were off go cart racing today. Haha he doesnt believe me when I say I was world rally champ 3 years running and am going to kick his ass!

Anyway, enought of the long message...enjoy the warm!!!

Love Sharon
Response: Hiya
Yeah we have been keeping up on the Nathan news. Poor bugger.

Hope all is well with you and Mark also? I can´t phone you til the weekend as you cannot find a public phone in Lagos! We can phone free from Tony and Sarah´s too. I can´t beleive that the weather is that cold. I can´t understand why your nephew doesn´t beleive about your rally days - has he not seen the trophies??? So if we phone Saturday morning our time it will be Saturday night your time, we will call you then?

OK ta ta for now, back to soaking up the sun by the pool (I know it´s a tough job ...)
take care, luv V xxx