6 HIGH ST, LANCEFIELD, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Hi Everyone, This is the last entry in the blogg. We are back home and over the jet lag (finally) it is Wednesday now and we have been home since late Saturday night when Nanny (thank you sweetheart) picked us up from Tullamarine.
When we got to Manchester we stayed at the Hilton Hotel and the service was superb. Unfortunately they had a power cut and for about an hour we had to sit in the bar. It was a scheduled cut to repair something, so at least we were warned and didn't have to walk down the stairs.
The restaurant was fantastic, but Ted was sick and was unable to eat her wonderful lasagne, she hopes the chef wasn't offended when she sent it back.
After another good night's sleep and a fantastic breakfast it was off to the airport in the courtesy bus.
We boarded our plane and after about 20 minutes the pilot announced that we were all ready to leave except that he was still waiting for fuel. We took off about 10 minutes later. It took us 35 minutes to get to Heathrow but we were in a holding pattern because of congestion, we circled over Watford 4 times before landing. Then when we landed we had to wait on the tarmac for our stand to be free. There was another plane in it that was delayed. When that plane was ready to leave the tug had broken down so we had to wait longer while another one was found. Finally we taxied into our stand, but the problems weren't over yet, the gantry was stuck and the passengers had to disembark from the left rear door and walk across the tarmac.
One and a half hours after boarding at Manchester we were finally in Heathrow airport (We are a bit suspicious - maybe they don't want us to leave).
After problems with our seating (we were meant to be sitting 16 rows apart - but it was fixed) we finally started the long trip back to Melbourne. 27 hours later we landed. It took about an hour to get through customs because 3 planes landed all at the same time.
It is wonderful to be home, although it is very cold. The shop has been extremely well looked after (Thanks Girls). The cat has been thoroughly spoilt, Matt is back and James is here for the holidays, and in some ways it feels like we have never been away.
So this is Ted and Tony signing off this blogg. We hope you've enjoyed following us on our travels. We have taken over 800 photos that Ted is in the process of putting in order and burning to CD's, so if you're passing our way and want to see more of the UK just ask and we will show you the photo slideshow.
Day 31- Leaving
Today we are taking the train from Chester to Manchester Airport where we are staying in a Motel for the night before our flight out in the morning. So we have spent the morning packing and saying goodbye. Our trip back to Australia has begun.
Day 30 - Liverpool
Today is our last day of sightseeing and we are taking the train (it is also our last day for the rail pass) to Liverpool. It is raining but that hasn't stopped us before.
We spent all day at the Port of Liverpool where all the huge ships used to be made. The old port has been restored and is now mostly apartment buildings. There is a row of shops and the Sweet Shop was raided by Ted so that she can take Pommy lollies home for all the kids.
We spent most of the day in the museums that are also in the restored buildings. So we now know a lot more about the history of Liverpool, the Slave Trade and Quarintine.
Day 29 - Back in Wales
We are back in our lovely little home today. It is beginning to feel very like home and we will be very sad to leave it behind.
Day 28 - Framilode Again
Ted thinks we are the British version of "The Leyland Brothers" we have travelled all over the British country side and we are on our way back to Framilode. Remember Framilode - the 16th century inn by the disused canal. Well we are on our way back there to catch up with our Pommy Mates.
We had a fantastic night back here, and we are going to miss these wonderful people. We are back off to Wales this morning.
Day 27 - Watford
We spent this morning further exploring London. Back on the Big Red Bus to see more of London.
and then off to Watford. WATFORD - you say, WHY? Well actually we are here in Britain in June for this precise reason. We were planning to come to Britain in August/September time, but when we found out that our dear friends and fantastic musicians were teaming up together to perform in Watford for one last time, we brought the trip forward.
Martin Wyndham-Read, John Munroe and Eric Bogle are playing for one night only in Watford in the "Waltzing Matilda No More" tour.
These wonderful musicians are getting a little older and the 27 hour trip across the world takes its toll (as we can tell you) so they have decided that touring together must come to an end, and as Martin lives in France and John and Eric live in SA, they have decided that they will go no more a Waltzing Matilda together.
We started the evening with a small feed in the local pub; planning to walk to the gig. But when the heavens opened (and I can honestly tell you that Matt (nearly 15) has never seen rain like it) we decided a cab might be the best way to get there. Not only could we not see where the cabbie was going but neither could he. Thanks to his Tomtom and his hanky he delivered us on time.
An amazingly, wonderful, brilliant concert. As usual Eric made Ted cry. But the biggest most tear jerking moment of the night was when Martin sang Ted and Tony a love song.
This was the biggest highlight of our trip. Martin and Dan were, as usual, wonderful hosts.
Thanks Martin, Dan, Eric and John for such a wonderful night and fantastic memories.
Day 26 - London
This morning we are off to London. When we decided to come to England, we went to various travel agents and asked for brochures on Britain. Half of these brochures were on London - you will realize from this blogg that there is a lot more to Britain than just London, but we have to say there is so much to see in London we didn't spend long enough. But Aunty S gave us some good advice - " get on The Big Red Bus".
We used our BritRail pass once again and found our way to Euston Station. We were travelling very light this time, with just our backpacks and ScoutBear on our backs; but we still wanted to jettison the load before exploring this extremely historic town.
We found The Premier Inn in Euston Road, left our bags (but not the Bear) and set out to find the Big Red Bus.
The Big Red Bus was an open top double decker London Bus, and we bought tickets for 24 hours including a river boat ride. London wins the "most photos taken in one town" prize, so all we can do is show you a small sample of what we saw.
Day 25 - Powis Castle
Unlike our beliefs of Castles, some Castles were built as residences and took no part in conflict. This is one such Castle. The grounds are wonderful, the residence perfectly preserved and we had a peaceful day, wondering around in the sunshine.
One of the things that never ceases to amaze us over her are the gardens - the flowers are so big, the colours so vibrant and everywhere we look are so many shades of green.
Day 24+ - Montgomery
Out mystery destination is Montgomery. Aunty S and Uncle C spent their wedding night here, so here we are in this small, picturesque market town in Wales that is built on the side of a hill.
A jazz band that is made up of retired musicians, who happen to get together on a Wednesday night at The Dragon to sing and play gave us a great knees up. Ted nearly cried as she watched S and C dancing. After a very late night and a fantastic Breakfast Uncle C and Aunty S took us to another special place in Wales.
Day 24 - Wedding
Well today's the day. Ted washed her hair last night so that the hairdresser can "do something with it" this morning. Tony is wondering what she will do. He loved the result.
After a few hours of getting ready, Aunty S and Uncle C are here to pick us up.
Rings - check, Groom - check, Bride - check. Off to Yr Wyddgrug we go. Where? you might say? Well that is how you say "Mold" in Welsh; and yes our marriage certificate is in Welsh too.
We came home after a wonderful lunch for a few hours to change and repack. Uncle C and Aunty S are taking us off to a mystery destination for the night. So where do Mr and Mrs Freeman spend the first night of married life?
Day 23 - Chester
We wanted to visit Chester again and today was the perfect day. The weather was fine and the bus leaves from the end of the road.
We are beginning to wonder about these mates of ours though - JB owns a Shopping Park and what's this club we find in the middle of Chester - Would that be "Mezs"? We want to know why she's working in a deli if she owns this gorgeous place.
Maybe we're just getting a bit home sick and seeing our mates names everywhere.
Day 22 - Golf Llangollan
This morning Tony and C are off to play golf and Ted and S are off to do some very much needed shopping for tomorrow.
Ted and S were off to JB's shopping centre. Yes, we think JB is the mild mannered Scout Leader AMF employee but actually he owns a shopping centre. (Actually he owns a whole town but you'll have to ask him about that).
Shopping Centres over here aren't large enclosed air-conditioned expanses of steel and glass, they are nice open air walkways with the car park in the middle and the stores around the outside.
So with our shopping list in hand off we set, and about 2 hours later we had everything on the list.
Tony and C had a great day playing golf, but I think that C regretted some of his free tutoring because Tony played a very good game. They also came home past JB's shopping centre because Tony needs a suit.
Day 21 - Garden centre/golf range
Uncle C has borrowed his mates club for Tony and tomorrow they are going to play golf at C's club "The Vale of Llangollan". So today they are off to the range so C can give Tony some tips.
Aunty S and Ted went and had coffee in the local Garden Centre and Ted then spent a quiet afternoon doing some housekeeping and sorting the packing.
Day 20 - Queensferry
Back on the train and off to Chester, Aunty S picked us up just after lunch and we came "home" to do the washing, unpack and recharge our batteries.
Day 19 - Manchester
Instead of travelling halfway up and across the country in one day we decided to break our journey in Manchester. Manchester is very commercial and when we got off the train we saw one of the few very modern buildings we have seen.
Rather than drag our Jam bag halfway across the city, our first job was to find a decent hotel. We found a real beauty. The Adobe was very close to the station and was extremely luxurious at a very good price. The bed was bigger than our whole bedroom at home. We also had free wi-fi, but they had a problem with emails. But that is where we updated the blogg up to Day 18.
We solved the email problem though by buying a wine and a beer at the pub next door. The Brunswick's password for its Wi-Fi was the cost of a pint, and we were able to get our emails, check our train times and do some internet banking.
We decided it was easier to buy some new clothes than it was to find a laundromat so it was off to the shopping centre. Scout Bear thought it was absolutely wonderful that there was a department store dedicated to Teddy Bears. He was a bit perturbed that you bought your new teddy without stuffing and then had a tube stuck in its tummy to fill it up, but he went mad with all the clothes and other accessories that he could have. From a fireman's suite to golf clubs he finally decided on a nice blue cap to go with his uniform and some really cool sunnies.
We then did some general sightseeing and had a quiet night with a meal in the Brunswick. The weather was rainy but not really cold so it didn't dampen our visit to Manchester.
Day 18 - Nottingham
We enjoyed Nottingham so much we stayed an extra day. The weather is better so we are off to the caves. The entrance to the caves we will be touring is in a major new shopping centre, and the footings of the shopping centre protrude down into the caves.
After climbing down quite a few sandstone steps we were in the first part of the tour. The tannery. As Ted mentioned in yesterday's blogg the caves in Nottingham were used for many things as they were so easy to dig into. In the 1600's there was a tannery down here and children from the age of 12, not only worked down here but lived down here too. They only saw daylight when they were sent out to the farms to collect the animal manure that was used in the curing process. The average life span down here was 30 and the people earned the equivalent of 50c per year and as much turnip broth as you could eat.
There was also a tavern and brewery, and you can see up the wells that were sunk into the sandstone.
The next section of our tour underground was to an air raid shelter. Nottingham had a very large ammunition factory during the war and so Nottingham was subject to a lot of bombing. The caves became a nightly refuge for the people.
In 1878 an act was passed in parliament that made it against the law for people to live in the caves anymore, as the conditions were appalling with no ventilation, no sanitation and disease was rife down here. But up until 1878 most of the cities poor lived down here.
This afternoon we are going to study crime and punishment through the ages at the Criminal Court.
Day 17 - Nottingham
Heather put us on a train and we headed for Nottingham this morning. Tonight will be the first night we will have spent anonymously in a hotel all by ourselves.
On arriving in Nottingham we went to the tourist information centre to find a place to stay and the very helpful staff sent us around to the Ibis. This is a very normal modern hotel like you would find in any city in Australia. It is warm, cosy and nice and clean and a place to leave our bags so we could explore this beautiful city.
So its off to Nottingham Castle. This is the first time we have been sightseeing in the rain.
At the base of Nottingham Castle are a series of plaques and a statue all dedicated to Robin Hood.
Nottingham Castle dates back to 1068 when William the
Conqueror decided he needed a castle
After a good look around the castle and its museum we decided we needed a
quick refreshment so we went and found the Oldest pub in England, The Trip to
Jerusalem. In Ancient England a trip didn't mean a journey like it does now it meant a break in the journey.
Like many of the buildings in this part of Nottingham the Trip is partially built into the sandstone cliff that the castle is built on. Nottingham is built on a huge sandstone deposit and many of the early inhabitants lived in caves, or had the cellars' and other parts of their houses made from the caves. Unfortunately due to the rain we were unable to have a tour of the caves and passages under the castle, so we went off to another museum that showed life as it was in Victorian times in Nottingham.
1. Scout Bear was very wet from the rain so he decided the Victorian fireplace would be a good place to have a rest.
2. He then decided he needed to go on a diet. We tried to tell him that he weighed so much because he was wet but he wouldn't listen.
3. He then applied for the job of post master but without thumbs he couldn't rip the perforations on the stamps.
4. Then it was upstairs to see if he could ride a pushbike.
5. And then we tried to convince him to have a wash, but he decided he'd been wet enough for one day.
It was back to the motel for a relax and a freshen up before we went off to find some food.
We found a bar called Up Down Under and had a drink with the Aussie Ex-pat, Gordon and his wife. Unfortunately they weren't serving food so we found a nice little Spanish restaurant and had Tapas for dinner.
Day 16 - Bury St Edmunds and Patchwork
We said goodbye to Aunty B and Uncle R today took another bus and two trains to Bury St Edmunds where where we were picked up by Heather and taken to her patchwork group.
How do we know Heather you might ask? Well Heather and her patchwork friends sent us some patchwork blocks for the Bushfire Survivors. Heather found out about our appeal from the Australian Patchwork and Quilting website, and the girls made us some blocks and sent them halfway around the world.
Heather and Ted then started to communicate by email and promised to catch up with each other when we got to England.
Heather and her husband Ray put us up for the night in their very charming home and Ray took us for a tour of Bury St Edmunds and showed us the historical sites of the ancient abbey.
When Henry the 8th decided that the Catholic church was too big in England he ordered that all the Abbeys and most of the churches had to be destroyed, and the towns folk of Bury St Edmunds used the ruined walls to build their homes.
We then went around to the tiniest pub in England. Unfortunately they had a band in the pub and we couldn't even fit inside, let alone anywhere near the bar to buy a drink. So it was back to Heather and Ray's local for a pint of the local cider.
Day 15 - Chesterfield
Back on the bus and a train today. We are off to Chesterfield. Chesterfield is where Ted's Grandfather and Aunt lived before they emigrated to Australia.
If you have visited our house you may have noticed a copper etching on the wall of our class room. It is of a church with a crooked spire. This is Chesterfield Church.
No one is sure why the spire is crooked. When it was designed and built it was straight but over the next 100 years or so it twisted.
On belief is that the tower was built with green (undried) wood and with the weight of the lead tiles on the spire over time the wood distorted and twisted the spire.
Chesterfield is a very pretty little market town and we spent a wonderful sunny time tramping through the narrow streets and the "shambles" (tiny laneways and passages). Ted even did some clothes shopping.
Day 14 - Heather
Heather is a small village in the Midlands where Ted's family came from before they became coalminers. So today the Uncle and Aunty took us to Heather to hunt for gravestones. We found a couple who are related but no one in the direct line of Ted's family.
We then went to visit Ted's mum's other sister and her family, and then home for a quiet night.
Day 13 - Leicestershire - More shopping
Today we went to a garden centre. Doesn't sound like much does it, but this is a garden centre with a difference. Not only can you buy your plants, fertilizers, gardening tools and garden furniture, you can also buy handbags, shoes, clothes, books, lollies and wine.
One thing we are finding over here, it that the gardens have so much more colour and the smell of the flowers is so much more intense. When you squeeze the herbs they are soft and the aroma is beautiful. The grass grows so quickly that Ted's Uncle has to mow it every couple of days.
Tony saw his first squirrel today, but it didn't hang around long enough for a photo.
Day 12 - Leicestershire - Shopping and Scouts
Tony loves the supermarkets over here, and Ted is pretty impressed too. For a start they are huge, and you can buy everything from clothes to toys (oh! and of course Food).
The variety of food is enormous, especially the pre-packaged take home and prepare stuff. Over here you can pick up a bag in the cold section that has everything in it to cook a Curry, a stir-fry, or a casserole for two. Its all fresh and ready to cook. The home baked goods and the pre prepared meats are fabulous too. And we can't get over the price of good cheese - its so cheap.
So when Aunty B suggested a trip to the supermarket Tony was very excited.
After the supermarket Aunty B and Uncle R took us for a scenic trip around the local area and showed us some of the places where Ted's mum and dad grew up. Including the little Coalminers Cottage where Ted's grandparents raised 7 children. It had 5 rooms (front room, backroom, lean too scullery, and 2 bedrooms upstairs) and the only tap was in the backyard.
Unfortunately, because we were in the car all the time, we didn't have much chance to take photos.
When we new were were coming to England Tony and Ted applied for Scout Letters of Introduction and purchased their International Scout Scarves. We contacted the 4th Coalville Scouts and let them know we were coming and they invited us to come and meet with them.
So tonight (Friday night) the Newbold Verdon Scouts and the Coalville Scouts met to show us how Scouting is done in England. Well we can now tell you it is TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Same activities, same smiles on faces, same sorts of badges - but over here they do it all in RAIN AND HAIL and on strange stuff called GRASS (and guess what!!!!!!!!! ITS GREEN).
Scout Bear met Tony the Leprechaun, and all in all we had a wonderful night.
Oh and a question for our Scouty Friends: Is is a co-incidence that the Newbold Verdon Scouts have Red and Black Scarfs and the Coalville Scouts have Yellow and Blue Scarfs?
Day 11 - Leicestershire and family
Well as you all realize we are a bit behind with the blogg. Yes it is because we are being lazy. At present (14/6) we are with Ted's mums eldest sister B and her husband R.
So how did we get here? By 3 trains and a bus. We dropped the car back to Paul and, Deb took us back to Stonehouse station. We then took a train to Gloucester, changed to Cheltenham Spa, on to Birmingham and then Leicester.
When we got to Leicester we thought the town had let us down, because we found it very hard to find a pub for lunch, but when we finally did we had a wonderful (and very cheap) "nosh" in O'Neill's. Then we found the bus to Newbold Verdon and after a short walk knocked on the reli's door.
We caught up with all the family gossip and had a relatively early night.
Day 10 - Freshford and Cheddar
We tried to get up and out early for our big adventure, but we were way laid by Phil and a wonderful cooked breakfast. Bacon, eggs, mushrooms, sausages and fried bread.
Then off the the little blue car to navigate our way around the country side. After many drives in the car in Wales we have a fairly good idea about how the roads work. So with Tony driving and Ted navigating we set off for Freshford. The roads here are very narrow and winding and on occasion we found ourselves heading for the hedge on the side of the road to let another car past, but we made Freshford after about an hour without mishap or getting lost.
Freshford was once a thriving little village built around the cotton mills. Most people in the village earned a living by spinning, weaving or working in the mills. Tony's 4gr grandfather, George, was a Framework Knitter and from what we can work out, worked from home. George and his wife Ann had 4 children, William George (the convict) an older William George who died the age of 2 and 2 daughters. So the family name in Freshford has died out.
We found the cemetery and the church but no records of George or Ann, however because of the English Census we were able to find the house the family lived in and what was the butchers shop that another branch of the family ran.
Day 9 and maybe forever Framilode
Framilode and the locals at The Ship took over our lives for a few days so we haven't had time to update this blogg until today (Thursday Day 11). And I am writing this while on a train from Birmingham to Leicester.
We left Aunty S and Uncle C's and boarded a train in Wrexham. We travelled to Stonehouse via Birminham New Street, Cheltnam Spa and Gloucester. The train service over here is wonderful and our Britrail 22 consecutive day travel passes are well worth the value.
Paul from ADVS (the hire car company) picked us up from the station and drove us back to the depot where we picked up a little Blue Diesel Ford Fiesta. We caught up with Paul and Amy again when they came into the Inn after they shut their business and had a pint with us.
Well Framilode - what a place! If we don't come home this is where you will find us. Ted found the Ship Inn on the internet while trying to find a place near the Cotswolds and close enough to drive to Freshford (where Tony's Convict 3gr grandfather was born).
Well you know how sometimes you take a punt and book something you know nothing about, well this punt paid off and we found this magnificent little Inn with the best people to look after us.
The Ship Inn is a 16th century Inn that was once on a very busy canal. The canal is no longer used because a newer larger one was built close by.
We were given the room at the top of the Inn with a wonderful view of the old Canal. We were treated like long lost friends and Debbie, Matt, Chris, Phil and the gang gave us a rip roaring good old fashioned time.
Day 8 - Wrexham and beyond
Well Today Is The Day! - For those of you who don't know Tony and Ted are getting married here in Wales. So after spending 8 nights here we can now register our intention to marry. At 11 am we have an appointment to prove who we are, that we can marry and now you all have 15 days to object.
Well the registrar doesn't have a reason why we can't marry - so the paperwork is done and we are off to do some more sightseeing.
After Wrexham, we are off again to discover more of the Welsh countryside. Erddig (Erthig) is the destination, but we need to do a few things in Wrexham first, like find a bank. And we'd like to say having a Bendigo VISA card is proving the best way to access money here. We've accessed over $1000 and it has cost us $10 to access ATM machines. Most machines over here in the UK don't charge us to use them, and BB are being very good about using non affiliated machines.While we were walking around trying to find an ATM we came across this little pub. White washed, thatch roof, and attached to the shop next door. The equivalent in Melbourne would be the Mitre Tavern, which if you didn't know, is the oldest pub in Melbourne.
So after a short walk around Wrexham, C and S took us to Erddig (Erthig) .
Erddig House had been owned by the same family since the 1600's. When the last family member, a bachelor realised he could not keep it anymore he gave it to the National Trust in the 1970's. It was subsiding due to the coal mining surrounding the house and after many years and much money it has been persevered for all to see.
Unlike most historic houses, we don't enter this house through the grand front door, but through the servants entrance. Unlike most other upper-class homes in England, the family that owned this home respected their servants, and there is a meticulously preserved history of all who served here. Including the boy who was an understair servant who was lost in ww1. His medals are here, proudly put on display by Philip II.
What is incredible about this home is that, as you walk around and look at the wonderful historic tings collected here, grows the slow understanding that you are looking at one family's possessions'. Four centuries of antiques are here in one house owned by one family. There are rooms that are in darkness because the wallpaper was hand painted 300 years ago, and the Chinese room is only open by appointment. The coffee table that Phillip II broke when he was a toddler 50 years before Botany Bay was found is still here in this house.
It makes us realize that Australia is such a very young country.
We were not allowed to take photos of the inside of the house, but as you can see Scout Bear loved mucking around outside.
Day 7 - Slate Mine and Port Meirion
Today we were out and about again. It was still wet and cold when we left, but it was rather fitting weather to visit a ?????? year old slate mine. Llechwedd (Flecu-eth) was a slate mining town where most of the population worked down the mine and the whole village is made out of slate.
By the age of 12 most boys were working in the mine along side their brothers, fathers and uncles. The slate mine was a family affair with the crews being made up of families and the wages being divided up between the family's profits.
Tony and Ted (and Scout Bear of course) went on the deep mine tour while Aunty S and Uncle C went on the trolley tour. We got into tiny cars and descended into the mine, where we alighted and walked through the mine discovering how the mine worked and the conditions the men lived in. We are glad to say that is not our fate.
After having a good hearty Vegetable Soup, a roll and some chips to fill us up and warm us up it was off to Port Meirion to see how one eccentric member of the gentry spent their spare time. This village is the largest collection of follys' we have ever seen.
This man ????? built a Tuscan style village on the edge of his estate over looking the Irish Sea.
Day 6 - Derby Day
AKA - Bludge Day.
Today was wet and cold and we didn't venture further than Uncle C and Aunty S's house. We spent the day watching the Derby and betting (without money) on the various races. You will be glad to know that Australia won the bets for the day by 14 to 6.
It was calculated by giving 3 points for a win, 2 for second and 1 for third.
Day 5 - Little Sutton
Little Sutton is Wombat Country, so today we went Wombat habitat hunting. Did you know that the best of the Wombats' is actually a Pom? Yes, our great mate and Kimmy Keeper - Frank who lives at the other end of the Wiegard Building (where we live) emigrated from Little Sutton.
So we found Little Sutton, and we found the High Street but unfortunately we were unable to find Wombat's house. After travelling through Wombat Country we decided we had better find where the whole the Wombat story began.
Ted and Wombat were born in the same hospital. Clatterbridge hospital is in Bebington. So off we went. It is enormous compared to what it was when Ted and Wombat were born and it is no longer a Maternity hospital, but it has a large Oncology centre. We found the original buildings.
We then went on to visit friends and as it started to rain we headed home.
Day 4 - The Canal
Today Uncle C and Aunty S took us to Trevor (no he is not a person but a place). Trevor is one side of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (pronounced Pontichelli - got to love the Welsh language), and as I found out today it is where my mum and dad used to store their canal boat the "Phileen" . It was amazing how much of the memories I have from before I was 5, surfaced today. Tony and I walked across the aqueduct and looked over the side to the River Dee below. It was a spectacular experience.
We then went up the Horseshoe Pass and had lunch at the top. It has wonderful and spectacular views, but in the winter it is so treacherous the road is closed.
Then it was on to Llangollen (pronouced Flang-off-land) and had a ride on a horse drawn Narrow Boat. It is such a slow and peaceful way to travel. The town of Llangollen is a fascinating place to visit. It is built on both sides of the valley with the River Dee, a railway line and a canal running through the middle.
Day 3 - North Wales
We started today off by meeting the local postie. Bernard is a terrific bloke with the same philosophy about the job that Tony has. In fact their jobs are very similar; they all know the locals; have a caring thoughtful attitude about who they deliver too; deliver the mail, snow, rain, hail or shine and take pride in the job they do; they also both ride bikes - only difference Tony's has a motor.
Conwy Castle was the main highlight of today's outing. Conwy Castle has been preserved and it was incredible to see where and how the people lived. It has not been restored and there are no replicas of rooms or statues showing how things were, it is just the ruin with explanations about the rooms and the uses of the certain area.
We climbed to the very top of the highest tower, the view was amazing.
After the castle we went home via the scenic route and stopped for a pint at Uncle Colin's golf Club - The Vale of Llangollen. Tony will be playing here with Colin very soon.
Day 2 - Chester
Today Syl put us on the "Park and Ride Bus". The idea of this bus is that instead of driving into Chester and trying to find parking, you park in a designated car park on the outskirts and get the bus in to Chester. It cost ₤1.70 each return. Great value and great service.
Chester is a fascinating City. It is a walled City and Tony's ambition was to walk the full circumference. That didn't quite happen as the wall had had a collapse and there was a small part we couldn't walk on. So we started at one end of the fall and walked to the other. (Yes my feet hurt)
Whilst the wall was amazing I was intrigued by the Rows in Chester. At street level there are shops where the front is right on the edge of the footpath (just like normal shops), and above there is another row of shops that are accessed by a walkway that is over the shops below. These shop fronts are recessed by about 3 metres. However, if you decide to leave the Row and walk down a laneway you come out on the street behind at street level. Apparently the main 4 streets in Chester are built in the centre of Roman ruins and the back streets are higher because they were level with the ruins.
The 22nd Chester Regiment museum was wonderful. Whilst our war history begins in 1914, the 22nd Chester Regiment was formed before the American War of Independence. The artefacts in this small museum have been collected from all over the world, including a button that was returned from Germany, a patchwork quilt that was made in the Boar War and a ration pack made in Australia.
We had a wonderful day in Chester. I can now see why my mum thought it was such a special place to shop.
1st Day in Wales
We have the use of a little cottage, similar to what we would call a "Granny Flat" or permanent mobile home.
Syl and Colin who we are stying with are in the middle of moving and own 2 of these homes. So we are staying in the new one and they are still in their old one.
We found the shops this morning and spent a great deal of time walking around the supermarket checking out the different types of food.
The Cabin we are staying in
We then spent the afternoon taking photos of the house I lived in from birth; having a pint at The Harp which was my Dad's local; and then a nice walk along the banks of the Dee River.
So I got my own back on Tony - I spent a day showing him some of the places of my childhood. Including the bridge where my sister broke her front teeth. The first house Ted lived in
Scout Bear sitting on the wall in the Wirral
Hi Everyone, We are here! Landed safe and sound. Qantas gave us superb service. We left Tullamarine right on time and spent 8 hours in the air before landing at Hong Kong. It was late and dark and we were meant to be sleeping but we watched a lot of movies while trying to doze.
We landed at Hong Kong very early in the morning and nothing was open. So we wondered around the airport and stretched our legs for the 90 minute stop over. While we are a bit blasť about the Swine flu, the people in Hong Kong are very serious about it and we had to go through the heat scanners and everyone working at the airport was wearing face masks.
The flight from Hong Kong to Heathrow was very good. We travelled well and have no jet lag.
Scout Bear - In Flight!
At Heathrow we had to transfer to a domestic flight to Manchester. Our luggage was transferred internally and we were told that we would have to go through customs at Manchester after we collected our luggage. Guess what? No customs at Manchester. We collected our bags and walked out of the terminal. So I guess we could have smuggled the rabbits, blackberries and foxes back. We could have even bought a few cane toads in. Bet we wouldn't get away with that in Australia.
Oh and I still have my needle. It passed every security check. I even had it pinned in the top of my pack for all to see. Was never questioned about it. Didn't sew on the plane though. I watched movies while I drew all the stitching lines on the pieces for the first border.
Was picked up by my Uncle and Aunt and had a quiet evening, and an early night.
Hi All, First entry into this blogg is from Tullamarine Airport. We are sitting in the departure lounge waiting to board (or should that be "bored").
Guess what!!!!!!!! I still have my needle. The 2nd block of the first border on the holiday quilt has been sewn before we left Vic.
Kim tried to stow away in every bag we packed, and when we told her Scout Bear was going and she was staying she beat him up.
Is Kimmy helping us to pack - Or trying to stow away?????
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