|Mark and Mum, chance for a walk on a sunny day|
After a busy time in Switzerland it was time to head for London and visit family. We stayed with Marks' Mum (Jackie) and it was great to see her looking and feeling much better after being really quite ill over Christmas. We chatted, ate and drank our way through a few lovely days with her.
However, life as a cruiser is not an idle one and there is always "the list". Items you just can't seem to find in foreign countries, one such item this time was a new laptop computer with an English keyboard (Spanish ones are different) so researching, purchasing and then setting that up kept us entertained for a many an hour.
We also had a lovely evening get together with Marks brother Greg's family for a belated Christmas celebration. We exchanged a few Christmas goodies and Alison treated us to an excellent Roast Lamb dinner with all the trimmings. Boy do I miss roast lamb.
|Belated Christmas with Marks family|
After gathering information and becoming very confused we met our friends John and Eva off Destiny for lunch and a very quick catch up.
We picked up a couple of small items during the afternoon, but the satellite phone salesman unknowingly did a great job of talking us out of buying one. However, we finally decided on a Standard Horizons Chart-plotter and after much discussion it was decided we could purchase an American /Caribbean chart for it instead of a Mediterranean one at the Boat Show discounted price, but it would have to come from the US -(what they don't have US charts in England???) so that was ordered and would take 10 days. Yeah right !!
|Sparky impatiently waiting for the next throw|
We again met up with Destiny, who had sniffed out a free glass of wine at the Turkish Tourist Board stand where we also bumped into cruiser friends Robin and Marion off Simba who we first met in Turkey. We also had the pleasure of meeting Rod Heikell who needs no introduction to all our cruising mates but for those of you who don't know, he has written many of the excellent Cruising Guides to the Mediterranean. We left the show after dark and caught various trains home, it had been a very long day.
Our time in England was drawing to a close. We had a sad farewell with Marks family and caught the train down to rural Surrey to stay with my cousin Neil, his wife Barbara, and their adorable dog Sparky for our last two nights. Evening drinks in a local country pub were complete with a wood fire blazing, dogs running round, clientele wandering in with wellies on - you sure knew you were in the country.
|Helping out with Barbara's horses|
Our one day with them was spent enjoying a leisurely brunch while reading the weekend papers, (I should add here that Barbara had already been up at dawn to feed her horses, while we blissfully slept). This was later followed by a big walk in a nearby common, the trees stark and bare but beautiful in midwinter. Sparky happily ran backwards and forwards for miles, hardly stopping for a breath as Mark tirelessly threw a stick for him.
Next stop was the horses paddock where Barbara and I donned wellies, cleaned the paddock out and fed the horses while the boys watched and supervised. Another home cooked excellent meal complemented by fine wine was a fitting end to our stay in the UK.