Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

1997 Xmas

November 1997

Well Hello again

Once again you have been selected to receive the Swatman Christmas Special and I hope it finds you fit and well. What a year we have hadnever a dull moment what with our travels, a wedding and a new baby in the family (dont panic not mine!). So on with the mini Diary:

November 1996Signed the binding paperwork on the sale of the business the day before setting off to China. The schedule is that we move out of the house on Friday 3 Jan, transfer the shop business on Saturday 4th and hand over the Post Office on Wed 8th.

DecemberChina was fantastic and my 40th Birthday especially memorable as we visited the Terracotta warriors. The weather was very cold but with blue skies and sunshine each day and not too many people around it suited us. At one stage we had a stretch of the Great Wall all to ourselves to walk alongnot much chance of that in the summer when people are 6 abreast along it. We returned on 8 December and it was action stations to get the house emptied. I decided that it would be nice to combine a New Years eve party with a leaving party. We collected out motorcaravan on Sunday 22 December and load it up with our "new lifes" necessities. Christmas is spent in the Midlands with us testing out the van under snow conditions. New Years eve didnt quite work as planned as the weather was awful and our guests from afar couldnt come but we had a good party with friends and neighbours.

January 1997The handover of the Post Office and Shop completed we started off on a farewell tour of friends and family intending to start down South and head North to finish with a bit of skiing in Scotland . Unfortunately some big problems showed up with the van and the company wanted it back for 12 weeks for repairs so apologies if we didn`t get to see you. Having already made our presence felt on our visits we decided that as we will be homeless a cheapie holiday would fit the bill so 25 January sees us on a plane to Tunisia for 2 weeks Claire finally moves in the house she is buying with her boyfriend Darren then shortly after tells us the news that she is pregnant but they are not sure if they want to marry just yet.

FebruaryAfter 2 weeks most enjoyable holiday we found the van still wasnt ready so stay at Mums for 2 weeks before our next trip. Claire decided the day before we left again that they want to have a full Church wedding as soon as possible so we have to leave her to start arranging it. We fly to Singapore for 3 days and then tour through Malaysia and up to Penang where Dad was in the war. It was nice to be able to show Mum all the places they had planned to visit after he had retired.

MarchReturn on 8 March and found that Claire had organised just about everything for a Wedding on April 26th. This made us decide to take a short trial run trip in the van and return for the Wedding before setting off in earnest. David had not been too well and was out of work so we agreed to take him with us for a holiday. Our journey took us down through France where the weather was beautiful and hot and produced our first problem with the van overheating. Spain fixed it temporarily so we ventured on to Portugal.

April5 weeks after setting out and having visited France, Spain and Portugal we were convinced that the idea of Motorcaravan traveling was for us but our first van wasnt up to the job. We decided on the smallest American Motorhome available and chose one in Wolverhampton where they took the old one in part exchange. The Wedding day was not too good on weather but everything else made up for it. Top hats and tails were the order of the day but most other things were very informal and we all enjoyed ourselves.

MayOur big trip started on 7th May with a channel crossing to France and a detour via Belgium to Luxembourg to fill up with over 200 litres of diesel as it is cheap there. Back into France and towards the South coast.

JuneOn to Italy where we picked our friend Sandra up in Milan to travel with us for 2 weeks.

JulySlovenia, Hungary and into Romania. Big changes were noticed in the standards of roads, living and foods as we ventured into Eastern Europe but the people more than made up for it and a Romanian couple who were on the camp site next to us insisted we return to their house in Bucharest for a few days.

AugustOut of Romania for 2 weeks in Bulgaria and on to Turkey where we met up with Barry whom we had met previously on the Hungarian/Romanian border. We became very good friends with Barry and his Turkish fiancee Cicek and stayed at his house. Claire was taken into hospital with high blood pressure and they induced the baby. Daniel Lee Wilson was born on Saturday 30th August after a quick labour with Mum an baby in great shape.

SeptemberMonday 1st and we were on a flight back to Manchester to visit our new grandson. Claire was home and looked very well and Daniel just beautiful. Stayed in England for 3 weeks before flying back to Istanbul for Barrys wedding.

OctoberThe Turkish Wedding was most interestingI went to the hen night and Steve became Barrys witness (Turkish version of Best Man), we really enjoyed it all. Set off on our journey down through Turkey. Traveled down the West coast then along the South before cutting through Cappadocia in the centre.

NovemberBack in Istanbul having had such a superb time in Turkey. The sights and people have been fantastic. 21 November and our 3 month Turkish visa runs out so Greece next stop with a detour to Bulgaria for cheap fuel.

What next you may askCrete for a couple of months, Claire Darren & Daniel are flying to Athens end of January and some other friends end of February. March should be on to southern Italy and up through Austria to Czech Republic , Slovakia, Poland and on to Scandinavia. IF all is still going well we will return to England around September to sell the motorhome before flying to the States to buy another one and spend a year traveling there.

All the family are well. Claire is contemplating going back to work full time, Darren is working, Daniel is growing fast. David is still in Keighley and unsettled. Mum had a laser op on her eyes and it seems to have worked well. We visited everyone else in September and have nothing else to report. Fortunately Steve is of the same mind as me and enjoying traveling so much that we share the same optimism for our future plans.

If you would like to drop us a line we can collect mail from the American Express office in Crete (letters and cards only as they will not except packages) and we should be there from end of November until mid January. A Very Merry Christmas to you allwe will be thinking of England on Xmas day. We wish you well and all the best for 1998. Should you wish to join us for any part of our journey just contact Claire as we are in touch regularly. We are always glad of company and although we have met and made many new friends you cannot beat a good chinwag about old times.

Love from SWATMAN S T & G

c/o Adamis Tours, Avgoustou 23,


Steve & Glen







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: