Posted by: glenswatman | May 22, 2011

20110511-20 ENGLAND

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WEDNESDAY 11 MAY – Not realising our Monday flight from India didn’t arrive until Tuesday I stuffed up and only left ourselves 1 night so we leave with Vina who drops us at the station.  At Sentral we meet up with Honey and whilst Steve breakfasts I do some shopping and pick up snacks for in flight.  The 11am bus gets us to the airport in plenty of time to sort out our seating problem. Air Asia has allocated us seats Steve by the window and me in a centre block.  The supervisor is very good and relocates us to a complete row of 3 in the centre aisle, each.  We have excess Indian rupees so wander round near an India flight departure gate and find a man who exchanges them for Euros, perfect.   We leave at 3pm and feel almost guilty having so many seats each whilst people around us are huddled together.  The minute the seat belt sign goes off we lie down to stake our claim.  There are 2 lots of meal service on line but the on line meal order service has not been working.  We find out there are 2 meal times and opt to take the later one and use our snacks now.  Air Asia offer entertainment screens, again the on line order service did not work, but only have the pre ordered ones available.  Find it easy to sleep properly stretched out and spend the rest of the time reading.  At second meal service the flight attendant tells us they have no meals to sell and only those pre-ordered!  Our 13 hour flights lands in London Stansted ENGLAND at 9.45pm.  We have explained our tight connection and been moved to the front of the plane so are first off.  Hastening through the airport like competitors in Amazing Race we make our 10.20pm bus connection.  The fare is £6.70 and I jokingly ask about a senior’s price and the driver says just give me £10 for the two of you.  Our friend Peter meets us in Hitchin and takes us home where Margaret is waiting.  It is after midnight but we chat for about half an hour before retiring.


THURSDAY 12 MAY – I’ve been awake since around 4am so got a lot done on line.  We now have to make new plans as our motorhome registration is not complete and we cannot pick it up on Saturday as planned, Tuesday at the earliest.  I am surprised how little this stresses me, must be a knock on effect of dealing with India!  I join Margaret for a walk into Hitchin to check out things for the motorhome.  It is strange to return and find my feet are still clean.  At Steve’s request she cooks us bacon sandwiches for lunch.  Food never tasted so good.  During the afternoon we look at Peter and Margaret’s pictures of India from a 1998 trip, main sites looks much the same but traffic was obviously less.  Margaret cooks a delicious pork stew for supper after which we run through our India photos and send them both to sleep – or maybe the wine at dinner followed by port had something to do with it.


FRIDAY 13 MAY – Peter and Margaret drop us at Hitchin station where our combined train ticket covers the 3 trains to Keighley.  It is quite a shock to see how modern and clean the trains are.  Arriving in Leeds the temperature has dropped an overcoat or two and I end up digging in my bag to put on extra layers of clothing.  To cap it all it is raining by the time we reach Keighley but luckily Mom picks us up.   Mom and Dad have moved whilst we have been away and we get to see their new flat at Farish House.  It is a really excellent set up as they have complete independence in their 1 bedroom flat but the complex has free laundry washers and dryers, a bed sit for visitors and a common room for functions.  Dad is out doing some fun exercises and gets brought back in a bus.  He looks and sounds much better and is far livelier than when we saw him last year.  Mom takes me down town where I do a pass through Poundland picking up 40 items for the motorhome.  Claire arrives after work with Natasha in the car.  We notice quite a change in Natasha who has grown up noticeably; once we get home we notice an even bigger change in Daniel who is now taller than me and talks in a deep voice.  Claire cooks us a delicious pasta meal before taking Natasha swimming accompanied by Steve.


SATURDAY 14 MAY – Daniel stays home whilst the rest of us go over to Bradford to meet Eddie picking up Richard and Azura en route.  At Cordoba main man Sid is away and the others are very busy but we can check around the van and get more idea of storage etc.  For us the only surprise is that the rear bed over the garage is higher than we had hoped but everything else is good.  Richard takes us to a trade store to buy more things then we call in at a caravan dealer for specialist stuff.  The car is already pretty full including a roll of underlay across Natasha and I in the back but when we pass a second hand shop we can’t resist 4 gardens chairs.  Somehow we fit 2 on Steve’s knee in the front and 2 across Natasha and I in the back.  Finally I stop at the Indian shop to buy the special chapatti cooking pan and other ingredients for cooking a curry tomorrow.  It is really handy to have an authentic Asian grocery store in town.  Our new Tom Tom satnav arrived this morning and by the time we get back I have almost figured out how to use it but established that the battery is not holding the charge so it will have to be sent back.


SUNDAY 15 MAY – Borrowing Claire’s car we first drop Daniel in Haworth for the 1040’s weekend then do some more shopping.  A good buy is the 16” LED TV for £85 at ASDA.  Claire and Richard arrive back mid afternoon and I have prepared Indian curries for them using the recipes I learnt in India. I try to vary the roti with almonds and sultanas but this means they won’t roll out as thin and don’t cook quite so well.


MONDAY 16 MAY – After visiting the Doctors we walk to Mom & Dads.  Dad is again out “to play” but we are able to help Mom by defrosting the freezer.  Later we go shopping and pick up an electric oven toaster from Argos then return home to check it out by cooking a shepherd’s pie.  It works very well and will be useful in the motorhome when we are on electric hook up.  Cordoba tell us DVLA are processing our application but this still doesn’t tell us when we will have the van on the road so have made a contingency plan to borrow Moms car to go down to the Midlands on Wednesday if all else fails.  In the evening I help Claire with some revision as she has 3 more chartered accountant exams next week.


TUESDAY 17 MAY –   News about the motorhome is that the registration is in the post – 2nd class.  My HTC Desire smart phone arrives and I immediately realise what a big learning curve I have to get used to a smart phone.  Whilst I am doing this Steve is checking out the electrical appliances we have bought for the motorhome and we are delighted to find that with an indoor booster aerial the TV picks up all the free view channels.  Every couple of months Dad goes into respite care for a week to give Mom a break.  Thomson Court in Cross Flats is an excellent centre and feels more like a hotel with carpeted floors, wallpapered walls and many different social rooms.  Dad’s room is large, has a TV and his own dining table if he prefers to eat alone.  Staff are extremely kind and friendly and include us in afternoon drinks and biscuits.  After work Claire takes the rabbits Snowball and Billy to the vets for injections.  She and Natasha return laughing.  It turns out that Billy boy is Billie girl and about to give birth.  They have been advised to move the hutches into the shed with Snowball facing Billie.  Reading on the internet I learn that the mother should have a nest so I put my Blue Peter skills to work and create one from a cardboard box.  Claire is out at Richards tonight and Natasha and Daniel at their Dads so we are left to mind the expectant mother.

WEDNESDAY 18 MAY – Checking the shed we find that nothing has happened but both rabbits are happily hopping around.  After cleaning the house I head down to the Doctors where Steve picks me up.  Mom is going on holiday and we are borrowing the car to drive down to the Midlands but first call in to visit Dad.  He is really settled and loves being at Thomson Court where he feels like he is on holiday.  The journey to the Midlands is very good in the middle of the day with no traffic holds ups at all.   Arriving at Mums we find David is also there waiting to see us.  They both look well and we have lots of catching up to do.  Mum has had another hip op and is still recovering whilst David now seems to be fully recovered from his kidney op and is doing 2 morning paper rounds which keep him fit.  We go round to David’s flat which he keeps really nice.  Late afternoon we do Mum’s shopping and also pick up more things for the motorhome.  David joins us for tea when I cook up a spaghetti bolognaise.


THURSDAY 19 MAY –   David calls in to deliver the paper and we see his routine with Mum where he passes the paper through the window and gets a sweet in exchange then waves as he cycles off.  We had planned to come down in the motorhome and buy lots of things for it in Drayton.  However because we only have the small car we can only really buy the things that we cannot get in Keighley.  In England you can save a lot of money by shopping at different stores or on line but doing it this way it seems to be taking forever to complete the list of essentials.  If only we had bit Wal-Marts like in America where we were able to park up and get about 90% of the stuff from the one store at competitive prices.  George and Nicole from Adelaide are over on holiday so they join us at Mum’s for coffee and a catch up.  They are both now retired, enjoying life and including a European tour along with visits to family.  Claire texts us to say Billie has had the babies, at least 4 but 2 were born or put in the bottom half of the hutch whilst others are in the nest which is not a good sign.  Mum goes out to lunch with her friends on Thursdays meanwhile David brings his pizza and cheesecake round for us to share.  In the afternoon Mum has pupils.  She still teaches singing and piano which keeps her alert, active and gives her company.  In the evening we meet Pete & Carol and Paul & Elaine at Wetherspoons and joined by David we have plenty to chat about.  It is curry night but Steve and I have had enough curry to last us a long time but at £4.99 including any drink it is a very good deal.  From what we have seen there are still many places in England to shop and eat at a very reasonable price.


FRIDAY 20 MAY – Steve has lost his voice and is not feeling well.  Not sure if it is too much talking last night or the onset of English flu.  Claire texts to say the black baby rabbit has died even though she moved the 2 up to the nest.  Now she just wants to leave them alone and let nature take its course.  It is a shame we are not there as I used to breed mice and am very interested.  We have things to sort out at our rental cottage in Newport so first drop Mum and Dave in town to shop.  The cottage needs a new kitchen and some work on the fencing and we talk this through with the tenants but the good news is they want to keep renting for the foreseeable future.  For the first time we see the new housing development that has gone up at the bottom of the garden and are very pleased to find that the developers had to leave the 1 story school due to a preservation order so we maintain the privacy in our garden.  In the afternoon I leave Steve in bed and walk round to Netty’s for a sisterly chat.  Bobby arrives back from work and I see a big change in him.  He is a little taller but more noticeably has really beefed up.  By evening Steve feels a little better but can’t talk much so when we take Netty & Ian out for a meal in Audlem he has trouble joining in the conversation so I have to do my best to talk for 2!



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