Our flight from Ft Lauderdale to London was on Norweigan. It is the worst flight we have ever been on! I mean to say what plane in this day and age doesn’t have entertainment on a long-haul?!? The food was just awful, the seats were terrible and the service was pretty average [not at the level of our Air New Zealand!] We now know that Norweigan is a budget airline – I didn’t realise that when I booked!
The cream cheese added the flavour apparently!! I never ate it!! This was supposed to be breakfast. They would have been better with a yoghurt and fruit. You had to pay for hot drinks, even though we had ‘food’ as part of our ticket!!
After we landed we headed to Clapham Junction [where we met Glenn, who I used to work with]. We headed back to his and Francisca’s apartment on the River Thames. We spent an hour catching up with them and then we all headed out for breakfast … by now I was getting ‘hangry’ as I didn’t eat that rubbish [on the plane] and tired as I never slept, so had been on the go for a loooooooooong time!
Glenn and Francisca very kindly took us past our old flat in Wimbledon and to the pub that we used to work in 30+years ago. Our flat was exactly the same [from the outside] and the pub was sooooo different! The outside was the same but it was vastly different on the inside. Colin talked to the bar staff and explained that we used to work there 33 years ago, they were mildly amused but couldn’t really care less!! 😂 😂 Anyway we had a lovely dinner there and as we had a captured audience with G & F, we drove them nuts with our reminiscing [it is funny how you do this when you get older!!]
Our next day was a train trip to West Byfleet to meet a second Cousin of Dad’s. This had happened as mum had done the DNA thingee though Ancestory.com for Dad, as there were quite a few blanks in his history. Dad and his cousin Michael were connected through the DNA which is hugely fascinating. Michael picked us up at the train station and we went back to his place, meet his lovely wife Josephine and saw the incredible family tree that Michael has been working on over the past few years.
I just loved meeting them, and was fascinated to see Dad in him [Michael]! He and Dad truly have a similarity that was comforting. I can’t explain it, but the DNA ‘does not lie’. I am so looking forward to visiting Ireland and being able to explore a few more ‘blanks’ in Dad’s family tree, and being able to visit where he was born/lived. Michael and Josephine welcomed us into their home and I honestly felt like family – actually we are! 💖
We spent two days ‘wombling’ around London and I was surprised at just how quickly we found our way around again. There are many new buildings in London, and it is looking like the ‘old and the new’ in some places but I just loved being there again. Of course we visited Buckingham Palace and walked along The Mall, strolled beside the river Thames and generally just enjoyed revisiting some of the wonderful places we had visited ‘last century’.
The buildings on Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus all are the same [well mostly!] – beautiful big buildings with incredible architecture, and of course all with Christmas lights making it all magical. It was exactly 33 years since we arrived in London and it was wonderful to be back again. We did feel a little under-whelmed with Piccadilly Circus as it sure isn’t as spectacular as it was last time we visited [and Eros is all boarded up], and there are no pigeons in Trafalgar Square!!
We walked up through Regent Street, along Oxford, through Marble Arch to Hyde Park, through Hyde Park and past the Princess Diana memorial fountain. You can’t help but feel just a tiny bit sad that such a beautiful young woman was taken too soon. People still take flowers and leave them for her at this memorial. It must be some sort of comfort to her two boys, that she was truly loved by the world, although I am sure that they would rather just have their mum 😔
We also visited the Tate museum and saw the giant leopard slugs – what a fantastic installation! The white fairy lights represent the ‘slime’ which of course looks just amazing at night [when naturally these slugs are active]. Then there are blue lights which are the sign they are ready for mating! This is one of the most captivating and fun installations I have seen for a while, and I wish I had thought of it!! But I am neither an artist nor a ‘bug’ person!!
So it was a flying visit to London, four days came and went in a blink, although my feet will tell you it was enough! We transferred out to a lovely lodge by Gatwick airport [as we had a 5am check-in!!], had a pub dinner and then hardly slept as we didn’t want to sleep in. We are super excited about our next ‘assignment’ in Cyprus and we will share it with you just as soon as we can.
“memories behind us … adventures ahead of us”