Traveling by train is scary in the UK. Well, no, travelling is very good - it’s the finding the right train at the right time in the right place that is scary! Itravelled from Cardiff to Southampton, changed trains and travelled on to Havant, where Glenda met me.
Glenda and Mike hosted me for two nights. After picking me up, Glenda introduced me to Mike and the comfortable surroundings of the Emsworth Sailing Club, particularly well-known to many New Zealanders because of Sir Peter Blake's connection to the club, and that of his wife Pippa. After that, I met my Aunt Edna for the first time! It so wonderful meeting family I have heard about for nearly 50 years... I'm only sorry I wasn't able to spend more time talking to her, as she knew my mum very well, and talked a lot about her visits to the UK.
(Message to Edna and Mavis - I'll bring Elsa in to see you next year!)
We had dinner with daughter Emma and her family - a great, fun evening (Hi Georgia!), with good food and drink and great company!
Glenda and Mike took me to some historic parts of the South of England on Wednesday. Emsworth is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Portsmouth, where I toured through Nelson's flagship "HMS Victory". After the official tour, we discovered a little side exhibition that had the main topsail from Victory preserved - complete with shot holes from the battle in Trafalgar. There was also a description of the making of the sail. A very interesting interlude!
Next up was a visit up the Spinnaker Tower with views of Portsmouth and the harbour. They have a piece of glass floor there, much larger than the small window on the Sky Tower in Auckland, and I’m sorry to say I chickened out of the opportunity to walk across it! After lunch in another cosy little pub, they took me to the D-Day Museum, a wonderful experience, looking at the history leading up to and including the invasion of Normandy.
Uncle Don was involved in the first wave, I understand, and the multimedia and static displays the museum have really brought the reality of that home.
We dined at the Blue Bell pub on haddock and chips, before heading for a good night’s sleep.
This morning Glenda and Mike dropped me at Guildford where I caught a train to Waterloo Station, then a short trip in a London black cab took me to Liverpool Street Station, where I caught another train to Shenfield, where David picked me up. A walk into Brentwood this afternoon enabled me to (finally) offload the pictures on the camera to CD, and we have spent a quiet evening getting ready for the trip to Paris tomorrow.
The next email / text / blog entries will be next Monday. Have a good weekend , folks and I will tell you about PARIS on our return! Keep in touch! Only 10 days left before I start the journey home… :o(