ENGLAND HERE WE ARE
Thursday 11th Sept
Flight finally left at 10.45pm, so by the time they brought dinner around we were almost over it! 6.5hrs to Heathrow but they were 5 hrs ahead in time so arrived and it was about 11.15am. I had managed a little sleep but Ralph none so feeling very jet lagged when we arrived.
Julia Winmill was there to meet us and it was fantastic to see her again. Only seemed like a short time since with here last and not 8yrs. Have had FB, email and skype contact so that has lessened the distance between us.
Staying in Wokingham with Julia two nights. Needed a wee sleep after lunch though on arrival day. A lovely little town is Wokingham and I had a nice stroll with Julia. She had to work Friday so we chilled out, went into the village for a wander, checked out the local market and had a coffee and people watched.
Friday night, so a few drinks at Julia's with her best friend across the street and her female boss/friend also and not forgetting Julia's lovely doggy Jess. Very nice too.
SATURDAY 13th Sept.
Julia drove us to Birmingham to stay with and meet Jenny, another of Ralph's English cousins. Julia then off to see her goddaughter and spend the night with her mum in Breewd.
Spent the afternoon in the park with Jenny's daughter Ruth and her family....husband Peter and 2 sons.
Out to dinner with next daughter Emma for English Cod n Chips n mushy peas.
Next morning Jenny drove us to Leek for lunch with brother Martin and to meet another 90 yr old 1st cousin of Ralph's. Nice to see the different countryside around the Midlands and Leek is not far from Stoke on Trent. Had a gorgeous country-lane drive to Dovedale for a walk along a pretty stream and swim for Jenny's dog Tess. Lots of families and pooches out strolling in this beautiful place and a wonderful autumn day but still rather warm. Back to Birmingham for the night then Jenny driving us to Barton in the morning.
We arranged to meet cousins Margaret and her daughter Carol ( Margaret, Carol and Ian, Jenny and Ruth, Christine - who we will see in Wales- and Martin Winmill have all been to visit New Zealand and stayed with us since we first came to UK in 2004 and met some of them. So we have greatly helped New Zealand's tourist industry.
On arrival found Margaret-84- had fallen earlier and was a bit battered n bruised. Didn't stop her having a group lunch with us and Martin had come over from Leek to join us too. A lovely Marina area at Barton with many beautiful long canal boats. Oh how we love seeing them all again and the rellies and this area.
Hard saying farewell to Jenny, as it was also to Julia. Ralph's family uncles and aunts lived in this area as had his father Eric.
Carol got her Mum Margaret checked out at the Hosp and all ok, just bad bruising so I got the Arnica cream on to her. Carol's husband Ian on night shift this week so he was up by the time we got to their home. Ian ex Royal Navy Photographer used to go on secret missions with the Navy and record all sorts of aircraft testing and the missions. Now works at Marston's Brewery in Quality Control and yes that entails tasting the batches of beer among checking equipment and processes. He doesn't really like beer anymore!