Posts Tagged With: Home!

Wed 5 July: last day in London and home to NZ

Today the tea situation got worse, there was not even any Twinings everyday tea, I had to make do with green tea! Not a good start to the day. Apart from that, I have discovered that around the corner, on the other side of the restaurant, is another table with cereal and bread and a toaster. Yum, I had toast with marmalade, trying not to be churlish thinking how much nicer it would be with black tea. In context, if this the worst of my problems, life is pretty good.

After breakfast I headed to the metro, and off to see Shellbe. Sad to say goodbye to Brett, but excited to be  going to spend the with Shellbe and see where she is living. Brett is heading off for a couple of days to York to see his step daughter Sandra.

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London Bridge Underground – off to see Shellbe before the flight home.

To get to Shellbe’s I had to go two stops on the metro, and then get off and go up three escalators and then find the correct train to get to Teddington. I found my way to the station ok, but there was a signal problem and a number of the trains were delayed including the 10:27 to Teddington. There was however, a 10:33 via Richmond to Teddington that was not delayed and had a platform number, so off I went and hopped on that.

All was going well until we came into Richmond and I half heard the train announcement about this being the change for what I thought was Teddington, and just about everyone on the train hopped off. I jumped off as well, but actually it was the change for Twickerton. Drat! By the time I worked this out the doors had shut and the train was gone. Thankfully there was a help phone and I was relieved to find the next train to Teddington would be along in 15 minutes.

Shellbe was waiting at the station and we went back to her place. Shellbe is currently working as a live-in nanny, looking after two small boys, Asher 5 and Matthew (Matty) 3. Just after we got to the house Shellbe had to pick up Matty from kindy and left me behind enjoying a cup of black tea.

Matty was very cute and was interested in me being Shellbe’s mum, and within a couple of minutes he had invited me on the family holiday in a couple of weeks to Italy.

At 3pm we picked up Asher from school, and we went to a bushy park where there were a number of deer roaming around. They are really nice boys, both asked me lots of questions, and for the rest of the day they referred to me as Mum as Shellbe was.

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Back at the house, time for Shellbe to cook dinner bath the boys, read stories and then their Dad arrived home, and all too soon it was time to head to Heathrow airport.

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I had a last couple of hours with Shellbe at Heathrow, then it was time to say goodbye 😭😭. It was really hard to leave her. There were tears all round, it has been so great being able to share the past few days with her, in both Amsterdam and London.

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Not much of a consolation at the moment, but at least these days we have messenger call etc to keep in touch and see each other.

Off through security to the horrors of long haul flying. I just don’t have the ability to sleep on planes. I was flying Emirates, and on the leg from Heathrow to Dubai I managed about 45 min, thankfully only a two stop over in Dubai, most of which was spent getting to the next gate.

Dubai to Auckland, which is a 14 and a half hour flight, I managed about an 1 hour of sleep. The flight seems endless. Around me everyone seemed to be sleeping soundly. The two people in the seats next to me slept almost the entire flight. I spent most the flight watching movies, and getting up and down (thankfully I had an aisle seat).

Upstairs on the plane, as well as business class seats, there are sleep cabins where you have your own room with a bed! Plus access to a shower. However, to fly from Heathrow to Auckland in one of these would cost $13,500 dollars per person (20 hours flying, makes it $650 an hour).

I arrived at Auckland, it was lovely to go through customs etc, within 20 minutes from landing I had my bike box and bag, cleared customs and was heading to Auckland domestic terminal. I really did not want to get back on a plane again.

My son Dan picked me up at the airport, and had Benji (the dog) in the car. We got home at 3:30 pm. Dexter, the other dog, was delighted to see me and I spent the next 3 hours struggling to stay awake until my daughter Tracey got home with my grandson Jasper (who just turned one). They got home at 6:15pm, I managed to stay awake until 6:30pm then off to bed to sleep. Nothing quite like your own bed.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am looking forward to catching up with my other children, their partners, and my grandchildren at Jasper’s first birthday party. Sunday will be spent unpacking and getting sorted to return to the realities of work.

On Monday there will be 323 days until the next ride. The next ride I have booked is The Pub Ride, from Dublin to Denmark.

Thank you to my daughter Kelly for all her hard work and patience as editor of the blog -dealing my spelling abilities (or inabilities) and the Ipad’s tendency to change what I have written, not an easy task.

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Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Home again

My taxi arrived as planned at 6:30 am, and I headed back home, and was back to work at mid-day .

I was looking forward to catching up with family and friends, and of course Christmas.

I have already booked my next TDA trip – I am doing The Odyssey which is from Athens to Amsterdam in May 2017. I am doing the last two sections: Bosnia to Amsterdam.

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Thanks to everyone for reading along, and your comments. As always a very special thanks to my daughter Kelly, blog editor extraordinaire.

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Day 14: Sunday 27 Nov – rest day in Wellington

Despite getting to bed late I was wide awake at 6am. I got up and enjoyed being able to make a cup of tea. I decided to catch up with the blog as I had not done any updates since I left Napier and I like to keep at least a couple of days in front of Editor Kelly.

Brett went off to the supermarket and got some toast bread, butter, and milk, – we already had some marmalade. After doing a couple of updates I went up the road to have coffee with couple of friends Delwyn and Pat who live in Mt Victoria. Then went back to meet my daughter Tracey and grandson Jasper (nearly 5 months old) at mid day.

We went to lunch in Island Bay at a place called Brew’d, I had a very nice Kereru Pilsner and beer battered fish and chips. Jasper was full of smiles and chortles and generally was finding life very amusing.

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Fish’n’Chips for Gran, a bobble for Jasper Jet

After lunch I went back to the hotel, and Michele and Tony were in the unit next door so they came over to meet Jasper. Tracey had gone to catch up with a friend and her children, but I persuaded her to leave Jasper with me.

At 5pm Tracey picked me up, along with Brett and Sue, and took us to eldest daughter Kelly’s house for a family dinner.

It was lovely to see Kelly, her husband Daniel, their daughter Lucy (aged 3 1/2); Tracey and Jasper; Lizzy and her son Xavier (aged 4, and otherwise known as Jig) and Lizzy’s partner Kiel. Lizzy had been on night shift so Jig had stayed at Kelly’s and they had been to a Christmas fair, where they had both had their faces painted. Jig was a Tiger and Lucy was a pirate.

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Telling a story to Lucy and Jig

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Storytelling time

My children were interested to meet Sue as they had read so much about her on the South American blog, plus Kelly (blog editor ) had got lots of photos from Sue’s emails and blogs. They had all heard so much about each other that they all felt like they had met already!

We started with a lovely cheese platter and Kelly, by request, had made homemade burgers plus as a surprise pork spareribs. Kelly had also gone to the trouble of getting a bottle of Hawkes Bay HaHa sparkling wine after reading about it on the blog.

I had lots of fun, it was great to catch up and get a chance to spend time with Jig, Lucy and Jasper.

Then it was time to go back to the motel, I was a bit sad to be leaving but am going to be back home in two weeks. Tomorrow we catch the ferry to Picton and stay in Picton, so it will be like another rest day.

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December 26: Back to New Zealand

I left Santiago just after mid night  on the 25th of Dec and arrived back in Auckland at 4:30 am on the 26th December. A 13 hour flight, and losing a day in the time zone change – which meant I completely missed Christmas Day!

The flight was not better or worse than any other long haul flight. I was a bit worried about making my connecting flight to Wellington due to the luggage belt breaking down delaying the bags coming off, and MAF inspecting my bike and fumigating my tent etc. The domestic terminal was busy and it took ages to get my bike box checked into oversize luggage, but thankfully I got to the boarding gate in time.

We had perfect weather and great views from the plane. When I got to Wellington my daughters Kelly, Shellbe and Lizzy were there to met me with my grandchildren Xavier and Lucy. I was not sure how Xavier and Lucy would react, given that six months is a long time in a small child’s life, but they were both delighted to see me.

Waiting for my luggage, excited to be talking to my family again

Waiting for my luggage, excited to be talking to my family again

Then it was home for family celebrations 🍴🍷. My family had stocked up on my favourite food and wine 👧👩‍👩‍👦 My house was sparkling clean and the section had had a good clean up as well (there had been a working bee a couple of weeks before I got home organized by my son Daniel). Even Benji had had a bath and was wearing a Christmas ribbon  😀😀😀😄. I felt very spoilt.

Benji the Excellent Dog wearing his Christmas ribbon

Benji the Excellent Dog wearing his Christmas ribbon

My grandchildren reading books - both so much bigger than before I left!

My grandchildren reading books – both so much bigger than before I left!

So almost 6 months later, I am back home. A  kaleidoscope of memories of stunning sights and sounds in my head. It has been an epic adventure, and mentally and physically it is the second hardest thing I have ever done. The first of course, as any parent knows, is parenting!

As a close friend told me during the trip, looking back it is the things we achieve that were hardest that we value the most.

So until the next adventure “Ciao amigos”.

Home for only a few hours, and already well comfortable in my favourite chair - look how happy the cat is!

Home for only a few hours, and already well comfortable in my favourite chair – look how happy the cat is!

Categories: South American Epic | Tags: , | 4 Comments