Return to the UK (October/November)

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Log Entry 26th November

Saturday morning Lee picks us up, we are to spend a week with Lee, Trish, Georgia and Reece in Corfe Mullen (Dorset) before we return to Spain. The cold spell follows us to the south coast, coats hats and gloves almost an every day requirement!


Lee "moon lights" in Poole Park trying to scrounge a few pennies, Ann acts her age as usual!

We meet up with good friends (Muriel & Robin) for lunch while in the area, catch up on the gossip and make plans for next year!

Log Entry Friday 16th November

We leave Newcastle by train (Monday 12th) heading for Abbots Langley and Ann's mum - the train journey was pleasant enough - the train equipped with wi-fi allowing us to catch up with email. The charge of £4.95 per hour more expensive than what we are used too! A further charge of £7.30 for two drinks (two cans of larger and two packets of crisps) confirms our presence in "rip off Britain". We arrive in Kings Cross at 17.30 hours (peak rush hour), we have to take the underground to Euston, then a further train to Watford Junction - a further journey of approximately 45 minutes costing us just less than £23.00! Apart from the cost the "rush hour" journey was an experience, carrying three hold alls, a rucksack and PC case climbing onto trains with travelers already crowded to the point their faces were pressed against the doors was a challenge. Once you forget "good manners" and revert back to "primate tendencies" you actually fit in quite well - the journey becomes almost bearable! We remind ourselves how much we miss the "rat race!" Once we arrive at Watford Junction, Ann's mum's neighbour, Ernie, is there at his kind insistence to meet us and drive us to Abbots Langley.

Ann's mum, Ann lives in a pleasant "wooded cu-d i-sac", we arrive to see our first frost and the normal list of jobs to do for Kevin. Kevin attacks and completes the list with ease, the fallen leaves in the garden are also cleared.

We travel by bus, train and underground to London City (Edware Road) to see Ann's Auntie Betts. We pop out to the local market off Church Street and grab a tea/coffee at a nearby cafe. Johnny, Betts' eldest son arrive also, we chat and then leave to catch up with Lisa off Baker street.

We meet up with Lisa, have a couple of drinks and then dinner. We leave Lisa, she heads home and we make our way back to Abbots Langley.

Log Entry Tuesday 13th November

Sunday was our last evening in the north east, tomorrow we head south to Watford (Herts) to stay with Ann's mum. We gather at Bruce & Tracy's to say goodbye.


An evening with Warren, Adele, Poppy, Lola & Charlie - Lola and Charlie are the dogs!

Ann helps Poppy with her homework, her results being one of the best submitted in the class!


We spend a couple of nights with friends Alan & Denny, we spend a day in Walkworth (Northumber).Ann & I spent a year or so managing the local pub (The Masons Arms). The area itself is a favourite of ours, the village dominated by the castle at the top of the high street and the river Coquet following it's perimeter.

The seasons colours were well established creating a very picturesque backdrop.

We spend some time in neighbouring Amble on the mouth of the Coquet, we had moored Sailaway there for over five years. The surrounding coastal area provided an excellent sailing area, subject to weather of coarse. It was good to see a relatively sound local fishing fleet, complete with "sense of humour". Many of the vessels had cartoons painted on their hulls portraying their views on fishing legislation.


Ann disappears to meet up with former colleges (Joy & Sue) at the Gibeside Hotel, Whickham to catch up with the gossip - there must of been plenty to discuss as she was gone for some time!

Log Entry Tuesday 6th November

We have an appointment at James school, he has a football match, his school (Sacred Heart, Byermoor) has a match against Marley Hill. James also plays for a local team (Rutherford, Lobley Hill) at weekends.

James plays the first half in goal, not his favourite position. At half time he is put into defence which in my opinion strengthened the defence significantly, the final score was a draw (1-1).


Kevin's brother Bruce and his wife Tracy are throwing a bonfire party, all are invited. Bruce and Tracy specialise in entertaining, the food and liquid refreshment is supplied to the usual standard - good that is!

The outside bar is well stocked with beer, I help myself to be reminded by Alex (the barman) that he is in charge of the bottle opener!


Log Entry Monday 5th November

The Christmas season is well under way, the Metro Centre shopping mall heavily decorated complete with Santa's Grotto!


Log Entry Sunday 4th November

We attend Poppy's school assembly where they discuss their finding of the history of the local area - Poppy plays an active role.



Kelly and her three children, James (9), Lois (6) and Maddie (22 months) visit, it is almost eleven months since we last saw them. James sense of humour continues to develop, Lois torments more and more, Maddie bullies both James & Lois!




One of the areas we wanted to visit was Newcastle Quay side. The complete area had been redeveloped some time back, our weekend trips to visit family had never left us with time to do so in the past.

We visit the Baltic building, Sage Centre and Millennium Bridge, the River Tyne still dominated by the multiple bridges spanning it.



Our youngest daughter Jane and her partner Gary pick us up from Bob & Angie's and drive us north to Kevin's parents. To night is Halloween the local kids dress up well making a real effort.



With our visit to Liverpool over we begin to head north, the first stop is with Angie & Bob who run Gallagher's Public House at Blackrod (Bolton), Bob was good enough to pick us up from Dave & Hazels. There is a scheduled "Halloween evening", in the true spirit of it we help with the decorations.

Their new addition to the family, Oliver, is quite a character and takes to us immediately turning Kevin into a nervous wreck!


With our time at Liverpool almost at an end we visit the restaurant "Sakara", the food served is of Egyptian origin. During the clean out of our Liverpool apartment we sold them a number of framed Egyptian papyruses, we were happy to see them mounted in the corridor.




As we frequent old haunts, we meet with Jimmy & Joyce at the Coburg Public House for lunch, a good time had by all! The "old haunt" being the Coburg not Jimmy!


We visit nearby Tatton Park (Knutsford), enjoying the wildlife and local countryside follwed by refreshments in Knutsford.



We bore Hazel & Dave with our tales and adventures over a bottle of wine or two on a evening, Ann begins to adjust back to "normal life". As the weekend approaches we head up to Crosby we visit the local beach and the exhibition "Another Place" by Antony Gormley, creator also of the "Angel of the North. The exhibition, 100 life size figures stretching almost 3km along the shore and 1km out to sea, facing a busy horizon of ships transporting materials around the world.

There is significant investment in the Arts, another interesting exhibition is opposite Moorfields Station, the front section of a building has been removed and automated the complete section rotates continuously. In time the complete building will be demolished to allow further development.



Our journey begins from La Coruna at 0600 hours, we travel by train to Santiago to fly directly into Liverpool, as we leave the city centre the temperature is already 16C - we are sure it will be similar in the UK? The trip was uneventful, we arrive in Liverpool about 1230 hours. Our stay in Liverpool is with our good friends Dave & Hazel, Hazel takes time off work to pick us up from the airport. Dave and Hazel have similar intension's to us, they have a couple of properties on the market, their sale being the next stage of their own adventures. During our stay we have a number of medical appointments to keep, we visit some of our old haunts around the city.

The city is still under heavy development, the historic Albert Dock waterfront now completely lost amongst the new arena, nearby multi story car park and apartment blocks. There are now numerous new car parks in the city centre - the only city I know where they are bring traffic into the centre as apposed to trying to keep it out (park & ride etc)? We are strong believers in structured investment, but we would certainly question this example - enough said?



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