A 139-day adventure by Rosie
  • Day118

    Train back to Liverpool

    November 24, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Not a lot to say…we had a last morning, walked to the V and A and had another wander through there..last time we mostly were at the bag exhibit….then walked back, so that was the walking for the day…just about enough to satisfy my Apple Watch, although during the train journey it prompted me to stand!! So bossy, but I ignore it.

    Easy train journey, arrived at Lime Street at 5.20 and Omnia met us, and we all went to a Spanish tapas place we had booked before we left. SO good, and then we came back, unpacked, Amr did a wash, and we all watched Shetland which we had started before, and had to pick up all the intricacies…

    Amr has been taking funny photos that he thought would amuse Jaxon and Sonny…and he has an app that can send them as a post card through the snail mail…they have been a success - he sends them from me, so I get all the credit and he does all the work!
    Read more

    Traveler

    How cute!

    11/24/21Reply
    Traveler

    Very clever Amr

    11/24/21Reply
    Traveler

    Sonny is soooo cute

    11/25/21Reply
    3 more comments
     
  • Day117

    Last whole day in London

    November 23, 2021 in England ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Yet another cloudless day…God is smiling! It was so beautiful that we first had another park walking morning…through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, just magic…then had a coffee, and then a sushi lunch on Piccadilly before going to the National Gallery again for a revisit to our favourite paintings….spent a pleasant couple of hours there, and then walked up Regent street, visited Hamley’s, and walked round in the disappearing light and the increasing cold.

    Had an early dinner at a restaurant we had seen that had a freezer full of beef in the window, and who had a pre show special menu. It was great (though I ended up not having beef..) and then we went to a chamber music concert in St Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square…Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart and Telemann…what could go wrong! Now back, had our complimentary glass of wine (Australian!) on our return to warm up in the foyer…tomorrow afternoon we take the train back to Liverpool, and rejoin Omnia.
    Read more

    Traveler

    Looks wonderful

    11/23/21Reply
    Traveler

    Great pic and you’ve got a swan 🦢 friend!

    11/24/21Reply
    Traveler

    What a beautiful spot for a perfect concert!

    11/24/21Reply
    3 more comments
     
  • Day116

    Back to London, another beautiful day

    November 22, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    We can’t believe this weather…it was cloudless and gorgeous today, though cold. But it can’t be so terribly cold (it is in single figures) but I realise that we don’t need gloves (though hands usually in pockets), and our ears are not freezing off…no hats needed. We got the train from Bristol at 10 am and were back at the hotel near Earl’s Court before 1. Left the bags there as too early to check in, and we walked to Knightsbridge, fulfilling several missions of Amr’s…

    Then I turned back, such a pleasant walk, as I wanted to change and settle in before we went out to dinner tonight. We have another great room…I think we are now honoured Ibis members (!!), and maybe that is why we seem to have good rooms, or just luck, and we always get a voucher for complimentary drinks.

    We arranged to meet at Marble Arch at 4.45, as we had a reservation at 5.45 to have dinner with Isabella again at a restaurant in Notting Hill Gate. Isabella had heard of it and booked. The days are so short now…even by 3 the sun is low, and by 4 it is getting dark, so by 4.45 it was quite dark, and cold. (I love it). We walked along Bayswater Road and Notting Hill which took a while, but pleasant walk, and found the place in Portobello Road - Gold Notting Hill. And it was fabulous, and popular. A great vibe, and exceptional food. Small share plates and a delicious variety. And we finished quite early, having had an early reservation, so back and snug in our room.
    Read more

    Traveler

    Haha great photo!

    11/23/21Reply
    Traveler

    London looking fabulous

    11/23/21Reply
     
  • Day115

    Last Bristol day

    November 21, 2021 in England ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Another beautiful day. We woke to a clear blue sky!! Michael rang to say that we would all meet for brunch at a place Spicer and Cole at 11 am…we knew the area - Queen Square - and went out walking in the lovely morning, found the cafe which was very popular on a Sunday morning, and after a bit of walking round we queued up, figuring that by the time we got to the front of the queue and they could find a table for 6 it would be about 11, and it was perfect - the others arrived and we were seated almost straight away. So that was Margaret, her 3 children (all now in their fifties) and us.

    Lovely brunch, and afterwards we all went back to Margaret’s except for Anna who peeled off and left to drive back to Birmingham. Then Kate collected her bits and pieces (Margaret said she always leaves something) and set off too to drive to London via a friend in Somerset.

    Finally we took our leave of Margaret and Michael, Amr and I set off walking towards Southville where he lives, and where we had arranged to meet Matt Vale who now lives and works in Bristol (he is Cathy and Pete’s nephew). Walking through Bristol with Michael is an amazingly entertaining experience as he knows so much of the history of the city and the buildings and bridges (of which there are many)…a wonderful walk. Nothing is straight and I get totally disorientated - things turn up that we have passed before where I least expect it! But it is not too large a city, and Amr has a good sense of direction, and we always find our way back to Temple Meads which is the station near our hotel. The Avon river snakes through, but it has been cut off, and a new cut built (in the early 1800s) to make shipping easier, so there is an area of the real river that is blocked off, called the floating harbour. It is all really muddling walking round to know if the water is the river, the new cut or the floating harbour! A reason for all this is the huge tidal fluctuation here - the second greatest in the world I believe. When we went on our walk this afternoon the water level was almost zero - in fact Michael said he couldn’t remember seeing it so low, but you could see from all the wet edges how high it would be rising at high tide.

    So we ended up arriving at Michael and Kathryn’s place, and we had another distant contact with Kathryn (she had come with Michael to the brunch place and waved to us all and was jealous …) it must be SO frustrating not to be allowed to socialise…finally made our farewells with Michael, and then walked back to where we were meeting Matt, at a coffee shop. He and Millie arrived and that was also lovely. Millie, who has not yet met any of Matt’s family, was lovely and we had a good catch up. Matt, like all the Vale’s, is so warm and fun…we enjoyed that and then walked back to Temple Meads. They had all said it was about a 45 minute walk, and to keep walking straight ahead till we got to the river…then turn left…anyway, we made it happily…it is cold now, but good walking, and Amr amazingly recognised landmarks (the curry restaurant of Friday night) and we found our way very well! And it took 43 minutes!

    Not really hungry after brunch, but there is a little Italian restaurant near us (the rest is pretty dead on a Sunday, it is a Monday to Friday area) and we had a delicious light meal- just right, and are now having our complimentary glass of wine at the hotel (we are such faithful Ibis members) before we retire for the night!
    Read more

    Traveler

    Rosie, it is a postcard shot. Lov e your photos.

    11/21/21Reply
    Traveler

    Aw so glad you guys caught up. Great photo

    11/22/21Reply
    Traveler

    Lovely photo

    11/22/21Reply
     
  • Day114

    An amazing Gorely day in Bristol

    November 20, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Today has been fabulous. Michael called for us at about 10.30 (he came on one of those electric scooters, very handy for getting round town!)…and then we walked on a slightly circuitous route, with a historic guide as he is a historian and a teacher, pointing out the interesting buildings and telling us the stories behind them…ending up at Margaret’s place which is an apartment overlooking the river where we have visited and stayed a few times. On the way he had arranged that we met Kathryn,who is isolating but for the moment just has to keep her distance and she came in mask and we chatted and bonded and walked together for a while. SO good to see her, and it is killing her that she can’t join in all the fun. Anna was at Margaret’s and we then all walked a short way to the Pump House - a classy pub where we had lunch. Kate and Seamus were already there - Kate drove down from London and Seamus is at University in Manchester (he is exactly Jess’s age). So it was a lovely group, and we realised it was exactly the people who had been in Sydney after Tony’s terrible accident 20 years ago, almost to the day (it was November 18). Kate had brought Seamus then as he was a small baby, too young to leave. And I think it is the first time since then that we have seen the siblings all together - usually it is Kate in London, and the others in Bristol.

    Anyway, it was a wonderful lunch, and we didn’t dwell on the anniversary of Tony’s death. They are such a lovely and interesting family, and we just get on so well….family bond. After lunch we went back to Margaret’s and chatted, and ate chocolate biscuits…then Michael said he’d better go back and look after Kathryn, get her food etc!! And Anna and Kate said that we should now go on to a pub they knew…we weren’t sure how the day was unfolding, but were happy to go along…that pub was full of a group, so we found another and settled in, and Seamus and a friend joined us (he had left after lunch to go to watch the football match as he avidly follows the Bristol team)..it was a draw so all was well…so the afternoon progressed into evening, and we were happy…we left that pub and walked to find somewhere where we could eat, even though we mostly didn’t want a meal after the big lunch, but we finally (it was Saturday night, and most potential places were full) found the perfect place.

    It was a wine bar where you could also get small plates of tapas etc…just suited us perfectly. And it had an interesting system…bottles all lined up where you could select a wine and it would pour you a glass, and charge your card…hard to explain, but once we worked it out it was fun…Amr says to mention that the wines cost from £4.60 a glass to £15, but Felton Road was £5 more than that! So we had a wonderful chat and bond with Anna and Kate…first I was hoping that they weren’t on duty doing the family entertainment for the visiting relatives, but it certainly wasn’t that…we all have a lot of history and memories of happy visits and funny things and we had a wonderful and surprising day…

    We found our way back to the hotel, and plan to meet for breakfast…with Michael too…Kate and Anna will return home in the afternoon…lovely times.
    Read more

  • Day114

    Travel day to Bristol

    November 20, 2021 in England ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    I didn’t write up last night as not a lot to say, except we made our farewells to Gill and Bob and got the train from Milton Keynes to London. Then made our way by tube from Euston to Paddington where the Bristol trains leave from. Filled in the wait time having a little lunch and got the train, arriving at Bristol just after 4. Found our Ibis hotel fairly close to the station and actually have a large pleasant (usual familiar!) room for our 3 days here. Had been going to stay with Michael and Kathryn (all their children have now left home) but at the last minute Kathryn was told she had to strictly self isolate before she had an operation - she is donating a kidney to her brother and with the high covid rates extended the time of isolation…so it is sad that we can’t actually see her in person…will have to FaceTime…

    Last night Michael met us at about 5.30 and we went to a pub where we met Anna who has arrived from Birmingham, and we went and had an Indian meal. So lovely to see them and have a catch up…it is always a few years worth, except Michael and Kathryn we last saw in Sydney when they stayed with us in March 2020 and got one of the last flights back to the UK before everything shut down!! Michael now has quite long bushy hair and a beard, a result of the lockdown! Suits his persona as a teacher. Seeing them all (plus Margaret, Kate and Seamus (twin of Jess)) for lunch today. And we will try and catch Matt Vale! Will be a lovely Bristol interlude.
    Read more

  • Day112

    Another leisurely and delightful day

    November 18, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Another peaceful day with Gill and Bob. After breakfast we walked with them through the market which happens on Thursdays in Olney, then round the town discovering little alleys and places we hadn’t seen, through the fields to the river - the Ouse - which turns up everywhere we go! Had a plowman’s lunch at G and B’s, then they drove us to Woburn Abbey, fairly close. The Abbey is closed for the season, but we had a great walk through the enormous grounds - this is the land of the duke of Bedford (or now his son, the marquis of Tavistock) - and it is a deer park and, except for the stags that seemed to stare at us a bit menacingly, was very beautiful and peaceful, and again stunning with the autumn colours.

    Back for dinner with G and B, and now back and ready to leave in the morning. We get a train back to London in the morning arriving at Euston, and then go to Paddington to get the train to Bristol, where we arrive at about 4 pm. A travel day coming up!
    Read more

    Traveler

    Lovely to see England in its Fall colors 😊

    11/19/21Reply
     
  • Day111

    Lovely day with Gill and Bob

    November 17, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Today we had a leisurely breakfast - delicious full breakfast, eggs, toast …not great coffee!..we had that later…met Gill and Bob and they took us to castle Ashby nearby, though they hadn’t been there before, where we walked round the gardens…the castle itself not open now…the gardens were lovely, and the old church and churchyard, very peaceful and not many people.

    Came back and Gill whipped up some bruschetta for lunch and we went off again and they took us round the countryside to the farm where Gill lived as a child - this is the area where both she and Gill had lived as children, so many memories. Very pretty farm areas, with the river Ouse winding through. We passed through many delightful villages, very “English” with pretty cottages with thatched roofs, old churches, village squares…one of these was Newport Pagnell which is the home of the Aston Martin! Amr and Bob were very excited with the rather beautiful cars on show!

    Then we went back and had a cup of tea, watched Jeremy Clarkson on his TV show trying his hand at farming that we hadn’t seen, before going back to the hotel for R and R. Then Bob came down at 6.45 and we got fish and chips which we had at their place and a plum pie! What more could you want.
    Read more

    Traveler

    Very nice room

    11/17/21Reply
    Traveler

    As soon as I saw this I knew Amr would be in his element.

    11/17/21Reply
    Traveler

    So jealous I should have been with you, Gill and Bob

    11/17/21Reply
    3 more comments
     
  • Day110

    Now at Olney, bonding with Gill and Bob

    November 16, 2021 in England ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    This morning was a cloudless, bright and perfect London day. We spent the time doing more park walking as it was so glorious! Found ourselves in Kensington Gardens, past Peter Pan, the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall…it was wise to enjoy the sunny morning, as by afternoon it clouded over!

    Our train to Milton Keynes left at 1.45 - only a 35 minute journey - but it was a fast train that left from Euston, so it became quite a “journey”. Gill and Bob were there to meet us, so lovely to see them!! We are again the first Aussies that they have seen since covid. We met them in 2019 in Buxton for a couple of days, and before that where they used to live in Scotland, in the Borders. So this is the first time here in Olney where they moved about a year ago. Lovely little town and we will explore it with them. We are staying in the local pub - The Bull - which is just lovely. Have a fancy room which we forgot to take photo of before we got it all messy, so will try to remember tomorrow if the room gets made up again …(these covid days rooms don’t always get done each day..). We are a walking distance from their place, and are at the moment relaxing before dinner.

    When we arrived we went to their house and had a cup of tea and initial chat, then went back down to check in and unpack and we had a look round and found a bottle shop to get wine. Gill has made a lasagna for tonight - yum - she is a wonderful cook and hostess, and it is good to be staying at the pub as she doesn’t have to be a 24 hour hostess and can have breaks from us! We are however taking a backpack of washing to put through her machine…undies are fine, but hard to wash and dry shirts and skivvies and pants in hotels!

    …well now back from dinner…lovely home cooked dinner. Lovely evening. We will leisurely meet them tomorrow morning after breakfast here…and am sure it will be a hearty English breakfast…there were many diners in the restaurant here…a good sign on a Tuesday night.
    Read more

    Traveler

    Just loved the concerts at Albert Hall.

    11/17/21Reply
     
  • Day109

    A day of mooching around

    November 15, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Today we had no plans, except for dinner. After breakfast Omnia left for Euston to get a train back to Liverpool. We set off walking…just love walking the streets, looking at the buildings and walking through the parks. We went up to Kensington High street, and then on up through Holland Park…a new route for us. So beautiful…Holland Park is much more dense in undergrowth and trees, and there were many squirrels frolicking around. We came across a perfect Japanese garden…then walked to Notting Hill Gate…I’m always interested to see it as that was where I stayed when I very first came to London in 1964…and it is quite ordinary…along the main road, which becomes Bayswater Road it is not very beautiful or special…but we kept walking along past Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and got to Marble Arch and Oxford Street. Sat and had light lunch and went down Bond St to Fortnum and Mason’s, then down to Whitehall to see the cenotaph now that the barriers are down. Stopped and had mulled wine in a pub, passed the Horse Guards as they were changing guard (2 horses in and 2 horses out!), and went back up to Piccadilly. I went back to the hotel for a short break, and Amr stayed on to window shop and look at things…

    We met at 6.30 and went to a fab restaurant that Amr had heard about and booked..a special occasion for our 34th wedding anniversary on 13th (when we also had a lovely dinner with Omnia and Edward at the Syrian restaurant)…it is called Noble Rot, sounds weird, but is quite excellent. Up one of the narrow streets in Soho, it is a house, quite small with many levels. Buzzing and totally full so they are doing something right. Tables filled again as soon as people leave. We shared an entrée - poached trout with spinach noodles and creamy sauce…just divine..then I had a pork chop with pumpkin and Amr had hake. Both spectacular. And a ricotta panna cotta with roasted quince and nuts and chocolate flakes for dessert. And a Rioja red.

    London (UK altogether) is expensive we find. Not like when our dollar was worth 34pence, but still eating out is huge compared to Oz, and that is not cheap either. To have bread and butter tonight cost £4.50!! That is about $8 ….mind you it was fabulous bread. The French would be horrified…bread is supplied free with any meal, as much as is needed…and French bread is matchless. This is just a comment..we are not agonising about costs..we are so lucky to be here, and are enjoying every bit.
    Read more

    Traveler

    A hearty meal. Looks delicious!

    11/15/21Reply
    Traveler

    34th Anniversary. Goodness! and Congratulations!

    11/15/21Reply
    Traveler

    In honour of your 34th anniversary.

    11/15/21Reply
    6 more comments