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    • Day 6

      Somewhere Over the Rainbow

      August 1, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      What can I say? Yesterday was a perfect day. The weather was warm and sunny as we set off to Coventry. What can I say about Coventry? It held no strong feelings for me either good or bad. It was not a city I felt enfolded me. Australia is my home and I appreciate it more than ever since visiting my home town. But saying that yesterday we saw the best of Coventry. Tabby,Ritchie, Tania, Ollie, Audrey and I went of a mystery tour of the city. We downloaded a package off the internet for the Coventry tour and off we went. We had a brilliant two hours looking for clues and solving riddles before ending up at the cathedral to crack the code. Tabby,s team won by default and we had lots of laughs on the way. Ollie and Audrey were starting to flag with all the walking so we stopped for lunch at Joes pub The Artisan for lunch. We had a snack lunch as we are going for out for curry tonight so need to save ourselves. Returning home I went to catch up on my iPad and the kids and Tabby painted with Tania,Sam, Ritchie and Jarrod. We are going to a Ghostly tree park this afternoon to hide the rocks.

      Coventry was devastated in WWII by German bomber planes,our beloved cathedral took a direct hit on 19/11/1940 at 8pm in the evening. The home guard worked valiantly to try to put the fires out but further bombing made it impossible to keep fighting the fire and the cathedral was mostly destroyed. Miraculously the wooden cross which was the centrepiece of the main alter. After the war the area was made into a sanctuary for tourists and a huge walkway and benches were erected for people to sit quietly and contemplate. Plus artists are often seen drawing the beautiful structure that remains like a ghostly reminder of its turbulent history. The area in front of the alter has a quiet eerie feel about it. The tour took us to Spon End,the Precinct,The Cathedral walks and the main shopping area. While Tabby went to buy an English chip for her phone and Tania went to collect her mums contact lenses I took the kids the kids on the roundabout which is in the main shopping centre. It cost £2 each for five minutes. Oh well we are on holiday.

      In the evening we walked to the Burnt Post for pre dinner drinks and then to the Orange Orchard Indian restaurant where we ate very spicy and tasty curries. The food was excellent. Audrey was so tired she fell asleep in her mums arms and Ritchie had to give Ollie a piggy back all the way home,as he was too tired to walk. We all went straight to bed when we got home as it was ten thirty and it had been a very full on day. Tomorrow we are off to Leamington spa. I need to get a camera and hopefully we will have a high tea at the posh tea shop in the centre. Goodnight Diary
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    • Day 6

      I Wasn't Born to Follow

      August 1, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Yesterday was Leamington on Spa. Leamington Spa is a town in central England. Set on the winding River Leam, it’s known for its Regency architecture and broad boulevards. The colonnaded Royal Pump Rooms, a 19th-century bathhouse, now houses the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum. It includes a local history gallery and an original hammam, or cooling room. Jephson Gardens is a park with formal flowerbeds and a glasshouse for tropical plants.

      It was a brilliant day out. And the weather was warm. Tabby, Ritchie,Tania,Audrey,Ollie and I set off to do some shopping and have a morning tea at Rosies. Rosie’s is an old English tea shop which sells over one hundred different teas from around the world. They serve a magnificent high tea with China cups, leaf tea and fresh sandwiches and home baked cakes. We opted for a Ploughmans lunch with English cheeses,ham off the bone and pork pie with mustard. It was delicious. Then it was time for a little retail therapy. I purchased yet another camera and Tabby added a few nice coloured tops to her collection. Audrey and Oliver were give £10 each to spend in the toy shop and they had fun choosing a new toy each. Tania purchased some new trendy hair bands and the shopping was complete. My feet were killing me as we had been walking for at least three hours.

      Last night we were invited to a small reunion of Tabbys theatre friends from YOG. It was great to put faces to people I had heard about over the years and who had been a big part of Tabbys life in the six years she lived in England. They have been close all these years like a surrogate family to Tabby. It was a warm night and Audrey even went into the spa at ten pm. This is England,no one swims outside at ten pm. I love it that the weather is so good for travelling. I enjoyed the evening and once again,hit the sack when I got home. Our days are full and happy. The best holidays are made up of friends, family and having fun. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 8

      Hopeless Wanderer

      August 3, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      It was training not raining today. I caught the train from Coventry to Stockport today to meet up with Michael,Katie and Chris. The journey was uneventful, although the train was packed and I could not get a seat until after Birmingham International. Sam cooked us a full English breakfast this morning so that I would not be hungry on my train ride. Michael was waiting for me at the station and as Katie had given him her car we were soon on our way.

      Ripponden is a village and civil parish on the River Ryburn near Halifax in West Yorkshire, England. Historically it was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Its population was 6,412 at the time of the 2001 Census, and 7,421 in 2011. I love Ripponden it is set in beautiful Yorkshire countryside, green and hilly. We are off for dinner at the Hito tonight. The Hito used to be called the Millhouse but it has now turned Spanish. Michael and I stopped on the journey home at the Turnpike a pub on the Oldham Road. Michael phoned Katie and asked if she wanted us to pick her up. We drove into Halifax and her shop and it was lovely to see her and have a big hug. She looked genuinely happy to see me.

      In the evening we met up with Sharon and Ian to have dinner at the new rebranded Hito pub. The Hito was formally known as the Milestone which sounded a better name than its latest name which sounds Japanese. We began our evening at the Fox and sat out in the beer garden as the evening was warm. I cannot believe I have been able to sit outside in England and have a drink. The Tapas meal that we ordered at the Hito was delicious. The food was spicy and tasted authentic Spanish. We ordered far too much. The girls were drinking Porn star cocktails and the boys G&T’s. Sharon and Ian came back to Katie and Chris’s and we had an Elvis and sixties revival. Michael and I dropped into bed about midnight. It was a really good day. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 9

      Wanderlust....the weekend

      August 4, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      I am quite excited about today as I am going to Chester with the crew to meet up with Pat,Katie’s mum and Michaels ex wife. We have been friends on Facebook for over five years now and I love her to bits. She is such a caring and lovely lady. I call her a lady because she is. Polite and loving and a good friend. The last time we met was in Sydney at Katie’s wedding which was a whirlwind affair lasting seven days. It is ranked in my five best times ever.
      We met in Chester which is a fabulous city and has the best Tudor buildings that I have ever seen.
      Chester is a city in northwest England, founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st century A.D. It's known for its extensive Roman walls made of local red sandstone. In the old city, the Rows is a shopping district distinguished by 2-level covered arcades and Tudor-style half-timber buildings. A Roman amphitheatre, with ongoing excavations, lies just outside the old city's walls.

      Pat is Katie’s mother and the ex wife of Michael. We met initially when Michael and I first visited England together in 2014. We then renewed our aquaintence in Sydney for Katie’s wedding to Chris Davidson. The wedding was a week long affair and rates as one of my best life experiences. My daughter and her estranged husband Darrell were both there too,so it was great to share the experience with my daughter. For the whole time we were in Sydney we did not waste a minute. It was a glorious wedding with the wedding reception being held at Doyle’s restaurant and cumulating in a trip on a speedboat with all the guests in tow around Sydney harbour. Memories that will stay with me forever.

      Anyway back to our reunion. Lunch was wonderful and the meal was all we hoped,well presented and delicious. After lunch Pat had to catch her train back to Cardiff so we continued sightseeing so I could capture more historical shots of this really stunning city. The city was filled with Saturday shoppers,tourists and entertainers on every corner. Driving home we decided by majority vote that we would have a night in relaxing with toasted cheese sandwiches and rhubarb G&T’s. It was a tired Michael and I who snook off to bed at 10.30pm. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 10

      Keep the Car Running

      August 5, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      It is a lazy Sunday morning. We are all having a well deserved lie in before going out for breakfast/brunch into Halifax. I am being taken to see the new centre there. Halifax is a minster town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. The town has been a centre of woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Piece Hall.

      The Piece centre was once a bustling wool centre,where fleeces were bought and sold. Prices varied according to the quality of the fleece.

      Wool is not created or woven equally. Various kinds of sheep are raised for different types and lengths of fibers. These different types of fibers are woven into different types of cloth.

      Worsted is made from smooth compactly spun yarn. Long fibered wool is combed and spun using an average to hard twist in the spinning. The fabric is napless and tightly woven. Worsted is used for clothing, like suits.

      Woolen is made from fuzzy, loosely spun yarn. Short fibered yarn is carded and spun using an easy twist in the spinning. The fabric is nappy and bulky. Woolen is used for heavy clothing and blankets.

      Shoddy is made from a mixture of recycled woolen rags and virgin wool and is treated like woolen. Shoddy was developed in Batley, Yorshire by Benjamin Law circa 1813.
      After having a coffee and exploring the shops in the centre we headed off to Huddersfield as they had their bi annual food festival. When we arrived the place was humming. There were at least a few hundred people eating,drinking and having a great day out in the sunshine. Michael,Chris and Katie decided to partake of a curry but I was saving myself for Michaels cottage pie later. Katie is driving to Leeds tonight to babysit her friends children as it is school holidays in Britain and Barbara,Katie’s best friend needed someone to have the. Children.

      Huddersfield is a large market town in West Yorkshire, England. It is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom, with a population of 162,949 at the 2011 census. It lies halfway between Leeds and Manchester.

      Chris has gone out to meet up with Ian and Sharon,Michael is sleeping and I am writing my diary. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 11

      Born to Run...Bruce Springfield

      August 6, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Lazy,lazy day today. I have been watching series three of the itv new drama Unforgotten. As always it is gripping,well written and addictive. At least I will be in England to see the final two episodes. This crime-drama stars Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar as the lead characters DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunil "Sunny" Khan. The detectives are on a mission to uncover the mystery behind an unsolved murder that occurred 39 years ago. Beneath the ground of a demolished house, the bones of the victim are found. With this evidence, the modern police team open a case to unearth the history that has remained buried for decades. Four main suspects emerge, and as their dark past is unraveled, the truth behind the events of the crime are finally revealed. Just going to check on what I’ve missed on the BBC.

      Michael made me cheese on toast and coffee for breakfast which was delicious. We are going for a walk later and out for dinner tonight. Chris is at work and Katie has gone babysitting in Leeds for her best friend Barbara. Tabby has sent photos from Trevone and they are all having a great time. Tonight we dined in style in the country at the village pub called The Alma in the hills above Ripponden. Sharon was managing the bar tonight and was our maître de. We sat outside having pre dinner drinks and played ball with a lovely sheep dog. The meals were Gordon Bleu service and reasonably priced. The wifi had broken down so I had to pay with cold hard cash. But it was worth it as we had a brilliant evening. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 21

      More than one way home

      August 16, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Sam and Ritchie are off to Cornwall today but not before we have our last pancakes cooked by Ritchie. He has been so wonderful with the kids and I don’t think they will ever forget his pancakes. We spend a quiet morning at home with the Hunt-Kings and our last meal with them was a delicious cheese board,with olives pickles French sticks, chicken nibbles and three tasty cheeses. Then it was off to Cornwall for them in their campervan.

      The good news of the day was that Tania had passed her entrance exams to university which was an excuse to celebrate. This family is a tight knit family,they are respectful.fun and caring. Tabby has known Ritchie and Sam for over twenty five years and they are as tight now as they ever were. They have put themselves out to make us welcome,shared their home,food and their time , to make sure we have a good time. Everyone should have friends like the Hunt-Kings.

      In the afternoon we had been invited to afternoon tea at Katie’s mums house. Sue and Ben are another couple who when Tabby lived in England at eighteen,took her in and made sure she was ok. Tabby had left home and had been ejected from her cousins home for having a party while they were away. I think Tabby did the wrong thing by using their home for a party,but she was young and maybe immature. Her friends made sure she was ok,and the mums from Yog kept a protective eye on her. I will never know all the stories of this time and perhaps it’s a good thing that they stay with her. But she has turned out to be a strong woman and I am proud of her.

      So back to the morning tea,it was old home week,talking about friends we knew and had in common. I wish Keith had been there he would have loved the banter. We spent a couple of hours there and then home to feed the kids and for Tabby to get ready to go out. She is taking Jarrod,Tania,Kyra and Jarrods girlfriend out for dinner tonight as a thank you to Ritchie and Sam. The kids and I are staying in with me. We are watching Jungle book and playing Rapidoe. I have the flu again.....bummer so by nine thirty we were in bed in the attic room. Goodnight diary.
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    • Day 22

      Homeward Bound

      August 17, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Today we are out for lunch with Tabbys friend Nikki and her daughter Florence. They live in Ashby St. Ledger which is the next village from Kilby.

      The nearest large towns are Rugby, 5 miles (8.0 km) north west, and Daventry, 3 miles (4.8 km) south. The A5 road), the Roman road Watling Street passes about a mile east. Rugby has the nearest railway station on the West Coast Main Line with trains.9
      Ashby St Ledgers is a village in the Daventry district of Northamptonshire, England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 173.The Manor House is famous for being a location for the planning of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.[3]

      The manor was given as a gifde Grandmesnil by William the Conqueror and passed to various other occupants until 1375 when it passed into the Catesby family, and became their principal residence.

      The manor was briefly confiscated after the attainder and execution of William Catesby, one of Richard III's counsellors, after losing the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, but was later returned to his son, George. It passed down the male line to Robert Catesby's father, Sir William Catesby, who managed to hold on to the property in spite of massive debts caused by recusancy fines and years of imprisonment for his brave adherence to the Roman Catholic faith.

      A contemporaneous engraving of the conspirators (detail). By Crispijn van de Passe the Elder.[4] Use a cursor to explore
      The manor's central location was also more convenient to the houses of the Catesby's many friends and relations. It is this central location that made Ashby St Ledgers a type of 'Command Centre' during the planning of the Gunpowder Plot.

      It was here, in the room above the Gatehouse, with its privacy from the main house and clear view of the surrounding area, that Robert Catesby, his servant Thomas Bates and the other conspirators planned a great deal of the Gunpowder Plot. Catesby was killed at Holbeche House whereas his servant was executed in the following January.

      Following Catesby's death in 1605, the manor was confiscated by the crown as the property of a traitor. In 1612, it was purchased by Bryan I'Anson (1560-1634), Sheriff of the City of London.[5] He was the father of Sir Bryan I'Anson, 1st Bt., of Ashby St Ledgers; Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles I of England.[6] In 1703, Esther I'Anson (Sir Bryan's elder brother John's great-granddaughter) sold the manor to Joseph Ashley, a London draper. When his great nephew, also called Joseph Ashley, died in 1798, the manor was passed to his daughter, Mary, who was the wife of Sir Joseph Senhouse. Their daughter, Elizabeth, married Joseph Pocklington in 1835, and the manor remained in their family until 1903, when it was sold to Ivor Guest, 1st Viscount Wimborne.[5]

      Until recently the house suffered from decay and neglect, in need of restoration. The former owner*, Lord Wimborne, estimated it would need about £10 million to save it for future generations.[7] In 2005, The Crown Estate bought the Ashby St Ledgers estate (minus the Manor House) .[7] It will continue to be run as an agricultural business, but run by its Rural Directorate.

      The sale of the 2,337-acre (9.46 km2) Ashby St Ledgers estate did not include The Manor House. The land was put up for sale in July 2005 on behalf of the Baker brothers, a family which has owned the grounds since 1982, having purchased it from the British Airways Pension Fund. The site includes an organic dairy farm, a country sports centre and Chapel Farm, which 150 years ago was the home of Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby School. The Manor was sold off separately by British Airways and passed through a succession of speculative owners until it was eventually purchased in 1998 by former owner Viscount Wimborne's grandson and namesake, Ivor Guest, 3rd Viscount Wimborne, in an attempt to save the Manor House from total ruin. The ownership of the Manor and its gardens, as far as is known, remains with Lord Wimborne.

      Nikki’s house is what was once the old pump house on the main estate,but has been converted to a house. But it still has all the character of the pump house and is protected by the heritage act. It is a fascinating long house. All the rooms are in a corridor and with Nikki’s artistic quirkiness it is charming. We were welcomed with champagne and home cooked sausage rolls and Victoria sponge. It was a delightful three hours of sharing country life. On arriving back at Ritchie’s it was a quick turnaround and off to Tabbys farewell with the YOG crew. I really should have stayed home but I wanted to meet her friends and the people that are so important in her life. It was a great fun night and I took lots of photos. We left the car in the city and Ubered home in a taxi. Another full day of happiness.goodnight diary.
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    • Day 23

      Mama Im Coming Home

      August 18, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      A busy day in the city today. Tabby wanted to buy a few dresses for work,presents for her workmate, a present for Damon and some books as clothes for the kids. I was not in the mood for shopping as I have the flu and it has put a full stop on my mojo and the urge to even look in the shops. I mainly held the shopping and sat with Ollie as he had no great desire to shop either. We got into town about lunchtime and after four hours of frantic shopping we hauled the newly purchased items back to the car park. The car park was a filthy,derelict looking building. It smelt of urine and we were surprised to only see a dozen cars cars parked on a Saturday afternoon. I though they must all be home watching football. It was a strange feeling being in a nearly empty carpark on a weekend. It would never happen in Perth.

      Coventry is a city in central England. It’s known for the medieval Coventry Cathedral, which was left in ruins after a WWII bombing. A 20th-century replacement, with abstract stained glass, stands beside it. The collection at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum includes paintings of local heroine Lady Godiva. A statue of her, naked on horseback, is nearby. The 14th-century St. Mary’s Guildhall has a vaulted crypt.

      Weather: 18 °C, Wind SW at 8 mph (13 km/h), 83% Humidity Coventry has had three Cathedrals in the past 1000 years: the 12th century Priory Church of St Mary, the medieval Parish Church Cathedral of St Michael and the modern Coventry Cathedral, also named for St Michael.
      Celebrated as the UK's favourite 20th century building, Coventry Cathedral is known all over the world as a beautiful and unique venue. Designed by architect Sir Basil Spence following the bombing of the city in 1940.

      In the evening we had to repack our bags for our trip home via Paris and Dubai. It has been a frantic three weeks and the strain of being on the move constantly is taking its toll on Tabby. She is tired and a bit cranky at times. Not the lovely fun girl of old. But she is middle aged now so maybe I am expecting too much. But she never looks really happy. I mean genuinely happy. I have decided to not annoy her and keep out of her way. I am not expecting too many visits when I am in the nursing home. She always has far too much else going on. It is her life and all you want for your children is for them to be good people and happy in whatever they choose to do in life. The kids watched SHREK IV and then it was time to head up to the attic with Ollie and sleep. Goodnight diary....xxxxxx
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    • Day 24

      Home Sweet Home

      August 19, 2018 in England ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Linda has her sixty ninth birthday today. Happy birthday sister......Where are we today ? We are ensconced at Birmingham airport waiting for our flight to Gay Paris. We set off quite early as we had to drop the car off and check into customs and security. The kids as always were hungry and thirsty so we headed for the first Burger King we could find at the airport. We at least know the kids will eat here. We are now at gate 56 awaiting boarding. The only perk you have travelling with children is you get to board first. So it’s sit back and wait for the plane to take us high in the sky and to the beautiful city of Paris......

      The good thing about this journey is we get picked up at the airport. Our driver was a young Romanian man who was obviously lacking sleep. Tabby tried to have a conversation with him and he told us he spoke four languages,his family were still in Romania and he was in France because the pay is better...dropping us off he made no attempt to help us with our luggage,he was off. We are booked into The Novotel hotel in the suburb of Pasteur close to Montparnasse station.

      Montparnasse was a community where creativity was embraced with all its oddities, each new arrival welcomed unreservedly by its existing members. When Tsuguharu Foujita arrived from Japan in 1913 not knowing a soul, he met Soutine, Modigliani, Pascin and Léger virtually the same night and within a week became friends with Juan Gris, Picasso and Matisse. In 1914, when the English painter Nina Hamnett arrived in Montparnasse, on her first evening the smiling man at the next table at La Rotonde graciously introduced himself as "Modigliani, painter and Jew". They became good friends, Hamnett later recounting how she once borrowed a jersey and corduroy trousers from Modigliani, then went to La Rotonde and danced in the street all night.

      Between 1921 and 1924, the number of Americans in Paris swelled from 6,000 to 30,000. While most of the artistic community gathered here were struggling to eke out an existence, well-heeled American socialites such as Peggy Guggenheim, and Edith Wharton from New York City, Harry Crosby from Boston and Beatrice Wood from San Francisco were caught in the fever of creativity. Robert McAlmon, and Maria and Eugene Jolas came to Paris and published their literary magazine Transition. Harry Crosby and his wife Caresse would establish the Black Sun Press in Paris in 1927, publishing works by such future luminaries as D. H. Lawrence, Archibald MacLeish, James Joyce, Kay Boyle, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, Dorothy Parker and others. As well, Bill Bird published through his Three Mountains Press until British heiress Nancy Cunard took it over.

      Cafés rented tables to poor artists for hours at a stretch. Several, including La Closerie des Lilas, remain in business today.
      The cafés and bars of Montparnasse were a meeting place where ideas were hatched and mulled over. The cafés at the centre of Montparnasse's night-life were in the Carrefour Vavin, now renamed Place Pablo-Picasso. In Montparnasse's heyday (from 1910 to 1920), the cafés Le Dôme, La Closerie des Lilas, La Rotonde, Le Select, and La Coupole—all of which are still in business— were the places where starving artists could occupy a table all evening for a few centimes. If they fell asleep, the waiters were instructed not to wake them. Arguments were common, some fuelled by intellect, others by alcohol, and if there were fights, and there often were, the police were never summoned. If you couldn't pay your bill, people such as La Rotonde's proprietor, Victor Libion, would often accept a drawing, holding it until the artist could pay. As such, there were times when the café's walls were littered with a collection of artworks, that today would make the curators of the world's greatest museums drool with envy. We booked into our room and after having a little rest and freshen up we went for a walk.

      We were looking for the station to take us to Euro Disney tomorrow. After sorting out where we were going we walked back toward the hotel. Stopping On the way we found a nice Italian restaurant and settled in for pasta and wine. By the time we arrived back at the hotel it was time to relax and get ready for our big day tomorrow. Tomorrow is Hell Day..........Euro Disney......goodnight diary.
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