Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

England arrival

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 8 May 2010 | Views [556]

We arrived at Heathrow airport around 8pm and were lucky enough to find our terminal relatively empty so collecting the bags and going through Immigration and Customs was fairly simple. Carol had been worried about entering England with no onward flight ticket but all was ok and they decided she wasn't a threat to the country and let her in although it all took about an hour. So easy to get the tube from there to Victoria Station and from there we caught a train out to Chatham where friends of Kents Dad, Fran and John, were waiting to greet us with hugs and a meal.

We stayed more than a week with them and had a wonderful time, they made us feel at home and part of the family and Kent was able to help John with building the benches in his shed for the model railway he intends to build. The weather was quite cold and sometimes rainy but each day we got out and about here and there.

Elaine had told Carol that she had relatives that were deported to Tasmania from Maidstone, 10 minutes down the road, so a visit there was one of the first things on the list and photos taken of the older buildings etc in the town including the gaol wall where the relatives would have been held. Another place visited was Sheerness where in the past large ships called 'hulks' were anchored to hold the criminals that were to be deported, unfortunately we were unable to get near the port but had a wander around the Sheerness High St. Every town in England has a High Street.

Most of Carols time was spent on the internet looking for a car to buy to travel around the UK, Ireland and some of Europe, also finding out about the in's and out's of the insurance and road tax etc. Not being residents these things were far from straight forward but finally sorted out. John took us to see several cars for sale not too far away and we bought a 1996 VW Passat stationwagon (they call it an estate here) which seemed to be in very good order. We drove it back to Walderslade and immediately couldn't restart it. Kent did some dectective work and discovered that the ignition module had failed so replaced it and also replaced the dampers for the front shocks and we were ready to roll. Our first trip was to Broadstairs not far away on the coast where Kent got reaquainted with his aunt (his mothers sister) and uncle and cousin and learnt about how life was here before his family moved to New Zealand when he was 5 and also more about his mum who passed away that same year.

Before leaving on our road trip we took the bus up to London for 5 days of exploring the city centre. We stayed in the Picadilly Backpackers for 12 pound each per night for a dorm bed, right in Picadilly Circus it was perfectly situated for exploring London. Each day we walked or rode all over exploring museums, history and the London Eye and meeting up with another of Kent's cousins, Tammy, who happened to work right beside the backpackers. Then it was back to Walderslade to pack up and say goodbye to our new family.

 

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