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Another year flies by

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 27 February 2015 | Views [364] | Comments [2]

Valentine's Day 2014 @ The Gables in Russell, NZ

The end of Jan 2014 was our last update and for those who remember it you will be pleased to know that Brian retained the Old Crab Trophy in Russell, against the advice of Dawn who said it wasn't right for the organiser to win two years running. (Brian might be just a bit too competitive to listen to such sillyness).

Nearly Old Codger's Quinthalon 2014

We were sad to leave Russell, NZ at the end of March, but we'd had the warning emails from immigration that Americans weren't allowed in country for more than 3 months. Hopefully when we go to NZ towards the end of this year Dawn will have a British passport and we'll be able to stay for up to 6 months, hooray.

 Dawn & Cris enjoy one last paddle together in the beautiful Bay of Islands, NZ

 

So what did we do with ourselves while in the UK for 9 months? Well, there was lots of work on the new flat in Bath to keep us occupied. This included painting every inch of walls and ceilings, replacing doors and some windows panes, changing light fittings, ripping up the flooring throughout and replacing with tiles or wood, replacing the skirting boards throughout, etc. We did not get obsessed with this work so it kept us busy for the full 9 months we were in UK.

 Before....

 And after!

To give us some distraction from building and decorating Brian headed to the golf couse to swear at golf balls and took up table tennis again to try and keep his aging body flexible. Dawn, who hasn't got an aging body, did pilates, some kayaking on the river Avon and volunteer teaching at a start-up school. Both Dawn and Brian also got involved setting up a residents association in the block of flats, plus involvement in a group working to improve the upkeep of living standards in the community.

  

As usual we can't stay in one place for too long so at the beginning of June we took ourselves off to Wales (don't need a passport!!). Stayed in a nice resort just outside Aberystwyth and did some touring of the area, including Harlech Castle. Also in June we had a visit from Ed, big man from NZ. He was touring Europe and came to UK to attend a Ukulele festival.

Barmouth, Wales

 

Harlech Castle, Wales

 

Big Ed @ the Cheltenham Ukulele Festival

Brian (who was not restricted to UK) and his brother David set off on another of their motor bike trips in mid July. This time they went through Belgium, along the Moselle river, down the Rhine, across to Munich, then into Austria where they stopped for a week to tour the valleys and mountains. Then, because of terrible weather they switched the route, missing cold, rainy, Switzerland and went back up Germany to Koblenz, picked up the Moselle again and went back down to Trier. Then they finished the trip visiting some of the towns with memorials for those who died in World War 1. Very sobering, especially as it was at the time of rememberance for 100 years since the start of the war.

     As high as we got - Edelweissspitz in Austria

 

Scenic route near Berchtesgaden, Germany 

 

Having checked how much time Dawn had spent outside UK we decided that she could squeeze a 6 day trip to visit Dick and Gitte in Munich while Brian was playing at being Easy Rider. 

Brian had started jogging to achieve one of his bucket list aims of doing a half marathon. As part of the build up he ran in the Lacock 10km on 9th August, finding it surprisingly easy. On 7th September Brian ran in the Chippenham Half Marathon and most definitely did not find it easy, but did manage to run the whole 13.1 mile distance.

 

We had visitors in Sept. Sonomi from Japan for 5 days, followed by Dominique (daughter from Seattle) who came for 10 days. Both wanted to be tourists in London for a day so they got to see the ceramic poppies at the Tower of London which were "planted" to commemorate the nearly 900,000 British servicemen who lost their lives in World War 1.

 

 

 

 

In October we had the pleasure of attending the Christening of our second Granddaughter, Beatrice. who is a sister to Esmee. 

Eloise with Esmee, Katrina with Beatrice

November saw Brian getting itchy travel feet again so he used the excuse of his brother's 70th birthday to take him and his wife Bridget to Spain, where a great time was had by all (except Dawn of course who was stuck in UK meeting the requirements to become a British Citizen). In July Dawn passed the Life in the UK test and has been granted residency so now we're in the final stretch and hopefully Dawn will have a British passport by the end of 2015.

 

December saw us enjoying the lead up to Christmas, going dancing and to the Pantomine (Cinderella). It was all great fun and gave us a taste of Christmas in the UK before we left on 19th December for our next epic journey, going to Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Montana (Dawn only), Maui, Back to Seattle, Iceland and Finland. A great adventure that I will cover in the next blog within the next few months.

 

 

Comments

1

Great to get updated on some of your many adventures. LOVE the improvements to the Bath flat; all that "sweat equity" looks wonderful. Appreciate the photo of the ceramic poppies near the Tower of London; sad but beautiful reminder of war's cost. Look forward to later detailing, too. And hoping that we will be in town when you blaze another trail through the great Pacific Northwest!!

  Tom Fortin Mar 4, 2015 11:11 AM

2

Thank you it is so much fun to follow your travels I am so happy you are living your dream. I am going to Las Vegas for a reunion in April. hope to take in a few shows. If I forget happy anaversary & birthday to us in May. Love Carole

  carole johnson Mar 8, 2015 5:47 AM

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