Trip to the UK Part 1 - Spending time with Chris and Vivian

25th July - 11th August 2007

The timing of our trip to the UK was determined by two factors.  The departure date was set following our encounter with an unfriendly border guard in Detroit, who determined the date we should leave the United States, which of course coincided with the high priced summer airfares.    Our return date to Anju was selected based on the fact that Jo-Ann, Phil's daughter, was expecting her first child, Phil's fourth grandchild, on September 3rd.     To be sure of not missing the great event, our return was booked for the 12th of September, giving us a total of seven weeks in the UK.     By good fortune our dates matched those of a UK visit by our great friends and fishing rivals from North Carolina.
Chris and Vivian arrived in Crickhowell, Wales, aboard their huge BMW motorbike, on which they would be touring Europe through the summer.    Our first priority was to introduce them to our favourite haunt in the village, The Bear Hotel, where we were joined by Phil's sister Rae, for a Bahamas 2006 reunion dinner.

Next day we whisked them down to Cardiff Bay, to see the impressive redevelopment of the area, including the Welsh Assembly Building and Millenium Arts Centre.    It really was a flying visit to Wales but we did manage to fit in another trip to The Bear for the famous Sunday Lunch before we all hit the road north.

Bahamas Reunion Dinner at The Bear.


Sight-seeing in Crickhowell and Cardiff, Wales & convoy eyeball at motorway services in the Lake District, England.

After an overnight stop at Christine's Dad's house in Cheshire, we headed straight for Edinburgh in convoy, or at least as much in convoy as you can be with a motorbike and a car on the M6.    We stayed a few days at Chris' flat in the city to get the flavour of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which was in full swing.

Flavours of The Fringe

Non-traditional Canadian style Scottish Dancing

Welshman under attack from a Scottish Thistle

Edinburgh's Streets

and the Castle

During the Edinburgh visit, Christine realised that her school buddy Fiona had recently moved to Scotland and now lived only about 80 miles north of Edinburgh.   Bearing in mind the usual frequency of visits by Team Anju to cold, northerly places like Scotland, we felt we should make the most of the opportunity call in and visit, whilst we were "in the neighbourhood".   We set off under the guidance of Matilda, Chris' new GPS system which we borrowed from his motorbike, our first taste of using GPS on the road instead of at sea.   By the time we finally tracked down Fiona's new home, relations with Matilda had become a little strained as she would keep insisting that we take the second exit at roundabouts which only existed in her imagination!

It was great to have the chance to catch up with Fiona and her family and see their new home, even if our visit was only brief.

Back in Edinburgh, we enjoyed lunch with Chris and Vivian at a lovely restaurant with views right over the Forth Railway Bridge.    In the UK, the Forth Bridge's claim to fame was that it was the only British structure which took more painting than Anju!    Pity we didn't take along our chipping hammers!

Whilst in Edinburgh it would have been rude not to pop by and see the Queen's yacht, Britannia, in her new home.   Besides it gave us the chance to see how she compared to Anju and Second Chance!   We discovered that Britannia's tenders put our own to shame!

Tender to Britannia, bigger than our yachts!

Why don't we have one of those aboard Anju?

Vivian and Chris look at home in  the Officers' Mess Bar

Phil tries out the Queen's sun lounger.

After an action-packed week it was time for us to drift our separate ways, Chris and Vivian were off to Gatwick to collect their grandsons and we were overdue in Cheshire for a spot of wall-papering.
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