Trip to the UK Part 2

12th August - 12th September 2007

The remainder of our time in the UK was split between Christine's Dad Joe in Cheshire and the Rees family down in Wales.   

In Cheshire we got the opportunity to keep our hand in at wall-papering, a skill not often needed aboard a yacht.   We managed to redecorate three rooms at Joe's house, leaving him free to battle against the menacing stinging nettles in the garden.

Joe's transatlantic cleaning service

Joe ponders if maybe the nettles are winning!


Back down in Wales, it was our turn to get involved in some gardening, as the garden at Phil's Mum's house in Crickhowell had become quite a jungle with all the wet weather in the UK.    We spent a couple of days crawling through the undergrowth trying to get things more under control before nephew James and family would move in.   The move came more quickly than we had expected and we found ourselves homeless in Wales!     Luckily Phil's sister Rae, kindly allowed us to use her home as our base for the rest of our visit.

Battling the Crickhowell Jungle

Of course when you spend so much time away from the grandchildren, you need to make up for lost time and do your share of baby-sitting!    We found ourselves at Tracy and Nathan's house in charge of James, Polly and Gareth on several occasions.     Responsibility for three small children in their parents absence, plus dog Bandit was quite a challenge for the unaccustomed.    Just to add to the fun, some kind person had dropped two tiny kittens over the back fence, which also had to be taken care of until a new home was found for them.   The result was bedlam!

Small, big and bigger kids debate what to do with the two kittens!

We loved being able to spend so much time in person with the grandchildren, when normally we are only able to talk to them with the webcam.   It was amazing that they had become accustomed to seeing us on Skype and had no problems at all recognising us when we first arrived.   The plan devised by James for us all to visit and try out all the toys in three parks in one day, turned out to be exhausting for everybody!   It was great to be around for Gareth's first birthday too!

Polly's first helming lesson

Gareth, birthday boy, wonders what all the fuss is about.

After our recent spate of bereavements, we had been hoping that this would be a visit home not fraught with grief.   It was with shock and horror that we learnt of the sudden death of Rae's son-in-law, Neil, at the age of 41.   It was with great sadness and still in disbelief that we found ourselves at his funeral in London.  

In tribute to her late husband, who had been promised motorbike lessons for his birthday, Emma somehow managed to find a motorbike and sidecar hearse for the occasion.    Emma and their three young sons coped very bravely at the well-attended funeral.    Neil was much loved and would be greatly missed by family and friends.


Back in Wales at our new base at Rae's house, we decided to get some air by taking a walk up the Sugarloaf Mountain in Abergavenny.    The walk turned out to be somewhat more challenging than we'd anticipated but we picked a fabulous day on which to enjoy the stunning views from the top.    It only took a few days to recover!


Climbing the Sugarloaf

The 3rd of September had come and gone and we were becoming nervous as the date of our return flight to Anju was rapidly approaching, with no sign of the arrival of the new grandchild.    Poor Jo-Ann, at only about five foot tall was now almost as wide but was keeping in remarkably good spirits.    We visited as often as we could trying to convince grandbaby it was time to come see his grandpa Dodo but it was not to be.    Iwan stubbornly refused to arrive in the world until after a Caesarian almost a week after we'd got back to Florida, we would have to make do with contact via Skype until our next trip home.    Almost 10lb baby Iwan made his Skype debut at only a few days old!

Jo-Ann and Iwan before and after!

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