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aussiedreamer Dec 13th, 2017 11:46 PM

Winter ... UK Finland Sweden. (Live...ish)
Live updates from a long haul flight....

I thought this might help me fill in a few 'hours'! We are currently 3 hours in to our 5.25hr Qantas flight to Perth. Our final destination 'today' is Manchester, departure city was Brisbane. The reason for the extra flight is, we did it all with points, so you kinda have to get what you can. It's business class all the way so no complaints.

We will be away for 3 weeks, a few days in Wales, meeting up with dd#1 and her family who have been in the uk for about 10 days. They are off to a wedding on Saturday , we'll baby sit our adorable 1 yr old grandson. Sunday is dd's birthday, so a good pub lunch. We'll then have two nights in Bath before meeting up again in London for a week over Xmas. They will then head home to Brisbane, and we will go to Finland (Fingers crossed for the northern lights), Stockholm and then home.

We've worked out this is our 9th or 10th trip to the UK, so our week in London will be more relaxed than usual. Tickets booked for Kew Gardens, Kensington Palace and The Book of Mormon. Dh and SIL also have tickets for two football games.

We left the house this morning.....Thursday December 14 at about 9am. Our daughter (#2) and two yr old granddaughter drove us to the airport and as it was domestic business class, joined us in the the lounge for a farewell brunch. My only 'complaint' was we couldn't have a farewell champagne as it was 'too' early..... Pft.... "It's 5 o,clock somewhere"! :-)

After a tearful goodbye, we bid farewell to two of my favourite humans. Just enough time for a bathroom visit and off to the gate. Boarding was quick and efficient, the service has been great, a really nice lunch, complete with bubbles....finally....;-).

Absolutely nothing of substance on the inflight entertainment, but I downloaded series two of The Crown, so one down..... Dh is fast asleep after a hectic run up to Christmas. We have a couple of hours in Perth, I do believe we need to change terminals and collect luggage as this leg is on a separate itinerary, then a 'shortish' flight to Singapore, 4.5hrs. Three hours in Singapore (plan on a bit of Xmas shopping and a shower) before the 14hr flight to a Manchester. Hopefully a good sleep before our 8.30am arrival, then a drive to Monmouth in Wales .....yes, we are still doing it.

bilboburgler Dec 14th, 2017 07:55 AM

This should be good, on for the ride.

bilboburgler Dec 14th, 2017 07:56 AM

It'll be fine,{crossed fingers}, looking forward especially to the finland bit. :-)

thursdaysd Dec 14th, 2017 07:30 PM

Good luck with the flights!

love_travel_Aus Dec 14th, 2017 09:44 PM

Sounds like a good trip and especially on points!
Looking forward to hearing about Finland - quite a contrast to Brisbane in January.

Hope you get some sleep...

aussiedreamer Dec 15th, 2017 04:36 PM

Currently 6 hours from arriving into Manchester. It’s been a good flight.... we both declined dinner service and went straight to sleep. I think he’s going to sleep the whole way. ;-). The lie flat beds on Singapore airlines really are awesome.

We did have to change terminals in Perth, the complimentary bus is just outside the arrivals hall. For anyone else going internationally out of Perth, the transfer is about a 15 minute drive. We had three hours in Singapore.... we know this airport too well as it’s one of our major hubs. So set up in the lounge, bought dd a birthday gift (Sunday) of perfume then had a shower and freshened up. It makes a huge difference being able to start the long leg somewhat fresher.

Next entry will be after our arrival and then drive down to Monmouth. So very excited to reunite with our dear grandson and his parents.

aussiedreamer Dec 15th, 2017 05:02 PM

It’s now 1.30am, Saturday and we are safe n sound tucked up at our lovely cottage in Penallt Wales. The remainder of the flight was smooth all the way. It only took us 45 minutes from landing to disembark, clear customs, collect bags, transfer to car rental village and be sitting in our car. It’s a galaxy van... so we can all be in one car later on.

Now, l got a little slammed at the mention of arriving and then driving down to Wales. Honestly it was more than fine.... the only traffic/road works was at the airport itself and even then it was 2 or 3 light changes and we were on our way. We stopped off in Chester and one other stop for coffee and in Monmouth for some supplies.

Coincidentally the ‘kids’ had just arrived as well. The cottage is perfect for all of us, we have the ‘master room’ down stairs, along with the huge kitchen/diner/lounge. The kids have the upstairs rooms, 2 bedrooms and ensuite. So lovely to see our little boy all cosy in his rudolf jumper.... I’ve never seen him all rugged up, it’s home and currently 1 here. We’ve seen so much snow and the sun was shining.

Dinner was at the Robin Hood pub in Monmouth, boy I love English pubs. Tomorrow is the wedding the kids came for, so we’ll have a ‘quiet’ day with our ‘Ollie’.

Hooameye Dec 15th, 2017 11:36 PM

"Dinner was at the Robin Hood pub in Monmouth, boy I love English pubs."

Ooops.....Unless you like living dangerously, don't mention that you think a pub in Wales has anything to do with England!!!!

bilboburgler Dec 16th, 2017 12:11 AM

I don't think we slammed you (well one did) we were just worried. Saturday/Sunday arrival would help. ;-)

aussiedreamer Dec 16th, 2017 12:27 AM

Lol hooamrye... oooops

Bilbo’ it was Friday morning.

bilboburgler Dec 16th, 2017 07:12 AM

:-) I was wrong

aussiedreamer Dec 16th, 2017 11:26 AM


aussiedreamer Dec 17th, 2017 10:34 AM

We’ve had a ‘slow’ couple of days... which is nice. We all woke early yesterday to ‘attend’ a house auction via phone and FaceTime. Dd#2 was bidding on behalf of dd#1...although it was unsuccessful it was very exciting. The ‘kids’ went off to the wedding, we had lunch at our local ‘The Inn at Penallt’... then after an obligatory nap we drove to Chepstow. Dh had found an indoor play centre. We knew our boy would love a good play, he’s feeling a little stir crazy. Unfortunately they were closed for a private party. Poor little guy.... back in the car.

This morning we woke to a very bleak damp day but we headed in to Monmouth for a wander. Then the best lunch back at our pub. It is dd’s birthday, amazing roast pork and a bottle of proseco. The lovely people at the pub gave us desert to have later, with promises to return the dishes tomorrow.

So that’s our time here done.... off to Bath for two nights next. Cambridge for the kids, we’ll meet up in London on Wednesday.

5alive Dec 17th, 2017 11:35 PM

Enjoying your report so far and looking forward to more.

aussiedreamer Dec 18th, 2017 11:04 PM

Thanks 5alive

Had a lovely day yesterday, woke to beautiful sunshine. We left our lovely cottage in Penallt...... actually a converted school house......and headed to Bath. We stopped off in Bristol. What a lovely surprise. Dh does love a bridge, so we drove over the Clifton suspension bridge and then walked up to the observatory to look back on it, very interesting.

Parked at a parking station right in town and spent several hours wandering the shops (purchased a few thermals for the Finland leg) and the Christmas markets. Sat in the German food market enjoying our much anticipated Yorkshire Pudding Wrap and a beer.... while people watching on this lovely crisp clear day.

I must say the Yorkshire pudding wrap is a thing of beauty. For the uninitiated, it’s a giant pudding, slightly toasted and flattened. Stuffing is then smeared over and your choice of roast meat... turkey for us... is added. You can also have veg added but we opted for gravy and cranberry sauce. It is then wrapped like kebab.... my mouth is watering at the memory.

Easy short drive onto Bath, found our B&B for the next two nights and settled in We headed into town, about a 10-15 minute walk down hill..... cab home. We walked all over the city centre. Disappointed that the Xmas markets closed on the 10th, our host explained its a bit of a political thing regarding the local shops and lost trade.

Settled in to AllBarOne for drinks and a light dinner. Tonight we plan on Indian at Eastern Eye.... unless someone can recommend a better Indian place?

aussiedreamer Dec 19th, 2017 06:31 AM

A little more overcast today, but still dry and very cool. Interesting to walk down into town this morning with ice on the footpaths. After a really lovely breakfast at the b&b we decide we’d join the ‘Mayors Walking Tour. So glad we did’s run twice a day, 10.30 & 2.30, run by really knowledgeable volunteers..... free tour, no tips accepted.

We got an excellent commentary on the Abbey, the Baths and so much more. We got to visit the upper assembly, which isn’t always possible apparently. Heard some great stories of the ‘well to do’ and their shenanigans. Onto the Mineral Hospital, the circus and finally the royal crescent. I know we could have done all this on our own but we would have missed out on a lot.

We also viewed the weir, Putney bridge and Sally Lunns..... which I’d not heard of, but thoroughly enjoyed learning about.

Now a well deserved ale, then we thought we might try the ‘best Cornish pasty ‘ in the world..... apparently.... then more walking. Oh yes, most importantly we found our ‘ugly’ Christmas jumpers for Christmas Day!!!!

aussiedreamer Dec 22nd, 2017 08:18 AM

..... sorry I’ve been slack... I’ll try to catchup tonight, for myself as this is also my only journal this trip... so it’s for my memories as much as anything but hope something may help others along the way.

It’s friday evening and this is our third night here in London, great Airbnb house in Acton... plenty of room for us all and for visitors on Xmas day.....but more on that later. I think I’ve decided I don’t ‘like’ being in someone’s home.... great for this trip with a young Bub but I don’t thinking do it again , just personal preference I guess.

But back to Bath....

aussiedreamer Jan 27th, 2018 08:06 PM

Oh no, I just realized I never did get back to this TR........but I'm going to try. Its amazing how quickly you forget, so want to keep a note of it all. Off to Greece at the end of March, so have to do this before that one...........

aussiedreamer Jan 27th, 2018 08:39 PM

My memory is fading already but after reading the above I do remember we were so tired after our huge walking day, that we never did make it back out for dinner that night. So had an early breakfast and got going the next morning.

We were heading to London, but had all day to get there. Called into Wells to visit the Christmas Markets, so glad we did, we managed to fluke arriving just as the Mayor of Wells was officially opening the markets for the year. What fun, pomp and ceremony, and a good look around. Purchased my secret Santa gift, a bottle of Gin from a local distiller. It was very cold and bleak, rained off and on.

Our next stop was a random industrial estate in Frome, dh had always wanted a large/interesting chess set. After much googling he found Regency Chess Frome and managed to get one he loves. He doesn't normally have much carryon luggage, so he did now.

Then some of you may remember me asking about Highclere Castle? I was disappointed to learn it would be closed while we were there but we took your advice and called into the Carnarvon Arms pub for lunch.......which was well worth it. The publican then told us about the roadway we could 'walk' to catch glimpses of the Castle. So off we went, it is a public road for some of the way and a public footpath for the rest. We got some lovely views of the Castle, so glad we did this even if it was a VERY long walk and we 'may' have been asked to leave at one point.........just trying to get a nicer photo from one of the padocks, oops. Security arrived swiftly to ask us to stay on the path, fair enough. Great photos though ;-)

Easy drive into London, to our house in Acton, the kids had arrived just before us. They'd dropped their luggage and SIL had driven car back to Heathrow and caught the tube back. Which left us with the driveway to park the car for the week. So glad we did this, as we used it quite a bit. We had a quick pizza for dinner, tucked the little man in for the night and left him home with his daddy. DH, DD and I headed to Kew gardens (uber) as we had tickets for the Christmas Lights. What a lovely way to spend our first night, we left feeling very festive, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, all the while sipping bubbles. I just knew it was going to be a fun week.

aussiedreamer Jan 27th, 2018 08:46 PM

eeeek first time adding photos to a TR......should they be THAT big???

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