As our trip winds down to the end, we start to tick off all of the last little things we want to do before we head home this weekend. We arrived in London on Wednesday last week and we were hit by a wave of jet lag, something we have managed to avoid for the past five and a bit months by some miracle. As it is coming to the end of our six month trip, I feel like my body has been beaten and my mind is exhausted. I wonder how on earth some people travel for years at a time, but then I think we may have pushed the boundaries a little by visiting over 45 places in just 180 days. Thats a new place every 3 days, on average. When I see that I realise why I am so drained!
What better way to recover from a tired mind and body than with a comforting home of family and friends and thats what we have been enjoying for the past week or so. It started with a two day stay in Knapp Hill, in the cosy English home of T’s cousins, Angela and Grant, and their adorable four-year-old son, Ethan. We spent the entire two days at home, sleeping, playing trains, and listening to Ethan sprout about his dinosaur collection, the this-asaurus and that-iraptor, words I could not even pronounce but that he said with ease. It was great to catch up with T’s family again, having dinner with his aunt Rita and uncle Ian, as there is nothing better than hearing family stories straight from the source I must admit, I also rekindled my love for Singstar Karaoke in a late night session with A and G! What fun!
Next we were off to Worcester to visit long time family friends, The Briggs’. We were really excited to see the whole family as I feel like they have become a special part of our family over the years. To put it into perspective, the Briggs’ lived in Cape Town for many years when Jonathan and Ailsa Briggs and my parents were at school together, so the connection goes back a generation or so and we have grown up pretty close (thanks to a good few visits and lots of Facebooking!) [On a side note: I always find it funny that this special part of our family live in Worcestershire, United Kingdom and I was born in Worcester, South Africa.]
Anyway, I digress, we arrived in Worcester on Friday afternoon after a 3-hour train journey from Woking to Worcester (via London) and Ailsa was there on the platform to give us a much needed cheery hug. Still tired, slightly flu-ish and after losing my iPod on the train, we were ready for a cuppa tea and a good sleep. We had a relaxed afternoon at Ailsa’s, catching up with Jonathan’s son Jamie when he came over and going for a pint or two at the pub down the road. When Ailsa and Amelia, her six-year-old daughter, met us after work/school, we went home to have some delicious traditional fish and chips for dinner and a long catch up with Ailsa while playing hairdresser with Amelia before crashing.
Saturday morning it was a delicious bacon breakfast before heading out to meet Ailsa’s friend who took us up in his four-seater Cessna plane over
Worcestershire and Herefordshire! This is the second opportunity we have had to go for a ‘spin’ in a small plane and I’m starting to get quite used to it I was slightly ill on the way up as I’m not very good with motion at the best of times, but sitting in the front on the way back I was able to concentrate more on the beautiful scenery rather than on my stomach! And beautiful scenery it was! We took off from a little grass runway in a farmer’s field somewhere, and flew over the city of Worcester, the beautiful Worcester cathedral and the river running through quilts of brown and green fields. Our pilot, Clive, is a very experienced flyer and he knows the area really well so he was really good in explaining the history of the area to us. We flew over the Malvern Hills and over Jontahan’s house in Cradley and after a good while, landed on a small airfield to have some tea. It was a nice day for a change, no rain and the sun was peeping through the clouds to catch on all of the lakes in the area. The trip back to the farm was quicker as we didn’t do as much of a loop around, but watching the fields below me fly by I realised the scenery was quite different from last time we flew, over Daytona, but just as beautiful. England has a different feeling about it from the USA, theres a history that comes through and you realise how old the farmlands and the castles below you really are. Landing was a breeze for Clive, even on grass, and then we were back at the hanger pushing the plane into its designated spot.