Published: January 2nd 2012January 2nd 2012
I had to double check that Sept entry was indeed the last. Much has happened in Boyana but more especially on this the latest return to UK. I set off on the 1st of December to head again for Dunkirk to catch a ferry early am on the 3rd. I had reduced the time to accomodate the new route thru Serbia which cut nearly 3/4's of a day off the romanian route. I hoped that, car trouble not withstanding, it would still allow sufficient time for completing the drive. This was proven when 38 hrs after leaving Boyana I was in the last French services just outside Dunkirk,with a further 10 hrs till the ferry !! I had not stinted on sleep or comfort stops so it would seem that there is time indeed for unforseen contingencies, or visiting time if no problems.Good to know. I have to divert to outside Paris to get some large items to Sven(who now resides there whilst doing a PhD). however given the outward excess time I still hope to be back home on 9th.
So after an uneventful journey to dover I got the earlier boat(free) and having obtained my duty free drink(!) arrived at Joan and Den's around 11.30. A lovely visit and at 3 I left to go to my brother's house, a 40 min max journey! Here comes the hiccup.Having traversed the length of europe I managed to get totally lost between the 2 houses and arrived !hr and 40 mins later! However all was well in the end and I enjoyed a pleasant evening with Ricky and Anne and their neighbours. Next morning I got on the ferry and arrived in Belfast 1/2 an hour early at 6pm.So home to Sam's ,not long after the time that the ferry should have docked. Having unloaded overnite basics(in darkness as the interior lights had stopped working) I had time with Sam and Stu then turned in for the night.The next morning I went out to finish the unloading and was surprised to see that the interior light was on!! Later when I went to get ready to take the dogs, Sam and Stu having already gone to work, I found the battery stone dead, so had to walk them locally in 2 two's in the very muddy fields.The next morning I used Sam's car to get a jump start and made my way(+dogs) to Kells,in order to try and get help with the car from John their local mechanic. Used the field to exercise them, found that John could do nothing as his charger was broken and he could diagnose without the battery charged. So I eventually returned to Carrick and as the car had started right away at Pete's I hoped that the drive back would be sufficient to allow it to start the next morning. It wasn't so. Then began the search for a replacement battery using Sam's contacts and local auto store. That morning Sam went to work by train so I could go and buy the battery and take the dogs for their run.That evening Stu went to fit it but without any luck as it was too short to secure in place.Another taller battery that day was no good either as it would not fit the seating !.Eventually having lost effectively 3 visiting days I was back on the road but used my bus pass to go to the doctor's. I managed to see my old next door neighbours that day and arranged 2 other visits,neither of which proved possible.
I got to see my old friend (who lived next door to Pete's and my first house on Hillhead Rd).She was terminally ill with cancer so it was wonderful to have a chance to visit with the family.Unfortunately on the 27th she lost her battle. However the only positive side was that I got to go to the funeral. My condolences are ever there for them.
Xmas proved to be a wonderful time in all other aspects as all 4 children were now back in Belfast for it.It has been a long time since the family was back complete. Before all departed we were able to have a family photo shoot(Sam's present from Stu) with all the family(6 kids and 2 grandkids) plus 4 dogs!! Then on to a restaurant for a large family meal.The second time, as we had got together on boxing day as well for the usual Kells dinner. No snow but quite clear/mild weather, whilst home they had/have snow. All Meta's kids were there on the 31st which was great to hear as was the fact that all was well with houses and animals. Now in the throws of getting together all the wonderful gifts from Fiona Kelly and her charity(Road of Hope) collection along with things from the family as usual.Vacuum packing, sorting etc for the next 2 days I guess.Today Sven will prioretise what he wants taken to Paris.These will be loaded last(after he has left) as they will obviously be offloaded first. Can't wait to see the excitement of M+G as they decide who gets what.For the first time, thanks to Fiona, some of the things are brand new(clothes,shoes and toys).Should be a great return. So all in all a very busy 3 mths,now looking forward to being back in Boyana till June when it starts all over again.
Finally I hope you all have a wonderful 2012. i intend to have one!