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January 12th 2016
Published: January 12th 2016
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Hi everyone

We spent the final four nights of our trip around Cirencester, UK. We've spent the last few days with the Willows: Floss, Bess and Chris at Ampney Crucis. It's been delightful seeing them again. Bess goes to school now and is so grown up.

We had our usual shopping expedition and Bessie is now ready for her party season with a floaty dress, shoes, bag and accompanying accessories. All the walking around was a bit hard on Floss who is 8 months pregnant. We all perked up again with a feast of Turkish Delight at the end of the shopping spree.

Peter and Chris did a double flight of real ales, at the pub where Daniel O'Brien and Peter did the same thing two and a half years ago. Most enjoyable and different ales.

It was pretty rainy and cold outside so we spent time sitting around the fire chatting. I didn't actually do much chatting as I lost my voice. Not a problem, as you all know, Peter can talk for Australia! It was beautiful and cosy and really hard to say goodbye as always. We had a fun few days.

We also managed to catch up with Helen and Gavin who live about an hour away in Wellington Heath near Ledbury. Just a bit about Ledbury; a beautiful market down which dates from around 690 AD. It has a great pedigree, having been mentioned in the Domesday Book apparently. Ledbury was also home to the famous British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Peter will happily recite one of her poems if you are really keen.

The town also has a number of those old black and white buildings that look like they belong in a Shakespearean movie. For example there is a pub in town that is 400 years old. Luckily the beer is much younger than that!

So it's off to Heathrow early tomorrow to catch our flight home. It's been another amazing adventure. We visited 7 countries spending most of our time in Italy and not much in Greece as they were on strike! The museum cafe in Genoa has the world's BEST hot chocolate. Trust me on this!

Despite moaning about the food, our cruise was very enjoyable, and was made really special by our erstwhile travelling companions Liz and Alan. Morocco and Israel were really incredible, especially as we were in Bethlehem two days before Christmas. Ok, so I tripped over and had to be picked up by Israeli security, but that all added to the story.

Italy was really interesting but between you and me, I've had enough of churches and museums for a while. Being nanny is great fun and is very difficult to tire of! Looking forward to meeting the new little guy (Nugget) who is making his first appearance in about a month. Yes, our timing is rubbish!

The drive to Heathrow was harrowing due to driving rain, fleets of lorries and traffic jams, quaintly named queues (as if you have a choice of being there). However we had a wonderful surprise waiting for us at the airport; we were upgraded! Thank you QANTAS for giving us seats upstairs! It truly is as fabulous as I had dreamt!

I need to thank a few people for making our journey memorable:

Liz and Alan thanks for being such good travelling companions. You put up with a lot, especially the MSC versions of risotto.

The Willow family for welcoming us into their home and feeding us vegetables. We were on the verge of scurvy when we arrived at their house. Special thanks to Bessie for being so patient when we went on our shopping trip.

Helen and Gavin, thanks so much for the lovely lunch. Great seeing you two again! The Old Vicarage feels like a second "home" in the UK.

Pete next door, we really appreciated you collecting the mail and looking after the Kimberley plant.

Our wonderful family and friends, it's been great catching up with you through the magic of Facebook and Skype. Ran up quite a bill for wifi on the ship but it was well worth it.

Castellan Cat Resort, CLEO has had a great time on her holidays but she's mine so give her back!

Thank you all for following our travels. It's been great fun writing the stories and receiving your comments. We'll see you on the flip side!

Love Sandy and Peter xx


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