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Published: July 31st 2016
It has been amazing how quickly the week we have had in Ireland has simply flown by and today we leave and head for England.
The weather looks like we are going to leave behind a reasonable sort of day although in fairness to Ireland and although we have had showers from time to time we have been able to get out and about and do the things we wanted to and not be put off by the weather patterns of Ireland.
We had said our farewell to Kathleen last night as we had said we would have an early start on our drive to Cork Airport. However she appeared outside her house as we reversed out of the driveway and we gave her a final wave as we bumped off down the farm track to the sealed part of the narrow lane that took us out to the road down to the village.
Even as early as 8.30am the main street of Castleisland was busy with traffic and this time we didn’t have to pull off and try and find a car park close to the takeaway restaurant of Den Joes to try and pinch some internet.
We would find free wifi at the airport we were sure, to check our emails etc.
The drive to Cork on the N22 was uneventful and we made good time in light traffic most of the way.
The sun was breaking through at times as we travelled east and created that lovely, gentle light on the green hillside that will always be a reminder of Ireland for us.
Returning the car was straightforward. We had travelled just over 1000km in the week and the diesel consumption in the Seat had been around 5 litres per 1000km which was even more economical that the Peugeot in Europe and Scandinavia.
The Aer Lingus Airbus loaded up quickly and we left Cork and Ireland 5 minutes ahead of time.
We caught our last glimpse of the green rolling landscape of Ireland as the aeroplane banked soon after takeoff and climbed through cloud which had always been somewhere around us during our week in the Emerald Isle.
It was a smooth flight despite a warning from the pilot that he would try to avoid a few ‘bumps ‘they anticipated on the way to Heathrow.
Sometimes having to
join a queue to wait to land because of runway congestion can work in your favour and today was one of those occasions as we completed the last circle before landing right over the top of London city at a height that we could pick out all the highlights such as the Thames River, the Gherkin building and Buckingham Palace.
We hadn’t given it too much thought but we were a bit surprised that the flight from Ireland to the UK is treated as an internal flight and then of course we remembered the last time we flew into England was from Russia, a country that of course is outside of the EU and we were required to go through a lengthy interview at immigration to get into the country.
The suitcases arrived quickly and we were soon on the courtesy bus to the Europcar Rental depot close to the terminal.
We took a number and waited our turn to complete the paperwork.
The young woman tried all she could to up sell us to a larger, diesel car and this was after she had told us she couldn’t alter our broker initiated reservation and we
would have to contact the broker as we wanted to extend our rental period by one day. Good try young lady but no bonus for you today!
It was a different way of picking your vehicle up at this depot.
No car was allocated to us as the paperwork was completed. Rather we just went out to the area where the size of car we had paid for and simply chose what was available and get it checked out as we left the rental car compound.
On hand were a couple of two door Fiat 500’s and a Skoda Fabia.
There was no way we were going to get ourselves and luggage into a two door Fiat 500!
So it was back to the first car we had ever owned, the good old Skoda. Now actually the Skoda has been reborn and today it is actually quite a presentable small vehicle.
We are not sure what Europcar would have done if we had gone back into the office and told them neither of the cars on offer was suitable. The reservation had stated that the car would be a Corsa or a similar car
so we guessed the Skoda came up to that level. However the Fiat 500 was a long way off!
We are staying with my cousin Jean and her daughter Stella in a small village called Southwick which is near Portsmouth on the southern coast.
First we had to take the London circular road, the M25, to connect to the road to take us south.
The M25 can be quite daunting and at times as you approach off ramps can be up to 7 lanes across in the direction you are going to positioning yourself early to get off and onto the M3 which would take us south are a must.
Further on as we got closer to our destination we moved onto the A3 and then just before we got to Southwick we were onto local roads.
To our amazement the GPS unit we use at home and have bought with us sprang into life at the car rental terminal after not working in Ireland. This was just as well as it gives some confidence in being able to read ahead what directions we need to make the drive easier.
It was great seeing
Jean and Stella again. Jean had her 90th
birthday last year and hardly looked any different than when we saw her last.
After a delicious dinner of fish pie, a meal we had not had since we left New Zealand, Stella took us for a drive around the local area primarily to visit the grave site of Sir Peter Blake the famous New Zealander who led NZ to yachting America Cup wins but had his life tragically ended in 2001 at the age of 53 when he was murdered by pirates on his yacht at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil.
His grave in Warblington Cemetery near his English home of Emsworth is a modest one but it was quite poignant to see the little NZ flag alongside the headstone. There were NZ coins on top of the headstone that NZ visitors had left in the past.
Then on the way home we had another one of those rare experiences that happen just when you don’t expect them to.
We were in the final approach to home passing the Golden Lion Pub in the village when we noticed the road ahead was blocked.
The local Morris Dancing groups were out in the street entertaining the locals and having a great time. There were about three different groups including one made up of women. All were in the traditional garb with the men waving their white handkerchiefs as they danced and the women wearing clog type shoes which made a solid sound as they tapped their toes and danced around to music from a fiddle player and an accordion with accompaniment from a trombone player.
In between their turns to perform a dance the group of male dancers downed a pint of beer leaving their tankards on the rail of the fence when they were called to the street to perform.
We watched for several dances until the twilight was fading and then we continued on our way home just around the corner.
It had been a long day and it didn’t take long to nod off to sleep in the very comfortable bed.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
PS:select any video from Youtube to get the theme music of Morris dancing for this blog and make sure you tap your toes as you watch and read.
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