I received an early morning email from British Airways on Monday the 29th telling me our flight to England had been cancelled until further notice- there had been some power difficulties with BA at Heathrow that had affected travellers for over three days. We now needed an extra night's accommodation and luckily for us a hotel around the corner had a room. John and I meandered around Milan for the day and took off for England Tuesday afternoon. It was so good to finally arrive in Whitley Bay to the cheery faces of cousin Peter and Linda.
We had a fabulous five days with them, visiting Thrum Mill in Rothbury, which appeared on an episode of Restoration Man on Channel 2 and we just had to see it! and the beautiful home of Lord Armstrong, Cragside, the first house in Britain to use hydroelectricity, he is also regarded as the inventor of modern artillery, plenty of tours of the English countryside, a long walk to Tynemouth for an enjoyable lunch, a family dinner to meet their new daughter in law, a gorgeous gal, and a tour of inspection of daughter Kayleigh's new home, not too far away in North Shields.
We reluctantly left these fabulous people on Sunday to travel to Chester where we spent the night and had a good look around this very old city. On our visit to the Chester Cathedral we were invited to buy a Lego brick each to be added to the Lego cathedral which is being put together 'brick by Lego brick' and should be ready in about four years time!
Monday morning we headed to Newport Wales to visit David and Helen, a couple we met in Boston last year. The drive down the motorway was hectic, to say the least, with driving rain and fast moving cars and trucks! We stopped a few times for coffee breaks and finally made it to their street and couldn't have done it without the Sat/Nav that came with our hire car. We were greeted with a hot meal and alcoholic beverages and chatted too late into the evening!
The next day we went to Aberfan, a town which suffered a devasting loss in October 1966 when a slag heap slipped and wiped out the school, its children and teachers. I remember it clearly and remember my primary school in NSW taking
up a collection and sending a condolence letter to the people of Aberfan. The visit to the cemetery was very moving and to see all those children's names and ages...and in the years since some parents have been buried with their children. The site of the school is now a rememberance garden.
David and Helen took us to Tredegar House a 17th century house where they volunteer once a week. We did a roof tour and we had to wear hard hats - the first and last time I will appear in a hard hat! At the moment the roof is being renovated big time so the building is covered in scaffolding - hence the hard hats. We took David and Helen out to dinner at the Greyhound Inn as a thank you for putting us up - or putting up with us! - and Thursday we headed to Newquay on the western coast, an area we will explore over a few days.
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