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Published: September 22nd 2012
This bloke is not that fearsome, he is made of flowers
The Kangaroojack, 2012 Rock and Roll tour, was moving along nicely and it was time for us to head off to the Midlands,near my home town of Birmingham.
Gary Barber (Gaz) had been my mate from since we started our electrical apprenticeship together some 32 years ago, back in 1980 and we have been firm friends ever since.
The thing about friends like this is, we might not speak for a while but when we do, we just carrying on from where we left off,without evena blink of an eye.
It would be rude of me not to mention, his lovely wife Karen, or (Pikey) as she will always be to me, they are wonderful people and it was they who we came to Australia with in 2007 for our very first Australian Adventure, (Thanks Guys) look what we ended up doing).
We were really excited to see these guys and we knew they were going to be very interested in our adventures, and what we had been up to, and obviously they have been keen followers of the blog.
We arrived at their beautiful home (Rock Star Home) at around 3.30 on Thursday 30th
Gary,Caroline and Karen
and Karen was already home as she had organised an early finish to coincide with our arrival. The kettle went straight on, and we sat down and talked until 5.00pm when Gary got home.
For me, the four years just disappeared, Caroline had seen them two years ago when she came over and it was wonderful to chat about what had been going on.
Jobs, house and travels were discussed, oh and cars, Karen had her brand new Volvo XC90 (R-series) parked on the drive and she was absolutely chuffed with it and promised us a ride in it as soon as we were available.
Gary and Karen set about entertaining us, in their usual hospitable way and they toiled to produce us an amazing Greek meal which was absolutely fantastic, we talked and talked and I eventually had to retire to bed as I was shattered and Caroline followed, shortly after.
We woke to another lovely British summer’s morning, Gary and Karen were off to work and we had some important things to do today, Jane, my sister, was coming down fromLondon and meeting Caroline and myself at Coleshill Cemetery, as I wanted to drop
in and say hi to my dad.
There is not a single day goes by when I don’t think of my Dad, a bloke whom I was always happy to be with and someone who cared for us all, and I think his biggest trait, was he always stood up for the underdog and always thought of others before himself.
“His place” is a place, where we will tend to his stone,(Give it a bit of a clean) and put some freash flowers on, and I stand there in absolute silence, trying my best to speak to him, whilst tears stream down my face, there are not many times when I am stuck for words, but this is always one of them, I am always struck completely dumb, through the numbing sadness I feel.
One thing I am so disappointed about, was not been able to share our Australian adventures with him, as he would have been so enthusiastic, with every aspect, and knowing him, would have dragged my mother the other side of the world, just to see us, and make us tell him everything about it, but that will never happen.
My sister turned
up, and we all refreshed dad’s flowers on his memorial stone and I just stood and sobbed and Caroline as usual offered her steadying hand, knowing how much this hurt.
We had a 2.00 lunch appointed at the Greswold hotel, in Knowle as we would be catching up with my cousin Kim, who we last saw in Canberra when she came to visit us earlier this year, when she and John her husband to be were in Australia.
Her Father, (My Dad’s brother) Les, played a big part in my childhood, as my Dad ran a haulage company, doing European freight and at the age of 12 I had my own passport and went over to the continent as much as I could with the trucks when I was on my school holidays, and many times I went with my Uncle Les.
Kim and John turned up and we sat and chatted over lunch, then Kim’s daughter Stacy turned up with her daughter who’s name I just cannot remember. Now the reason, we have amended this blog is simple, an amazing coincidence happened, when we posted the blog there was a picture, of the Trenfield’s, Mr
Sister Jane, My cousin Kim, her daughter Stacey, and her daughter (Kim's Granddaughter) who's name I could just not remember, well the amazing story goes like this. Four years ago,I was working as a Mechanical and Electrical coordinator, on a large project just on the outskirts of London, and on this project was a large Civil engineering company and I used to deal with one of the their Surveyors, a guy called Steve Jarvis,who lives in Norwich. When Steve found out we were off to Australia he told me that he and his girl were off to do the same thing, though they were not doing it permanently as we were, through our discussions, Steve Jarvis started reading Kangaroojacks Blog "The Blog" and whilst they were in Australia, used to speak on Skype now and again. Well over time, we have again kept in touch with Steve over Sype,now he has returned to the UK. Now going back to my Cousin Kim, when Caroline and myself met her, recently in the UK for lunch, this was the first time I have ever met her daughter Stacey and the first time equally I had met Stacey’s daughter,
The summer flowers looked Great
and all I remember was she was a very chatty little girl about 4 years old. When we came to write the blog entry, as we do everything from memory, I just could not remember this little girls name. Anyway, when the blog was published, and the picture went up of the little girl, who's name I could not remember, we had a message over Skype that her name was Isobel, from this chap I used to work with, on a contract in London, and it was Steve Jarvis who told us what her name was, as he saw the picture of Stacey, whom I believe he had met a few weeks ago, because he was staying up in the Midlands, with his cousin, who was the partner of Stacey and the farther of Isobel. Wellwe thought this was to an amazing thing to happen,so thought,it would be best if we amend the blog for accuracy.
We had a brilliant afternoon all catching up what was happening in everyone’s lives’ and Kim told us that the following week her and John would be flying out to Australia again, as John who is an Australian Citizen had
some business to attend to.
Considering we arrived for lunch at 12.30 we didn’t leave until about 4.30 and it had been a busy afternoon.
We arrived back at Gary and Karen’s and showered as we were all out this evening for a curry with more friends.
Now Kenneth Arthur Hollis, (“Kenny H”) is a legend in his own lunch time and was a guy, who I served my apprenticeship with and have had many laughs with over the years.
Ken arrived at Gary and Karen’s at about 7.30 with his partner Sharron, and in two cars we drove in to Tamworth with Gary and Karen to their mostly used curry house, which we call Mr Gary’s, this is not the correct name, but every time Gary and Karen go there, which is quite a lot, the owner always says Hello Mr Gary, so that’s why we call it Mr Gary’s.
Oh it was great to have a decent curry again, just like we used to, then we went back to Gary and Karen’s for a night cap.
Again Saturday morning was beautiful weather and we decided to go in to Tamworth to have
a look around this medieval town, which we had never done before, Karen took us in the Volvo and parked it, so allowing us to walk through the park which was nice, the summer flowers looked absolutely striking, which gave us good opportunity to take some decent pictures.
The Castle in Tamworth, dominates the local skyline and today was a re-enactment, of Saxon and Viking warriors, camping, and working in traditional costume and having a bit of a skirmish on the well-manicured park lawns.
All these guys were dressed up in costume and they had rounded up a load of local children, stuck helmets on them, given them wooden swords and were told to go and get the baddies.
These kids were absolutely “game on” and gave the grownups what for, it was great to see.
We walked around the market place and came across the Bloxwich, Birds of Prey society, who had a small stand and they had this enormous owl who must have stood half a meter tall, with leather booties, which I assume are just to stop the creature flying off or using its talons as weapons, as Jessie’s would have, the Bird
was absolutely fantastic, I asked the chap if I could stroke it and he said It was Ok, just to stroke its belly, otherwise it would probably rip my arm off. (I am sure that is a slight exaggeration, Mrs KJ)
I gingerly stroked the amazing bird, it didn’t seem, to bothered either way really, it just sat there watching the world go by, but for me it was just magic.
We walked on back to the car, chucked some stuff in the back, then walked over to Blacks, one of our favourite outdoor adventure shops, full of boots, outdoor wear and stuff like that, we had a mooch about then went off and had coffee and cake, then went home, as this afternoon we were going off to see, Darryl and Sarah, whom some of you may be familiar with, AKA The Wallaby Wanderers, at their home in Moira Staffordshire.
I cannot remember what time it was that we arrived with the Wallaby Wanderers, but they are only about 25 minutes drive from Gary and Karen.
Darryl and Sarah meet us with their usual gusto and once again as if we had left the room
5 minutes ago, the conversation starts to roll from where we left off. We chatted and drank tea for ages, but there was one important thing for us to do and that was to go for a walk around the back of the house.
Darryl and Sarah’s house backs onto the old Donisthorpe coal Colliery site which is now a nature park, it was a beautiful afternoon for a walk which took us up to the Ashby Canal.
The important bit was to do with geocaching, which they had both got into whilst on their own Australian Adventure, there is a geocache not far from where they live so we ambled off to find it, I am not saying where, that would be telling, but we signed it and put it back for the next person to find.
We discussed everything from work to Drag Racing, which you may remember that both Darryl and Sarah are both into, they told us they were going to be racing at Santa Pod raceway the following week and hoped that we would be able to make it.
After several hours of chatting once again it was time to move
on, and with lots of hugs and the hope to see you “Down Under” for another adventure (we have named a place to meet up when this event happens), we headed back to Tamworth.
Sunday brought another nice day with it, and time to expend a bit more energy and walk off the calories that we had been consuming. So hiking boots on and off we set, for Packington which ambled adjacent to a large pick farm and the pigs came up to the wire to see who was going past.
Our lovely walk took us past an army shooting rage and the Red flags were flying and you could hear the sounds of gun fire over the way.
We walked past a small field that had a mob of sheepscattered around, so Caroine (Wearing her Red Jacket) decided to stop and look in on these Wollley creatures,and no sooner did she stop at the gate, they all decided to walk over to her, seemingly to give her messages for the sheep and dogs at Woodstock.
Our walk was possibly four to five miles in the lovely weather we were having and we eventually got back
Is that a new Helmet sir, it looks it
to the car and drove back to Dosthill where Gary and Karen’s house is situated.
We needed to grab some clean clothes and some bits and pieces as we were off to:
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