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By this Author: peter.dudley

Heading home


overcast 12 °C

The alarm goes off at 05:30, I try to be as quiet as I can. Alex gets up, Olivia sleeps through. By 06:00 I'm on the street heading to Heathrow. 5GBP and I have my ticket and instructions. by 7:30 im checked in and waiting for my plane.

OMG, it's all over - 3 weeks.


Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in England



rain 11 °C

I had never done the London Eye before, and both the girlds had, so that was down to just me. As the ride started, I found myself thinking I wonder how my vertigo will affect me. I stayed firmly in the middle of the gondala and marvelled at the children who happing sat on the rails feet swinging in the air. The view's over London were really great and we had good visibility.
From there it was off to the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels. I knew that the girld would want to move at a faster pace than myself so we agreed to call each other at 14:00. About 12:00 it started raining and I'd lift my rain coat back at the hotel. 1.50GBP got be a plastic bag with holes in it and I queued up in the raining waiting my turn to see the Crown Jewels. Just as I was about to enter Alex called - it was 14:00. I explained the situation and we agreed to meet up when I got out. I could have very hapilly spendthe whole day there - possibly 2 whole days. But the girls wanted to see the London Dungeon.
We queued, in the rain (as the brits do) for 90 minutes (apparently you spend that long in the dungeon) before we got in. That wait spoilt the exhibit for me. The actors were good, but the exhibit totally lacked any structure, it seems to be a series of unrelated exhibits / rides that were meant to scare you. There were 2 fun bits, the 3d seance, and the hanging at the end - and we have photographic evidence of the hanging!
Back to the hotel for a quick tidyup and packing session before we headed up to china town for some Peking Duck. Time was getting on so we took a Cab both ways, fortunatly it was under 15GBP each way. The Chinese was great, we didnt finish it all, then we went to the hottest place in London - the M&M shop. This place is wonderful, full of adults all with a huge grin on their face. I have no idea who came up with the concept, but I hope it is successful, it's a great place to go and see. I managed to get a pair of green PJ's for Millie.
Finally it was back to the hotel for a short night.


Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in England

Feutreventura-Returning to the UK

Travelling back to Bristol and up to London. - 2011-08-17

Our coach left at 09:40 for a 12:05 flight, Irene, Alan, Rebecca & Penny were leaving some 3 hours later. It was strange putting on the long trousers. I'd worm my runners the day before when we went for the 4X4, and realised that I'd put on a few kilos when the shoes did not slip on as easily as they had - the laces needed loosening - a lot. The flight was uneventful, as you would hope, and finally we were landed at Bristol. Karen made the phone call to her friend's partner, who picked up William and Karen to collect the vehicles. Mum & Dad cose to get the bus to Bristol, then the express service to home, so it was time for the second set of goodbyes for the day. Keran took myself and the girls into Bristol, so the 3rd set of goodbyes were to William, Joe & Anna. As we got into Bristol there was an 'incident' on Hotwells Rd, after some time karen turned up the hill into Clifton. The streets were 3 cars wide, with parking on both sides, and the streets were all 2 way!!!! It was like Weston Super Mare, but 100 times worse - oh for the Australian roads I was thinking. Eventually after much dodging and weaving and 1/2 a clutch later we arrived at the top of a hill, and Karen exclaimed 'Oh, I know where we are now'. Within 5 minutes we were at the Bristol Bus Terminus - well done sister. We managed to get a bus an hour earlier than booked.
The trip up the M4 on the bus brought many mixed emotions for me. I just loved seeing the fields and hedge rows and remembering the wonderful times I had as a child running through them and over the hedges. The cows in the fields, and memories of the country smells. Juxtaposed was the 'motorway' a narrow 3 laned road with one lane dedicated to road works, the narrow roads of Weston and Bristol and the being stuck in traffic. The high hedgerows close to the narrow road obscuring vision. It all seemed so small and tiny.
We arrived in London 15 minutes early, dragged out our bags and heading out into the city. We stopped at a London Black Cab and asked to be taken to the hotel. The Cabbie laughed, 'turn left here, then right at the second set of lights and the hotel is on the corner'. 5 minutes later we were checking in. Our room was in the basement, and we had shared facilities. The oom it'self just accomodated the double bed and the single. By the time Alex unpacked there was no floor to be seen (Alex is a firm believer in the 'floordrobe'). There was a pub near by where I had fish and chips and a beer, Alex had a midori and pineapple (cheap mans Pina Colada) and Olivia an apple juice. Time for bed.


Posted by peter.dudley 17:00

Feutreventura-Friday / Saturday / Sunday / Monday / Tuesday

sunny 30 °C

See 'Feutreventura-Thursday'
Also - Rebecca, Anna, Olivia go Camel riding. Alex loses the towel Karen lent her. Well she left it in a cafe, and by the time she got around to going back they had used it to clear up a spill from a leaking fridge.
Backgammon and Uno in the evening

See 'Feutreventura-Thursday'
Also - African Travelling Fair. I purchase 2 'Rolex' and 2 'Armani' wacthes for the boys back home. Funnily enought they are identical except the logo - fancy that. Oh and they cost 10EUR each, I wonder how long they will last. It was a fun market, the africans trying (not to) hard to pretend that it was all genuine. Alex was in her element 'bargaining', I just said I'll pay this much and walked away if they didn't agree.
Backgammon and Uno in the evening

See 'Feutreventura-Thursday'
My cold was getting better, and I managed a run in the morning - the only serious exercise in the 3 weeks away.
Backgammon and Uno in the evening

See 'Feutreventura-Thursday'
Also - the children go scuba diving (Joe, Anna, Alex, Olivia)
Backgammon and Uno in the evening

See 'Feutreventura-Thursday'
Also - Peter, Irene and the children (less Alex) hiring a 4X4 and heading down to the southern tip of the island in an open top Nissan patrol. My usual vehicle is a Toyota, Automatic, Petrol, Right hand drive. This one is a Nissan, Manual, Diesel, Left hand drive. The trip down is uneventful, but the children are very glad they didn't insist on having the plastic top taken down. We arrive at the end of the tarmac and that just doesn't seem to worry the two wheel drive hire cars! The road is just a dirt road with loose gravel. We take one of the many side raods down to the beach, andas we come back meet some of the 2 wheel drives trying to head down. They sit like stunned rabbits in the middle of the road wondering what to do next. They think we have a mexican standoff and one of us will have to back up to a point where the road gets wider. We just drive around them. Joe notices a couple of tracks and comments 'I wonder where they go', 'Let's find out' is my reply, 'Your not serious' responds Irene. The tracks are fine powdery rock dust and the vehicle handles a little like being on sand, I need a lower gear and to keep the momentum up. We manage to find a few rocks along the way and Irene keeps asking if we should be stopping to check the car! We get to one of the 2 locations on the map, but it has taken us longer than anticipated. Time to head back. However on the way I notice a hill off in the distance on the left. the track up the hill appears to be well defined, but the track to the bottom of the hill much less so. We head off road, with Irene saying 'we're not going to drive up there are we?'. As we cross a few river beds she screams out 'Stop', which I do. 'Where are you going' she asks. 'Can you see the track in front of us that goes down into the dip?' I ask, she nods. 'And up on the other side of the river bed you can see the track coming out of the river bed?' I ask, she nods. 'Well that's where we are going'.
As we reach the hill I drop a gear and proceed to start climbing up it. The noise in the vehicle becomes unbearable. I have to stop. Irene asks 'What happens next?'. 'I reverse down the hill' I respond. 'You REVERSE down this hill' she enquires seeking confirmation. 'Do you mind if I get out and walk down', 'Me too' squeeks a couple of the passengers. 'OK' I say, but keep well away from the vehicle - you really are much safer staying in the car' I inform them. What I didn't tell them was that I have never performed this 'Stall Stop - Key Start' manover ever, although I have taught it 100's of times.
I manage to stuff it the manover forst time - I'd left the ignition on and the engine started as I released the foot break. A quick Stall Stop was required after which I realised what I was doing wrong, and with that we safely reversed down the hill to pick up the passengers.
From there is was a long drive back to the hotel, but I think we all had some fun - even Irene.
This was our final full day on the island.


Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in Spain


Thursday - 2011-08-11 (Dad's birthday)

Getup, breakfast, catch some rays / swim, eat, catch some rays / swim, drink, eat, drink, bed.
It really is like that. Karen & William have been backgammon fanatics for years and brought a couple of travel sets with them. Looks like Karen is determined to have some kind of family tournament
Various activities have been planned and booked.
Breakfast is exactly the same each day. Bacon, chipolata sausages, scrambled eggs, freshly made ham and cheese omlette, boiled eggs, warm bread (toast?), butter / marg / etc. James / Honey etc, fruit, crossants. Fruit juices that were reconstituted syrups, yogurt, tea and coffee.
Lunch varied slightly each day, but included seriously over cooked burgers, Macca style sugar buns, freshly cooked fish, chops / steaks etc, chips, cold meats,
The evening meals were buffets - Chinese, International, Spanish and others (you can guess), but did include salads and fresh fruit. The majority of the staff were real friendly, but there was one waiter who was determined that we would not exit via the terrace door - so we obliged and stepped through the window instead - Olivia put us all on to that one!


Posted by peter.dudley 17:00

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