We had a chill out first day, just relaxing, talking about the trip and sorting all our gear out ready to go back to England. I had left a small bag behind and it was just nice to wear different clothes again!
The next day was pretty busy with a bit of bike maintenance and then our first attempt at topiary art!!
There was a hedge down the side of my parents house that was desperately out of control in the growth department and we offered to trim it back. I’m not sure dad was terribly keen on this idea and knowing how meticulous he is with anything, especially his garden, it was with some trepidation that we approached said hedge with strimmer in hand!
Man, I never knew how hard it was to trim a hedge! A good few hours later and we were done. I’m not sure it was at all up to dads’ standards but it was distinctly tidier than when we had started. Of course, a beer and a bit of a rest was required after all that effort!
We arrived in Portsmouth after a smooth 3 hour trip. Success again, Iain has now completed six ferry crossings with only 1 (very minor) seasickness moment. Maybe he’s gaining some good sea legs?!? After a quick ride down to Gosport , we stayed overnight with our brilliant family friends, Ken & Anne, then carried on our way back “home” to Weymouth & Portland.
I was a tad disappointed as we passed through the New Forest without seeing any of the wild ponies. They better be out next time, I promised Michelle wild ponies!
We took a little detour from the main route to go via Bovington Army Camp, the site of our fateful meeting seventeen years ago! Nothing wrong with a little nostalgia!
Soon we were tracking across Preston Beach Road and past the infamous Sealife Center where Iain first worked when he left the army!
Finally, we headed back across to Weymouth and my Aunty Monica’s house – we were an hour late at this point and didn’t want her worrying.
As lovely as it was just to be with her on this special day, it was even better to see her face when we arrived at her birthday meal and seeing my cousins who had all gathered to surprise her!
We had a lovely night all catching up and reminiscing about the fun times we all had growing up together. Aunty Monica was spotted with damp eyes as she recalled her childhood and was so happy to be in the pub restaurant that we had chosen, The Fat Badger, as it was at the end of the road she was actually born on and had spent many happy days during the summer playing down on the beach we overlooked. Fond memories indeed.
Unfortunately, due to the distance, we were forced to ride the motorways but it wasn’t too terrible and we got closer to our destination (back to Jac and Jases house) we were off the main roads and enjoying some country roads again.
While I condensed our cases and packed a bag of things to be shipped, it was a sad little Iain who stripped down the bike and prepared her for shipping. She did look a bit naked as she sat out waiting for the van to arrive.
Waving her off, we quietly prayed that the new company we were using, Shippio, would not give us any of the hassles that we had had when she was shipped in!
Safely sent on her way we headed on up to Newcastle, or “God’s Land” as Iain refers to it, to meet up with more family and friends.
A new first for my beloved husband was attending Northern Pride! Another great day of laughter, drinking and dancing with a blast from the past when Gareth Gates performed…I had to video Beth’s old favorite song. Many a car trip passed by with her and Louise singing (squawking) away to this at the tops of their voices!
On our way to Heathrow the next day, we took a slight detour through to the town of Aylesbury where I wanted to visit “Earthly Messenger”, the statue that memorializes one of my all time favorite artists, David Bowie.
The statue is situated under the arches in Aylesbury’s Market Square, which was referenced in Bowie’s song ‘Five Years‘. It is also near to the Friar’s music venue, which was where Bowie first debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona in July 1972.
As well as the viewing the unique bronze sculpture you can hear a random Bowie track played from an audio system on the hour, every hour, between 9am and 9pm! A live webcam shows visitors to the statue 24/7.
Our hotel at Heathrow, The Moxy, was pretty funky but it didn’t have a restaurant so we had to venture out down Bath Road and find somewhere to have dinner. Hmmm….that was a bit of an eye opener. Having spent the last eight weeks travelling through foreign countries and never feeling ill at ease I was suddenly feeling uncomfortable in my home country. Not the most salubrious area we could have chosen to stay in!
Passing straight on by the Indian that we had been heading for – it seriously looked like a heaving mess of salmonella waiting to happen – we settled in at a Portuguese (new one on us) restaurant, The Moniz. It wasn’t super nice looking. A little like a roadside café but man, the food was super good when we got it. Definitely a little jewel in disguise!
Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!