Friday, December 16, 2016

Hello!



Friday... 16th 2016!

I'm hoping to pick up the blog from last year... this is just a taster from today.

It'll be  mix of 'now' and 'then' !
Keith, Phil,Tim and Bridgie are coming this time next... I'm very excited to have them all here... I will post pics! 




Friday, April 15, 2016

First Day in Tas

Weds 30th December
My first full day in Tasmania since Keith and I came many years ago! 
I have been feeling it was remiss of me not having kept the blog up while I was away, but there is something lovely about writing it up now! I have just fetched logs from the shed and lit the fire - it's a bit cold out, though the sun has come through at last... and I am sitting here remembering the warmth of my trip. 

What a beautiful day! 
First morning sunrise
I woke early, the boys came in and chatted and played with the toys from the cupboard. I gave Marty some lego which he happily made. 


Lego making.


View from the kitchen window
 The views from this place are wonderful - the one above is the view as you wash up at the sink... we kept our eyes open for dolphins!
View from the deck
 After coffee and breakfast it was time to head for the beach! We went for a swim - the water was warmer than home... and after fun in the sea we played frisbee and Marty hunted the rock pools and found a wonderful decorator crab with sea weed growing all over him! Well done Marty!
After a lunch and  a shopping trip with the girls we played Carcasonne and then out to the beach for a second visit! It felt colder than this morning but we had a lovely time except when Marty got sand in his eyes and it was really sore. 
Anyone for tea?
Jeannie lovingly went to make me a cup of tea but the box of tea-bags decided to take a swim in the washing up water! We had fun trying to dry them out but decided in the end the were beyond redemption! I must say all our meals were delicious. In the evening we did crosswords and read... and drank Christmas Milk!

Thursday 31st December

New Year's Eve began early with the boys and then we all set off for the Inglis River. We put a car at either end and walked together. It was another beautiful day - will post a selection of pictures from this lovely walk. 
Inglis River

Happy Jimmy!







This walk was the first outing for Leki -  'a stick with which to walk' from Jeannie and Alastair! Thank you - it is perfect!

Back home for a Jac lunch of pasta and pesto (delicious); crossword (unsuccessful) and a walk to the beach where there were lovely waves.




The Richardsons have a New Year Tradition... watching Dinner for One - with a glass of bubbly and nibbles! What a treat... afterwards we had dinner of ham done in Coke and spices... so delicious!  The New Year began with fireworks on the beach which I watched from the balcony - welcome 2016 - I wonder what you will bring?


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Aus!

Tuesday 29th December

Some final pictures from Korea... the bus journey to the airport and across the amazing bridge!










The long bridge!


View from business lounge Incheon
The sunrise from the flight was beautiful...however, I was on the left hand side of the plane ... heading South, so I saw little of Aus bar some very parched looking land. 
Coming in to Sydney was more interesting - there were lots of wooded estuaries; the Opera house and the Bridge. All in all Sydney looked somehow smaller than I had expected.

Travelling Business meant I went straight through immigration and collected my bag which was already on the carousel! I could get used to this!
Transfer bus
I transferred to Terminal 2 to await the flight to Tasmania...and here it was chaotic! Actually, it wasn't chaotic but a mad press of people and noise. After having a bite to eat (spinach and ricotta roll - delicious)  and a coffee I asked at the Virgin Aus desk and I was directed straight through to the departure area where she said it was 'much nicer' and she was right!
By this time I was feeling tired and a bit woozy, but found a quiet spot to sit and wait. It seemed like a long time, I walked the length of the terminal several times to stretch my legs but I was looking forward to the journey being over.



Coming from -7C to Sydney which was the high twenties, was quite a shock. It took a while not to be taken aback by seeing young folk in bright, summer clothes...
The flight to Launceston was straightforward - a bit bumpy at times, but I had great views from the window. Getting out in Tas it was almost 30C! It felt wonderful!
Jeannie and Alastair were there to meet me, and we were soon in the car and on the two hour drive back up to Boat Harbour. 
It was fabulous to see Jeannie and Alastair... we chatted lots in the car... Alastair asking me if I knew where I was or was I a bit muddled?
 Temperature definitely not UK or Korea... landscape... not UK but some peaks looked a little like those near Suwon... summer flowers... that was probably the strangest thing! I was definitely in Aus!

Yay! I'm here!


Boat Harbour beauty!
It was super to see Jo and Jac ... and Marty who had stayed up to see me! Catching up, food, a walk on the beach and Jac's Christmas Milk all went down a treat.
Travelling over for a while... deep breath, it is wonderful to be here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Everyone came up to Phil and Brandi's for breakfast - and what a breakfast! Brandi had popped out to pick up some croissants and then cooked an amazing breakfast for everyone. Emily came up to join us and too and after breakfast Tim took his usual role and conducted the present giving. 


After the present exchanges Keith, Bridgie and I went for a short walk.
  
In the afternoon Emily and I made stuffing - chopping lots and lots of things very small :-)
Mid afternoon we walked round to Harry's Bar carrying the prepared food, and then added it to the wonderful array of food already spread out on the table. As more people arrived the table filled even more. A wonderful meal was shared together with a lot of Phil and Brandi's friends. There was all sorts to eat and masses of it so no-one went hungry!
A quiz followed and more darts, it was a fabulous day.
By the end of it my head was buzzing (happily) but I also needed some quiet so I wandered home to Phil's and had a quiet potter about. I was feeling very thoughtful about Chris and John and kept checking my phone for messages.

Saturday 26th December
Boxing day - I didn't sleep till about 3am and got up about 9.30. I walked to meet Keith and Tim but couldn't find them - there was snow on the ground. I returned to Phil's and ate breakfast in the dark as Brandi and Phil were asleep :-)
Keith later joined me and we went for a walk together over the hill behind the University.




It was a lovely walk we talked a lot about Chris and when we arrived back at Phil's flat there was an email awaiting us from John. Chris had died early Boxing day morning. 

 I still find it hard to take in. 







In the afternoon we played Keith's Globetrotter... we marked on the world map all the places Keith had been; with each of us, all together or on his own! 

In the evening we went out for another meal all together. 

Sunday 27th December

At 10am I met up with Keith for a Paris Baguette... then we walked up the 'mountain' again. Bridgie and Tim came later to Phil's and we all went to Suwon Mall to change some clothes - either sizes were smaller than in uk or we've grown...or perhaps both! We had lunch there - Tim played the piano in the Mall!
Back home we finished Keith's Globetrotter and then they went to watch the cricket in their hotel room. Brandi and Emily went to a sauna place. I tidied and packed my case and then went over to join the others watching the cricket. 
We then had a final (for me) beef galbi - it is definitely my favourite Korean meal - and then went back to Phil's. We had fun secretly choosing music which Phil played on spotify, and we all had to guess who had chosen the music! It was really fun. 
At about midnight everyone left, Phil, Tim and Keith went to watch a football match!

Monday 28th December 
My final day in Korea, Tim and Keith met me in Paris Bagutte for coffee/breakfast and Bridgie joined us too.



It was -7C but a beautiful day! Tim and Keith popped back for their coats etc and then we headed for the Lake walk again over the 'mountain'. Tim came too and managed amazingly! It was easy to forget about his broken leg as he managed to do so much. He had only walked upstairs for the first time just before he flew out! 





It was beautiful - and Tim managed it all! Then it was time for final lunch together, a wee stop, collect my case and walk to the bus stop for the 3pm bus to Incheon. 

We boarded the plane on time but were sat for an hour waiting whilst they unloaded the luggage of a passenger who didn't show! We took off an hour late but with fantastic views over Incheon and beyond. It was dark but fascinating seeing the lights of the cities... 

What a fabulous time I've had.  Thank you everyone who made it such a special time.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The day!

Wednesday 23rd December

Surprise day!

After a morning and afternoon similar to the day before I met Chris for another round of golf. I told him of the 'Surprise' and asked him if he thought Phil might have an inkling of something afoot? He thought most definitely not - Brandi felt the same but I still had an uncertainty in my mind.
Anyway - I was glad to have something to occupy me because I was so excited! Chris and I chose a much easier course for our golf but had to stop on the 17th so we could be back to meet Phil and go out to the restaurant for the big meet up. Brandi had told Phil that three of her girlfriends were going to join us and she'd meet us there.
We chose our restaurant and walked to it, Chris came too and agreed to take some pictures for us! However the restaurant we planned to meet at was fully booked! So after a little panic and some phone calls between Phil and Brandi, we landed upon a different restaurant, for Galbi - (my favourite Korean meal). We arrived at the restaurant and Phil was keen to order and leave the 'girls' to order for themselves when they arrived!

Brandi arrived first; she had met up with Keith, Tim and Bridgie earlier and brought them  to outside the restaurant. She sat down on her own and said the girls were just on their way... then in walked Tim, Bridgie and Keith...
It was brilliant!
video


It was an absolutely amazing evening - Phil hadn't got a clue about it...  my thoughts were unfounded...  it was fantastic!
Such fun, Bridgie Tim and Keith had been in Honkong for a few days before flying in to Seoul. You can imagine what a great evening we had! 
After the meal, we had coffee back at Phil's and then went to Harry's bar to celebrate.



What a wonderful bunch!! 

Thursday 24th December - Christmas eve
Jet lag was still a bit troublesome but we all met up at Phil's in the morning for coffee and later lunch, interweaved with various sleeps, trips to the mall for pressies, work for Brandi, present wrapping, more sleeps, trips back to the shop for more wrapping paper... and food preparation! 
In the evening Brandi's friend Emily and Phil's friend James came and we had a great evening playing games, eating and drinking red wine! Everyone went home about 2am... 

Whilst we were having fun, we were also very aware of what was happening back home,  for Chris, John, Mike, Becky and Robbie. They were constantly in our thoughts.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Korea

Saturday 19th December
Today was a beautiful, crisp, cold day. The time change meant I woke about 2.30 am and remained awake till about 6 when I dropped off again! Anyway, after a lovely late breakfast we visited Homebase (Tesco) and bought a Christmas tree with decorations! It was refreshing to find that there were very few Christmas things in the shops... you had to go and look for them. Felt peaceful after the overkill of Christmas in UK!
Happy Christmas
We had coffee in the sunshine at the local park on the way home, and then went for a walk to the University.


Brandi and Phil at the local park.
 The University is close to Phil's and there are lovely walks around it...
University Grounds

The three of us.

In the evening we met up with Nate and Sunny for a meal round the corner... delicious! Then finished the evening at Marty's bar with a beer, chat and meet up with several other friends.
The next day I struggled a bit with Crohn's and jet lag so had a quiet day. I was so excited about 'the surprise' for Phil, Brandi and I dared not look at each other at times for fear of giving something away!  In the evening we watched a darts match at Harry's bar... clever machines - on line stuff - exciting but with Phil's team losing on the final dart!

Running alongside all this excitement and activity was deep sadness and love for John and Chris, Becky, Mike and Robbie and what they were all facing.  

Monday and Tuesday 21st/22nd  December
Phil and Brandi both went off to work but were back around lunch time.  I went out for a walk to the lake near the University where the sun came out. Later Phil meticulously prepared for the evening meal when a friend, John, came and joined us. Brandi and Phil cooked a fabulous meal and it was a lovely evening. On the Tuesday I walked into town after Brandi and Phil had left for work - I made soup, and met Phil for gun man du. In the evening Phil took me to meet Chris and we played golf on a golf simulator! It was huge fun and more than a little frustrating! We chose a difficult course and spent most of the time not on the fairway! But really good fun and nice to swing a club.
Ready to play!

Tomorrow was the big day... the surprise!


I'm back!

Hello!
I'm back!
What an amazing trip I have had - huge thanks to everyone who has made it all so special. 
Now I'm home and on my computer, I'll be able to add pictures to my adventures... they tell a much better story than my words could ever manage.
The beginning...
Grey morning, not long till the off!


Packed and almost ready.
On the 15th December I was off at last! Judith and Carl kindly came for me to take me to the station for the train... I could just manage my case although it felt very heavy!
Paula was going to keep an eye on my house and a friend would be staying for a while, so I left my nest happily knowing that it was in safe hands.
I stayed with Bridgie a couple of nights and then the big journey began.

Thursday 17th December
Well, what can I say? Business Class! It has to be seen to be believed!
Asiana Business Lounge


Relaxing!
I was astounded! Fantastic food and drink on offer... I was so naive I'd bought a sandwich before going to the lounge!  I sent messages and pictures to the family ... "Ah yes." replies Keith "That's my regular haunt." Keith has done so much travelling he's earned his points! It really was special. 
The flight itself was with Asiana and my seat was great - a flat-bed. This meant that I could lie right down flat and sleep (if I hadn't been so excited!). The food was excellent. We took off at 8.45pm  and we flew towards a beautiful sunrise and then endless snow covered landscape. It was fascinating watching on the flight map where we were. The Russian tundra seemed empty and endless, but eventually we landed at Incheon at 4.30pm on Friday. 
Phil was there to meet me, with a bunch of beautiful flowers! I don't think I have ever experienced being greeted at an airport with flowers before - it was lovelyl!
Phil bought me a ticket for the bus and then we headed to Suwon. It was so nice to share that journey, it didn't seem too long before we were walking over the wide bridge and  through familiar streets of Yeongtong to Phil's flat.
At Phil's


Sitting area

Kitchen and stairs to mezzanine.
 Brandi and Phil made me so welcome, they had a super meal ready for me which we followed with a walk out in the fresh cold clear air. Their flat is lovely and the sofa I can recommend!