By keef and annie hellinger, June 19 2022 8.36AM
Not The Motorhome trip No 17 : May 27th 2022 – June 18th 2022
Welcome to Blog 182, a real family affair. Our family from Singapore were over for 3 weeks, the first time we have seen them in 3 years due to the pandemic. Just so lovely to spend time with them, unfortunately as we let our hair down i.e pubs, restaurants, and crowded places Keef (Grandpa) got covid.
Anyhow it was still a fab time. Left at 3.30 am on Friday 27th May to pick them up from Heathrow, got there with plenty of time to spare, mask on I was the first person in Arrivals and therefore bagged the best viewing slot in the house armed with my welcome card I buckled down to greet them all. As space was limited for baggage in the Merc Annie had to stay behind. Due to some baggage handling issues at Heathrow (maybe staff shortages? who knows) they were quite a while before they came through, just how wonderful was that! Whilst waiting for them I reveled in what appeared to be a reenactment of "Love Actually" as the hugs and cheers as people's loved ones came through those arrival swing doors was truly lovely #emotional
Interestingly there were lots of folks who came up to look at my sign, thinking I was a taxi service #teehee
After pick up we travelled back up to Sandiacre, stopping at Newport Pagnell services for a slap up "full english" breakfast with black pudding, one of their fave things that is impossible to find in Singapore #class. Got back to all greet Annie and they chilled and tried to overcome jet lag. Not easy. They decided that they didnt need an extra day to recover and were happy to travel up to Lancashire on the Saturday to greet Craig & Leanne and family who were going up first. We all kept it a surprise.
During the planning of the combined family holiday we had booked a large holiday home , Hazelgrove Barn, in Laneshawbridge on a farm, made possible to get us all together as it was half term in England and the Queens 70th jubilee affording 2 days public holiday, #goodstuff For the second week whilst Craig and co returned to work and school we were travelling onto a second holiday home, again on a farm, called Curlew Cottage very near to Loch Lomond , an area we love a lot but have never really stayed in. It was so nice we may well take the campervan back there sometime, Keef has already sussed out a campsite very near to Gartocharn.
The 3rd week was spent doing family stuff back home in the Sandiacre area in Nottinghamshire. The whole 3 weeks went far too quickly, but it was ALL just magical. Thanks for visiting Singapore. #biglove
The total mileage in the Kia when I returned it was 786 miles.
If you would like to see all our blogs on non-motorhome family trips use this TIMELINE page, thanks for looking
THE WHOLE FAMILY IN LANCASHIRE
So we travelled up to Lancashire in both the hire car and our own car. At one point, unbeknown to Keef having put the handbrake on on a hill, a green locking button came on on the Kia which meant as I tried to move off it wouldn't and smoked like crazy, a smell we spent ages trying to remove with windows open. Very kindly Annie who was driving behind me put on her hazards. Finally got it sorted and we arrived over hill and dale at the holiday home just a Craig was going off to do the shopping in Burnley, a lovely surprise and Edie was hugely excited to meet up with Charlie when she wasn't expecting it.
As you arrived in the area Hazelgrove barn was just so visible on the horizon guiding you to it. What an incredible modern property owned by Cheryl & Steve and one we booked through Hoseasons. A very nice friendly couple and a well equipped establishment with cot and stair gates and 360 degree views to die for. Perfect for a big family of 10.
Day 1 Saturday 28th May 2022 - Arrival, Surprise Hallo's all around and settle in, unpack, tea, catch up and off to bed reasonably early. One thing I remember was the lovely pix of Tate hugging and kissing Ned, a pleasure (mostly) that carried on for the rest of the week.
Day 2 Sunday 29th May 2022 - BBQ Sunday, tried out their brand new kit and outside decking table and chairs, the kids loved hiding in the storage box, a real hoot. Watched Forest at Wembley returning to the premiership after 23 years, a whole stack of Hellinger noise, COYRs. What a tense game which we had to watch with copious amounts of alcohol.
Day 3 Monday 30th May 2022 - Day out at Thornton Hall Country Park at Thornton in Craven about 15 minutes drive away from the holiday home. We all saw and fed the animals, the girls having ice cream, bit of a playpark outside, mostly wet sadly, but both saw Dino live spectacular about T-Rex and others (fake in Charlies words) and played in the indoor kids area, Phoenix even made it up the tricky slope. We ate inside. The girls had the opportunity to dig for dinosaur eggs which they did and found treasure. A fun day out. Charlie said "its cold Grandpa" tee-hee, now how surprising is that in comparison to Singapore, G&G will be complaining of the heat at Christmas.
Day 4 Tuesday 31st May 2022 - Started after mass cooked brekkie done by Doug (Yummy) of scrambled egg and avocado on toast, with Craig and Tate's usual bike ride of discovery, Tate absolutely loves it, to see the joy in his face is a wonder to behold. The girls then put on their lovely yellow dresses and did some dancing along to music provided by the ever present Alexa, ha-ha. After brekkie it was time for a walk to wear off some of the grub so Grandpa put on his walking boots and took his camera off up the gravel driveway turning left up the hill to the woodland, over slugs and sheep poo (remember those Edie) to the Trig point on the Pennine Bridleway with fab views back over the surrounding countryside. There was even picnic benches and seats up there to take those views in. Pretty soon initially Doug and family joined me then Craig and family. It was quite magical up there over the dry stone wall. In the afternoon we all drove to Burnley in the pouring rain to the Airtime play indoor shed , which all bar G&G went on. It was a nightmare to park there and in fairness had the feel of a Covid petri dish but the kids and adults loved the workout, they were so tired on return to the cottage. #exhausted
Day 5 Wednesday 1st June 2022 - weather today very mixed, so a morning in and around the house, after lunch Grandpa put on his walking boots and headed off up Warley Wise lane to the Black Lane Ends Tavern, so named after the brook nearby called the Black Lane Scar. I took a few pix on route, quite windy. Had a nice pint of Tim Taylors landlord and sat outside admiring the view. It started spitting so I decided to start back but bumped into the family walking towards the pub so joining them returned for a second pint, after all it is a holiday. poor craig had mostly had to carry Edie's bike. This is the pub that C&L had eaten at on the first day before we arrived. It has a really good garden with kids play apparatus so we sat outside. There was a sausage dog some local kids had bought along that the kids were fascinated by, frankly I would not have allowed it on the apparatus but hey ho I'm an old fogie, tee-hee. Keef got the menu so we could pre order for Friday lunch , it would be busy as the 2nd day of the bank holiday for the Queen's 70th jubilee celebrations and the pub needed our orders. All were given bar Phoenix and Annie who had stayed back at the cottage. Grandpa had a major emoji failure, no idea how, but shouldn't press the phone in your pocket I would suggest #teehee Grandpa cooked a "sunday dinner" of roast pork and all the trimmings on a wednesday and Edie and Craig made the Platinum Pudding recipe for afters, and yummy it all was.
Day 6 Thursday 2nd June 2022 - up early, got ready for our professional family photo shoot. Suited and booted we headed off in the 3 cars to Wycoller country park where Leanne had arranged to meet the photographer. After one false start the Kia and Merc duly arrived at the Atom panopticon car park and introduced ourselves to Steve the photographer from Preston. After some frantic phone calls C&L who had visited many of the country park's car parks (teehee) arrived and we were ready. The shoot took about 45 minutes in total, a lovely view from here, twas a little nippy but one and all enjoyed it and picking the dandelion clocks was a big hit for the grand children. See photoshoot below, click here if you prefer. Having said our goodbyes to Steve and huge thanks to Leanne for arranging we all headed off into Colne, a place many of us had already visited to do our shopping in Sainsburys. We all managed to park in the sideroad near Sainsbo's. Walked back into town and enjoyed the wonderful Queen's jubilee celebrations that were going on, music at the church, fun fair rides, face painting, balloon animals, circus demonstrations, clog dancing and the girls getting a donkey ride and all free , or mostly. Candy floss was consumed and then dumped, just far too sugary. D&P liked the look of a table in a closed antiques store, indeed they tried for a few days to get but eventually gave up. Craig & I even answered a church survey on the reasons for their dwindling congregation, feeling full of the spirit of Jubilee times. #kind
On the way back Keef called in at the pub to let them know Annie & Phoenix's order and the final decision for the kids, we were now fully booked up for our meal tomorrow. In the evening Craig & Leanne kindly added Charlie and Alfie to their child caring repertoire and Doug & Phoenix kindly took us oldies out to the White Swan at Fence, near Burnley for a lovely Michelin starred meal, now how lovely was that. There are many pix of the fine food and probably worth viewing then alongside the White Swan menu. We returned quite late after driving into empty petrol forecourts in Colne, closed we had forgotten because it was a 2 day bank holiday. Petrol & Diesel prices have risen sharply.
Day 7 Friday 3rd June 2022 - weather changeable, we all walked down to the pub at the end of the road, takes about 30 minutes, ready for our prebooked meal at 12 noon. G&G set off first as a little slow these days, the others soon caught us up. Our reserved table in the corner was right next to a roaring fire with no windows open, just too hot really, maybe this is where I caught Covid BA5 but who knows, anyhow it was a very nice meal and time and the sticky toffee pudding with custard for after's was too die for. The girls did colouring at the table pre food. Edie had got her socks wet in puddles on the way up but they soon dried in front of the fire. Post dinner we went out into the garden and the kids played on the swings etc. for quite a while. Ned loved the numerous cars. On the walk back we spied a lovely red admiral butterfly on the dry stone wall in the sun. A very pleasant amble back. C&L had gone ahead to get Tate to sleep so Edie came with us as had wanted to play on the swings with Charlie, I love the way they get on so well.
In the afternoon we started the packing , boo hiss, this week was going far too quickly.
Phoenix had pre booked horse riding at Jerusalem farm just down the road for the girls. Steve the owner had suggested it as an option on the first day we arrived, inspired by their Colne donkey riding they were both looking forward to it, it was an hour session and the lady doing it was very good at instructing them, there was one girl there who had been doing it every Friday since the age of 3, unaccompanied she looked a dead cert for a future Olympic gold in Dressage.
Day 8 Saturday 4th June 2022 - sadly very wet and windy this morning, glad we had done some of the car packing yesterday evening. Got the final packing done. Said our fond farewells to Craig, Leanne, Edie & Tate and set out on what was to become a mammoth journey to Scotland, click HERE to read on
Here are the slideshows and talkies videos capturing our wonderful family time in Lancashire
Highlights slideshow day by day
The full slideshow of some 444 images taken at Hazelgrove barn and surrounding areas
PHOTOSHOOT AT WYCOLLER COUNTRY PARK
We got up early to go off to the country park for a family photoshoot Leanne had kindly arranged with a professional photographer, Steve from Preston. We arrived after getting minorly lost at the Pendle Atom in the Wycoller Country Park , Laneshawbridge entrance but Craig & Leanne took a little longer as unbeknown to us there were quite a few car parks in the area. Eventually they arrived and we were able to get on with the shoot which was fun controlling the little ones, ha-ha. Steve was a nice chap, the Atom was a little graffitied sadly and surprisingly the skies on some of his pix were missing / very faded, maybe that was on purpose, who knows but I have manipulated some of them with photoshop / photo studio 12. Hopefully it has made an improvement. Here is the slideshow of that Photoshoot plus a little bit on the Pendle Atom, set in just fab countryside and an area we have never visited before.
The Pendle Atom. Pendle’s Panopticon, Atom, rests on the hillside above Wycoller village in Wycoller Country Park. Constructed in ferro-cement with a surface coating of metal-based paint, it is both a striking contemporary viewing point and shelter from which to enjoy Pendle’s glorious scenery, and an intriguing and beautiful object which can be viewed from afar. From inside, its circular viewing spaces frame spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and an initially hidden, polished steel ball reflects back those views to the visitor.
Wycoller is a historic settlement dating back beyond 1000BC. It has close links with the Brontes, and Charlotte is thought to have been a frequent visitor. In 1973 the village was declared a conservation area and the surrounding 350 acres of farmland were designated a Country Park. Wycoller has several unusual architectural features, including seven small bridges that cross Wycoller Beck, and an 18th-century five-aisled barn, now converted into a visitor centre.
US AND THE SINGAPORE HELLINGERS AT LOCH LOMOND, SCOTLAND
Overall the weather was good for the first 4 days then it took a turn for the worse, eventually forcing us to leave on the Saturday in howling gales and strong rainstorms, which didnt stop until we got to the English Borders on the M74 heading towards Carlisle. We stayed in Curlew Cottage on East Cambusmoon Farm owned by Deborah & Steve who were very friendly and helpful. She was from Surrey he from Yorkshire and had been there since 2006 buying the farm as a derelict concern and doing it up, wonderfully well. They had a small holding we looked out onto with a few sheep, one brown sort a rare breed. The shed next to us when wet was the sheep's refuge, what wimpy sheep #haha They also had a vegetable garden with some lovely apple trees, fruits and flowers, including some lovely pink ornamental poppies which Keef discussed with Steve. In the orchard bit of it where the hens, which Charlie & Alfie loved going to and feeding them. We kept all our food scraps for them in a container provided, with 2 holiday cottages on site they must have been the best fed hens in the neighbourhood. The flap on the hen house we would lift in the morning to see what the girls had laid, indeed on one occasion we caught on of the black hens just laying. So nice to be on a farm in a great location for the grandkids. The trampoline in the shed and slides etc. on site were well used , it was fun watching Doug and Phoenix also bouncing from my self isolation in the bedroom, I got a good view of the trampoline. Charlie was very good at it. On the wall was a quote from the Scottish Bard, Rabbie Burns and a good one it was too. Also tribute to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and surprisingly Mick Jagger.
DAY 1 (and 8 for Lancashire Diary) Saturday 4th June 2022 - Having left Lancashire it took us about 2 hours to get across to the M6 in the Lake District. We stopped at Skipton at the Tesco's fuel station to fill up both cars for the long journey. By now it had finally stopped raining. We then initially stopped at a café on route to the M6 for everyone to have a comfort break but despite the sign saying open it was closed at a bank holiday. We then got caught behind a tractor for miles cross country, well Annie who was driving the merc did, Keef drove slowly in front of the tractor so as not to lose her. Finally crossed into Scotland on the M6 near Gretna Green, the motorway then turning into the M74.
Charlie was suffering immeasurable pain due to ear ache and infection. We stopped then at a service station called Annandale Waters on the M74 which had a lovely lake to walk around. We all lunched, us on Cornish Pasties, the others on other beverages and food although poor Charlie was in no state to eat she cried endlessly as Phoenix tried in vain to comfort her, poor Charlie. After spending quite a while at the services we decided to visit a pharmacist in nearby town of Moffat to get medical help. The guy examined Charlie as best he could and prescribed ibuprofen and kiddie paracetamol to alleviate in part her pain. It worked for a bit. He also told us to ring 111 if it got worse and / or there was discharge from the ear.
We crossed the Erskine bridge and were in familiar territory, Dumbarton, then through Alexandria onto the village of Gartocharn and turning into Dunchryne Road with its playpark on the left hand side. Initially we missed the East Cambusmoon Farm sign as only in one direction and hidden in the hedge. Also a coach was coming down the very narrow road, weird. So we both pulled into the car park by our Curlew cottage, exhausted but pleased to arrive and get unpacked and settled in a nurse Charlie. The journey was listed as 3 hours 40 mins, it took us 3 times as long for obvious reasons.
Keef and Annie popped out into Alexandria to get fish and chip suppers for everyone, it had been a massive journey and we were all too tired to cook. D&P eventually managed o settle the kids especially Charlie but she did not have a good night.
DAY 2 Sunday 5th June 2022 - As there had been discharge from Charlies ear overnight Keef rang NHS 111 to get help. A nice lady Kimberly eventually helped but the phone reception was so poor on the farm that any slight movement of ones head wiped out the call. Anyhow after numerous failed attempts Keef talked to a doctor, strong Glaswegian accent a nd tricky to understand BUT we got Charlie into the Vale of Leven hospital in Alexandria for an emergency appointment at 11 am. Keef , Doug and Charlie drove there and saw a very nice lady doctor wo was very gentle, caring and informative. She gave us one jar of penicillin and a prescription to get a second the next day, they only having limited supplies at the hospital. It started to work its magic as anti-biotics often do fairly quickly and soon Charlie was eating again and looking much more like her normal self, thank heavens, poor girls, ear ache is awful. We all had a bit of a look around the area and whilst Charlie slept it off , looked after by Granny the rest of us went out in the hire car to the Loch Lomond shores area in Balloch and went to what in the end was a disappointing farmers market. Nice views and sunshine however. We bought some black pudding, pies and scones. Keef cooked an evening meal using pies etc. from the farmers market and left over veg from the previous cottage we had bought with us.
DAY 3 Monday 6th June - Day out in Glasgow, Charlie now fine. Up early we drove into Balloch and parked for free near the station, interestingly all car parks in this beauty spot area are free, why can't England do the same I wonder? We bought return train tickets into Glasgow Queen Street station for everyone , except Ned of course, he is too young. Granny & Grandpa couldn't get concessions without a ScotRail seniors card, and our State bus passes only work in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, NOT Scotland, weird I would venture!
Nice train, the kids enjoyed the journey which stopped at most stations on the way into Glasgow. Grandpa teased / amused Charlie with lots of strange Scottish anecdotes mostly centered around the town names... Singer / Drum-somewhere/ Bowling, Auch Eye The Noo-dle. Queen Street is very convenient for George Square. We all used the loo's first (50p what a rip-off!) The Hop On Hop Off bus had changed location around George Square since we last visited due to some road works and segregating the area right next to the station so we walked down to where stop 1 now is. The nice lady gave Annie & I concessions based on our Reykjavík tickets and the rest a discounted Family ticket so win-win.
We hopped on the bus all of us bar Granny upstairs in the sheltered bit at the front, just in case but in fairness it was a very dry and hot day, even if Charlie felt cold #smile We then took the bus trip around through all the sights including Billy Connolly murals, Glickman's the oldest sweet shop in Glasgow, People's Park, That pub where women were only allowed from the late 70s (dreadful!) , the fabulous Kelvingrove museum and a whole lot more taking about 1 hour 20 minutes getting off at stop 19. Annie and I have now done the bus tour 3 times, but it was so nice to share what we both feel is our fave small city in the UK (well currently in the UK but who knows going forward!). Although we passed the Clyde side Distillery we didn't stop as Doug had other plans for later in the week whiskey wise. Stop 19, we walked up to the Willow Tea Rooms where Keef had booked us all in for a special tea, not the Mad Hatter's Tea party this time but a special service and creation for the Queen's 70th Jubilee including a little cake version of the Platinum Pudding Craig had made on Wednesday 1st June. It was all so nice, Doug had the Islay whiskey version, and we had our lovely French Earl Grey Tea. We couldn't manage all the somewhat sickly ice cakes so asked for a doggie box to take them away, G&G tried later on in the evening to eat them but just too sugary so chucked them away. The willow tea rooms are Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired, we both love his work and the art work from his wife Margaret. Maybe take a look via the links, you won't be disappointed. Interestingly we started with sausage roll, gourmet ones, seemed to have been a theme of this holiday, we will never go into Greggs again to avoid disappointment.
After the tea rooms we decided to walk back to Charing Cross and saw the lovely old preserved tenement block, after that we thought we would have time to make it up to the Kelvingrove but it was hot and the children (and oldies) were getting tired so we stopped at Kelvin park's kids playground to let them have some fun. We decided after that we were running out of time so started walking back along Royal Circus (such fab buildings, always reminds me of Bath). The very kind Hop On Hop Off bus driver we had had in the morning recognised us and stopped to let us on mid stops. We then got off at the Royal Opera house area and walked up to the Hard Rock Café for tea, Charlie kindly bought Grandpa a T-shirt. Granny noted I had already got one from a previous visit tee-hee. Charlie fell to sleep in her pasta poor girl, still partly recovering we suspected.
Anyhow after the meal we hailed a passing Glaswegian couple with baby and asked them the way to Queen Street station. Amusingly they pointed, we tourists were right next to it. Caught the train back to Balloch got back in our cars and arrived tired and happy back at Curlew Cottage, a fun day out, I think everyone enjoyed their City break, we so love Glasgow.
DAY 4 Tuesday 7th June 2022
Not Keef's best day sadly. Family fed the chickens in the morning. The decision was to go in the afternoon to Luss (a fab place Annie and I stopped at on our earlier trip to Scotland, Blog 177) on the edge of Loch Lomond. Doug had arranged to hire some bikes for them. Keef felt unwell and retired to bed for an hour before lunch. We then drove in both cars to Luss where Doug had booked us into the Village Rest for lunch, Keef paid to park them in the long stay car park, it was a short walk to the café, all had dinner except Keef who had a coffee, I felt awful, and it was very hot today. After lunch we walked down to the water's edge by the pier, what fab views over the loch. The bike hire lady kitted them all out, they only had a couple of hours I think. Anyhow off they went for a fab ride on the loch edge pathway, i think they all had a great time. G&G walked back to the cars. Keef just slept all day whilst waiting for their return, luckily the windows were open as at this stage I didn't know I had Covid. After this we went back to the cottage, Keef went straight to bed at 5pm and slept right thru basically being asleep for 24 hours.
They had tea which was the BBQ (a lot to chose from in the shed) and played games etc.
DAY 5 Wednesday 8th June 2022
Keef isolating all day. Not a great day weather wise either. Doug & Phoenix went shopping at the Aldi in Alexandria and had a bit of a look around, Keef had very high fever and therefore slept a lot of the day. Annie did some crochet and reading but it was hacking it down with rain outside, Singapore's cooked a nice meal in the evening. The kids watched some TV and played games, Granny played a lot of games with Charlie. What you might call sadly a bit of a washed out day
DAY 6 Thursday 9th June 2022 All up and having breakfast, Keef still isolating in the back bedroom, Annie camped in the spare room with single beds downstairs as an obvious precaution. Doug & Phoenix and Ned in a cot in the bedroom to the left up the stairs, Charlie the bedroom to the right. We had fixed up one of the 2 transported stair gates at the top of the stairs, a good safety measure for Ned, although he just loves going up and down stairs , with a little supervision. Cot wise although the cottage provided one, it was very heavy and as Ned already used to the travel one we transported we put that up for him.
After breakfast Doug and family took the Mercedes over to the Renton area for Charlie's private horse riding lesson, something she loves, and this lady was a very good one on one instructor, she even had Charlie doing some show jumping admittedly over very low fences.
Charlie told us all about it when she returned. After that they went on for the Whiskey tour in Old Kilpatrick, the Auchentoshan Distillery in Dalmuir area of Clydesbank. The journey in total distance from the cottage is about 30 minutes and 15 miles so reasonably close. Even though they had paid for me and explained I had Covid they couldn't get the fee for me back, not good, so they took all the free samples which when I was a little better back in Sandiacre I shared with Doug whilst watching England footy on the telly. Overall whilst the found the tour informative, Doug was not impressed with their whiskeys. Since he ordered 2 bottles via Amazon, one the whiskey of the year 2022 to take back to Singapore.
Whilst they were out, Annie being negative and Keef wearing his mask, we both went out for a lovely local walk up the hill by the roads, so nice to get out into the fresh air, some lovely views, saw the ploughed fields close up and lots of wild flowers and pollinators on the road edges. It was quite steep up to the top parallel with the woods. On the way down Keef went into the woodland path entrance mentioned in the cottage blurb, owned by locals, and a woodland path walk up to the top lined with, wait for it, flower pot men, hidden in bushes , up trees, ha-ha, made of course of old flower pots the locals have a good sense of humour and it would keep kids amused for hours trying to find them. All in all a nice walk. We had cheese and bikkies outside for lunch until it drizzled and we had to rush inside, which meant reapplying the mask, itchy or what? #safe
After lunch Keef took the hire car out to explore further on from where we had walked up the hill. Windows open, lots of very small farm tracks to basically nowhere along initially Dunchryne Road then past Caldarvan Station (out in the middle of nowhere) past equestrian centers towards Croftamie but turning back along the old school road and back out onto the old Military Road (A811) at Buchanan, part of the Loch Lomond National Park, lovely, with both a riding stables , RSPV bird sanctuary and interestingly a campsite for motorhomes, which if Annie and I come back we would stay at, a lovely area, so a good reckie and it got me out of the house.
Doug cooked in the evening, Annie always bought my meals into the back bedroom so I could keep apart from the rest of the family #boo
DAY 7 Friday 10th June 2022 After breakfast took both cars into Balloch and parked in the central free car park by the play park. Walked down to the Sweeney cruise ships office where Keef got tickets for all bar himself, masked up it was still far to risky. The family went on the lovely cruise trip on Loch Lomond and took lots of pictures, Charlie as well, G&G had bought both girls a digital camera to use on the holiday. As the trip was for an hour Keef went off and filled up with fuel, Doug had done the Merc yesterday. I also called into Aldi to get some provisions and stopped on the way back to Balloch at that lovely old Victorian façade opposite the Vale of Leven hospital, where we had taken Charlie , in Alexandria to take some pix, now derelict but what an amazing building, must have a preservation order on it. At Balloch I strolled around a took at lot of pictures, eventually filming their boat coming back in. I then strolled along passed Balloch house to meet them. We then went back to the playpark by the cars for the kids to have some fun times, dinosaur eggs, aerial runways and lots of rustic apparatus to play on #fun After that we returned to the cottage, lunch, feeding the chickens one last time, trampolining, Keef isolating in the back bedroom watching , then sadly packing, time had flown by. We got quite a lot of the boots packed, thank heavens and tomorrow morning for last minute stuff it was hacking it down with rain.
DAY 8 Saturday 11th June 2022 Packed up the rest of the remaining stuff , Phoenix was kindly taking the risk of travelling back with me in the hire car, we both wore masks to lessen the risk of transmission. The kids , Doug & Annie in the Merc. Doug driving the first part. We set off in pouring rain across the Erskine Bridge in convoy, passed Bowling (tee-hee) and all the other train stops on route we had discovered on our way into Glasgow. Joining the M74 thru Glasgow outskirts and on to initially Cairn Lodge services just off M74 near Douglas, a farmers market services, we had been to before , for coffee, comfort break and breakfast snacks, I had a yummy homemade cheese and onion version of a scotch pie. Stopped for about 50 minutes then it was on in the still rain to the TeBay Farmshop and Kitchen services for lunch, not actually the one I was thinking of which was Killington Lake , but equally as good. Keef ate separately, all very nice food, quite crowded. After lunch Annie and I went for a walk around its small lake and looked in at the family eating. I pretended to Charlie that the loch ness monster was in the lake but sharp girl, she was not fooled #ohgrandpa We stayed outside and waited for them to finish and go to the farm shop where Doug bought Scottish Strawberries, and some black pudding slices to take back to Singapore. After that we headed back down the M6 , a very long journey, but much quicker than on the way up for obvious reasons #poorcharlie Doug drove as far as the services before junction 15 , the Stoke turn off where Annie took over. As P & I were so much in front by then (and had no house keys) we went on through Stoke and back to Asda in Long Eaton to get fuel and some food shopping and gifts for their friends back home, some trad English stuff. By the time we got back to Sandiacre they had arrived and unpacked. I unpacked the KIA ready to return the next day. Exhausted we had a simple tea (pizza if memory serves me right) and all off to bed, so glad we went to Scotland, despite my limiting Covid it was family fun. I was still testing positive every day. The journey back was about 350 miles.
Here are the slideshows and talkies videos capturing our wonderful family time in Scotland
Firstly a highlights slideshow with music and images with text, allowing 5 seconds for each image so you can fully take it in.
Next the full image slideshow showing all 455 images
And finally the Talkies video with us in full voice.
A WEEK BACK AND AROUND SANDIACRE, NOTTINGHAM
Having done the long days travelling back in the 2 cars (ours and the hired Kia Sportage - what a Yuk car, certainly would not recommend) from Loch Lomond, was pouring in Scotland as we did our final loading up, so glad we had packed the boots mostly in the dry the night before. We arrived home to spent a further week here with Doug, Phoenix, Charlie & Ned as well as meeting up with the Swannington Hellingers.
Early Sunday morning we returned the hire car back to Europcar, not surprisingly after the multi event fiasco on picking it up (3 journeys - they didn't recognise my old style UK driving license and I needed passport rather than photo id) the lady was late... should have been there at 9am didn't arrive until 10 am, Grrr
The main highlights were lunch at the Priory Loughborough on Sunday (minus Keef & Phoenix) plus a very warm and sunny day out at East Leake's Manor Farm plus Strawberry picking at Wymeswold and a last supper for the Singapore Hellingers on Friday evening of pulled pork, jackets and salad followed by those lovely strawberries and ice cream , prior to Saturday's trip back down to Heathrow, which took quite a while but we all had to leave early as Keef needed to be back in Nottingham for the multi rescheduled Yes "Close to the Edge" concert with pal Neil S at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. Luckily their plane left on time, a long journey home but oh so glad we were all able to spent time together after 3 years of pandemic and create some lovely memories to share.
Here are some summary slideshows of that final shared week, both images with music and the talkies. #enjoy
Firstly highlights with text and Bryan Adams
Secondly all the images from week 3's fun
So that covers both the images and talkies taken during week 3 of the fab Singapore Hellinger's visit #lovelytimes
OMICRON, BA5 - NOT NICE 😷
This wrecked my 3 weeks, who knows where I got it from but if you trace back 5 days from when I first tested positive, it was either the Queens Jubilee day at Colne (unlikely as outside), the posh 1 star Michelin meal Doug & Phoenix kindly treated us to at Fence, near Burnley , or the Black Lane Ends pub (with roaring fire in summer, no windows open) or most likely in my humble opinion, the COVID petri dish that was the kids indoor air play area in Burnley , but with all these things who knows and does it really matter, the one thing I do know is that from the Tuesday of the 2nd week when I slept for 24 hours , had a very red raw sore throat, hacking uncontrollable cough, and huge fever that then returned for a further 2 other days with huge high fever that it was COVID and I would not recommend it for even my worst enemy. It meant I self isolated for nearly all the week in Scotland in the back bedroom and have become an expert in full time mask wearing, those NHS cotton ones are so itchy but I desperately did not want any of the rest of my family to get it, luckily they didn't. Even Annie who sat with me in the car on that Tuesday at the wonderful Luss whilst they all went bike riding around Loch Lomond shores.
I have included a video diary I took to record these sad events , the real cons being that after waiting 3 years because of the ghastly pandemic to see my lovely Singapore Hellinger family that was pretty limited in terms of emotional cuddles of my grand kids #boo
This is my sad COVID video diary
Yippee Day 19 - Finally free of this ghastly virus, would truly like not to get it again but as a silent infector that is difficult to ensure
THAT'S ALL FOLKS