Getting to Brockwood Hall

Passport control was easy enough with a few questions repeated just to make sure we are actually leaving. We didn’t have to wait too long for our suitcases and as soon as they were collected we went to the premium lounge. There we had a shower and a second breakfast and checked emails. When we got to Europcar they gave Dave an upgrade which is fantastic. We have a Volvo V40 with seat warmers. Those will come in handy tomorrow when it snows. We were on the road by 9am and stopped an hour later for espressi at Costa (£4.38). We’ve travelled this part of the route before when we came back from Wales. The area around Stafford is very pretty and there is no sign of winter in the countryside. Two hours later we had another espresso break at Starbucks (£3.90). We crossed the Manchester Ship Canal which is narrow when compared to the Amstel! We drove on the motorway towards Morecambe and the traffic was hectic. We got off the main road and went into Morecambe where our first stop was Edmondsons for potted shrimp, Manx kipper, smoked mackerel and when whelks.

He recommended Atkinsons for fish and chips but they were closed. We got pork pies for lunch from Alan John Baker who is the local butcher. We also bought pork and leek sausages and English black pudding, both made on site. He also makes boerewors for a local customer! We drove along the beach front and as we turned off for Carnforth we saw snow on the distant hills. We did a big shop at Tesco and while driving to Brockwood Hall we saw a road gritter at work getting ready for the expected snow fall tomorrow morning. The high today was 10degC so not too bad. By 16h00 we were driving into the setting sun and at 16:45 we were sitting in Brockwood Hall with our complimentary drinks.

After completing the paperwork we drove to our lodge and unpacked. Dave started preparing supper and was ready to finish off at 18:30. Being far too early to eat even though at home we are two hours ahead, we pushed dinner till 19:00. We watched quiz shows till 21:00 and then went off to bed to read books.

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Leaving for the UK

Our morning started fairly normally. Dave loaded the van with our very heavy bags while I got myself sorted out. However, he left his laptop at home so his work day did not start as planned. I chipped my tooth on Tuesday while flossing so the first thing I did after sorting out work was go to the dentist. An hour later my tooth was repaired, my teeth were cleaned and I went back to the office. Albeit with my left side of my face and tongue completely numb. Thankfully by the time we left for the airport all the feeling was back and there was no pain. We checked our luggage straight through to Heathrow and went to the lounge where I had something to eat. All I had eaten in the morning was one samosa. Our flight to Johannesburg left late but that was not a problem for us. We ambled through to international departures, stopping along the way to buy readers for Dave and lens cleaner for me.

We had an easy time getting through passport control. The gentleman from the department of home affairs right in front of us decided to let us through his gate, skipping half the queue. We stopped for a whisky taster before heading up to the lounge. After espressi I went for a massage. Not as good as last time but at least my neck clicked. I came back to the lounge and had a snack. There is a machine that makes pancakes so I had a few of those while getting a video of it working.

Boarding went smoothly and we have a friendly cabin crew member in the jump seat opposite us. We are in the emergency exit row which is super comfortable.

Supper choices were beef and white rice and hake and yellow rice. We had one each, and I had the fish. We both battled to fall asleep. I will ask for extra blankets on the return flight but at least the arrival temperature won’t be too much of a shock.

I eventually fell asleep at about 1am South African time and woke up a few times during the night. The lights were turned on at 6:45 SA time (4:45 UK time). We had omelettes for breakfast which were not too bad. The fruit was really good and by the time we were done we were flying over Paris.

After a serious cup of ‘fake’ coffee we completed our landing cards. As our entertainment screens were not working for the third flight in a row Mark gave me an email address to send a complaint to. Wonder what response if any I will get. We arrived in Heathrow airspace at 6am and got stacked up waiting to land.

Joshua’s Bar Mitzvah

Talya is one of my oldest friends. We met as teenagers at youth camp and have been close friends for well over 30 years. This is a friendship that has stood the test of time and distance. When I talk of Talya I speak of her as my sister. We are that close! And we have similar enough looks that people would believe me. Her mother is my Cape Town mother – I have called her mom since I was 16 when she started looking after me in December holidays. Talya is married to Jonathan and they live in East Barnet. We have been fortunate enough to spend time with them at their home. Last year we were there for 5 nights and it was a really special visit. This year we are going to the United Kingdom specifically to celebrate Joshua’s Bar Mitzvah. It had been my intention to go just for the weekend. One, I did not expect Dave to come with me, and two, it is going to be really cold. But then Dave said he would come with and so we will have a week’s holiday before Joshua’s celebration. We are heading off to The Lake District and then to Newcastle. Hope you will ‘tag along’ with us 🙂