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Yorkshire visit


I shared some photos of our visit to England but didn’t really talk about what we did. This is the abbreviated version and no time to refine the text so it actually sounds nice.

We flew from Bangkok to Zürich with a very short stopover and then on to Manchester where we picked up our rental car (a Passat just like ours at home). We took long, winding roads through West and East Yorkshire. It was past lunchtime so we found an old favourite, fish and chips in Wetwang, East Yorkshire. The name seems to have changed a few times since we first moved there, now called Harpers, but the quality has stayed the same. We went from there to Market Weighton where we used to live to have a quick look at our old rental house. It was newly refurbished when we moved in there back in 2005. It is showing signs of wear and the colours have changed, but I loved seeing it anyway. We also stopped by the grand Beverley Minster on the way. I used to work at the police station in Beverley so I have a real soft spot for the town. Beautiful as ever!

After our touring we went to check in to our farm cottage near Walkington. This cottage was one of the best self-catering places we have stayed in ever. I am having trouble coming up with anything worth complaining about. The only thing I can think of is the fridge. Every time you used it, the door had to be pushed in extra hard. If you didn’t it would beep until you did. And, no dryer. Washing was a breeze, but in damp conditions things don’t dry well. The owner, who was ever so helpful and friendly, did offer to put our things in her tumble dryer which we didn’t need in the end. See? Everything else was perfect. Broadgate Farm Cottages near Walkington, The Stables. Two large bedrooms, two bathrooms, large dining room/kitchen/lounge. Animals. Fresh farm eggs. Rural. Spacious. Perfection. We spent three nights here and will go back next time we are in the area. Broadgate Farm Cottages

Both kids were showing signs of urinary tract infections on our flights. I only mention this because it impacts things later.

Monday morning we got going and decided to drive out to the seaside. Due to time shortages we ended up going out near Hornsea. The kids had a wonderful time playing on the rocky beach and picking up rocks to throw. I had asked my friend Rachel to make doctor appointments for the kids at the surgery in Market Weighton and they were set for Monday afternoon just after 2:30. I also had plans to meet with my friend Pauline at 1:30. And Tom needed to be in Goole (his old workplace) by 1 to work and then have dinner. We suddenly realised that we were not going to make anything on time so I had to rearrange time with Pauline and drop Tom off late. I was hoping we would make it to our appointments on time.

After dropping Tom in Goole I drove to Market Weighton to meet Pauline and break the news that I needed to go see the doc so she joined us and chatted while my jet lagged, miserable children acted like wild animals. They were crawling under the chairs and running around the waiting room. I did a temporary registration at our old surgery in Market Weighton. I didn’t have to show any ID for myself or kids. They registered us and we were seen by the NP for testing. Preliminary tests showed nothing so they would have to be sent off for further examination. We would be in Norway by the time they came back. At least we would know what is wrong. This ended up costing us nothing for our visit to the surgery.

The kids were still being horrible but we needed a drink and a snack so we went to the old Bradley’s cafe which had a new name due to recent acquisition. We had a coffee and cake with Pauline fairly quickly then decided a park visit was necessary. We found Rachel and Elliot at the park near the preschool. Sofia and Elliot became reacquainted after nearly four years and went off to play. Lilliana then finished preschool and she joined the other kids to play while I chatted with Pauline and Rachel.

Apologies to Pauline. Thanks for trailing along with us to the doctors and putting up with my wild animals. Next time we will go somewhere nice and have a proper visit.

We said goodbye to Pauline and headed over to Tescos to pick up some pizza, salad and fruit since Rachel, Dave, Elliot and Lilliana were coming for dinner. They came over later that night for dinner, chatting and then the kids playing. The kids had an awesome time playing together. It was like they had known each other for ages. Hide and Seek was the winner of the night with Alex falling asleep on the sofa in the middle of all of it. Overall a lovey visit but I wish I had more time to spend with Rach, Dave and family.

Tuesday. This was family day. We got going late which was fine, still getting used to time being nearly halfway around the world from where we started. First stop, South Dalton. For years and years we drove by this church and admired it from afar since it is so tall. Tom went it it a while back when his mother was visiting but not me. It was as lovely as I imagined it would be. Stained glass, wood carving, and the glorious Hotham chapel with monument to Sir John Hotham, 2nd Baronet who died in 1689. After a visit here we drove up to another favourite area in North Yorkshire–Thornton-le-Dale and Pickering. In Thornton we stopped to feed the ducks in the large pond and in the beck. From there we sat down to eat lunch at Lavender Cafe and then chocolates from The Chocolate Factory. After a stroll around Tom decided he wanted to take the kids in the North York Moors Railway from Pickering. I dropped them there and drove over to Lavisham to pick them up. Of course after allow that we were running late so we changed our booking for The Star in Sancton to 6:30 instead of 6 and I let Rachel know we would be late.

We dropped by the cottage and got ourselves organised before taking the kids to Market Weighton. Rachel bravely looked after my two kids and her own two kids since her husband was stuck at work. The kids had such a great time jumping on the trampoline, playing in the garden and watching Peter Pan. Tom and I were able to escape to eat at The Star. We hadn’t been back since it was refurbished a few years back. It is so much bigger, and I think it lost some of its charm. That said, the food was amazing as always. We didn’t linger since the kids were tired and we had to drive to London the next morning. After a starter and main there was absolutely no room for dessert.

Wednesday morning we spent ages getting reorganised to drive down to London and fly out the following morning to Bergen, Norway. Once everything was packed away into the car we hit the road. It should have been about three and a half hours down to Heathrow but we made a stop in Lincoln for lunch and a peek at Lincoln Cathedral. These picky kids can be very difficult when it comes to eating in a cafe or restaurant. We did manage to find a cafe in the cathedral area with sandwiches sort of to their liking. With the promise of a macaron to follow some sandwich did get eaten. We didn’t pay to go into the cathedral since we had visited a couple of times before. I just wanted Sofia to see how huge and ornate it is inside.

Ah, the M25, how I haven’t missed you. Overall traffic was light and it wasn’t too treacherous driving around to Heathrow. Dinner came from an M&S Simply Foods shop. Half of it didn’t get eaten. Our Holiday Inn Express was cramped after staying in some larger places, but it was only for one night and a very early start the next morning.

Thursday morning. Up way before light. Kids dressed and ready to go with a bite to eat by 6am. The word Heathrow can throw some people into a fright, but we flew BA Business out of the beautiful new Terminal 5. I couldn’t believe how nice it was compared to prior Heathrow experiences. Seamless, quick, efficient service from car rental drop to landing in Norway. We all had some breakfast in the BA lounge before boarding our A319 flight to Bergen. Alex only started potty training a few weeks before we left so I had to make sure we used the toilet at every opportunity. I took him up to use the toilet and when we came out I could see the pilots preparing for push-back. They invited the kids up to the cockpit and they even got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat! They were so excited.

I can’t add any more new photos to this post since Tom took the photos from the camera and put them on his computer. Tomorrow morning we have a very long drive (6-8 hours) to get to Ålesund. I have no idea when I will have Wi-Fi next. We have been in Norway for four nights now so I had better get caught up before we are off to Germany. We have one night in Ålesund, one night on the Hertigruten ferry and one night in Trondheim before we leave Norway.

Highlights of East and North Yorkshire, Part 2


There were so many things to see and do! We visited Thornton-le-Dale where we went to the handmade chocolate shop, fed ducks along the beck, ate lunch and looked at old cars. I dropped Tom and the kids at the North York Moors steam train in Pickering and picked the up in Levisham. We visited the seaside near Hornsea. I finally got to inside of the lovely church at South Dalton, East Yorkshire. So much more we wanted to do!




















Reflecting on the journey


A couple of weeks ago we had our eleven year anniversary of being expats. It made me stop to think about the journey I have had since that June weekend I stepped on the plane thinking we would be away four to six months. Here we are eleven years, two kids, and several moves later sprinkled with our favourite thing to do—travel.

Our journey has been filled with ups and downs, stress, joy, friends, family and most importantly—learning. Although we haven’t lived very long in a country requiring a new language (Germany for a few months) we have had to learn new cultures. With the UK and Australia being English-speaking countries you would think it would be easy to acclimate. It is amazing how long it takes to learn how things work, where to buy things, popular culture and so on. After eight years in England we were really feeling like it was home. Here we are three years in Australia and we still laugh about things we are learning. It feels like each day something new pops up we have never heard before—whether that is a person, a word or a little fact about Australia. I won’t even go into the different accents and slang and everything else we coped with living especially in the UK. Steep learning curve for language!!

We have had the privilege of travelling extensively over the past eleven years of living abroad. It was easy to travel when we lived in England, especially when we lived outside of London. We had so many options to get over to Europe—plane, train and ferry. Travel is a priority in our lives so we make the most of it. We don’t spend money on much, saving for our next holiday. Moving to Australia posed a bit of a travel problem for us. I was pregnant with Alex when we moved here. Travel with two kids made things a bit more difficult, as well as the distances. Australia is much bigger than I had imagined. After Alex turned two it was much easier to do some travelling. We have travelled to several cities around Australia as well as some South Pacific islands and New Zealand. Now that he is about to turn three and Sofia is five we can do about anything–with restrictions due to Sofia’s school schedule.

We have met some amazing people along the way. It has been hard here in Australia to see friends come and go as they come to Sydney for work and then move on. It tends to make you protective about friendships. I haven’t learned to let that down after all of this time. That said, I have met and continue to meet some wonderful people.

We don’t know how much longer we will be in Sydney. A year? Three years? Who knows? I do know there are still plenty of things we want to do and see here before we move on to the next adventure. It has been an interesting eleven years and I can’t wait to see what the next eleven bring us!