Nine and a half months after leaving Oz, we head to the land of Brexit, grey skies, friends and family. This year however we arrived following a heat wave, bloody cold by the time we landed!!

First up Hels Bells. Actually, South African but we ignore that, it is always a pleasure for John and Helen to help us on our way to our next hangover. This is also Jackie’s old stomping ground, so Sam and Nic joined us for dinner and a tour of some old haunts…

Then all pile into a tiny mini for a nice delay on London’s finest 8 lane car park, the M25 round to Rayleigh in Essex to Nicole’s parents’ house and to meet Wilson!!!

Sir Wilson!!

Many thanks, Jo for the Sri Lanka help, although your drawing is somewhat suspect! Kandy or candy?

Time for a quick hop over the QE2 Bridge and a left turn to Charing in Kent for a few days to see the other Mrs O. Wonderful to see her happy with her new man, maybe church choir dating has some merit. Loved having an entire pantry and fridge full of yummies to play with xxx

Then a blast back up the M20 to Bromley for a couple of lemonades with the Benjamins. Love these family reunions, next one will be in Sydney for the wedding of the year!!!

The trusty Mini then stayed in the drive in Bromley under the careful watch of the Benjamin’s as we hopped on the train to the big smoke to visit my Aunty Carole in Fulham, collecting flowers and ‘Plant’ from the Sloaney Pony on the way!

Thanks Annabelle for my beautiful handmade card, I will treasure this.

Even managed to squeeze a cheeky lunch in with a couple of our yoga friends from Manly on their 2 year adventure, Dan and Amanda

Farewell Fulham and off to the Notting Hill Carnival and an old school friend of ours, MJ, and her boat, the Widgeon Theatre Boat. An 80 foot cargo barge that converts into an open air theatre or stage for bands. Sadly the weather Gods didn’t get their party invite and sent rain instead. Fortunately, Gawain and the MoonBears got their invites!

We waved farewell to MJ and headed down to Sam’s place in Clapham. A cheeky curry with Sam, Nic and a guest appearance by Ima and Dom from Jersey.

A spot of essential shopping, (Food mainly!), for Sam and a lovely evening with Alex and her Boyfriend, Josh.

No time to rest, we are Battersea bound to see Anita and her awesome pet shop/grooming business.

Into town to blow the froth off a couple with Billy Tilden and Dave Spence from school, followed by a last minute invite to dinner At Ottolenghi’s. Don’t mind if we do!

Back to Bromley to collect the Mini a quick coffe and plate of cheese then a dash around the M25 and up North to Peterborough. Dash? Petrol station first and couldn’t find the fuel cap release! No need for one of those, it is key operated! Ignition key? No! Bloody Germans! The fuel cap key is on the other side of London, in Hertfordshire! Watching the fuel mileage falling at an alarming rate was not part of our plans and a 5km queue for the Dartford Tunnel was unhelpful. Significant use of the left hand lane ensued and we spluttered to Cuffley with a few fumes left in the tank. Filler cap key in hand we headed North for a delayed arrival at the Holt’s. We needn’t have worried, there was no shortage of wine.

Always hilarious with these guys, they never miss an opportunity for a beverage or misbehavior. Turns out however that the murky green waters of the Rutland Water Aqua Park were a touch chilly for some! Just a shame that the cameras were not there to record the initial shock!

Liver starting to hurt now with a couple more stops to go!

Luckily for us, we don’t play Keeping up with the Jones’. Off to Buckinghamshire! Nothing flash about Chalfonts but a lawn large enough for an airfield and a house complete with full sized bar and cinema takes the pi$$. Personalised bathrobes anyone?

Utterly NO chance of drinking Helen and Graham’s bar remotely dry, so its off back to Cuffley to find fairer competition and our final UK stop.

Seems like Hels Bels had been doing some spring cleaning and came across some vintage fizz, marked, ‘Gerald, Do not touch’! We have never cellared wine but doubt that the attic is ideal for maturing South Africa’s finest! Never mind, best get a couple chilled down and crack the buggers open!

Company, utterly delightful. Contents of bottles, not so much! So many thank you’s for the hospitality, love and loan of the car xxx

So we bid a sad but exhausted farewell to Blighty and our dear friends and family. Aiming to return in 2021

Only fitting after such an awesome few weeks to enjoy the long flight to Singapore!

Sri Lanka next….

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