Our three month sabbatical in Hoddesdon has come to an end. It has been a hectic time over the last few days again getting the house ready for the new tenants but also meeting up with some of our friends before we set off again. The diet has failed completely as we have been wining and dining with the best.
Our plans are quite loose. We are staying in Britain for the foreseeable time. We have tried this before but always end up getting fed up with the weather, however we are going to persevere this time. We love this country and there is just so much we haven't seen.
We left the house in the morning, again with poor old Leon who has been quite poorly, the vet says his kidneys are packing up and it will only get worse, mainly because of his age. We left him with the vet who wanted to do more blood tests and a urine sample. Leon does not part with his urine in the vets, I think he is a bit shy, so we were expecting them to keep him in over night.
|The Stow, now we are ready to rock and roll|
We spent the day with Trula and then at about 4pm we were able to get Leon back. He still hadn't given a sample, but 5 minutes in the Land rover and we were able to give them a sample to test. We then headed out to North Weald to spend the night with John and Jackie, Ray's cousin and his wife and had a lovely meal with them.
Thursday 3rd May 2012
We awoke full of excitement at the fact we are off on our travels again. We are heading to Gloucester to a Wetlands and Wildfowl site in Slimbridge. Ray has found us a lovely campsite about a mile from the sanctuary and just because we could we went into Oxford and did our thing of getting on a hop on - hop off bus so we could see the many universities and sites of learning and listen to the endless role call of famous names who have learned there.
|Freezing but I could hop off if I could but move!!!!!!|
We had a bit of a debate,(that soon turned to fisty cuffs) as to whether it was Morse and Lewis that was set in Oxford or Frost.
|Harry Potter, Morse, Lewis or is it Frost?|
|More seats of learning|
|Alice's naughty sweet shop, we've all heard about it!|
|JRR Tolkien drank in this pub. The Hobbit started here. Lord of the rings rules okay|
Having nursed our bruises we arrived at the campsite and set up for the night. Leon has been the brightest we have seen him for days and settled back into life on the road brilliantly. He was out doing his usual exploring as soon as we parked up and looks just like himself again. After a meal and a wee nightcap we climbed the stairs to bed and all three of us had the best nights sleep we'd had in ages. We are all really happy to be on the road again.
Friday 4th May.
We were packed up and ready to roll pretty early and on arriving at the WWT centre, Ray and I headed on in and Leon settled down for another catnap. Slimbridge is amazing. We were feeding Hawaiian geese , also known as Nene's, ducks, swans, pigeons and amount of birds that they had at the Trust.
|Flamingo's for my Mum|
|The saved from extinction Hawaiian Goose, the Nene.|
|My favorite the Grey Lag goose, oops sorry I meant Ray!|
|More Flamingo's for my mum|
|Extinction, no chance|
Five hours disappeared in a rush and soon it was time to hit the road again, this time to Bruce and Lyn's in Wales again. We are staying there for about 4 days.
Bruce and Lyn have many other animals apart from their lovely husky dogs and one of our jobs was to hold their little Shetland pony whilst Bruce cut his toenails, sometimes I wonder how we get ourselves into these situations. Despite their size, they have the strength of an ox, and they kick, bite and deliberately stand on your toes.
Tuesday 8th May
Then it was off towards another wildlife center, this time near to Liverpool, namely 'Martin Mere'. We found a campsite nearby and settled in early and got the barby out. Leon was in his element again and was totally chilled out and has obviously put his illness completely behind him. It was good to be back under canvas again and the campsite was small, neat and tidy, being part of a now redundant farm.
Wednesday 9th May
We packed up bright and early and set off towards Martin Mere. Luckily (not !) I had programmed in the wrong location for the center and we spent about half an hour winding the local farmers up by driving around their farms like a typical pair of grockels with a dodgy sat nav.
We eventually found the center and although it was good, it was not as good as the previous one at Slimbridge.
|These two nutters did make our day though.|
At about 2pm we set our sights on Scotland and Karen's Mum and Dads farm. We got there after a brief stop at her aunties at about 8pm. We had a couple of chilled out days being spoiled rotten and on Friday the 11th, we set off in earnest for our UK tour.
Friday 11th May.
Today is Bruce's birthday and also, sadly the 30th anniversary of Karen's real fathers death. We wanted to visit the crematorium to acknowledge the day for private reflection. On arrival, the book of remembrance was open at the relevant day and we saw the entry relating to "Mr Donald P Wood BEM". One of the crematorium staff then took us to a pl;ace that we did not know existed, it was the area where Don had been laid to rest. It was a very private moment for us both and one that Karen needed.
After the crematorium, we set off in torrential rain towards Ardrossan where we stopped in a small hotel in anticipation of the ferry tomorrow morning towards the isle of Arran.
|Gromit outside our hotel. The bay window is our room looking out onto a rare blue sky over the isle of Arran|
|What do you mean "No Pets", have I got to sit out here all night on my own ? We are not amused.|