“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Day 328 – 28th March, Sunday. Ardingly.

Another week done and at last everything is now in the hands of the solicitors. We are hoping to exchange contracts tomorrow and with luck on our side could have the keys before Easter weekend and the annual Bolney Pram race! Which means that Ant and Bee can set off for home sometime this week. :-)
The weather wasnt great today, but at least I managed to get out again for some Sunday exercise. This time we went walking from the Ardingly resevoir and through the fields and posh houses on the outskirts of the village. Still no sign of the Kingfisher, I am hoping that at least a few breeding pairs survived the harsh winter.

Day 321 – 21st March, Sunday. Barcombe Mills.

After a very hectic week of property viewing, meetings with solicitors and financial advisors, friends and family, the sun finally came out and we were able to get out for some fresh air.  A friend and I went walking from Barcombe Mills to the Anchor Pub for lunch and returned along the old railway line. The evening was spent checking out what I hope will be our new local in the village of Bolney at their monthly comedy evening with stand up from Martin Beaumont and Andrew Roper (Australian), compered by Danny Buckler. Heckling came only from two children that a single Dad had decided would be fun to bring along and plonk right in the front row! Grrr.

Day 317 – 17th March, Wednesday. Fly home.

Flew home from Larnaca to Gatwick.
Caroline kindly brought the girls up to meet me at arrivals, which was a really lovely welcome, until we discovered that she had no idea where she’d parked the car! We spent forty minutes trawling the three different multi storeys, freezing our arses off trying to find ‘Felicity’ the purple Ford Fiesta. After some help from 2 NCP attendants we found her on the ground floor - it was twenty to nine by the time we left Gatwick. I can confidently say there is very little which is more embarassing to a woman than having to explain to the loudspeaker on a car park payment machine that you cannot find your own vehicle, with a long queue of people behind you! Never again.

Preparing for the return trip

Wow - feels like I haven't written in months, but so much has happened. Where to begin? Well Ant has sorted through all the spares, changed the oil and put new seals on, as well as getting her new visa all up to date and planning the route home. All the cupboards have been cleared out and repacked and are soon to be stocked up with food and drink for the way home. The first leg is back on the snail's pace ferry across to Tasucu in Turkey, before the long drive through the Turkish wilderness up towards Istanbul, for which Ant's Dad has managed to get a second jerry can to carry more fuel on board. Bee only has a 200 mile range and although the internet shows petrol stations at various points along the journey, the reality could be very different (fuel is also ridiculously expensive in Turkey). I, on the other hand, have been busy getting things ready for their arrival back in Blighty.....

Monday, 8 March 2010

Day 307 – 7th March, Sunday. Cyprus.

Spent the entire afternoon in a restaurant with Paul and Sue, Derek and Cathy having a gorgeous Sunday roast and catching up on all the latest gossip. Torrential and continuous rains have hit Girne and washed roads away and the swimming pool pumproom has flooded, the windows have needed to be fixed and new panel radiators installed due to the cold.

Day 306 – 6th March, Saturday. Cyprus

I have never suffered jet lag before, on any of the trips I have taken – but crossing this many times zones back and forth in such a short space of time has played havoc with my body clock. Neither of us are sleeping at all well during the night, but today I managed to fall asleep for most of the afternoon.

Day 305 – 5th March, Friday. Back on yet another plane! Grrrrrrr.

We got to the airport in the nick of time thanks to Jakki's expert driving only to discover the flight had been delayed - typical! We eventually reached Larnaca on the south side of the island of Cyprus around 5:30pm local time and Derek drove us up to the unusually busy border point in Nicosia. Safely through we headed home stopping at the 'Happy Valley' restaurant for curry on the way.  Jet lag really starting to kick in now - feel dizzy, sick and knackered.

Day 302 - 2nd March, Tuesday. Journey back to Blighty.

We got the hotel shuttle-bus to the airport in the smog and flew 13 hours west to arrive in Heathrow about 815pm where Mum was waiting to take us back to Haywards Heath for a much-appreciated bottle of bubbly. Exhausted. We have to spend the next couple of days finding somewhere to live, getting Ant a new mobile phone, meeting the financial advisor and sorting and re-packing all our gear for the colder weather in Cyprus.

Day 301 – 1st March, Monday. Hong Kong.

After two huge plates full of English and Chinese breakfast, we set out in search of the street markets. We trawled street after street and passed endless market stalls of vegetables, newspapers, seeds, nuts and medical potions. Every other building was clad in bamboo scaffolding cable-tied together and one even had builders clambering up the sides (unharnessed) to the top where they were swaying back and forth over the street adding yet more bamboo. Many butchers had whole charred ducks hanging in their windows, beaks and all. The smell walking along the streets was awful and choked you at every turn, so we made our way back to the hotel via the fish market where every shop was an aquarium with small tanks of fish and terrapins lining the pavement.
Although we were in the heart of Kowloon near MongKok and everything was easily accessible, I don’t think we will be bothering to return. Even if we had stayed on Hong Kong island where it’s supposedly cleaner and more beautiful, I don’t think Hong Kong is really the kind of place we would enjoy. They advertise hotels with hourly room rates for heaven’s sake!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Day 300 – 28th February, Sunday. Melbourne to Hong Kong.

What an incredibly long day – which started with hardly any sleep due to the crappy squashy bed in the motel and then continued with the alarm going off at 0530am to get us to the airport on time for our flight to Hong Kong at 0850am.
The flight wasn’t too bad, plenty of new movies and TV programs to keep us entertained. Ant managed to choose a program on his personal screen with a rather uncomfortable number of very raunchy scenes in it. Cracked me up... he had the aisle seat, and therefore an over-the-shoulder audience and hostesses going past every minute or so – I haven’t seen him go that red in years. I think it eventually got so much he turned it off!
We touched down mid afternoon (local time) amidst fog, smog and 26 degree heat and eventually got transferred to our hotel in Kowloon Park by about 5pm – shattered.