2017

This last year has been well documented by me, but I will post a few photos here too!

As is the way, there has been highs (many) and lows (few), but that is life. How we cope with the lows is the important thing, with support of family and friends.

Reading through my blogs for this year has brought many a smile to my face and I hope that 2018 has as many wonderful moments!

There are three weddings to attend: Kevin is starting to feel all aquiver with the thought of outfits, shoes etc ( for me 😉). Exciting times!

Parkrun will continue as I try to improve my fitness and health.

Perhaps 2018 should have more spontaneity and less planned things, we shall see….

Andrew and Lis are over in April, and that will provide early celebrations for 30th (Andrew) and 60th (Kevin) birthdays 🎂

I wish everyone a great New Year full of what makes you happy, today, tomorrow, forever xxx

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Photo Challenge 2017

Wow what a year! Engagements, big birthdays and anniversaries!

I’ve visited some wonderful places, seen some amazing cricket and rugby. Met some fantastic people and had precious time with my family and friends!

Just awesome, and with 3 weddings in 2018 and one to prepare for in 2019 possibly, I’m just so full of excitement!

Last meal at the Harbour Grill

We opted to eat in the hotel and as it was raining it was a wise decision.

Food was delicious, company great and we toasted the holiday, and Colin’s upcoming big birthday next Sunday.

We again found ourselves talking about our families, the joy the heartache but also immense pride!

It has been awesome and memories aplenty!

Part 4 Kowloon

We were taken back to central and caught the ferry back to Kowloon. This is on the blue route and our final bus ride of the day.

More history more shops, more skyscrapers!

Back to our hotel walking to get my daily quota in!

HK part 2 Aberdeen, Stanley and Repulse Bay

The green route covers the North of the island with a good commentary of the history of HK. It seems less urbanised than the South, more of a holiday location.

Again I was challenged with twists and turns but breathtaking views!

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As part of this route we enjoyed a Sampan ride- part 3

Ashes to Ashes, Gabba to Hong Kong…..

To see a day of Ashes test cricket, in Australia, was one of the reasons for the timing and destinations of this holiday.

We both love cricket, Kevin a very competent bat back in the day! Colin and him met at school, with Colin a demon fast bowler (well he is Jamaican)

So tickets were purchased and today was the day!

We had to pack, check out of our apartment, leave our bags to pick up later then a short walk to the RBWH bus station to catch the 340 to Woolloongabba.

We arrived in plenty of time and found our seats, which were excellent (Thank you to Andrew for picking these!)

The weather forecast over the last fortnight has ranged from rain, cloudy,partly sunny to thunderstorms! So this could’ve been interesting.

Play started promptly and there were the strains of Jerusalem resounding through the ground. Magical!

To witness one of the greatest contests in sport is spine tingling for me. We soaked up the sun, and let the story unfold. We saw Steve Smith, the Aussie captain, complete a patient 100, Pat Cummins get a credible 40+, wickets fell, albeit slowly and then Australia were all out.

Now for England to start there 2nd innings…

Cook and Stoneman came to the crease with hopes high. The atmosphere became very tense, with not only the field pressure, but the 30,000 Aussie fans, clapping and shouting for an England batsman to be out.

Alistair Cook went cheaply again, I would say that he hadn’t taken on board Steve Smith’s patient stance, but certainly early calls for him to be dropped are hasty.

Vince came to the crease and all too soon he was gone, replaced by Root, the captain, we hoped no more wickets would fall.

We left just before close of play, to ensure we picked up our bags before 7pm.

It was such an occasion, Kevin wearing the Australia vest Andrew and Lis bought him last year, much to Debbie’s mortification!

The crowd was noisy, and the drinking that can change how people behave, excessive. The profanities that we’re heard made me uncomfortable, the comments about ‘pommies’, unnecessary but I understand that this is all part of it.

Beer snakes aplenty with staff battling hard with limited staffing.

These latter mentioned observations take nothing away from a memorable, awesome day. Kevin and I even made it onto the big screen and Bruce managed to get a picture!!

A quick freshen up and we were at Brisbane Airport for our flight to Hong Kong, the last leg of our holiday. Check in and bag drop I found frustrating, farcical and time consuming. But I was tired, hungry and thirsty by that point. It had been a long, fantastic, memorable, awesome and did I say awesome, day!

Gold Coast

Today the Magellan Ashes were to start, but our tickets are for Saturday, so what to do?

We have decided on a trip to the Gold Coast. A mere 1 1/2 hours on the train to Varsity Lakes, then 1/2 an hour on a bus to Burleigh Heads.

Is this a syrup?

We arrived just about 11:30 and went for an amble.

We found a drinking establishment and watched a little bit of cricket, but timed it badly as we only saw 3 overs then it was lunch! We watched Michael Slater and KP and his not so erudite comments!

We were enjoying full sunshine, but it was raining back in Brisbane, so as play was delayed we walked further along the coast.

My feet are so sore, blisters on my toes, and pain on my shin, so we walked by the sea. I hope salty water will help!

Walking in the other direction, after another coffee, cake and cricket stop, we found the park with an easy coastal path walk. So beautiful!

It was all I could do to limp back to the bus stop! I watched the sun set as we journeyed home on the train 🚂.

We didn’t much feel like eating, but purchased a cooked half chicken and some mushrooms 🍄, which we had on toast. Delightful!

England score 196-4 for day 1, so here’s hoping that with the early start to make up for time lost today, they will increase that score and we see Australia bat on Saturday!

Phoenix feathers and ashes

This morning we enjoyed a simple breakfast of toast, availed ourselves of the shower and arranged to meet Colin.

We travelled by train to the CBD and walked to one of the Quays to pick up the free river hopper.

We got off at eagle street and stopped for refreshments and an all too indulgent cake for me!

We made our way to the Queen street mall, and I saw a Pandora shop. I popped in and found a charm. It’s Phoenix feathers, which as a Phoenix rises from the Ashes, I just had to have it, as we are to attend a day at the first Ashes series on Saturday. As Nina would say, ‘ it’s a sign’

We walked across the river, in the pouring rain and made our way to the Southbank parklands.

Next stop, a real favourite of Kevin’s was the tourist information!

We are now armed with train timetables, bus info and plan to visit the Gold Coast later this week.

We came across the epicurious garden, where plants, fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown and shared.

Another coffee break required and a chance to reflect, reminisce on our journey as parents. So touching to hear Kevin and Colin speak about their children, and their hopes and dreams for them. The challenges faced and how the bigger they grow, the less you can do to help, except to be there.

We looked at the map to decide where to eat and strolled around a gift shop or two.

We settled for the Beer garden and chose burgers.

This was the best burger I have ever had!

We walked across the goodwill bridge to make our way back to central station.

Just as we are walking up the Mall again, Kevin and I both see who we believe to be an England Cricketer, and we are not wrong. I cheekily ask for a photo, which Jonny Bairstow, England wicket keeper and prolific batsman, agrees to.

He was absolutely charming and we wished him well for the series. Here’s hoping my good luck charm will run off on him and he is successful!

We arrived back at our apartment having walked almost 20,000 steps, but after our chance meeting, the hugest smiles on our faces! 😁😁🏏🏏🏏

Six become four

Today Andrew and Lis were to leave us to go home, but before that, Andrew and I completed the HI parkrun.

We were cheered around the 2 lap route by the rest of the family. It was my first as a ‘tourist’ and what a place to do it.

We went for breakfast after our efforts and I probably undid all my good work!

My time came through and it was sub 50, which as I walked the whole route and with the heat, I was very happy with, and to see Andrew’s name there too was fantastic!

All too soon was the time I least like -saying goodbye. My intention to be brave and not cry never quite happens. I thought as we see them again relatively soon it would be ok, but no. In my head I can rationalise to be happy with having seen them, not dwell on not, but my heart seems to have a life of its own! ❤️

Returning to the apartment it was a bit quieter, and the remaining four made plans for the remaining few days.

Trip to the beach, walk around and watch some RLWC2017 was itinerary for the remainder of today.

Nina and Jay went back to one tree hill to watch the sunset, whilst Kevin and I ordered dinner.

I managed a few sunset shots whilst waiting.

Andrew and Lis returned home safely and were met by Bella their cat with meows of delight!

Paddle boards, palms and a puffer fish…

Here we are on a paradise island, with some of the people I love most, and I have had the fog descend on me.

I have thought I could ‘just get over it’, but I have noticeably withdrawn. There is no rhyme or reason per se, but the kids noticed it.

After our beach trip this morning we returned back to our apartment for lunch, and I find myself crying. After a little while I get up to go for a walk to try and shake this off, and Georgina insists on coming with me.

It’s very hot and we shared how we felt: I have to learn to talk more about how i’m feeling, I have to remember people are not mind readers. I have written before about the ‘fog’, I can see it, others can’t, but they see the different, withdrawn person, who doesn’t engage.

I think I’m hiding it well, obviously I’m not.

We all went for a walk to the beach at low tide, and a couple of more conversations were had. I have been blown away with their kindness, concern and very proud of them all.

Walking through the sea lapping around our ankles, seeing fish , crabs, sea snails, with the level rising up to our waists, I almost trod on a Ray! A little further out and a with a helping hand the level dropped away again.

I suppose in some ways this is an analogy of how I can feel on occasion.

The walk was spontaneous, and all the more enjoyable for that. It also brought back memories of Maldon, Cornwall and Lunan Bay.

These moments are precious and I need to be less anxious, and not over think too much and just enjoy the present.

We all visited a local pool, to relax and drank overpriced strawberry daiquiris!

We prepared dinner at the apartment, where Lis shared with us her vegetarian journey and it has spurred me on to have at least on meat free day a week.

We watched the bats 🦇 fly over to their evening stomping grounds.

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peace with myself and I hope that I will be able to articulate more quickly how I feel when the fog descends.

Time flies and you find that your children have grown into sensitive, caring adults. How lucky are we. We have a few days left together until next year, so I have to make the most of that!