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!

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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

Honkers Shonkers Bus tour part 1

Bus trips today. First one by shuttle bus to the ferry.

We arrived at central and picked up the red route.

There will be 4 parts to this and hopefully the photos, whilst void of noise, hustle and bustle and smells will convey a flavour of Hong Kong!

Back at central we go on the green route. Part 2 to follow!

Hong Kong 🇭🇰

After a flight and fitful sleep we arrived in Hong Kong. After getting our luggage we sourced a taxi to get us to Kowloon where our hotel was.

Our rooms would not be ready until 2pm so we just had 4 hours to kill. There was a shuttle bus and we had a map, so off we went into Kowloon centre to familiarise ourselves.

After coffee and a delightful cake, we read the map to decide what we wanted to do on Monday. Colin asked a few people for assistance and Kevin looked for the trusty tourist information booth!

We knew we would have to get the star ferry over to HKI that evening so wandered along to the terminal. We decided that a Big Bus tour would provide us with a whistle stop tour of everything, with the opportunity to get off, if we saw something we particularly liked.

Tickets purchased we walked back to the hotel ( over 2 miles!).

Colin was particularly amused at the bamboo scaffolding!

Back at the hotel Kevin kindly run a bath for me to ease my feet and weary legs.

All freshened up we got the shuttle bus to the ferry, and off we went to meet Richard, the son of family friends that lives here.

We met Richard and exchanged hellos, kisses and handshakes. At the central terminal we caught a cab up to the Peak. I’m not great with heights, and a twisty, turny journey up was a bit white knuckle for me. Once we arrived we saw the funicular railway and took in some views.

We braved the escalators up to the observation deck. Another few ‘legs turn to jelly’ moments, but the views as the sun set were spectacular!

I borrowed a pen to write a wish on a paper heart and the woman I borrowed the pen from was just so excited as she had just heard her daughter had got engaged. It was so lovely and I appreciated fully just how she felt. We exchanged a few photos of our beautiful daughters and their fiancés. I then tied my wish to one of the lines 💕💕

We went down the escalators and came out and went to the Peak Lookout for something to eat. Great selection of Chinese, Thai, Italian and a Grill option so we all could enjoy something.

I opted to have a Singapore Sling to drink-delicious! 🍸

We hoped to take the funicular railway back down, but the waiting time was 2/3 hours so we opted for a taxi back, which is a lot less scary in the dark!

We said our goodbyes to Richard, thanking him for his time and company. Such a delightful young man, obviously very happy living here, and we will see him again next time he is over in the UK.

Ferry back to pick up the shuttle bus and we enjoyed the cityscape all lit up.

I still can’t quite get my head round that Christmas is 4 weeks away!

On the return to our room a final shot of HKI before bed.

I check Facebook and see this wonderful photo of Joseph and Freddie, and to see that smile of Joe’s makes me so happy!

A couple of stoaters!

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!

Shopping, and Rugby League

Today we went into the city to have on last amble round, Colin went off gift shopping, whilst Kevin and I browsed.

Kevin, unusually bought something, a tie, whilst I bought gifts for my friend’s, Debbie, new grandsons, born the day previously.

It is so strange to see the Christmas decorations around whilst walking in this heat.

I did visit a nail salon as I have ‘lost’ 3 nails!

We all met for lunch and went to Jimmy’s on the Mall, which coincidentally was where we saw Jonny Bairstow the other evening. We enjoyed a lovely late lunch/early dinner whilst watching the cricket!

Opposite the restaurant there was a bridal shop, and also another shop name that reminded me of recent events!

Once back at the apartment we got ready for the evening’s sojourn at the Suncorp Stadium.

We had high hopes for a real contest, but Australia were just too good. Fiji had chances, but could rarely punch a hole in the defence, and were obviously tired out from all the defending they had to do.

Great that their supporters were so vociferous!

A slow walk back to Roma Street and then home. An usually ‘late’ night for us!

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! 😁😁🏏🏏🏏

The land down under 🤗

Jet lagged I’ve decided to write about our travels so far.

We left England after meeting Colin, Kevin’s best friend for over 40 years, where we all flew to HK. Have to say, Cathay Pacific were great and the journey, including 4 hour changeover, was smooth, in fact, we all agree that it has been one of the best long haul flights we have done.

We arrived at Cairns and the prebooked transport was waiting. An hour later we were at paradise links resort and they were brilliant in getting us into our rooms as we were humongously early!

After a change of clothes we made our way to reception and had a big surprise as sitting there, casually speaking to Colin was Jen and Tony, Lis’s parents. We were disappointed that we wouldn’t be seeing them, so this was a real treat.

We made arrangements to meet for dinner later, and we had lunch at a nearby country club, an amble back in the humidity and we all decided a power nap was required!

We met in reception, all feeling remarkably chipper and via shuttle bus went into Port Douglas. We had booked a table at Tin Shed and were sat on a jetty overlooking the entrance to the Marina.

It was a shame it was cloudy, but there was great conversation, laughter, memories shared and good food.

Tiredness started to overwhelm, so we made our way to pick up the bus back to where we are staying. We said our goodbyes, hugs all around, boarded the bus and waved to Tony and Jen.

They are such remarkable people, so thoughtful, such good company, and it was fantastic to see them again, and hopefully again soon! Blessed to have them in our lives: Andrew is so lucky to have their support and love.

The rain is lashing down outside now, so today’s rainforest trip will be very authentic!

Where did last week go..

Last week was half term, although I was in school for a few days.

I relish the solitude and opportunity to work uninterrupted. You achieve so much and it’s also great to take stock, tidy up my desk and do filing.

Progress to finish the sixth form block is slow, but should be complete to handover soon!

It was also a week of catching up with friends, a thought provoking play and a family dinner, with some belly dancing to boot!

Oh and I made 28 Christmas cards too.

I now have to get in gear for Australia, with much to sort out: have we printed everything we need, washing, clothes, there is a list to cross off!

I had so much fun, and this week will be full of updating, chasing and trying to reassure that all is in place. We also have fireworks and a certain little lady’s birthday to celebrate!