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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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!

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!

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! 😁😁🏏🏏🏏

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!

Sunrise to Sunset

An early start to catch the sunrise, another stunner.

We made our way to the beach 🏖 to kayak! Me , Kevin and Georgina went in one, and with a little help we were off. Have to say not terribly comfortable so we went back to the shoreline to move seats. This proved hilarious as Kevin ended a over t and in the water!

We tried again more successfully, but this time when we returned to shore it was my turn to end up in the water, as I fell over when a wave crashed in!

We shopped for dinner and lunch and the girls went for a massage, and the boys to play pool

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Refreshed, we all relaxed on the verandah, we showered and got ready to go to one tree hill for the sunset 🌅

It was quite emotional and with live music being played, it was a great experience.

We returned home for a BBQ and a toast for our week together!

Andrew and Lis go home today, but not before a Park 🏃. It has been wonderful to be together and I just hang out, as well as do stuff! There will be tears no doubt, but they will be over in April , so not too long🤗💕

Just taking it easy

After the exertions of yesterday, tides was going to be a little more relaxed. The kids went to the beach after breakfast to tandem kayak and to do paddle boarding.

Kevin and I had a leisurely breakfast and took a walk up the hill to visit the white church we can see from our room.

Weddings can be held here Both inside and out, the views are spectacular!

We returned home to pick up the buggy and stopped off at the 🏖 just as they were leaving. There was an exchange of stories and they all want to return tomorrow!

After a trip to the supermarket, we lunched and then made our way to the nearby pool.

Today it was very hot and this provided a welcome respite.

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to play pool, and we got ready to go out for dinner: Mexican tonight!

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of choice, washed down with beer and margaritas! Churros was a shared dessert with the chocolate and caramel dipping sauces enjoyed!

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found out who had the keys to the buggy and apartment we made our way home.

Today was a momentous day as Australia voted by 61.6% for the legalisation of same sex marriage. Lis wore her ‘love is love’ tee shirt in honour of the result coming out.

Later in the evening we watched the Australian football team beat Honduras to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.