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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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!

Keep right on to the end of the road……

Sunday arrived and we had beautiful weather for the Scottish relatives, friends and neighbours to celebrate the diamond anniversary.

Food, drink and chairs were in place. Guests arrived and laughter rang out. We spilled over into the garden and it was so good to see so many smiling faces.

I read a poem by Bob Marley, dad had bought a ring and we toasted the happy couple.

Tired but exhausted we went to bed, it was a delightful day!

Monday morning we said goodbye to Elaine and Jane and we had a relaxed day followed by dinner out.

An early start on Tuesday as we had to go to Eyemouth. Elaine had seen there was an ice cream and fish and chip shop named Giacopazzi's, which was the maiden name of our maternal grandmother, Valentina.
The journey was fine up to the point that we turned off on to the A1107. Not what I expected, we were high up, drop to the left, so I had to practice deep breathing and just put my foot down!

We met Kerry, who was so welcoming and offered great hospitality as well as her precious time. Some information was shared although little progress regarding any tenuous family link, but we will continue our research.

Next up Harrogate and another 3 hours in the car!
We briefly alighted at our accommodation and then on to Mama Doreen's Cupcake Emporium!

Our afternoon was exquisite, sumptuous treats galore with lashings of tea. For once I didn't partake in the Prosecco, of which I was thankful later!

We went back to the accommodation booked, and it took a walk across the rickety decking, down the loose slabs, holding onto the wobbly handrail. This didn't bode well. Mum's ankle had swollen and she struggled, and once inside the accommodation was reminiscent of student lodgings. Then a train passed, and, the last straw, we couldn't work the TV. The thought of having to kill 5-6 hours before bed as mum couldn't walk anywhere, required a decision to be made: so I did and we left to drive home.

We made good time and it was lovely to be in my own bed!

I had brought down with me Mum's and my Wedding dress – now over 60 years old. I didn't think Nina would try it on, but she did and wow! 👀👀

We are now gearing up for Saturday's celebration and I have even managed to go to work, get some hearing aids and visit our original next door neighbour!

💕💕💕🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉😴😴😴😴

Shine bright like a diamond….


My sister and I travelled almost 500 miles by road yesterday to be a part of the first celebration of our parents 60th wedding anniversary.

What a privilege to be able to be here, and what an achievement!

We arrived after a 12 hour journey, falling exhausted into bed. An early start today and a 5k walk before breakfast was delightful with a sunny aspect, unexpected, as we are in Scotland.

Rain prevailed, but jobs required were all carried out.

POA for the next two days agreed left a few hours to wile away before dinner. This was the perfect opportunity to find wedding and bridesmaid dresses, card and art work kept for over 50+ years. This in itself is so touching.
Then you come across a card with your grandmother's handwriting. This then evokes so many memories.

Today has been filled with so much joy and laughter, which will continue over the coming week.

I can't express how lucky I feel to be a part of all this. How wonderful it is to have so many memories and the possibility of so many more.

💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💍💍💕💕💕🍾🍾

Education and what it can mean

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit another Catholic school in East London. The journey from Chelmsford was a real trip back to the past especially when we drove through Ilford, Manor Park and Forest Gate. Road names remain but so much has changed. 

We passed my old secondary school, the entrance door still familiar and the wall that cocooned us girls from the outside world still in tact.

We continued to drive down a road that I used to walk to the tennis courts, and to the Church where we celebrated many a Mass.


All this made me realise how fortunate I had been to have had a top class education, that despite my humble beginnings, my parents gave me the best start they could. I loved school and in the main,  academia suited me. This was a springboard for me and most days I am thankful for my language skills, my mathematical ability and my knowledge of the world and history.

Not everyone has these opportunities, or the support to make the most of them. For some, school and to conform, are not happy bed fellows, but we need to find a way to engage, support and encourage these as they deserve. 

One of my favourite songs is ‘different corner’ by George Michael, and I often reflect on the choices that my parents, myself and my husband have made. My life could have been very different but I have been lucky and I appreciate all that has been done for me.


The school I visited faces so many challenges: gang culture, poverty, immigrants, and inner city anxieties, but there was such a positive vibe within the school, a real determination to achieve and be the best you can be. It was a delight, but it’s tough I’m sure. 


I returned home and we all went to the polling station together to vote, and I recanted about my day and my journey, appreciation of where my family live, the opportunities that they have had and continue to have! 

A surprise flying visit

After a disastrous mothers’ day flower fiasco, I decided on a brief trip to see my parents and also be with my mum on her birthday, so flights, buses and trains were duly booked. 


I left a gloriously warm and sunny England for a less warm Scotland, with a delayed flight all part of the experience. 

The surprise duly delivered, there was a quick run through the Monday’s many culinary treats. First off was lunch with a couple of relatives and very pleasant it was too, although a glimpse of life as an octegenarian was disturbing! Bins: the variety of them and the £25 fee-first world problems! And it didn’t stop there with politics next, so I steered conversation to holidays and more fun topics


Lunch was followed by tea, coffee and large cream scones- why? Because they were free? 😲

Back home for a titivate then on to dinner at a favourite tapas restaurant in Broughty Ferry.

Scrumptious and plentiful where more cud chewing ensued, with the usual deprecation and laughter.😂😂🤗

A drive home, comfortably satiated and suitably hydrated after an early celebration for mum’s birthday, we settled down to watch the penultimate broadchurch episode. 

Birthday girl was up, cards opened and a lovely breakfast was consumed. Plan for the day was a bijou shopping trip to finishing touches( a girl can never have too many bags, scarves or assorted trinkets for body or home!) then lunch at the townhouse. 


Home and an impromptu visit from Mabel, more laughter then it was time for the station and begin the trip home. 

Hugs, kisses, expressions of thanks and the warm feeling of a memory made and knowledge that we will be together in 8 weeks.

Train to haymarket, then airlink bus to airport, effortlessly simple. Time to browse in duty free ( sorry kevin! ) then good flight arriving early and great to be back, with Kevin’s cheery smile to greet me. Cuddles from Nina and a catch up from the last couple of days. 


Short trip but sweet, I admit to being exhausted, but I am very fortunate to still have both my parents to share time with, however short it may be. Although with all we ate, it felt more like a week!