Sunday, September 23, 2012

England September 2012

My journey started with a flight to Calgary, then a 3.5 wait and on to London, Heathrow. At Heathrow I made my way to the central bus terminal but had a two hour wait for the coach to Winchester where my cousin Michael picked me up. Winchester is about an hour drive south of London in Hampshire county (the bus dropped me off around the corner from Winchester cathedral). My family lives in Eastleigh which is a small town about a 20 minute drive from Winchester. Eastleigh use to be the place where all the railway coaches for Britain were built (hence my dad 's love of trains and working for the railroad in his younger years).

I was delighted to see my 82 year old auntie Joan (my dad's sister) and her husband my uncle Vic whoi have not seen since 1996. First job was to unpack the coho salmon I brought - although it was no longer frozen the cold pack did its job to keep it cool. Auntie Joan had a lovely chicken dinner prepared complete with stuffing- yummy!


My first full day in Eastleigh auntie Joan and I made our way to the village where I made a few purchases (mostly for Hannah) - I am surprised at the prices here as I expected things to be much more expensive and most likely they are in the bigger cities like London. After nipping into a coffee shop to check my Internet or as my auntie calls it www dot - we ran into my cousin who drives a taxi and he drove us to Southampton airport to pick up my rental car. I certainly hope I have my auntie's genes at 82 she had no problem keeping up with me and at times I had trouble keeping up with her.

I rented a very small car and with the aid of my GPS and auntie Joan's directions I had lots of assistance to make my way back to Eastleigh! A little challenging driving a stick shift on the other side of the car on the other side of the road- god help me!

For dinner I made a vindaloo salmon dish with roasted vegetables and a black russian pie for dessert - most of the ingredients i packed in my case from home. Auntie Joan and uncle Vic think I am a gourmet cook! A friend of theirs stayed for dinner and said she this was the best fish she had ever tasted. Yes there is nothing quite like fresh BC Salmon - thanks Aaron your fish was a hit.

It is great fun talking to auntie Joan and uncle Vic about family history. I found out uncle Vic's uncle worked in the engine room and went down with the titanic. Apparently there is a museum in Southampton with a large titanic display that I am hoping to see.

My great great aunt was the oldest cleaner in the house of commons in London and another one of my relatives by marriage was a Beefeater in the Tower of London. Auntie Joan told me of a time, during the war, when she and my dad were at the cinema and it was evacuated due to an air raid and while they were running to the shelter the bullets from the planes were bouncing off the buildings around them. Apparently the German planes would follow the railway lines out of London which would lead to places like Eastleigh, bombing along the way in order to destroy the country's transportation system.

Today my cousin Michael picked us up and drove us through the New Forest area to a lovely coastal town called Lymgton just off the coast of the Isle of Wight. We visited the Saturday market (picked up a few Christmas gifts). It was a lovely sunny day so we had lunch at a pub on the waterfront. Glass of Strombow cider and sun what more could one want.

Tomorrow Michael is taking me out for a driving lesson so that I feel comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road and car. Tonight when I went up to my room together ready for bed auntie joan had cleaned up my room and put a hot water bottle in my bed - oh I love being spoiled!


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