Seven months ago I planned a trip - a secret trip.
Brisbane to Singapore, Singapore to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Cardiff.
I told a few key people and by some miracle it actually remained a secret. As a friend of mine said - "the jungle drums in the valleys can be quite loud".
My mum was celebrating a significant birthday and I thought it would be a good idea to surprise her. So on a Tuesday morning a few weeks ago I turned up on the doorstep with a "Hi it's me, please can I borrow £25 to pay Dai the taxi man as he doesn't accept cards or Australian dollars!"
The initial shock quickly morphed to utter disbelief that I was there and not on the other side of the world. We had teary hugs and I lost count of the number of times she said "I don't believe it"!
No time was wasted though, as a couple of hours after landing I was in the middle of a small family reunion. Mum was being taken out to lunch and so of course I now tagged along - bonus! It was a walk around the corner to a great place that was new to me since my last visit home. Such lovely company and thank you Aunty Glenys for a superb lunch.
One of the things that I love about going back home is the fact that I can walk most places. Down through the park to the sea front, round the corner to the shops, across the road to the railway station to take me to the city. I have lovely memories of wrapping Sibs up in blankets, putting her in her pushchair and bumping her down the dolly steps in Windsor Park, past the little aviary, maybe a stroll along the pier and then up the hill the other side. It was all still there - so wonderfully familiar.
The pier has however had a bit of a face lift recently and I have to say looks rather grand now. In fact the whole of the prom looked better than I remembered it. Maybe the blue skies and warm breezes made a difference as the last time I visited it was dark, grey and cold during December. The Bristol channel is always a mucky brown though, whatever the weather!
My first week home was spent doing everyday things. I will admit to getting rather wide eyed at the mundane, and if anyone saw me in Waitrose oohing and aaahing at things on the shelves - I apologise. (I was also a bit the same in Tesco and Marks and Spencer food hall!)
I stocked up on the essential under garments in M&S, bought some new shoes, paid a visit to Thorntons and had 'proper' fish and chips....twice!
I drank coffee and champagne in equal measures and ate half my body weight in real Jaffa Cakes...and that was just in the first few days!
Three wonderful friends came to see me a few days after I arrived and we spent the afternoon chatting and reminiscing. One of my favourite memories of this day was the speed in which we seemed to move from cups of tea to wine to cocktails....but then back to cups of tea! Maybe we are getting older and more sensible?
This little fellow came to visit most mornings during breakfast and would scamper around in the back garden. I managed to take this shot through the window just before he flew back up the tree.
I enjoyed walks up to the coffee shop in town and strolls along the promenade. It was all quite full on but also quite relaxing. We met up with some extended family one afternoon with some aunts that I hadn't seen for some time. Again, there was champagne....
So that was my first week away. A wonderful catch up with very important people. I was busy on top of busy but it was a good feeling flopping into bed at night knowing that I had filled my day.
|I think that flute was stuck to my hand...!|
I have always slightly regretted never recording and blogging about the last trip that I made home a couple of years ago. It's nice to have some words behind the photos to trigger the memories. So I'm rectifying that regret by capturing some of this one.
I'll be off to The Canaries next, then a few days back in Wales before heading up the M5 and M6 up North on a road trip. Care to join me?