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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Back from the UK

Yesterday, Jen and I returned from our visit to the UK. It was the first time we’d been there for four years! The last time, of the 16 days we stayed, eleven were rain-sodden. Of course, we don’t go there for the weather, but to see friends. This time, we were blessed with sunshine throughout!

On Sunday 8 June, we flew via BA into Gatwick, which left 50 minutes late and arrived 30 minutes behind schedule, hired a Seat Ibiza (same make as our own car, though ten years newer!) and drove down to Lee on the Solent to stay with our friend Molly, who lives in a flat on the seafront overlooking the Isle of Wight. As Molly’s 86 – and planning her 90th birthday party – it was deemed less disruptive if we were put up in the spare bedroom of her neighbours and friends, Ken and Cathy downstairs, who were also excellent hosts. Ken’s a very good chef, too.

On the Monday, I saw Rick Barter, owner of the Bookshop on the High Street, then we visited some friends in the immediate area, including our son-in-law’s parents. We also frequented a few shops, too, though ever conscious of the expected weight of our suitcases for our return – and the depletion of the bank balance!

On Wednesday, 11th June I went to The Bookshop and met Rick Barter again, and also Jane Bwye, who would be sharing the book signing session. It’s a good idea to share a signing, I find, as during the quiet periods when there’s no passing interest, you have someone to chat to. And Jane, with her long past in Kenya, naturally proved to be great company. Sarah, a photographer from the local newspaper The News, dropped by and took several photos of our stall outside the shop. The weather was sunny and warm, but fortunately our table was in the shade from the awning. A good two hour session; books signed and sold and a number of bookmarks handed out.

We drove up north on the 12th, passing the Angel of the North, and shortly afterwards were met by our friends Margaret and Neil, who followed us in to the airport where we returned the Ibiza to Hertz. Then it was a short drive to their new house in Seghill, near Cramlington.

During this second stage we walked all over the Lady of the North (Northumbria), stood betwixt Scotland and England, trod the quaint historic town of Jedburgh (or Jethart, or Jethard), put foot upon the creaking floorboards of the house of Mary Queen of Scots, barely missed seeing the Commonwealth Games Queen’s baton (!), strolled through the aisles of the biggest second-hand and antique book dealer, Barter Books in Alnwick, ate too much and finally flew from Newcastle via Jet2, a carrier to be recommended, arriving 15 minutes early in Alicante, to be met by our daughter Hannah.

The Lady of the North
 
There was little time to devote to Facebook or emails during the period of absence. I had already prepared a daily post for this blog, the last of which was yesterday’s.

Further blogs will cover some of the above places of interest.

It’s good to have a break and see friends and the old country, but it’s good to be back home, too.

4 comments:

Cathie Dunn said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. You were very lucky with the weather. If you'd sauntered further north, you might have encountered some of that ever-present Scottish rain! :-)

Welcome back to the fun and games of t'internet...

Nik said...

Thanks, Cathie! Now, it's catch up time - among other things!

Richard Hardie said...

Rick Barter is a great guy and very supportive of authors (local abd foreign!). Incidentally is the Barter Books you visited up North anything to do with Rick?
And you were wityh Jane Bwye! Lovely lady.

Nik said...

Hi Richard. Hope your charity golf tournament went well. No, though coincidental, there is no link between Rick and Barter Books. Sorry we missed each other during my flying visit.