Ann’s holiday blog 2005

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Going, Going, Not quite gone!

Hello all out there,
Fooled you!!!! Well, not really – fooled myself as well. I thought I would have no opportunity to do any more blog ect. However, here I am sitting in the Virgin Megastore in central London – which is a very scary place – it has headsets for music on each table in the cafe, table top electronic games, an internet cafe which is unstaffed (so you have to do it all yourself), a security guard, just to make sure you don’t steal the equipment, its own radio station blaring all around. You know, you get to a certain point and you just know there are certain things that you will never be involved in? Well most of this store is that for me – and they did not have what I came in for!
So, how did I get here after my definative farewell? Well, I decided to check into Rowhill Grange till I left for the airport. It meant I could be just round the corner from Candice, it had a spa and the car had to be delivered to Dartford which is nearby – so it seemed sensible. Then it became clear that the funeral and the time leading up to it needed to be a family time. So that meant I had free time!!! Yippeee – so what to do?
Well, last night I had dinner with Ed & Jan, and took more pictures of the garden – the roses are just gorgeous now – I really want to go back next week to see what has come up next! Then this morning I got an early train to town and took the underground to

Gower Street

where I had reserved a book for Rob. I enjoyed my walk around and through Bloomsbury, visiting a lot of old haunts – UCL, the Psychology Department, the Medical Research Unit (which is no longer in Bedford Square). The day is warm and sunny and will get o 20c – lovely for walking and wandering.
I passed by some favourite shops – Habitat and Heals, but lost one of my favourite delis on

Marshall Street

– in fact I lost

Marshall Street

too! Next I am going to wander down to Westminster, via Soho, Picadilly, Trafalger Square, – with maybe a diversion to the National Gallery – The Mall, and then for lunch with Jan in the House of Commons. At three I am going to a matinee at the Criterion Theatre to see a play called ‘the Countess’ – Ruskin, his wife Effie and her affair with Millet – it got good reviews so I am looking forward to it. Back to the hotel in time for dinner then tomorrow I shall return the car, have a nice massage and facial before checking out at 5 and off to the airport – whew, I need to come home for a rest.
So this is definately the last time – OK? I promise (the hotel does not have internet access). Love to all, bye for now – Ann

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posted by Ann at 1:13 AM | 2 comments

Monday, June 06, 2005

End of trip – going home

Hello everyone and welcome to probably the last blog for the trip.
As you know by now, I am staying at Candices’ and her mother has died. The funeral is on Thursday and her brothers arrive from the States, one tomorrow and one on Wednesday. As a family they, of course, all want to be together and so I shall be moving on for the last two days before I set of for NZ. It is unlikely that I shall have access to the blog or to emails before I go so I just wanted to say how lovely it has been to feel that you have all been with me on my trip, keeping me company, keeping me focussed and sending all your wonderful comments to me. I have logged in with anticipation each time and have always had a comment to greet me – so a big thank you for that.
Well, this has been an eventful trip with lots of highs and only some lows. I have no doubt, now that I am to leave that Hong Kong, England and Greece will have beautiful weather from now on for a long period of time – and if they don’t then I can’t be blamed!
So, bye for now my dears, lots of love and hugs, and will definately log on for the absolutely last time when I get to Devonport.

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posted by Ann at 8:16 AM | 3 comments

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sad day

Today was the day of the party and you will know from reading my Comments that we organised for it yesterday and were having it today. Well we did, and it was good to see Candices friends that I have known for a long time and to catch up with them. We had the tables set up in the garden and everything looked lovely. Towards the end of the afternoon Candice got a call from her sister to say that her mother was deteriorating (Rose had been taken into hospital on Friday). Candice and Geoff decided to drive to Cornwall and left about 6 o’clock for the 5hour drive. However, at about 8 o’clock Rose died. Candice is very upset and is continuing onto Corwall to arrange for Rose’s funeral, which will take place in Rainham in Essex on Tuesday.

In her late seventies I remember Rose as a feisty slim small woman who was lively, engaging and enquiring. She was computer literate and I remember having a long conversation with her about spreadsheets, accounting and databases only a couple of years ago. Rose had become progressively ill over the last few months and after a heart attack had moved to Corwall to be cared for by her daughter Lynn. Rose had remained a central and important part of Candice’s life and she and Geoff would visit her in Corwall at least once a month. Candice and Geoff spend the last bank holiday there, driving to visit her in Cornwall after dropping me off at Gatwick for the Skopelos flight. It is a measure of how close Candice was to her mother that she knew immediately she had to go to Cornwall today. I am sure you will all join with me in saying how sorry we are for your loss Candice.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Skopelos Pictures

Hi there, I’ve added some pictures from the Skopelos trip. You can click the title above or click on the Allens Group link on the right hand side, then Pictures, then Skopelos and it will take you to the pics. Remember, if you double click the picture it will enlarge it. Byeeee

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posted by Ann at 12:07 AM | 5 comments

Friday, June 03, 2005

London calling – again

Hi there all you bloggers,
Back in London now – flight went reasonably well – Skiathos airport, despite being extended, remodelled and restaffed, was just as chaotic, if not more, than I remember. However, because the palne was not full and there were lots of little children on it we did not have to refuel at Thesalonika so got into Gatwick 1 hour early. I did wonder, when my bags went through though, whether they might like to reconsider the refueling situation. I can’t belive it – when I left Candices’ last week my bag weighed 19kilos, when I got to the airport it had gained 2 kilos to be one over the limit and was given a big sticker which said HEAVY BAG. So, when I got to the airport today guess what – it had gained again and weighed in at 29.5kilos! I don’t know, I think someone is filling my bags with bricks. Fortunately, the Skiathos staff never turn a hair at overweight baggage so it just went through – lucky me. Now can anyone tell me how to get 50 kilos through on a 30 kilo allowance for my return trip? A prize for the best suggestion.
Busy day tomorrow – I pick up my car and then shopping with Candice & Geoff for the lunch party they are holding for me on Sunday – we are going to a local Mediteranian deli to shop for it – lots of delicacies and yummy bits and pieces. So, I am off for a bath and an early night. Talk soon, Love to all – Ann

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posted by Ann at 10:12 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Skopelos Island

If you click on the title it will take you to a web site about Skopelos. If you copy & paste the following link into your address bar you can see more about Skopelos. Skopelos Net is run by my friend Mimi and the Walks & Hikes page (from Off the Beaten Track) is Heather page for her walks (in fact you can see her in the third picture down). .
Do have a look and you can see the sorts of things I have been doing and seeing and tasting and felling for the last week!
After morning coffee with Heather & her dad at the Kalivi yesterday I went to Agnondas for a swim and a snorkel – lots of little fishes and very pretty round blue ones – but did not see any of Robs favourite swordfish. The water was initially chilly – but became warm and lovely when you were in properly. No one on the beach when I arrived and only 5 people when I left. Then, in lieu of lunch, I treated myself to a Karavia Special Ice-ccream – it had everything, lots of fresh fruit, lots of ice-cream, cream, fruit sauce, chocolate sticks, chocolate sauce – it should have come with a health warning!!!!
Met up with Heather for coffee after her English classes then off to Panormos with Mimi for dinner (salad and oven aubergines with feta – delicious) – home by 12.30 – they do keep late hours here.
Monastery and Internet and a lovely sunny day – until 10 minutes ago! I had intended to have lunch at Costas and a last swim before packing then dinner at Platanos, where one of the waiters that I have known for years had invited me for a drink (by the way Rob – Stravros, Costas and nearly everyone else sends their best wishes and says it is a shame you could not come this year – so I told them we will come next time we are over – is that OK with you?). It turns out he spent time in Christchurch about 8 years ago, so it was good to talk to him about NZ. He may be coming later this year on holiday, and we may see him then.
So, as of this moment I am not sure what the day holds – but I have a rain jacket so this rain won’t stop me for long.
Won’t be logging in tomorrow – early start – ferry at 7.15am and in London/Hextable by 7.30ish pm. So till next time – love & hopes for sun for you. Ann

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posted by Ann at 11:47 PM | 3 comments

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yasso everyone

So, another day – what did I do yesterday? Well by the time I had finished breakfast (I cheated and had cake & hot chocolate), all my emails, blogs etc it was almost time to meet Heather & Pip. We had lunch in Molos – delicious mushrooms stuffed with cheese, aubergine stuffed with onion and oregano potatoes – yummm. After we had coffee (water for me) in Apostolisis’ former cafe I had a siesta and then set off for Glisteri. I had been told it was warm enough to swim – but Glisteri is one the other side of the island and so the water was cooler so I decided not to swim. I love this beach because it is so quiet and peaceful, and you can usually hear the goat herds in the hills – hear their bells tinkling – but they were launching the boat which takes people from Skopelos town to Glisteri so it was a hubub of noise and activity yesterday – it was interesting though and I got some nice pictures. An evening of wandering up and down the hilly streets, over by the churches, up to the Castro, down to the cafes – more walnut cake, this time with ice cream. Yannis brought round some cherry preserve he had just made – it was still hot in the jar, so left that to cool.

This morning I was up at 6.30 and off to the monastery where I left some cherries for the priest and sat and contemplated the world in the most peaceful environment I know. From the seat at the monastery you can see the pine clad hills and the sea, see the fishing boats and ferries come & go and listen to the little birds – saw a finch and a harrier! Back to town for strawberry juice and fruit for breakfast before coming to the Internet cafe.

I am just off to buy some cakes (perhaps almond cakes stuffed with plums?) to take to Heathers Kalivi for morning coffee before I go for a swim at either Panormos or Agnondas – now Panarmos is lovely to swim at, very calm, but it has no fish so maybe I should go to Agnondas which will be a bit busier (about 5 people more) and do a bit of snorkelling. In any case I shall return to Panormos tonight with Mimi for dinner. On the other hand ….. well I am spoilt for choice, aren’t I. Hope the weather is OK where you are. Talk soon, love to all, Ann

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posted by Ann at 10:42 PM | 4 comments

Monday, May 30, 2005

Culinary delights

So, what have I been eating, lets see, the obvious – olive, greek salad, tatziki, eggplant dip, but also cheese balls, stuffed tomatoes, oven potatoes, courgette balls – fritters really – and a delicious lentil dish given to me by Costas at whose taverna I ate yesterday. Oh, and the walnut cake, yoghurt & honey, local peaches, cherries, Skopelos cheese pie – where do I stop – and thats only the first three days! In the absence of fruit teas I have taken to drinking soda water which is very refreshing, and chilled lemon tea. The retsina is as good as always and I do believe their white wine is improving too.
Yesterday I ‘found’ – well I remembered my way to – Heathers Kalivi (house in the hills) and it was just lovely. When I saw it last I wondered why she had bought it – it looked so tumble down and derilcit. But she has good vision for now the kalivi looks wonderful. It is set in the hills up a good then less good dirt track surrounded by ancient olive trees, with a beautiful view of the sea. The work she has done in rebuilding, adding an up deck, rebuilding walls, terraces and windows with shutters means it has a beautiful location and fits in perfectly. I sat under her almond tree for a while and it was so peaceful, with only bird sound and the occasional bee exploring the wild flowers in her garden – including my favourite, wild chamomille. Very peaceful and a complete contrast to Skopelos town where the young men take it as a mark of honour to ride their motorbikes up and down the narrow streets making their engines roar as loudly as possible.
Skopelos is having a bit of an identity crisis at the moment with falling tourist numbers, increased building and no plans for appropriate development. There are lots of speculation as to why tourism is dropping, from explanations which focus on how the island is to the way tourism is developing worlwide. Unfortunately there is a strong element of conservatism amongst the generation who have most power on the island at the moment. The older generation – who grew up without tourism but with strong ties to the land are actually more ecollogically minded than their commercially oriented middle generation who seem to want a quick profit and dismiss notions of development appropriate to the island in favour of more building and shops and commercial activity. For example, Heather, our friend who offers hill walking on the island (apart from this year when she is incapacitated) which brings specific types of tourists to the island has to clear tracks by herself in the winter without any support from the island. Now this is a clear example of an activity which I would have thought should be supported as appropriate tourism for the island, but is dismissed as not important. So, last night there was a meeting – at 11.30, after business had finished for the day – to discuss what might be done to increase tourist numbers – I am interested to see what was discussed, if not decided.
Coming here for so many years one does become interested in the politics of the island – so sorry if this is not of interest to you!
Back to the sun, sea, sand. Actually there is very little sand on the island – Skiathos, a neighbouring island has sandy beaches – the beaches on Skopelos are stony and so you need jellies to negotiate the beaches here and to swim. So, I have unearthed mine and am about to set out to Glisteri before having lunch with Heather & Pip. Catch up soon, Love Ann

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posted by Ann at 11:51 PM | 3 comments

Kalemera from Skopelos

Yesterday – no late Sunday – I got my jeep so took a drive up the whole island yesterday, had lunch at Agnondas, under the huge mulberry tree they have there, then had a soda at Lutraki – the port of Glossa (Glossa is the town in the hill and Loutraki the port down below). The day was overcast so although everything looked lovely it was not the spectacular deep blues that is usual at this time of year on the island. However, today is sunny, warm and everything looks just beautiful – I must make sure to get lots of pictures today! The island smells of pine (the island is covered by olive and pine trees) and I am sure I caught a whiff of wild oregano too. The poppies, cornflowers, broom and alium are all out and look lovely.
I have just had an hours physiotherapy on my poorly foot – which is actually much better now – from a very handsome young Russian who speaks Greek and Russian but no English – and me with only English – so it was a bit unusual. I have never had such an unpleasant experience! At one point I was making so much noise he suddenly found some English and said ‘do you want it to get better’ – I am such a coward!!
I am off to Panarmos for luch and then meeting Caterina (our Greek tutor – who is German) this evening. Tomorrow I shall meet Heather (who has her foot in plaster after splitting her Achiles tendon) and her father for lunch and Mimi and I are going out for dinner in the eveing – so a busy couple of days ahead. In between I am sure I shall visit my favourite beach – Glisteri – and my favourite Monastery – Metamorphosis. I am busy sampling all my favourite dishes and so far the stuffed tomatoes and oven potatoes win out – they are delicious. Still, plenty of time for other winners to emerge!
Well, my dears, I am off to collect my swimming and snorkelling stuff, get into my little red jeep – I must try to remember to drive on the ‘other’ side of the road today – and set of for the sun. Talk soon – love to all, Ann

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posted by Ann at 12:23 AM | 5 comments

Friday, May 27, 2005

Oh the sea, the sun, the island!!!

Hi, this is the first post from Skopelos!!! So, where to start – well the flight was 1.5hours late in leaving so we arrived late too. The airport has enlarged a lot since my last trip but is still as chaotic, which worked fine for me since I knew where the taxis were and was able to nab the first one to get me to the port to catch the right ferry. So I did not have time to raom around Skiathos town, but that is no great loss since it caters to mass tourism and Yorkshire puddings! Then surprise surprise… Yannis and Caterina were on the Dolphin! I saw this man waving and looked behind me to see who he was trying to reach – but it was me!!! So I had company on my trip and caught up on all sorts of news which was lovely.
The day was sunny and warm – the first for a couple of wet weeks. Mimi was there to meet us and we all wandered up to the house where the ironing board and iron were produced as well as my bags which were in storage – so I got aquainted with my first aid kit, snorkelling gear, beach shoes, mouldy old beach towels (must go to the laundromat today), paints and language books as well as my CD player! Soon I was settled, ironing away, listening to James Taylor, getting sorted putting things away. Lovely. Then off to the supermarket for the Retsina, Oregano crisps and olives. I was to meet Mimi at 7 for coffe and then dinner. On our way to coffee we met Heather and her father, Peggy and her family, and whose husband and daughter produce the most lovely gold and silver jewllery and who have a harbour front shop. Mimi, of course stops every two steps to talk to someone so progress was slow but it gave me a good chance to look around. We went to a local restaurant Finnicas – which has changed owners and is so much better. Given that I had been awake since 1am I was surprisingly awake and eventually rolled into bed at 12 o’clock.
Oh, before I forget – I have met Daisy’s relative – it is the double of Daisy before she came to us, but not in quite such disrepair and it is the most gorgeous chocolate brown. Think of Daisy with short hair and affectionate – I lost my heart immediately and started planning how to get her to NZ – I know, I know I was given strict instructions, but who could resist those eyes – so stop shouting – I can hear you form here!!!! Anyway as I was cuddling her – and probably being covered in fleas – I encountered her collar, so you can all breathe out now – she belongs to someone else. But I must try to find out who and see if I can find out more about Daisy.
It thunderstormed during the night – I really do think it is following me – but I am assured it will be fine by Monday – so I can have a lazy couple of days. Talk soon , Love & hugs and kisses, Ann – GROUP HUG?

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posted by Ann at 11:57 PM | 4 comments

lovely to see you

It was great to see you the other evening. Thank you for all the presents especially the parcel of Hong Kong goodies which arrived today. It’s been so hot here today that we just haven’t had the energy – plus I had to make an emrgency trip to the dentist this afternoon- to get packed up and leave for Scotland after work. Instead we’re just chilling out in the garden with wine and the newspapers whilst Thomas is making something out of the spare pieces of wood and Rebecca is on Sims…Scotland tomorrow. We’ll be in touch when we get back because we need to get sorted out about the beach house.

Lots of love and enjoy Greece….Maggie,Thomas, Rebecca and Steve…xxxx

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posted by Maggie at 11:00 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why seek? Choose any love pi11 you want!

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posted by Ann at 7:33 AM | 0 comments

Anns Trip Pictures 2

Hello everyone,
I have posted some more pictures on the Allennz site. So if you click the link on this page on the right hand side called The Allens Group (or try the link above) and then Pictures and the Anns Trip 2 it will take you to them. If you click on a picture it will enlarge it. Unfortunately, the memory stick with the Yorkshire pictures would not load so we shall have to wait till I return home to try these again. However, I hope to be able to put some pictures of Skopelos up on my return. Hope you like these ones first though.
Lots of love

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posted by Ann at 6:30 AM | 4 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

To vroom or not to vroom that is the question

Hello everyone. I am now safely back at Candice & Geoffs after my adventures in Outer England. I had a splendid time with Ed & Jan and saw some friends while I was there. I spent a very good afternoon and evening with Sue and Ian and we ate at the Stables in Danson park in Welling which was very pleasant. Unfortunately my car was in a bit of an altercation (no not cause of speeding – I know what you are thinking!) – scraped in a supermarket car park, but I don’t know who did it – so that put a damper on today and I shall have to pay an exorbitant amount of excess for the damage despite being insured and not at fault! However, it did not stop me getting to the University at Medway to meet Chris & Suzanne for lunch. We went to a lovely little vllage called Upnor, which is very very old, has a castle, no cars – you have to park in a car park outside the village and then walk – fronts onto the river and is quite delightful. We ate in a pub there and then returned to the University for coffee. Then it was back up the A2 and here I am. The next couple of days will be quieter – lots of organising, washing and ironing again, in preparation for my trip to Skopelos on Friday – very early – I think I have to be up at 3.00am! I’m not sure I should go since the temperatures here will match those in Skopelos for the next few days – what do you think? Go/don’t go? On reflection……I think I’ll go! I’ll try to put up some more pictures in the next couple of days. So, unless anything else happens I think the next blog will be from Skopelos! Talk then, bye for now.
Love & hugs

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posted by Ann at 10:58 AM | 3 comments

Monday, May 23, 2005

Mellow Yellow

Yes folks, the sunshine is back – Yippee!!!! I’ve been up since 5 and I’ve just been in the garden watching the blackbirds collect food for the young ones, the baby starlings miss the bird table and fall away and come back to try again; and the robin and blue tits foraging on what has fallen from the bird table – lovely, soothing and a good way to start the day. More plants flower in the garden each day and today a beautiful purple clematis opened and a heavenly smelling bourbon rose – delicious!
I have been to visit Joan, a neighbour who lived across the road from us, but have had no luck contacting Joyce or Eileen – perhaps I will try later. I am off to lunch with Lynn soon but was just logging in to say hello to everyone before I get going. Bye for now – love, Ann

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posted by Ann at 2:25 AM | 4 comments

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Rain, rain go away……

Do you think some people attract bad weather – you know, like some people are said to attrack bad luck? Well I think I may be one of them. Everywhere I go it rains, people are very nice about and say things like ‘well we do need the rain, the ground is so hard’ or’well we will just have to learn to swim’. I think they are trying to make me less guilty, but I also think they wish I would go away – fast!!! So, it rained in Hornsea, it rained down the A1, it did not rain the evening I stayed with Sarah – I think I fooled it by stopping off – but it had caught up by the time I rose the next morning. It bucketed down as I drove down the M11 to London – big spray, reduced visability, jack-knifing lorries, slow coaches, the lot. Then yesterday Ed & Jan wanted to take me to the Royal Hotricultural Gardens at Wisley – it rained, and it rained and it rained; it started raining as we drove there, it rained most of the time we were there, it rained all the way home – it only stopped when we arrived indoors -typical!

The gadrens were beautiful, and they are always developing new areas (this time they are buliding a new glasshouse) and have put in a new extension to their rockery. I think they must have one of the worlds best collections of Rhodedendrums and Azeleas; we walked through their wild forest area, their meadow area, saw their model gardens for different types of areas and contexts – small family-garden, city garden, Japanese garden, potted garden – we visited their existing glasshouses and saw lots of familiar NZ and sub tropicals as well as lots of desert plants, orchids and alpines. It is a wonderful place to visit – even if it is raining. Fortunately Ed & Jan had lent me a rainproof so although I dripped and was damp, on the whole I stayed dry. We shopped and visited the plant shop too. Ed & Jan bought some plants for their rockery and garden. Their garden is undoubtedly the very best domestic garden I have ever seen – I have taken pictures of it and will try to give you a flovour of it when I put the next set of pictures up. They are renewing their pond and today we went to buy the inner and to buy some stuff for their fish and then to Thompsons (our local garden crentre); we visited the donkeys, bought supplies and returned home, which was no mean feat because there was a farm show (we have a local city farm) next door to the garden centre so the parking and traffic was gridlock variety.

I have just been to visit Jackie and Rita – oh and, Elisabeth I did see Alex and Julia yesterday and delivered your envelope. Alex & Julia are living in a very bare house now that their belongings have been packed up and sent off to New Zealand – they will be reunitied with them on July 4th’ish just after they finnaly arrive in NZ. They seem relieved to have that part of their leaving behind them and are focussing on the next 6 weeks, lots of sociability, organising and final stuff – it should be a breeze! Tonight we are off to a local Thai restaurant, then tomorrow I have lunch with a work colleague Lynn and then off to Sue and Ian to stay for the night. Will probably log back in agin on Tuesday sometime. Hope you are all hale & happy. Take care & will get back to you soon. Love & hugs Ann

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posted by Ann at 6:52 AM | 3 comments

Pony’s in Alconbury

This was the first time I had visited Sarah in her house in Alconbury – even though I used to pass it every time I went up to and back from Yorkshire. Sarah & I go back almost 20years to when we both worked for the Open University tutoring D102 – Introduction to the Social Sciences and running study skills workshops for the southern region on Saturday mornings. Alconbury is a picturesque and sleepy, and now commuter, village off of the A1/A14 and Sarah has a house in a quiet cul de sac which has a lovely developing garden with a huge tree. It was so lovely to see her and her daughter Charley – who is 15 now and very grown up – and is a very accomplished horsewoman. Horses are Sarahs escape from her day job and I think she has 5 now. We went to feed and see them. I was introduced to some of her horses and to others who are stabled where Sarah keeps hers. They were all very beautiful – and I saw 3 foals. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me – I know, you have told me already – I shall have to chain it to me. Sarah, of course, is very comfortable around horses (she used to compete when she was young too) but I – as a city person – was less comfortable. However, I did pat & stroke and was nuzzled and they were quite splendid. Sarah cats kept us company – I counted 3 but I suspect there are more. We chatted and ate all evening and I slept like a log from 12 till 5.30, then it was up and getting ready for today and the run to London – but not before more chat with a very civilised breakfast. So, a very good visit and thank you Sarah it was lovely to spend time with you and Charlotte and to catch up on all the news. I will be sure to stop next time I am going your way – promise! OK loves, all for now, I am off to see Ed & Jan and their 3 cats and will be there for the next 3 days. I will try to get down to this IC at some point in the weekend but if I don’t have a good weekend everyone, lots of hugs, Ann

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posted by Ann at 1:36 AM | 7 comments

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mini Blog

Just a quickie before I depart Hornsea. I am off to Beverley to visit the cathedral before I scoot down to Alconbury. I don’t think Sarah – or indeed Ed & Jan have computers, so don’t know when I will get back on. But will post ASAP.
I wanted to apologise for the ‘cows’ postcard – Rob tells me I typed green letters on a green background so the writing was indecipherable!! The green is getting to me is all I can say. Stay well & take care of each other. Talk soon-ish. Love Ann

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posted by Ann at 1:36 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Gardens of delight

Hi everyone,
So, yesterday – well after leaving here I wandered all my faviourite back roads taking in farmland and coastal areas. Ulrome – where Rob and I used to walk Daisy – looked very wild and wonderful with an East wind coming in off the sea and the sea looking choppy and rough; around Alborough where the coast is still being eroded at a vast rate of noughts; Mappleton – there is a church I like there and finally back to the hotel for what turned out to be a superb meal that would have been good anywhere in the world.
That was in contrast to the ‘lunch’ I had today! But first, I had gone to Burton Agnes – via the back roads – to look at the garden. I arrived at 10.00, however it did not open till 11.00am – but they let me wander round and pay later. The walled garden is a splendid place with a smell garden for the blind, espalliered fruit trees, a beautifully kept vegetable garden, herb garden, little enclosed gardens which take different clours – so there was a white garden, a red one, a purple one. In each of these gardens there is a floor game – noughts and crosses, draughts, snakes and ladders set out on the paving stones and in the centre is a rose arbour on four sides of a sunken chess board with people sized pieces (well if the people were 5 years old that is); and of course, lots of herbacious borders stuffed with every kind of English cottage garden plant you could ask for. I love this garden so much, I have tried in the past to come at every season so that I can see the full range. They even have a ‘jungle garden’ and I recognise some of the plants that we have in Devonport.
Later I thought I’d re-visit ThornwickBay to do some bird watching and maybe see some puffins – I erroneously though they might be there at this time of year. No such luck. But thought I would have lunch – big mistake! The menu was carbohydrate and fat hell – fried this and that, sandwiches, chips, fat, stodge and more fat. Not a vitamin to be seen. I spied soup – Yippee – it was even tomato soup, my faviourite; can’t do much to spoil that can they? Well for a start it came from a packet, and worse, it had some undentifiable lumps floating in it. I was trying to recollect if I had offended anyone before I actually put any in my mouth. No, (sight of relief) they were just unreconstituted lumps of soup, Ugh! The, brown – an unusually healthy offering – roll had been badly microwaved to make it warm and so it was warm, but also hard! Now I have always been aware that food and Yorkshire and health should not be mentioned in the same breath but this was stunningly bad even by their standards. All I can say is that I am looking forward to dinner tonight!
Tomorrow I am off to Sarahs in Cambridgeshire where I am sure of a warm welcome, good conversation, a glass of wine and good food.
Talk soon. Hugs to all. Ann

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posted by Ann at 5:39 AM | 7 comments

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Hello peeps,
Well the drive from London to Yorkshire went well. I went through the Dartford Tunnel where there was a 6 mile tailback, but after that it was fine and I was able to put this car through its paces. I left at 7.30 and got here at 11.00am, so I made reasonable time and was able to keep a steady 80-105 miles per hour on the A1 and just a bit more on the Yorkshire motorways. As Rob will tell you, this did not beat my record but it was close.
Weather was fine on the way up then cloudy as soon as we reached Yorkshire – surprise, surprise – but it is sunning now. East Yorkshire countryside does not have the exuberance of Kent and is flatter but is just as lovely as I remember it. All the plants are about 2weeks behind London/Kent up here, so the wisteria on our house is not out yet, but the clematis is gorgeous. It is a pink Montana Rubens and the whole back fence between the house and the school is covered in it. My hotel is set in lovely grounds with rose gardens and looks onto farm lands and since the land is flat I can see for miles. The hotel, unfortunately, does not have internet access (unless you have your own computer) but Hornsea now boasts its own Internet Cafe and so I am posting you from there. OK, I am off to do more exploring and will post again soon. Love & hugs to all. Ann

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posted by Ann at 4:43 AM | 3 comments

Monday, May 16, 2005


I have added photos to the Allennz site for you to see. There is a link on this site – look to the right hand side and you will see a like called ‘The Allens Group’, if you click on this and then go to pictures you will see an album called Anns Trip, where I have added some of the photos I have taken so far – do have a look.
Big hugs

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posted by Ann at 6:43 AM | 5 comments

Wash day blues

Hello my friends,
The day started beautifully at 6.30 with a few minutes outside appreciating the clear skies, bird song, smells of honeysuckle and golden fields – of rape seed! Forest was to get to school by 9, but those of you who know Lucy will know that that was never going to happen. It seems that Lucy (and increasingly Forest) is keeping up her tradition of not quite being on time and is known by the other mothers in the area for driving the ‘wrong’ way – that is driving towards school when they are driving away from it! However, as far as I could see it made no difference to Forest‘s school day because when we finally arrived at 9.15, having taken a detour to pick up a school chum in a neighbouring village the children were still in the playground, or in their class gardens tending their plants, flowers flowers and vegetables. The school whistle – weilded by the headmasters wife – did not go till 9.30 when all the children sat on the ground in ther classe groups, were very quite, were supervised by children from older classes and then trouped into the school in descending order (so the youngest went last) to school assembly – all very disciplined and sweet. After that it was off to the cottage which sold freshly cut asparagus – yum! I bought 3 bunches of varying grades – because I knew it was Candice’s favourite – so guess what we are having for dinner. The cottage was thatched, with wisteria growing over the front and beautiful views of the fields and countryside. As usual Lucy was known by name so it did not matter that we had no money on us – they cut and prepared the asparagus then put it past for us for later. Then it was on to feed the pigs which I did by myself today since Lucy was deep in conversation with a woman who tethers her horses on the same farm as Lucy keeps her pigs, and who had attended a motivational weekend with 10,000 other people where the first task they had was to walk a 15ft length of buring coals – after that they could do anything!!! All packed, it was back to the cottage to pick up the asparagus and I took off for London while Lucy walked back through the fields to her cottage.
Back in Candice & Geoffs house I am writing this blog and delaying getting down to washing and ironing in preparation for setting off for Yorkshire tomorrow. Ho hum, well I guess I should get on with it. Don’t know if I’ll be able to post where I am staying in Yorkshire – but will find a way. Love to all of you. Talk soon, Ann

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posted by Ann at 4:52 AM | 3 comments

Sunday, May 15, 2005

English Idyl – or the joys of the English Coutryside.

Hello everyone and welcome to all the new readers and commenters – it is very gratifying to know you are all out there. So, what can I say. I have been at Lucy’s for the best part of a couple of days now and have fallen in love again with the English courtyside. It is so beautiful – coming into summer and the trees are mid way through budding and leaving so it is all very fresh and green and lush. I have seen robins and finches and great tits and blue tits and an owl and pheasants and most surprising a peacock! I have walked in a bluebell covered wood and am staying in a cottage in the heart of the countryside where the hedges grow so close there is only room for one car on the narrow and winding roads. We are surrounded by fields, the cottage is covered in clematis and honeysuckle, there are bumble bees and hares, moles and skylarks. It is just past lambing season so the lambs look sturdy and cute, there are horses in the fields, the hops are being strung, the fruit trees are developing, the fields are full of growing crops and I think Kent looks at its best just now. I have seen soo many rabbits and last night on the way back from dropping off the baby sitter (at 1am) we startled a baby fox, which was so small and startled; its fur was pale cream and had not developed its colour and it was scampering along the road. We turned off our headlights so that it could escape from its starle and it hurried away into the undergrowth. Geoffrey has been trying to persude me that hunting is not about killing animals so much as upholding centuries old tradition – but I’m not too sure about that. He is off parading beagles today at the Windsor Show in London today. I have been to feed Lucys pigs twice and will go again shortly. We have been out for lunch to Easley Manor a beautiful manor set in rolling creen countryside and I ve seen the Crown of Kent – a chalk crown set on a hillside, from the Manor. We had lunch outside in the sunn, a 4 piece jazz band played. We visited the butchers this moring – a farm butcher, where the meat is produced on and by the farm; we ate locally produced asparagus last night. We have walked each day in different woods and today we walked in a wood where there were sculptures incorporated into the wood – sort of appropriate ones for the setting – a bird table which was a table carved in the shape of a bird; a tree basket, where a set of deeply polarded trees were surrounded by a ‘basket’ woven of other polarded & cut trees, most ingenious and interesting. I have to go now – but may add to this later – if not will sign in again tomorrow. Love to all – Ann

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posted by Ann at 9:57 AM | 2 comments

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Hello from downunder….

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.11.8 – Release Date: 10/05/05

Dear Ann,

First of all, thank you very much for the BlueMountain mother’s day card; that was quite a surprise! We enjoyed having Rob and Daisy here this afternoon and he told us about the talking card he received with you and Forest on it today[?] So, what with your blogsite and Rob’s account of your doings, [talking with you per computer…] we don’t feel you are very far away at all and it’s nice to be able to share parts of your journey.

Daisy made straight for her water ‘bowl’, when she arrived, had a little ‘explore’ in the garden and then settled down on the rug, until she remembered she hadn’t had her after dinner scratch, so she got up again and reminded Rob, who, of course, was only too happy to oblige. Both she and Rob seem fine but I’m sure they’re counting the days…….

The trees and plants in the garden and house have had a treat: your worm liquid, which is now almost all used up. I shall return your bucket next time I’m passing your house. Thanks again, Ann.

Ken’s just come in, so I ‘ll get the dinner on:the Greek potato, tomato and olive dish. I’ve got some lovely Desiree potatoes from the Framework Trust garden which lend themselves very well to this.

Looking forward to more of your news.

Love from us both.


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posted by Ann at 11:09 PM | 1 comments

Friday, May 13, 2005

Swimming in Tea

Today I intended just to collect the car & then what? I wasn’t sure. So, I decided to visit those people who were not on the schedule. So, the rest of this will mean little to most of you cause it is about people you don’t know. Sorry! The day started well when I went to collect my car and discovered that the manager of the Avis Centre was a young man – and his wife – who we had known for years when we lived in Burrage Road (Peter and Carol – Peter used to work ate Roys Garden shop – remember Rob). It was so surprising to see them. I visited ShrewsburyPark – one of Daisy old haunts., and it looked lovely and green and spring like. I went and poped into see my friend Ed and to see the garden in its spring colours. I love his garden and could spend hours there. But I was disciplined and spent only 1 hour. Mickey and the Beast were there but I missed Lou Lou (all cats). While there I bumped into Kath Griffiths who brought me up to date on her and Eric. Then onto Joyce, not home; and Rita, not home, so visited with Julia Cowdell, whose movers come next Tuesday and Wednesday and who was pleased to see someone who had been through the same process (Julia and Alex are returning to New Zealand after an abscence of 25 yrs). Was brought up to date on the Plumstead Environmental Group and the hand over from Julia to her successor. There was a beautiful fox in the garden and I was sorry not to have brought my camera. Back to Joyce’s – still not home; then to Ritas, and before I oculd go in I met Jaqui and Dionne from the University. Apparently Dave Mutti now has Andrews job, has got married and is now a father. Given that we have known him since he started working it made me realise he is all grown up now. Rita was home so we had a good visit and I will return to see her and Jackie next week when I visit Ed & Jan. Then I visited my friend Maureen who was so shocked to see me and so happy! She phoned for her grandaughter Esme to come to visit – the last time I saw her she was just a baby and now she is a delightful very talkative nearly three year old. Maureen is studying for a postgrad masters in immigration law and is in the thick of exams; her son has emigrated to Turkey on marrying a Turkish Kurd and all are going to visit them over the summer. I really want to make time to see her – but when. Then back to Hextable, missing the exit on the A2 and nearly getting to Gravesend before I turned round – but eventually I found my way here. Going out for dinner – Thai – tonight and then to Ludenham and Lucy & Forest tomorrow. Probably won’t sign in agin till Monday cause may not have access to a computer over the weekend. Hope all is well with you. Take care of each other. Lots of love, Ann

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posted by Ann at 7:58 AM | 8 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My feet are killing me!

Just got back from a day in town and my feet are weary, sore and hot. So, it must mean I had a good day! The day started at 3am for me – but I did sleep well when I slept. The day properly started at 6.30 when I left with Geoff to go to Woolwich where I was to catch a train to town. We parked the car and as we walked away the very first person I saw was Tom our favourite taxi driver – he was so surprised to see me. He has new teeth and looks quite different and has become a double great-grandfather since I last saw him. The Salad Bowl (where we used to have breakfast) staff – June, Margaret and Maureen were so welcoming and excited I was quite touched! Junes dog, Jack, has just died, Margarets mother is very ill and in hospital, Jerry has left his wife and moved in with his new woman, David and Alison were there and Alison was as pessimistic as ever and kept saying ‘but it is such a horrible and long trip’ while David wanted to know all about Daisy and Sissy. It was lovely to see them all again and looking just the same! It was too early to go to town so I took a walk through Woolwich and met Simon and his brother Chris – so all in all it was a good thing to get up early! Woolwich looked dreary apart from the square which looked tended and green. I understand that houses prices are booming because of the DLR; a new supermarket (Tescos) is to be built where peggy Middleton House is; Churchill House looks very swish and not at all like the run down tower block that it was when I (and Rob) used to work in it. The old Co-op complex is making way for a pedestrianised shopping centre.
On the train to town I was pleased to note that I had lost none of my skills for getting the last seat on the train. Town was just waking up when I got there and I walked through Covent Garden and Neal Srteet, taking in Carlucios – where I just had to buy something, now didn’t I. In

Neal Street

the particular shop I wanted – had gone! For the next hour, between me, the cafe owner and Lucy (via mobile and the web) we tried to hunt down this shop but all we came up with was an address on the

Kings Road

which had a no operating telephone number. So I decided to go to the V&A – guess what you are getting Rob – and I bought some nice, light – bits and peices there. On the way back to Charring Cross, where I was going to leave my now heavy bag in left luggage (do you know how much this catalogue weights Rob – Cathay Pacific are not going to be pleased with you at all), I decided to go via Kings Road, where I leared that the person I was looking fors shop had just closed – so a complete end of that trail. I don’t think I would really like to be a private invesigator, much to much work. However what I did see en route was the trouping of the colours with a set – maybe 40 – mounted riders, playing some marching tune – they were very impressive. I think you have to be a tourist to see this cause although I lived there 20 years this was the first time I had ever see it. Back at Charring Cross I decided it was time for lunch but where – Cranks had closed and although a very good shop had opened in its place it was too noisy (you would have agreed with me Sue) so I went over the road to the Piano & Pithcher and had lunch. After that I set off.
Rob will appreciate the next bit and know what I mean, but I apologise in advance if this just sounds like a lis of streets. I set off up St Martins Lane, past the ENO – I did check to see if there were any operas you would like in July Rob but no luck – through Leister square and into Lisle Street (China Town) before going through the Berwick Street Market where I visited the Fair Trade shop, along Lexington street to the Ceramic Centre – where I resisted buying. The Cranks next door has also closed and in its place is a lovely Indian Restaurat, where I did not eat but they did give me one of their menus to take with me. Back along Brewer Street – I visited one of my favourite Italian Delis – where I did not resist buying something (actually 1/2 kilo of chevril and rocket tortelloni, some home made pesto, and a bunch of sage) then on to Old Compton Street to visit another deli to buy fresh parmesan. I then hit

Charring Cross Road

only to discover that Murder One – my favourite bookshop – had moved, but only across the road. Then it was down to the National Gallery to look at the Crivellis – of which they have a whole room now, delicous! Now it was time to collect my left luggage, buy a ticket to Datford, phone Geoff who came and collected me, and home.
I found it was wonderful to be in London again, I felt a sense of well being wandering around some of my favourite places and noticing what has remained and what has changed – the West End theates seem to be doing retrospective, replays or musicals – although David Schwimmer (from Friends) is opening in a new/old play, Les Mis has moved theatres and the Vagina Monologues is being done by an actress I like! There seem to be even more eating places than ever and old favourites are complaining of too high rents. Plus ca change. So, that was my day my dears. Geoff and I are having an Indian take away for dinner tonight and I think then an early night for me as my body clock has not quite adjusted. Talk again soon, take care for yourselves. Love Ann

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posted by Ann at 8:00 AM | 9 comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

London calling!

Hello my dears. Well I am in London now – having got through with all that weight with no problem. And guess what I forgot to put in my main bags? Yes, you guessed correctly – the knives. Big hulabaloo – but, again, they let me through with them – thank goodness!!! The flight was delayed by an hour and my foot was playing up so the very considerate women in the Business Lounge got me a wheelchair – plus attendant – and we swept gaily through all the waiting crowds to get on the plane first, in comfort! I had bought myself a walking stick – not just because my foot was bad, but because I thought the sympathy vote might work for the weight of the bags!! I know – quite unscrupulous of me – but, heh, thats me, my friends!!
The flight was humdrum, the food was OK and vegetarian, the seats fine for sleeping – I got 3 hours – and relaxing, but, peculiarly they gave us plastic knives & forks when the Auckland trip had been metal ones. The attendants said the London flight was the only on where they used plastic – now what does this say about flights to London?
Candice & Geoff met me and Candice has now gone to Blackpool, Geoff to do something with is car and I have tidyed away all my stuff, spoken to Rob, and am about to start contacting people – so all in all a very successful transition.
Talk to you all son. Love to all. Ann

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posted by Ann at 2:54 AM | 8 comments

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Half the normal rainfall for all of May in the last two days

Does this console me – no, because every time I set foot outside of the hotel it bucketed!!! I got quite superstitious about it eventually and came back from the last soaking (one pair of shoes to go) and declared to everyone who would listen that I was not setting foot outside till I had to catch my plane. Being the adaptable person I am I decided that if it was wet I would not do the markets thing and instead visit the new HeritageMuseum. It was wet. My Guide book extolled its virtues and since it was out near the NewTerritories I thought this would be a good way to also see a bit of Kowloon. I went by taxi – raining again – saw lots of scruffy skyscrappers, arrived to find it did not open on Tuesdays, a fact my Guide Book failed to mention. Fortunately a couple who were having the same experience as me lent me their mobile phone and I recalled the taxi driver. I then decided to go to the HistoryMuseum – again recommended by that Guide Book. Well you know whats comimg next – it does not open on Tuesday either. The ScienceMuseum does – but no, I thought not. By this time it was raining quite hard but since I was somewhere near the hotel (about 2 miles away actually) I decided to walk – big mistake in terms of dry footwear and clothes. However I saw some very interesting back streets and only wished I had more time – and clement weather – to enjoy the expeience. Got back to the hotel and decided to pamper myself so had an aromatherapy massage and a facial – not as expensive as some I have had – but considerably more than Kathryns – and the massage was not nearly as good!
So, all in all I don’t feel I have done HK justice – but I would certainly return and have a good mooch around some other time – but only if I could stay at the Sheraton.
Hope all is well with everyone and you are all behaving as I would see fit – take good care of each other. Love & hugs,

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posted by Ann at 4:38 AM | 4 comments

Monday, May 09, 2005

What didn’t I pack?

Ok, no prizes for the answer but it definately would not have coped with a monsoon! I got to see the Po Lin Monastery – well the inside, not the outside – we were engulfed by cloud and then by rain (monsoon quality) with thunder, lightning, the works. Rastas (Sues dog) would definately not have been amused! I saw old monks in grey & young monks in mustart, I saw nuns with shaved heads and a monk with a mobile phone. I smelled tons of insence and ate tasty vegetarian food at one of the 3 vegetarian restaurants attached to the monastery. I saw a rickshaw for sale – and did not buy it – I didn’t think customs would let me take the weight.
So, I did not get to CheungChouIsland – but I did get an Octopus card which means I can use any public transport till I reach the limit of the card. I’ve taken 2 busses, 4 ferries today and tomorrow will try the underground (it does not rain there!). I visited Harbour Plazza which is a temple to overcomsumption and the Temple Street Market as well as the Golden Mile – which is where the heavens opened big time for the second time today – just as well I brought lots of clothes. So, a busy, if wet day – lets hope it dries for tomorrow. I want to visit the Flower market, the Bird Market, perhaps the Jade Market and the Tin Hau Temple – but if it rains then I have the Hong Kong museum of art just across the way so that sounds good too. Thank you for all of your messages – its good to hear from everyone. I’m off tomorrow night so may not log in till Wednesday. Talk soon anyway. Love to all.

Labels: My Blog

posted by Ann at 4:37 AM | 5 comments

NZ Calling.

Good evening Ann,

thank you so much for another lovely card, beautiful bluebells, which you shall no doubt be seeing in real life pretty soon, lucky you.

We are all missing you already too, as you can imagine our walks are not the quite the same without ‘Ann and the treat bag’ say’s Lucy. However we all did well today, especially Daisy on her first full day without you. She was quite happy here with us and came on two walks up the road and when Rob arrived home from work she was positively gleeful.

VERY pleased to see him.

We all went with her to the vet, nothing like a bit of moral support, and Neil wasn’t too concerned, in fact the redness was a lot less obvious today. He seemed to think she may have lain on some plant that gave her the itchys, but it didn’t seem to be bothering her today, so all is well with Daisy.

Hope you had a great day taking in all the wonderous sights of H.K. and enjoyed yourself at the markets.

Sounds like the view from your room at the hotel is pretty spectacular too, something to rival the one from Rob’s office at AUT is it!!!

Will check-in tomorrow for news of todays highlights.

Lots of love and hugs,

Sue. xxx

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posted by Ann at 2:22 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, May 08, 2005

good trip Ann

My sweet Annlt;I see 2 of my messages came back so must remember to change the address as we had put in daisy@blogspot instead of blogger Never This morning I found your card for Mothers Day and I cried it was so lovelyWe missed you this morning but will do different walks in the morning after the beachI imagine at the moment you are still asleep but I bet by 6am you are up biting at the bit rearing to go and explore Hong Kong. Kept thinking of you all yesterday hoping you were enjoying the trip.&I am meeting Diane for lunch today as Bruce has left her and she is very upset, thinks nobody wants her but as we both know, Bruce isnt the one for herHope yougot through customs in Hong Kong with no hang-upsLove and Hugs from your special xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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posted by Ann at 12:51 PM | 1 comments


Good morning Ann,

I hear you arrived safe and sound in Hong Kong and the hotel is very flash. Good for you.

Daisy arrived round this morning bright and early. Rob had taken her up round the corner from your house and over the bridge down by the navy barracks, then across the park and up to High Street. She came into the house very eagerly, despite Lucy making a racket that would wake the dead, and they all had a treat (dental bar) which was devoured greedily by all. She seems to be ‘almost’ her bright, cheery self and Rob was very pleased she was keen to go out with him. He shot off down to the ferry and by now will be heading across the harbour to work. He plans to be back early afternoon and will take Daisy to the vet to check out her itchy spots. So you can rest assured all is well with your precious wee lady.

Now I guess it’s time for you to hit the shops of Hong Kong, what a treat!!!

Have a great day

Heaps of love,



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posted by Ann at 12:24 PM | 1 comments

Hong Kong

Well, my dears, I’ve arrived – with knives! I think they were impressed by how blunt they were and allowed them to stay with me. It is now 11pm ish and I have just arrived at the Searaton – a beautiful room with a stunning view of the harbour. I’ve no doubt it will be different, and I’m told, even more spectacular by day – I’ll let you know. Rob threatened to run a competition to guess by how much my luggage was overweight. I see he has not done that, so I will get in first – 14kilos over the 30kilo allowance – yes really!!! Still, with some rearrangement, they let it all go through – lets see if every other check in is so generous! You’d never guess how tired you can get travelling business class for 12 hrs, so I am off to bed now so that I can get up bright and early in the morning for the next stage of my adventure. Talk soon, love & hugs. Ann

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posted by Ann at 7:11 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Starting off

Hi Everyone,
I am going to use this site to post information, pictures and messages while I am away on my great adventure. I leave on May 8th and return on June 11th and in between I shall be catching up with lots of friends, visiting London, various parts of Kent, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and most importantly Skopelos!!!! Yeah!!!!.
So, do log in and have a look if you want to be kept up to date with the progress/goings on of AA.
Lots of love & hugs

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posted by Ann at 3:08 PM | 5 comments

This is the last picture I had taken in England when I was there last! Posted by Hello

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posted by Ann at 12:37 AM | 4 comments

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