We arrived early afternoon on Monday. Our flight on the jumbo plane was absolutely wonderful.
We were surprised at the airport to see Alan at the airport to welcome us to England. Alan is my father-in-law. Unfortunately, we've just found out, a little over 4 weeks ago, that he's got lymphoma and has had two sessions of chemo to date. He managed to have his best friend of 40+ years drive him to the airport to welcome us. As you can imagine, the minute I saw this darling man standing at the exit of immigration, we all cried. Alan is in good spirits and hopes to survive this wicked illness.
Our first day in Gerrards cross (where my father-in-law lives) which happens to be quite posh, we went for a stroll in the Village. The girls were absolutely thrilled to know that they were allowed to go into the Village alone, it is safe and definitely a different life style than what we are used to in the States.
Second day - Alan was not feeling so well. I was able to sit and visit with him for an hour early in the morning 4:30a.m. and chat with him before Dave woke up. It was a special time for me as I love that man so much. He is truly a wonderful man with a big heart. In many ways, he reminds me of my own father (God rest his soul).
The temperature was extremely hot (the hottest day in England so far) 98 degrees. We decided to leave the house and take the girls to Windsor Castle.
The girls loved touring through Windsor. The view from the castle is breath taking. Looks like the Queen was home, but we never received an invite for the afternoon tea. Oh well. :-)
We stopped to eat just a few short feet away from the castle in Eton Village. Interesting that the age to enter the pub is 12 and older. So, the girls can say for the first time that they have been to a Pub.
We visited Dave's old village where he grew up. The girls were thrilled to see where Daddy went to school, where he lived (Witney Close) and where he used to ride his motorcycle on the lovely roads through the country. We also took time to visit Dave's step-mother's grave site. We do this every time we visit England. This time, we had the girls with us and it made it quite special for Dave to share this moment with us. We purchased a lovely white rose plant and Dave planted it for Maggie. Very emotional moment for Dave as he adored his step-mother, whom died at a very young age.
The rest of the afternoon was a lovely drive through the country side. The girls favorite game during the drive was looking for the funniest signs on the side of the road; "Give Way", "Kill Your Speed", "Humps for the next 30km", "Senior Citizen Crossing",
"Children Crossing", etc. driving on the left side of the narrow roads was a thrill for the girls as well as they watched cars "Give Way" while driving at high speeds. I held my breath many times.
Back to Gerrards Cross for a proper British BBQ with a game of cricket. We were exhausted by the time everyone left at 11:00p.m.
The following day we spent the day in London and went to St. Catherine's, took a boat tour, rode on the train and the Underground and shopped with the girls in Piccadilly Circus. We had a lovely afternoon.
The next day was spent at Dave's sister's home with her family. Julie (his sister), Jonathan (her husband), Lauren and Edward (their children) were absolutely lovely. We enjoyed an afternoon tea with them and had a great dinner outdoors in their garden.
It was so nice to see Suraya and Nadia play with their cousins. They had such a great time there, they did not want to leave. It was very special as we were able to pick the kids up from their school and surprise them. They indeed, were very surprised and happy. Lauren especially, seeing her Uncle Dave. It was very sweet.
The following day was spent with Auntie Audrey and her husband Derek. We had the most beautiful day with both of them. Nadia and Suraya loved chatting with Audrey. Auntie Audrey had so many stories to tell the girls, that they spent almost an hour chatting. This was darling. Since the girls don't have any auntie's from my side of the family, they really cherished these moments. The girls even told her how much they loved her. It really touched my heart. Of course, Dave was very pleased and happy to be able to see his Auntie again. He really loves her a lot!!
Off we went the following day to Mark and Pippa's house for the day and night and then off to France.
Our visit with Mark and Pippa was all about the twins (Poppy and Edward) as they are darling little kids. The girls really enjoyed being around them for the first hour and then they got exhausted. The twins have a lot of energy.
Ending our trip in England was sad. The girls wanted to visit with Grandpa Alan again and Auntie Audrey. Personally, I would just have visited family over friends at this point in the trip because it would have been a lot more special to us to be able to visit with Alan for a few more days.
All in all, the trip was fun and we are all ready to go back to visit again someday soon. The girls definitely preferred the country side over the city (just like their mum). :-)