Arrived in Datchet and fell into a coma on the sofa for a couple of days. We resisted all the delights of Central London entertainment with no effort at all. Got our very noisy exhaust fixed at a local DAF garage and met up with my hound mentors Terence & Liese to hand over my fairly meagre collection of hound pics from the trip. Valerie did manage a bit of retail therapy in Windsor and the best buy of the day was a skirt with sight hounds embroidered on it!! I managed the early morning visit to the local mini Tesco for baguettes and Guardian but even this left me with supermarket nausea.
Truck parked up outside Jim & Claire’s at Datchet
Then homeward bound for Northern Ireland via a cousin whom Mike hasn’t met since 1952 in Bury Market!!;
Anthony and Cath in Heywood on the day the UKIP jokers came close; Steve and Pat who built a lovely stone house in our absence; Mike and Ruth who were just off to Portugal with their saluqis; Paul and Liz and Sandra friends from V’s West Bretton teaching days
and Robin an old friend from Dakin Brook Days and his daughter Eva.
It was great to meet them all again and many were the promises that it wouldn’t be as long again.
After camping up at Upper Ossings we made it to the Victoria Dock in Caernarfon on the Menai Straits at sunset.
The next day was our last day on the road on this trip and the ferry crossing (Holyhead to Dublin) was enjoyed in beautiful sunshine which has continued for our first two days at home.
First sight of Irish shores
The last tea stop was in a car park in the centre of Monaghan and having pulled up and let Layla out I became aware that I was hailed from a car about 50 yards away. As I wandered over wondering what Irish by laws we had managed to contravene I started to think that I recognised the raspy voice and the strong Irish brogue and sure enough I did! You may remember that our trip didn’t get off to an auspicious start with the water pump blowing only an hour or so after setting off. Our saviour on that occasion was ‘John the Engine’ who identified the problem, helped me to locate a spare pump from a local scrap yard and then installed it and here he was again!! He couldn’t believe that we had just started our trip when we first met and that we were now on our way home. I have been more than a bit ashamed that I didn’t get his proper name after he had done so much for us so I can now put that right. Many thanks to John ‘The Engine Smith!!
So we pulled in through the gate at 86, Blackfort Road at about 5.30 pm on October 12th to a great welcome, baked goodies, flowers, chocolates, a stocked fridge, a roaring log fire and a house as warm as the welcome thanks to Des, Sal and Laraine. Layla howled with delight at the sight of Sam as we drove through the gate and did her old jiggling run in and out of our garden stones at the first opportunity with Sam in hot pursuit. It was great to see how the garden has thrived and how the hedge we planted in 2011 and 2012 has really taken off. The house seems huge and there was a suggestion that we might need to spend our time in the same room for the first few days!
The end of a great trip made possible by the many kindnesses of friends and family here and the many friends and acquaintances met en route.
We are at home and hope that you will all visit!
Some stats for the nerds.
No. of countries visited:25
Kilometres driven: 25115