Friday, August 09, 2019

Holiday Overview

Hello everyone. Missed you all but I pretty well read all of your blog posts while we were away but only made a couple of comments on posts that were really significant. I am pleased to know the blogosphere can quite happily go on without me.

Our flight to London was via Dubai. We had to be up at 2am for our 5am flight. We dozed in the lounge chairs as it was not worth going to bed.  24 hours flying time with a 1:30 hour stop in Dubai and we were at Heathrow. We bought some duty free at Dubai with our ANZ travel card, pre loaded with GB£.

I forgot our Oyster cards for London public transport and we had to buy new ones. I don't think it was my fault, but I ended up putting double on our Oyster cards than what we intended. It didn't matter as we used it up and had to add a bit more. Our ANZ travel card would not work to buy our Oyster cards. Then it was to the phone shop at Heathrow. No problem with me getting a Vodafone SIM but for some reason after trying twice, R's phone would not accept the Vodafone card. He bought an EE card, which was fine, but did not work in Ireland, whereas mine did. Again our ANZ bank travel card would not work.

We caught the Piccadilly line to Green Park, changed to Jubilee Line to North Greenwich and a taxi to our hotel, about an hour and a half of travelling. R queried why we weren't getting a cab all the way. Train is quicker and the cost of a taxi would have been huge. Very short trip but a little convoluted in the taxi, £6.

I'll say more about our hotel later, but it was ok. We were so full of plane food, we just bought at the bar a g&t each and a small packet of crisps and it cost us £17!

We had five free days in London before we began our thirteen day tour of England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, concluding with a nine day stay with R's family in northern England.

So we left Australia on Tuesday 8th of July and arrived in England the same day. Such are time differences. By Friday R had come down with a lurgy. He functioned on the Friday but once back at the hotel he was very ill. He was in bed at 4.30 and aside from me waking him at 8 for a slice of hotel pizza and a cup of tea, he slept on until 9 the next morning. He seemed a little better in the morning but I was not and I had contracted the same lurgy. While I fought to it not stop me doing things, it was hard. It lasted well into the beginning of our tour. It ended up being a chest infection and so much coughing, but worse, my lungs did not seem to be delivering oxygen to where it was needed. I could barely walk. Is that what emphysema is like? It was a case of putting of one foot in front of the other.

I was so ill that I barely ate for five days. No input, no output but I added a considerable amount to greenhouse gasses. I poured water in but very little came out. I was very dehydrated. I think only once I have caught something worse in my life.

To be honest, while the tour was good, it was hard going. We both concluded we are just too old for such tours, and especially long international flights in economy class.

Here is a photo of the people we toured with. I will tell you about them later. At the far left is our coach driver Martin who was competent and a really nice bloke. Next to him is an old man, who doesn't mind looking old, but doesn't think of himself of being fat. The photo proves otherwise. You can guess who is R.


I didn't feel really well until we reached R's family city, Newcastle, and two hours after arriving by train from Kings Cross I was tucking into a Sunday pub roast beef. Oh how I enjoyed it.

R's family lamented that the only time they all get together is when we visit, and we did all get together, many times over the nine days. Everyone was so kind and nice. 

Our flight home was direct from Newcastle to Dubai, and we thought Melbourne, but to our surprise, via Singapore. It did not add much time and broke the journey up into almost manageable parts.

Our plane landed a little after midnight and we caught a taxi home. We are not normally touchy feely but once home we kissed and hugged and congratulated each other on surviving the holiday and thanked each other for what we had done. We had a couple of drinks and went to bed, luggage sprawled everywhere. I slept until 10, R to noon when I woke him. By 2.30 in the afternoon we had unpacked and showered and we went out shopping as there was little food at home.

I've spoken on the phone to Mother, ABI Brother and Sister. To our surprise, on Saturday night Bone Doctor and Little Jo are staying overnight while Sister is off with friends for two nights to the Gold Coast.

52 comments:

  1. Pleased to hear you are home safe and sound. Look forward to your next installment. Visitors already? A bit much!!

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    1. Always pleased to see the not so Little Jo.

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  2. So happy you and R are home safe and sound! I am thinking that a 24 hour journey like that might do me in! Ha! You two did pretty well, although getting colds is a royal pain when on holiday.
    Great to have you back! Welcome Home!

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    1. Maribeth, it was worse coming home.

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  3. You know I think my Cdn friends that visited Ireland last year had Martin also, they loved him. It sounds super tiring tho and so sorry to hear you and R were so sick. One of the reasons this oldie hates travelling distances. It is so tiring.

    But hey welcome home!!

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Thanks WWW. I wish we were fitter and younger.

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  4. Very glad you are home. I have missed you.

    I will never travel on a plane again - short or long trip - without wearing a face mask. Yes people may look at you funny but chances are you won't pick up everyones illnesses they are carrying. :)

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    1. Snoskred, of course I read the posts you made while we were away. I think if we ever fly long distance again, it will be business class, so maybe no face masks needed there.

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  5. Oh shoot, Andrew, to be sick while on vacation is very terrible. I'm sorry that happened. I hope you feel better now.

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    1. Strayer, it was awful being sick, but we are fine now.

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  6. Apart from the lurgy, it sounds like a really wonderful holiday. I must remember how expensive it all is if I ever go there. Wouldn't it be so much easier if the travel cards and phones etc all worked everywhere with no need for fussing around buying different parts? The Bank travel card surprised me, being specifically a travel card, shouldn't it work everywhere? Is there a "universal" card that works everywhere?

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    1. Missed you River. Of course it would be better if everything worked everywhere, but they don't. You just do what you have to do, and realise later you have fucked up.

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  7. Welcome home - you have been missed.
    I am sorry that you were both unwell, but pleased that some parts of your holiday sound lovely. Sigh on the phone and bank fronts though.

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    1. Ah, the lovely EC. All we be revealed in days ahead. More than sigh on the the bank.

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  8. Did you enjoy Newcastle and surrounds? I had a totally wrong impression about that fascinating city, at least until our first visit.

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    1. It is a wonderful and historic city Hels. You would know better than I would know when Hadrians Wall was built. Oh, look out the bus window. There is a bit of Hadrians Wall. But it was mostly about R's family for this visit.

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  9. I'm sure the problem is in the airplane's air-recycling system. People regularly seem to get sick after flying; I know that my wife always does!

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    1. Cro, bring back smokers on planes when the air recycled much more often.

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  10. Is that an idea of what Brexit will be like, with everything working somewhere but not other places?
    You are too old to be travelling so far these days. Taking me to lunch once a month will do for you.

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    1. Jah Teh, perhaps it is. Ireland is European and R's phone would not work there.

      Dun wanna get too close. Every six months for lunch would be ok.

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    2. Is the offer open to other Melbournians? :)

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    3. In your case Hels, coffee.

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    4. Name a day and we'll all be there :)

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    5. Gawd, what have I started.

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  11. Sorry to hear about your illnesses.

    Too late to say I-told-you-so but those long haul flights are the great viral melting-pots. The air is recirculated, dry and heated - all conditions favourable to viruses. It cannot help if you have not had a good night's sleep before embarking (often the case because of pre-trip rushes and anxiety, even if not departing before dawn as you did) and then sit up with substandard sleep for the next 24 or so hours. My elder sister almost always comes down with something when she flies out from the UK to visit Oz. I'm generally healthy at home but have had some of my most savage illnesses when going somewhere new which I cannot always attribute to the flight. Nevertheless, I am a great believer in breaking the flight, even though it costs precious holiday time and risks further local exposure to foreign virus pools at the stopover.

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    1. Marcellous, wise words as ever, backed up by personal experience.

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  12. How awful that you were sick and that on the tour ! And you made it. I just imagine myself sick on such à tour !! I think I would have gone home. Of course I live much closer too. Our driver drove and that was it !

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    1. Gattina, there were times when we thought we could not continue the tour, but we did.

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  13. Hello. I am a new visitor to your blog and enjoyed reading about your trip but sorry to read about your illness. We now use a nasal spray called First Defence when travelling. It is supposed to coat the nasal and throat linings with a protective layer to stop the various viruses from taking hold. Of course it's no protection against nasties in your food and drink and I once got mild food poisoning from an airline lobster meal! Hope you are both recovered now.

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    1. Hi JayCee. First Defence sounds good. Lobster on an airplane. You must have been up front at the pointy end!

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  14. Huge welcome back Andrew, I've really missed my late night laughs while reading your posts, not the serious ones 😉 It's amazing how many people get sick on long haul flights, sounds like you both had a tough time of it for a while. There's no way I could make a trip like that again, I don't really want to anyway, I've seen everything I want to see, also, I'm improving my environmental footprint 😁😁

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    1. Dear Grace, I would love to see your environmental footprint, as long it is nicely trimmed. I admire you for how active you are, even if you don't do long haul flights.

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  15. So glad you are home safe and sound. Planes will make you sick, luckily I usually catch something on the way home.
    We've reached the point that we will pay the extra to fly at least premium economy, it's worth it!
    Can't wait to hear all the details of your trip.

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    1. Jackie, I am not sure what has happened here with premium economy. It was around but I haven't seen it of late. Certainly wasn't available on our flights with Emirates.

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  16. Glad to hear you are well and healthy at home Love from sunny Poland

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    1. Thanks Gosia. I hope it hasn't been too hot for you.

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  17. Good to hear from you but much sympathy for being sick while away. When I am ill I just want to be at home, although you really had no choice by that point. I'm glad you had many good days with R's family. Good stuff for the memory bank.

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    1. Thanks Jenny. It was pretty wonderful.

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  18. It's great that you have returned safely and I have missed reading your very interesting words of wisdom.

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    1. Words of wisdom, Cheryl? Not sure about that. Thanks.

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  19. Hello Andrew. Good to see you are home again. Like many of the others I missed your daily snippets of life. Sorry to hear you picked up a bug - nothing worse.
    I'm up north at the moment- not on line much for various reasons,. Will just tell you it's slightly warmer here in FNQ than it is in Melbourne.....well anywhere south of Brissy in fact! Not looking forward to coming home in September....going on past experience it'll still be cold. I will have reliable internet tho' :)

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    1. Cathy, FNQ is what we are thinking for winter next year. You were wise to bolt.

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  20. You have confirmed our fear that we are too old for long haul flights and tours. You were brave to do it, and to carry on while so sick. You deserved a hug and kiss at the end. Stick to Australian holidays in the future.

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    1. Diane, I think that will be the case, local holidays. I think we are holidayed out for the time being.

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  21. Welcome back Andrew, missed reading your funny posts.
    What a pity about the bad bug you and R caught.
    I love travelling, but it's the long flight to Europe that bugs me! Wish I could afford Business class :) :)

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    1. Sami, it just means siblings etc will get less when we have gone if we travel business class. Bad luck for them.

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  22. Our daughter is at university in Newcastle. What a great place it is. Lots of things to do, a fantastic transport system, and the seaside just a short distance away.

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    1. Tasker, I really like Newcastle, especially the people. Everyone is so friendly.

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  23. Wow! You do know how to hurt a girl's feeling! :)

    Sorry to read you both fell ill there for a while. Not very pleasant for you.

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    1. Oh dear, I offended and don't know where or when. Yes, lacking any kind of energy for the beginning of our tour was awful.

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