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.