Back to Birmingham, via Melbourne and London

Trip Start May 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Monday, May 16, 2011

On Monday we were a bit brighter, and we picked up Kellie for the road trip we had planned months ago. At first we had thought of going to Echuca, but on further review we decided that there was actually buggar-all to do there. We settled on Beechworth. On the way we stopped at Glenrowan and educated Phil on the most notorious bushranger in Victoria's history. Hungry, we drove on to Beechworth and went straight to the bakery for pies and bee-stings. We'd wanted to go to the jail and have a look around but it was closed. Instead we walked up to the brewery and sampled some of their beers. Kell wasn't all that impressed, and neither was Phil. On the way home we stopped at a winery after cruising straight past the cheese factory we had aimed to stop at. It was a lovely day, and so good to spend some time with the most Aussie girl I know. I think Phil learnt some new words that day!

Bored of Shepp, it was decided that we would head back to Melbourne and have a bit more of a look around. Collingwood was as far as we got on Tuesday; we just felt like a few ciders and Phil felt like being thrashed at pool. So we went to the Grace Darling Hotel in Smith Street where we had those few ciders and I thrashed Phil at pool, and where Ben met us later for pie night. Phil and I ended up in Brunswick Street, sampling ciders and music in a couple of bars, before witnessing some dude displaying what not to do when riding a scooter in the rain (crashing and sliding over the tram tracks), getting a cab home and turning in for the night.

On Wednesday we made sure our bags were ready to go, and headed in to the city for a bit of a look around, and to cash in our tickets at the Eureka Tower Skydeck for a view of the city from 88 floors up. It was a dark and rainy day, but the clouds looked amazing from that height, and the city did its best to remind me why so many of us love to call it home despite the volatility of the weather. Jacci and Dave had dropped Mum and Geoff at the airport earlier that afternoon, so we met them for sushi in the city and said our farewells. Hopefully I can see them later this year if Dave's visa is successful and they can come over for a visit. Fingers are well and truly crossed. 

We boarded our flight, wondering what food we were going to be served on the way back to London, but wondering more about what condition we were going to arrive in at the other end. It was another bumpy flight but we were happy to not have to deal with any screaming babies or irritating passengers. A taxi took us to Steve and Jane's (Phil's uncle and aunt) where I jumped straight in the shower before we walked down to the Red Lion to try and pump some life back into our bodies with some decent food and drink. It didn't work though and we had to head back to the house to partake in a few games of table tennis to do the job. Mum and Geoff had arrived in London that afternoon, and we would spend the next couple of days showing them around the city.

So we met them at the hotel on Friday, where we would spend the next two nights. The tour began at Green Park, walking through to Buckingham Palace. As it happened the changing of the guards was to take place in another 45 minutes, but we decided that there is nothing more boring than a
change of the guards, so we continued walking towards Westminster Abbey. On the way though, we saw a mob of the Queen's guards practising for their change, playing Beatles songs and stomping their feet. It was more entertaining than seeing the actual change at 11.45, and we were happy to have stumbled upon them when not many others had. We arrived at Westminster Abbey where we would walk through and listen to the audio commentary. It's pretty cool in there and I was glad to have finally made the effort to go in and have a look around. Walking along the Thames, we watched the street performers, and then crossed back over the river to have a drink at
the Sherlock Holmes before taking in the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and St Paul's. Gemma met us for dinner, and we were all so tired after a day of exercise that the decision about where to go for dinner was really difficult. We eventually decided on Indian, and found a cosy little restaurant near to the hotel in which to dine.

Saturday was planned to be a little more low key, but turned out to be just as tiring. It started with a visit to the Camden markets, where we all spent a lot of time with our purses out, buying leather jackets (me), hats (Geoff) and presents for others (Mum!). We grabbed a drink and a bite to eat and then got the narrowboat up the canal to Little Venice. Phil and I agreed that it wont be long before we hire one of those narrowboats for a weekend and go for a bit of a mission up the canals that criss-cross England. Notting Hill was next, via about a million tube stations due to the maintenance works taking place over the weekend and making tube travel almost impossible. Navigating the crowds at the Portobello Road market proved sometimes tough, especially for the d*ckhead drivers who forced their way down the road, knowing full well that on a Saturday the road would blocked by marketgoers. Fools. We all went home for a bit of a rest, knowing that a late night was ahead. When I was in Shepp Mum and I had booked tickets to go to the Windsor Castle Royal Military Tattoo. It was worth braving the cold night, because we got to see the QUEEN! It was a really cool show, not something that I ever saw myself going to, but I'm glad I did (not just because I got to see the Queen), because it was an awesome display of the abilities and talents of the armed forces and those who serve their countries. The night was later than we planned though, when the train we were taking back into London was stopped at Slough, thanks to a person jumping onto the tracks and being killed by a train. It was 1am when we got back to
Paddington, and we were sombre thinking about the person who had taken their life, but pissed off at the same time because we were stranded for such a long time, with no other way of getting home.

Despite the late night we got a decent night's sleep, and spent some time getting ready in the morning, primping and preening, making sure we were presentable enough to be allowed into The Ritz for High Tea. Geoff's suit and hat got us over the line, and we were seated in the Palm Court for morning tea and served champagne, cakes, finger sandwiches and scones. It was delightful daaarrrling. Mum even made friends (flirted) with the waiter who, when she asked whether she could buy one, handed her a bag with three napkins in it. She was pretty chuffed to be given the napkins, rather than having to pilfer them. To Gemma who calls me Lightfingers Kay, I say “like mother like daughter”...! It's a learned behaviour! Haha! We dropped in to Harrods for a little while and looked around, deciding it's just like any other department store in the world but with overpriced and designer brands on show. Afterwards it was time for Phil and I to head up to Birmingham, and for my new life to begin. We said goodbye to Mum and Geoff for now, and look forward to seeing them at the end of June when they meet us for the roadtrip around the south of
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Julie on

Am loving reading your blog. How's Birmingham. We are coming over next year. I so can't wait. Your blog is bringing back many fond memories.

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