Monday, August 31, 2009

Holiday in Review - Part 2 - Scotland (part 1)

After arriving in Glasgow on Sunday evening (26th July) we got a good sleep but found ourselves awake at 5am on the Monday morning! Isn't jetlag great?!

We took it easy on Monday and caught up with family and visited Graeme's cousins new school (the same primary school that Graeme went to which has been rebuilt on a new site since we were last there). The jetlag was still evident that night because we were asleep by 8pm!

Tuesday was a brilliant day. We headed up to Loch Lomond Shores with Graeme's Mum, Gran, Grandpa, Aunt and 2 cousins. (Hi Nicole and Emma!)

It was reasonable weather and lovely to look around the shops there and take in the sights of the loch. We also took a drive round to Balloch Castle and were surprised to see it all boarded up. But we were still able to walk round the grounds and right down to the loch side to take lots of pictures and admire the scenery! We finished the day off with fish and chips from the chippy and Balloch which we sat by the river and ate before all piling back in the cars to head back to Glasgow. All in all a lovely day.

Wednesday was Graeme's Mums last day with us before flying back to Bristol that night so we went for a family lunch and got some family photos before dropping her at the airport. It was sad to say goodbye but great to know the next time we see her will be in New Zealand when she comes out for the wedding! On the way home from the airport we stopped in at Pollock Park which we used to visit alot when we lived in Glasgow and took an evening stroll to admire Pollock House and the gardens.

On Thursday we headed back up to Loch Lomond with Graeme's cousins to pick up a wedding present that we had ordered on the Tuesday. Graeme's Aunt, Uncle and Cousins had bought us a beautiful print of Loch Lomond in Autumn by Daniel Campbell so we drove back up to collect that and had a great excuse to have an ice-cream by the Loch! We had a great laugh with the girls in the car and after heading home to cook dinner for Graeme's Grandparents we took the girls to Braehead shopping centre to hunt out some bargains!
On Friday we got the train into town and met some friends for lunch (Hi DJ and Craig!) - yummy Chinese! It was really good to see them - felt like ages since last time (December 2007).
I used the excuse of being in town to do some shopping and got a few things. Probably the most shocking thing of the whole holiday occured on this day. I went into Borders/Paperchase and DIDN'T buy anything. I know, crazy huh?!
That night we headed over to Shawlands and caught up with Alan and Lindsey in the pub which was good. I had a big surprise when I bumped into Terry and Gordon who I worked with way back in 2001 and had a good gossip with them about what they've been up to!
So that's the first 5 days in Scotland. Next post will be aboout our couple of days in Dublin and then we were back in Glasgow for a night before heading down to Essex.
In other news - I'm just back from a weekend in Auckland with work. Life is back to being hectic once again! We are currently trying to get a lot sorted with regards to the wedding, tidy up house and garden ready for our guests and work is set to be fairly busy for both of us. Here's hoping for a lay-in sometime after the wedding :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Holiday in Review - Part 1 - Getting there

So it's been a while. Mostly due to the fact we were away for almost 3 weeks and it's taken me over a week to catch up on sleep :-)
Before that, my only excuse is too much excitment at the prospect of a holiday and seeing family and friends to sit down in a chair and type a post - pathetic eh?!

Anyway - I have plenty of photos and a few words to share - a review of our time away. I don't want to bore you in one sitting though so thought I'd split it up a little for you.

This time - you get an idea of our itinerary and news and photos from the 30 hour journey.

So we said a fond farewell to the dog and headed round to Palmy for our 6pm flight to Auckland on Saturday 25th July. We managed to get to Palmy just in the nick of time to check our bags all the way through to Glasgow (handy!)

We then had about 4 hours up in Auckland before our international to London Heathrow via Hong Kong.

The flight wasn't too bad. We managed to get some sleep (I think I got about 4 hours in the first leg and none on the 2nd). I watched 'He's Just Not That Into You', '17 Again' and 'Monsters Vs. Aliens' plus some episodes of 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory'.
The food was okay, I stayed clear of alcohol and popped my homeopathic No Jet Lag pills every couple of hours.
We were surprised to find the shops at Hong Kong shut when we arrived at about 6am in the morning. Okay, I realise it was 6am but I just figured a busy international airport like that would be open round the clock.
It didn't matter too much though - we sat ourselves down and watched planes and people and the hour and a half wait flew by.

We got to Heathrow about 2.30pm in the afternoon and managed to get through security and customs without too many long lines or hassle.
The coolest thing was being able to switch our mobiles on as we taxied in and my phone beeping with messages from actual friends and family (not just the standard text from vodafone UK) welcoming us to their timezone and checking if we had arrived yet! I called my Mum from a payphone at Heathrow - pleased to call her at a reasonable time for once and we mooched round the shops to kill some time.
Then we headed down to the BMI lounge to wait for our flight to Glasgow. Honestly - that's when I started to wilt. I was half asleep on a typically-uncomfortable airport chair when a message was read out calling a list of names of people flying to Glasgow. I couldn't be sure but I thought perhaps I had just heard two completely new and previously unheard pronounciations of our names so we headed over to the desk. Turns out since we had checked in (back in Palmy about 28 hours or so before) the plane type had changed meaning our seats were invalid.
I thought I reined myself in quite well here because at this point - 28 hours into a journey with about 4 hours sleep - I was ready to scream and cry if someone told me we weren't getting on that flight.
But it wasn't a message to say we weren't getting on. They actually told us they were upgrading us! They must have taken one look at us and realised we needed reclining chairs to get some sleep! An upgrade on the longer journey would have been preferred but I wasn't going to complain and soon we were sitting on big leather chairs that could recline almost to the point where we were laying straight!
Needless to say we slept most of the flight - even declining the free meal (with real china, glasses and cutlery) in favour of keeping our eyes closed.
I did manage to wake up in enough time to get some photos of Glasgow as we landed though. And we managed to wake up pretty quickly at the excitment of seeing family we hadn't seen for over 18 months!

Graeme's Aunt met us at the airport (and it was strange seeing the new layout and security measures at Glasgow - brought home exactly what had happened since the last time we had been at that airport) and we loaded up the cases and headed over to Graeme's Grandparents house. It was so good to see all the family and we sat in the lounge and chatted. And then Graeme's Mum landed (from Bristol) about an hour and a half after us and she turned up too! We managed to last until about 9pm catching up with everyone before we wilted and had to make our way upstairs to catch some zzzzz's :-)
Next post - a summary of what we got up to in Glasgow and Scotland.