Sunday, May 13, 2007

Our England Vacation

We had the most perfect vacation in England! We arrived on Saturday, April 27th and went straight from the airport to Henley with Gail and Nick to make the final preparations for Dad's 70th birthday surprise. After a beautiful lunch and a walk down to the river to feed the swans, we got to see Nick and Gail's beautiful house, rested off our jet lag and settled in for the big party the next day.
On Sunday, everyone started to arrive about an hour before Mum and Dad which gave us a chance to meet Darren and Kaylie for the first time and see Tracey and Stephen for the first time in years!

Mike, Maddy and I hid upstairs and Gail got the champagne poured for the big reveal...Maddy came down the stairs first and it they were blown away! This was Dad taking it all in!!!
Madison and Amira spent the afternoon catching newts from the pond...

On the Monday, we went to Trentham Gardens and Maddy fed the ducks. We stopped off at Larchmount close where I grew up until I was Maddy's age. It looked so small!

On Tuesday, Mary came over with Charlotte and I got to meet Elizabeth for the first time...Nick cooked a beautiful meal at the house and the girls got caught up on gossip!

On Wednesday, Gail and I went to Liverpool for the day. We did some shopping and went to see "The Cavern" where the Beatles used to play. Mike and Nick went to pick up a speciality fishing rod for Rich's Dad. Mum and Dad took Maddy out for the day and then over to Janet and Darren's house. Here's Madison with a cow and a monkey on her big day out!

In the evening we had an Indian meal to celebrate Dad's actual 70th birthday night. Mike had his first real Chicken Tikka Marsala!
On the Thursday, Mike and Nick went fishing and Gail and I had a picnic in the garden and caught up properly. Michael and Maddy had their first proper fish and chips!

The next day, Mike and Nick went golfing with Mum and Dad in the day. Gail, Maddy and I went to Leicester. We drove around where we grew up and went for lunch right by my old school. Then we went over to see Kayt and Suzi and meet Caris and Olivia for the first time. Mags showed me his fantastic screen printing (which by the way isn't quite as easy as he makes it look!)

On Saturday, we took it easy for our last day in sunny Stone and Maddy got to go for a ride in Nick's sportscar which she absolutely loved!

On Sunday, Gail took us to London for the day. We went for lunch in Carnaby Street and saw all of the sights from an open-top bus. I got to see the 'London Eye' for the first time and Maddy achieved her ambition to see Big Ben and hear it chime! Here's Maddy and Gail on the bus and Maddy at Trafalgar Square...

Big Ben and some of the newest buildings in London...

The amazing London Eye...
The tour was an amazing experience and we got to learn about the history of London. Here's the oldest thing we saw. This is the wall that originally surrounded 'Londinium' in the Roman times. It's dated AD 47!
We stayed in London for the night and headed back (reluctantly) to Tampa the next day!
Until next time.....