The LF has kept in regular contact with them via Skype & he stayed with them about 4 years ago on the tail end of a business trip to Europe for work. They now have two boys, Sennan (3) & Toby (1), who Z absolutely adored and vice versa.
Having survived our late night flight from Milan, totally crashing out at the Premiere Inn in Gatwick, we jumped a train to the South West coast. The train ride from Gatwick took three hours and the further we travelled the grizzlier the weather became. Grey skies rolled in and the rain streamed down the train windows. Having dodged rain for almost three months we were retiscent to complain about the UK's poor form. Cardigans and jeans were reluctantly pulled out from the bottom of our packs after lying dormant for over a month and were reinstated as staple clothing items. Thankfully the rain was short lived and for the most part we were treated to splendid seaside weather, by UK standards anyway.
Alternative sleep-ins, small town touring in S & B's pimped up VW van, nights spent playing vinyl, making 'best of' playlists and many a laugh at the seaside antics of the English have kept us entertained.....not to mention B's natural propensity for the pub.
We traveled to the small quaint country town of Abbotsbury and hiked up to the abandoned chapel for an incredible view of the coastline. We spent a day in Lyme Rygis where we sampled the famous Dorset pasties from Mulberry Manor. While the kids enjoyed swimming in the shallows B was called to action, by S and I, when a lady misjudged the boardwalk and fell backwards smacking her white rinsed head against the stones where a ring of red blood quickly appeared. The poor dear was shaken but ok. B, an off duty paramedic, had her back on her feet in no time.
S took us on a tour of the Isle of Portland, a bizarre Isle off the coast of Weymouth, wind swept and I imagine rather bleak in the winter. This little Isle is home to 3 prisons and interestingly was also the home of the Australian Sailing team during the Olympics. On the way down we stopped at The Cove on Chisel Beach for a pint. Some of you may know it from the Ian McEwan novel.
The LF and I took Z & Sennan to the Weymouth carnival on Wednesday and after a number of tummy turning rides for the wee lads we ate lunch with them down on the beach, which was heaving. Extended families arrived with a serious amount of paraphernalia. Everything bar the kitchen sink is required, it seems, for an enjoyable day by the English seaside. Watching them set up with wind breakers, blow up paddle aids, deck chairs, pumps, mats, dogs.....and so on was an entertaining activity. I felt like I was on the set of Gavin & Stacey. Afterwards we headed to the Spy Glass Hotel beer garden to watch the Red Arrows perform for Weymouth Carnival Day.
One afternoon we did a bush walk to Smugglers Cove (rather sweaty for some....bike leathers are not advisable!). We ate lunch around at The Wishing Well, Portland Crab sandwiches and Dorset cream tea!
S & B took care of the Z man one night and secretly booked the LF and I in for a romantic meal at Mallums in the old harbour, their sister-in-law then came and babysat all three kids so they could then meet us for a drink after dinner. It was a fun and rather late night resulting in a few sore heads the next day (these Scotsmen are lethal!).
I managed to dodge the back of B's motorbike rather skilfully. I am pretty terrible on a bike so the idea of being a pillion around single lane country towns on a motorbike rather terrified me. Thank you LF for taking a hit for the team. I'm eternally grateful. The 140mph speeds may have seen me pass out. I was pleased to be riding up front with S in the van. It was really lovely getting to know her better and I wished we had snuck off for a few more girls outings together. Thanks for having us guys. We hope to see you in Oz next Easter. xx
(Sorry Dad! I am a little slow getting this post up. Love xx)