March 2015 saw us back in our Chinese home of Beihai, still a beautiful place to be! Sandy beaches, great food - and the occasional animal causing a traffic jam! Enjoy these few pics.
After the cruise, Trevor had to return to work straight away, but Shanhong still had three weeks of holiday. She went back to Dalian to spend some time with her parents and ended up with her nephew as well - not quite the plan! So, not the best of trips - but she did manage a lovely 'girl's weekend' with her mum on a nearby island leaving the men at home. A highlight for me though was pics of her dad making friends with some little red pandas at Dalian Zoo.
For our main Summer holiday in 2015, we took Shanhong's parents to the UK for their first visit. Picking them up in Shanghai gave us a chance to use a hotel voucher I won, and to see some of Shanhong's side of the family - including her 2nd brother, wife, nephew and new baby!
Christmas 2015 saw us back in the UK - a time to visit mum, catch up with family news, and take Shanhong to some new places. The first few pics are with the family
It is always the case that when we go away on holiday, we try to see everything, and yet when at home, rarely go out. So, this year we made the conscious decision to see a couple of new places. First on the list was a drive to Shakespeare Country - Stratford upon Avon - where the Bard was born. The following pics are all from Stratford, either at Anne Hathaway's cottage or at the Shakespeare Museum.
Having enjoyed Stratford it was time for another nice day out and a moment of realisation that although I had driven all the way to Scotland with Shanhong, we had never crossed the much nearer border into Wales! So, it was time to cross that border and see the nearest castle in Welshpool.
After Christmas, it was back to Beihai in China for the Chinese New Year and the chance to see Shanhong's family. Oh... and... have some great food!!
Easter saw us back in Beihai, our China home. For those who don’t know Beihai, it is a city on the South Coast of China, not too far from Vietnam and Halong Bay, with a 25km sandy beach that stays empty most of the year. We have a lovely house here, with plenty of room for visitors! Shanhong’s parents are in the same city for the winter months, so it is a good chance to catch up, and go fly a kite! The Beihai barbecued chickens are the best in the world. Try one, and you won’t disagree! We spend quite a bit of time sorting out the overgrown back garden, and I planted some cacti – so we’ll see if they survive!
We had a visit from Shanhong’s niece’s husband to be, and another musical in Singapore, and that brought us to summer. Our main holiday of the year was to be in USA, but on our way over, we did visit the UK to see Mum, to meet the newest member of the family (Scarlett, seen here with her big sis Eden, and Shanhong) and to spend a bit of time in our apartment there. Mum had unfortunately moved into a nursing home since our last visit at Christmas - not a place she loved, but there were some good days – and here she is singing along with a visiting entertainer! What she did love was getting out, and a favourite trip, given the season, was to the Rose Gardens nearby.
As you can see, a beautiful place when all the flowers are in bloom. It was an indication of mum’s dementia however, that having gone once and spent a good few hours, when we went back two days later, mum was convinced she had never been before. Little were we to know these would be the last photos with mum.
So, that’s all for this report – that brings us up to our departure for USA – and the next set of reports will be on that main summer holiday – hope you are looking forward to making that journey with us!
All the best, take care and keep writing
Love as always Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy (and friends) xx
Returning from America, we had the bad news of mum’s second major stroke, and although I flew back as quickly as I could, mum passed away as I was transiting in Paris. I am happy that mum is now in her new heavenly body and reunited with dad, so is in a better place – but it is still hard to lose someone you love.
Routines have returned – life is busy at school, as always, and with my course. We did reinstate the ‘Saturday Walks’ – this is a chance to simply go out into the Singapore countryside. So, the first set of pics is from a treetop walk in one of the many national parks.
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The second, another Saturday walk, was in the Chinese Gardens, another park in Singapore, but also home to a Turtle Museum - a great place to be when the sun is shining!
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I had a mini health scare in the Autumn, blood in the urine made me go and see the local doctor, who sent me to a specialist with suspected kidney stones. Specialist was pretty sure that was not the case – but recommended an MRI to be sure. The MRI was done with a colour dye, which revealed my left kidney was completely blocked with no dye getting through the system. I was in hospital and operated on the very next day for stage 4 kidney failure☹. Good news is, operation was a full success, kidney is working fine again, and all is well (and medical insurance paid!).
Winter saw us heading back to Beihai to spend some time with Shanhong’s parents. We spent Christmas in our own home, putting up the tree and inviting friends around!, including unwrapping pressies on Christmas morning!
The big ‘surprise’, however, was going to the island of Hainan for New Year, where it turns out Shanhong’s parents had bought a new apartment! So – we arrived, and on day 1 had contractors in fitting the shower and doing the plumbing while we put together beds and other furniture! Three days later – almost everything had arrived, been built, and they were settled in. It’s a beautiful place with a fantastic sea view – so will finish this report at their new home!
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That’s all for today – take care and keep in touch! Love n Hugs, Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xxx
Summer 2015 we decided to take Shanhong’s parents to visit England for the first time. We tried, therefore to put together a number of different experiences to get a feel of the history, and both urban and rural life. I think we made good choices – but I’ll let you decide as you read these next few reports. To make sure everything went smoothly, we flew from Singapore to Shanghai to meet them and travel together to England. These first few photos are from that stopover in Shanghai.
We flew into Birmingham and travelled straight to Telford where we have a small apartment – it’s only a small place – but it did the job well, and provided the base for our three week stay. The first week was generally restful, a visit to my mum, a look at houses for sale – but we did have a trip to Ironbridge, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution where the world’s first iron bridge was erected in 1779. Very close to the Bridge is the Victorian Village which is a replica of what life was like in Victorian times.
We obviously took the opportunity to visit members of my side of the family too – so the following are pics at various homes with various members of the family!
Another day trip saw us in the Market Town of Shrewsbury, my home for many, many years – the last photo is actually my old school!
A final daytrip for this report was to Dudley Castle and Zoo.
Nice place, hey? More from UK trip to come. Take care, Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy, xxx
This report will be a little mixed as I need to complete our trip to York! We took a little drive on the one day to visit Castle Howard, not a castle at all, but a private Stately Home. The building of Castle Howard began in 1699 and took over 100 years to complete. The house is surrounded by a large estate which, at the time of the 7th Earl of Carlisle, covered over 13,000 acres, included multiple villages, and was served by its own railway station. In 1952, the house was opened to the public and has been used as the main backdrop for a number of UK television series.
Our next three day trip was to the capital city, London. On the drive down we stopped at Windsor to see the royal castle. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by succeeding monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
We continued into London via Kew Gardens (beautiful spot – but no photos taken!) and to our hotel in the West End, where we received complimentary upgrades to suites. Very nice too!
Next day saw us being tourists, visiting places such as Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, taking a tour behind the scenes in the Royal Albert Hall and visiting other lesser known places where our London Pass gave us free entry!
It is worth noting that London had a mini-heatwave when we were there – reaching temperatures of 39 degrees Centigrade – almost unheard of for the UK! It did mean though, that the normal London showers were at an absolute minimum and we were able to walk about freely.
Take care – More from London next time. With Love…. Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx
Our last day in London saw us on the famous open-top sightseeing bus driving round in circles, getting off occasionally to snap a few pics, or to have a good lunch in Chinatown!
After London, the last of our three getaways was a very lazy trip along the canal in a narrowboat. Originally the main transport routes for cargo in the UK, many of the canals have been restored, and the boats are new and contain all modern conveniences from central heating to wi-fi! We took a route from Napton, in the middle of the British countryside, to Warwick. Whilst the way of life is slow (the maximum speed on a canal is 6 km/h), we did have to navigate over 50 locks!
In Warwick we, of course, visited the medieval Castle. Developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068 the original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th century military architecture. It was used as a stronghold until the early 17th century, when it passed into private ownership. In 1978 it was bought by the Tussauds Group who have added waxworks to the inner chambers and added various tourist shows to the site.
So, there you have it – the end of our summer in the UK. Take care! Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx