I have have just come back from a lovely 4 day visit to the UK to see family. I stayed with Ians parents who live in the same village that we used to live in. His sister and her family also live in the same village.
I flew into Stanstead and got a National Express coach via Heathrow out to Reading. The journey was so easy and because the flight was on time I could get earlier coach connections than I had originally booked.
I spent a nice few hours with my Dad on Friday for his 70th birthday. He didn't want to go out anywhere but I took some salmon for lunch and some chocolate desserts for him. He is in good health and looked well. He still lives in the house we grew up in, nothing had changed. He is a keen gardener and the lawns are like green velvet - immaculate with not a blade of grass out of place. We had an emotional time looking through old photos and talking about times gone by. Dad is from Oldham, near Manchester in the north-west of England. Oldham was once the cotton mill capital of the world, with 320 cotton mills in a small area. He is rightly proud of his towns history and once worked in Heron Mill. Unfortunately there are no mills working now, but dad has become very keen on looking into the history of it all. He has some wonderful books about the town and all the mills. It is a very emotional subject for him as at one time everyone he knew was conected to the cotton industry. Dad, I loved spending time with you and looking at all the pictures. You and mum gave us a wonderful childhood, something that I will be eternally grateful for. I love you loads.
Saturday morning Eileen (Ians mum) and I went with Tania and David (Ians sister and her husband) to watch their youngest daughter (Jenny) diving. She goes every Saturday morning and is excellent. She is 12 years old and is so strong and elegant as she dives into the water. She is absolutely fearless as she dives from the 5m board! I can't even dive and as I hate heights wouldn't even climb up there. She was amazing to watch.
Afterwards we all went into Reading and had a mooch around the shops for the morning. After rural France it seemed like the whole world was in town! We got fed up at lunchtime and headed home for a delicious lunch of smoked salmon, asparagus and avocado. Eileen really spoils me - these are my favourites.
Saturday evening Eileen had made a selection of curries - her speciality. Eileen, John (father in law) and I had a great evening chatting and putting the world to rights
Sunday morning Eileen, Tania, Jenny and I went back into Reading to mooch around the shops. One of the things I miss about the UK is the shop Marks and Spencers. I stocked up on cotton t-shirts in a great range of colours and then hit the lingerie section. I got myself measured and treated myself to some new bras. M&S bras are great, they all come with matching knickers and at 25% off, they were good value. Tania treated us to a delicious lunch and then we headed home. Tania and co come back round to Eileens later on for an evening meal.
It is always difficult saying goodbye to them, and I shed a few tears after they left that evening. I miss seeing our 2 nieces grow up, Jennys elder sister Tamsin is 18 in two months time and has grown into a truly stunning young woman. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family of in-laws, i love them all so much.
I left this morning getting the coach back to Stanstead airport, arriving back at Limoges airport at 13.00. Although I love visiting family it is always good to get back to your own home. Ian picked me up at the airport with a big hug, Misty was at home to greet me and the geese were yelling down the garden. There's no place like home.