Wednesday morning continued very pleasantly, with a trip to the beach cafe at The Knoll for a ginger beer (this is Enid Blyton country after all) and a Dandelion and Burdock fizzy drink, and then along to the South Beach for a coffee. On the way back to the hotel we went to the local church, which is Norman, but with parts of it going back even further. Lovely old place, and discovered a link between Whitby (NZ) and Studland! Joseph Banks the botanist on Cook’s voyages, was a member of the Bankes family that owned much of Dorset. There is a street in Whitby named for him.
Back at the hotel we rested for an hour or so before making our way out to the bus stop to catch the 1:34 bus to Bournemouth. Andrew was coming with us to help carry our bags. However, the bus was 20 minutes late arriving, and 30 minutes late arriving at Bournemouth, so we missed our first choice of train, the 14:59 changing at Woking for Heathrow. So we got the 15:45 to Manchester Picaddilly and changed at Reading for Heathrow. What I hadn’t researched properly when I looked at these two train journeys was that neither the Woking connection or the Reading connection were onto normal trains. The Woking connection was onto the underground rail system, and the Reading connection was on to the Rail-Air bus link. Our Britrail pass covered nether of these. At Reading we had the alternative of taking the train to Paddington and then the Heathrow Express back out, but we had no idea of the times and stations involved, so we spent 30 pounds on bus tickets to Heathrow. The bus got us to Heathrow with 15 mins to spare, so while it was stressful at first, in the end we got straight to the correct terminal in plenty of time, so it worked quite well.
Heathrow is an unpleasant place when you are hot and tired as we were, so we spent an uncomfortable couple of hours having a light meal and a drink, and trying to get rid of all our loose change before we boarded the flight to Singapore .
The flight to Singapore was on an A380 Airbus, which are quite roomy and quiet, even in cattle class, and we both managed to sleep for a few hours during the 12h40m flight. I also watched Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin, a bit of harmless slapstick, nothing like as good as the original with Sellers.
At Singapore, we grabbed a quick shower (they let us use the same shower room at the same time, being able to scrub each others backs was a real luxury!) and a hot chocolate, as well as buying a new case for my netbook. Then straight on to a 777 for the flight to New Zealand. Compared to a 747, these are nice planes, compared to the airbus, they are cramped and noisy! As I was unlikely to sleep much on this flight, I watched a couple of films (Coraline with the voices of Teri Hatcher and Dakota Fanning, and a dark French film called La Barrage Contre La Pacifique, or The Seawall – very strange even for a french film). 9h 15 mins later we were in Auckland.
Auckland to Wellingtom was the usual, and a shuttle took us home to Whitby. The weather was quite nice, cold but fine when we arrived, but has been pretty awful up to then, and since.
Not sure whether we have jet lag, or are just very tired, or have a cold of somesort, but the last two days have been quite hard, and while Lynn went work today, I am not sure she was really up to it.
Having rested for two days, I am now getting down to sorting out all the stuff that is outstanding, WOF for the car, insurance claim for the burst hot water cylinder while we were away, applying for jobs etc. It may take a while!