A Travellerspoint blog

August 2011

Best day of our lives!!!!

Upper class living

semi-overcast 30 °C

Picking up where we left off we had a fantastic last couple of weeks in the UK.

Our Big Cat Photoshoot at the Wildlife Heritage Centre in Headcorn, Kent was a fantastic day, we had 6 hours of getting up close and personal to photograph a huge variety of cats; lions, tigers, snow leopards, amur leopards, palace cats, servals, pumas and many more.
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After leaving there we headed straight to Devon for a weekend in Dartmoor. We spent the next day with my grandparents and had intended on doing some walking on Dartmoor but the weather was awful and not having the appropriate clothing to deal with rain decided to head back towards home - doing a little bit of geocaching once we found some sunshine again.

That week we also had a day in London and decided to do an open top bus tour around the city in true tourist style. We met up with Gerald's cousin Tony who treated us to lunch in a lovely tea room and then jumped back onto the bus tour but, being England, it had to rain of course!

The next day we headed off to Somerset to a little place called Frome. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called Archangel. Our room was gorgeous with everything you could want including a roll top bath! The food was also delicious and we made full use of the huge array of breakfast items available. We spent the days exploring the area and had a ride on an old steam train on the East Somerset railway, visted Glastonbury Abbey where I got to hold an owl and climbed up Glastonbury Tor & Cranmore Tower for the amazing views. On the way home we stopped for a scrumptious cream tea in Marlborough. Friends of ours lived close by so they came and joined us and we decided to go geocaching together - after a couple of hours the iphone died, we had no GPS and were in the middle of the countryside with only a vague idea of which way the car was!!! We did manage to find our way back but arrived home much later than aticipated!!!!
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Another couple of weeks spent having lunch/dinner with different sets of friends each day in a final bid to say our farewells to all before we left meant we were almost ready to head off but there was one last spanner in the works......
I had been trying to sell my car but it seems the car market is pretty depressed right now and there were no takers. After a horrendous offer of just £4000 from a dealer and a bit of research (my car would cost well over NZ$20,000) I made the last minute decision to ship my car to NZ! So after a few phonecalls and texts I found out all I needed to know, booked my car onto the next ship and filled out the necessary paperwork. I should see my car sometime in October....

So all that leads us up to our last 24 hours - today we have experienced a life that we could very easily get used to! Mum and Dad dropped us off at Heathrow and after teary goodbyes we began our taste of the 'celebrity lifestyle'. We checked in at the Upper Class desk and got the lift up to the fast track departures/immigration and followed the signs to the Virgin Upper Class lounge where we were greeted warmly. Our bags were taken by the concierge and we were invited to dine in the complimentary restaurant. Afterwards we headed to the complimentary bar and then had a wander around the lounge to see what else was on offer.....well it turns out there was a pool table, old school computer games consoles, giant TV screens, a salon, a delicatessen and a table full of huge jars filled with sweets. We most definitely did not allow enough time to make full use of all that was on offer.....then it was time to board the plane to Hong Kong. We got to go down our own Upper Class gangway to our seats. The upper class area had it's own bar and a menu that we could order from any time we liked with plenty of choice of starters, mains and desserts (we had eaten in the restaurant before boarding so were still too full to make good use of it all). As it was a night flight it wasn't long before I turned my seat into my fully flat bed. I managed to spend almost the whole flight sleeping soundly in my complimentary sleep suit under my duvet whereas Gerald spent it watching movies and saying 'yes' everytime he was asked if he would like another drink! Once I woke Gerald and I were able to eat breakfast together as my footrest doubled as a guest seat so we could both sit at the table. Our table was set with a tablecloth and napkins, we had real cutlery & glassware and they even gave us mini salt and pepper pots in the shape of aeroplanes! As if all that wasn't enough, after our speedy exit off the plane and out of the airport we were greeted by our chauffeur to drive us to our 5* hotel, Upper House. We then got to say 'WOW' all over again! We were shown to our room by Adriene who will be 'looking after us while we stay here' she showed us around our suite which is HUGE! We thought our room in Frome had everything we wanted but clearly not! This place has a king size bed that gets 'turned down' each night which includes slippers being placed on each side of the bed, a view over Victoria harbour, an ipod touch to use for music and information, a complimentary minibar - well they call it a 'maxibar' as it also includes tea, coffee and a variety of snacks, a massive TV and an L-shaped sofa looking over the harbour. The bathroom has a huge bath, a monsoon shower, his and her sinks, enough toiletries to last a month and a TV and sound system! There is also a walk in wardrobe area, just when we thought that was it the doorbell went and we were presented with a card and gift to welcome us! How will we ever go back to normal holidays after this?!

Well that's it for now :-) More photos to follow soon.....

Posted by bumblebum 07:47 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

The countdown has begun

New Zealand here we come, ready or not!

semi-overcast 20 °C

Due to popular demand ‘THE BLOG’ IS BACK!!!!

Let’s back track a little for those of you that haven’t seen us for a while….

Gerald and I both finished work at the end of July and spent the first week catching up with friends, beginning the final ‘goodbyes’ having dinner with someone different every night of the week. The days were spent sorting through our belongings to make sure what we had left really was worth shipping to New Zealand. We ended up with a trip to the dump and one boot load to charity as we were not allowed to take items such as wicker or untreated wood due to the bio-hazard rules. Not too bad I guess.

August 1st saw the arrival of two young men on the doorstep at 8am ready to pack the entire house. We woke up to a completely normal house (we were not insured if we did any of the packing ourselves) and by 2pm they had boxed or packaged every item in the house apart from the kettle, 2 mugs and a teaspoon! Luckily it was a lovely sunny day so Gerald and I sat in the back garden and watched through the window as they set to work.
They were back bright and early the next day to complete the paperwork and load our things onto our 20ft container. Unfortunately the driver was told Worcester and not Worcester Park so he didn’t arrive until midday rather than 10am leaving 4 very bored people in a house with nothing to do! By 1pm we had witnessed all 107 boxes and packages get loaded into the container and waved it goodbye as it headed to the port in Felixstowe. It is a very strange feeling watching everything you own being driven off like that. Now we are praying it all arrives in one piece in New Zealand in September - it is currently floating around the Mediterranean somewhere! (and still on a boat we hope. G)
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Wednesday saw the completion of the house sale and I handed over the keys, which was a little weird, after 15 years of living there but now we get to go house hunting in Auckland and we are both excited about that.

Friday was a road trip to Wales to see my friend and Godson for a few days. It was nice to just hang out with them and spend a bit of time together as we are not sure when we will next catch up. She arranged a little gathering for the Saturday night where I got to catch up with one of our old university lecturers and her son who I used to ‘baby sit’ for many moons ago! Nico is now all grown up and at uni himself which makes me feel very old!!!! On the way home we went via the Cotswolds to say goodbye to my aunt and husband so it was a weekend of farewells….
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The biggest farewell came when I arrived home to the news that my beloved cat, Pepper, had passed away on the Saturday. The news came hard, especially as I had not been there to say goodbye. It was very sudden and unexpected as she had appeared to be in perfect health. She was almost 16 and had been thoroughly spoilt so she had had a good life. She will be greatly missed though.
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Now we are on the countdown to leaving the UK……just 2 weeks to go until we start our new lives in NZ. In the next 14 days we have a trip to Devon to see my grandparents, a little weekend break in Somerset which was a postponed birthday present to Gerald and a ‘Big Cat Photoshoot’ in Kent amongst some more goodbyes!
For once Gerald and I are really looking forward to the long haul flight. Gerald has had a Virgin Atlantic Amex card for many years, happily collecting points and not doing anything with them. We realised that once the card stops being used we lose the points so decided to ask what we could do with them…..turns out it was enough to upgrade us from Economy to Upper Class all the way to Sydney so that’s what we decided to do! Our first time flying First Class!!! We are stopping in Hong Kong for a couple of nights on the way and arrive in Auckland on August 29th having to do the last 3 hours in cattle class!
So for all you people on the other side – SEE YOU SOON! And for the people we are leaving behind – Goodbye but remember we would love to see you in NZ so start saving and come and visit!

xxx

Posted by bumblebum 10:54 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (6)

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