At large in the UK!

29 Jan

Our return to the UK for Christmas had been carefully arranged to allow us safe passage before any winter weather disruption…we thought….the weather decided otherwise. Snow arrived very early and England was already shivering when we landed at Heathrow on the 9th December. Fortunately the delays and disruption we experienced last year did not repeat themselves and we were able to land in a snowy Newcastle on time.


Baltic Art Centre and the Baltic Quays Apartments

We had an apartment organised in Baltic Quays for the next few weeks to include Christmas, we had stayed here for a week in the summer and found the location suited us well. A 20min walk over the Millennium Bridge across the River Tyne and up Grey Street brings you to the heart of the city shopping area without the hassle of having to park, great exercise and perfect for the Christmas shopping.


Millennium Bridge and Newcastle Quayside

With a good covering of ice and snow that same walk was interesting at times, but as I say good exercise!

We were excited to be seeing the north east part of the family again and had great fun with Ebony and Kai. We visited the Baltic with Ebony a few days before Christmas and she was turned into a beautiful reindeer by the face painter there.


Ebony reindeer.


The glazed area from the top of the Baltic gives a fantastic view along the river, the large rounded building is the Sage where music of all types is performed in two large halls and smaller concert rooms.


From inside the Baltic Art Centre

Robert and I enjoyed a concert by the Scottish performers Runnrig, it was great being able to stroll over to the venue from our apartment and not have to join the queue of cars trying to escape the car park when the performance ended.

Christmas eve Ebony and Kai came to play and despite Ebony being full of cold we managed to make decorations for Grandma and Granddad’s tree and a streamer to hang across the room!


Christopher, Jennie and Scott arrived after work finished and really made a great Christmas Eve party. Lots of laughter and excitement!


Daddy/Uncle Chris is always up for a bit of rough and tumble!

Christmas day itself Robert and I visited the family in their own homes not wanting to part grand children from their very special new toys! Boxing day everyone came to us for yet another chaotic family afternoon. I so wish we were close enough that the rest of the family could join in too, but then it would be even more noisy and hectic….

New Years Eve we travelled to Nuneaton to spend a few days with Mum and Dad and see in the New Year. Eldest daughter, Elizabeth with Alistair and Melissa had been visiting in Yorkshire and arrived in Nuneaton on the evening of the 1st. Another session of parcel opening ensued along with a ‘getting to know you again’ time with Melissa who is growing up so fast.


Proud Grandma’s

We followed Elizabeth and Alistair home to Plymouth but en route called in to see our newest family member James – our great nephew – born in October, a lovely happy healthy and much looked forward to little boy for our niece Rachel and her husband Rich.


Rachel and a hungry James!



We spent a lovely few days in Plymouth, playing with Melissa and visiting Polperro (for a yarn shop – I was restrained and only looked, it was Elizabeth buying).




Melissa cooking up a treat for Granddad Grumps!                                                      


Polperro – a clever shot which disguises the fact it was freezing, blowing and raining too!


From Plymouth we drove south into Cornwall where we had arranged to rent an apartment in Falmouth for a few days. This turned out to be in a wonderful position overlooking the Fal estuary and a short walk into the town itself. Unfortunately the first couple of days were very wet and we did not go far but enjoyed time to relax and meet up with our good friends Linda and Derek who live in Penzance.


View down to the Fal from our apartment

Back to Plymouth for a night on the Sunday then up to Somerset and an overnight stop in Illminster on Monday the 10th of January which is the anniversary of our first night of living together, way back in 1976.

Nuneaton next and back to Mum and Dad, Robert crossed a few chores of his Dad’s list before we all drove to Newcastle for Mum and Dad to spend some time with their Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren….yes more noisy gatherings of the Hill clan.

All too soon we had returned them to Nuneaton and were on our way back to Newcastle for the final week of our UK winter stay. We have completed around 1800 miles in our car while back here, we sometimes feel like we are in perpetual motion but then we don’t enjoy staying still too long so it suits us really.

I am writing this Saturday morning, a cold, blue day in Newcastle, tomorrow we will say our family goodbyes, never easy. Monday we fly to Miami and hopefully some Florida warmth.


One Response to “At large in the UK!”

  1. Sheila Branch January 31, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Looks like you had a wonderful time! Great pictures.

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