We left Moissac on the 3rd Nov, enjoying a very early Christmas dinner and exchange of presents.
My last knee treatment thankfully today, fingers are crossed my worn out knee will get me through the winter. We are now ready to start our journey of a life time, spending this winter visiting Down Under.
We enjoyed the company of Mike and Jane on 'Drumsara' just before we left Moissac, very excited going over our final plans for Australia. Oh the butterflies are starting to rumble in me.
Moet is now oiled, greased, spick & span, all ready for our return in Feb.
We enjoyed shopping for Xmas wine for our families and for our all our Xmas celebrations at home.
We decided to set off before lunch and enjoy a picnic on the way, with just four hours driving, we could stop and relax. The last few weeks have been usually hectic, we are so ready for a rest and break.
We stumbled across this hidden Chateau, not very far from Limousin - just off the A20. We knocked on the door and asked if they had any room, yes we have have, do come in Gerard said, I will show you to your room.
The first night of our holiday could not have been spent in any better surrounding, our accommodation in this late 19th century castle. With it's five luxury rooms. We enjoyed the grandest room with a four a poster bed, fine linen and a huge warm and delightful bathroom. Sadly the restaurant was not open in winter. We found 'Le Bellevue' hotel in the village, we had a lovely meal and evening here.
We slept like babies in the Chateau that night. We woke very refreshed, enjoyed our breakfast in the kitchen with the owner Gerard. We asked how long he had owned this lovely building, 5 yrs he said. He went on to tell us the most amazing story. How he and his wife Ana were able to restore (on going). this lovely Chateau. Gerard advertised on internet, "workers needed", no pay, food drink and accommodation provided. They were lucky to come across people who became friends and helped them renovate, over next two years (some helpers stayed on for a long time).
Our bags packed, we bid farewell to Gerard. We will be back, on our return journey we told him. We set off on our journey through France. Driving through Paris is always a joy and our new 'sat nav' took us to the centre of Paris, thankfully traffic was ok. Seeing the Eiffel tower in all it's glory still trills me every time. We managed to stop just outside of Paris and enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch, taking in the autumn colours, we had very good driving weather.
Autumn was all around us now, a very special drive through France, especially driving through the Lot Valley, we so enjoyed our drive. a good mix of motorway and countryside and not rushed this drive was all new.
We met up with Ursula and Mike in Calais and stopped over night with them at the Campanile hotel - we enjoyed celebrating Ursula's 60th birthday, with some bubbles in our hotel room, also a meal together that evening. We had both booked our crossing the channel for the same morning, without talking to each other. Ursula and Mike booked the ferry, John and I booked the Euro tunnel. So nice to catch up with each other before we all left France.
I wished we had booked the ferry and traveled together, ( our preference). The Euro train was delayed by one half hours, we did not enjoy having to stay in the car, during the journey.
Pleased we have had the experience of trying out the Euro tunnel, not sure we would travel this way again, we love the water. We all arrived in England same time, see you in Spring we shouted on the phone..
This is the longest period we are both leaving our boats in winter, spending time with family and traveling to warmer climates.
The journey to Liverpool went smoothly and we enjoyed spending time with my mum, sadly she is still in hospital and is hoping for rehabilitation soon, she enjoyed hearing all about our plan's for visiting Australia.
Our next drive was to visit my brother Philip and Wife Michele in their new Log cabin on Lake Windermere - We celebrated Philip's birthday and an early Christmas together, we had changed all our plan's to be here this weekend. We had a great night catching up with Phil and Michele. The following day, sister Sharon and husband Tommy joined us too, a great night out was had by us all.
Following day our son Michael and daughter Teresa arrived. We all enjoyed a walk and lunch together before we waved everyone off. John, Teresa and myself stayed on in the Log cabin thanks to Phil and Michele.
We really enjoyed our family time in the Lake's. A lovely start to our holiday in England, sharing and walking here, in this most beautiful part of the world. The scenery is so breath taking. It has been some time since we visited the Lakes. I spent most of my teen's exploring this area, it was good to be back again, to celebrate, their purchase of this wonderful log cabin was a joy.
John Teresa and I enjoyed four days together exploring walking, talking and enjoying our special time together. Then back at the end of the day to this lovely warm log cabin.
We were all too soon on the road again traveling back to Manchester, were we stayed with Teresa and Jo for a few days.
The weather was very varied during our visit - a little snow, some rain and lots bright sunshine. Not long after our visit, the Lakes had rain like never ever before, 38 log cabins were flooded and lost. Huge sadness filled this land and thousands of holiday makers had to cancel holidays, much was lost here.
20th November was such a worrying and stressful time for Philip and Michele, this new Log cabin is part of their retirement plan. Their cabin came within 6ins of being flooded, so much damage to this site. Some boats ended up in the car park near to their cabin, see photo below.
Around twenty boats moored at Windermere Marina Village were sunk also many more. All the affected boats were still attached to fixed piers at their site.
Many boats were saved thanks to quick thinking on Philips site. Homes were destroyed, just a week or so previously I had taken such lovely photo's of our time here.
This November's deluge transformed the Lake District's peaceful town's and villages and poetic hills we had just explored into scenes of water-logged chaos. I saw many images of broken bridges, flooded streets, homes and read of the tragic death of a police officer. I am sure the aftermath will be felt for a long time to come.
I am pleased to say, the Lake soon went back to normal and the long job of restoration began.
This was a truly a phenomenal night out, a successful party arranged by such talented boys, who form "Just That" band. They have worked so hard to get this far, deserve so much in their future. The special party was for their families and friends, they gave us a night to long remember, I was the proudest mum in the world tonight, watching Michael singing on the stage, playing the piano and Guitar. I was also so proud of my sister Marie who made this night out. She has just discovered she has breast cancer and is undergoing her treatment. Love Ya Marie.
Many photograph's and video's were taken on this wonderful night, sadly not all our family could make it to this special venue. My best friend Sue arrived with a friend, they drove up from Leeds for this special night, our first night out together, since her son Daniel was born. Later in the week we were invited to dinner with Sue, Matt in Leeds. Sue and Matt have just bought a another house, moving after Christmas. My friend Sue and John's friend Alwyn live in the same street, but not for much longer.
Alwyn a school friend of John's had just retired so we celebrate together, they plan to travel to India in the New Year. Congratulations and Long and happy Retirement.
John's family - we thoroughly enjoyed a Sunday lunch in a local pub, we were pleased everyone could make this lunch. John's mum, sister Susan, John's brother's Stephen, Kevin, Barry and all their partners. Nephews Tom and Joe added to the fun. Our son Michael and partner John arrived for this Sunday gathering.
We spent four days in Leeds, doctors, dentist and all the Usual things we needed to catch up on.
Brother Frank and Denise could not make our planned night out in Manchester, so they invited us to have Sunday lunch with them and their family. We always look forward to this special time. Denise is a great cook and always goes to a lot of trouble. We exchanged Christmas and birthday cards and presents as we will not be here.
This has been such a lovely month filled to the brim with family and friends. So many different celebrations and also lots of sadness also. Leaving our friend Tina who has lost partner Stephen, we just found out she has now lost her mum, suddenly died when she was staying with Tina.
My mum is still in hospital and fighting for her health back, thankfully she was ok when we left her. My sister Marie with been diagnosed with cancer this month also. All wishing us well on our forth coming adventure and only asking that we promise to have a good time. We promised to do just that, life is all too short and we should embrace everyday that we can. We had a final curry night with our family, following morning we bid them fare well at Manchester airport.
We boarded our flight to Hong Kong before traveling on to Australia.