My sister and here fiance moved over to live in London for two years. I really wish I had the balls to up and move, but I don’t so lots of trips will do! I was meant to be going to help my sister find a wedding dress but that had been postponed. In the mean time my parents decided they were going over and wanted me to come for a family trip. They had never traveled further than Australia, it was a big deal so I agreed to come. My Mum isn’t the best flyer so I was clever and went the other way around the world to get there! It was hard for me as I had left my partner and dog behind so it was a long lonely trip over, but better than traveling with Mum haha.
Left – Tim (Dad), Marie (Mum), Emma (Sister) and Jonty (Sister’s fiance).
As any of you that have read my previous blogs would know I really love the planning part of holidays! So I was set the task of planning the trip. I started by asking everyone for a list of things they would like to see and do (bare in mind there was 5 people on this trip). The list from my Dad – small towns, see lots, beaches and our family history in England. Mum’s list – Eiffel tower, Colosseum, Buckingham Palace and the Leaning Tower of Pisa and our family history in Ireland. Emma and Jonty were happy to go wherever as they could go back places easier and they like history and museums. I like fast travel, see as many places that I can and little towns away from other tourists as much as possible. As you can see I had a challenge on my hands trying to meet everyone’s requests. I also had a very limited time frame of three weeks before I headed home and everyone continued for another two weeks.
I arrived first into London and ventured onto the tube hoping I would remember from last time how to use it. I made it to the meeting point and found my sister (Emma) so the hardest part was complete. We walked to her house and I settled in waiting till our parents arrived. It was my first time inside a London style house, I was surprised how narrow, dark and tall they really are. Emma left to head to the airport to help our parents with the tube. Once they arrived to Emma’s it was dinner time so we headed to the local pub. I love how social the English are and how they allow dogs inside the pubs, made me miss Loui and wished I could do that at home!
The next day was a busy day trying to see all the highlights of London. I had previously done a hop on hop of bus tour, so I knew this was the quickest and easiest way to see a lot in a short time. Our first stop was the War memorials for many different countries, animals and people. Then we made our way to the centre of town to meet up with a relative, Nita. We enjoyed a lovely Japanese lunch together. It was time to jump back on the bus. At the National Art Gallery we hoped of the bus to walk a little bit. Down past the side entrance to Buckingham Palace we saw the horse guards. I feel sorry for the horses having to stand still so long! Continuing down towards Westminster passing Big Ben on our walk (unfortunately it was covered for repairs) we reached the London Eye. I was excited for this stop even though I had done this before – it was more to laugh at Mum (she doesn’t do heights)! After a beautiful ride on the eye we headed to Buckingham Palace. I was underwhelmed to be honest. I expected more than just a big grey concrete building, but hey it is London – everything is grey! However making Dad visit Queenie made my day. Our day ended at the theatre to see Wicked.
Today we started to follow the family history on the Davison side. Dad’s research back in NZ took us on a two hour train ride north of London with the first stop being Norton in Durham. We wandered around a church that was built in 1089! This church was mentioned in our family book but didn’t have much detail so we started looking around the grave stones for our family name as the church itself was locked. After awhile we decided to give up and just at this stage a man came out of the church. He was new to the area and didn’t know much until we mentioned our name. He laughed and told us to come inside and pointed at a plaque on the ground below the alter of the church. One of our relatives was buried in the church from the mid 1600’s. And he showed us all these plaques on the wall. We recognised one from our family book that had been photocopied for many years it was almost unreadable, nice to get a new photo to replace in the book. As we headed out of the church he had one more thing to show us, in the garden right next to the wall of the church. He brushed away debris to reveal two grave stones flat in the ground belonging to more family members/wives. There was no way we would have ever found these on our own so was very special and lucky timing that we got to see all of this.
After having lunch we got in a taxi and headed for our next town, Thorpe Thewles. This stop was going to be a little harder to follow the history as we had a hand drawn map from our book laid over a map of the town that dad had done. So after a start in the wrong direction we headed to the land that once belonged to our family. Time for a much needed stop at the pub we started talking to the barman and some locals. Such a small town they were so lovely one even offered us their car to look around. We declined but continued talking and found out a Davison still lives in the village. Once we finished our drinks we decided to walk through some of the land. Part of it was a Woodland which our family had put a covenant on to protect it to this day. After a long day we returned to London in preparation for our flight to Italy in the morning.