Tuesday 8 November
It’s wet leaving the Isle of Man today and we are in a full plane with at least two passengers overbooked. It has certainly turned more wintry and is cold and windy on our walk from Green Park tube to the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane for our two free nights using accumulated loyalty points from previous stays.
Double upgrade and we are at the front of the hotel overlooking St James’ Park, The Guardsman’s memorial and the edge of Hyde Park Corner roundabout.
Bus to Trafalgar Square down Piccadilly and we have dinner at Garfunkles, exceptionally crowded with a large party of students from France. We understand there were 120 of them but only 4 adults. Very well behaved, I would say.
Wednesday 9 November
We are cheapskates and object to a £25 per person breakfast, so I walk back towards Green Park station for a couple of Croissants & a drink for under £5. Get to Ticket booth at Leicester Square and manage to get two tickets for this afternoon’s Kinky Boots and two for tonight’s Beautiful: the Carol King story for £120 all in – bargain.
Wait for bus to Oxford Circus and along comes a police motor cyclist, blue lights flashing but whistles rather than sirens. A minute later, a black limo speeds into sight occupied by HM The Queen & Prince Phillip. Not enough time to get phone out to take picture as she is soon gone on her way to a medical centre and a picture unveiling.
Lunch in Debenhams after a bit of retail therapy and the person on the table next to me looks so much like Dame Maggie Smith, the actress. She keeps her hat on and has her back to most of the rest of the shop but I don’t think she would appreciate being asked!
Bus to the Strand for Kinky Boots but arrive a bit early so wander to Covent Garden to hear the music and see the Christmas decorations.
Didn’t know the story of Kinky Boots beforehand so thoroughly enjoyed the show, the songs are good.
The story predicable in many respects but with an interesting twist and well acted, performed. A good afternoon’s entertainment.
Evening meal in Zizzi’s opposite before we stroll down to the Aldwych Theatre for the Carol King play.
Whilst we know of Carol King, the extent of her songs and those of her friends are something I didn’t really appreciate. Another great performance. Bus back from Aldwych all the way to the hotel.
Thursday 10 November
A slightly better day and another visit to Pret a’Manger for breakfast followed by a leisurely morning, check out at hotel with nothing to pay and a bus journey to Victoria and train to Gatwick.
Not so many trains to Gatwick from Victoria (other than the expensive Gatwick Express) than there were on my previous journey from Victoria but now you can use your Oyster card to get to Gatwick which makes travel even less troublesome.
Gatwick, airside is as usual, crowded but the lift to the restaurants isn’t working which is frustrating. However, getting on the Internet was a bit easier this time. Flight to Jersey full and we arrive early, get picked up and get to see Harry for a couple of hours before his bed time.
Friday 11 November
Walk Harry to School and back for breakfast, out to St Ouen’s for a walk on the beach at low tide.
Don’t recall seeing the wooden posts before when we lived here but probably did. Left over from WWII, as anti-tank/landing craft defences.
A navy vessel is steaming away from the island and we understand later from Sarah that it was due to dock in St Helier the previous day but the tug involved broke down and couldn’t tow it in.
The replacement tug, towed the stricken tug, the navy vessel tried to get in itself but failed because of the wind. Some disappointed people who were due to have a meal on board!
Lunch at St Peter’s garden centre whose Christmas decorations display was looking good. Back to pick up Harry from school and a walk back home. Harry was very tired and didn’t want to go out again but we did manage to persuade him to come with us to see the and Christmas decorations; Wow he exclaimed on seeing it.
England 3 Scotland 0 was not something Ali was impressed with although he is not particularly a football fan.
Saturday 12 November
A very early start with the prospect of a rough and rainy crossing to St Malo. This must be the first time ever I have been driven onto a ferry; having only ever driven the car on myself or been a foot passenger.
Boat probably about a third full, crossing not as bad as we had thought it would be though. Drive down the D137 towards the North West of Rennes heading for a supermarket (Cora) and IKEA for some purchases and lunch. Lovely golden colours by the road but it is raining or drizzling so not a pleasant journey for Ali, who is driving.
Find our way to the Decathlon village the north eastern side of Rennes.
A massive shop with children allowed to roller scate, cycle, play badminton, table tennis and a multitude of other activities. All of course designed to entice children to learn a new sport and of course buy sports equipment!
The shop even has a horse section which, after sending photos, amused Flic.
Off back up the road to our hotel for the night, the Mercure at Port Dinan just by the River Rance. The hotel is being refurbished but apart from the reception being in the lounge and some wear & tear on some of the public space carpets, was a good choice, comfortable, quiet and warm. Free coffee on arrival with biscuits was very welcome.
Dinner tonight in the restaurant, not overly crowded but with a lovely real fire. A walk out afterwards for some photos of the tastefully decorated buildings of the old port.
Sunday 13 November
A much better day weather wise and after a good breakfast, head off for a river walk before driving to a local supermarket for some extras and heading for the old town of Dinan.
Every restaurant crowded until we reach the bottom of the hill back at the port opposite the hotel where we find a restaurant that has room for lunch. Crepes for some of us and ham /chips for Harry.
Sarah & Ali go back up to get the van whilst Sally and I entertain Harry by the riverside. Short drive back to St Malo and the ferry crossing back to Jersey with French food for dinner. A successful weekend.
Monday 14 November
Walk Harry to school, he is not as tired as I would have thought and we are then off to see Kate and her baby, Emily although not before noting the fungi in the back garden!
Kate was Sarah’s friend from school and whilst not having a particularly difficult birth found that Emily has a heart defect that necessitated her being rushed by air ambulance to Southampton hospital with Kate and partner following on a scheduled service. There is still some action to be taken but not until February so the situation has not worsened.
Collect Harry from School and we go to Ransom’s garden centre to see their lights and Christmas decorations. Not as good as St Peter’s garden centre display.
Tuesday 15 November
Breakfast at Colleen’s at Greve de Lecq followed by a brief walk along the beach and a visit again to St Peter’s garden centre for a few purchases that Sarah will have to bring over at Christmas, collect Harry from school, he walks much slower home in the afternoon than in the morning, he is obviously tired.
Very foggy and a few flights cancelled, so hope it clears up for tomorrow.
Wednesday 16 November
Early flight to Gatwick, on time and full with passengers from the cancellations yesterday. Pick up car and a drive down memory lane through the Sussex country side with it’s vibrant colours and into Steyning.
A drive up our old road, Hills Road, to see our old house and we are then off to our friends, Bob & Di with their imposing house and undisturbed views northwards towards the North downs.
We hadn’t seen them for about 5 years and whilst they have now done their kitchen, the rest of the house is little changed. Sadly their three girls were not able to get to Steyning to see us although they all live in Hove, due to work commitments.
Lunch in the White Horse, a complete contrast to what it was when we lived there and a stroll down the high street which has substantially changed in occupancy although, fortunately, very little has been altered building wise.
A couple of little courtyards with sheds for shops behind the flint clad buildings one of which was the old hotel where we spent our first night in Steyning all those years ago waiting for our furniture to arrive!
A new deli has opened and we opt for coffee there (the Sussex produce Company) which had a good selection of local bottled beers and wines.
Another deli nearby had a round solid cheese which we had been looking for, a Lancashire Bomb! I was just hoping that Security at the airport on the way home would not stop me to ask what it was – fortunately they didn’t!
Back to Bob & Di’s and a salad for tea before we head off for our hotel at Gatwick.
Thursday 17 November
Plenty of time today as flight not until 4:30pm. Drop car off, negotiate Gatwick Airport Railway Station with a train cancelled and an all stations train to London Bridge. Bag search at London City Airport delayed by a faulty tray with my bag taking 15 minutes to be looked at just to be told that it would have to go through again.
No apology from the staff member who then put the faulty tray back in the system! Very poor service and god knows what would have happened if I had missed my plane because of their inefficiency.
Next it’s Panto time with the Peel Pantoloons at the beginning of next month and a surprise for Mel!