When DH went to Israel he flew from Luton, but came back into Heathrow. So that plan was that the girls and I would drive up to fetch him, staying at a TravelLodge overnight … but things didn’t go quite according to plan!

First of all, we were ready and left far earlier than I’d thought possible :o We’d already thought we might make a ‘day out’ of it, so I suggested we visit a NT property on the way, perhaps for lunch. Groans from the 16 year old … I suppose we might be outgrowing our annual family subscription at last? Then, inspiration. Why not go the long way round (M5 – M4 rather than M5 – A303) and visit IKEA at Bristol … cheers of joy from the passengers :doh:

I’d not preplanned it, but could remember it was off the M32, so I asked DD1 to look it up on the map … no M32 on her map!! We got it sorted, eventually she found it and at that point I was right there! :D I don’t understand why the girls weren’t impressed with my sense of direction :533: Perhaps you had to be there … :lol:

We had lunch, and went straight to the market place. They were very patient with me as I pootled around, and cut myself some fabric. I’ll need to make up a test piece to see if the calico I bought will do the job I hope it will in a bigger project – what a bore … not!

It was a good day, I was given a promotional £5 voucher, and should I shop there next month I have £26 to spend (a promotional refund on our meal) … what a shame it costs about £40 petrol for the round trip :o

So then it was off to find the TravelLodge … the traffic was quite heavy, and a short cut didn’t quite work (London drivers are not as forgiving as the locals around here, should you get into the wrong lane on an unfamiliar road!) but we found it soon enough. The girls decided they would share a room after all … that’s a first in quite some years! I thought we might eat there … the bar food looked reasonable … but DD1 decided we’d eat at the airport so off we went.

The girls had dismissed my anxiety about finding my way to the right car park/section of the airport … but they soon knew better! I went the long way round rather than drive through the much more built up areas of Feltham etc, so we ended up on the perimeter road and had a fantastic view of the airport (the girls were silly in love with the monorail! :D ) but no signposts to T1 short stay parking anywhere – every other sort of parking but not the short stay. I had to stop and ask for directions, and we were almost there, but it was only signposted from the other direction :533: The girls were a little more sympathetic by this time! :lol:

Nowhere impressive to eat at the arrivals lounge, so we sat in Costa and nursed our drinks until the plane landed … or did it? The board kept changing the time of arrival and landing until we didn’t know when DH would show up. And at that point I started to struggle with DD2 … I ran completely out of patience with her so that DD1 and I ended up on the other side of the waiting area (we could see her well enough). But it wasn’t for long …

(You don’t need to know the next bit :D )

Next morning, breakfast (mediocre) at the Lodge, then I took the family on a quick tour of the area. I’ve been going to WEAC in Sunbury for over 10 years now, and they’ve heard a lot about it, but never seen it, so we picked up the river in Richmond and drove along the Thames road as far as Sunbury .. a beautiful view of boats and parks, and a fabulous view from that direction of Sunbury Court itself. We stopped at the Walled Garden … and of course I’ve never seen it at this time of year, as we’re usually there in February or early March … so much more colour! It’s always beautiful though. We left the garden for a brief ramble over Sunbury Park. We were listening out for the parakeets … we saw a couple and heard more. But we also heard (and eventually tracked down) the woodpeckers (Greater Spotted) and saw Jays, too. All the time DH chatting away about the sights (and birds!) he’d seen in Israel. Wonderful. But time to go …

I hadn’t checked the roads before leaving home, so wasn’t expecting the hold-ups on the A303 …I’m really glad we’d gone the other way on the way up! So we didn’t extend our trip (we’d thought about calling in at Montacute NT on our way past) other than to stop at Solstice Park for lunch at the Harvester. We didn’t get home until late, 6pm, so the dear hens were by then sitting on a pile of eggs … but it’s over now, and he’s home.

It’s going to be quite an adjustment for both of us.