Thursday, July 30, 2009


On Monday we had a very calm 90 minute Dover to Calais crossing – we left a wet, cold England and arrived in a damp, cool France. Lionel did a great job navigating us to our camp site about an hour south of Calais without using toll roads. I managed to drive us there safely while staying on the RIGHT side of the road. We got the tents set up in the dry and the sun came out...Yay, summer holidays!
Tuesday we were greeted by the bread lady as she drove her van around the camp site – what better breakfast could you ask for than fresh bread and croissants delivered to your tent....
We decided to drive to Ypres today and have a look at some of the World War 1 sites and memorials – it was supposed to be an hours drive but with road works and detours it took us a lot longer. Josh kept reminding me which way to turn around corners by saying ‘tight right and loose left’ he was also intrigued by all the fields of wheat and maize, and no fences along the road side.
Our first stop was in Messines (sp?) where we saw a memorial to New Zealand soldiers who advanced 2000 yards to take the ridge. Quite amazing to be standing in the spot where this battle took place.
Just outside Ypres we stopped again at a large memorial and cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died here.Many of the head stones here didn’t have names on them just ‘The Unknown Soldier – Known Only to God’. There are about 1000 different cemeteries for soldiers who are buried in places they died during the battles and it was amazing driving along the road to see signposts all over the place for different cemeteries. It was very sobering walking along the rows of head stones and imagining the battles taking place here during World War 1 and 2.

We left our camp site in the North of France on Wednesday and headed off on a route planned by Lionel & Josh which took us around to the north of Paris and then south heading towards Orleans. It was a long day driving but we are now in the Loire region at a municipal camp site. Municipal camp sites are set up by the local towns and have basic facilities, however we are close to the town and Lionel & I walked into the town this morning to get some supplies and have a cup of coffee (however my ordering wasn’t very good and we ended up with tea instead of a latte – Lionel tells me we need to order caffe crè time!)
We are having a lazy day today and will head away from here Thursday or Friday. (just realised today is Friday or Saturday)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In France

We have made it to France, weather is good. Getting free wi-fi while stopped for diesel. Will write a full blog ready for our next free wi-fi.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Last weekend in England

On Friday we managed to get ourselves packed up and out of our temporary accommodation. The rest of the family decided they didn't want to go to London for the weekend and so are staying with our friends at Pamber Heath - The Evans Family.
It has been a very relaxing time and we feel like we are starting to unwind and get into holiday mode already. Today (Sunday) we went into London for the day to go to 'The Lion King' at the theatre. The show was brilliant - the way the animals moved was very impressive and the stage movement great.

At Trafalgar Square

Monday, July 20, 2009

Becca's Busy Social Life

Saturday 11 July

A girly afternoon/evening with some swimming friends at Bekah's.
* lots of food
* lots of sweets
* swimming at Tadley pool
* Mamma Mia dvd
* good friends....good fun

Sunday 12 July

Rachael's birthday party at Thorpe Park
*Saw roller coaster, based on the Saw movies
*Nemesis which we went on 5 times
*Colossus is a 10 loop roller coaster
*Tidal Wave which soaked us

Saturday 18 July

* 40 friends
* DJ
* disco lights
* bubbles
* balls
* pile ups on the couch
* dancing
* food
* yummy cake
Sunday 19 July
Last day at church and Pathfinders

Waterpolo game playing for the ladies against the under 19 men

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boy's weekend

Josh and I went to London on Saturday (11 July) to go to HMS Belfast the last big gun ship still floating. The Belfast was launched in 1938 and helped sink the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst in 1943 and then continue to serve in the Royal Navy with occasional breaks right up to 1971.
Josh liked the guns, the Belfast has four Turrets with three 6inch guns in each and they look quite spacious on the inside until we read the caption that said 27 men worked in the turret when the ship was at action stations. They had static displays throughout the ship showing what life would have been like for different parts of the 800 crew as they went about their tasks. It was great to get on a warship and to see the size of cabins and other things and compare them to the visualisation I have had from books I have read.
Josh and I then walked along the Thames path along with hundreds of other people. Stopping for a bite to eat suddenly realising we were sitting on a concrete wall outside the Globe theatre our cultural moment for the day. We continued on past the National Theatre to go to BFI IMAX the biggest movie screen in Britain. This movie theatre whose screen is 6 times a normal screen being the largest piece of fabric in Britain as well and with a speaker the size of a car behind the screen. Both Josh and I loved it, watching Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen. This was the second time for Josh and he summed it up by saying when we got home Bigger is better.
Sunday it was early birthday come farewell party for Josh. So with 4 of his friends we went Paintballing near Reading travelling in style by Executive transport. It was a great day or as Josh says extremely fun. We played four different games of paintball starting with protect the President, storm the castle, capture the flag and finally eliminate the opposition. It was very different to what we expected. We were split 3 & 3 between the green and brown teams, this made the teams about 20 a side. More people meant more action and we used about 2600 paintballs between the 6 of us.

Friday, July 10, 2009

2 weeks to go...

Wow...only 2 weeks until we leave Basingstoke! The reality is starting to hit and, although we are looking forward to our holiday on the continent and really looking forward to NZ, we realise what we are leaving behind.
Josh is really going to miss his best friend, Tom, and they both realised the other night how far away they are going to be...and will they ever see each other again. They will certainly keep in touch and I am friends with Tom's mum so that makes it easier to keep in contact (but harder to leave).
Rebecca has a multitude of friends she will miss, especially from swimming but also from church and school. It is going to be really hard for her to leave her best mate, Rachael, behind and I think that Rachael would happily hop into Rebecca's suitcase! Rebecca will continue to make good use of the computer with facebook and msn to keep in touch with everyone.
Lionel & I will miss the friendship of Trevor, Monica and the whole Evans family and we look forward to seeing them in NZ sometime soon!
Anyway, I might cry if I keep thinking about the good-byes so I will let you know what we are up to in the next 2 weeks...
Saturday 11/7 Lionel & Josh are going into London to go on the HMS Belfast and go to 'Transformers 2' at the IMAX theatre
Rebecca is going to Bekah's with some swimming friends for a girly night as a bit of a good-bye to Rebecca, and they are going to watch 'Mamma Mia' on DVD
Sunday 12/7 Lionel is taking Josh & 4 friends paintballing
Rebecca is going to Rachael's birthday party at Thorpe Park (theme park)
Saturday 18/7 Rebecca's farewell/birthday party - disco with 30 or so teenagers :)
Josh is staying the night at Tom's
Friday 24/7 Leave Basingstoke and stay in London for the weekend
Sunday 26/7 Go to 'Lion King' at the theatre
Monday 27/7 Get the ferry from Dover to Calais for our holiday before coming home

Of course there is also swimming, school etc to continue with during the week!
Josh had his school production (Robin Hood) this week - 2 matinees and 3 evening performances so it was full on!
Rebecca has her performance from 'Acting Academy' next week and she has a stressed teacher but I'm sure "it'll be right on the night".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Goodwood Festival of Speed

I am not really a petrol head but I must say there is something about the rumble of those motors and the roar of the engines as they race up the hill.....I also really enjoy the rallying stages! It was great seeing Sebastian Loeb throw his car around the forest rally stage.

Josh loved being up close to all the super cars he has seen on Top Gear - Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Scuderia, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini Murcielago, Lotus Evora, Maserati Granturismo, SLR Mclaren, Pagani Zonda just to name a few!

Rebecca even found something she liked - Ferrari California (she thought it would be a good present for her 17th birthday....dreams are free!)

Lionel enjoyed seeing some of the current Formula 1 cars including the McLaren-Mercedes which is driven by Lewis Hamilton and the Brawn-Mercedes driven by Jenson Button. Unfortunately we didn't get to see these two drive as they were only driving on the Sunday.

We had a great Saturday out at the Festival of Speed with our friends, Trevor & Monica, and two of their four children.
I am sure if you want more detail Lionel & Josh would be only too happy to send you an email :)