England - Round The World Tour 2 2003 Day 154

Leigh-on-Sea

Wednesday 13th August

Today we ticked off another castle, this time Kenilworth castle. We are now starting to become very familiar with the layout of ancient castles as well as a feel for English history. Ironic since history was one of my most loathed subjects at school – along with geography!

After Kenilworth, we stopped in to visit Auntie Tiny, Uncle Harold and Joan. Even though I’ve not seen them for well over ten years, they haven’t aged a day in my eyes. We stayed at Joan’s house overnight after enjoying one of Aunty Tiny’s fabulous home cooked meals.

When we bought the camper-van, the LPG tank was full but we’ve been using the on-board gas for a couple of weeks now and we’re not entirely sure how much is left and there is no gauge to give us any indication. It looked like the gas from the cooker was starting to turn slightly red at the ends of the flame and we’re not sure if this is an indication of dropping pressure. Not all filling stations sell LPG in England but there are enough around and so we tried several times, unsuccessfully, to fill up. The problem is that we do not have the right fitting. If we were in Holland, this would not be a problem as there is always a nozzle adapter on hand but not so here in the UK. After trying several filling stations, it was starting to look like we would not be able to top up at all but fortunately we were ultimately able to find an LPG conversion company in Coventry that sold the nozzle adapters. At a whopping £25 it was not cheap but necessary nevertheless. I fitted the nozzle and topped up the tank. I managed to squeeze just fifteen extra litres into the sixty-litre tank so obviously the now full tank should see us quite a way into the future.

Having bid our farewells to our family members in Coventry, we set off again to our final historic location before turning back South towards Leigh-on-Sea. Warwick castle is one of the largest and most intact castles in England and certainly the most visited. We spend the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon wandering around the castle grounds in the company of several hundred other tourists. Although it was one of the most impressive castles we’ve visited, the hordes of tourists made for a very commercial atmosphere and we enjoyed it less as a result.

Back home, then, to our cupboard under the stairs at No. 96. We stopped off on the way there to visit Richard just briefly but we were ultimately glad to be ‘home’ at Jacqueline’s house. We really and truly don’t have a home right now and Jacqueline’s house is the closest thing at the moment. One of the reasons for turning back home so soon during our UK sojourn was that Ree-Ree from Australia was visiting with Shalina in tow. I haven’t seen Ree-Ree (Marie) for over fifteen years even though she has visited the UK several times in recent years. We always seem to just miss her whenever she visits and we were determined to catch her this time.

After the euphoria of seeing Ree-Ree and Shalina (for the very first time) died down, we unpacked several packages that had recently arrived from Zimbabwe. I’m not sure which gave me the most thrills, seeing Ree-Ree and Shalina or unpacking the packages. With the exception of a couple of items that didn’t survive the three-month journey through the surface postal system, everything arrived in good order. Seeing everything unpacked in the middle of Jacqueline’s living room floor brought home the realisation of just how much stuff we’d purchased whilst in Africa. We will need a pretty big house to display everything and we’ve only made it part was around the world so far.

We spent the next week at Jacqueline’s enjoying Ree-Ree’s company and spending some quality time with various siblings, Nephews and Nieces. Since I’m writing this a full week after the event (playing catch-up with my daily journal entries) I can’t remember everything we did but suffice it to say that we crammed a lot into a very hectic few days and are once again glad to be on the road again.

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