Today we began the long journey ‘home’ to Aotearoa. Of course, we have two home countries now. The UK and New Zealand. Only one ‘home’ though, and that’s NB Areandare. Fortunately, we have family in Gisborne, where we’ll be staying for a few weeks if we do make it that far. After that – well it depends on a variety of factors. However, we’ll be in New Zealand until sometime next year, depending upon the situation in the UK.
Haere Ra (Farewell) Areandare
Barry gave Kim another lesson in driving the boat this morning, as we moved mooring positions. She did incredibly well. Barry will be bereft not to be on the canals and rivers for a while, but he’s looking forward to seeing his adult children and other family and many friends.
We’re confident we’re leaving Areandare in safe hands – both Kim’s and the folks at Debdale Wharf Marina who’ve been incredibly helpful.
Today was the wettest day we’ve experienced for many weeks. Maybe Ranginui, the sky father, was crying that we’re leaving these shores? Or maybe he was showering us with blessings that we’re on our way back to the land of the long white cloud.
Premier Inn Heathrow
The lovely Andy, who our new friend Johan introduced us to on Sunday, collected us and our carefully packed luggage at just before 1 pm today. The drive to Heathrow Terminal Five Premier Inn in his Mercedes was smooth and delightful. So much less stressful than a taxi to the train station, then two trains, plus probably a bus. I haven’t ventured onto a train since returning from Barbados in mid-March.
Traffic on the M1 wasn’t as bad as it used to be, but it was still weird to be amongst so many vehicles hurtling along at speed. We arrived in just over two hours, checked we’d got the correct hotel, paid our bill, and checked-in. Masks are requested to be worn by guests, though strangely none of the staff wear them.
The room is clean and fairly roomy, and there’s a bath! Yay! I shall luxuriate in that later. No restaurant is available to sit in, all food and drinks are takeaways. Though there’s a ‘Costa’ downstairs that I think you can drink in. But we decided we’d get into practice for the managed isolation experience.
We’re hoping the view from the window in NZ is much better than the one we have here of the other side of the hotel!
Tomorrow morning at 9.30 am we’ll be picked up by another taxi, and taken to Terminal 2 Heathrow, where if all goes smoothly, we’ll be boarding a Cathay Pacific flight at lunchtime. The first leg takes 11 hours and 45 minutes. It’s going to be a very interesting experience flying long haul during this crazy time. Transiting for ten and a half hours in Hong Kong airport will also be weird. When we booked our flights last autumn, the plan was to take a train and look around Hong Kong for the day. Now we may only see the inside of the Gate … We shall see …