DATE: 1994

PLACE: Lower Hutt



It started like this: a neice, Kirsten, who lived with us for sometime while attending University, was in Northern Ireland. She was living and working in a 'cross-cultural' community in Antrim. She had however, been able to see something of the country, and had been in touch about the family history, and had made contact with relatives in Connemara.

And then she wrote to us that she was getting married to a local lad in August, 1995. So far, so un-surprising.

What we hadn't banked on was that she would issue a heartfelt plea for us to be at the wedding. She was after all, a long way from home, and while her own immediate family would be there, she also wanted very much for her 'special aunt' to be with her.

That put us in something of a quandry. After all, we worked and had three young children, and to get to Ireland would be a sizable and costly undertaking.

After a lot of thinking and calculating, we decided that, if we were going to do it, we should do it 'properly'. That is, we should take the girls, and make it a worthwhile trip by extending both the time and the places.

Oh, and get ourselves even more heavily in debt in the process!

So that forced us into a huge amount of planning - dates, places, priorities, bookings, costs.

I was going to take a mix of accummulated annual leave and leave without pay. Desiree was taking leave without pay. And we would be away a full school Term - 10 weeks in total.

So the plan eveolved into this:

Fly to LA, and spend a couple of days to 'do' Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Then to London for a few days and stay with a brother-in-law.

From there to Italy, and spend a few days in Rome, a visit to Pompeii, and then three days in each of Florence and Venice.

That would be followed by a drive through the Alps to find friends on a canal boat in eastern France and spend a week 'cruising'.

A fleeting visit to Switzerland, and a drive across France would allow us to spend a few days in Paris, from which we would fly back to London, Bryce, and then Reading to stay with the Daltons.

Drive north through the Lakes District to Scotland, to be based more or less in the center for the better part of a week.

Thence to Northern Ireland for some family history (both Desiree's and mine) visits before heading to the coast for the wedding.

After the wedding we would drive south to Connemara, and spend a week there, in company with Kirsten and Adrian, and the rest of Kirsten's family.

That would leave a return to the UK (Reading) then fly to San Francisco (rather than LA) for a couple of days.

The final leg saw us drive down the coast over two days to LA to get our flight back to NZ, home, and the cats.

That was the plan. And, guess what? It went largely as planned!





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