England USA

Prague to London to New York

We are on our way now. Backpackers for 7 months. Yup, very light packers. Well, I thought we would be. Actually we are only taking a few clothes. It is just all the other stuff – beddding for 5, a kitchen (stove, pots, bowls, cups and utensils), office, laundry (brush and tube of soap), toilet (shovel) and school. Lots to bring. So, actually not such light packers.

First flew from Prague to East Midlands Airport.

Jen picked us up from the airport and brought us to her house for a sleep. We also got a chance to rethink the backpack situation. Quite early I realized that TJs bag is too bulky. I think she can carry the weight but the size scares her. So, I put all her clothes into the stuff sack and she says it is much lighter. Andrew is carrying her sleeping bag and school notebooks. Abi is carrying her sleeping pad along with the laundry. Hannah is carrying all her own stuff except her sleeping pad (I get to carry that). As we were going through Prague I noticed that Hannah’s sleeping bag on top was too far forward at her neck and have made some adjustments. I also carry part of the kitchen and one laptop. Andrew also carries his laptop, the kitchen pots.

In the midst of the repacking and after a great night’s sleep we have enjoyed good english hospitality from Jen and Fran. All the kids british food desires are being catered to.
Fish and Chips, baked beans, Chicken Korma, Apple Crumble and Custard. Yummmmm.

Slept in the Sheffield bus station in order to catch our £3 bus to London/Victoria.

Notice how we are down to only essentials now. : )
Helped Shannon clean up a bit after her big Sweet Notions Grand Party.

Andrew escorted some “friends” from the party home in a taxi.

Spent day and evening with friends from 3 continents before spending the night and making our early morning start to Heathrow and here we are in the good ‘ol USA. It is always great to hear at least one “welcome home” from the officials at the airport.

We are now staying with our old friends from when me and Andrew were dating!  Yeah! REALLY old friends. Mauricio and Shauna LaBorde and their boys.

We are looking at old photos of all the kids together when they were really cute and little. Learning alot about football (soccer). Dressing like football stars and having a great, albeit silly, time.

Oh yeah, and we think we found a van to drive around the states. In about an hour we leave to go and look at it and maybe drive it back. Let you know later on.

Morocco mum's rants

Our incredibly shrinking family…or is it

So, lost another post to the trials of Ecto. You see I have sort of a love hate relationship with Ecto. Anyway, not much lost just my moaning mum stuff as 2 of my kids fly the nest in the same week.

The night before the flight to London the nearby river overflowed and took the path of least resistance down the road in front of the mechanics. In the middle of the night people were climbing over the wall and tow ropes were hauling cars in from the road as the river took over. In the morning what was left was some destroyed fish carts littering the street and sludge everywhere. We put on our welly boots, Sam took our boots back in a bucket as we jumped in our… taxi.

Lizzy is taking off to Texas to hang with Jessica, our amazing, wonderful Woman friend (notice the capital “W” for woman which I reserve for only my favourite women in the world) who we love.


This is a photo of our first leg of the journey. Lizzy’s first hitchhiking experience. Actually we were waiting for a taxi to the airport and some of our friends saw us and gave us a ride in their big blue horsebox.
The rest of her trip was a bit more normal with planes and trains. Well, maybe not that orthodox as we flew ryan air to London. Every time we fly ryan air we say NEVER AGAIN but we always get drawn in by the illusion of cheap prices. We did get free entertainment on the plane this time. With a handful of drunks, an angry primadonna with a huge carryon and a man with a lost boarding card.

Sam, Donald and Alana took off for Scotland. The only drama we heard this time came from Alana. Dear Alana, Andrew drilled and drilled them in the taxi on the way but her carefree attitude, optimism and lack of extensive funds were no match for the near impossible border control in london and she was denied entry. She is now in a detainment centre in London – Ramada with bars – waiting for the next flight to Morocco in 2 days. Not sure if she will continue on with us or what. So, this time our clan got to provide the drama. Ahhh life.

Miracle of miracles Sam and Donald got in. I guess they had to let Donald in because he holds a british passport. Samuel, however, well, he did try. He put on all clean, all black, clothes that promptly got really dirty as we are presently living in a mechanics backyard. You see, miracles do happen in the modern day.

I AM feeling much better. Glad you missed my empty nest moan and groan. It was very sad and I am sure would have brought you all to tears.

Now we are all thinking, North or South. Do we continue south towards the Sahara or do we high tail it North. Hmmmmm, you know we do have sandmats proudly displayed at the back of our truck. We also have a large group of new friends gathering in Sidilfni preparing for Mauritania and beyond. There are visas to get and a carnet to figure out if we go further south.

The Mauritania visa is near impossible to get in U.K. Once you go to the Mauritanian Embassy, London website that has no clue to the Embassy’s closure until you take the long trek and knock on the stranger’s door where the embassy is supposed to be. If you probe deeper online they say to go to the French embassy where they say send in lots of paper and wait 4 months and they might say yes. Seems the thing to do is go to Rabat, Morocco and you get it in 5 hours. You know, you try to set things in order before you get on the road but I think it takes a leap of faith. Jump on out there and the answers come along the way. Oh no, there I go again with one of my rants. STOP ME PLEASE!

You know alot adds up if I havent blogged for a while.

Enough for today.


Getting ready to leave “the Farm”

As we are getting ready to leave John and Sues farm we look back on the unexpected, amazing times of the last week. We had use of an amazing barn the whole week. FULL of sofas and overstuffed chairs. an oven and lots of dishes for lots of people.


Some of the young ladies that came to this nite said it was the best nite EVER for them


Food, food and food. That is what happens when everyone contributes to a feast.


John and Sue provided fresh fruit and ice cream. mmmmmm. the kids were at the front of the line.


Got some great photos of Greg. But not one of them with hands that were not moving around adding emphasis to really exciting things. pettam.jpg

Beautiful Tamsin. Our long time friend. Wow has it really been 9 years since our families first met.


Sue and Ian. New friends.


Lots of room in the barn for playing organizing games.


Lots of floorspace to get a whole team working on paperwork. Look at our bookeeping team at work. Abi working on an XL document, TJ setting up the scanner and Hannah converting Euros, GBP and CZK into USD.


I am not sure what actually happened here. I think the group of Jones and Carters kids drew the story of their friendship on Liz’s arms.pethand.jpg

and hand.


Andrew had some brief moments off the computer to just sit around and look Cool.


And sometimes….. uuuuh….. not quite so cool. He is making an attempt to look like a rapper here.


Boys are Back

Sam and Donald came back, left for Edinburgh and came back again. They have just spent 24 days walking 500 km across the top of Spain on the “Camino de Santiago”. They have promised to put up some photos here of their adventures. Here they are in the barn in Petworth. Andrew is very happy. There is now a strong male contingent to make a definate stance away from the predominantly female element on important decisions of music, movies and activities.


Yes, grandparents, all of you, we hear you. His hair is rather long. Sam and Donald and some of their friends from Orkney are involved in a challenge. If you cut your hair before the others you must fork out the astronomical sum of 10 pounds. If you are the last to cut your hair you stand to gain the mind boggling amount of 100 pounds.

Nice view hey.

England Food

Back in Britain

We decided to hang out in Britain for a while.

Andy and T let us stay at their place and made us “Andy’s Puddle Pudding” and showed us how to make it.


We found a great campground outside of Walton on the Thames. It is a membership only site for the “Camping and Caravanning Club”. Good thing we are members. We payed only GBP 12 a nite for the whole family. Plus a couple of extra pounds for electricity. They have electricity, WIFI, re-creation room, water and disposal of unwanted things. No toilets, no showers. Sam says, “now this place has its priorities straight.

The girls brought my camera out one evening to get pictures of a huge flock of parrots that came to visit the campground every night in the hundreds.lonparrots.jpg

The girls took the opportunity to take lots of silly pictures of themselves.


more silly pictures.


now they are animals


They remembered why they went out with the camera and took a few last photos as they took off for the night.




We just finished our 3rd festival of the summer. Greenbelt. We celebrated Abi’s birthday with lots of bubbles. Perfect for Abi. We just happened to have a polish bubble inventor with us (I am serious) Patricia (the bubologist) can be seen in the first picture on the right, with the pixie hat, and behind Abi’s bubble with the black trousers in the second photo. gbbubblekids.jpg


Does that girl ever stop playing the sax.

Andrew and Paul cooking for….


TJ and Finn find the best place to eat.