Following the disastrous journey home in July (due to floods) we had determined that I would in future travel home only once a month. In August, Annette & Ben travelled over to visit me for a week, so September was only my second trip home.
I left work early on Thursday evening and went straight to the airport. The flight was more or less on time and very smooth. We arrived in UK around 18:25, so a bit too late for me to catch the 18:45 National Express coach to Reading. Unfortunately there is no 19:45 one, so I had a long wait for the 20:45 one, which arrived in Calcot at 21:50. Annette and Ben were there to meet me in the car park at Sainsburys.
On Friday, I spent most of the day getting Dad’s new computer ready for him. I was able to copy the old hard drive to the new one using Ranish partition manager, but still had to do a Repair install of XP and install new drivers for network card, sound etc. It was still much quicker and easier than a full reinstall. On Friday evening, we took Mum and Dad out to the Tilehurst Harvester for Mum’s birthday. Then we watched “Shaggy Dog” on DVD.
Saturday was Clive Jones’s wedding, so after walking Buddy up to Lorraine’s we set off for Southampton. The roads were pretty busy due to the Southampton boat show and a home match for Southampton FC. We managed to park in the Marlands carpark and got a coffee and some snacks in the shopping centre before heading for ABC.
The wedding was great. John Risbridger took the service and Andrew Page preached. It was funny to see lots of familiar faces – some looking a lot older. It is about 13 or 14 years since I was last regularly in ABC. They had cakes and drinks in the 3rd floor hall and then we headed up to the staff club at the university for the reception followed by a barn dance.
We sat with Ian, Jo, Haddon, Sam and Ellie McDonald and Neil and Sadie Herring. It was nice to catch up with these folk. The meal was nice and the speeches not too long! Ian Jones was best man and did really well. The caller for the barn dance was Ian Puffett, who recognised me and couldn’t work out where he knew me from! It has been a long time! We left about 9:30, so a very late night for Ben.
Sunday we went to church in the morning. Lots of people wanted to catch up with me. Service was led by Rhod and the preacher was Steve Bishop. After the service Ben and I went to McDonalds for a big mac each. Annette had a voucher to buy one get one free. Then we went to the Lookout Discovery centre, while Annette went to collect Buddy. We had a nice time in the centre, followed by a walk and a play in the woods. In the evening we watched Ben’s Westbrook DVD and Lemony Snicketts Series of Unfortunate Events. I popped Buddy out for a brief walk.
On Monday, I took Ben to school and walked Buddy on the fields. Then I packed and went to Mum and Dad’s for a chat. Annette and I went to Englefield tea rooms for lunch (took forever!) and then after school, Annette and Ben delivered me back to Heathrow. The airport was SO quiet compared to last time, and I flew through checkin and security, leaving myself plenty of time for the flight at 6:55. When I got on the plane I had my guitar and was wearing a leather jacket. They kindly asked if I would like to put the guitar in the first class wardrobe. One of the stewards asked if I was going to be playing in Zurich later that night! We took off about 10 minutes late and the flight was pleasant and uneventful. Arrived in Zurich about 9:30. Had to wait a bit for the train from HB to Binz, but got back to the apartment before 11.