Tuesday afternoon we took off from Tampa on time. Hurrah! But when we landed in Chicago the gate wasn’t ready to receive us so we sat on the tarmac for 15 minutes. Damn….timing was very tight….we had less than 40 minutes before our next flight took off now. So – just like last year – we ran through Chicago airport. We arrived at the gate only to find that the next flight had been delayed, but they didn’t know for sure when it would be going so it was not recommended to leave the gate. So we made do with a sandwich while waiting in the queue. Finally we boarded the next flight and we were off – very smart small plane for American Eagle with all leather seating and very spacious legroom.
We arrived into Toronto to face a huge immigration queue as a large Asian international flight had arrived just in front of us. Eventually we were in front of the immigration officer and were cleared through very efficiently. The advantage of the queue was that our bags were waiting for us – so quickly through customs and to our reunion. It was quite emotional as we hadn’t seen the Campbells for three years.
We arrived at their beautiful home, quickly got ourselves settled in, and headed out to the deck for a few drinks and nibbles. The deck was being constructed by Sam last time I was there – and it is pretty much finished now – and beautifully furnished. Very impressive! Well….the time went quickly with much catching up and laughter…and suddenly it was 2am and we called it a night.
Wednesday morning and we awoke to rain…. Oh well – never mind. We went out shopping for some supplies and then returned to a lazy afternoon and evening. Oh yes and Jayne cooked an amazing roast dinner for us – including Yorkshire puddings – as Richard had mentioned that this was the one thing that he missed from home. Yummmm…. We ended up having an early night as doing nothing had made us pretty tired!
Thursday morning and it was a nicer day. So Sam opened the pool for us and, after a leisurely morning, we had a bobbing session. The gardens to the house are fantastic and all landscaping and building has been done by Sam on his own – there are still works in progress but OMG what an amazing job he has done…. Absolutely spectacular! We had another evening on the deck with Sam working the grill – lovely day.
Friday morning and it was a bit cloudy and grey again. So we went out shopping in Jayne’s new car to the local mall admiring the quiet roads, lovely scenery and old buildings on the way. We brought a few things – and Richard enjoyed trying on some Canadian hats LOL.
On the way back to the house we stopped in the British shop – a regular haunt for Jayne trying to supplement her Canadian shopping – and we gorged out on Topic bars and Hula Hoops… Funny how we manage without them when away but can’t resist them when put in front of us!
In the evening a couple of Jayne and Sam’s friends came over for dinner and we had a lovely evening. They also emigrated to Canada from the UK a few years ago so it was interesting to hear how they had settled in. Obviously we ended up with another late night.
Saturday and we awoke to another stormy day. So we had a lazy one before going out in the evening to the Mohawk race track. This is horse racing with small traps – and the set up is very much like that at home at the dogs (greyhound racing track for my international readers) although on a much larger / grander scale.
Was very exciting – we won a few bets and lost a few bets – the all-you-can-eat Italian buffet was pretty good and we appreciated the TV monitor on our table as the windows steamed up when the heavens opened for yet another thunderstorm. Although was a bit strange to hear shouts and cheering as the Toronto Blue Jays were playing baseball that evening too – some of the tables even had their TVs tuned to that rather than the horses. Why not go to the game instead?!? Was a great evening – thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sunday morning we went further afield to a very large mall. Wandered the shops and got a new rucksack and some luggage straps – to replace those “lost” in the TSA inspection process – and then had a lovely lunch out at an Irish pub after admiring the cars in the car park! Great grub….
Back at the house we had another bobbing session in the pool. Lovely way to cool off…. We then followed that by a lazy evening watching a movie. The season caught up with us and we were pretty snoozy pretty early!
Monday morning we were up early and headed off to Niagara. Richard had not visited before so he was pretty excited and loved the drive down there. The roads are pretty quiet and deserted until you get to the main freeways and then you see the fancy trucks– and driving across bridges and alongside huge lakes with lock systems – it was pretty scenic.
Arriving into Niagara and we were impressed by the high-rise hotels and the manicured gardens.
We wandered over to see the Horseshoe Falls first and the mist was so high it was tough to see at times – and, of course, sods law means that this was a scorching hot and sunny day. We thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Canadian falls and the US falls on the other side of the river – and the bridge which joins the two countries together.
The sight of the boats steaming into the falls full of red or blue tourists is a sight to behold. The Maid of the Mist is now operated on the ‘blue’ US side – with the new boat the Hornblower operating from the ‘red’ Canada side. We were chatting on the rail and were given four free tickets for the boat by a Korean family. They had purchased a package and couldn’t use these before they left the area – and they didn’t want any money for them either. I was sceptical that they would be invalid as we obviously couldn’t provide ID in the correct surname – but we went to the booth and they were valid so we only had to purchase one additional ticket. Fantastic result! What kind people…..
So we queued with our fellow ‘red’ people for the Hornblower and tried to get close to the front.
Richard was very excited as he had never done this before. As typical boaters we did end up debating the size of the boat’s engines and the speed of the current LOL. Thoroughly enjoyed getting soaked and getting up close and personal with the falls – what an amazing experience!
We then walked into town and had lunch at the Hard Rock café. We were planning to go out to dinner later so we all shared meals…. which was just as well, because the portions were huge! We enjoyed looking at the memorabilia too…
Heading back to the falls we were going to do the tour ‘behind the falls’ but, unfortunately, they couldn’t offer us any tickets for at least two hours – and we didn’t want to hang around that long. So we headed off but not before we had had some fun in the gift shop, where I was puzzled and fascinated by some traditionally-dressed Amish people purchasing some tourist tat. Wouldn’t have thought that was their thing!
Heading off we then went to Niagara on the Lake admiring the beautiful lakeside homes along the way – could fancy one of those that’s for sure! The town is very picturesque and quaint and we enjoyed wandering around – followed by a drink in one of the hostelries…. Very nice too!
We headed back towards the Campbell’s home town and decided to continue straight on to the Chinese restaurant where we had reservations. This is a huge place split between many small dining rooms so it doesn’t actually look so big once inside.
Richard liked the koi carp and I liked the giant panda climbing the greenery LOL.
Once seated it is an all-you-can=eat buffet so we all went up and back as many times as we liked….and were entertained by a diver feeding the fish inside the massive aquarium along one wall. Really nice evening and fantastic food….
Back home we didn’t stay up long before heading upstairs to bed.
Tuesday morning and it is our last day. We were hoping for a pool day but, unfortunately, the weather decided not to co-operate. And the cable tv fell over. So we watched movies, munched chocolate, ate English crisps and generally chatted and chilled. Oh yes and I helped Sam cut the grass – well, actually, I was pretty useless but I loved driving the tractor!
Then all too soon we were off to the airport and it was time for a very emotional teary farewell – can’t believe the week went that quick. On the plane to London and had our usual ‘chicken or pasta’ dinner before trying to get some sleep.
Wednesday morning we arrived into London, picked up our waiting taxi and caught up with all the gossip on the way home, and then we were indoors and working our way through the mountain of post.
Wow what a trip! Nine months at sea…..and now back into our non-cruising life….all seems a bit surreal. Wednesday night we went out to visit friends and thank them for looking after things for us – as usual the house was beautifully clean and the garden was very tidy. So grateful to them for their help and support.
Thursday and Richard went back to work on a short-term contract! Leaving me with the unpacking, the washing and the sorting….. He came home eventually to his dinner on the table and the scene is set for my domestic goddess duties!
Friday and another day of getting on with jobs while Richard was at work… In the evening we went to our local community centre to watch a couple of live bands – 60s style. The first band was the 60s Project who were pretty good – although I did have to try not to laugh at the faces made by the drummer when he was playing!
Then The Rapiers came on – they were a backing band from the 60s and had two original members – think The Shadows and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. Fantastic night!
Saturday morning and it’s time for shopping…..and in the afternoon we picked up Mum for the weekend. We had a lovely Indian curry on Saturday night followed by wine in the garden and enjoyed the balmy heat – yes, really, it is hot and humid here in London right now.
Sunday – today – and Richard has done some DIY jobs in the garden while mum and I have prepared the veg for our traditional roast beef dinner later today. Now I’m on the sofa blogging…… Not planning to blog while back in the UK but will do a final round-up for this year’s season soon.
Bye for now