February – still in England

February followed much the same pattern as January, with babysitting, medical appointments, and a six-day trip away from Wycombe.  But in addition, there was house hunting, and (for Ian) some paid work.

Following his angiogram, Ian suffered from internal bleeding, and walking at first was slow and painful.  He had various follow-up appointments which have only just come to an end.  He is now feeling much better, although he still gets angina attacks at random intervals.  Our travel insurance company flatly refused to cover him further, but luckily he found another one willing to do so (for a price).

Claire did another trip in the middle of February, so we looked after the children, and we are doing so again, while she is in Singapore for the last time.  (From April Qantas is joining with Emirates, so she will be flying to Dubai instead.)

Feeding the ducks on the pond at Penn

Feeding the ducks on the pond at Penn

Charlie and Oscar at Gymboree

Charlie and Oscar at Gymboree

Ian had an appointment gap between Feb 20 and 27, so all of us (Ian and Sandie, Claire and the boys) went to Sheringham.  We stayed in a house owned by Joanne (Sandie’s cousin’s daughter) and had a good time despite freezing weather, visiting friends and exploring the charity shops of Norfolk.

In the playroom at Sheringham

In the playroom at Sheringham

Exploring Norfolk by steam train

Exploring Norfolk by steam train

Studying the North Sea from the 'Funky Mackerel' cafe

Studying the North Sea from the ‘Funky Mackerel’ cafe

By early February it had become obvious that we would not be able to get comprehensive health insurance in the US, and therefore our long-time plan to obtain an EB5 visa (and then live permanently in our house in Florida) had to be abandoned.  The alternative was to buy a property in the UK as a base for future travels and/or winters in Florida.  Although there was no hurry, we decided to start looking around.

We saw several houses and flats, and spent a lot of time debating what we really wanted.  In the end, we decided that a flat would suit us best at this time.  We saw one we really liked, and made an offer which has been accepted, so if all goes well it should be ours in the not too distant future!

On Feb 14 we went up to London for a meeting with James Tooley at the Athenaeum, followed by a theatre matinée (we saw the play ‘Our country’s good’ at the new St James Theatre).  James asked Ian to analyse some data about school choice in Nigeria, and this occupied him of part of the time we were in Sheringham.

In the Athenaeum Club

In the Athenaeum Club

An ice chair in London on Valentine's Day

An ice chair in London on Valentine’s Day

We had another trip to London on March 2.  We’d been invited to a party – our friend Margaret was celebrating her 70th birthday with a lunch at Fulwell Golf Club, near Twickenham.  We decide to combine this with two other things, so we got an early train to London, and went shopping for maps in Stanfords, the travel bookshop.  Then it was a train to Fulwell for the party, back to London, and a theatre visit in the evening: this time we saw ‘The tailor-made man’ at the Arts.

Sandie's new hairstyle for the party

Sandie’s new hairstyle

The birthday girl cuts her cake

The birthday girl cuts her cake

It is now over two months since we returned from SE Asia, and we have been in England much longer than expected.  But now Ian has the go-ahead for further travel, we are setting off on Wednesday (March 6) for a month in South Africa.  We are looking forward to some sunshine!

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