After writing our last blog, we had five more days at Disneyworld, followed by three days in Sarasota. We are now back in High Wycombe!
On Thursday 9th April we went to Typhoon Lagoon, the water park we last visited when Claire as five! The weather was beautifully hot and sunny, but as a result the park was crowded, and we had a great problem finding seats. The boys enjoyed playing in an area designed especially for small children. Having missed out on Blizzard Beach the previous week, Sandie sampled the Lazy River and also the wave machine. There was a near disaster when a giant wave swept her off her feet and knocked off her glasses. There was no way she could have found them, and she was wondering how she could find her way back to the rest of the family. She asked the nearest man for help, and to her immense relief he managed to locate her specs quite quickly.
Our remaining Disney days were spent revisiting the other parks for the third or even fourth time. There were rides and shows we hadn’t had time for previously, as well as favourites we were keen to experience again. One evening we stayed late enough in the Magic Kingdom to see the Main Street Electrical Parade – little changed since our first visit to Disneyland in 1976, but still a great show. It was good that we’d chosen to do it that night, because on our final visit to the Magic Kingdom (Saturday 11th) there was a heavy thunderstorm in the evening. Fortunately by then we’d seen all of the outdoor shows and parades, so we were happy to eat indoors and then go to see the ‘Laugh Floor’, a very entertaining show based on Monsters Inc. characters. During the show, a spotlight is turned on members of the audience, who appear on giant screens. This time, we featured, and the characters on stage made up a ‘High Wycombe National Anthem’ in our honour.
Back to Sarasota
On Sunday 12th April, we left our villa, spent a final few hours at Hollywood Studios, and then drove to Tampa airport, where we dropped Claire and the boys. Their flight was advertised as on time when we left them, but later we heard that it was delayed. There were concerns about whether they would make their connection in New York, but fortunately the London-bound plane waited for them.
We drove back to Jane’s house, where we stayed for three more nights. On the way we detoured to collect the keys to our condo, as our purchase had ‘closed’ while we were away. The next morning we went round to the condo, to await the delivery of furniture we’d bought before going to Disney. It all arrived as scheduled – the only problem was that the delivery men could not get the box spring (divan base) up our stairs! There is a turn in the stairs; the mattress would bend, but the box spring would not. The men had to take it back, and we now await one that comes in two parts.
Over the next two days we shipped stuff we’d already bought from Jane’s house round to the condo. And we did a lot of shopping. It’s amazing how many things you need when you are equipping a place from scratch!
On our last night in Sarasota we met up with Jane and Phil. Tuesday 14th April was Sandie’s birthday, and the following day was Jane’s. So we had a double celebration, dinner at the Crab and Fin restaurant on St Armand’s Circle. We sat outside, and had a great time eating, drinking and chatting in the warm Florida evening.
Back to High Wycombe
We left Sarasota late on Wednesday, and flew overnight direct to Gatwick, where Claire and Oscar met us. It was nice to be back in our flat for the first time since we set off for St Lucia on January 8th, though it was sometimes difficult remembering where everything was!
Friday 17th April was Charlie’s birthday – hard to believe that he is now six. Maggi arrived that afternoon, and we all went to the Pizza Hut (Charlie’s choice) for a family birthday dinner. We had three birthdays to celebrate: Charlie’s, Sandie’s and Maggi’s, all within the past week
Charlie’s birthday celebrations continued through the weekend, as his party was not until Sunday. On the intervening Saturday he and Oscar were taken to Chessington World of Adventures by their babysitter Laura and her friend Amy. This enabled Claire to join us and Maggi on a day trip to Scotland for Aunt Margie’s funeral. It was a long day, involving a very early start, a flight to Edinburgh and a drive across to Glasgow (there were no direct flights at convenient times).
It was a beautiful day, and the crematorium was in a lovely setting. After a short but moving service, we adjourned to the Pond Hotel – where we have stayed several times, and had lunch with Aunt Margie – for refreshments. Other relatives and friends left soon after 3, and we had time to kill before catching our plane home. So we drove up to Loch Lomond Shores, for a brief visit to one of Aunt Margie’s favourite haunts.
Funerals are inevitably sad occasions, but it was great to meet relatives that we hadn’t seen for many years, to revive happy memories and to celebrate Aunt Margie’s long life.