The year 2002

2002 started for Jean and me in a self catering unit on a remote farm North of Queenstown, New Zealand South Island - in the pouring rain, the main feature of the next few days. However, when we reached Marlborough the weather (and the wine) improved. The holiday continued touring North Island and then home via a morning in Melbourne, Australia and a few days in Singapore. Pictures from the holiday can be found here. It was nice of BA to upgrade us to first class on the trip back to Heathrow, but we still don't know why!

Back in England I continued to move into the house in Monument Street. Also at work at LINX I finally managed to complete the last details of moving into the new London office. So now work time is split between Peterborough and London - with generous amounts of time courtesy of GNER. It's very convenient living just a few minutes walk from work, central Peterborough and the station, so much so that the car hardly gets to go out these days.

In the spring we spent a week in a flat above Hanbury Hall, a National Trust house just by Tardebigge flight on the Worcester and Birmingham canal. It was interesting to be living (even for just a week) in a really grand house, with all the formal gardens and parkland pretty much to ourselves. In the summer we took a narrow boat along the Thames from Limehouse to Brentford and then back up the Lee Valley almost to Bishops Stortford. We were all surprised at how rural the Lee & Stort was, given its path through East London to Harlow. It was also amusing when a police launch swung alongside on the Thames asking us to speed up as they wanted to close the river for a race. We were going at the boat's full speed of 4+ mph!

It has also been the year of 50th birthdays. Jean celebrated hers with an unexpected trip on the London Eye - we took a private capsule joined by a number of friends at the surprise event, following up with a picnic in Battersea Park.

In September we'd been planning a week on a boat near Bordeaux, only to have the trip cancelled by the tour operator about a month in advance. The reason for the cancellation was apparently that the French had withdrawn the (British) boat's operating licence. Instead, we almost went to Greece, but in the end went for almost a week to Cornwall - a cottage overlooking Trevaunance Cove near St Agnes. Great weather (mostly) and the view was just like in the brochure. The cottage was very reasonably priced, costing about the same for the week as our lunch cost at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, just up the coast. Though it was a pity to end the trip by discovering my power had failed at home early in the week, so I returned to a freezer full of rotting food!

Jean retaliated in December with a surprise fireworks party in Surrey and a dinner in Cambridgeshire for my 50th, the week before and the night before my Champagne tea party. Which just about brings the year to a close - spending the holiday at home this year.