Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sienna Travels : Part 2 - Norwich & Impressions of the UK

Having been away from the UK (barring visits) for nearly five years, there are many things which make quite a distinct impression on us when we return. It's odd to think of us making observations on the country that we're from, and it's usually the little every day things that stick out the most.

For example, the drivers... UK drivers are much better educated on stopping distances than Australians! We also love the  'no undertaking' rule on UK roads, and the general courtesy (especially thank you waves) shown by Brits on the Road.

Supermarkets were also a hot topic during our trip. Oh my goodness, if there was ever a reason to return to living in the UK (besides family and friends of course), it has to be Waitrose. What a DELIGHT! It is not just the lower prices that pleased us (we accept that food prices, in fact most prices, are higher in Australia), but the product range too. It was a real treat to browse the aisles and enjoy some old favourites as well as new yummy treats.

Enough observations, back to the real stories... and it's off to Norwich, home of the Lister family.

In my previous blog post I talked of 63 people that we met on our trip, well in Norwich we saw 16 of them... in order of appearance: Granny and Bubba, Great Grandma Florence and Great Great Aunt Marian, Auntie Anna plus family (Uncle Kev and cousins Millie, Rosie and Jamie), Auntie Claire plus family (Uncle Steve and cousins Charlie, Emily and Ellie), Great Aunt Anne and Auntie Em!

It was a better than expected road trip from Poole to Norwich, all thanks to Sienna for sleeping, to Tom for great driving, and to South Mimms services for the Burger King. (Incidentally, since when do Burger King serve FAT chips instead of fries? This was disappointing to me!)

After our arrival with Granny and Bubba, and baby cuddles for all, it was straight off to see the oldest members of the family - Sienna's Great Grandma Florence is 99 years old, and her Great Great Aunt Marian just a couple of years younger. They are both doing so well and it was very momentous for Sienna to meet them both.

Sienna meets Florence, between them they are 100 years old!

Four generations of Listers - Florence, Peter, Tom, Sienna

Sienna enjoying her first visit with Great Great Aunt Marian

The next day was a big family gathering, as Anna's family travelled from Cheshire and Anne travelled from Billericay to join together for the day. We celebrated Ellie's 6th birthday, and she didn't seem to mind that most of the attention was on her younger cousin. I was amazed that every single one of the cousins was really interested in Sienna, even the boys! There was hot competition for cuddles and poor Anna and Claire did not get much of a look in. Thanks to Claire and Steve for hosting us all on this fun day.

As an aside, many thanks Claire for the inclusion of the mini Haribo packet in Sienna's party bag. I saved these little delights and pulled them out during an hour of need on our intrepid 30-hour sleepless trek home. THEY SAVED ME!

Cousins: Jamie (9), Millie (13), Emily (11) with Sienna, Rosie (11), Ellie (6), Charlie (12)

Lunch is served, and the iPad generation

The next day we all gathered again but at Granny Sue's house. Yet another wonderful spread of food and also time for an update to the Lister Family photo (sadly minus Emma who was ill and so kindly stayed away). Spot the differences (and the similarities!) between December 2012 and May 2014!

Top: December 2012, Bottom: May 2014

We also took lots of less formal photos of the cousins together:

And Anna finally got a proper cuddle:

We sadly said goodbye to the Wood family on Sunday evening and the rest of the week was spent enjoying more 'normal' life in Norwich, which was really lovely. We had walks in the sunshine, met the cousins from school, shopped in Waitrose and the city centre etc.

Auntie Emma got better and came to visit (yay!), bring me some Percy Pigs. These pigs have single handedly fuelled me through the jet lag, so thank you Em ;-)  (Yes, there is a theme here of me eating sugary sweets when exhausted. Don't judge me until you've flown around the world with a baby!)

Sienna also had her first 'aquarium' visit, courtesy of Auntie Claire and the Notcutts tropical fish shop!

We also had two more visits with Florence and Marian:

 And that was Norwich, done! Six days, sixteen family members and a whole heap of lovely memories.  Thanks for having us!

Next time on the blog.. we travel to London :-)

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