Last post - for this trip! Sunday June 19th 2016.

Well last night was amazing and was certainly one thing Brighton could do that other places couldn't so we'll always have a soft spot for Brighton.  The theatre performance was wonderful. Sorry no pics but you can read about it and hear one of the songs that received a standing ovation last night via these links.

Today dawned clear and sunny and we had more fun over brekkie when Garrie's new admirer swooned as he approached and she said "oooh 007 again". Someone from the kitchen who seemed in charge was close and she told him that 007 was in town so I took my opportunity to shush her and tell her we were trying to stay incognito. She just laughed and he looked dubious but every staff member who came out of the kitchen was checking Garrie out. I had fits of laughter but Garrie was quite glad to leave and his new admirer was very upset when he said he wouldn't be in for breakfast tomorrow but very pleased when he gave her a hug and a kiss. (Perhaps she'll never wash that cheek again).

 We left Brighton early wondering if the London to Brighton cycle race happening today would cause us an issue - didn't see hide nor hair of it.

We headed to Windsor as we thought a walk in the gardens there would be good for the soul after Brighton and before our long trip home. We found our first free parking place in England and set off for The copper horse of Snow Hill.  The statue is of George III.
It is huge and marks the end of what is known as the long walk. So I turned around and took the Long Walk.
And yes, we walked it! We had already walked a fair way to get to this point and had been told the long walk is over 3 miles long, with Windsor Castle at the end of it. Added the long lens so you can See that.
Oh and why Windsor? Because it's pretty close to Heathrow.
It is a long walk and I turned to farewell George part way down.
It was also a pretty hot walk and someone had packed his cap in his suitcase so your lovely silk bag, much used this trip, found a second use Tina.
We walked down almost to the gate then turned around the side as we were getting a touch weary and hungry and we passed a couple of horses.
and we found this gem.
Our last proper meal on English soil was a beauty. I had salmon and veg and Garrie had traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pud. All very delightful and washed down with lager (of course). Revived we continued on to the palace. The flag tells you the Queen is in residence. One of her horses won at Ascot (nearby) yesterday so she probably had a sleep over.
A lovely family were trying to take a selfie and I asked if I could help and they returned the favour.
You can see the guard on deck in this shot.
And the Royal squirrel in this one.
No Gai we didn't go in. No pics allowed and a lot further to walk to get in so time to turn for home. We did find some Royal deer on the way back.
So I'm writing this from the American Airlines lounge at Heathrow (courtesy of my life membership of the Qantas Club) and soon we'll be doing what this plane did today.
Loved the green of the Great Windsor alarm but who knew the Queen put up with more air traffic than Brighton-Le-sands!  We walked a fair way too. My Fitbit says 19,580 steps so far - that's 14.25km. 

So trip wise it's been great.  We've seen some amazing things - highlights include the Church of the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, the Vasa in Sweden and the Victory in the UK.  The weather has been pretty good with only a couple of days where rain had to be avoided and non where rain really stopped play.  We've enjoyed the longest Main Street in England, (Combe Martin), some of the best food and a wonderland cruise with a Captain who entertained us and who has a catch cry of "life is beautiful." He is quite correct.

If you ask me whether I prefer time with friends and family versus the cruise, it's no contest. Loved the time we had with friends and family and I know even more strongly that I am someone who loves green spaces versus cities too.  I'd cruise again but I'd be very selective about destinations, I'm not a cruiser for cruisings sake.

Finally not looking forward to the bloody long flights it takes to do all this. Anyone with a Fitbit knows they keep your sleep hours too. Here is my display from our flight over (well part of it).

Hoping for something better on the way home in just three hours time.

So this is it folks. Last post of this trip. Thanks for coming on the journey with us and any improvement ideas gratefully received as you know there will be another one - when you least expect it...

A Day in Brighton - Saturday 18th June.

Firstly I believe I have fixed the weirdness in blog posts caused by some pre work in Australia and the blog using that date instead of the publish date to order them. I do hope this hasn't meant you received multiple repeats in the past 24 hours.  If you did - enjoy!

So Brighton.  After finishing the blog yesterday we went for an evening walk. The weather had been unkind all day and threatened more of the same but a few good shots nevertheless.
This is looking at the remains of the West Pier destroyed by fire and storms,
The beach is right outside our hotel and just up the road a bit is the new pier. It even looks vaguely attractive as the sun sets.
We went for a stroll along it but it really is covered in tacky shops and amusements. Still we had some fun.
At the end of the pier is a thing called the booster. These brave folk were getting in.
There is a basket at each end and it goes round and round.
Rather them than us! As always Fosters is front and centre. We keep telling them that Aussies don't drink it,
This is our hotel.
Woops sorry no it's this one.
And this is the famous Grand Hotel where the IRA tried to blow up Maggie Thatcher.
We found some cute pubs and had dinner at one called the Mesmerist, which wasn't as cute but which served better food (so we are told and we certainly enjoyed our meal.)
And so we headed off to bed. Today dawned with mix of blue and grey but it hasn't rained so all good. Breakfast brought some laughs as our hostess looked at me and said "my, doesn't he look like 007?" I wasn't quick witted enough to say we were trying to stay here incognito.
We had spotted this magnificent building as we arrived yesterday (I initially thought it a mosque and then we discovered it is the Royal Pavillion.
It was built by King George IV and is more Indian outside and Chinese inside (though he had been to neither place.) Alas photography is not allowed inside but we purchased a book and here is an idea.
Hmm a sideways idea it appears! Anyway opulence everywhere.
You can find more information here
It was sold by Queen Victoria and almost demolished but people power saved it. A real gem. Then we headed to what is known as the North Laine area - a group of narrow roads and lanes filled with shops and market stalls where many things can be seen, including a cranky looking cat in a pub doorway, an interesting means of travel and a dog playing a piano.
In all seriousness they do have a very high caliber of busker here. We have heard wonderful classical guitarists and even an opera singer.  On the downside we have also seen more homeless people than anywhere we've been too.  As we walked around I noticed Garrie's eyes widening as a couple of blokes behind us wee talking of their preference for M&S. He was disappointed when I pointed out they were talking about Marks and Spencer's, a department store. Time to head for the beach. More things were open in the light of day, including the seafood sellers.
Loved this old carousel - what a beautiful thing to have right on the beach front.
This, by the way, is the beach.
The British love it.
Given it was a bit chilly and more like a lake than the sea we didn't think these guys would be busy. We did see three people in the water. (Some strange race with blue skin.)
Oh and you may have noticed the seagulls have returned to normal.
If you've never heard British seagulls I found this YouTube.

Further up the beach they are building what they are calling the 360i. It was supposed to be open by now but apparently they have had some stability issues.....
That shot from last night, the weather didn't turn on us today. Here are some boards showing what it will be like.
More info. to the hotel and we decided to treat ourselves to a high tea.
Yes very yum and eaten whilst listening to a lively live singer and looking out at the water.  Now here is a quick lesson in cream teas.  A Cornish tea sees the cream go on the scone first. We couldn't understand this until we tried it with clotted cream and it is in fact easier to put the clotted cream on first and the jam second.
What we mostly eat in Aus. is a Devonshire tea, where the cream goes on top of the jam.
So now you know. So now we are having a rest and looking forward to heading to the theatre tonight. Here is a review of what we are going to see.

Tomorrow is our last day and, in fact, we take off from Heathrow about 9pm, so maybe one more blog and we're all done. We are off in the morning to find some green!  How quickly has the time gone!