UK Return

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Sadly, last month we received that Granny, Catherine John, had passed away. A central figure in our family, her influence permeates through her children, her grand children and now their own families. Her creativity, humour, voracious appetite for news and love for her family, will be greatly missed.

In contrast to previous trips back home, visiting friends, spending time with family or attending weddings, this was a more sombre affair. Still, it was a fabulous opportunity to meet with family members that I have not seen in years, and marvel at the rate of growth of the youngsters, many now with their own dreams and aspirations.

One week is not a huge amount of time, but it was enough to complete a solid round of decompression and tea drinking in Cambridge, run up to the Derbyshire hills to get some hiking in, and across to Wales for the service.

Cambridge

I wanted to spend as much time as possible with the folks, Ele and Dave, and of course Benjamin as possible. So, predictably perhaps, most of my photos feature the star of the show!

Benjamin is king of the world

Obviously a candidate for a modelling competition

He is still in the early stages of learning to talk, so his powerful pointing finger is key in his ability to communicate. I was deeply impressed with how much information he could convey through the sign language he as been taught, though.

Taking Benjamin on the guided bus out to St. Ives for the first time. What fun! (the bus even had wifi!)

Butter would not melt in his mouth ...

Clotted cream, on the other hand, very much would.

Marvelling at the physics-defying helium balloon that we had found for him.

He was emphatic in wanting me to sit down next to him. The step somewhat suited his leg length more than mine, however.

A view of The Fens; windmill, cyclist, and a flat landscape. The guided bus really shifts though - 60mph along those concrete tracks

Taking Benjamin out for the day at the park

Working out how to use the slide feet first

Slightly less sure about spinning around and around

Even less sure about the height of the slide ... but getting more confident every day!

On Skype back to Taiwan - do they have to try to be this cute?

Benjamin gives me a snuggle for good measure.

 

Wales

The ceremony was very moving, tied together with a thoughtful speech from my cousin Hannah, who managed to speak for all of us on the day.

Taking it all in - we all had our own stories

... and evidence was everywhere that she was not too far away

Despite the sad day, it was still fantastic to see family

Messing around on the grass

Family members catch up

The local rugby club did a great job of hosting drinks after the event.

Making a run for it!

Picture updates of the next addition!

Mums look proud

 

Derbyshire

With construction on the house on-going, we managed to grab a couple of days up north, staying at The Cavendish Hotel in Baslow. Retracing some of my early mountain biking steps, we hiked along the ridges overlooking the valleys, and spent the next day sauntering over to Chatsworth before being stunned by an impromptu Red Arrows display while packing the car up. Derbyshire always delivers the goods.

Our hotel in Derbyshire, near Chatsworth was great, although it was all we could do not to continually quote Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan's 'The Trip'

DEAD SLOW. HOOT

Exit sign

A walk through the hills I think was what we needed

Views across the peaks were not spectacular, but a good reward for the climb (and even better preparation for a pint at the pub).

Bouquet

As we were just getting back to the house, we were amazed to see The Red Arrows fly by overhead. We were treated to a fifteen-minute display - their first day since they sadly lost a pilot - for the crowds down at the country fair at Chatsworth house. Granny would have loved it.

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