|Our plans are now pretty much set for leaving the Valley and then flying to England for a couple of months. After my last entry when I reported our decision to go across the pond, one of our Northern Virginia friends said she was happy about our change of plans because she was getting bored with RVing. I guess we are looking forward to a change of pace as well.
We have decided to depart Mission on Nov. 24 and spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Las Cruces, NM and see the surrounding sights before driving to Apache Junction, AZ on December 1. We will have our Thanksgiving celebration this coming Wednesday with Betty, Bill, and Bill’s cousin Pete in Harlingen. Pete, who splits his time between the U.S. and England, will also be departing the Valley on the 24th to return to England for the holidays. Pete and his wife Sandi will then be our hosts at their home in Surrey for a few days while in the U.K. That’s what it’s like for us world travelers.
Since my last report I have been busy making specific plans for our England stay, as you might well imagine. Upon arriving at Gatwick in mid-December we’ll spend a few days in Surrey with our friends Susan and Robert, who spent the better part of three years, traveling the U.S. in their motor coach. From there we’ll drive up to the Midlands to visit my cousins John and his mother Freda (we first met in 2006) in Whitchurch, Shropshire, and John’s brother Graham whom we have yet to meet. John, Graham and I have the same great great Soady grandparents. John has arranged for us to stay at a nearby “Old Worldly” B&B for the Christmas weekend. It should be a memorable time!
On the way to Whitchurch we will stop south of Birmingham to do some genealogy research including visiting my grandfather’s former secondary school and, hopefully, we will find his former residence where the family lived for several years in the late 19th century. My great uncle (who I know little about) was born during this period and my great grandfather managed a “ metal works.” I hope to learn more about the family happenings during the time they lived in the Birmingham area.
Ironically, cousin John told me that other cousins operated a B&B on their family estate in the area we planned to visit. I immediately went on the Web and found Mows Hill Farm owned by Edward and Lynda (with a “y” no less) Muntz – my great great Aunt Agnes (John’s great grandmother) married into the Muntz family, notable in Birmingham politics and in the metal industry (creator of Muntz metal). Could it be that my great grandfather managed a Muntz metal works? Quite possible. Anyway, we are staying at Mows Hill Farm for three nights prior to Whitchurch, possibly returning after Christmas. Discoveries like this are what make family history so addictive.
On January 4 we will drive to Looe, Cornwall, our home for a month or so. It is the birthplace of my three-great grandfather John, and Soadys have lived in the area for at least 500 years. This will be my fourth visit and Lynda’s third. We spent a month here in 2006 and had a marvelous time, thanks largely to my cousin Michael. We have rented a lovely little cottage in the heart of town and overlooking the sea. Because of the improvement of the dollar against the pound and off-season rates, our monthly tariff will be about $600 less than in 2006. For a preview of Looe, look at our 2006 European Trip journal. Just above "Guestbook" on our Homepage use the drop down tab and view the journal. After leaving Looe we’ll probably spend some time enjoying London before returning to our RVing life on or before March 1.
In addition to logistics I have dedicated myself to entering and updating my family history information, primarily that pertaining to my British heritage. There is quite a bit more to comb through and enter in my Family Tree program before I can identify all the specific questions I hope to answer on the forthcoming trip. Much to my delight I have uncovered several pieces of information I was unaware I had. Also, getting back into the data has triggered my memory. Fortunately I am able to keep and retrieve a lot in my head. Nevertheless, I have a busy genealogy week ahead.
Besides planning for hitting the road on the 24th and the trip to England we have been busy on other fronts. We went to Harlingen to visit Betty and Bill twice to hear about and see pictures of their trip to Italy; to celebrate the outcome of the election (regardless of one’s politics it was an historic event); and for a “girls shopping day.” I had a follow-up eye exam (everything looks great!) and got new glasses to accommodate the improved vision in my right eye. I took the truck in for service twice, once for its regular service ($295-a far cry from service on my former car) and the second time for a recall repair (no charge).
We also bought a new camera – a Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, $259 from Amazon. Lynda’s nephew Richard (a photography geek) had an 870 while in Italy with his parents. We were so impressed with his photos, the compact size of the camera, and his recommendation that we immediately placed our order. We had been considering a Nikon SLR D-40, recommended by a professional photographer friend of Lynda’s. But we do not aspire to be pros, only to take good point-and-shoot pictures. Besides the D-40 would have cost at least twice as much depending on lenses and weighs substantially more.
Finally, I’ll close with three brief items. First, Lynda’s knee is doing well, so she is good to go. She plans to have it checked again when we are in Washington State next summer. Secondly, we are very pleased with the new airbed! And lastly, a cool front came through last night (with gusto I might add) and the forecast ahead is highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s/50s. My kind of weather! Jack said this would happen. Although I suffered with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes for six weeks, I’ll sure relish the temps during our last week in the Valley.