IT SOUNDED innocent enough but little did Geoff and Prue Dobson from Shepparton realise how things would develop during their recent visit to London.
On arrival they went to see their son, Chris and daughter-in-law, Emma and their other son, Alistair was also in town as well so it was a family reunion. It was while they were there that three men in a van decided to carry out a terrorism attack on innocent people on London Bridge.
Alister and Chris had been on the bridge just two hours before the attack that killed eight people, including two Australians.
Geoff says it changed the atmosphere in London as people came to terms with another terrorism event, but the police handled it well and soon had a sense of control over the event, but it still left Geoff and Prue wondering how close the family had come to the event.
There was a lot going on in London at the time with Brexit a hot topic and the election swing away from the government and at the same time the fire that killed so many; burning down an entire apartment block. Geoff and Prue had driven past and saw hundreds of people in the streets just devastated by the fire.
Geoff and Prue wondered if they had arrived at the wrong time, but soon they settled into tourism mode visiting the major places of interest.
On a lighter note, the Dobsons were invited to Australia House to attend a performance by world famous Australian soprano, Deborah Cheetham AO.
Deborah a member of the stolen generation wrote the opera, Pecan Summer which tells the story of Cummergunja in the 1930s when Aboriginals walked off the mission with many settling near Mooroopna.
Chris and Emma Dobson live near one of England’s famous canals, which was established as a form of transport taking goods all over the country in 1700s. The advent of the train took over but now there has been a resurgence of the canal boats for tourism.
Geoff and Prue booked one of the Narrow Boats and set off on a five day experience exploring the canals, their locks and meeting very interesting people along the way.
The boats come with everything cosy and warm, with refrigeration and stocked with food; you have all you need. Being taught how to operate the locks you can explore the ever changing countryside from open fields to woodlands and even go into the centre of towns.
Geoff says that many of the locks are near old English pubs, some established in the 1700s. They are cosy and warm with low ceilings and are a great place for lunch.
Many retirees have their own boats and spend their time exploring the water ways much like our Grey Nomads in Australia with their caravans, but this time on water.
Geoff and Prue also travelled to Paris, Edinburgh, York and much of the English countryside. They also went to Hull to explore the early history of a relative of Prue, John Harrison. He was an inventor and came up with the idea for the Chronometer and indeed one was used by Captain Cook as he navigated to Australia.
Geoff’s not a fan of big cities with masses of people but they will go back, however next time they will stay out of London and do more day trips.
Until next time,