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UPDATE: DECEMBER 21, 2012
Hope you are all well and looking forward to the Holidays.
Here is a blog of our latest travels in 2012.
At the end of October we visited Paris for the Paris Comics
Expo. Our fellow guests were Sylvester McCoy (Dr. Who) and Zach
Jensen and Ian Whyte. The weekend was very busy and it was good
to see the 59eme boys and girls again.
We were taken to a very smart new restaurant area of Paris ?
glad I took some smart clothes along. A little short on photos
as it was freezing cold which was not conducive to sightseeing.
Unfortunately the other evenings we were forced to sit in a
French bar eating and drinking to keep warm! (If you believe
that you will believe anything) Anyhow we had a lovely weekend
with a good show and good company.
Back home we were invited to a special evening at Elstree
Studios along with other actors who had also worked there over
the years. It was a lovely evening and great to meet up with
people I had not seen for quite a while ? I am sure people in
the UK will recognise many of the actors. Thanks to Paul Welsh
who organised this get together.
Normally we do not celebrate Thanksgiving this side of the
pond, but this year we were in for a treat. Lovely Claudia
Christian, who I had the pleasure of working with on StarHyke
invited us along with some of the cast and crew for a sumptious
dinner. We met her father Jim who was over for a visit and
Jonathan, Andrew, Sue and Simon were in great form. A great time
was had by all.
At the end of November we returned to Birmingham for the
Memorabilia show at the NEC. We had not been there for several
years so it was good to go back and it was very busy show.
The 501st were holding a ball on the Saturday evening which
was great fun and also raised a good deal of money with a
charity auction. I couldn?t resist getting the Lego advent
A few days later I was invited to appear as a mystery guest
on the Russell Howard ?Good News Show? This is a very popular
funny take off of current affairs, and they always have a
mystery guest at the end of each show. As Russell is a big Star
Wars fan ? I was disguised as a Sith Lord and it took him quite
a time to work out who I was. After he saw Boba?s helmet he knew
exactly who I was. A few minutes later I tested his knowledge of
Star Wars with a spoof ?Mastermind? He did pretty
well.......................Great guy and a fun day in the
Our last event was the Movie Buffs Collectors Fair held in
the beautiful old walled city of York. I had played the theatre
in York a few times and it was nice to return. My fellow guest
was Shane Rimmer and we spent a lovely evening with him and his
wife Sheila in a rather splendid fish restaurant. Although it
was only a one day show on the Sunday it attracted lots of
people and many were in costume. Thanks to Nick for inviting us.
Well that?s all for now folks ? we wish you all very Happy
Holidays and thank you all for following
Speak next year
Since our last update we attended the much anticipated
Celebration VI in Orlando. We flew in a few days early to
get rested before the event but ideas of swimming went out the
window as the sun was in short supply.
Many of the fans arrived early as well and we met up with
people from all over the world. When the big day arrived it was
good to see so many fans waiting to get into the convention
centre. The days were pretty busy for Boba but I did manage a
few moments to visit Trey and Nancy Laymon to sign their amazing
Ford Raptor. It was beautifully painted and causes quite a stir
wherever it goes.
One of the highlights of C6 was the auction of Boba Fett and
Ep2 Clonetrooper inspired helmets which managed to raise over
$50,000 for 'Make a Wish'. They were all pretty cool.
Unfortunately we only managed to attend one event in the
evening. I was presented with a plaque by the Mandalorian Mercs
Costume Club giving me the honorary title of 'Mandalore' ?
thanks. Apologises for us not
being able to attend any other parties, but we are not 21
It was great to see Kenny Baker again and as a surprise for
his birthday the R2-D2 Builders club gathered together a whole
family of droids along with a younger look-a-like model of Kenny
to sing 'Happy Birthday' ? brings a tear to your eye!
As with all these big events I rarely get time to see
everybody and everything ? although I did manage to play in a
huge pile lego before the little ones arrived ? it was a little
difficult getting up as in fact the bricks are quite
unforgiving. Also eyecatching was a rather nice painting in
progress of Boba Fett.
Over the four day event I was given some lovely gifts ? far
too many to mention individually, so here is a photo of them
grouped together ? thank you so much everyone. Also a lovely
bath robe was given to me by the ?Robe Factory Inc?.
Back from the US and then it was off to Norwich for Nor
Con 2012 organised by the Norwich Sci Fi Club. There were
guests from Star Wars, Dr. Who, and Red Dwarf ? a good mixture.
There were also many wonderful costumes and these two ladies
certainly stood out! ? the make-up must have taken hours.
Our next show was at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, Wales.
This was our second visit to the Wales Comic Con and it
had grown enormously. Jamie Milner ? the organiser ? had a great
line-up of guests, but had not anticipated how many people would
want to attend the show ? which left many fans still lining up
until 3.00pm to get into the event. Jamie will definitely need a
larger venue or make it a two day show. It was a nice surprise
to see our friend Gary who is still trying to outdo me as Boba
Fett!! Well done Gary ? your costume looks cool. It was a great
day and this show can only get bigger and better.
Next weekend we were back to the airport again ? this time
for a trip to Morges in Switzerland for the Swiss Fantasy
Show. This was a new show and the committee had worked very
hard at promoting it. Their hard work paid off as the attendance
was very good and people travelled from all over Europe to get
there. I was with Dave Prowse and the talented actor Ernie
Hudson (well know for his performance in 'Ghostbusters' as well
as many other roles)
When we arrived we had a walk by the beautiful lake Geneva.
Ernie had quite a pleasant surprise when a group of
Ghostbusters arrived to see him ? they had travelled all the way
While walking through the town we saw an enormous scarecrow
and wondered what it was all about ? we found out at midnight on
Saturday! Apparently it was ?The Night of the Scarecrows? and
legend has it that in 1387 scarecrows around the countryside of
Morges came to life. They began to terrorise the wine growing
families in the area, preventing them from picking their grapes.
The evil spell could only be broken by setting fire to the king
of the scarecrows.
Unfortunately we missed the actual parade and fireworks, but
were woken up around midnight with drums beating beneath our
window- hey ho! ? it went on for over an hour, then started up
again around 3.00am with the parade marching through the streets
still banging their drums. During our stay we were taken out to
many nice restaurants and thanks to the committee ? Vincent,
Fabrice, Fabien, Pablo, Cedric and Mattieu for making our visit
On Monday our flight was in the afternoon so in the morning
Vincent and John took us to Lausanne for a brief sightseeing
tour which included the Cathedral with lovely views over the
Later in the day John took time off from his restaurant to
drive us to Geneva where we saw the famous flower clock and the
?Jet d?eau de Geneva? which can reach 140 metres in height. Our
last view of Switzerland was from the aircraft ? not quite a
The next weekend was a hop across the Irish sea for Invasion
Belfast. I feel honoured to be invited back every year. Since
our last visit the Titanic Quarter has opened, but unfortunately
we had no time to look around just view from afar.
What I love about Invasion Belfast is the interactive
sets which the children (and adults alike) can play on. There is
fun for everyone. My fellow guests were Jerome Blake, Anthony
Forrest and Tim Rose along with the very good artist Will
Thanks to Martin Ryan and the Emerald Garrison for a
This last weekend instead of a convention we were invited to
the wedding of Iain and Liz ? members of the UK garrison. Iain
looked very fetching in his kilt and Liz looked beautiful. They
were guarded by two men in white plastic!!
Every happiness to the bride and groom.
Well as the cartoons say 'That's all folks'
All the best
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2012
Hi Guys & Gals,
After the Disney Star Wars weekend we had a few weeks at home
doing some repairs to the house etc. At the end of June we went
off to the Czech Republic to attend the Festival Fantazie in
I had worked in Prague many years ago filming 'Swing Kids'
and really wanted to return to this beautiful city. Before the
event we spent 24 hours in Prague with Olga and Jan who very
kindly took us on a tour of the city.
Since my last visit things had changed a great deal.
We were shown famous landmarks which included the amazing
astronomical clock dating back to the thirteenth century which
shows a parade of the 12 apostles every hour. We walked over the
Charles Bridge which was full of artists and musicians.
Please note that was not us hanging from the air balloon!!
The following day we walked uphill for what seemed like forever
to reach the Castle - it was well worth the effort to see all
the beautiful architecture.
On our way to Chotebor we stopped off at another lovely city
called Kutna Hora which also had a beautiful Cathedral. We
finally arrived in Chotebor and went to the river to cool off as
the temperatures had been extremely high for us poor British
Fellow guests at the Fantazie were actress Mira Furlan and
author David Weber. After a lovely day I was presented with a
plaque by the Lion Base Rebel Legion - thanks guys ? good
I was invited at the last minute to be a guest at the LFCC at
Olympia - I was only there for one day, so hence no photos. It
was great to see Kenny Baker again - he was in very good form.
We then managed to squeeze in a four day trip to Italy to see
the family - Robbie et al came over from Sri Lanka. We took some
photos of the local creatures including the grandchildren!
We took a trip to one of the lovely beaches in Tuscany to
sample some of the Italian food which certainly didn?t
disappoint. Ned spent some of his time constructing
extraordinary models with LEGO - some of which rivalled the best
of Tuscan castles ? especially by sunset. We could not resist
taking yet another lovely view of the setting sun on our last
We arrived back at Gatwick at the unearthly hour of 1.30am
and left again at 8.00am to travel to Sittingbourne in Kent for
a one day show for DTC Events. It was surprisingly busy
considering the weather was so good outside and I think people
appreciate a show being put on locally rather than having to
travel to London or a big city.
Off again to the US for two more shows. The first was in
Allentown, PA where I was with Dickey Beer who did the stunt
work for Boba?s fall into the Sarlaac pit. The show was fun and
we were sitting next to the Mandalorian Mercs who kept us amused
and also kept us in chocolate cake. We had time to visit the
nearby town of Bethlehem where there was a music festival taking
place. We also visited the oldest continuously running
bookseller in the world - The Moravian book shop which now sells
much more than just books.
Next port of call was 'the windy city' - Chicago, except we
were at the airport at the Rosemont Center for the Wizard
ComicCon. All manner of things happened at this show - the first
being a proposal right in front of me. Derek proposed to Evelyn
for her hand in marriage and she accepted in front of the
greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy - she dare not refuse
otherwise she would have ended up in the Sarlaac Pit!!! Moments
later a clown prostrated himself at my feet in homage to Boba. I
finally persuaded him to stand up straight to pose for a photo.
I was sat between the Wookie and the great swordsman Nick
Gillard who gave several displays of his swordmanship. Sitting
with Nick was Tammy Earehart a United States Airforce veteran
who now supports the WWP charity (Wounded Warrior Project) She
does great work raising not only money but awareness of the
problems faced by veterans.
The show started on Thursday afternoon and we were surprised
how busy it was. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were also packed. A
very good event.
Having missed all the Olympics we did visit the centre of
London with our grandchildren and there was still a magical
atmosphere around and it made us proud to be British. Our friend
Jonathan Sands who runs the Movieum on the South Bank has
recently opened a new Film Museum in Covent Garden - so we spent
a pleasant afternoon there.
Star Wars fan Chris Rehde from Finland very kindly sent me
his incredible pencil sketch which will be framed and displayed
in my office. There is certainly a lot of talent out there -
just keep drawing.
Getting ready for C6 - speak later.
All the best
Hi Everyone finally home after five lovely shows
We started in Ottawa which is a very beautiful city (our
third visit to Canada this year) The show was organised by the
promoters who put on the Montreal Comic Con and it was the first
time an event like this had been held in Ottawa.
When we arrived we were driven past the very famous Rideau Canal
to our hotel - the magnificent Fairmont Ch?teau Laurier. What is
extraordinary is that the canal is partly drained and frozen
over in the winter and becomes the longest skating rink in the
world. We would love to go back in wintertime.
The show had a good guest line-up including William Shatner,
Brent Spiner, John de Lancie, and many others from Star Trek.
For a first time show it was very successful and the fans in
Ottawa were charming.
We are always lucky enough to have a day free before flying
back to the UK and that gives us time to explore a little.
Ottawa is highly recommended and the city has lots to see. The
parliament building is pretty impressive as is the view
alongside the river. May is also the month they have their
famous tulip festival. Thanks to Oscar and Alex for inviting us
and 10 out of 10 for your green room.
Our next event was Dallas Comic Con at the Irving Convention
Center which is huge. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we did not
have any time to take photos of the actual event apart from one
dear little Boba who came along before the show opened. The show
was packed from morning to night.
On Sunday morning before the show we had a farewell breakfast
for Anne Nuemann who had been a volunteer organiser for all the
Dallas shows. She has also made a great job of organising Steve
Sansweet's extensive Star Wars collection.
After the show ended on Sunday we did have time to visit the
famous Mustangs of Las Colinas (the largest equestrian
sculptures in the world).
Another very successful show - it seems to be a bumper year.
We were heading off to Phoenix Comic Con the following weekend,
and spent some time with Philip Wise and his lovely wife Anne.
His Star Wars collection has grown immensely since our last
visit and it was great to spend a couple of hours there.
On to Phoenix ? and yes another amazing event. It had been
some years since our last visit and the show had quadrupled in
size and moved from an hotel to a large convention centre ? what
progress! Another good thing was that the green room was in our
hotel conveniently just two doors along from our room, and
produced some very tasty offerings including my head............
There were some very interesting 'Variations on a Theme' or
should I say 'Variations on Boba' All of them fun, especially
the Mexican costume.
The show was so busy that even the elevators in the hotel
were constantly full. We had to ask security to take us up to
the 23rd floor in the service elevator and decided to have
dinner in the revolving restaurant just two floors above us so
to avoid the crowds. While having dinner we were surprised to
look down and see many streets blocked off by the police! In
fact there was no accident just a Zombie parade in full costume
through Phoenix ? I can?t imagine what the locals thought.
The Mandalorians were out in force, and were as always a
It was good to see author Michael Stackpole again who lives
nearby and he very kindly took us to the gourmet hamburger
restaurant Delux ? highly recommended.
Its always fun to meet and chat with fellow guests and to
meet new actors.
Another great show and many thanks to Matt for the invitation
and Brandy, Joe and all the rest of the staff who made our visit
We actually flew home for two days (don?t ask why?) before
heading back to the USA for the Wizard show in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is a very busy city, and we got a bit lost trying
to find the entrance to the convention center ? and it was only
across the street ? must have been jet-lag! Without wanting to
repeat myself this was another amazing event ? 2012 must be a
good year. We met up with a lot of friends at the show including
Sean who set up my Boba Fett facebook page.
We were sitting next to Peter Mayhew and Angie, and along
came his double and tried to impersonate me - how dare he? - so
I took his head and impersonated him!.
I was very honoured to be made an honorary member of the Mav
Oya'la Clan and to be presented with a plaque and two delicious
We had a good time as always, and were looking forward to a
few days rest and some sunshine in Florida before the Disney
On our arrival in Orlando any thoughts of sunshine flew out
the window. It rained and rained and rained some more..........
Anyhow we did have a good rest in the lovely Boardwalk Villas
and saw our friends on the concierge floor.
We were delighted when a rather special gift basket arrived - it
looked so good we really didn?t want to dismantle it to take
James Arnold Taylor was our host this year and did a
wonderful job. It was a bounty hunter weekend with Daniel Logan
and Michonne Bourriague.
I think over the years we have posted just about every single
shot there is to be taken at Disney and the surrounding area, so
will just put up a couple this time. One photo of the
unbelievable weather, and a rather lovely view to have as a
We had a great time at Disney and thanks to the team for
making our visit possible.
I have added two new photos for purchase on the website -
check them out.
Take care everyone and speak soon.
Sorry for the delay in updating but the last month has been
hectic. After our trip to Roanoke we had a few weeks break and I
went off to Liverpool to the Spaceport - an attraction which
explores space and space transport. Thanks to Neil Livesey for
helping to organise the event which was great fun.
Robbie and his family came over from Sri Lanka for Easter, so
we had a houseful of little ones who enjoyed being back in the
UK. We did not have that much time with them as we were off to
New York for Icon 31. I had never been to this show before which
took place at Stony Brook University in Long Island. On the
first day we got to the show early and met up with the police
officers who were going to keep us safe over the
weekend.....they were a great bunch. As well as my good friend
Greedo it was a nice surprise to have fellow drama school
buddies from Dr Who (new and old)
Icon is in its 31st year and it was great to be invited by
Ken Deep. Paul and I were invited to dinner with the guys and
girls from Docking Bay 516 who presented me with a lovely coffee
mug and a beautifully made ?Slave 1? ornament ? many thanks to
After a very pleasant Easter we were off to Canada for two
events. The first one was with Wizard in Toronto - a lovely city
that we never tire of visiting. I think it must have been
?tattoo weekend? as I had a couple of requests to autograph my
name on a back and an arm? something that always bemuses me.
It was a fun show and it was good to see Daniel again.
We were going off to Vancouver for the following weekend so
had time to visit the Royal Ontario Museum which was showing
wonderful exhibits from the Ming Dynasty.
We must have been to Toronto at least 4 times and have never
ventured up to the top of the CN Tower as I have an aversion to
elevators!. This time Maureen (without me knowing) took matters
into her own hands and booked us for dinner in the revolving
restaurant at the top of the tower. With me having no choice we
zoomed to the top in no time at all ? so what was all the fuss I
asked myself. Wow the view was extraordinary and the
wallet-busting dinner wasn?t too bad either!
Next stop was Vancouver for the Fan Expo ? the first time
this event had been held on the west coast. We were looking
forward to visiting this city as everyone had told us how
beautiful it was.
We came in a few days early to do some sightseeing as well as
publicity for the show of which there was plenty. I appeared on
TV on the morning show, plus radio interviews followed by
another TV interview outside the Convention Center.
The guest line up was impressive and included Adam West, Burt
Ward, Lou Ferrigno and Marina Sirtis and too many more to
mention. The show was packed and I think on the first morning
they had to stop fans coming in due to the numbers.
Vancouver is a stunning city with snow capped mountains in
the background, and many yachts in the harbour.
We were intrigued to see so many seaplanes taking off and
landing and decided that we just had to have a flight before
leaving for London. I was lucky to be invited to sit up front
with the pilot ? it was like flying Slave 1 all over again!
The 30 minute flight took us over the harbour and the city,
and the landscape was quite breathtaking.
We were sad to leave, and have very fond memories of our
visit ? Thanks Aman for inviting us and to everyone who made the
Last weekend we returned to Ireland for Invasion Dublin which
always feels like going home ? we have made so many good friends
with the Emerald Garrison.
Martin Ryan was true to form with yet another life size model
? this time Yoda. Also attending was my chum Mike Edmonds, the
brilliant voice actor James Arnold Taylor and the charismatic
Billy Dee Williams. Artist Will Sliney gave a very popular ?How
to draw Star Wars? class for the children, and I decided to join
in and show them how to draw ?Boba?. There was a lot going on
for everyone including the Jedi Training school, and sculptors
showing off their skills. As usual it was a very busy event and
everyone had a ball. It was also great to see my eldest
granddaughter Alesha who is studying in Dublin.
Just a brief note before I sign off ? can I just please
remind you not to send posters, toys or 10 x 8 photos through
the mail to me as they will not fit through my mailbox, and if I
am not here they get sent back to the post office.
Thanks for following this blog and speak soon.
All the best
Its been a while since our last update and we have been very
busy not only with events but also painting the house. Its very
therapeutic and makes a nice change from sitting on aeroplanes!
At the beginning of February we were invited to the Hilton
hotel in London for a Charity dinner in aid of MediCinema. This
is a charity that brings the silver screen to patients young and
old including those in beds and wheelchairs. It was a cracking
night and the evening raised around ?86,000 from an auction of
memorabilia. Martin Bayfield the former rugby union player did a
grand job as an auctioneer. We met up with Warwick and Sammy
Davis ? it was great to catch up with them as it had been a
while since we last saw each other. Also there was Jonathan
Sands who runs the brilliant Movieum on the South Bank ? a visit
is a must ? there is even a Boba Fett there.
Our first convention of the year was the Hollywood show in
Burbank, LA. It had been a few years since I had visited the
west coast and it was a really busy show. At long last I was to
meet my voice ?Jason Wingreen? He?s a wonderful gentleman and we
spent a long time chatting about the Star Wars saga. On Saturday
night we went to dinner with friends Derek & Alberto at their
house and were joined by Mark Ryan and his lovely lady. Mark and
I spent a lot of time filming together on the ?Robin of
Sherwood? series so had a lot to talk about. Apart from a lovely
dinner I also had fun on their Dracula pinball machine. I have
to own up now that I didn?t win!
Sitting at the next table to me at the show was Davy Jones
and we reminisced about playing football back in the UK many
years ago. We were shocked when we got home to hear the terribly
Before flying to Roanoke for Shevacon we spent a few days in
Bel Air with friends of ours . Again there was lots to catch up
with and we had fun few days. The trip to Roanoke we knew was
going to be a long haul as there are no direct flights. Instead
of waking our friends up at the crack of dawn to get to LAX for
an early flight we stayed at the airport the night before. The
view from our room was very pretty ? I am not sure what these
lights were supposed to be, but they looked cool and changed
colour every few minutes.
Our flight left at 8.00am which meant being at the airport
around 6.00am. We then flew to San Francisco, changed planes to
Chicago. We arrived in Chicago for our flight to Roanoke which
was meant to depart at 8.00pm. This is when it all went pear
shaped (and it was my Birthday ) which I had spent mostly in the
air!! Our flight to Roanoke was cancelled due to fog. It was a
mad rush to line up to book another flight for the following
morning ? the good news was they were able to put us on a flight
? the bad news was it was another really early start as the
flight departed at 7.00am. That meant another brief stop at an
Finally we arrived in Roanoke along with author Timothy Zahn
and his wife and Randy Martinez and Denise ? coincidentally we
were all on the same flight. On our arrival we were met by Beth
and the Shevacon team and were whisked off for breakfast to the
lovely ?Thelma?s Chicken & Waffles? very welcoming and yummy!
The Roanoke Hotel and Convention Center was most impressive ?
a beautifully restored Tudor style building.
Shevacon is a multi genre show and there were some very
interesting costumes. Appearing on two Q & A?s over the weekend
can be tricky as you have to be careful not to repeat yourself.
As long as there is plenty of laughter I guess it doesn?t really
matter if you tell one or two stories twice. I sat on one panel
with several authors including the delightful Janine Spendlove
who is also a pilot with the US Marine Corps.
A lot of fans where dressed in steam punk, but there are
always the faithful to Star Wars.
On Sunday snow had been forecast, and true to form it arrived
in the afternoon. It looked very pretty but many people were
worried about travelling home. In the evening we were due to go
out to a local restaurant but as the weather was closing in we
stayed at the hotel for dinner followed by a challenge to a game
of pool with the lads. I had to accept and luckily with a little
help of the ?Force? (aka cheating!) I managed to win.
Our flight out Monday was in the evening so we explored
Roanoke which looked very picturesque in the snow. Beth drove us
up to the famous Roanoke Star which stands 100ft tall and is
illuminated every night.
Many thanks to Beth, Leif, Heather and all the committee who
made us feel very welcome at Shevacon.
Next stop Liverpool then New York ? hope to see some of you
Hope you all had a great Christmas and wish everyone a Happy
New Year. This is an update with a difference as there was no
sign of Boba Fett all over the holiday. We took a trip to Sri
Lanka to visit our son and family who is working there for three
years. We set off in early December to fly east to Sri Lanka
which was around an 11 hour flight. This time instead of sunsets
there was a beautiful sunrise.
We arrived in Colombo around lunchtime and Robbie was there
to meet us. It was a bit of a shock coming from grey cold
England to the heat and sunshine of Sri Lanka. It was also a
shock to be driving on very narrow roads with the tuk-tuks
(motorized rickshaws)taking over, dogs sleeping in the kerbs,
cows wandering everywhere as were the pedestrians and buses
overtaking on the inside and outside. Quite a scary one hour
journey to Robbie and Kirsty?s house. It was very exciting to be
there and the cousins were pleased to see each other.
The following day it was Jossie?s 6th birthday so we went for
a special buffet lunch to celebrate. Needless to say Jossie
spent most of the time choosing his desserts! Afterwards we all
relaxed by the pool getting over the jetlag.
Robbie and Kirsty had organised a very busy schedule for us
over the next 9 days. As we were a party of 12 we hired a
minibus along with Gopan our driver. We left Colombo in the
morning and our first stop was at the elephant orphanage en
route to Kandy. What an amazing experience ? the children were
allowed to feed the baby elephants with bottles of milk, and we
saw them being taken to the river to bathe and be scrubbed ? the
elephants that is....
That night we stayed at a rather splendid 1920?s colonial
hotel called The Mansion Hotel which we had to ourselves apart
from one other couple.
The following morning we drove to the amazing botanical
gardens in Kandy. There were so many wonderful plants and trees
to look at.
What was just as interesting was the local people?s reaction to
the grandchildren as their pale skins and hair colouring were
very different. They caused quite a stir with people wanting to
be photographed with them much to the kids embarrassment.
We then drove for an hour north to stay at the Ashburnham Tea
Estate. After much difficulty in finding it we eventually
arrived and were welcomed by Brendon who served us with freshly
brewed tea (what else) and apple pie (how English!) It was a
lovely house perched on the hillside overlooking the tea
plantation. Next morning we decided to explore. It had been
raining overnight and what we hadn?t bargained for was the fact
that rain brings out the leeches. Halfway up the hill we were
all suddenly leaping around trying to remove the leeches that
had attached themselves to our feet and legs, and those of us in
sandals had the pleasure of them crawling between our toes ugh!
Plenty of screaming came from the children and the
adults.......................more from the adults!
Our next journey was to Dambulla. Brendon very kindly made us
a picnic lunch to take with us, which was greatly appreciated.
When we arrived we were quite overwhelmed by the beauty of the
seated Buddha at the entrance to the Golden Temple. As it was
lunchtime Robbie decided to take the picnic with us ? big
mistake. What we didn?t envisage was a whole cartload of hungry
monkeys waiting to descend on any poor soul who happened to be
carrying lunch. Poor Robbie was chased by several quite angry
looking monkeys and he had no option but to throw the food at
them. As you can imagine this caused tears from the children who
were looking forward to their picnic. After buying some fruit to
pacify the little ones we went on to see the largest and best
preserved cave temples in Sri Lanka. The interiors are quite
There was no let up in our schedule and our next port of call
was Sigiriya ? and the famous Sigiriya Rock which is now a World
Heritage site. Built on the top of a rock was a lavish royal
palace which can be reached by climbing 1202 steps. Maureen & I
decided not to climb to the top..........................
Our next hotel was the Palm Garden Village Hotel in the
ancient Royal Capital of Anuradhapura which was another rather
lovely colonial hotel set in beautiful gardens alongside a lake
where a wild elephant was supposed to drink every morning ? I
saw no elephant?
We visited another temple where the monkeys seemed quite content
just munching the floral offerings and leaving us alone. Sri
Lanka is full of wonderful temples both Hindu and Buddhist.
The streets in Sri Lanka are buzzing with shops selling
everything from fruit to remote controls, baskets, shoes,
clothes and carvings to mention a few. After another busy day it
was good to get back to the peace of the pool at the hotel.
Another day and another trip this time to the west coast to
Kalpitya where we would be staying at the Palagama Beach Resort
in a wooden cabana.
Our cabana was very luxurious inside as was the cabana on the
beach where we all relaxed and read. The children spent most of
their time in the rather lovely pool both day and night.
It was now time to head back to Colombo as Robbie had to go
back to work. We had a few days relaxing in Colombo, shopping
and preparing for Christmas which seemed very strange in a hot
country. The week before Christmas we took another trip with
Jamie and his family to Mirissa via the famous old city of
Galle. One purpose of the trip was to go whale watching. The
resort we stayed in was on the beach. The accommodation was a
little less salubrious, but was made up for with the delicious
fresh fish we were able to sample for dinner. The whale watching
trip was a success and we saw two whales surfacing around 10
times ? it was magical.
Every night we were spoilt for choice as there were so many
restaurants offering freshly caught fish.
On our way back to Colombo we stopped off at the Handunugoda
tea plantation where we were given a guided tour and finished up
with tea tasting. Also on the estate they grew cinnamon and
We also managed to fit in a visit to Geoffrey Bawa?s house
who was a renowned Asian architect of the 20th century. The
house and gardens were superb. Geoffrey Bawa had bells fitted in
various locations around the gardens and his staff knew
immediately where he was by the sound of the bell.
We had booked for lunch but had no idea that our table would
be set on the lovely lawn.
It was already Christmas Eve and we had to get back to
Colombo to prepare for Christmas Day. The children had been
rehearsing a nativity play which they were going to perform on
Christmas morning. It was a bit chaotic as a certain
actor......was refusing to go on stage. At the last minute the
real actor was called in to understudy ? I?m not sure what part
I was playing but was given a white dressing gown (smacks of
?One Flew over the cuckoo?s nest!? and told to bear gifts.
Anyhow it was a success and a nice start to the day which was
spent quietly. Jamie & Robbie had a big surprise for me. They
had organised a real cricket game for Boxing Day next to
Colombo?s international pitch. It was a 20/20 game and I was
captain of one side and Robbie skippered the other side. I
opened the batting and was soon bowled out by my son (thanks a
lot Jamie). When it came to fielding I made amends by catching
one of the opposition and have the bruises to prove it.
After a few more days sightseeing in Colombo it was New Years
Eve and another birthday ? this time Connie?s 8th. We spent the
day swimming and then had a Sri Lankan tea party.
Finally it was time for the adults to get ready for their
evening out. We had been invited to an exclusive party on the
top of the Mount Lavinia Hotel - a great way to end the year and
also our trip to Sri Lanka.
This blog only tells half the story ? we saw so much more,
the people were charming and the countryside breath taking and
the driving absolutely nerve wracking, but we are here to tell
the story. This is a country well worth visiting. As we left we
finally saw the resident tortoise, and also had a glimpse of the
wonderful Maldives en route to London.
Our next events start in February ? hope to see some of you
All the best for 2012
2011 news archive >