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Hi Everyone

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 calendar.

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 studio.

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 Boba.......................

Speak next year



Hi Everyone

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 anymore

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 from Rome.

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 such fun.

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 city.

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 sunset!

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 Sliney.

Thanks to Martin Ryan and the Emerald Garrison for a wonderful weekend.

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



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 Chotebor.

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 souls.

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 costumes.

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 day.

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


UPDATE: JULY 4, 2012

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 great support.

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 a delight.

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 Mandalorian cupcakes.

We had a good time as always, and were looking forward to a few days rest and some sunshine in Florida before the Disney weekend.

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 home....

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 memory.

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.

UPDATE: MAY 21, 2012

Hi Everyone

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 you all.

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 show enjoyable.

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


UPDATE: MARCH 19, 2012

Hi Everyone

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 sad news.

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 airport hotel.

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 there.



Hi Everyone

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 incredible.

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 peppercorns.

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 soon.

All the best for 2012


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