I think the jet lag is past, I was able to stay awake until 10 p.m. last night, then slept until 6 a.m. this morning. Good thing, as I had an easy day yesterday but have a list of chores to accomplish today.
May 8, 2014
After three more days at sea, we arrived in foggy, wet Southampton around 6:30 a.m.
I was so excited to start the day I was up before 6, had breakfast and was out on the aft deck by 7.
Some were buses arriving to take the passengers on their tours, others were cabs, and still others were trucks bringing in provisions.
I wonder if they were thinking, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?"
We didn't have a formal tour planned. Rather K has a friend, J (not to be confused with K's partner J so I'll call her UK J), who lives near Southampton and works at an arboretum, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey. K knows how much I love gardens, so had arranged for us to meet with UK J to have a visit and tour the gardens. G&C also have cousins in England, so M and his partner T, joined us at UK J's home in the morning. The five of us from the ship arrived about 9:30 a.m., with M&T arriving a half hour later.
After a gab and a coffee, we took two vehicles to the gardens, driving along country roads like this one. Isn't it beautiful?
By this time, the sky had lightened, and while it rained a little off and on, the entire day was perfect.
Later, the director and spoke with us, giving us the history and answering our questions about the gardens.
I could have spent days at the gardens, the flowers, the trees, the unique artwork, and the vistas, were so interesting and frequently breathtaking!
After a stop at the gift shop, where I made several purchases, we all headed back to UK J's home.
There we enjoyed a proper English afternoon tea complete with cakes. There was a lemon pound cake, a Victorian tea cake with jam, and a walnut coffee cake, yum!!! UK J explained a friend had made them for her especially for our visit. This lady bakes cakes regularly for charitable purposes, and to do so has been required to meet the same standards as a commercial bakery. Her charity of choice (I've forgotten which one in particular) has benefited by almost £39,000 in the past few years. Amazing! We all left a few pounds with UK J to donate to the cause. (Good thing, as I think we all took a few pounds of a different kind away with us!)
After tea, UK J and M drove us back to the ship in time for sail away. It was fantastic day, and I owe a debt of gratitude to K for arranging it, and for UK J for treating us to an incomparable day.
Tomorrow - Paris, France