Day 14 started with us travelling down the East coast of England towards Harwich. The main luggage had been collected from our cabins and everything felt a bit like the last day of term again. I think, that by this time, all we wanted was to get home again!

There was more traffic in this part of the North Sea, oil rigs, container ships and fishing boats, so plenty to look at and distract me from my toothache, though that wasn’t as sharp as it had been!

As soon as we came close enough to get a mobile signal JW  phoned our dentist and arranged an appointment for 8.30am next morning, for which I was most grateful and  thought it  very efficient of him.

We arrived at Harwich at 12.30pm, steaming our way through lines of container ships queuing to get in, and then came the tedius wait while the formalities were completed and the luggage taken ashore. As soon as this was done they started calling us out to the coaches, (we were lucky there because they sent those who had furthest to go first) Once ashore it was very simple, collect your luggage and take it to the coach and then we were on the way home!

I had slept so well on the ship that I could not hope to repeat my sleeping marathon on the way out so I decided to treat the journey as though it was a tour and give myself a (silent :)) commentary.

No snow capped mountains this time, in fact not a mountain in sight, just acres of flat, fertile land. This wasn’t the magnificent scenery we had been marvelling at  for the previous two weeks, but beautiful in its own way. A brilliant patchwork of colours. Spring green meadows, newly emerging shoots on ploughed land and fields of the brilliant yellow of oilseed rape, all divided by hedges wearing their spring blossom. Pink and white thorn and yellow gorse.

 I had never noticed before how many trees there are in England. Not the regiments of fir trees laid out by the Forestry Commission, but native English trees with their different shapes and shades of green, some with blossom like the stately horse chestnuts bearing their candles of blossom with the promise of “conkers” to delight the children,  and the foamy elderflowers  to make wine and cordial.

I thought how envious Sigurd would have been if he had seen this fecund landscape as he struggled to restore some fertility to his Icelandic soil.

The brick houses and cottages  were comfortably familiar after the brightly painted wooden buildings in the villages we had been visiting.

We were lucky on the M25 as traffic was flowing freely at that time of day. We had a short break at the service station and then on to the affluent leafy suburbs of Oxford to leave our first set of passengers.

If we had been on a real day tour we would doubtless have diverted here to visit Oxford, but no “dreaming spires”  or visits to Blenheim Palace this time, we wanted to get home!

The drive through the Oxfordshirecountryside was not so flat as Essex, but gently rolling hills and attractive cottages in the mellow Cotswold stone.

Next stop was Cheltenham, an elegant citywith terraces of stone Georgian houses and tree lined roads. More passengers alighted here and then there was just the Welsh contingent left.

We sped down the M5 towards the M4, then across the toll bridge, past the “Welcome to Wales” signs and down into Newport. Next stop was ours Cardiff Gate. As we drove in we could see Jennie  waiting by her car.

This lovely girl drove us home. She had not only been keeping an eye on the house for us, looking after Henry and watering the plants, but had filled the ‘fridge with fresh food. Aren’t we lucky to have her for a daughter?

We had had an amazing time and seen some fantastic sights, but it was lovely to be home again!

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