Mafia connections, the Emerald Isle and a Highland Fling travel blog

The Fat Controller is working out of Arley Station

Steam train at Arley Station - Grae is in heaven

Dan has stepped back in time with a dial up telephone

Grae mistaking the hire car for something posher

Stunning display garden at David Austin Roses

Two thorns between the roses at David Austin Roses

Buddleia aka Buttefly Bush attracting a butterfly


Our last week in the UK and we now enjoying some family time in Wombourne. Grae's brother-in-law turned 70 earlier this month and the celebrations continued with a surprise get together at a lovely country pub with family and friends on a warm Friday evening. Lots of good food and copious amounts of drink were consumed. Not so much by me......

The weekend included Summer Bank Holiday which is the last Monday in August which means there are no more UK public holidays until Christmas. Gosh that is a long time (Aussie's still have October Long Weekend to look forward to). This year's Summer Bank Holiday has been the hottest one on record, topping 30 degrees and everywhere we went the queues for ice cream were out the door.

UK national holidays are all called bank holidays. ... The name originates because these were the days on which the banks were closed for trading. Bank employees didn't get time off back then - they were too busy using the bank holiday to work on the accounts and tidy up the bookkeeping.

Summer here means village fetes and fairs and wasps. Wasps are everywhere and I'm not joking, they are a real nuisance if you are wanting to sit or be outside and eat or drink in the summer. You really need to keep an eye on your drink as they get into your glass before you know it.

On a more pleasant note every time we stay at Grae's older sister's home we make our pilgrimage to David Austin Roses at Albrighton which always has stunning garden displays of roses. Funnily many people didn't realise we could grow roses in Australia.

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