The exciting end to my great adventure

I write this final post from my hospital bed at North shore hospital. Not that the holiday was so traumatic it made a cot case of me, but that I – might – have played too hard in my final week.

I had the joy of hanging out at a luxury timeshare apartment with two friends in Orlando. We went to Universal Studios on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I went down to the resort pool for a swim and slipped on the steps leading in to the water. It really really hurt for a while but I convinced myself – because I could move my toes – it was likely a sprain. I was so close to returning that I waited until coming home before checking. I went to Disney world Animal Kingdom the next day and rode a mobile scooter.

We went to Jacksonville the following day and for the last four I limped and wore an elastic bandage.

I dragged suitcases into Orlando airport, walked to the terminal and flew economy to San Francisco. Fortunately I got wheelchaired from domestic to international terminal there. Good old Air New Zealand took pity on me and upgraded me to business class (when the tray table was broken on one seat). I didn’t care: I got to lie down for 12 hours!!

Last Friday my sis picked me up from airport and delivered me to White Cross medical centre to xray the ankle. Imagine my surprise when I was told it was a complex fracture and I needed to go to North Shore hospital (orthopaedic specialists). I’m still here three days later – my carry on bag in the cupboard and my sleeping mask and ear plugs still useful.

According to a nurse friend: You may need an op… The fibula is comminuted and you have talar shift of the tibia on the talus

I am scheduled tentatively for operation on Tuesday. In the meantime I am forced to read and watch episodes on Amazon Prime with headphones. What a hardship!

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Lost count of days – still in Orlando

I’ve just managed to twist my ankle slipping down the stairs into the pool – and so I guess I’ll be moving more slowly over the next day or so. My body will thank me for it I’m sure. It has continued to put in the hard yards – yesterday another full day at Universal Studios in the Islands of Adventure area. Much better (in my opinion) than the Studio park. Harry Potter attractions span both parks and in the 106° F heat yesterday we passed many children earnestly pushing through the sweltering heat in the amazing displays and rides dressed in black floor-length capes and clutching wands. Marcie went on the HP ride through the castle and I watched on. Just like the airlines, it seems that the ‘average size’ is catered for rather than all sizes – yes, I sure could lose weight, but I think of all the tall sturdily built teens who must also be turned away.

Ne’er mind eh?

Loved the rides that incorporated 3D effects and sensaround – King Kong, Spiderman, Men in Black. Even The Cat in the Hat was fun. The older rides are all made to fit all sizes thank goodness.

Anyway, today, our rest day, I went down to try out the pool when the water is actually cooler than the air, as any self-respecting Kiwi would. Stepping down the slippery steps one foot slid forward and the other was forced back upon itself as I plunged headlong into the water. Heaven knows what would have happened had it happened as I stepped out of pool. I stayed in the water for a while and kept up some movement in it and am now on deck with an ice pack. There’s still a week of meeting up with folks, exploring, and holidaying to go!

Until next post. . .

Down in the deep south, Orlando and Universal Studios

I’ve grabbed a brief moment between dealing to the aches and pains of a body that’s been dragged around Universal Studios today and the desperate longing for bed.

A large part of me – the small enthusiastic girlchild within – cannot understand why 1) my body cannot keep up 2) is outside the perimeter for some of the best rides ( read ALL Harry Potter ones) and 3) hurts so much after dragging around and around the theme park in 105° heat and humidity.

It has not deterred me from trying though and today, Marcie and I went and did around eight rides/show/attractions in the Studios lot.

Tomorrow we plan another similar at the Islands of Adventure one. At least there are two water rides as part of it.

Back in the apartment I ran the spa bath and let the little jets of water pound my aches and pains and clean all the sweat away.

I wish I could add photos – check Facebook for them.

I’m staying with Marcie and her Mum in a glorious timeshare apartment so roomy it’s bigger than the house at home. True. We’ll be here til Friday enjoying the unexpected luxury of the apartment and the fun places nearby.

Last full day in Nova Scotia – Wolfville

Wolfville is a cute University town in the northern coastline right on the Bay of Fundy. Now why would i mention that quirky name? Because, dear reader, the Bay of Fundy is the place of ‘the HIGHEST TIDES on EARTH’!! No kidding! Twice a day water sucks out of this enormous bay – 9 to 16 billion tonnes of water – more than the combined flow of all the rivers on earth.

I had to go and see it for myself! Nancy was just as keen. We drove to Hantsport to one of the viewing spots but timed the initial trip too late to see the high tide. Second trip more successful for the low tide exposed an immense land of sucking mud, reefs and the odd pool of water. I hope to see full tide tomorrow AND ride a bike along the dyke.

Watch this space.

Nova Scotia so far

Not everyone is lucky enough to catch the same hurricane twice, but I did! After Orlando I went to Canada and by the time my friend Nancy and I got to Nova Scotia, we were in time to welcome Dorian again.

He hit some parts of NS badly and as we drove around on Sunday morning trying to find some area that still had power we saw signs of his passing everywhere. That second night at Beaver Bank our hostess was on pot, grew it out back, and left us to light candles and cope when the power went out in the night. It made for an interesting night, with the wind whistling around and the lake whipped up.

We found a fish and chip shop open and enjoyed some really good takeout.

Next morning we got away early and searched for breakfast, finding it in a family restaurant in Sackville, one of the pockets that still had power. Great wait for a table but a good breakfast eventually.

The rest of the day we drove around NS and ended up at Digby – power out – at a tiny roadside lobster shack running on generator. It was 1.5 hours before our little lobster rolls were ready, such was the wait. On the road bisecting the country towards the south we encountered many trees still down across the lanes, and with some relief arrived in Lunenburg unscathed.

I love this fishing village! Brightly coloured homes, jaunty shops, numerous fish restaurants with decks overlooking the sea – we enjoyed it all over the last two days. Our B&B was upstairs in a house and was its own apartment – overlooking some forest from which deer occasionally strayed.

Today Nancy drove around the coast below Halifax to Peggy’s Cove which is a village and lighthouse built on rock. En route we stopped at a Lebanese restaurant and were entertained and fed by the sole chef, manager, maitre de, shop keeper whose exaggeration and tall tales knew no bounds. The over-priced chicken wraps we got were good ($13!!) and it made for an experience for sure.

We are on the third floor of this stately house on main street of Wolfville, in our own apartment. Once more the beds are pretty hard but I think we’re so tired it won’t matter.

Hope I see a sea otter or moose before I leave!

Day 32: Orlando

7.30am update: From my hotel room it seems like any other windy cyclone – but obviously Dorian is a long way off coast. My flight has been changed twice, and right now is due to fly out at 6pm to get to Toronto by 11ish. I miss my ongoing flight. That’s assuming Orlando airport opens today. Watch this space.

Day 32 – Orlando

Having a quiet time of it riding out hurricane Dorian here in Florida. One entire channel devoted to watching the slow track of the storm – breakfast this morning, dinner in restaurant last night, tv screens keep up the momentum in case you forget.

Best thing: my room is the most spacious I’ve been in, the plane seemed fairly empty and I have NEVER gone through customs so fast, not even in NZ. I think I was 7th through, they took one look at passport, smiled and asked where I was going, wished me well and I was out of there – huh!!??

It has given me a day to linger in a time warp between where I need to be (Canada) and where I was (UK). And to consider the vast cultural differences most obvious – (and I love the UK!). My bed is one of two vast kingsize beds with soft mattress toppers and four pillows each. There is a fridge, microwave, coffee machine and pods, spacious bathroom. Restaurants within walking distance (not usual to have sidewalks). I’ve just left the Gatwick hotel which – to be fair – was not as good as the one in the terminal I stayed at last time. This time at Gatwick my bed was so narrow the pillow slid off a couple times, I had to crawl over toilet to squeeze into shower, but there was a kettle and tea bags.

I feel like just stepping out on American soil I can flex my limbs and stand up straight. There must still be bruises on my head from the low lintels and ceiling rafters that I didn’t see coming in UK. I’ve climbed up more narrow steep staircases than I can count, often with my bags, and crossed my fingers as I’ve sat on tiny toilets in awkward spaces. BUT – and it’s a big but – (yes! My butt too – don’t go there!) – we LOVE Britain because it has kept our history alive. My history – only the last few generations of my family were in the southern hemisphere – and the history of many Aussies, Americans and Kiwis is tied up in the UK, and I can return to that land and picture exactly how much of it looked for hundreds of years, give or take a house or two. The museums!! The literature! The castles and churches! I could go on and on. The little inconvenience of a lost pillow or having to constantly give way on tiny one-lane roads is nothing compared to the abounding joy of experiencing a land so steeped in wonders.

Now I am enjoying the lavish excesses of a generous and immense country, and grateful for them, and forgoing my love of a good cup of tea, but I am still fondly remembering the marvellous trip along the country lanes of England and Scotland. So many warm, funny and lovely people have welcomed me in my travels. Thank you so much!

I am spread lavishly on my bed gnawing at a bagel and with one eye watching the news and with the other the view from my 6th floor window. It’s a bit like the waiting room between worlds. I’m coming back here in 10 days to ‘do’ the adventure parks and go up to Jacksonville. God bless America!

Day 29 – 31 Off to Florida

My last few days in Bournemouth were a very happy mix of tripping to Dorchester, the New Forest, with friends. I saw Arthur Conan Doyle’s grave, befriended wandering horses, walked the thatched houses of Milton Abbas, and the last evening a whole bunch of us got together for dinner, games and skyping Auckland.

Now I am awaiting my flight to Orlando, FL which I was unable to change. Should be interesting flying in to a category 5 hurricane. In two days I fly to Canada from Orlando – I hope – and head to Nova Scotia with my friend Nancy. And before you ask, yes, I did try all available flight options. I’m not worried.

Until the other side …

Day 28 – Bournemouth and New Forest

Day 28 – Bournemouth and New Forest. First off a coffee from Peer Kaper! Today Nicole Rosine Henderson Schmidt took me to Minstead where we found another literary hero – Arthur Conan Doyle – buried in the churchyard beneath a huge oak tree. A curved pipe sat against his headstone.

After contemplating the delightful little village with its wandering cattle and horses, we set off for Lyndhurst and the grave of the real Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame, except that she will forever be in wonderland for me due to the line of traffic leading in to town.

Instead, Nicole and Delphi the labrador and I headed for Burley where the promise of Dorset Applecake awaited us.

Found an outside table and the promised cake was all it should have been. Even Delphi got some doggy treats on a plate from waiter.

All in all a successful outing.

Day 26 – Bournemouth

It was Anna’s birthday today so I took her over to the market town of Wareham – where the River Frome slides past and a busy kayak and boat hire business is doing very well indeed. Anna wanted a kayak, and I’ve enjoyed two previous trips here, and so we found ourselves gliding out into the current on the top of sit on plastic kayaks for an hour.

Perfect for the tail end of the heatwave that came suddenly upon the lower British isles over the last few days. Never have I been so happy to sit in a pool of water and be mere centimetres from the dark depths of the current.

After an hour we glided on to the pier and I gracelessly found my legs again and the two of us changed into dry clothes in the public toilets nearby.

Not much further along the road we found a new cafe which broke from tradition – NOT serving cream teas, soup, or sandwiches, instead offering smashed avocado on wholemeal bread with other toppings and their own wholesome smoothies. Delicious!

Anna’s Mum and niece were keen to join the birthday revelries and so we drove to the stately home of Kingston Lacy where we picnicked on strawberries and sipped champagne. Then we perused the four floors of this interesting ancient home, full of copious paintings (Titan, Van Dyck, Rubens, Brueghal) and artefacts, and richly decorated. There are gardens and extensive grounds as well but I’ll have to leave them for another trip.

Tonight I’ve caught up with two more beloved women who live nearby: Silke and Natalie, and am ready to face another, cooler, day in Bournemouth tomorrow.

Good night all.