We Dared Not Blink

I am always ready to say ‘yes’ to adventure and when my brother in law, Frans, a Dentist by profession who has repaired more teeth than he has pulled, has reinstalled thousands of smiles and who will have you in fits once his jokes start flowing, suggested a boat trip on the canals of Southern France, and a visit to Carcassonne, an ancient fortified French town, that is a bucket list visit, I just had to say, yes!

Apart from the 7 day Canal du Midi adventure on a cabin cruiser, we also did a whirlwind tour of Paris, cramming so much into two days, then via bullet train we flew through rural France at 300kph to Carcassonne and returned via Narbonne at the end of our immersion in the Canal du Midi! The stories of that journey are never ending and we discovered Narbonne to be a jewel, which is hardly ever mentioned in hard core travel mags!

We Dared Not Blink Carcassonne

1 Allow a least a day to ‘do’ Carcassonne! A medieval French Fortress town, in the Occitanie region with Roman Empire heritage!

After the French leg, we left the others and Linda and myself added 4 days in Britain where, after rediscovering London’s Underground, we spent the first evening and morning with Kami, who has become like a daughter to us, in her very smart pad in Wimbledon, SW19 and the next three days and nights with Davina and Alan Bird at their villa in Monington, Fir Toll Rd, Mayfield, East Sussex. We’d been threatening to visit Davina and Alan for many years! Tuesday was jam packed with, the London Eye, a walk past the Houses, the Abbey, a wrapped up Big Ben, a glass in the dungeon of the Westminster Arms, the Birdcage Walk, Buckingham Palace, Nelson and the Lions, the Hippodrome for a meal, then we were blown away at the Aldwych Theatre by Adrienne Warren and the cast of Tina, missed the train to Frant from Charing Cross, taxied to Frant from Tunbridge Wells at midnight, arriving home to collapse and scheme the next day well after the bewitching hour! The next day was a meal at the Griffin Inn and onward to Beachy Head and back home to snacks and glasses in the Stables, (Alan’s man cave!) Phew!

Echoes Across The Valley

We’d threatened to visit over the years

But we, sadly, had other troubles and cares

True friendships grow, not in each other’s purse

But in touch, though distant, you manage to nurse

So great to see two friends in that loving embrace

About time here we greeted, face to face

Then as the stories start flowing in Tunbridge Wells

Over a meal and a glass there is so much to tell

Then after we’d squirmed through the roads so narrow

Dodging the postman, foxes, squirrels and sparrows

Into the Stables we were welcomed to another glass

Chocolates, snacks and liquor, reserved for the top brass

With the man of the house working in Chile

We tjorrelled and heard, all about Megan and Harry

The following day planned pretty much to the tee

We said our goodnights over tea and coffee

Next day, at the precise time set out

We started the car and were out and about

Onto a train at a village named Frant

Carrying no luggage, we’re absolved from a pant

Approaching Waterloo station, we see a structure t’ sky

Lo, behold and begorrah, it’s the London Eye

Perched on a jetty, defying gravity and fact

A wheel of steel and bubbles, doing a balancing act

We Dared Not Blink London Eye and the girls

2 The Girls, the River Thames and the London Eye from Westminster Bridge

We cast fate to the wind as, impervious to fear

Into the module climbed the three Musketeers

Shards, Houses, the Abbey and even Big Ben

Sights so amazing, cause any’ to pen

Such lovely trinkets at the Abbey’s shop

But deposit my rubbish they certainly would not!

Understandably, the shop staff, were gruff and obscure

Some of us remained pleasant and demure

After a glass in the dungeon of the Westminster Arms

Got the girls moving with the back of my palms

Renaming Monington became the latest rage

As we discovered a Walk named the Birdcage

At Buckingham Palace, She was too busy to chat

Taking an afternoon nap, and that’s that

With our eye on the clock we headed then to The Square

A hello to Nelson who’s present, year after year

We Dared Not Blink Nelson

3 Horatio Nelson, at the top of his column in Trafalgar Square!

Past the Lions, St Martins, travelling Bokkies’ home

Doubtful directions and zigzag, there’s the Hippodrome

Lobster tail, rump and a glass of champagne

They see me pointing Percy through the window pane

To the Aldwych we headed ‘tho not trusted to lead

My gut and my map was all I did need

To get us to Tina, her life greatly portrayed

By the passion and story, we’re all blown away

We Dared Not Blink Tina

4 Tina at The Aldwych. Prepare to be blown away!

Picked up a hitch hiker on way back to the ‘Cross

The Frant train we missed, but we don’t give a toss

Taxis are waiting for the tardy three

To find us our car, just where it should be

The road to Fir Toll, no others about

Quickly to Monington, with nary a doubt

‘Twas way beyond midnight after intensive day

Spoiling them rotten, it seems, is the way

Next morn tho’ famished, we breakfasted light

As Lunch at the Griffin was another highlight

Back from his labours was man of the house

We ordered scallops and plaice and chicken and grouse

Our lovely waitron takes pics of our group

A bottle of Viognier and it’s time for the loo

For the mess on the floor, who gets the blame

Then forgetting his wallet, it’s always the same

Fighting the traffic, amidst scathing remarks

We ease our way past ‘em, in stops and starts

Onward to Beachy Head where the Earth drops away

The four walk to the cliff top, from the edges do stay

We Dared Not Blink Beachy Head

5 Beachy Head. Be afraid! You may just get blown away here too!

From there to the Tiger for a Harvey’s or two

Out comes a wallet, belongs to guess who

Three days filled with adventure, for four friends to share

The next time we do this will be goodness knows where

 

Dan Varoy 2018 10 04

After being blown away by Adrienne Warren and the cast of Tina what better than some music from the show:

St Vincent School For The Deaf helping the hard of hearing to listen:

http://www.stvincentschool.org.za/

Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:

http://www.fulton.org.za/

Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:

http://abrahamkriel.org/

The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades:

http://www.avril.org.za/