Ok, i know this is really slack, to lodge a post on the websiteÂ months and months after everyone thinks the site is inactive……Â butit is very exciting this week becauseÂ Jack and I have just finished editing the manuscript of the book and it is now with the designers….. and i have been getting a steady stream of calls from people asking if our book will be out for this Christmas… and it won’t i am sorry to say.
so the designersÂ will make it look wonderful and then it goes off in early 2010 to get printed, then a few months for that and shipping and then distribution to warehouses and hey…. presto… it goes to the shops!
the title is ‘From Here To There’ and it is a bit like a scrap book with gazillions of photos and memorabilia and stuff that tells the stories as well as our words….
so thanx for hanging in there and keep us in mind for Easter…. orÂ Fathers Day… or next Christmas !!!!
Alright, I give in. So many peopleÂ have complained that we have dared not update the blog [to London and then home] I have succumbed. So yes, we went to London and now we are home in Melbourne. Well, JonÂ and Jan are home.Â Jack starts work in Paris next week and is staying on in France for a while.
We drove from Paris to Normandy, stayed a few nights around Bayeux and caught the ferry from Caen. Driving on the right side of the road after five months of strenuous caution was a relief. Roundabouts posed a problem for a day or two as I continued to think I needed to keep my drivers door in the gutter and my passenger out in the middle of the road. Not appreciated by Jan or other drivers!
After a few nights in Devon, London was a quick trip away, via Stonehenge. We paraded around London for a day with the car, posing for snapshots at Westminister and Big Ben [allowed by the anti-terror police] and Buck Palace [not allowed by the police]. Then Ping the unstoppable was steam cleaned for Australian quarantine and handed over to the shipping people who have popped Ping in a box and sent him on his way to Melbourne.
Saying goodbye to Jack was extra hard, and now we are home we miss him even more.Â Life - and work - resumes. The book contract says I am supposed to have a finished manuscript ready in an unrealistically short time. So no more on-line, energy and attention needed elsewhere.
Thank you all - and thank you again -Â for the amazing response we got to a blog that never expected to achieve a fraction of this notoriety or attention. It has been a blast from beginning to end and I pinch myself every day to make sure it was all real.
I would love to pop some photos of London or Paris online but there has been an unfortunate clash of software updates and it is notÂ possible to just whack them on anymore. Sorry, I have spent hours trying to make it work and finding out the reason it does not.
2009 welcomed from Paris, where Jan and I are tucked away fighting a lergy of the most ferocious sort. So far Jack has been immune, thank goodness. We have managed a few little wanders out into the neighbourhood, as far a the pharmacy [!!!] and some local eateries. A miserable way to spend time in Paris, I assure you all. Jack is having a ball catching up with friends, local and tourists and polishing his francais.
Despite the flu, we enjoyed a magnificent Christmas dinner - dips, olives, prawns, snails, oysters, soup, turkey with veg, salads, puddings, ice creams, cheese, chocolates…. and those marzipan fruits that make your teeth hum. Didn’t eat again for days. Now we need to stop coughing long enough to get back into Ping the car and make it to London some time in the next week.
35Â 000 ks from Melbourne by road Â is Thessaloniki in Greece. 25 000ks is Kashgar in Western China.
Jack has taken more thanÂ 8 000Â photos
We have averaged 14 litres of diesel per 100ks, but can get it down to 12 if we go slower…
Cheapest diesel is Iran, where we paid Aust$3 for 165 litres. That is not a typo. $3 for 165 litres.
Most expensive has been Turkey at A$2.60 equivalent a litre
Two punctures, one in Mongolia and the other in No Mans Land on the Torugart PassÂ between China and Kyrgyzstan, in the snow.
No mechanical breakdowns or failures at all. Burglar alarm switches and the CD player have broken. One driving light bulb has blown. Two wheels buckled and repaired imperfectly, just as well we went for steel instead of alloy wheelsÂ which would have cracked or split ages ago. So we have a wonky spare and a slight front end wobble at speed until at least one wheel can be replaced.
To those who thought we chose the wrong car….Â we didn’t.Â I could say a whole lot more about this but it could be misunderstood as marketing. To the nice people from the Land Rover Club who wrote on their chatroom that I was an idiot and knew nothing about cars and was heading for disaster, sorry to disappoint you.
Nothing has been stolen except Jacks notebook and sunglassesÂ pickpocketed in Thailand. Nothing lost except two guidebooks I can not find which could stillÂ beÂ buried deep in the car !!!!
The biggest waste of money was buying tickets for the plane to Dili and then two days later being offered a ride on the cargo ship. Not refundable.
Equipment not used includes the EPIRB [but good to have it, you do hope you never need it] and binoculars. Various and extensiveÂ tools carried and thankfully not used, but again you have to have them.Â Tyre repair kit not touched….Â you can get tyres repaired everywhere we have been. So that well travelled kit will go onto eBay !
The budget… well, a work of fiction and I have not dared look at the totals and will not until we get home because that would spoil the last bit of the trip.
And more thanÂ 1,400 comments on this blog…. and well over 500 000 visitors to the site. We never thought we would get one tenth of that.
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