Day 02: London → Bath → Penzance. Max 14ºC – Min 3ºC.
We woke up way too early this morning due to jet lag. While Little E continued to snooze on, we packed up our bags and were all ready to explore a little of the western part of London, where JMIDM reside.
The hotel’s breakfast would only be ready at 7:30 am, so we set out on foot towards the Putney Bridge, where we caught a little glimpse of today’s sunrise.
We crossed the 4-lane wide bridge and followed the Thames Cycle Route towards the other side of the bridge. Did we mention how much we loved the red London buses while we were last here in 2010?
River Thames looked much more tranquil in this part of London, embanked by endless rows of trees on both sides. For a moment, I thought to myself, this wasn’t the River Thames I knew from Central London… 😋 Well, it is still beautiful and soaked in depths of rich history no matter where it was being viewed at.
We returned to MK Hotel for our breakfast, and were pleasantly surprised with the variety of hot and cold food served. We ate to our hearts’ content and filled ourselves up with healthy fare to start the day right, since today is the day that we would be traveling the longest distance.
After breakfast, J got busy loading all the luggage we had and Little E’s pram into our car, trying to make space so that Mum and Dad could still load theirs into the same car.
While waiting for J to figure out the best configuration to place all the stuff into the car boot, Little E was busy plucking berries off the bushes found just next to our hotel. We were both attracted to the vibrant colours of the berries. They looked like tiny plump tomatoes on Little E’s palm… 😊
Once everything was strategically loaded into our car, we drove to JMIDM’s house to meet everyone! Mum and Dad had been staying there for the past week, while Shen had just arrived yesterday. We were so thankful for the trip, that we could meet again after our last family road trip in New Zealand last December. It is solely God’s grace that gave us the opportunity to do this again, to gather all 11 of us altogether from various parts of the world (Mum and Dad from Penang, us from Singapore, Shen from New Zealand) to meet JMIDM in UK.
While everyone were busy doing some last minute packing and loading up the cars, Little E was eagerly exploring Matthew’s stash of toys, and playing with Isabella and Daniella.
When we were all ready to leave JMIDM’s comfortable apartment, we made a slight detour back to our rental car company to change the child car seat for Little E because the one they provided was inadequate in safety measures, in our opinion.
There was where our 2 cars converged and we decided to stop at Bath on the way to Penzance, the western tip of UK which can be seen on the map below.
By the time we reached Bath in Somerset, UK, we were caught in heavy traffic due to the Bristol + Bath Marathon which rendered the closure of several roads across Bath and Northeast Somerset. Unfortunately, we lost track of JMIDM’s car and somehow couldn’t quite catch up with them in the hustle and bustle of the traffic jam.
Hence, we all agreed to stop by one of the beautiful gardens within Bath to have a quick bite before carrying on our journey towards Penzance.
While we were in Sydney Gardens, JMIDM and Shen were in Bath Cricket Club, which was only about 10 min walk away. We had wanted to walk south towards them, when Little E started becoming restless and cranky due to multiple factors such as fatigue from the jet lag, the long drive, hyped-up-anticipation-turned-disappointment from not being able to see her cousins, etc. It was impossible to drive towards the Cricket Club too (although it was only 2 min drive away) due to the traffic and lack of parking lots. Hence, we drove onwards to Exmouth where J had planned to visit the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (PEOC).
Several orthopaedic surgeons in this world-renowned centre helped propelled the prominence of Exeter and placed it onto the world orthopaedic map. If Little E wasn’t sleeping so soundly when we arrived at the PEOC, we would have snapped a picture of J and her in front of the centre’s name. Little E is our princess after all! 😍 Well, Princess E + her Orthopod father.
While she continued to nap, we drove on to our final destination for the day → the prize of our long travel i.e. the Edwardian Artist Country House in St Buryan, Penzance. This is the only accommodation where all 11 of us would be staying together under one roof, for the next 3 nights!
The drive to the country house was nothing short of exciting, with anticipation levels as well as suspense heightened to the zenith as we drove from daylight to nightfall, street lights to darkness as we approached the countryside where the presence of buildings were replaced by prairies and houses within were sparse and far from each other… Let’s suffice to say it would have been completely impossible for us to find the house if we didn’t have the GPS and the exact postal code of the country house.
We couldn’t keep in touch with JMIDM and Shen to confirm their whereabouts and the location of the house, because there was no reception in the suburbs. So imagine the huge relief when we spotted JMIDM’s car parked right outside the stone house by the time we arrived! It was just so great for the entire family to reunite again after such a long day… At dinner, we all gobbled up the spaghetti bolognese that Mum lovingly made for us all. We loved how everyone sat around the large wooden table, said grace, ate heartily together, and engaged in conversation exchange.
Before we began the trip, I made a request to Dad and Mum to have daily devotion, and the thought was well received by members of the family. Praises to God! Although Little E and I were absent tonight because we turned in early, J attended and later shared with me what was discussed at the devotion. May the Lord bless all who were present.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this great reunion that You have granted us so graciously in Your perfect will and timing. We want to praise You for giving us the health and fitness, financial means, and Your faithful provision for each day to allow us to enjoy this very much anticipated road trip this year. Thank You Lord for giving us a wonderful family with the similarities we adore and the differences we enjoy; the wisdom of age and experience, and the energy and vibrancy of youth. We thank You so much for the peace that You accorded to us this day, and for this amazing country house in which we dwell. We pray that Your love above all will unite us, and also overflow to one another throughout this blessed time we have together as one unit. In the precious name of Jesus our Lord and Saviour, we pray all these. Amen.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 14:4-7 ESV)