by Gary Hawkins, December 15, 2015
With a certain degree of trepidation, we checked in at the British Airways desk for Xaria's first flight. We were going to visit my parents, my brother's family, and the rest of the Hawkins clan. Although the flight was direct, it would take a little over 10 hours!
Fortunately, our fears came to nothing; Xaria dealt with the flight like a champ. She entertained herself playing peek-a-boo with our fellow passengers. She even had time to do a few in-flight stretches.
Mum and Dad were thrilled to meet Xaria for the first time. Although we did not know it at the time, sadly this would be the only trip Xaria got to meet Mum as she passed in May 2017.
We had a fun time with my brother, Andrew, his wife, Luan, and their two children, Justin and Ezra. One evening we all had dinner at a local pub, The Toll Gate; the Steak and Ale pie was scrummy!
After doing the rounds with the family, we had time to enjoy a little of the English Countryside. The weather was nice for November. We spent a pleasant day in Bath with our friends Ian and Helena, who were kindly hosting us for the first week of our trip.
We spent the second week of our vacation staying at a rustic barn conversion on a working livestock farm; we booked through Airbnb. Located in the village of Ston Easton, the studio apartment had a king size bed, and our wonderful hosts, Victoria and Tom, made a cot available for Xaria; it was an ideal place to stay with a baby.
Relaxing with Xaria
During our stay at the farm, we joined Ian and Helena for cream teas at Ston Easton Park. An English country house built in the 18th century, it's a Grade I listed building and the grounds are listed Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The 36 acres of gardens and grounds are immaculately maintained and the cream teas are to die for!
Strolling Down By the Lake
Enjoying Afternoon Cream Tea
On another fine afternoon, when back in my parent's village of Holt, we took a drive up to Great Charfield Manor. We were hoping to look around the stately home, but instead found it was being used to film a new episode of the English TV drama Poldark.
All too soon our trip to England was over, and we found ourselves once more at Heathrow Airport. Xaria's first trip abroad had been a smashing success; so had our first Airbnb stay.
To learn more about Airbnb and other sharing economy accommodation please check out Gary's book, A Life Redesigned.