Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn in the UK (briefly out of Cyprus again)

We spent a couple of weeks out of Cyprus at the end of October/early November. No particular reason, for a change, other than to spend time with our various family members. We had a couple of weeks when not much were happening, and flights were pretty good value. 

We had been warned of cold temperatures and potential snow... but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.  Admittedly there was a lot of rain and the sky was often grey, but for our first week the daytime temperatures were in the 15-18C range.  What struck me most were the gorgeous autumnal colours.  This is something we really don't see in Cyprus, where a lot of trees are evergreen, and there's no real Autumn.

We arrived in the middle of the night at Gatwick and had booked an inexpensive Travelodge to collapse in.  On pulling the curtains in the morning, this is what I saw:

Sadly it's impossible to capture the splendour of the oranges and reds through glass on a grey day. But here's another example from a different direction:

We drove on many motorways and a variety of other roads in our 16 days, doing 900 miles in all in a rental car.  The colours were fabulous along the roadsides... but we drove by too rapidly to capture them. 

It was good to catch up with many of our family members in 'ordinary' times rather than special or sad occasions.  We still managed a few meals out and enjoyed some traditional English desserts, such as these: 

We were rather overwhelmed with the huge variety of Christmas decorations available, too: 

The prices of some of them were shockingly high.  Perhaps the recession in the UK is a thing of the past...

A week after we arrived, having driven from Sussex to Worcestershire via Berkshire, a major storm was predicted - across the South of the country.  There was a great deal of damage done, but it wasn't quite as terrible as predicted.  In the Midlands we had some high winds, making it difficult to photograph yet more Autumnal leaves: 

There was more rain than we had experienced in several years' worth of UK visits, but it was mostly quite gentle.  

I was thrilled to see rather a pretty rainbow, partly hidden behind some clouds, when we were briefly in Birmingham to see some friends: 

Then we drove further North still, to Derbyshire, where my brother took us out for a walk... not the gentle stroll around the village that we had expected, but a brisk hike across some rather attractive countryside, where we met some of the local wildlife: 

For a change, I saw a sunset rather than a sunrise: 

We did many things, enjoyed catching up with our loved ones, played games, went out for meals, and collected rather more things to return to Cyprus than we had expected.

Our final port of call was Carlisle, with our son and daughter-in-law.  When November started, the weather did turn rather chillier, and the morning before we returned to Cyprus, I saw this outside our window first thing: 

Yes, that's frost on the roofs of the cars, and quite a fog, although it dispersed later and the sun came out. 

We flew out of Cyprus with less than 20kg of luggage, and returned with 60kg of checked luggage (that's three suitcases) and rather full hand luggage too.  We got back a week ago... and although I haven't been as jet-lagged as usual, I'm only just now getting around to catching up with reviews and blog posts and everything else that is, perhaps inevitably, somewhat neglected when travelling. 

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