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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
On a more personal note, I have now completely retired from running my own electrical contracting business.
My wife retired at the end of February this year, so we are looking forward to spending more leisure time together, with lots of holidays planned.
We have recently returned from a nice break in Jersey, we are off to Switzerland on the 1st July for 8 days, lots of trains involved (y) , then later this year in October we are off to Japan for two weeks,
Bullitt Train journey involved, can you see a pattern forming here :)
Yesterday we booked a 24 day tour of Australia and New Zealand for the Nov/Dec 2023 (by land, rail, sea and air), which includes a 4 day trip from Perth to Adelaide, then on to Sidney on the Indian Pacific train.
In the mean time, I've just started treatment on my hands. I thought I had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, but X-Rays revealed I had no cartilage left on both my lower thumb joints, which has been causing me increased discomfort over the last couple of years, probably due to 50 odd years of using hand and electric tools. Anyway, yesterday I had the first ultrasound guided injection into the joints, and it bloody hurt I don't mind admitting, and I think I've got a pretty good pain threshold. At the moment its still very sore, but should wear off in a day or two and I'll see if it has had the desired effect. Apparently the pain relief can last for a year or so or just weeks, if its the latter, I will consider surgery to remove the bone at the base of the thumbs, but hope it doesn't come to that as it has a long recovery period. Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time on the layout, although her indoors has other ideas. But if I can combine trains with holidays, which seems to be going to plan at the moment, I think I will have a very happy retirement ;)
Regards to you all
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your kind sentiments John.
Just as a coincidence , I received an e-mail from Princess Line Cruises (who are handling the 13 night cruise element of the holiday around New Zealand) with details of excursions at the different port locations that we are visiting. One jumped out at me straight away at our first port of call Dunedin (Port Chalmers), a day trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway, so that was booked a bit sharpish :)
Although this holiday is well over a year off, several of the excursions were already well booked with one, a city tour of Wellington, only having 2 seats remaining !, which we promptly booked (y)
So another train experience to look forward to.
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lovely place Jersey. I went there 5 times through the 70's and 80's prior to migrating to Australia in the 1990's. The earlier trips to Jersey were prior to 'Bergerac' and the later trip afterwards. I believe that today, it has gone back to being the sleepy/quiet island we first knew and these days, no-one has heard of Bergerac and the 'Bureau des Etrangers'.
Battle of the Flowers was always good. And the run out to Elizabeth Castle on a WWII DUKW was interesting. Facinating place if you are interested in WWII history.
The hotel we once stayed in (Le Coei) has long gone. It was probably the largest in St Hellier at the time. No council houses I believe.


Just be aware that this part of the world is BIG. It usually takes around 21 hours of flying to get to Sydney, a few hours less to Perth. Qantas flies non-stop from London to Darwin in 17 hours with a B787 Dreamliner. It takes roughly 4.5hrs to fly from Sydney to Perth to give you an idea of the size of this place.

Clive James once said that "if a plane leaves an airport in Australia and only has two engines, it is going to the suburbs. If it has four engines, it is going somewhere".

On the run from Perth to Adelaide, you will of course, travel along the world's longest piece of straight track across the Nullabor. (Nullabor means 'No Trees'). There really is nothing but desert and scrub, but it has a beauty all of its own.
My parents have used Princess Cruises a few times and speak highly of them.

Good luck and happy travels/retirement!
Thanks Graham,
Yeah, Jersey was lovely, we were there possibly just pre season and it was not too busy, some of the excursions we went on still give Bergerac a mention. The island has a lovely feeling of a slower pace of life, and parts of it reminded me of Cornwall. Lots of shops didn't open on Sunday (y), to my wife's despair :LOL:
We stayed at the Pomme D'or Hotel right across from the harbor in St Hellier, lovely hotel, steeped in history. Due to its location it was used as headquarters for the Kriegsmarine during the occupation
Building Photograph Window Black-and-white Style

Building Black Black-and-white Window Style

Sky Cloud Building Window Tree
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Alan It's the Best thing you ever did Retiring Providing you keep your Health, Does your wife like trains if so that is fabulous. Sorry to hear about your hands not nice, Hope the treatment works for you.
Regarding the Holiday in Switzerland Don't forget to get your Swiss rail travel card from the Swiss Travel centre in London Great Service indeed ( You cannot buy them when you arrive in Switzerland.) I recomend the !st Class which gives you unlimited travel on Trains, Boats , Buses & Cable cars and the freedom to go anywhere. It might seem exspencive but buying tickets and having cash is more difficult. For reasonable food at great prices eat in the COOP usualy on the Top floors Great Restaraunts and also most of the Migro's Enjoy every minute of your time there.
Babs
Thanks Babs
We are travelling to Switzerland with Riviera Guided tours and all the rail and other travel is included in the package including narrow gauge railway to Lauterbrunnen , mountain cog railway to Kleine Scheidegg, Brienz Rothorn railway, train along the lake to Spiez then BLS railway through Kander valley to Kandersteg , then a cable car to Lake Oeschinen. Train trip to Lucerne, narrow gauge train returning back over the Brünig Pass via Meiringen along the lake to Interlaken, and a couple more linking trains.
This one is only a few weeks off now and I'm really looking forward to it. My wife isn't into the modelling side of things but she does like rail travel so we plan to do more like this.
Think I might get a copy of Bradshaws and follow Michael Portillo :LOL:
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Indeed, old age comes at a very inconvenient time of life.

I retired early at 58, almost 10 years ago now but since then bits of me have been falling off, breaking, wearing out, being bl00dy painful and silly easy jobs around the house I wouldn’t have thought twice about have been taking ten times as long to do if at all possible, enjoy as much as you can while you can.
Thanks David,
I'll be 71 at the end of this year and all things considered, I think I'm in pretty good shape 🙏 apart from the hands issue, which hopefully will be a lot better in a couple of weeks. I know plenty of work colleagues, younger than me that aren't so fortunate and a couple that are sadly no longer with us, so I intend to make the most of the time I have left (y)
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi David,
I will endeavor to take lots of snaps and videos of the railway adventures to share on this forum.
Glad to hear of your next knee holiday is imminent :). I have also opted for private treatment, unfortunately, due to lack of insurance ( I decided long ago the amount I was paying Bupa each month would be better off being saved and used in case treatment was needed ) and not wanting to wait for NHS, I am self funding, so the non paid Bupa subscriptions are being called upon :)
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all,
thanks for the heads up 6991.
I had the injection into my left hand this afternoon and am sure it hurt more than last week :eek: I mentioned to the doc that my right hand was a lot better than it was but still slight pain every now and then as apposed to constant ache I had in both hands. He seemed quite confident that after a few weeks it would all settle down and I'd be pain free 🙏
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Hi all,
I successfully completed a coup this week.
The wife had mentioned a short break in Barcelona (another one on the bucket list) a week or so after returning from Switzerland, so mid/late July ish.
I quickly reminded her of the potential chaos that would be ensuing at the airports in July and suggested going by train , which she was quite up for (y)
So we have consequently booked a 3 night stay. Leaving London on on the morning of 19th July. Eurostar to Paris, then TGV direct Paris to Barcelona, returning on the morning of 22nd July, reversing the journey.
Now, me being me, I will probably start looking for a TGV model to add to my "I've been on that" collection :)
Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Hi all,
Well, Switzerland was fantastic, the scenery was breathtaking at times and the trains, well, what can I say.
Unfortunately, on the day before we returned, I started feeling as though I was coming down with a cold and when we got home I did a Covid test and it came up positive immediately.
As said, it only felt as if I had a cold, but it took 6 days before I got a negative result and then we were off to Barcelona. That was extremely stressful , Eurostar was 20 minuets late, which meant our transfer time between Eurostar and TGV was reduced to 1Hr. That may seem plenty of time to get between the Gare du Nord and the Gare de Lyon, only two stops on the Metro. But when you've never done it before, knowing where to go and how to get tickets isn't the simplest of things, especially when the station staff don't seem particularly helpful.
Anyway, we made it, just, as the TGV was delayed by 20 minuets too. Once on board, first class upper level, the seats were very comfy, and once underway, we made our way to the buffet car only to be told that they had no supplies, no food, no drink.:eek: After the first stop, I noticed a couple of people coming through the carriage with bottles of water, so on going back to the buffet I found they were giving water away free. Whether it was due to being the hottest day on record, I don't know , but at every stop there was at least another ten minuet delay added, resulting in a total delay of 1hr 50 minuets, arriving in Barcelona at 11.20 pm instead of the scheduled 9.30 and we hadn't had anything to eat since a small snack before boarding the Eurostar at 10.45 am, oh, and I had a beer on the Eurostar. Needless to say, we were both starving by this time. I don't normally sing the praises of McDonald's, but I was mightily glad to see they were the only food outlet still open in Barcelona Sants station. After devouring our Big Mac, fries and coffee, McDonald's finally shut up shop a midnight, then we had a short taxi ride to our hotel, we both slept extremely soundly that night.
Barcelona was lovely, lots of sight seeing and shopping for the wife.
Return trip was less troublesome, only a 15 minuet delay on the TGV and a full buffet service, but of course, we had already stocked up with food and drink before boarding , just in case :rolleyes:
On arrival in Paris, we knew the procedure for getting back to the Gare du Nord easily and quickly, only to find Eurostar delayed by 45 minuets :mad:
Needless to say, although it seemed a nice idea at the time, I don't think we'll be doing that again :) Still not completely 100% cold wise, although improving every day, think I just need a good rest.
Anyway, here's a collage of our Switzerland trip. Unfortunately , or fortunately some might say :D, I messed up a lot of the videos, so here's what I've managed to cobble together.

Regards
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Hi Kristopher
"So go for it Alan and enjoy yourself."
Hope you have recovered now. Thanks for your comments, I know what you mean about prices everything is going up !!
I'm sure we would have been comfortable in our retirement with the savings and pensions we have accumulated over the years, but with the death of my wife's father in early May last year, she, or the Royal we, as I like to remind her :) , received an extremely large inheritance, and hence we won't have to worry about money for the rest of our lives.
It's a shame you have to loose a loved one to benefit like this, but his timing couldn't have been better. RIP Dave 🙁
Regards
Alan
 
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