As we started to fly over Australia from west to east I realised we had another 4 hours to go. Actually, the last hour seemed to go on for ever. I had cleared up all the papers I had been reading, put away the inflight socks, checked immigration paperwork with passport and watched the clouds drift by under us.
At last, we were heading for Sydney airport and we landed! Now a fairly lengthy taxi to our stand. So, this is Australia!
Customs and immigration were interesting at the end of this long long flight. We had to queue up to have all our handbaggage x-rayed in case we tried to smuggle any form of foodstuff into the country. Even to the extent that our son was asked if he had been near a farm in the last few days. He replied, yes, and then had to produce his trainers for inspection. The guy drew them up close to his face to get a better view. Now you have to remember, the trainers had been washed in a washing machine prior to leaving UK so were spotless. This fact was pointed out after which the official condescended to say that they would do!
Next the queue for a taxi which although long did move along pretty quickly. We loaded our bags and got into the car. Told the driver where we wanted to go and off we went. 5 minutes down the road the guy turns around and asks if we know where we are supposed to be going and gets quite upset when we explain we are total strangers in his country and have never been before - apart from the fact we were tired!
He would not have it. After all he was only a taxi driver and was not expected to know everything. After numerous attempts to look it up in the atlas he actually decided it might be useful to ask someone. The hotel into which we were booked as the only one in this prestigious area! Eventually we found it. All we now wanted was to check in, meet up with the guys/family and have a couple of hours sleep.
The hotel, Watson Bay Hotel/Doyles, was great and I would highly recommend it. The breakfast was magical. Imagine a buffet of fresh fruit consisting of mango, pawpaw, pears, apples, grapes to be followed by cereal. Then smoked salmon, cold meats, cheese,toast, croissants accompanied with tea/coffee. Set you up for the day ahead.
Well, now we were set to go to sleep. The men were going for a suit fitting in the afternoon whilst I was going to go for a walk and then meet up back at the hotel for a well earned Australian glass of beer - or tinnie! - but more on that later.
Family history 2 – Charles Hopkins 1810 to 1840
4 weeks ago