So the time had come.  People had accepted we were leaving quite early on, thankfully.  Actually, everyone we had told had had the same response, ‘go for it’, ‘that’s wonderful’, ‘that’s fantastic news’. We knew we were lucky, another chance of a life time. But there was a lot of jibs and jibes about Australian being full of poisonous spiders and poisonous snakes (for those not knowing I have been bitten by a badger, bitten by an adder and hospitalised, and finally bitten by a dog and left needing over 100 stitches to my left leg. I’m threw being bitten by things, folks!).

And so on Sunday, 15th May 2016, we left Cuddington for the final time and headed off to Stuart’s parents’ home 45 minutes away, for 2 nights and a party.  Stuart’s parents had arranged for some of the family to come over for the afternoon or evening. Stuart had been able to see Jon, Annie and Sam earlier in the month on one of his visits to Bristol, so he had pretty much seen all of his family prior to us leaving.  Carmel, Duncan, Jenni, Louis, Beccie and finally Noah were to come over on Monday evening.

I think it was only Tom and Kathryn that I had not managed to see in the time leading up to us leaving.  David had been up several times in the preceding weeks, and we had been over to see Sophie, Sam and even managed to meet Olivia for the first time.  And we were due over at mum and Patrick’s for lunch on the day we were due to leave the country.

Monday was to prove to be a very busy day.  We had established that we needed another large and another cabin sized suitcase and so first thing in the morning we had to get over to somewhere in Manchester to buy them.  Then we had an appointment at the bank.  Nowadays you have to have a talk about downgrading your account and sign all sorts of forms and so we needed to visit a particular bank at a certain time to get our account over to a free account.  New cards would be issued but we could sort that out.  We knew the score on this front and had already changed our driving licences over to Stuart’s parents’ address several weeks ago.  Ironically we had been able to change the address on our accounts much more easily.  Go into any branch, show new driving licences and sorted.  Downgrading the account meant we had to watch several videos and sign various forms…

Monday was also to prove to be very busy.  The luggage needed sorting, stuff had to be left behind and weight limits adhered to.  As it was to turn out only the hold luggage was actually weighed at any point in our flights.  We had  3 flights in total despite the main flight being down as a ‘no stops, just refuelling in Dubai’. More on that later.

Monday soon vanished and I was glad that we were able to get everything done.  But we had realised one thing a few days earlier, a rather critical piece of paper, the V5, that car registration document you need to sign to hand over your car to someone else….  It was packed safely away with all the other documents we had believed that were not needed (all the others were not, but this one was…) it was in a shipping container somewhere on an ocean heading to Australia, hopefully…  Stuart ordered another one and changed the agreed to his parents home…  Signatures, well who needs those?

The evening was put aside for another round of goodbyes and a family meal with Carmel, Duncan, Jenni, Louis, Beccie and Noah all coming over to say their goodbyes and to collect the car. They we purchasing it off us and it was hard seeing it go.  It was strange because that was the last bit item we owned gone.  It had been the same when we had tried to cycle around the world.  Seeing the car to had made it ‘real’ and this time was no different.  We were carless again and this was really happening.

Tomorrow, we fly out to Australia.