|Caroline getting pretty close to deer at Windosr|
After our roadtrip round France, Caroline and I visited family in England. For both of us, this was a time of happiness at seeing loved ones we hadn't met for 3 years. Mixed with this was the grief of having relatives die since our last visit to England.
|Wildboarclough, in the foothills of the Pennines|
|Sunset at Cat and Fiddle Pass|
|Reflections of Castleton in the Peak District|
We first headed north to Cheshire where Caroline was born and spent close to a week with her family. Cheshire is a beautiful county (except for the Merseyside parts of Leigh and St Helens) which borders Wales, touches the foothills of the Peak District, and has the walled city of Chester as its capital. Caroline's Mum lives near the railway dominated town of Crewe, which in itself is not the prettiest place in the world, but the countryside around is great, and we spent some time in the historic town of Sandbach, which has recognisable history tracing back to Saxon times.
|Saxon grave markers at St Mary's, itself a 12th Centruy Church|
|The Old Black Bear, a 17th Century pub in Sandbach|
We chose to go for a drive into the Derbyshire Peaks, a beautiful part of England. This was the sort of thing Caroline and I did when we lived in this part of the world. The beauty of the Peaks, and the belonging that resonates from the stone wall town and villages makes the Peak District a special place.
From Cheshire we drove to Hampshire where my family are based. My extended family is bigger than Caroline's and we struggled to see everybody, and even those we saw our time was spread pretty thin. For me though, the poignant issue was the absence of my Dad. It was indeed a strange experience to walk into my childhood home and him not to be there. He was never short of laughs, smiles and hugs, and wished to see those around him happy. I think his greatest wish to was to be outlived by his wife and children, and even though he reached the age of 90, I can happily say his wish came true.
|Autumn colours shining through at Windsor Great Park|
|Windsor Castle at the end of the Long Walk|
As well as visiting family, Caroline and I also managed a day out in Windsor. Besides visiting the town, we walked through the Great Park with deer roaming around. Lunch in a 17th Century pub topped off our fill of things historic which started about a month before in Amsterdam, and wended its way through France and England.
|Outside Windsor Castle Queen Victoria stood as the longest serving English monarch until days before this photo was taken, when Elizabeth II broke that record|