threekidsintow

O'Sullivan family travels and beyond

Homeward bound …

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Okay, okay so I admit that I am writing this update from home so (spoiler alert) we don’t get eaten by sharks during our time at sea … although the Force 10 storm does add a bit of excitement. However, let’s go back to where we left things, good ol’ US of A.

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We did it… we travelled from coast to coast in the 10 days we had, which meant some long days in the car.  It is difficult for us to comprehend how big the country is, and the vastness of the forests and plains we drove through.
Number of states crossed: 12 (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Admittedly, we only stopped to pee in some of these places)
Total number of miles: 3029
Number of hours in the car: 55+
Number of games of I-Spy in the car: goodness only knows.
Number of traffic jams: 2, not too bad.
Number of cars safely dropped off in time at Newark Airport: 1 (hooray!)
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After that we were on the seas again. The Queen Mary 2 is huge, over 150,000 tonnes and 1,132 feet in length. The kids have enjoyed the kids’ club on board and they had a lovely time there.
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On board were lecturers and we got to meet the really lovely Robin Petch from International Dolphin Watch and Sea Watch Foundation who spent time with our girls on deck pacing out the size of whales and dolphins and also gave up his time to be interviewed by them.  Both Aoife and Orla wrote questions which he patiently answered and explained. It is always nice to meet someone passionate about their subject. His talks were interesting and also saddening to hear how some species of whale and dolphins are still facing the threat of extinction. Thank you Robin and wife Chris, we have all talked a lot about you and your work.
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Also on board was the actress and novelist, Celia Imrie (Acorn Antique’s Miss Babs, but the kids knew her best from Nanny McPhee) and Ian Ridpath , a wonderful astronomer, as well as other interesting speakers.
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Unfortunately. check-in for the QM2 in New York was nothing short of a nightmare. Nearly 3 hours of standing in a snaking queue. The kids did really well despite this, but it was not a pleasant experience at all and must have been even less so for the many elderly guests. The lady checking us in made a mistake with Ian’s credit card that she couldn’t undo, which caused a further wait. Her supervisor seemed grumpy at the thought of helping her (or indeed us.)
We were then given a wrist strap for Seamus, and as all children had been required to wear them on the previous ship, I enquired whether the girls needed them too. The shrug indicated that she did not know or perhaps, did not care.  As these wristbands are for emergencies showing which muster station/lifeboat the child goes to, I asked who might know. (I felt very British and school ma’am like)Despite asking more staff on the way, it was only when we enrolled into kids’ club on board that they actually knew and said the girls did need one and issued them straight away.
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The ship itself was nice, the food was very good, however many of the staff were not as friendly or attentive as we had hoped (and even many of the guests hardly spoke to us) meaning that to be honest, I just didn’t feel at all welcome during my time here. Some of the staff were nice, and we thanked them personally and made a point to acknowledge their good work via the main office too. However, we witnessed supervisors berating their staff teams in public and some very unhappy looking workers. That’s sad considering the setting and how it presents itself as “exceptional…, sumptuous…. first class”.
We spent our time after 6pm restricted to decks 6 and 7 out of (in their words on their website and reminders in the daily programme we received on board!) “respect for other passengers who want the true liner experience.”   Tip: if you go traveling, remember to pack a tuxedo and cocktail dress or you’ll be watching a lot of TV in your room!  Check out was equally rubbish, but I shall save my rant for TripAdviser.
Ian – yes, the snobbery of the ship was a pain, but I wouldn’t have crossed the Atlantic on any other vessel.  The QM2 is a purpose built transatlantic liner and those waves would have virtually sunk any other ship (in my mind anyway), but not this lady.  I spent a long time (in the aforementioned queue) talking to an engineer about how the ship is made of steel and constructed to displace the water at its bow. Look at this photo:
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The storm lasted for a few days and the decks were closed off during that time due to the very strong winds. Aoife was a little unwell but only for a short while and soon was back to her usual self.
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We arrived in Southampton and travelled easily back home to Broadstairs. We are now back in our house (our tenants let us down – but Ian’s view is everything happens for a reason.) We are still needing to unpack our worldly possessions and Ian and I are not sure what our next steps will be. (Well, the first one was to call off the threatening court letters from the TV Licensing regarding our empty house. Welcome home number 9!)  We were greeted and treated by our lovely friends from next door and look forward to catching up with others too.  Even as I type, close to midnight, a welcome home card has come through the door 🙂
The O’Sullivan family trip has brought us back to Broadstairs for the time being at least – but it is a lovely place to be and a lovely place to come back to.
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Author: threekidsintow

We are Caroline and Ian. We recently undertook an adventure, packing up everything and travelling with our three children. Our blog started as a way of capturing our memories of the preparation and interesting aspects of our journey. After a twist of fate, we're back in the UK much sooner than expected so who knows what's next for us now we're back home with our three kids in tow!

4 thoughts on “Homeward bound …

  1. Welcome home O’Sullivan family !
    What an amazing time you have had ! Looking forward to seeing Seamus at Toddler group !
    Xx

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    • Seamus has talked a lot about playgroup … he would have joined you the second we arrived in Southampton if he could. He’s looking forward to playing there again soon and sends his love. Hope you are well and have a lovely half term break xxx

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  2. I hope you had a good time so far.I can’t wait to see you again at school Orla .l have missed you lots. There is a new girl in the class called Erin.We have been learning about fair trade .😃

    From Abigail V🤓

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