Us In A Nutshell

Hi, our names are Darren and Mandy.

In December I happened to mention to my friends Sue and Annette that we were going travelling and they insisted that we needed to write a blog so our friends and family could keep up with what we were doing. Sue and Annette, look at what you’ve inflicted on the world, shame on you!

My husband has come up with some interesting ideas during our marriage, as a result we’ve renovated a cottage (which we later found out was originally part of the Dorking workhouse), we built four houses and during that time lived in a decrepit caravan and an even more decrepit house.

Another of his ‘ideas’ involved him vacating to Florida for five weeks to learn to fly (which gave us an excuse to tour round Florida where we saw manatees and went fossil hunting in the Peace River, DeSoto with our children) and on his return he built a taildragger plane with his friend Brendon (whom he met in Florida at the flying school) but not before he and our youngest son built a nice warm hanger in the garden to build it in while we were all freezing in said decrepit house!

We have three lovely grown up sons, Morgan, Austyn and Gethan who also have the travel bug.

Over the years our family have been spread worldwide but it’s given us the opportunity to visit lots of interesting countries and places with our sons when they were young, accepting invitations from my mum, Maureen, and step-father, Brian, whose job meant they travelled the world.   Along with invitations to visit my sister Debbie and brother-in-law Kevin in South Africa we’ve been lucky enough to be able to explore S.A. with our children too whilst having the added bonus of letting them get to know their cousins Lauren, Keiran and Shannon and Lauren’s lovely husband, Dane.

We’ve explored the U.K. with our children, often accompanied by Darren’s parents Malcolm and Shirley, but although we had the chance to go to Spain to visit my dad, Tony, and step-mother, Sylvia, while they were having adventures of their own, we unfortunately missed out on that opportunity.  Darren and I visited Salou in the early 1980’s, our first overseas trip together, and spent most of the week in the hotel bathroom with food poisoning so we have bad memories of our very limited time in Spain.

As a student my friend Zoe and I did a three week whistle stop tour of Europe which was very basic (living on trains,  hostels and at the beginning and end of the trip with kind friends of Zoe’s parents in the Black Forest, Germany and South of France) but Darren had started work by then so he couldn’t join us.

He’s watched our oldest son Morgan take a gap year in Australia, our middle son Austyn has just begun his gap year(s) in Australia before travelling the world and our youngest son Gethan has been out to Indonesia for a trip of a lifetime so Darren decided it was his turn for an adventure and time to explore Europe and I’m pleased to say he wanted me to join him.  If Spain is included I hope we won’t get food poisoning this time.