We spent two days at Hitchin Caravans having a radio fitted to the van and
doing some housekeeping.  We had a recommendation from a couple of people there to go to the Luton Hoo hotel near Luton and also the Lavender Farm near Hitchin. Even though the lavender was past it’s prime. it still looked amazing and  there was a wonderful scent of lavender in the air and it still looked beautiful.  We picked three sunflowers from the large plot next to the lavender field to take with us.

From Hitchin we drove the hour and a half to our friends Ruth and Michael who live in the Chiltern hills near Chesham. There are lovely little laneways, avenues of trees and fields surrounding the houses dotted around the  hills. There is an abundance of wildlife there and we have seen squirrels, Glis, glis (small squirrel like animals) that invade the roof space a little like the possums at home, Muntjacs  (a small deer of Chinese origin) and badgers. We heard the owls at night which was a novelty for us.
Maurice and I both ended up with colds so it was nice to be able to take it easy and not have to drive anywhere for a few days. Michael and Ruth took us down to their boat where we had a lovely leisurely day tonking down the Thames to Cookham and back.
One evening we went to chef Raymond Blanc’s restaurant in Old Amersham (a picturesque old town) and had a lovely meal.
I did a bit of cooking which I did enjoy and made a couple of curries and a spaghetti bolognese one night.  It was nice having a large kitchen in which to cook for a change!
It was a warm and sunny day (we have had a week of good weather)so Maurice and I drove to Southend on Sea on the 4th September to get a copy of his father’s birth certificate which we may need in our quest for a British passport for Maurice if the Irish one doesn’t work.

The Irish passport cannot be  issued in Ireland for some strange reason but they will now do it in London!
We then drove on to see Leigh on Sea, a more upmarket seaside town and then we went on to have lunch with our friend Barry in Broxbourne and then back to the Chilterns. We had a dream run all the way to the east coast and back leaving at 7am and getting back at 4.30pm.

On Thursday the 5th September Michael dropped us at Chesham station and we headed into London for three days.

That evening we went to the “Busaba Eathai” Thai restaurant which was just near Selfridges and had a great meal.  We finished early so went to the Odeon cinema at Marble Arch to see a movie “About Time” and then back to the club.

On Friday we  caught the tube to Windemere St to have lunch with Alice and Dan, (a cousin of Maurice’s mother) in Muswell Hill but we ended up in Windermere St in Archway instead so hurredly caught a taxi to the correct address.   We had a nice lunch with them before Alice kindly dropped us to the tube station and  we visited Maurice’s niece where she works to pick up all the documents I needed from home which Tony and Maura had kindly organized.  From there we went on to Australia House to vote in our Federal Election.  It was very well organized and there were a lot of Australians there doing the same thing.

After buying a pair of jeans we headed back to the Club and then out to dinner with our friend David and his sister Sarah to the Pakistani Kebab house in the East end where we had a  meal including  the most delicious lamb chops.

We did want to stay on in London on  Saturday night but the club was full so we left back to Chesham (fighting the crowds on their way to the last night of the Proms in Hyde Park).  We caught the tube to Amersham and then a taxi back to the Chilterns.  I felt like cooking so made a beef bourguignon, vegetable soup and spiced plums for dinner the next night.

Maurice and I left for Aylesbury on Monday the 9th September for  my appointment with the Registrar’s office to lodge my application for British citizenship – a lengthy and drawn out interview and then the UK border agency decided that my referees couldn’t be completely retired (not stated in their guide!) so we had to call on Michael to drive to Aylesbury (luckily only 20minutes away) so that he could slightly amend his status to “semi-retired”.  It is now up to the discretion of the officer examining my application as to whether I do get or not get British citizenship.  They will send a letter of receipt within 10days and then we must wait (up to 6months) for approval or rejection, although the checking officer said that it could be sooner.  It rained all day and was quite cool which was a stark contrast to the last week of wonderful weather.

If approved I will need to attend a citizenship ceremony where I swear an oath and get a certificate and then I can apply for a passport.

We will leave the Chilterns tomorrow the 10th September to drive to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Dun Laoghaire and on to our friend Mary Eivers in Ballivor.

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