The McILroy Family

The Desert Rats

Where to Begin?


Doha-Venice (met off the plane/mad dash/collect bags/check-in/buy some entry form for USA/board flight – all in about 45min)





Yankee Stadium in the Bronx

Doha crew

Fly over

God Bless America by the Singing Sargeant

Awesome stadium and atmosphere

Grand Central Station

Wandering around midtown Manhattan



Coney Island (boardwalk, beach, the Cyclone – 85 year old wicked wooden rollercoaster)




Central Park

Empire State Building

Wandering around Manhattan



Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wandering around Manhattan




Walk over Brooklyn Bridge to South Street Sea Port

Ground Zero

Little Italy




Downtown Manhattan bus tour

Harbour boat tour (Bridges, Hudson river, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty)




Cruisy day – JFK – Barcelona (mad scene when sent though to gate without boarding pass!) – Doha


Work – meet newbies (nice)


Golf with Todd and Chris Wade


 A-L has had her hands filled with the crew.  Fortunately, several of their friends have returned so they are able to get out and about.


Golf with Todd, Kara and Wadey
A-L at Intercon. with E and R

More Photos to Follow
Avril, Anton, Taryn and Kira Bray were awesome hosts for our last couple of days in France.  They have a fantastic place, a couple of hours west of Paris.  There are seven buildings, seven horses and land galore.  The kids had a ball with the horses, down in the creek and marauding around the fields.  Avril took us to a nearby National stud farm, wher we enjoyed a display by an array of horses.

Very early Wednesday morning, we drove to the airport.  Unfortunately, I thought I had programmed in the coordinates for the airport for the GPS.  As we came out of a tunnel and saw the Arc de Triomphe directly in front of us, I realised I had only programmed Paris into the machine!  Luckily, with some reprogramming, we made it to the airport.  After flights to Bahrain and Doha, we made it home about 10.30pm.

Yesterday, I went to check my flights, only to discover that one of my flights had been cancelled (thanks for telling me!).  After thirteen hours of negotiating with Expedia and various airlines I finally sorted out my trip to NYC.  I am now going via Venice and Paris and returning via Barcelona!  Bring it.

Photos to Follow
Hove trip (Mon-Fri) - Brighton Pier (x3), beach, movies (The Amazing Spiderman), The Lanes, greasy spoon breakfasts, London day out (Horrible Histories stage show, Casino, Browns, Tower Bridge, Hamley's, Hyde Park), pubs...

Harry and I enjoyed an awesome trip to the Coull residence.  Chris, Claire and Davey were wonderful hosts.

Back in France it was padellos, parks and fun with Mum.

The last few days have been fairly quiet.  The highlight has been the visit of Alan, Eleanor and Beth Jones.  It was great to catch up with them.  Katie and Beth enjoyed reciprocal sleep overs.

Tomorrow morning, we are heading off to Avril Bray's place, west of Paris.  Wednesday morning, it's back to Doha.  Very early Friday morning, I head to NYC. Bring it.

Tales of the Riverbank

Mike dropped Harry and I off at the train station in Niort, at 6am on Wednesday morning.  After a coffee (me), hot chocolate (Harry) and pano chocolate (Harry), we boarded the TGV and sped off to Paris.  Less than two and a half hours later, we were in a taxi, speeding across town to the Gard du Nord, where we made our way through customs and boarded the Eurostar.  Again, in less than two and a half hours later, we were in a black cab, making our way to Victoria station.  After lunch, we caught our train to Brighton.  There were a couple of delays due to a fire in a tunnel.  We eventually met up with Chris and Davey and made our way, after running back to find Harry’s suitcase, as he had left it on the platform, to the Coull abode in Hove.  Claire was there to welcome us to their wonderful home, which is gorgeous.  It overlooks the Sussex cricket ground, where the home team was involved in a county game.


Late afternoon, we all, along with Chris’ parents went for a walk to a local park.  Chris’ folks walked their dog, Claire cycled off for a singing lesson, Chris and I lay in the park and the boys met and chatted up a local girl!  After a roast chicken meal, Chris’ parents headed off, Claire looked after the boys while Chris and I enjoyed a great night, wandering from pub to pub, sampling the local hospitality.  We ended up in a Syrian kebab shop, where we failed to impress the shopkeepers with our tales of Qatar.

Yesterday, we headed off at lunchtime and made our to collect our barge.  After checking in and receiving all the health and safety instructions, we headed off in the late afternoon.  There were locks and swing bridges to negotiate along the way.  It was all great fun, as well as a steep learning curve for me.  By the end of the day, Captain Coull had the three mates whipped into shape.  We stopped for a pub dinner at one stage, before mooring for the night at 8.20pm, further along the canal.  The boat has two double bed and two single beds so we are living in relative comfort.  All of us are having a great time and are looking forward to the weekend on the water.


Meanwhile, A-L and the girls are having a good time back in France.  A-L has been driving without any hassles and they had a nice afternoon in Saintes park, yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, we made our way to Newbury, where we moored in the early afternoon.  It was great meandering through the middle of a town.  After a pub lunch we watched The Dark Knight Rises at a local cinema.  Early Sunday morning, we made our way back to our starting point.  We stopped for (another) lunch, and then made the decision to return the boat early so that Chris could play in a gig back in Hove.

The boat trip was awesome.  We all had a ball, messing about on the canal.

Chris’ gig was excellent.  It was stopped, at one stage so that the whole pub could watch Usain Bolt win the 100 metres at the Olympics.   

This morning, I took the boys to a local greasy spoon for a sausage, bacon and egg sandwich.  Later, we all headed to Brighton Pier, where we had a good time on the rides and the arcade.  Chris and Harry went on the Booster a 50 metre high insane ride.  Wicked!  Later, we had lunch and Chris joined up with some musical friends to entertain us with some outdoor jazz.


In France, K and R went to a festival with G&G on Sunday, while today they all went to the Castle of the Enigma, where they solved the puzzle and received their certificates. 

The Culling Fields
We enjoyed a lunchtime BBQ with David and Sue,  friends of Mike and Sylvia.  Afterwards, Mike and I took the crew trout fishing.  It was more than a culling than ever!


Very early tomorrow morning, Harry and I are off to the Coulls in Hove, via car (Mike), train (TGV), car (taxi), train (Eurostar), car (taxi), train, car (Chris).  We will be there mid afternoon.  It will be a great week.

A-L and the girls will continue to enjoy the french countryside while we are away.

Fantastic Four On Bail!
Yesterday, we met up with the Patersons for a swim, a leisurely lunch, a game of mini-putt (kids) and playng in the park at St Jean D'Angely.  All good.

Later, it was photos on the hay bale time again:


St George de Didonne
Yesterday, we enjoyed a wild and windy afternoon at the beach (St George de Didonne).


Not everyone enjoyed it quite so much!


More From France

Friday – Lunch in Saintes followed by the park.


Saturday – I took the crew to the zoo, while A-L had a clean up at home; dinner in the evening at the riverside restaurant in Taillebourg with the Patersons.


Sunday – Swimming at the local pool; lunch; park; Sunday dinner with Grandma and Gramps.


Toot Toot

Monday – pool and lunch with A-L, E, H and R followed by park in Saintes

Tuesday – Saujon slow return train to La Tremblade, followed by lunch and an afternoon exploring Brouage with the Patersons


Wednesday – Afternoon in Cognac park followed by a BBQ at G&G’s

Thursday – Quiet day (E & R to town with G&G, afternoon shopping trip, flop)


We had a quiet day.  Sylvia prepared a wonderful roast beef and yorkshire pudding meal.  Late afternoon, I took E, H and R to feed the ducks and play at the park in St. Jean D'Angely.  Even later, we all went for a walk around the village.



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