The land of mouse 
Back home at last! Seven suitcases, three or four bags, and we had about 9 parcels waiting for us that we'd posted back. Now that they're all back in the house, I don't have to count them every step of the way!

Managed to fit in a number of jobs for my mother in the time available, and then we set off to Oxford to take the hire car back. Her ladyship had become part of our lives. The GPS spoke in a Chelsea accent, and we were constantly making fun of "Now turn LIFT!" and "You have reached your Dare-stination". It was a virtually new car, and they found a small surface scratch on it, but let us off since it may not have been visible when we picked it up.

Took the bus back to Heathrow, with the same driver who had taken us out. This time we made it to the correct Premier Inn, which was an absolutely huge place. Left a couple of suitcases in the airport to avoid carrying them to Paris and back.

We got up stupidly early to catch a taxi to catch the underground to catch the EuroStar. The taxi driver offered to take us all the way in for a reduced rate because we were so early that there wouldn't be much traffic.

The journey went smoothly apart from a few tunnels, which we blasted through at great speed and sent pressure waves down the carriages. Had to change at Lille. Here we met the SNCF announcement jingle.

In British stations, they start the announcements with a pleasant C E G. In France, it's C G G#. It was a little painful. And it repeated every couple of minutes. It was nice to escape from it at the other end!

Disneyland Paris is a world apart. The bathroom mirror had Snow White and the seven dwarves mounded into the frame. The restaurant had various Disney characters wandering around greeting people, and generally causing havoc. I had a photo with Minnie, a hug from Mickey and a bounce from Tigger. Rachael had a scare from Pinocchio. He crept up behind and covered her eyes with his hands. The result was so dramatic that he did it a couple of times more. Then we ganged up on him and he hid inside a curtain. Goofy goofed around, and generally got in the way of the waiters. I'm not sure how they cope with it!

The park has different zones with different themes. I'm amazed at the attention to detail - even the railings and pavements are themed. They must have spent ages getting the rocks to look just right, and make lifelike palm trunks out of concrete. Or were they real? The cleaners and shopkeepers were in costume, each different for each zone. The restaurants and shops each had mini themes of their own.

There's a rather silly building with a clock on it. It starts making funny noises every fifteen minutes, and then goes through a sequence leading up to the main doors opening to show the time. I watched it four times, just in case I missed something! We also met the rubbish bin. It chased people around, and tried to get Sarah to put in her half finished hot chocolate "I want the cup!". It was obviously remote controlled, but was very well done, and could quite easily use French or English just by picking up people's conversation.

Because she's got autism, Rachael had a green card. It enabled us to jump just about every queue and go on far more rides than we would have done otherwise. Rachael loved roller coasters. Unfortunately because of the green card she had to have an adult with her. Bronwyn didn't want to go on many of the roller coasters, so I had to. Now when I was seven, my mother took me on this ride in the market place. It was just a little oval track, and each end went up a couple of metres. But I was terrified, and I've never been on a roller coaster since! So, the first one at Disneyland was a case of clinging on and hoping it would stop soon. But I learnt how to brace myself effectively, and by the end I was really enjoying it. I even wanted to go on the House of Terror, but Rachael didn't, so I would have had to queue up!

There was a mix up in the booking. In December, we got an email detailing an alteration to our booking. Thought that was a bit odd, but didn't think it was anything significant. When we arrived, they looked at our details and it said we'd been there ten times before. We've never been there before. Then we went to the Wild West show on the 16th, and our tickets said the 18th. We managed to rebook for the 17th. On the 18th, we turned up in good time for the trip to Paris. Nothing arrived. They looked our name up on the system and it had a different first name. We went back to the hotel, and fortunately Bronwyn had the original email with our request on it, and the concierge realised it was all their fault. She couldn't organise a refund on the spot, but in the meantime got Sarah the Rapunzel doll she'd been hankering after, and for Rachael, an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit plush toy. Oswald was the original Disney character, even before Mickey. They tried to celebrate the anniversary a few years ago, but no longer had the copyright. So there's still a few Oswalds lurking around the park, but strictly limited edition!

It was cold. I made full use of gloves and beanie. Some days it barely went above freezing. But we had no rain. In fact, we've had very little rain at all!

We made it back to London, and back to the same Premier Inn again. The day after, there was a power cut, and half the building was out. Our room was fine, but it was cold and chaotic downstairs. I got the two suitcases back, and then we headed into London for a day trip. Spent a long time in the Hamleys toy shop. They've got all sorts of stuff there, including a vacuum racing car that can run upside down. Eventually managed to escape, and continued on the Big Bus tour. You get three different views of the houses of parliament, but you only see Buckingham palace over a corner of the wall, and it was dark by the time we got there.

Very cold on the way home. All the puddles were solid. Tried to smash through one but it was obviously frozen right through.

So finally we headed back to Singapore. Didn't do so much this time apart from a little shopping, and dinner with (some of) our friends there. Plus a trip to Wild Wild Wet (or is it Wet Wet Wild?), which is a big water park with slides, a river loop, a wave pool and a huge bucket that empties every ten minutes or so. Plus quite a few other things.

So now we've not only got jetlag. We're also rather sunburnt!

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