We're now in the Premier Inn, Heathrow. There's three Premier Inns here. We're not in the one we originally booked with. The taxi driver took us to the wrong one. But they've transferred the booking and we're all set up here instead.

Singapore was cloudy and not too hot. Which is good, because we planned quite a bit. We did the River Safari on the first day. Just for the morning. Well, that was the plan. We decided to get lunch back at the hotel. There was a long queue for the taxi, and no taxi. So we got the bus to the train station instead. Except we went the wrong way, and ended up doing a tour of Singapore trying to get back home again! It was 3:30 by the time we got lunch.

Did the zoo and the night safari on the second day. They're all in the same area, so you can walk from one to the other. Deliberately didn't get to the zoo until after lunch, which was just as well because it was another long day. The night safari starts at 7:30pm, and everyone piled out of the zoo and round the corner to join the queue. There's a show at the start, and they all piled into that. So we just went the other way and had a very peaceful stroll along the paths trying to spot things in the low light.

They have a number of things I've never seen before. At the River Safari, they had a giant salamander. Huge black thing with a head bigger than the rest of it, as far as I could tell. Plus some very weird looking fish. I've now met a Binturong and a number of other peculiar creatures. And a slow loris. He was indeed pretty slow.

Met up with some our friends at the Christmas in the park, which was impressive, but again was heaving with people! Escaped to the far side of the river, and watched the light show from a safe distance. Also managed to meet up with another couple who stayed with us during the year, but by then we were all shattered, and a little queasy, so I went downstairs and chatted with them while trying to keep my eyes open. On the way back, it'll be the weekend, so we're hoping to get everyone together and meet up properly.

Nice hotel. It was on top of a shopping centre. Floors 1 to 6 were the shops. Floor 7 was the restaurant and pool. Floors 8 to 24 was the hotel. Two different lifts, and there was another hotel on the block, so you had to pick the right ones! Had issues with the washbasin though. The tap, when fully open, gave a delicate sprinkle. The plug didn't seal well, so the maximum depth of water was about half an inch. They fixed it while we were out, so we had the luxury of a decent basin full on the last day.

We're taking it easy today, after a long flight. Rachael hasn't left the room, and has barely left the bed. I've made it to McDonalds (next door) and back.

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Managed to get here in one piece. So many things to do at the last moment. But one suitcase got left behind. As far as we can remember, it just contained some travel towels and Bronwyn's Singapore clothes. So last night we were scouring the shops looking for some cool clothes. Fortunately, it looks as if we've got everything else.

The shops here close at 10pm, and open at 10:30am. Very laid back. And plenty of action on the street. A woman dancing with veils and a small band, and lots of people. And lots of chattering in the hotel until 1:30am!

Time to get some breakfast. Today, the zoo. And the river safari. And the night safari. And probably we'll want more sleep by then!

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T minus 2 
Nearly there. Our cleaner arrived, and spent six hours with us cleaning and clearing. The kitchen looks almost perfect. Now we need to keep it there for 36 hours without the resulting vacuum sucking it all back in again. I gave her the best potatoes from the kitchen (another couple of kg), since nobody else is going to use them, and put the rest back in the soil.

Bronwyn's posted all her documents for the teacher registration. So basically all we need to do is pack the suitcases. Barring any distractions of course.

Found three hundred emails in my inbox this morning. All the servers had gone down. So I spent several hours (and a trip to visit them) trying to sort out what happened and why. Hopefully it won't happen again tonight. I'd better check first thing...

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T minus 3 
Bronwyn is finished. All her learning stories typed up and printed. Nearly lost one this afternoon - the file was on the USB drive and got corrupted. She wasn't happy. But fortunately it was in the old Word format, which meant I could open the thing in Notepad and found all the text at the top. She's spotted a mistake in another document, so once that's fixed she can get the lot couriered to Wellington.

The second carol concert at a different elderly home went reasonably well. Lost the guitars at one point because they had a different set of verses. Lost the trombone twice due to a sneeze. But otherwise, it all went smoothly. We can put the carol sheets away for next year.

Did some more work tidying the garden, and then off to the brass band Christmas dinner. The next Christmas dinner will be a more traditional English one. I've had enough barbecues and rice salad. I haven't seen any turkey yet.

Spent a while tidying the house. Our cleaning lady arrives early tomorrow. It would be good if she could actually reach the places she needs to clean.

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T minus 4 
OK, so it's already T minus 3, but I didn't get a chance yesterday!

Fortunately, it was an ideal day for washing. Got four loads done, throwing in some clothes to take on holiday. Spent an hour weeding the veggie garden, and then dug up more of the potatoes. This year we've done really well for vegetables for once, but we won't get the chance to eat them! So I've got 6kg of potatoes to put in the food parcels at church. There's at least another 8kg still underground, possibly ten, and plenty of carrots coming online later.

Spent another hour wrapping presents. Went to the family barbecue at 4pm. Of course, the barbecue wasn't due to start until much later, so I scoffed a few olives and set off for my next gig at 5pm. The band played carols in a primary school for a community Christmas, and most of the audience appeared to be parents of the performers! My trombone fell apart right at the end - the water key fell off. So I finished the last line with a clothes peg over the hole.

Back to the barbecue at 9pm. Masses of food left over. Bronwyn had saved two bowls full for me. Someone added three big slices of ham to the pile. Don't know if it's good to eat so much last thing at night! Had a small breakfast this morning...

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