From the Blog

 So I decide to log onto Internet Explorer to read the last 20 or so e-mails and reply to a few of them.  But access is denied and I don't know which of his several passwords to use.  As I say, I give up and it's back to my notepad - that Pete isn't allowed to touch.

No, Pete isn't out with a bunch of wild women.  He recieved an SOS call from Don.  Kristian and Hayden spent the holiday's about a month ago 'ripping' CD's for Don to use on his programming (for those who don't know - Don is Programme Manager of several radio stations) and today, he was copying CD's from one computer to the other when Kristian decided to use the internet.  They think they may have lost the lot but Pete has a programme that may retrieve the data.  However, he expects it will take awhile.  As we could just imagine the knashing of teeth at 38 Attingham Hill, I figured it best to stay out of the way.

We had quite a lovely spring day today; although the wind is still somewhat cutting it was wonderful to see the sun.  I have the car on Friday's and we arranged to meet for lunch.  Normally, Pete sits in their staffroom reading his book and I normally go for a walk, further exploring the area, but it's rather boring spending every lunch-hour on my own.  Milton Keynes has a number of man-made lakes and today we visited Mount Farm Park near to Pete's work.

We walked around the lake in the short time available and just as Pete was telling me he'd heard that all the lakes in MK were connected with one another we came upon the obligatory information board explaining exactly that.  Amazingly, when MK was in the planning stages, the engineers realised the many acres that would be built on, concreted over and tarsealed would decrease water absroption and increase runoff so they incorporated lots of lakes which would also provide attractive, tranquil sancturies amid the bustle of an ever increasing town.

Good plan but council funds don't stretch to picking up rubbish or the up-keep of gardens and lakes resulting in some dismal, damp, unattractive settings giving the impression of being likely places for flashers and winos to hang out.  Not surprisingly, Pete and I didn't come upon many office workers enjoying the 'tranquil sanctury' of Mount Farm Park and it's lake today; we saw more geese and swans, who aren't too particular about where they do their business. But I suppose theirs is preferable to the dog's, whose owners seem to think the footpaths have been provided explicitly for their dog's to do their business.

That reminds me of another story and/or experience Pete had recently.  Their office-cum-warehouse is stuck away in a funny little place amongst other big offices and warehouses and some of the posties over here aren't very bright.  Pete, being the office manager, gets mail for companies he's never heard of or it might be one he knows of in the neighbourhood.  He rings them up to tell them he has their mail and funnily enough, they sometimes have COS's mail.  So, one Friday afternoon, Pete rang Royal Mail to speak to the manager and was informed that all the managers work 8-12 every day.  He rang back on Monday morning. All the Managers were having breakfast from 8-9 a.m.!!!  (It was after 9 o'clock.)  "That means then", said Pete to the lady at Royal Mail, "they work 2 hours a day?"  "That is correct".  As the yanks would say - Go figure!

A recent foray was a day trip to Brighton.  We left home just after 8 a.m. Sunday morning with what looked like the promise of clearer skies down south and we thought we were going to be in for a great day.  We took the M1 heading for London, turned west onto the M25, which circles the whole of outer London with thousands of arteries leading off it, and curved south eastward through Berkshire, the edge of Hampshire and into Surrey, where we turned off onto the A23 in West Sussex leading directly to Brighton.  By this time, we were in dense fog and while disappointing, we have become resigned to winter weather after having had practically 12 months of it.  The seaside town was fairly packed with day trippers like ourselves even on such an unaspriing day so can just imagine there would barely be elbow room in the height of summer.  We parked along the promenade then sauntered into town to find breakfast but not as we know it in NZ, in places like yummy Drexels.  The poms haven't caught onto doing breakfast yet because they're so firmly entrenched in their Sunday Roast. However, Brighton has the nearest thing to a breakfast restaurant, called Redroaster.  For a change, the interior was light and airy, it looked clean and a plentiful supply of newspapers were laid on.  They made delicious coffee but haven't quite got the knack of breakfast food down to a fine art yet.

Fortified with food, however good or bad it was, we were ready to explore what used to be called Brighthelmstone, an obscure fishing hamlet until a doctor moved there in 1753 proclaiming the virtues of crabs' eyes, cuttlefish bones and woodlice washed down with a hearty pint of seawater.  His successor, an Irishman, discovered the salubrious qualities of fresh sea air, heightened by Brighton's fortunate lack of noxiously perspiring trees.  The effect of this twaddle was to draw well-to-do invalids and hypochondriacs to the Sussex shore, and when the Prince Regent took to visiting and built himself an oriental pleasure dome, the Royal Pavilion, the new resort's success as a health retreat was assured.  (I'm quoting from my book by the way.)

Some fishing villages and minor ports grew gradually into resorts but others, like Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, were planned in the 1870's to lure the middle classes.  The Great Northern Railway brought hordes of holidaymakers from the Midlands industrial towns and Skegness instead became a leading working-class resort.  The first of the chain of Butlin's holiday camps (Hi-De-Hi) opened there in 1937.  (Jason, from work, used to be a Butlin's boy but they are referred to as 'Red Jackets'.)

'Beside the Seaside is So Bracing' proclaimed the posters; piers and promenades sprouted and to spice up the simpler pleasures of swimming, sunbathing, sandcastles and donkey rides, funfairs, zoos, flowery gardens, bandstands, dance halls, freak shows, tattoo parlours, saucy postcards, fortune tellers' booths, eel and whelk stalls, ice-cream and rock kiosks added further enjoyment. The seaside landlady became an archetypal figure of fun and dread, with her iron gentility, stricktly regulated meal-times and parlour aspidistra (potted plant).

The pier is descended from the much earlier quay, built to land cargo and passengers on an open shore.  In 1823 Brighton constructed its famous Chain Pier, like a suspension bridge tiptoeing gracefully into the English Channel (which destroyed it in a storm in 1896).  Though built for boat-passengers to and from Dieppe, it was a pleasure pier as well.  It had souvenir shops and a camera obscura and was appreciated as a way of enjoying the sea without being seasick.

One of the traditional sea-side delights is Rock, a stick of mint confectionery which is usually white in colour with the resort's name in pink or red letters, mysteriously running through the stick's entire length.  Blackpool and Morecombe both claim to have invented the delicacy, but there is also a tradition that it originated in the inland mining town of Dewsbury in the 1860's.  As late as the 1970's Blackpool was manufacturing 2 tons of rock a day in summer.        

End of quote.  The pier today has the original stalls that are built along the centre of it, selling rock, candy floss, caps that you can have your choice of word/s printed onto it for an exorbitant price, henna tattoos, have your personality read from your signature and countless fish and chip and burger bars.  I think the camera obscura is now the Amusement Arcade, jammed with pokey machines designed to relieve you of all your spare change and more - it was well partonised the day we were there due, I hope, to the bad weather but I guess the scene is the same on bright sunny days too.  The restaurant, The Blue (Something Nautical) didn't entice us inside on account of the smell of greasy chips cooking but in fair weather, it might be nice sitting at the outdoor tables with a glass of wine.  The T-Shaped tip of the pier is a 'recent' addition where the Amusement Park rides and stalls are permanently in place.  The usual Merry-go-Rounds, Ghost Train, Kiddies Bumper Cars, Rollercoasters, Waltzer and open-mouthed clowns or rows of cans for you to throw balls into or at.  The amusement arcade and park appear to be what keeps the pier a going concern as it is "despartely expensive to repair and maintain".

After exhausting the sights and marvels of the famous Brighton Pier, we headed for the Royal Pavilion in the consistant drizzle by this time.  I had read about The Lanes so when we saw a signpost pointing the way we decided to investigate.  Turned out to be a rabbit warren of narrow zig-zagging streets no wider than one car width in some to only 4 or 5 feet in others, lined with all kinds of interesting shops.  Because it was Sunday afternoon, many had closed by the time we found The Lanes so we'll probably go back another time.      

The drizzle had become rain when we joined the slow-moving queue to enter the Royal Pavilion.  We waited awhile but several factors made us decide to come back another day - it was after 3.30 and they closed at 5 p.m. so by the time we would have made it to the head of the snails pace queue there would hardly be enough time to have a good look around; we had to catch the supermarket before it closed at 4 p.m. because we hadn't done our customary grocery shop the day before and finally, we didn't want to be too late getting home.  It took 2 hours to drive down to Brighton but little did we know it would take us 4 hours to get back!

For a start, it took half an hour to move about 4 miles from where we had parked the car to the edge of town (the design of the streets in English towns beggars the mind).  Then we stopped at Crawley hoping to have a nice cup of tea since the original aborted plan was to have tea and scones at the Royal Pavilion but Crawley was closed up tight for the night and indeed looked as though it had been devoid of human life for a week or more.  It's right on the edge of Gatwick Airport, an airport almost as busy as Heathrow but is reknowned for the fact that as far as public transport or facilities are concerned you might as well forget it. We could see why when we visited Crawley.

With parched throats then, we continued on back towards the M25 having decided to take the country roads home for the scenic value and quaint country pubs.  We passed a couple of nice looking pubs that were on the right hand side of the road but didn't/couldn't stop as it's so difficult/dangerous trying to turn across the traffic.  Finally, a Black Horse pub came into view on the left and it even had a car park of sorts (car parking is a major problem), which we pulled into.  A sandwich board outside the front door advertised Japanese and Korean food - not our favourite but Don & Jill may have been impressed if they'd been with us.  An attractive Japanese girl was behind the bar whom we asked what the house red was.  Huh?  Oh goody, we thought, the staff can't speak English in a typical English pub and it took some time for us to communicate to her what we wanted.  Whether it's due to my years of working on the counter at Countrywide and dealing with Asians nearly every day, we understood her meaning even before she had found the odd English word to convey her message, which was we had to buy the whole bottle of wine.   If we only wanted one glass, it came out of a tap like the beer taps and I didn't fancy recycled wine mixed with human saliva.  We settled for a cider each then enquired after the menu.  She rushed out the back to talk to the boss and came back with the message, "No serve till 6.30".  We smiled and nodded our understanding,  drank our warm, flat cider and now with thirst partially quenched, we left the Black Horse with rumbling tummies.

Once on the M25 there was no hope of finding food so settled down to head for home to cook our own tea.  At first, we made good progress taking it more cautiously than everyone else in the heavy rain, the dark and the spray from speeding cars passing us but 15-20 miles before the Heathrow turnoff we struck a traffic jam.  Roadworkers in the centre of the motorway had 2 out of 3-4 lanes on our side and 1 of the opposite sides lanes cordoned off.  It creates a bottleneck and traffic comes to a halt miles back.

You can see then, a day out is not necessarily a simple exercise.  I wont even tell you about going to Bovingdon Market near Hemel Hempstead last weekend.  That was a nightmare and if Pete wasn't a nervous wreck by the time we came home, I know I was and I wasn't driving!!  


Started this last Friday night (can't think of anything I'd rather do on a Friday night except writing to all my loved ones in NZ) and drawing quickly to a conclusion this Tuesday night, 3 April which happens to be Lietta's birthday.  We have toasted her health and happiness with a little liqueur this evening, but I'm afraid she has reached the stage where she probably prefers not to divulge her age.  

We went to Warwick Castle this weekend and have I got lots to tell you about that - in next weeks exciting installment as you've probably had enough for now.

I heard a rumour that our temperature got into the low 20's on Sunday and Monday!  They were certainly nice days and fingers crossed for many more to follow.  Is your Indian Summer still lasting???    

Take care All.  Love you lots.......Pete & Kath

So a quick drink and we all went out for dinner at a real Scottish Thai restaurant and a look at the Christmas lights in central Glasgow. The bars and restaurants seem to be the main business and all were doing well.
Next day Andrew and Vickie took us on a drive thru to Inverarary via Loch Lomond and a place called Rest And Be Thankful. This is at the top of a pass and is a bit like the Sign of the Kiwi except the only thing there is a Mobile Food Van selling bacon butties, scotch broth (made we were told with NZ lamb) haggis (not the real stuff and we were asked if we wanted breast or leg - they tell the loopys that haggis is a small bird-like animal) and they do a great trade. Then off to Inverarary and a look around, there is a stone bridge and as you go over there is the castle, a real fairy tale castle with turrets and battlements but it was closed till April, typical! In the village, next to the usual souvenir shops is a Whisky Shop - funny that, and all that he sold was whisky and goodies like Christmas cakes soaked in whisky, glasses etc. We all fell over when we saw the bottle from 1919 with the ?7500.00 price tag. A more modest purchase and off to the pub for a drink. The place was brilliant and you all would have loved it. The carpet was a blue and green tartan, wood panels, fire places with nice coal fires blazing and when we walked into the main bar here was the whole of the ceiling covered with branches and Christmas lights. It made the place special and was so simply done. The bar was popular and some of the regulars were real characters, one old codger asked for his drinks and when he paid with a hand full of small change was asked by the barman if he'd been singing again and he replied that yes he'd been busking - in his 70's and with the temp about zero I don't think so but he had a twinkle in his eye or was that just the whisky? Back to a place called Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond for a coffee and a look and back to Glasgow.
As we woke next day to a white Christmas just as we had hoped and did the old throw snow and act silly in the white stuff thing before sitting down to roast turkey and veggies and the odd wine or two. Pud was about 3 hours later as we had of course eaten too much before.
Next day another trip this time to Edinburgh which we all agreed looked much nicer than Glasgow. A stop off on the way to see Stirling castle which like Edinburgh Castle was closed but we will have to go back as it's in very good condition and apparently one to see. Did you ever see Billy Connolly in a Montana Sunday theatre on Deacon Brodie? He was a fine upstanding part of the local Guild and at night robbed the houses of his clients. He was finally caught and hung on the gallows he designed and built. Apparently Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde was based on him but the reason for all this was we stopped at a pub called the Deacon Brodie on the Royal Mile and the sign features a man hanging, very nice. Signs all over the place proclaim Robbie Burns slept here, such and such did this here and so on.
On the way back the temp dropped even further from -2 to at one point -7 and since we have been back in MK they have had -14. We haven't been in anything like that before and can't believe how cold it could be.
Next day after getting the car going and the heater cranked up, de-iced and de-snowed off back down south the Douglas's headed. A uneventful trip apart for a blockage near Liverpool on the motorway, no reason really just everyone slowed down or stopped and then started moving again and then stopped and moved, strange these Poms.
At Birmingham and about 7.30 we bit the bullet and ventured into the town centre and did the old round the round-about twice, down the wrong road, back again, round the round about and more double backs to find ourselves actually where we wanted to be - still not sure how we got in or how we got back either. A nice meal and some photos in Victoria Square and back to MK at 11pm - 12 hrs to get back, 8 to get there.
Well that's our Christmas and now we are back and start back to work on the 2nd though I have done two days work helping to clear out a building. I started at 8am finished at 11 and was paid till 5pm both days, Kath thinks I'm a bit jammy but it all helps to pay the rent.
Friday the BT man came to get the phone going after 3 weeks of waiting. When I rang they said right we will connect you tomorrow and here's your number and account etc and I thought this is amazing, some thing here in this country that can be done straight away. Well the next thing is we will have to have a tech to check that there is nothing wrong with the wiring and we can have someone there on the 8th of Jan. I knew nothing could be that good and after trying the phone for the next 4 days I called back to say we weren't connected and wanted it before the new year, how about the 29th? she said so we are now on and the number is 0044 1908 561920.
BT charge 43p per minute to NZ so we have done the same as Don and Jill and have signed up to a company who only charge 6p. A call we made to NZ cost nearly ?30 ($90) and with Onetel the same call would have cost ?2.00. Well I've amazed Kath with my efforts and will let her take over..

Yes, I am amazed as this is the most Pete has ever written to anybody that I know of. He has outdone himself, which could be an indication of how much he enjoyed our trip to Scotland. We both loved it. The bridge Pete mentioned going into Inverary is a humped bridge and spoiling the whole Scottish loch-land was a set of lights at either end controlling the traffic, both because you couldn't see what was coming from the other side and it was one way. A signpost said "No Stopping on Bridge" but of course, we did because it gave us a fabulous view of Inverary Castle and cameras clicked furiously. As Pete said, the pub (called "The George" as every third pub in the UK is) was a real beauty which you would have enjoyed. Very low-beamed ceiling, uneven floors, some of which were stone, some wooden and some carpeted. Oozing with character.

I thought Luss was quite delightful too, if a tad over commercialised. It is more accessible than Inverary being only about three quarters of an hour drive from Glasgow and right on the shores of Loch Lomond - the largest loch in Scotland. Also, the village has it's own claim to fame for being the location where the TV programme 'Take The High Road' is filmed. Visitors have to park their cars in the car park on the rise overlooking Luss and walk through the village. Andrew & Vickie took us to a cafe down near the pier where we had our first decent cup of coffee since leaving NZ, and the most delicious slice of Carrot Cake. The owner was decked out in full Highland dress but with his fair wispy hair and ruddy complexion, he appeared more like a Viking to me. Great guy though; he chats to every person that comes in and adds more personality to the place.

Another thing Pete didn't mention was our detour home through the Lakes District. We got abit ballsed up at Keswick where we had to turn off but there is such a shortage of signposts throughout England that it was no wonder we found ourselves heading out towards the coast (and Ireland) instead of south into the hills. Keswick is a grey-slate Victorian town with an abundance of B&B places. Because it is on the fringes of the Lakes area, it might be a better place to stay because, as we discovered, the middle area was teeming with bods even in the middle of winter so God knows what it's like in summer. Grasmere, Ambleside and Windermere were all lovely villages but definitely the more sought after resorts for the multitude of hikers, walkers, boaters and aspiring Wordsworths'. So far, they have not allowed mega-luxury hotels to be built anywhere near the place to spoil 19th Century aura.

It is so wonderful to have the phone on at last. The poor BT guy that came to look at our lines on Friday had to climb into the manhole out on the street which was, of course, covered in a couple of inches of snow. We made him a cup of tea to help him thaw out. His daughter had a baby on Christmas Day so he spent the day at the hospital, caught up on sleep on Boxing Day and back to work on the Wednesday - his van didn't like the snow and ice and wouldn't start!

We have a very nice neighbour called Ellen. She has a dog, Tammy, who barks at Pete every morning as he goes out to the car to drive to work. Her legs look too short for her body and I suspect some dachshund (how is it spelt?) mixed with goodness knows what else but she is black with a white star on her chest and white patches on her feet. I popped over to Ellen's place this afternoon to borrow a pie dish; Pete thought I must have been having a cup of tea with her because I was away for ages but she was just so happy to have someone to talk to that it took me awhile to get away. Tammy jumped and sniffed all over me at first then she lay at my feet gazing up at me, having decided I was 'friend' and not 'foe'. Ellen was born in Germany, came to London to do her nursing training, met and married a Cypriot, moved to Cyprus for some years but got out when the "political trouble" started. They have 2 daughters who were privately educated in England; one speaks fluent German and the other fluent Greek. They had to walk away from their restaurant in Cyprus and start again with nothing in London. She seemed delighted to learn she had a couple of NZers living next door.

A good thing we didn't stay in Scotland for Hogmanay; they are expecting blizzards tonight and they have many more inches of snow than we do. The past 3 days, since it snowed here, have been still and freezing but bearable because the snow has stayed soft and powdery. However, the wind has been gradually increasing today and now we can hear it whipping around the corners of the building and whistling through the cracks around doors and windows. Maybe Pete and I wont walk to Don & Jill's after all!

The Dome is closing for ever in an hours time. Over 27,000 people have visited the Dome today. Six million visited in the past year, only half the number they had reckoned on to make it pay. Millions of pounds has been pumped into the White Elephant - Pete and I watched a documentary about it a couple of weeks ago and if all that money had been pumped into the health system instead, how much better spent it would have been.

Bye again.  

Then the fun and games started - looking at houses, small funny boxes here that they ask a fortune for and get. The local paper the Citizen (or if you are a Pom "Cit'n" as they can't say t's or h's too for that matter) has a property edition so that was pored over and Kath as is her wont was going "yep, we'll have that one" as she pointed at some mansion going for £500,000. We called about some (cheaper) but they were sold but this got us talking to some Estate Agents and we told them that us poor colonials wanted to buy and had the dosh... so they did some work and came up with some places for us to look at.

We went to Shenley Church End to look at a 2 bed Maisonette which means that it is the top floor or floors of a building with other apartments in the same block with Kim from O'Riordan Bond. The area was ok, the flat was actually quite nice but there was no garden at all and the car parking was not the best. £85k plus £5k premium as a shared ownership. This we had not come across before and this means that you buy a share of the house from 30% to 70% and the Housing Association owns the other part. You then pay your mortgage and also a rental. It was started as a way for anyone to get onto the property ladder and start with a smaller investment.

The first three weeks were form filling and copies of this and that to the bank, the lawyer and to the housing assocation that will own the other 50%. The lawyer has done the searches and so their website tells us, has a contract from Orbit; this was all on Friday.

Otherwise we have ordered a 2 & 3 seater lounge suite combo but it won't be with us for upto 9 weeks! We have looked at fridge, washing machine, bed etc too but will buy these abit closer to when we move. One thing is that we will have new furniture and not someone elses.

We are off to Spain at the end of the month so we may have everything happen at once. We wish!

Here's a photo - there are two buildings and 4 houses here!{curveimage} We will be the one on the righthand side of the left... this is called semi detatched as there is a shared wall between the houses, then a gap and then the other building on the right. We are off to have another look and to measure - more photos to follow.

We moved in that week, just before Christmas - the bed arrived on the 19th, we moved all our furniture and boxes from the warehouse on the 21st and had the fridge and washing machine also delivered. BT had to have a "what happened to the phone connection" call and it was all go on the day. Boxes every where and we still have a few to go. Now the job of getting settled and Christmas all at the same time, the purchase of all sorts of things you take for granted when you are in your mid forties, pots and pans, vacumn cleaner, toaster, kitchen utensils - we had to buy the lot. It was just like starting your first flat when you left home and went into the big wide world.

Arrrgh! I have been trying to get us a Broadband Internet connection and BT have coc*ed up again. Joel who owned the house had a BB connnection and cancelled it but BT didn't close off the line and we have had every ISP tell us that we already have BB when we don't. Finally after multiple calls someone said "oh, we haven't cancelled the line, it will take another 10+ days to clear" this means Kath still can't work from home and has to travel the 2 hours in and back again from Perivale.

Update: We have returned to New Zealand and about to start our new life back in our home country.
New challenges, new employment, finding a home, reconnecting with family and friends. Initial base is the North Island, hopefully in the Tauranga area if we can get jobs. Contact us if you know of anything.
We came over to Milton Keynes, United Kingdom in 2000 to work and travel around Europe.

This site is to show our Photos and some of our experiences to all who may be interested. To all our friends in NZ or the UK - Hi! and why not send a photo or an email on what you are up to - we will put Photos up on the site so all can see.

Kath and Pete Douglas came from Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand / Aotearoa (meaning ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’) and were living in Milton new zealand map 200x200q100 Keynes, UK. Christchurch lies on the east coast between the sandy beaches of Sumner and Brighton, the bays and bush clad valleys of Banks Peninsular and the river-braided patchwork of the Canterbury Plains, which stretch westwards towards the tallest mountains in New Zealand, the Southern Alps. Lord of the Rings country!
uk map 200x200q100Milton Keynes where we lived is a "New" town about 60 miles north of London just off the M1 motorway. Milton Keynes is the name of one of the villages that were in the original designated area of the new "city" of Milton Keynes. This had the name Mideltone (middletown) in the Domesday Book and by 1422 the name of Kaynes had been added after the feudal family name Cahaignes.
Kath Douglas worked for a company based in London that imports and sells Office Equipment - Shredders, Laminators, Pens, Files etc and is the Service and Quality Controller.
She was with a company based in MK that installs, supplies, configures Point of Sale, Tills, Wireless equipment for the Hospitality Industry and was part of the Finance team.
Pete Douglas was with a Computer company that refurbishes and re-sells ex-lease IT Equipment, processes the same for Leasing companies and re-cycles that which is no longer of any use - for 12 years!
He was then at the same company as Kath but in the Technical Services section supervising some of that configuring. Before returning to NZ he was working at a company that has has large depot processing used cars near MK, working in the division that supplies new Nissans to the dealers and leaseplan then in the Inbound Team doing the initial vehicle inspections as they arrived.
Marshall Douglas the cat
A home has to have a Cat and Marshall Douglas has taken over. He was a Cat's Protection puss who didn't have a home but as far he was concerned we were his slaves and are there to do his bidding. White with Black Spots and an attitude, he had taken over the neighbourhood, beating up the other cats and being a right bully.
But still he was a character and did show affection (or is that a "feed me" message) See photos in his section.
Marshall had also traveled to New Zealand and had had to put up with a flight lasting over 33 hours then 10 days Quarantine. Unfortunatly he developed a lump and was not able to make it to our new home. He would have loved the freedom and we miss him still.