Tuesday, 28 May 2013

PJ Day

It's been pouring with rain all day and so we are having a PJ day.

 We were lucky to have had two days full of sunshine at home after our trip to London. 
Yesterday afternoon was spent in our friend's garden for the naming celebration they were holding for their daughter. 
Sunday afternoon was spent in our back garden.
G and I were busy with various tidying jobs and making plans for how we would like the garden to look.
We don't have many plants in the garden but we do have a couple of clematis, they look so pretty, this one even more so with the aquilegias poking through

and as well as looking lovely they provided welcome shade for Melvin who was never far away from us as we were pottering away.

One of the jobs G did was paint the side wall of our neighbour's garage, the side which borders our garden. He had a willing helper for a short while too, until she was invited to a friend's house to play. In fact S was out for most of the afternoon as was T with his friends and it was a very strange feeling not having either child at home.

We don't have any plans for the rest of half term, which is quite unusual for me. I usually make sure we have a few ideas of things to do but with me working on Friday and our invitation to friend's yesterday I thought I would just see how things pan out for the middle days of the week and everyone seems happy with the PJ day for today.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


We've been away for a couple of nights.
S had another hospital appointment in Cambridge, G had a ticket to see Rush at the 02 and with school inset days and half term looming we thought we would combine the whole lot and stay in London.
We booked two nights in the Travelodge at Bethnal Green.
Very easy access for G coming back from the 02, it was five minutes walk from the Tube station, the staff were really friendly and the family room was a good size.

There are lots of photos but I want to record as much as possible.

Our first stop was the Museum of Childhood. It's part of the V&A and is free. There was something in there for everyone. G and I walked round saying 'Oh I remember that' and there are more modern day items that S and T also recognise.

I really like this chandelier hanging in the entrance made from various kitchen utensils, genius!

Everyone liked the sensory section which had panels containing lots of different textures to run your hands over and lots of lights constantly changing colour.

The dolls house collection is worth the visit on it's own. There aren't a huge number but what they have is stunning. These huge houses made for the children of wealthy families must have cost a fortune. The oldest one is from 1673. The detail in them is staggering.

The red cracker is from the 1920's and still has it's original contents intact as it has never been used. Great for the museum to have but such a shame it was never used and enjoyed.

This little girl's dress was made during the war. The information card states how the mother of the little girl sat up all night making this patchwork dress for her so she would have something 'new' to wear to a birthday party she had been invited to.

The highlight of our visit was a game of draughts between me and T. We have loads of different board games here at home but we've never played draughts. It was really good fun seeing him planning his moves and with a bit of help from G he beat me! I think we need to buy a draught set now for the re-match. It's a game I used to play with my sisters for hours.

The building the museum is housed in is lovely. There is a cafe on the ground floor which we didn't use as we had not long eaten our breakfast. Well worth a visit all round.

From Bethnal we hopped on a bus which dropped us by the Gherkin

and from there we took another to Trafalgar Square. By now it was heading towards lunchtime and so we thought we would try the cafe just down the round from where G used to work when he travelled to London each day, only to find it wasn't there anymore! Plan B was another little sandwich shop he used to go to which thankfully was still there as by then we were pretty wet from the rain.

Our destination after lunch was the London Museum of Film. Using vouchers we had downloaded from the internet combined with showing our train tickets we were able to make use of a buy one get one free admission cost for an adult and a child ticket.
Now if I'm being totally honest although it was enjoyable and interesting in parts and it worked in well with the rest of our plans because we needed to be in this part of the City for later on in the afternoon, it's not somewhere I would recommend as a must-see. The way the exhibits are on show does not flow well, some things are tucked away in dark and dusty rooms and others are in long corridors as though someone has left them there to collect later.

Highlights included the original gong from the Rank movies, which is made out of wood and so never made 'that' noise.

Whilst G was pressing his nose up against the wall of this display cabinet I read out the card stating that this was Kenneth Williams' costume from Carry On Don't Lose Your Head. T asked 'Didn't he have any legs then?' Made me laugh!

There is an exhibition to the works of Ray Harryhausen. My dad love the film Jason and the Argonauts and would have loved to have seen this.

An old TARDIS and a couple of daleks

an original Wonka bar from the newest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie

and part of a Sherlock Holmes TV set from when Jeremy Brett played the Baker Streer detective.

The reason we needed to be in this part of London was G had booked us onto a Thames Clipper for a speedy ride up the river to the 02. After we had finished in the museum we had about 30 minutes to wait and wandered down the South Bank where there was a bar and eating area set up.

I wouldn't mind one of these Pimms summerhouses in the back garden

I liked this idea of recycling, old drums used as tables fitted with wooden tops.

I love the carousel and squealed excitedly to T when I spotted one of the horses had his name painted on it, he wasn't too impressed it was against a pink background though!

The boat ride was really good, S said it was her favourite bit of the weekend, maybe we'll do another at a slower pace to take it all in again properly another time. Great view of the cable car when we arrived at the 02.

Well done if you are still with this, not many more to go now.

The following day we dropped our case at Waterloo and then with the help of a Treasure Hunt we wandered down the South Bank towards Southwark Cathedral where we were going to meet up with G's sister. 

I am a bit annoyed as I thought I had memorised the name of the website explaining what is happening here but I now can't find it. There are lots of wooden raised beds being built and there were loads of tomato plants and other edibles waiting to be planted and I really liked the mismatched window frames they are using too.

Beautiful ice cream van

and who doesn't love an Airstream trailer? I liked the style of the advertising boards too, they had a retro look about them.

In the end we met up with G's sister at the Golden Hind and here the walking treasure hunt stopped. We were due to follow it into Borough market but instead we headed over London Bridge

and ate our lunch with many other tourists sat on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.
One final bus trip took us back to Waterloo so we could catch the train home after a busy and very enjoyable couple of days.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Mum's the word

We had a visitor this weekend.
 G invited his mum to come and stay. 
She arrived Saturday morning just after I came back home from a jumble sale which I had gone to with my mum.
I didn't buy much but I was pleased with the things I did get, my favourite buy being this BHS single floral duvet cover in pale shades of pink for all of 30p. It looks like it's hardly been used and will be perfect or using when we have people to stay.
Mum had the best buy by far though.
A pair of floral patterned and fully lined bedroom curtains from Marks and Spencer for 50p.
 Already she has washed and hung them in place and text to say they look gorgeous.

Once we were all revived with teas, coffees and shortbread biscuits we all wandered down to the local wildlife study centre for their Spring fair. We try and go to Summer one as there is always lots going on. Although the Spring event is on a smaller scale one of the main reasons for going is the plant sale. We were very restrained this year though. Both mum's bought a lavatera and my purchase amounted to one trailing geranium and this alchemilla.
By mid afternoon the sun had really started to shine so once we were home again we went out in the garden.
Whilst G and I stood chatting over the fence to our neighbours our mum's sat chatting to each other. They don't meet often but when they do they find they are never short of something to talk about.

G's mum enjoys a wander around a car boot as much as we do so that's where we headed Sunday morning for an hour. I already have a couple of pieces of this Polish tableware which I have bought at the Country Living fair and was thrilled to find this little teapot for £1.00. I've been using it lots today, it's the perfect size for one.

G's mum is having a tough time at the moment grieving for the loss of her husband and although she tries to keep busy it's very hard at times. Time spent with family talking over memories, seeing her grandchildren and having a good old chinwag with my mum all helped and she said the night away had done her good which for G was good to hear as he worries about her.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

What better way to cheer up a miserable rainy day than a splash of colour.

A couple of Saturdays ago I took myself off to the park for an hour with my camera and the instruction booklet and had a fiddle with the settings. One of my favourite pictures was this daffodil, the yellow trumpet so zingy against all the green.

The train station which G and I use each work day has a newly formed group of volunteers who have started to bring some tidiness and colour to the platforms, I love the red of these anemones.

These evening I walked home wearing a jacket and carrying an umbrella, very different to the Tuesday a few weeks back when the sun was shining and we went for a walk along the shore. This was the view I was trying to catch

but this was the result on my first attempt! Cheeky!

And to end, another photo of S pulling possibly the most bizarre smile ever, stood next to her photo on display at school a week ago when she was named as the Superstar of the week because
'S has really raised her effort this week. This has meant she has learnt to do thinhgs much better than she did before. She worked brilliantly on word problems, wrote an effectivel Free Write and showed passion in answering questions about what she had been reading. Great work S!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Water Vole Way

We were organised yesterday and checked ahead for the weather forecast for today. Finding that it was going to be dry first thing we decided a walk in the morning was the way to go and so then it was deciding which walk to do.
In the end we chose the Water Vole Way which is part of the Itchen Navigation Trail where it is possible to walk from Southampton to Winchester.

This part of the trail starts just down the road from Eastleigh train station.

For ease I took the little point and shoot camera with me but I wish I had taken my other camera and tried to take some better pictures with it, though I'm not sure how much of a better photo of these ducklings I could have managed. They were practically running across the water they were moving so quickly!

There were a couple of places along the 3.5 miles which provided good photo opportunities for G and S. T was otherwise engaged with friends and didn't join us.

The river backs right on to many gardens and this was a particularly sweet one with all the bluebells blazing away in the sun and a bench ideally placed for enjoying all that the countryside scene had to offer.

We saw a few butterflies, heard lots of birdsong and as well as the ducks we saw a lone swan. Whilst admiring another back garden G called out to me 'quick look over here there are two cranes.' Very funny.

At one point I had to stop and tie my shoelace and when I looked up this was the view. I love the faded green of the gate and the smattering of bluebells.

The last part of the walk was along Church Road in Bishopstoke and on the front of one of the houses is a plaque. It's in memorial of a local family who had once lived there and had been passengers on the Titanic.