Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tuesday Tuneup

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DiShip
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Welcome to the Tuesday ramble:

  • Made it back to base camp in one piece. London was great but it is also good to be back home. We had a great time.
  • I would recommend Notting Hill/ Labroke Grove as a base: it is exciting and vibrant part of London.
  • I missed the most perfect photo opportunity today: We caught the tube today on route to Standsted airport. We had to contend with major delays on the Hammersmith Line "owing to signal failure at Baker Street". After a few stops I managed to get James a seat while the rest of us were all packed in tightly like sardines.  James got hold of a newspaper and had it stretched out, "reading" it with his legs crossed, he just looked like he was on route to work..
  • We spent a good 30 minutes at the airport organising our luggage to avoid a repeat of any excess baggage charges. Thankfully we got through without incident.  Given Ange's shopping record over the last week this was a MAJOR accomplishment. 
    (I checked this comment past her, you know, marital bliss and all.. she OK'ed it and THEN muttered "those boots definitely would not have fitted").
  • London Highlights for the boys:
    Jack: All of it. He loved London and can't wait to get back (when he is a pro footballer). His favourite adventures was the London Eye and all the museums especially the dinosaurs and space ones.
    Henry: The Queen's jewels; Covent Garden and his (first) stage appearance; the Pirate Ship at Lady Di's Memorial (kids playground) park. Pictured Left.
    James: Hider in the House (BBC2 at 9am)
  • We have only been away for 10 days but it is amazing how fast spring is... well springing.  Everything here is a lot greener, the grapevines on the deck have bushy leaves. The roses are out.. as are the veggies.
  • This was certainly our last "big trip" before we return home at end of the year.  We have one more smaller trip tentatively planned in early July.. Pamplona, Spain.  Damn I need to get on and book this.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Henry Juggler Extraordinaire

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First stop today was Convent Garden: a good opportunity to join other foreigners around these well worn tourist tracks. 

Anyway we hadn't been there long before young Henry volunteered to assist a local street performer.  He literally jumped at the opportunity and loved the limelight, this one is going to be a handful when he gets older.

Anyway he earned himself 5 quid for his efforts and promptly spent it on a big diamond (just like the one the queen has). This "rock" must be around 4000 carat, we should probably check out its authenticity when we get back home.

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Sunday, 27 April 2008

Regent fun in Camden

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Had a picnic lunch today in Regents park, checked out the gardens and then trekked through Camden Town exploring the locks. 

By the time we got home the kids were totally knacked and needed to rest up. This thankfully gave Ange and I a chance to explore Portobello markets: although only one of us gave her visa card a good working over:)

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Saturday, 26 April 2008

ANZAC DAY: London 2008

Today we donned a more reflective mood and joined other Kiwi's and Aussie's in the ANZAC commemoration in Westminster. We thought about going to the dawn parade but it would have been a logistical nightmare, pity though it was first at the new Hyde Park memorial.

The day started in Whitehall at the Cenotaph monument, just outside Downing Street. The parade was lead by a band of Irish Guards who were damn good - there were no teenagers trying to play the play the Last Post in this parade!   After the dedication we raced down the street to Westminster Abbey for the formal service of commemoration (we had to book tickets through the High Commission).  We thought the boys might get bored, which they did but they responded well to sugar bribery and besides they had lots to gwark at (Dukes, Dames and bowler hats).  They were very well behaved and looked very smart in their best clothes.

I have to give the Brits credit: they really know how to do pomp and ceremony (it is all: wham, bam as quick as you can).

This was a great opportunity which was far too important to pass up.  Mum, I wish you had been here to help us sing the NZ anthem. 

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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Natural History Museum

Wow! Today's adventure was just another museum - or was it. The museum has seen a few changes since I last visited and today is in a league of its own when it comes to excitement factor for young minds. 

Once again entry was free for everyone - a very cheap excursion.  The first stop was the Dinosaur exhibition which blew us away, it was totally amazing. This was followed by the Mammal exhibition, a stop for lunch then the Earth Treasury (rocks, minerals and gemstones), the Creepy Crawlies and finally the Earth dome which included a volcano and earthquake exhibition.

A totally knackered biscuit bunch spent what was left of the afternoon in the Princess Di Memorial park, a cool kids playground at the Bayswater end of Hyde Park.
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Tower of London

Damn this blogging business is hard work. I am falling behind schedule so apologies if this seems rushed.  Our adventure for Wednesday was the tower..  we were told this would take the best part of a day to get through and it did. The highlight was without doubt the Crown Jewels, these days you get a good close up look. No photography allowed unfortunately.

We hung around to join the beefeater tour.. which was well worth the 15 minute wait. Then we set off to the tour the many nooks and crannies available for public viewing. It was cool.
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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Tuesday Tuneup

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Welcome to the Tuesday ramble:

  • It is good to be back in London, it still has a very familiar feel about it. 
  • Many observations: the Oyster Card has replaced the weekly tube pass as the cheapest way to get around.  Most of the main supermarkets just about only stock organic products, very few products have artificial anything not even good 'ol flavour enhancer 621.
  • We had a nice meal at Khan's restaurant to celebrate Ange's birthday.  I had invited the Queen but she was a no show (we can't let those damn Aussies form a republic before we do).  Khans was a popular haunt for our parties back in the 80ties and still seems to be going strong.
  • Been a bit slow on the posts, can't blame Internet access or kids, just been lazy or busy, probably both. Also have a bad head cold so not feeling too flash.
  • We saw a big motorcade going through Holborn, we thought it might be someone important but it was just Princess Anne.
  • Boys love the double-deck buses. James has mastered the art of falling asleep within 1 stop. Haven't caught a cab yet.
  • We are finding everything quite expensive.. except onions and potatoes (Ange pipes up in the background).  
  • We are really missing the cheap wine (at least the liver is getting a rest).
  • One good thing is that the kids travel for free on public transport.. this really makes a big difference. We have noticed a trend in Europe that prices for young children are either free or significantly reduced.
  • Well done to Kevin and Chrissy on completing the King of the Bays - great results.
  • These pictures (left) were taken at Norfolk Square: the scene of the crime so to speak, that is, where Angela and I were living when we first met.
  • And yes.. a signal failure at Earls Court will still totally cripple the underground network.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The British Museum

Quick post on our Tuesday outing.. the grand old lady of museums. She was good and cheap with free entry for the young and old. 

Highlights: Egyptian Mummies - lots of them. Rosetta Stone, something that Dad was keen to get the boys excited about.  The boys enjoyed the mummies - they love all the gruesome stuff. Getting around London is  often an adventure in itself.

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London Eye

The big day had arrived.... after a slow breakfast, kisses, cards and presents we headed out for a "stress-free" adventure.  Caught the tube to Embankment to check out the London Eye.  This was a somewhat risky option: not knowing how long the queues would be BUT it turned out that there weren't any.

After making sure that young James had been to the men's room we hoped on board for our "flight".

It was bit of a gray London day but the views were great. The trip lasts 30 minutes for one revolution.  Afterwards the boys had a run around in the park and we checked out the local street performers.  Here are some un-edited pics.

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  Do you recognise the boat in the bottom picture? The Tattershall Castle (hasn't sunk yet).

Monday, 21 April 2008

Shopping Expedition

Our first day back in London was reserved for some shopping.. for that big birthday I've told you about.

I don't think that the boys had much fun.. except for the visit to Hamley's toy store, that is.

We checked out the shops in Portobello road and then headed for Oxford Street. IMG_3442

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