Thursday, 31 March 2011

Random Pics

Tree climbing

A Week in London

Our first mission was to buy warm clothes.....headed of to the Westfield complex at Shepherds Bush.  Amazing place, a whole section dedicated to the Who's Who of designers, Australian included, didn't even glance at some of the windows ....right out of my league.
We were lucky enough to find some outdoor clothing shops with the remnants of their winter stock and I ended up with this incredibly warm down-filled waterproof where I didn't look like a ten-pin bowling skittle!!... in khaki green as happy:)

We spent the week cruising, a little gym, lots of walking and the general to-ing and fro-ing on public transport...I can well understand the tiredness the Londerners seem to have, it's so tedious getting around, paricularly when dealing with the weather.  We loved walking Maddie to school, she chattered as she scootered, navigated through other pedestrians, other scooters, and the  traffic when crossing the roads.  A really good way for her to get around as I reckon walking would be much more of a chore and much less fun. It's quite unnerving for the uninitiated tho', always wondering how much of the world around her she actually takes in, while she multitasks.

We minded Luca while Nic went to you can imagine not a chore in the least, scared the nappy off him early in the week, letting out one of my laughs while holding him, cried his little heart out poor thing.  He quickly adapted to his noisy loud nanny...

Had a trip to Cambridge.  Matt and Nic rented a "street car" for the day...a people mover.  An absolutely freezing, damp day spent among the colleges of Cambridge...beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets, a waterway where you could be punted or punt yourselves....the latter provides much amusement for onlookers as you watch the boat going round in circles:)

Love the flowers under this beautiful tree
and where am I going??

 ....a great night out with the Grundels, fantastic Italian food close to their flat in the old part of London....walking through narrow, dimly lit roads, a diverse assortment of building frontages, clubs, delis, restaurants, pubs, surrounded by swirling fog, and mist....

Was able to have lunch with Calvin, my nephew.  He and Matt work a couple of streets away from each other, too easy!

This trip was our first visit to the West End...we had tickets to "War Horse" given to us by Matt & Nic for Xmas.  A play centerd around WW1, about a horse who had been sold  to the army for transport in Europe...the amazing thing about it was the use of these bigger - than -life puppets for the horses, which were puppeteer-ed by up to four people at one time...their use of choreography embodied the characteristics of horses...snorts, ears twitching, tails flicking etc...other aspects to encapsulate the story-telling were the use of people and dialogue; screen projections of bombers, ground fire; the sounds of bombs dropping, cannon and gun fire; and stage props , this life-like tank; trenches...a really clever and enjoyable production.


Bleary eyed and .......

............bushy tailed !!!

We disembarked at Heathrow at 5am...... not as bad as it sounds as we had been traveling for around 13 hours and I had managed to squeeze in a 10hr kip.....(for those who find it difficult to sleep on planes, I have a foolproof way to beat only have to ask).

We are pretty streamlined these days about leaving planes, and airports, reasonably effortlessly.  Let me share, however, that this state has not been achieved without some angst and frustration, followed by the silent treatment. After much "teaching" I now know to :-

  • Fill out immigration forms straight away, pass them over to be checked (unfortunately form filling is NOT my strong point!) and.... corrected!
  • To have water bottle, current book, munchies and other paraphenalia packed into the backpack BEFORE landing...oops and passports and above-mentioned form
  • To have purchased nothing which requires declaration at Customs- depending on the reader, one can either capitalise "purchased nothing" or "requires declaration" :) 
  • and lastly, but most importantly, to go to the Loo when the announcement about descent has been made....this results in a quick, fast race to the baggage carousel !
A train ride from Heathrow ( underground and heated) to the local bus station (above ground and so not heated!) we knew we had well and truly arrived in London.  I could not believe the cold...the solid mass south of my waist was numb, the other large extemities, my ears, were blue and the dripping nose had transformed into a glacier....all this before 7.30am...Joy joy, happy, happy.
Naturally, arriving at the flat which housed a recently woken family of four, put discomfort on the backburner.
Finally, real life hugs etc all the way round...Maddie had a recent visit, or maybe two, from the tooth fairy, and was looking as a six year old should, a little gappy; Matt and Nic haven't changed, you would expect a wrinkle or two, now that they're 30, but no still look as young as ever, no stresses there! and of course the bambino, Luca, is absolutely gorgeous....happy, bonny and sooo cute

  I have restrained myself here....only one of each

Spell Checks

I am currently sitting at a desktop in a hotel in Poland, catching up on the blog...and the spell check operates in Polish!!!! Very disconcerting to see my whole posts underlined in RED

Hong Kong

Even Hong Kong needs outside heaters!!!

Finally a moment to catch up on this before we get moving again.

We had a 2 night stopover in Hong Kong, a place Tony fell in love with, well over 10 years ago.  Loves the warmth and humidity, the neons, bustling throngs, and the shopping.  He has developed( and those of you who know him, you will not be the least surprised!) a routine!!! Taking the tram up to Peak, unfortunately undergoing maintenance this visit, and having a brunch at this quaint cafe/restaurant which his brother had introduced to us on our first visit.  Once again an adjustment to be made on this particular outing as it was closed, one of the consequences of traveling off- season :(

A quick stroll to checkout to see if the view from the lookout had had not! and we made our way to Stanely, another of Tony's haunts.....a stroll through the markets, a lucky find for Maddie, a Dora the Explorer purse/wallet, a pink one at that, and then off to indulge in the delectable cuisine of a Vietnemese restaurant, which overlooks the absolutely picturesque harbour of Stanely.

We have timed these excursions to fit around fittings( a pun Gerry!) for Tony for a jacket he was having made to brave the weather which was just around the corner awaiting us in London.
Hong Kong proved to be a very useful stop-over in the sense that it was around 20degrees  (we left Queensland at around 30), therefore a provident stepping stone in adjusting to cooler temeperatures....not enough of one as we were to find out

The Peak