Thursday, August 27, 2009


Legoland - the promised outing. Kids have been wanting to go all summer. I said if they were good (enough) we would go, instead of Chessington, a theme park closer to our house, which is where we usually go (and which I prefer - shorter queues, better rides, cheaper and only about 15 minutes away). Anyway, I guess it's worth doing Legoland once - we've been before, actually, but Alex was very small and wouldn't remember, and he does love Lego, so he really enjoyed the buildings and creations, not just the rides (which of course is the point of going to Legoland rather than some other cheaper, closer theme park...)

But despite the queues, we did ride on quite a few rides, and had a nice day out - a long day, but a good one. I'm glad we're not going anywhere tomorrow, though, I have to say.

Personally, I could do without the rides and would be happy to pay a lower admission just to walk around and look at things built of Lego, but hey, we all have burdens to bear! Here are the kids in front of a small but surprisingly accurate Mt Rushmore, and below, a rather spectacular Gothic Cathedral. Loads more photos (and a few short videos) on flickr - I even labeled them so that my mother won't complain...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Junior Chef

Alex helped me make dinner tonight - it was a quiche - he helped make the pastry, he snipped the bacon, sliced some leeks, grated cheese, broke eggs, whisked and so on. I think it took about twice as long as it normally would have, but we had fun...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Saturday

Sometimes it's nice to have a day where you don't do a lot. We had nothing planned, as British Gas scheduled our annual boiler service for this morning (between 8-1) - hard to plan anything if you don't know what time you might be free. As it happens, he came at 8.30, so we could have done something, but sometimes it's nice not to do much. We cleaned house in the morning, I did some sewing, then the kids played a variety of dressing-up and roleplay types of games this afternoon - also, we did a puzzle. I forgot to take a photo of it completed, but I can vouch for the fact that it looked like the box.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More tourism

Today's was a visit to the British Museum, always interesting, and you usually manage to see something you never noticed before. Today, there was a whole room on money I can't remember ever being in before, though I'm sure it was there...

We did visit the Egyptian things, of course, and I particularly liked all the little servant statues - especially these blue faience ones. These range from about 4 inches high to about 7 or 8 and the detail is amazing. Little statues were sent along with the dead as insurance against having to do agricultural labour (among other things) in the afterlife - by making sure you had enough servants to do it for you. I can't remember if that was the precise purpose of these particular ones or not...

Olivia with some seated Sekhmet goddesses.

Lots more photos over on flickr - mostly of treasures rather than the kids, in this instance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A few pics from Uncle Stuart

Here are Alex and Sarah blowing very large bubbles in the garden. Alex has this bubble sword thing, which is great fun - you can make a bubble larger than your head!

Here we are at the Wetland Centre (went yesterday - I didn't take any photos as it happens as I have taken loads and loads of them at the Wetland Centre and decided I couldn't be bothered. Stuart, on the other hand, has never been before, so it was all new and interesting to him. Consequently, I am actually IN some of the photos, which is not something which usually happens...) looking to see what exciting things were found during pond dipping...

And here's a nice view across the ponds to the Peacock Tower, and a shot of Olivia and Alex having a cuddle. Alex noticed at the last minute that he was having his photo taken, so he got a strained look on his face (not a natural in front of the camera), but I promise he was enjoying himself before that! There are more photos, which I might put up someday, but as we have no internet at home (could be 3-5 days - yikes!) at the moment, I just brought a few on my memory stick to upload at the library - wasn't sure whether I'd be able to do it at all, so didn't want to try anything too elaborate.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Touristy Day in London

A few snapshots from our day, which started at Waterloo station, carried on down the South Bank with a stop at the Watch this Space by the National Theatre, where the kids sat in a large astroturf armchair and then watched a little play about bees while the grownups had a coffee in the sun, then on down to the Tate Modern

where we had a brief trip inside and watched the Peregrine falcons hanging out on the tower.

We then crossed the river on the Millennium footbridge, which is no longer wobbly, and walked back down to Trafalgar Square along Fleet Street, looking at all the cool buildings, from St Paul's on down.

The former National Express building is a favourite...

Eventually, we wended our way south of the river again in time to queue for our "flight" time for the London Eye. We then finished up the day with some playing on the playground near the Eye, and dinner at Pizza Express (no photo!) - a really lovely day. It's sometimes nice to play tourist in your own city. I always forget just how much I like London; this trip was particularly fun for me as I worked on the South Bank for years, so it's like my old stomping ground. Only it's nicer now than it used to be!

More photos from our day are over here on flickr...

Friday, August 14, 2009


Today the kids and I had a day out with Uncle Stuart to Birdworld, which was pretty good. As you might expect from the title, there were quite a few exotic birds, plus also a small farm and an aquarium. The weather was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun doing an activity trail, picnicking, feeding some of the farm animals, and so forth. Quite a few more photos are over here on flickr.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Painting with helpers

Here's what we did today - didn't take long, actually, as it's a very small room (you should have seen Sarah and me trying to both work in there at the same time - it was kind of funny). Actually, Alex only painted a tiny bit - enough to say he'd painted some - but Sarah did quite a lot of work in the room, though of course I did all the high bits and a lot of the striping, which is harder. The room looks much better now, kind of cheery in an underwater sort of way. I think it needs a fish themed quilt to go on the wall. Or something of that ilk.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lego world

Amazingly, the kids all spent several hours this afternoon and evening playing together with lego - making a whole lego village and playing with it. Isn't it nice when that sort of thing happens? This photo was taken about halfway through - there were more buildings, etc by the time they finished.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Parham in Sussex

Today we took advantage of the lovely afternoon for a drive in the country and a visit to a Historic House - Parham House, in West Sussex. I had a complimentary ticket from the Silent Auction at our school fair, and as the house has limited opening hours, it seemed sensible to take advantage of it while we could.

The house is in a lovely setting, nestled up against the South Downs, and is a very pretty example of Elizabethan design (it was built in 1577). We enjoyed browsing the gardens and touring the house - fortuitously, in addition to some nice paintings and copies, the house also contains a rather spectacular collection of needlework & tapestries, which I found very interesting.

Even the children had fun, running about the gardens and doing an "I-Spy" tour around the house, complete with clipboard. It's nice that the children are getting old enough to do stuff like this, and to enjoy it. They even stood and listened very politely and with some interest while one of the guides was telling us about why so few Elizabethan buildings in the Southeast have South-facing windows [because of superstitions about bad air coming over from the continent!].

More photos over here.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pizza Chef

Everyone loves pizza night in our house. We each make our own - some are very similar, but it's the fun of having your own pizza... Pizza night was actually last night, but as I had other pics to post yesterday, I thought I'd save this one today. Once again, I'm going to try to put up photos here a little more regularly - it will probably last for a few weeks and then tail off again!

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Day in the Historic Country

We had a day out today to the Rural Life Centre, which is a kind of semi-outdoors museum of (you guessed it) Rural Life, about an hour's drive (not quite) from here. One of those places where they have various old buildings from different periods, with lots of farm machinery and mock ups of old shops, etc. There was practically no one there besides us (perhaps not least because it was a bit rainy in the morning, though it cleared nicely by the time we got there and even became rather sunny towards the end) which was great (for us) - the kids could spend loads of time mucking around, for instance with the dressing up clothes, without worrying about others wanting a turn.

It was a lovely day - the place itself was fairly interesting, and the kids were relaxed enough not to worry about looking cool or being caught by other kids actually being interested in something historical or educational. We had a complementary family ticket which was a prize from the school fair - silent auction, which means I did pay to get it, but not the full value and the money paid all went to school as the place itself had donated the ticket. Anyway, it was a nice day out - after several days of doing little, it was good to have a day trip. Lots more photos are over here on flickr, for those interested.