Monday, June 14, 2010

Tower of London

We have our nephew Dave with us from Australia for a few days before he heads off elsewhere in England and beyond, so we decided to play tourist yesterday and do something in central London. After some discussion, we decided on the Tower of London - Geoff and I and the kids have, both separately and together, done lots of London sightseeing, so we wanted something which wasn't too much of a repeat for some of us. The Tower fit the bill as neither our kids nor Dave had been there and Geoff and I hadn't been in probably 15 years or so. We also took an extra 12 year old (as one does), Sarah's friend Katharine - Kath and her dad take Sarah (and sometimes Olivia) lots of places, so it was nice to be able to return the favour.

So, here's the crew waiting outside the Tower for me to come back with tickets... They were demonstrating a Perrier (not sure that's spelled right) which is a type of catapult, essentially, specifically for throwing stones. I actually helped demonstrate it, as Olivia forced me to volunteer, but it was kind of fun - there were four people working it at a time, so I wasn't really that much on the spot...

Here's Tower Bridge, always a nice view.

Alex and Olivia with a large themed teddy bear.

This is the trial of Anne Boleyn, who later had her head chopped off (not really) - that's Thomas Cromwell there questioning her about her alleged treason and adultery.

And here's Dave and Sarah on a boat on the way home - we decided to do a little of the trip by boat as it wasn't very expensive and it was very scenic.

It was a good day out - the Tower is not a cheap attraction, but there's a lot to see - you can have a free guided tour if you want (we didn't because of the kids) and there are lots of re-enactments through the day - we watched part of another besides the Anne Boleyn one - so you do get your money's worth. We were all completely shattered by the end of the day, though - all that standing and walking really does you in after a while!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brownie-base cheesecake

Olivia chose this as the dessert of choice to make from a new book - and it was nice. The cheesecake topping wasn't quite as good as my normal cheesecake, but the combination of the brownie base and the cheesecake topping was a nice idea.

And this one, I just couldn't resist - my nephew Dave has a good excuse for sitting down to play as he'd been awake for something like 28 out of the last 30 hours at this point in the day (having arrived this morning from Australia) - the others, well, it's just laziness! Except for Olivia, who has just finished all the sweeping up and is looking for something with which to scrub the pathway (I told her that her energy was better spent elsewhere!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Photo Shoot

Recently I took the kids in to have some photos taken - we had won an hour's free studio time, plus a voucher which would pay part of the cost of the photos, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do. Some of the photos were great (she took hundreds - the wonders of digital photography!) - and in addition to some prints and a nice canvas, we got some digitally, so I'll be able to print them out for various relatives, and blog them, etc.

I've only chosen three of them for the blog entry, as I didn't want it to be too photo heavy, but I did upload them all to my flickr album, so do go have a look!

The kids even convinced me to be in a few, though mostly, it was just them - in various combinations and singly...

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Hard to believe now, with the raining tipping down outside, that we spent most of the evening lounging on the patio with the barbecue going (and then with the barbecue dying down and the sky growing slowly darker). Aah, "summer" evenings - bliss!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Off today for a trip to the zoo - Sarah elected not to come, but Olivia (who requested the zoo) and Alex and I had a lovely day - sun was shining, birds were singing, zoo wasn't very crowded (especially considering it was a sunny day in the half-term holiday)... Here are the two kiddies at the start of the visit inside a giant termite mound model.

Billions of photos were taken (especially since Olivia kept grabbing the camera from me), but the beauty of digital photography is that it doesn't matter - your kids can take billions of photos of animals at the zoo and it doesn't really waste anything, except a little battery life. I've picked a small selection of photos to share - this penguin being a particularly cute example of the ones with sticky-up feathers on their heads. He stood like this for so long without moving, I was beginning to think he was a statue...

We watched one of their animal shows, and this parrot was doing tricks - here he is hanging upside down by one claw. He later hung by his beak alone, but I missed that photo.

The zoo is full of signs - informational, instructive, etc - this was one of my favourites. Not sure what you are doing, but stop it. Or else, maybe it means to stop doing nothing and start doing something?

Probably the best photo of the day here - the heron who wanted to be a pelican.

Alex the meercat...

versus an actual meerkat (if you are in the UK, you will appreciate I have resisted making a "compare the meerkat" joke here. If you are not in the UK, don't ask, it's an ad on telly...).

And here we are at the end of the day, getting ready to take our tired feet home - still sunny, birds still singing (actually, this is right by the big aviary, so many of them were actually squawking), kids still getting along, more or less. Sunny tomorrow too - hurrah!