Thursday, 23 August 2012

Trains, planes and automobiles

Lovely visit to Pendon museum this afternoon, to see the model railways set amidst beautiful miniature scenery.One very very excited little Mancub.

And as if that wasn't enough transport-related activity for one day, we visited Grandad at his workplace to try out some formula one racing cars...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Seen several of our Godchildren in the last wee while. Last week we had one to stay, with baby brother and Mum in tow. On Sunday we went to Cheltenham for the day to catch up with another, and the rest of his family. We were really exciting company...

Today, we went on a boat trip on the Thames from Oxford to Abingdon with Granny and Auntie T and her younger daughter who is Kitty and Mancub's cousin and another of our Godchildren. Much fun.

On the house front, things are draaaaging a bit. Our current (and third) moving in date is next Wednesday. Here's hoping.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Another day at Millets...

Back again today for the Maize maze and associated activities. Much fun for all!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fruit, fairies and fun!

This week I'm at Colin's parents' house, but they are away and instead I have a wonderful friend from school and her two children, 5 and 2, staying. It's lovely to catch up and have fun together. Today we went to Millets for farm animals, feeding ducks, playground time, picnic and pick your own.

This evening we were treated to a special Fairy Show in the garden, which included audience participation...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What HAVE they been doing?

Sooooo... rather a while since we blogged. We're all here, all well and hopefully moving into our new house in a fortnight. We've spent most of the weekends together over the last month and a half, and one whole week when we all stayed in a holiday house in York. Other than that, Mr B has been heading up to York in the week to work and the children and I have been here, there and everywhere visiting friends and relatives.

We first headed to Colin's parents in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, where we unpacked some of our stuff, caught up on sleep and started to get our bearings. I felt very disorientated. Kids seemed to cope fine, although we has some interesting cross-cultural moments. "Why are you putting the plates and cutlery in the oven Granny?" asked Kitty, failing to recognise a dishwasher. It was great to see Grandparents, aunties and cousins again.

Granny and cousin A with Kitty
Less than 48 hours after arrival, Mr B and I abandoned the children to their grandparents and headed up to York for a few days house-hunting (and a job interview, for a job I failed to get). We put in an offer on a house on our return and had it accepted... that was day 6 in the UK. We hope the process of actually buying it is nearly at an end now... 

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Our new home-to-be (hopefully) in Dunnington, a village on the outskirts of York  More details
We got back in time to welcome the Olympic Torch to Abingdon...
...and have a day trip to Wicksteed Park in Northamptonshire to celebrate Great Granny's 93rd birthday
Kitty made the cake. Auntie T found the candles!
Happy Birthday!

Then Mr B headed up for his first week of work in his new office on the York Uni campus, while the kids and I headed over to Petersfield, Hampshire, to stay with my Mum.

One day we headed out for some good old English History at Portchester Casle on the south coast. Here we having coffee and cake on the gravestones... (all the tables were taken) with a wedding happening in the castle chapel behind us
356 steps to get to the castle roof. The Mancub and I counted them....three times each way...
And the sea is just outside the castle gate

Mr B was back for the weekend in time to enjoy it with us
Can't have a good day out without an ecology lesson in there somewhere

Then we all headed up to York for a week. Mr B went out to work each day and the kids and I went out to explore the city!
  The walls are fun to walk on, apart from the time when the Mancub walked off them instead and fell about 12 feet. He screamed blue murder and I had visions of an ambulance trip but it turned out his fall had been nicely broken by a dense clump of nettles....
York Minster, the Cathedral
We spent a morning there, studying the beautiful architecture, carvings, windows, ceilings and floors...

... and incorporating our favourite designs into Heraldic shieds in a special workshop

There was some sort of experimental installation happening, with moving images taken from stained glass windows being projected onto the Minster walls....or passing children.

The National Rail Museum was also a hit
And we went for a spin in a carriage behind Stevenson's Rocket
The Horny display in the shop was very exciting for some.
In Clifford's Tower Kitty undertook some Knight's training
And was duly Knighted. There was an interesting moment when she was asked where she was from. I waited wondering what the answer would be. "Edinburgh" she said in the end. That's where she was born.
And of course we had to introduce the kids to traditional British we got a takeaway curry... the Mancub was very impressed by the size of the crisps...
We managed an afternoon with my one friend in York and his family. Pavement chalk and water prooved an entertaining combination, but took days to erase from skin.
Next stop, a weekend with old friends in Cheshire, arriving just in time for a traditional English village fete. Here is our Goddaughter (left) helping the Rose Queen with her train.
And my friend, the vicar, introducing the festivities, with his wife looking the part in a lovely floral top and elegant hat
Plenty of tradional English sports on offer, such as knock that girl off the pole before she wallops you first.
Then we went our separate ways for a couple of weeks. Mr B headed up to Aberdeen to supervise the removal of our stored items - they are now in a warehouse near York waiting for us. On his way back down to York he fitted in a visit to his brother in Edinburgh and was the first of the family to see our niece and nephew up there.
Meanwhile the kids and I headed down to London to stay with Uncle A  and family.

Trip into Kensington to see the Museums
Fun interactive stuff at the Science Museum
A real moving, roaring T. Rex at the Natural History Museum

Thence on the Eurostar to Brussels to visit my Dad

We saw the whole of Europe in miniature, including working trains!

There were other highlights too

We had two days away in Luxembourg  - a few hours drive away. First stop, a chairlift up the hillside. I was relieved to discover that it was a double... didn't fancy sending the Mancub up on his own!
View from the chairlift. It's been non stop history since we left Africa.
Off for a good cosmopolitan Luxumbourg lunch of chips, beer and strudel
Beautiful area to explore

What fun!
And then we all convened back in Abingdon. The kids and I all had some illness over the last few weeks, the Mancub in particular very unhappy for a few days and nights, but we are all well again now.

I shall leave you with a picture of Kitty, resplendent in her new fairy wings (thanks G and Y!), which she wore all afternoon yesterday at a Ruby Wedding Anniversary party.

 Good night!