So, for my birthday . . . slightly lazy morning of present and card unwrapping, followed by journey up to Coniston, getting there kind of around lunch time. We had lunch at . . . erm . . . [quick Google search] The Bluebird Café and then took the boat up to Torver. The plan was that the walk back would take up most of the afternoon, but it was actually a lot shorter than we had estimated, but not to worry. A leisurely walk back. So, yeah . . . then back home (via Booths). In the last two pictures, that's R****** wearing his new hat (bought today) together with his swimming goggles, kind of emulating someone from the film Up.
After dinner, we needed a brief walk around Clougha. It hadn't rained for a while, the sun was out, there was barely a breeze in the air, so it was pretty much the perfect time. There were two cars in the Birk Bank car park (i.e. quiet). So yeah . . . it was all good.
We could have checked in at about 2pm, but it was unrealistic to expect a four hour car journey (not including various breaks) to have begun early enough to allow us to actually check-in at that time. But hey . . . we got there some time between 3 and 4pm. I got the sense that people don't much drive in to South Kensington to stay at the Premier Inn.
There was no parking available and we were told we could always park at the Marriot, which was nearby. We parked at the Marriot, which contained about . . . erm . . . perhaps about twenty parking spaces, if that; two or three of which were occupied. The concierge directed us to the disabled spot, which is exactly where our car remained for the next few days. So yeah . . . we checked in, bounced around the room, rearranged the furniture and then went for a walk up to Kensington Gardens, before it was time for dinner.
Today was a bit of a museum day, with a surprise (well, a surprise for the boys anyway) visitation by Uncle Simon. We all met up at the National History Museum and had a wander around, vaguely guided by A******'s activity booklet thingy and our map. As ever, it was busy, with some areas decidedly more busy that others. Dinosaurs and whales being particularly popular. We found this last time. As soon as you head for the . . . oh, I don't know . . . the Darwin section (or whatever), the crowds quickly subside. Is subside the right word? Anyway, we grew weary of the crowds and so headed for the V&A, of course. I like the V&A - it's so big that you can easily sit on your own, staring at some strange piece of iron-work on the 4th floor, and not be disturbed by anyone. So yeah . . . plus, they had these ruck-sacks for children, that contained a themed, guided trail around a small section of the museum. And it's all free and a short walk from our hotel. Love it.
So this is day 3 of our little trip to London. We've all slept in the same hotel room and it's all gone largely okay. We were kind of worried that the children would play up a little, what with the excitement of being in London, sleeping in a hotel room and all that. But, no, they've been good. Although today there were moments when I started thinking, "Has he had enough sleep? Are we seeing a little breakdown here?" but who can say? We got the tube to Embankment and, from there, got the clipper to Greenwich. The pictures above are from said boat journey.
So this is what I'm talking about. Here we are wandering around the Cutty Sark, which was fantastic. Something like the last remaining original 19th century tea clipper in the world, or something similar, and the whole thing was really well done. Loads to see and explore, stuff for the children to do . . . blah, blah, blah. It was all good. But then on the top deck, R****** had a little . . . erm . . . moment. M****** wanted their picture taken next to the sign 'Cutty Sark', but R****** objected. I can't remember what the issue was; perhaps R****** wanted to stand where A****** was or wanted to stand in such a place as to obscure the words 'Cutty Sark', which would kind of defeat the purpose of the photograph, but try explaining that to a 4-year old. In the end, with R****** in the correct place, I took pictures of him having a M******t-down purely for the record. "Look, R******, this is you having one of your 'moments' on the top deck of the Cutty Sark. Do you remember? Can you remember what you were crying about? No. We're not sure either."
. . . but anyway, R******'s little moment passed and he picked up again. From the top deck, we got all the way down below the ship itself, where you could see the copper (copper? brass? some other alloy?) lined hull. There was the requisite stop at the gift shop for badges. Anyone familiar with A****** and R******'s ruck-sacks will know we like to collect badges of all the places they've been. So yeah . . . and then lunch at Nando's, which was a bit of a gamble, but the boys loved their chicken burger things. The keen-eyed amongst you may be thinking, "That picture of the ship's rigging looks very familiar," which is because it is familiar - see here - from a day out in Dundee, the day before my 30th birthday.
Then, after the Cutty Sark, we headed up to the observatory itself (we're at Greenwich, remember?) to do all the prime meridian stuff.
So we left our hotel today. We didn't have to leave until midday, but we wanted to have a proper day out at Hampton Court, so probably left long before that . . . I think. That first photograph is timestamped at 11:41, but I'm never trusting the time on the camera; it constantly shifts in and out of BST/GMT without much intervention from me. So yeah . . . we had a proper wander around Hampton Court, checking out the buildings, the gardens and the so-called maze, which actually ended up being a lot simpler than we were expecting. Blah, blah, blah. I can't be bothered to write anything else. Hello?
Blimey. Two holidays in one week. What's that all about, eh? The Elterwater one should have happened a couple of weeks of, but got delayed owing to the weather. Before going to our holiday house, we had lunch and then went for a walk around Tarn Hows. A first for me (I think?!) - I hammered in a penny into a log that had similarly been festooned with coins. I wonder why people do this? Hmmmm. Anyway, that last picture is where we're actually at the holiday house thing itself, A****** once again immersed in a book.
So yeah . . . this is day 2. After a fairly hair-raising journey through Wrynose and Hardknot passes (it was the steepness, the hair-pin bends and the huge drifts of snow, casually scraping our wing mirrors), we got the steam train from Dalegarth to Ravenglass. I don't seem to have many pictures here, which might be on account of the drizzle. See, we had lunch at Ravenglass and remembered that there's not really that much to do at Ravengarth, and so got the train back to Dalegarth. The picture of the rhododendron are from when we went for a walk, which started somewhere near Dalegarth and took us to some kind of waterfalls. We didn't get all the way as some of us didn't have appropriate footwear and the rain was making the stone steps a little slippy and a little slip could have ended with a big fall down to some rocks. But it was all good. We took the long road back, which way have a bit silly, as it took about an hour and a half, or thereabouts. But hey . . . we're on holiday. Who cares?
So mainly today, we went for lunch at that pub (which may have been 'The Bridge'; Chesters was packed) at Skelwith Bridge and then went for a walk that M****** seemed to know about.
I think we kind of headed in a vague Loughrigg Tarn direction, did a bit of a circuit around it and then went back, almost the same way. Once our walk was done, Chesters was a bit quieter, so got our cake and coffee. R****** insisted I photographed this little rock he had found, so I duly obliged. You can just vaguely make out the river in the background, which was a bit more torrent like than a normal river. Loads of fields nearby were looking decidedly flooded. Didn't realise it had rained that much. Ah well.
Yo! I'm not one to judge, except to judge other people's ability to judge. That sounds a bit circular. Anyway . . . M****** took all these pictures of the new biscuit tin. Whoa! Life on the edge! With some apples. Apples and a biscuit tin. Hey, whatever. Whatever, I say. I'm just putting 'em up here. Here's a warning for you all: don't try to pick up these kinds of biscuit tins by the lid, especially when fully loaded. Bad move.
So this is a new Lego game thing that the boys have recently acquired. Acquired. That's not the word I was looking for. Anyway, the name of the game is something involving a Minotaur. The boys pronounce this as 'minor chore' and whilst I have corrected them, they're happy with 'minor chore', so what can you do, eh? Minor chore . . . it has a nice ring to it anyway. Blah.
On Thursday night, after a beer or two (or three?!) I decided to finally contact Morphy Richards about our broken toaster. We can't have got more than a couple dozen slices of toast out of this toaster before it gave up the ghost. However, it wasn't enough for this toaster just to blow a fuse; this particular toaster wanted to go out with a bang. I remember being sat at my computer that morning, when all the power went off. Of course, computers and unplanned power outages do not mix well. We managed to track down the problem to the toaster and every time the thing was activated, it tripped out the RCD on our main fuse box thingy. When the RCD trips out, all the mains electricity also goes off, all except I think the lights and the power to the shed. That morning my poor computer suffered three unplanned power outages. Anyway . . . long story short . . . I finally got around to contacting Morphy Richards about this:
I purchased the 'Accents Cream 2 Slice Toaster' as part of order number 45757, dated 16/Feb/2013. The toaster didn't last long and managed to trip out the RCD on my main fuse box. Once the RCD tripped out, all the other mains power turned off, as to be expected. Almost incredulous that a toaster could do such harm without burning out its own fuse, we tried it again. The same thing happened: the RCD tripped out, resulting in all the mains power turning off again. One of my computers got caught up in this, and irreparably ruined one of my hard-drives, fortunately nothing major, but still £70 worth of damage for a replacement hard-drive. As a result, we've bought a new toaster (man cannot live long without toast) and need a refund for your faulty toaster. What happens next? Presumably you need the toaster returning. Where do I send it to? Who pays for the postage? Is this refunded? What about the kettle (still boxed)? THANKS! jonathan
The following day M****** got a phone call from someone from Morphy Richards who, apparently, could barely contain his laughter (was the phone call on speaker phone?!). We were told that we would be refunded the cost of the toaster . . . no need to send it back. Just dispose of / recycle in the normal manner. So that's a result! Assuming they're true to their word and the refund appears, of course.
I got a feeling A****** made this many, many years ago now. Well, not that many. A few years then. He may have been 2, 3 or perhaps 4 years old. It's kind of been lingering around ever since. M****** wanted me to take a picture but I've obviously not got enough light here and the camera flash was misbehaving so, erm . . . yeah. Whaddaya do, eh?
A council was convened by Pisan pope John XXIII in 1414 at Constance to resolve the issue
Here we are out for a walk again somewhere around Silverdale. M****** was most amused when I turned in to the car park of Leighton Moss, clearly having not listened to the instructions to NOT go to Leighton Moss. Today we had a major upgrade due at work, and I was scheduled to do my bit at about 16:00-ish, so it wasn't like we could go far.
Now, you see - this is the day we went to Leighton Moss. In the morning, I was actually at work, following the upgrade referred to yesterday. The testing took several hours during the morning, but then I was free in the afternoon. So we went to Leighton Moss. And I seem to recall spotting some kind of bird of prey, not that such a thing would be unusual at Leighton Moss. We had no idea what it was (well, maybe a slight idea) but this old dude in the hide was more than willing to provide the details, the gender, the age . . . etc. . . of the bird in question.