Nice Knitting from Nona

Freddie has the good fortune of having a nona (a continental term for 'grandmother' for those who don't know) who can knit and was delighted to receive a package from New Zealand a few days ago with a new light brown cardigan with a motorbike knitted into the back and a gorgeous blue and red stripy hooded top.

It may be June, but he has actually worn both of them today  – it was a bit chilly in the morning so he tried out the brown one as he balance-biked his way to the childminders. Then he struck a pose in the other one this evening – he looks great in both of them – excellent colour choice.

Chuffed with my new bike, chuffed with my new cardie!

'Thanks Nona, these will keep me warm until I get bigger and bigger,' says Freddie.

It's book time!

Boys. Men. Cars. Brrrrmmm….

Freddie and I found a big box full of Scalectrix tracks, cars and accessories on the wall outside a house in Brixton last year. The dad leaning on the fence assured us it worked last time he had set it up two years ago.

So it's been sitting under the bed waiting for a rainy weekend ever since. Last month it poured down and Mary was in Ireland for the weekend. The timing was perfect to get the tracks out and get those cars smokin'… Continue reading “Boys. Men. Cars. Brrrrmmm….”

The International Caterpillar Caper

One fine day a few weeks ago Freddie's cousins in New Zealand, the Stillz Boyz Zach Jamie and Duncan, went to the Auckland Botanical Gardens. They had lots of fun seeing all the different trees, plants and flowers. But what they found especially interesting was the abundant insect life that appeared to be enjoying itself silly amongst the flora.

You can see them on the right as, despite those innocent looks, they scheme and plot all sorts of crazy insect gathering plans in the red circle. Continue reading “The International Caterpillar Caper”

It couldn’t have been wetter in the Lake District…

Over the recent Easter break Mary took the family for a drive to the Lake District and back via the Peak District for a couple of nights. Here's a map of where we wound up, and where we went whilst there – do navigate around it to get your bearings: Continue reading “It couldn’t have been wetter in the Lake District…”

Christmas in London

This year we stayed in London. All our neighbours got together on the Sunday beforehand for a good laugh and pot-luck.

Then Christmas took off in earnest for Freddie with a trip to see Santa at a shopping centre on Christmas Eve, although as you can see from the photo, his excitement was replaced by shyness as soon as he got to see the white-bearded man in the red outfit. Continue reading “Christmas in London”

Freddie’s Three!

Freddie turned three on the 30th of November but we didn't get around to a birthday party until last Saturday. And it's taken me this long to get the photos and videos from the four cameras together! We had a great day, loads of food and presents for the birthday boy.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishing, cards, presents and effort for him; he really felt special. Here's a couple of photos and a video of the blowing-out-the-candles moment and bouncing-on-the-bed hijinks:

 

Mucking about in Mullingar

Last weekend was a long one, and the family scooted off to visit Mary’s cousin and comrade in overseas fun, Bridget, from way-back in Ireland. Close to Mullingar, west of Dublin. She has a large and welcoming family, with a home to match. The weather was ‘on and off’ but we were able to make the best of it, visiting my friend Kat in Dublin on the Saturday and another of Mary’s friend’s, Sharon and her three sons on Sunday in Celbridge. In and out of the hen house, chasing the kittens, swimming in the nearby hotel’s pool, visiting swans on the lake, and exploring Bridget’s husband Jimi’s current building project all totted up to a swell break for us all.

Anyhow, enough burbling, here are some snaps. Sorry we didn’t get a chance to get everyone in – they’re probably sighing with relief anyhow ;o) Fullscreen button is now bottom left….

 

Fullscreen

 

Weekend in Warnham, West Sussex

It being mid-August, we decided to take a weekend in the country before the summer ends. It was off to West Sussex this time to stay in a cosy B&B in a 550-year old medieval house called Glebe End in a little village called Warnham. It’s a totally gorgeous house and the price is good so we’d recommend it to Londoners as it is only around 90 mins drive away.

Liz Cox, the landlady, was a bit of a character – old style plum-in-mouth accent and very charming along with her two sheepdogs Betsy & D.J. She cooked a fine breakfast to boot.

The village itself and the surrounding countryside is stunning. One of the highlights was walking into the Greets, one of the two village pubs, and finding an ancient low-ceilinged bar with no seats. Instead there were loops hanging from the ceiling so you could grab one if you felt a bit unsteady or if you just fancied a prop – exactly the same style as you find on London Underground.

After dropping our bags on Saturday and pootling about Horsham we headed off down to Worthing which is on the coast, but unfortunately only Freddie was very impressed with it. He enjoyed the time spent on the windy stony beach with Adam while I read a book in the car.

We decided we liked the West Sussex countryside much better and spent the next day in woodland where we walked and picked blackberries and took pictures of the mushrooms we came across. We also found some hungry carp in a lake beside a fancy manor and Freddie enjoyed feeding them some bread (the fish, not the manor owners) which caused them to get into a bit of a frenzy.

Here’s the photos, none of me, typical ;o)

 

Mummy and Daddy got married…

Mary and Adam got married at Lambeth Registry Office on 18th July 2009. Getting there meant little more than going to the top of the street for us, but family and friends came from far and wide.

Here’s the photo set, click on the bottom right hand ‘expand’ button to check it out in full screen…: 

 Adam’s parents, Pauline and Richard, had travelled from New Zealand and many of Mary’s family made the journey from Ireland. Others travelled not so far, and hopefully everyone enjoyed the day as much as us.
 
After a fairly swift ceremony which I slept right through, we went to the Prince Regent in Herne Hill for bubbly then across the road to Brockwell Park to take some photos – thanks Anna! Another drink and it was time for dinner where 23 of us had a delicious three-course meal.
 
Before we knew it we were surrounded by people with evening guests arriving from 7.30pm and some fantastic live entertainment provided by friends and family. First up was Mary’s friend Suzanne who sang some pitch-perfect songs accompanied by Rob Harris on guitar and keyboards. Everyone enjoyed the performance.
 
Then Adam’s Aunty Ann and Uncle Bob took centre stage to sing a cappella. Both went down very well with Ann’s high voice perfectly balanced by Bob’s lower tenor tones. Having recently been on holiday to Switzerland one of the songs they chose to sing was Edelweiss made famous by Julie Andrews in the film The Sound of Music.
 
After rapturous applause, Mary’s friend Fatma took to the floor and belly danced in a fantastically exotic costume, keeping everyone entertained and even enticing a few brave souls to dance with her, including the groom (yes, he made a chump of himself), Lisa from NZ and Michael who had come over from Ireland.
 
After a cake-cutting interlude, it was time for the first dance; a toe-bruising waltz to Summer Wine sung by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra.
 
Drinking, mingling and a spot of dancing ensued until Adam and Mary departed for a London hotel at 12am where they enjoyed a couple of nights rest. Fatma stayed home with Freddie while Pauline and Richard picked him up in the day time to take him out around London. It was a wonderful few days which we all enjoyed very much.

 

Sevid, Vis & Split: An Oddysey in Illyria

Nona and Grandad rented an apartment in Croatia for a few months, and invited us over. It was well worth the trip, nearly three weeks in a suntrap surrounded by clear sea water; the place was seething with history to boot.

Straight to the pics, click the ‘expand’ button bottom right to see in vivid full screen technicolor…

We arrived via the cheapest flight we could muster in the most obscure hours available; thanks to Grandad for picking us up and taking us back to the apartment in Sevid. We pootled about there going for walks along the waterfront  via a tortoise family and enjoying the solitude. Mary and I spent a night in Trogir and a headed out to Vis, a remote Adriatic Island for a couple of nights and a cycle tour which was wonderful.

It didn’t rain once, and swimming in the sea was invigorating for us but too scary for Freddie. 

Lavro, our rambling Sevid landlord, doubled as the local vintner and provided us with some fine black ‘babich’ wine. Yum.

Croatians are big on meat, but cherries, artichokes, asparagus and cheese were in season so I got by just fine. 

Freddie’s favourite passtime was throwing stones in the water. Fortunately, the country had little but stones and water; he loved it. Here’s a clip of the man enjoying ‘frutti di mare’….