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”

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)

 

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’….

What you lookin’ at?

Sorry no post from Ireland. Suffice to say, there are some snaps up under ‘Daily Snaps‘. and that we spent the time there tooing and froing from Waterford Hospital to Clashbrack. Mary’s mother Maureen isn’t feeling well so we were keen to see her.

Mary’s back there tomorrow (Monday) for four days so Adam’s gonna be a solo-dad in London in the meantime.

Today we went for dinner at Craig’s where his sister Anna took some great photos of us all. Here’s one of Freddie, click on the photo for a slideshow.

Yesterday we made another IKEA trip, my treasure was the spice rack jars. We also picked up a 2.5 metre worktop to put in the kitchen, but we’ve now hit the problem of how to hold it up. It’s too heavy for the wall! Will post a picture of the new kitchen ‘look’ once we’ve completed that job!

Best rain in Europe: our Snowdonian oddyssey

Last week we stayed in one of the Gogarth Hall Farms cottages in Wales for a week. It was gorgeous, built in the  mid-1700s, and steeped in a remote valley with (shock!) no cellphone access. When I was booking the spot I asked if it had wireless. The proprietor said ‘Ohh, ye’ve cawght me on de ‘op dere, oi don’t believe oi have a radio in dat dere cottage now…’. Fat chance! It did have a stately furnishings and an old fire which we busily set to blazing most of the time.

The countryside in the area was really stunning, majestic peaks, high lakes, sandy beaches with a little brighton feel to them, and loads of charming inns. Here’s where we were staying – zoom out to see where we were…

 

We had a packed agenda, spending a day on the old Talyllyn narrow gauge steam train, a day at the Centre for Alternative Technology, I spent a day mountain biking with my buddy Craig who came over on the Friday, another day walking along the riverside, the soggy Wednesday at the Machynlleth market and another at the Aberdovey beach. On the Saturday we stopped at Sharon Pope’s in the Cotswolds where Freddie was most taken with their new puppy Mia and the five horses in the stables. So! Here, using the latest in WordPress technology, is a slideshow of our happy, if soggy, trip:

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 There are a bunch of videos too, but I haven’t even got them off the camera let alone uploaded them to Freddie’s blog!

A Spring Break in Ireland

Freddie’s cousin Frionna was to be confirmed so it was a perfect excuse to head over and get Freddie in the christian way as well. The timing was a little inconvenient however – by 2pm on Sunday 20th April, it was past his nap time so when the priest tipped a bucket of water on his forehead, he was in no mood for happy smiles. The priest had to lift his voice somewhat throughout the rest of the ceremony. Click on the image below for some nice snaps of the wee man and his relations while we were there…

2008 Ireland Christeningg

Waterford to Kerry: Wet Travels in Ireland

We’ve just returned from a wonderful fortnight in Ireland, a week spent with Mary’s brothers, sisters, mother, nieces and nephews in Clashbrack near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Freddie received some splendid toys and clothes from all his relatives, and had many a chortle with his cousins. I went running pretty regularly through the narrow windy country roads the region is riddled with and Mary tried to relax since Freddie was getting up 4-6 times throughout the night. Then we jumped into our rented Fiesta and headed over to Kenmare:

It’s a charming spot nestled between the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara – two scenic routes that circle the respective peninsulas. We spent six nights in a cute thatched cottage with half-doors and two open fires. It was really isolated, and the warm fire was comforting under the constant rain. We did manage to venture out each day, and there are some great photos of us doing just that – click on the image for a slide show:

It wouldn’t be right not to have a video of McGillicuddy Reeks:

We headed back via Cafe Paradiso in Cork where they make the most amazing vegetarian tucker. Mary had a borlotti bean, kale & roasted squash stew in an almond, jalapeno chilli & chocolate sauce, with grilled polenta and coriander soured cream whilst I enjoyed a gratin of leeks, roasted roots & hazelnuts with a Gabriel cheese & chive sauce and lemon borlotti. The chef, Denis Cotter, used to cook in JBC’s and Cullens in Hamilton. We managed to arrive back safely last Wednesday from whence it’s been all go, hundreds of emails to catch up on between us and many an engagement. And Freddie’s frequent night wakenings? On Thursday night we stealed ourselves for a scream-ridden evening of not feeding Freddie each time he awoke crying. The first time he woke up – 11pm – he cried himself back to sleep within 15 minutes and the next time – 4am – he let out an almighty holler when he first realised Mama wasn’t going to feed him, but had settled back to his dozey self within 20 minutes. Since then it’s been a bit erratic, but last night he only woke at 4am and 6am, both times settling back to sleep within seconds of being put on his back.

 

Estonia: a financial disaster, a pleasant stay

We got back from our weekend break from Estonia a few weeks ago. We left London on the Friday afternoon, got on the 6pm flight, then, just before it was to take off an attendant from the gate asked for our tickets, we didn’t have (under booking details and terms and conditions on our email confirmation was the text ‘ticket collection’ with an address – I’d not read this far), so we were taken off the plane and spent the night in a Gatwick hotel. They reissued the tickets the following morning and we arrived at 3pm. Unable to catch the bus as planned, we rented a car which I promptly ploughed into a bollard. These two events wound up costing us an unexpected £1000.00, but whatever. Once we settled into Padaste Manor I’d determined to enjoy ourselves. Apart from the lack of menu selection for vegetarians in the restaurant, the aroma of sewage and the exorbitant fees for using the spa/sauna/dinghy/hot tub (£50.00 for using the sauna? You’re having a laugh!) we had a very pleasant stay, the rooms were delightful, breakfast was delicious, the weather was perfect and the isolation was very endearing to us Londoners. I took some video! I think there’s still a few things I need to learn on the editing front, it’s all a bit mashed up sound-wise, and the quality is nowhere near as good as it ought to be. Anyhow, if you can be bothered here’s some mashed up footage of our trip:

After staying three nights there, we headed into Tallinn’s old town, a gorgeous few acres of rickety streets, cobblestone houses, old church spires, souvenir shops, stag party pubs, and swarms of tourists being guided about.