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”

New Volvo vehicle

Volvo

Couple of months ago our Audi A4 estate got broken into; we were woken up at 1am by the cops who informed me a chap was caught attempting to extricate his swag bag from the clutches of the rear windscreen wiper.  Mr Not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-box got a fortnight behind bars; our car was scrapped; and we got as much as we paid for the car we've had for the past eighteen months back from the insurance company.

So today Freddie and I hiked up to Edgware to get a replacement; it's a smashing old Volvo that does 50+ miles per gallon (that's 5.6 litres per 100km) with dead low mileage, an old tapedeck and a sunroof. Yay! It will be easier to move house when we need to, and we'll be able to hit the ground running in the country again…

Tackling Nature: Freddie at the Museum

I took Fredde to the Natural History Museum today. He loved it, there’s loads of creepy crawleys, stuffed animals, all manner of rocks and a dark dinosaur wing. You could spend hours pootling about the place, and Freddie got hooked on loads of it. The ushers had to ask us to leave because it was closing. Anyhow, here are some great photos and a T.Rex video (don’t forget to click on the ‘full screen’ icon, bottom right):

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.

 

A Nature and DIY Weekend

 
This Saturday we skipped off to Pett’s Wood again. It’s so peaceful out there, barely a soul for miles and the rustle of the squirrels and balmy wind in the autumn leaves, the sound of birdsong, and random mushrooms sprouting off the leafy paths are all so relaxing for a brain, child, relationship and body constantly on the go during the week.
 
It’s only a 25 minute trip on the train from Brixton Station, then a 10 minute walk to the forest. We did take a detour through the charity shops where we found a Matchbox motorbike for 15p – Freddie’s not lost sight of it since.
 
We also found this cool tree with eight trunks and a raised bit in the middle. Freddie and Mary stood in it, and with the sun shining through the canopy captured this halo of light and family-ness:
 
 
Saturday night Craig stopped by for dinner then Freddie and I toddled off to Brockwell Park this morning while Mary practiced her yoga. Freddie’s pal Leon (they both get childminded by Patricia) and his German parents Phillip and Stella were there. Really nice to meet them after all this time.
 
Last month we bought a dishwasher. Plumbing constraints forced our workbench elsewhere, so a few weeks ago we picked up a 2.5m x 60cm worktop and finally got around to installing it this afternoon/evening. And here it is in all it’s glory:

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!

Stationary car-tastrophe & off to Ireland…

You may have noticed a few photos in Daily Snaps of parking permits and a car scratch. Due to the muggy weather, our residential parking permit came unstuck from the windshield and fell face-up in the glove box. Freddie, ever mindful of external noises (helicopter, motorbike (‘naughty’ if it’s going too fast), rubbish truck, bird are all pointed out to us with great interest), was quick to alert Mary to the truck out the window  lifting our car up onto it’s trailer.

No amount of pleading would suffice, however, and the car got towed. We had to shell out £260.00 notes to get it back. We’re contesting the fine, and noticed they also damaged the car. Another £150.00. Fingers crossed we’ll get it back – we’ll keep you posted.

On Sunday we visited Aunty Ann in Coulsden where she and Bob fed us a delicious Lasagne and Freddie tried to take their place to bits. He was a bit cranky as we’d distrupted his sleep patterns but it was great to see them all the same. Mary took a great photo:

Tomorrow we’re all off to Ireland to visit the family for a week. See you soon!

Farmer Freddie: gettin’ down with the animals

We’ve happened on a few farms recently, what with all the sheep in Snowdonia, there was also the Dean’s City Farm at Morden Park, the Vauxhall CIty Farm at the Lambeth Country Show. So here’s a slideshow of Freddie’s animal exploits…

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Short Update: Freddie’s Taller

Once again we’ve fallen behind in the blogoshere while Freddie continues to outrun us on the growing up front. Take, for instance, his language. There we were, perfectly happy with our juvenile foul-mouths, and then ‘bingo’ – Freddie’s wandering around quietly telling other kids ‘Fffff-uck-k-k. Fffff-uck-k-k.’ There’s absolutely no mistaking it.  It’s like he had nits in the nursery the horror exhibited on the faces of the adults as the swearing-kid-virus wantonly spread in an unseemly fashion for about a week. Ulp.

He’s stopped that little quirk, and it’s onto another. Mr Cute smiley pants, laughing and gurgling and throwing in a ‘Adun… ha..ha..Daddiieee…’ or ‘Mammieee…meup..Mam…meup…’  Meup means he wants holding. He’s the man.

This Saturday just gone we drove our estate – which we’ve recently bought – to the Audi service centre in Wimbledon (we picked a bad weekend for that as the tennis was on) to get the missing wheelnut locking key and instead of the planned womble through the common we headed to Morden Hall Park, a lovely long meandering woodland come rose garden with a city farm in the middle. Freddie met a foal and mare, who nibbled his foot to shrieks of delight and fright.

 

View Larger Map

 

Sunday? We headed to Petts Wood – 20 mins on th train from Brixton – and took a long four hour walk through the 400 acre forest. We’ve been there a few times now, it’s always deserted. and we walk for hours without meeting a soul. We headed north instead of west this time into St Paul’s Chat where we stumbled upon the ruins of a moated manor and some horses, which nibbled his foot to shrieks of delight and fright. Here’s a map of the trip we took:

 

Next post, expect some photos of the ‘he’ll break a few hearts when he grows up’ man you’re all looking forward to seeing.

NB: We’ve had some issues with the blog recently, somehow someone injected 900 links into the footer which meant each time the blog loaded 1MB of bandwidth was used. We’ve moved him to a different host, implemented the WordPress auto-update plug-in and removed those pesky links and used up 250MB of his bandwidth in the process. Finger’s crossed, all will be well in future…

Getting used to the summer weather in London

Freddie was most surprised by the weather in this, his first summer. In the middle of July I was cut off from delivering training to US colleagues by a storm over London and when I got home the pavement was covered in hail, with receding clouds looking very ominous as they’d dumped their heavy load on the streets. Mary had just made it inside before the heavens broke, and here’s some footage she took in the fifteen minute pelting:

Wow!