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

 

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):

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’….

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!

Featuring Freddie: Daily Snaps

It had to happen. With technology’s thumping pace in the background, the days of waiting a week for the local chemist to develop your ‘instamatic’ snaps then posting them in ship to relatives overseas have well and truly been shattered. Two minutes ago I took a photo on my phone, did some quick cropping, added some text and a frame, converted it to black and white, then clicked ‘post to flickr’. Bingo, it’s on Flickr. And wouldn’t ya know it, when it’s on Flickr, it’s on Freddie’s blog.

So I heartily recommend on this and subsequent visits to our hero’s site you check in at ‘Daily Snaps‘ where we’ll be posting our family photos on a regular basis.

I’ve also been a little busy tidying up the code on the site, so instead of the page having to ask the database ‘what’s my name?’ each time it loads, I’ve written the name into the page. Same thing for the stylesheets, pingbacks, versions, and a few others bits so with any luck we’ve cut down the time it takes to load the page considerably. Happy browsing!

Porridge: Chief of Scotland’s Food

Every morning Freddie wakes up to a steaming bowl of fresh porridge. But it's not your usual oats'n'water sludge. Freddie's discerning palate expects the very best quality organic ingredients. And our parental anxiety demands a nutrionally complete breakfast for our number one son. So we make it using Flannagans Oats from Waterford and Jersey whole milk. To that base we chop up some seasonal fruit – berries, bananas and mango all go down a treat. Half-a-teaspoon of sugary stuff – honey, concentrated juice, molasses or demerara sugar – and some ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazlenuts, pistachios, pecans, they all go well in porridge). Stirred up in a bowl and sitting on Daddy's lap, Freddie can often be seen wolfing it down at 7.15am weekdays….

Porridge