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Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt and friend....and fur-kid mum I love Quilting, stitching, photography, cooking, baking, gardening, blogging and making new friends...stop by and say hi!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Exploring London Town

Only a few days left. Red was meeting up with his special friend again so I had to decide what I was going to do for the day. I had thoughts of visiting Madame Taussards or perhaps the Zoo and since they are not too far from each other, maybe even both. Grabbing my camera and extra lenses, I made my way to Euston Square Tube Station.

Running down the steps at the station, I felt something snap in my calf and "OUCH" it was painful.  Struggling to walk, I limped to catch the train and got off at Baker Street close to Madame Taussards.   MT's would have to do.  Was no way I could walk to the Zoo with this calf.

Expecting crowds queuing up outside, I was surprised to walk straight into the foyer. But the queue from here was longer than I expected and after waiting about 20mins and thinking I was almost in, I passed a sign that stated it was another 1 hour queue from that point. I don't think so! Just to look at a bunch of "dummies"?  Time to re-evaluate my day exploring.  Can't walk far, have a whole day to kill..........how about an open top on/off bus tour! And there was a stop just outside MT's.

So that is what I did.  I tried to get off the bus at Oxford Street (can't remember why) but the leg was not doing so well and I realised that going up stairs was much easier than going down and I missed the stop so I sat up top and snapped away with my camera, listening to the commentry and enjoying the breeze.
Here is an interesting use of old London Taxis adorning the facade of an Oxford Street shop.

 I really wamted to get off somewhere so when we reached the bridge crossing the Thames near Big Ben I decided to get off.  Ready, Getset, tackle those bus steps.

for a less than perfect panoramic photo of Parliament House.
Wondering why those trees have blue trunks? It was in celebration of the birth of Prince George.

Back on the bus and continuing my journey until we reached Hyde Park and I dedided to get off here to find a spot of lunch. This turned out to be a quick shop at Sainsbury's for a picnic sandwich enjoyed under the trees at Hyde park with a friend or two who enjoyed sharing my crusts.
Before catching the bus again I took a walk to nearby Marble Arch for some photos of the monuments there. There were a couple of dogs paddling in the fountain but by the time I hobbled over there, they were being dried off.
Back on the bus I was able to snap a few pictures of some famous landmarks as we drove by (You may know them) from L to R:
  • An old, quaint little pub, The George, and, like many others, apparantly often frequented by Charles Dickens
  • St Paul's Cathedral from a different angle
  • London's latest and greatest....The Shard.

I actually stayed on the bus for two rounds of the circuit and on the second round I got off at Trafalga
Square to take some photos of Nelson's column with its Lions keeping guard and the fountain. 
 I wanted to walk down to the Mews from here to see the Horseguards but by the time I got there they were done for the day.  Oh well, best catch the bus again.  I wanted to take photos of one last thing before catching the train from Embankement back to my hotel.

Cleopatra's Needle and the bronze sphinx statues
 I never realised before that this monument was damaged by shrapnel from the a bomb blitz in the first world war.

Well despite the trouble I had with my calf today, I had a wonderful time exploring the sites around London. A great way to see so much without doing too much walking.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

October turns Pink

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month

Every year at work, we have a bake sale to raise money for this event amongst our staff.  This year I made White Chocolate Cherry Blondie and Coconut Ice.
If I make the coconut Ice next year, I think I will cut them smaller.
I also donated two of my "manipulated" photos to the cause.  Here they are with my DJ special edition Teddy.

These are my own photos which I have manipulated to appear like art work. Roses above, tulips below.
I am still to find out who won the pictures but the cake sale was a huge success and the proceeds were donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  We are all very supportive of our store's efforts to raise money, especially since two of our collegues passed away from breast cancer over the last year but even happier to report that two others are on their way to remission.
Baked goodies for sale and awareness literature in the staff room.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Fat Quarter Swap & Giveaway

This "travel" blogging has really taken up my month of blogging for October although, believe me, I have been doing other things. I have been quilting on Ava, making goodies for my Christmas Swap and getting caught up on my Fat Quarter Swap.

The theme for September was "for the men" and here is what I sent Wendy B at Sugarlane Quilts
And here is what Wendy sent me.  I don't really do "men things" but these are just perfect fabrics for my Millamac applique patterns.

October was "Food Glorious Food" and Vanessa of Whirling Butterfly received this from me
and in return I received this
 I am going to have to keep a close eye on these goodies as I heard Miss M oohing and aahing over them when they arrived!!

Now to some other important business.......who won the October Giveaway draw?

With the help of that darn Random Number Generator, that I still haven't figured out how to copy and paste the results (although I am certain I have at some stage in the past), picked post number 5 but as "Oops, a little late with September Winner" was exempt for being an announcement rather than a post, I picked the next one which was my post on "Leeds Castle"

Push that RNG button again and # 6 came up this time........who is it?

from "Four Miles North of Nowhere".......Yay, you are the winner this month.  I know you have been following my travels with interest so Congratulations! I will send you an email and if you can reply with your snail mail address, I can get your gift off to you asap.

Windsor Castle, Bath & Stonehenge - Part 3

Driving over the Salisbury Plains, I was so excited. Can't wait to see Stonehenge again. The approach to the site has changed a little. One of the intersecting roads has been taken out and a visitors centre is being built quite a way from the circle. This will go a long way to preserve the area and make a better visiting experience for everyone. The new centre should be opening soon.

 Not sure what gives me goosebumps, a racing heart, and some sort of emotional turmoil within. Is it the site itself, said to have been built on a magnetic energy line running across Britain or is it the mystery of how the stones got here. Who were these people, why did they build it, where did these stones come and how did they build it with just their bare hands? What I do find strange is that even though a very busy major road runs past the site, no traffic can be heard and see those birds on the stones......yea, can't hear any bird sounds either. No sound travels here, it is like you are in a bubble of silence.

Wandering around this site, I never want to leave. I just want to lie here on the grass and mull over all the reasoning surrounding what is left here from construction of the circle around 2600BC

How lucky are these sheep that live in the nearby field and get to view the Henge all the time?

and don't you just love this sweet patch of prettiness. Amongst all that grass was this one patch of wild blossoms. I just had to have a photo

 There are also several Neolithic burial sites called Long Barrows here and I would have loved to have strolled up there for a closer look but not enough time so I had to be satisfied with a photo.

Right, it is getting late, everyone back on the bus for the long journey back to London.
My absolute pleasure!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Windsor Castle, Bath & Stonehenge - Part 2

When I visited Stonehenge in 2006, we stayed in Bath. It was the middle of June, stinking hot and I was really not charmed by the city of Bath! Because of this I sort of felt...Yeah, whatever!....about another visit. I was pleasantly surprised. The drive into Bath took us through some of the most beautiful country side imaginable and my first glimpses of Bath creeping up from the valley into the surrounding hills was quite breathtaking.

The town itself is mostly built from a honey coloured sandstone and there are strict regulations for new buildings to lend themselves to fit in with the architecture of the town. This adds to its charm and makes it a very beautiful city.  At the time of our visit, there were flowers everywhere.  Hung from lamp posts, in hanging baskets, in window boxes and planters. I don't remember this on my last visit.
 Of course everyone who visits here makes their way to the Roman Baths which is the very existance of Bath itself. The history here is old and mostly centres around the Roman occupation and use of the city. The city was also very popular in the Georgian and Victorian Eras when people would visit the spa to recouperate from ailments, either real or imagined. No-one uses the baths now to soak away their troubles.....who would want to? They even discourage people from putting their hands in it although you can drink water from the actual spring.  I am told it tastes and smells like rotten eggs.

 After a walk around the plaza where the baths and the Cathedral are, we made our way back to the bus pick up point. We had very strict instructions to not be late for the pick up as the bus had a designated time slot and would be moved on once over that time, with or without us! As we were approaching the bus stop I noticed an Italian Ice Cream shop which I just HAD to sample. It was crowded so keeping an eye on my watch I waited (im)patiently for my turn.

YUM! and I made it to the bus stop in plenty of time.....Phew!

Goodbye Bath, Stonehenge......here we come!

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