Archive for January, 2011

The Geffrye Museum and British Library

January 27, 2011

Wednesday 26th January

First destination today was the Geffrye Museum in the Shoreditch area of London.  This museum is set in Alms Houses from the mid 1700’s and shows middle class life recreated through lounge/sitting rooms from 1600 onwards. This was extremely well done, working chronologically through the different periods by first a display of individual pieces from that time, including furnishings, materials used, then next to that room was another room set out depicting a scene of everyday life.  Within each room/era they also had audio examples of such things as diary entries, readings from books and plays of the time through to music.

Geffrye Introduction

70s 3These three photos show three different eras.

house cut

house cut 2

home 1 Again three different interiors

home 2

home 3

70s 1 Right up to the seventies70s and nineties


chairs 2even chair samples covered the complete range of eras displayed.

chair 1


chair styles


writing desk A lovely example of a writing desk

All really well set out and well worth a visit if you are ever in London.

From there it was off to the British Library for a look through the exhibition spaces.  Not too many photos as of course we were not allowed to take pictures.  But from the examples of original writings by such people as Austen, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Mercato, and Captain Cook through to the Beatles, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  They too had audio examples of different aspects of writings or music.  Bernice did enjoy listening to a recording of the Beatles addressing their fan club for Christmas 1963.

signSign of the day outside the British Library

book seat Chair of the day in the British Museum

Roy stayed on to look through the exhibition Evolving English: One Language Many Voices whilst Bernice headed home for the day. The exhibition explored the development of the English Language from  around 1000 years ago through to today.  This was primarily illustrated by a display of documents from throughout the whole period.  These illustrated the effect of the various invasions of England and Great Britain over the period and the absorption of some of the invaders language into English.

There were then sections on Dialects within Great Britain, English adopted and adapted in other countries throughout the world from those colonised to those using English as a second language, English used in different occupations and therefore becoming specialised.

In all a very absorbing and intense exhibition deserving of more time than it could be given.

Tonight is washing, packing and generally getting organised ready to fly out tomorrow night to Hong Kong.

So that’s it folks, the end of 6 months of UK and Europe adventures.   We will have a couple of days in Hong Kong before we then set off for the next adventure in New Zealand… keep watching this space, we haven’t finished yet by a long chalk.

London Tower and Dinosaurs

January 27, 2011

Tuesday 25th January

Today was dedicated to going to the Tower of London.  What can we say except to say it was well worth the visit.  From talking to the people in costume and in character, yes, we “chatted” with Edward II and his two sisters, through to enjoying the architecture, the history and of course the Crown Jewels.  We will let the pictures tell some of the story.

entry 1Entrance to the London Castle

in wall homeTudor building built into the wall of the Castle

London bridgeShowing the remains of the moat looking toward Tower Bridge

portcullisThe only castle within Germany, France, Italy or England, we have seen, that actually has a working Portcullis.

Snow with the future kingSnow with the future King of England and his sister playing games.

privateThe private chapel off the room in which they were playing

BerniceBernice with another sister of the above pair.  She told us she was about to see her father for some more money.  She said even though she had taken a vow of poverty she needed a crown or two for gambling.

traitors gateTraitors Gate viewed from the inner wall

Traitor gate Traitors Gate

ravensAnd now we know how they ensure that the Ravens will never leave the castle.

Bernice Snow 1 Bernice, Snow and a Beefeater

London BridgeTower Bridge from in front of the castle.


Of course we were not allowed to photograph in the Jewel rooms so you will just have to look the various jewel room contents up on the internet.  Note however that some of the older crowns actually only have paste jewels.  Some of the original stones that were set within them were either borrowed at the time, and returned, or, they have been reset into one of the more modern crowns.

romanNot far from the castle just outside the entry to the underground station is this roman statue in front of the remains of the original Roman wall around Londinium

From there Roy went off to the Natural history museum to have look at the dinosaur exhibition which we missed the other day.

mary anningThis is one of the original Ichthyosaur fossils recovered by Mary Anning at Lyme Regis.  She was mentioned in the blog where we went to the museum at Lyme Regis

mary Anning 2Another example.  In fact there were were thirty or more different specimens from Lyme Regis and the majority had been found by Mary or her brother.

zdino 1 Here are two models of Velocoraptor.  They are motorised zdino 2 This dinosaur could do with his nails being clipped.

zdino 4 this one displays his last meal

dinosaur eggs and this is a model of a dinosaur nest based on one of many found in China

Find of the day has to be the sign for the Victoria & Albert Museum in the subway from the South Kensington Underground Station.

va1It starts off indicating the V & A

va 3then it goes through a cycle and …

va 2… it shows V & A to the people coming in the opposite direction …

va 4… it then goes through another cycle …

va 5… seen from both ends …

va1 … and returns to showing V & A in its original direction.   Magic!!

Back to the apartment to relax before heading off to bed.

Sunday Markets and Monday Marvels

January 26, 2011

Sunday 23rd January

All awake bright and reasonably early.  No sore heads (so they say) and everyone well rested.  Bacon and eggs for all and we are set up for the day.  Alexandra and team head off to the Greenwich Observatory and Roy and Bernice off to Brick Lane Market.

After dodging various Underground lines that were closed we arrived at Brick Lane Market (after quite a walk from the Underground station).  This we explored with some vigour finding a few interesting items to return home with.  It was primarily a clothes and accessories market with a few food stalls thrown in for good measure. 

After about an hour and a half had had enough so headed out for coffee.  Found a small coffee shop just outside the market and ordered Macchiato and Tea.  Then noticed Flat White on the coffee menu so a quick change.  Tea and Coffee delivered to table by a guy with a kiwi accent, so we get chatting.  Turns out he is from Wellington and in fact owns the place.  So a great find, good coffee, good service and kiwi owned to boot.

Decided to move on to Spittalfield Market.  We had been to this market before during the week, but when we arrived this time it was a completely different set of stalls and stallholders.  Much less antiques and much more clothes and accessories again, much like Brick Lane.  However, we did find some further items for home. 

Getting on in the day at this stage so we headed for home.  On the way back we called at the Greenwich market and picked up dinner.  Had a quiet night in ready for a new day.  No pictures today (most unusual). 

Monday 24th January

Today we went off to Hampton Court to meet with the Peter and Sue Redshaw, guests who had stayed with us in 2004, and to view Hampton Court Palace.   Sue & Peter are the ones who set us on the path of quiz making, Peter having done a lot of it after retirement.

So we duly made our way to Waterloo station to catch a train to Hampton Court. 

great jobWindow cleaning at Canary Wharf

canary wharfEntrance to Canary Wharf Underground station

After a very smooth journey we were greeted like long lost friends at the station platform.

greetingsWelcoming party Sue and Peter Redshaw

Off to a local coffee house for a session of coffees and catch up.  Surprise, it turns out today is Sue’s birthday so much congratulations to add to the mix.  It was amazing how we were able to just continue from where we left off all those years before.  We were immediately relaxed and felt right at home with two not-so-old friends. 

Finally we made our way across the bridge to Hampton Court Gardens and, with instructions to ring when we had finished, we made our way to the actual Palace and started our tour. 

What an eye opener.  The palace is a large collection of mainly brick faced buildings dating from 1338 and added to over the next 450 years to become what it is today.  There are several tours one takes through various parts of the palace and we chose to attempt them all.  A grand undertaking especially as there were time constraints on a number of them.   Apparently they had a film crew in filming for a Sherlock Holmes film.  This meant we had to rush through certain areas to be out of their way.  It also meant that some of the areas were changed from their usual Henry VIII period to Victorian.

out and aboutEntrance to the inner courtyards


clock Detail of the clock above the courtyard.  Poor picture as there is no viewfinder to frame it, but the clock had such a wonderful array of dials.

youngEntrance to the Young Henry Exhibit

 chair 1 chair 2 Throughout the Young Henry exhibit there are wooden chairs on the back of which are explanatory noteschair 3 

Art works from the early period were displayed in a number of the rooms.

fine art

Henry VIII

One of the rooms in Henry’s apartments was lined with weapons

 guns knives and steel 



The Great Hall was one of the most impressive rooms throughout the castle

high tableTop table


timber ceiling in the great hallCeiling in the Great Hall it is of Hammer-beam style which is the same as that in the Great Hall at Westminster.

typical stained glass windowOrnate windows are ranged on both sides of the Great Hall

linen fold panneling Linen fold panelling 

office office

throneand his “seat of ease”

gold plate wareGold plate in the private dining room

The kitchen was expansive and attractive even though not fully set up as it usually is.

plate room  Plate room

recipe and spice Kitchen office with recipes, bills, receipts etc.

fire placeOne of several open fires with racks for holding spitted meat for roasting

stew potStew pot – here you could also smell the cooking with aromavision!

warnerAnd here is why it is not as it should be


ppots and pans Victorian equipment


wine cellarWine Cellar

 tableBernice wanted to take this table home   

There were a number of rooms with very decorated ceilings and as well a number draped with tapestries

 ceiling 1


typical tapestry

We had a very good look at everything and even managed to have a late coffee in the kitchen cafe.

After lunch it was off to the gardens, of course not at there best at this time of year, but still very impressive.  Then we had, of course, to attempt the Hampton Court maze.  This was fun and led to a somewhat competitive streak coming out to determine who would reach the centre first.  Inevitably the team won.

gardensFormal layout to the fore

snow climbingSnow climbing for a look

 snow on topSurveying the route

Bernice in the mazeBernice and Snow take their own path

homeAt the centre, note that the surveyor/guide has shamefacedly removed himself from the photo. Note that the person in green along with team mate Snow had to sit in the middle and wait for some time for the other person to find their way.

Then it was back to the gate to meet up with Peter and return to Peter and Sue’s house where we were treated to a cup of tea and a couple of quizzes!  We had become aware in the morning that it was Sue’s birthday today so we all went off to a restaurant across the river and enjoyed fine food and great company until it was time to return to London

After a fond farewell on the platform we boarded our train and headed home.

What a wonderful day.  It was marvellous to meet Peter and Sue again and fall into conversation as if time had stood still.  We will have many fond memories of Hampton Court because of their presence.

Moving Day

January 25, 2011

Saturday 22nd January

Today we moved from our apartment in Brixton to our new apartment in Greenwich.  We must say the the apartment in Brixton was first class and it was a pity we could not finish our stay in London there.  However they had previously booked persons so we moved on.

Having sent a couple of boxes home we were back to two suitcases, backpack and flight bag.  These we managed to manoeuvre through the streets of Brixton to the tube station, only to find that the line was, unexpectedly, closed.  In fact we were just about to enter the station when they started to close the doors.  What now?  We wandered a hundred metres up the road and found a bus going to Elephant and Castle tube station and hopped on.  Then we found that it was stopping at Clapham North and other stations.  We passed Clapham Common station without realising so just held on for the next station.  For some reason the bus circumnavigated Clapham Common and came back to the rear of the station to a back entrance.  A quick word to the driver and he let us off and we were able to get our journey started.   Clapham Common to London Bridge station, hop off and transfer to the Jubilee line, ride to Canary Wharf, hop off and transfer to the Dockland Light Rail, ride to Cutty Sark and lo and behold we arrive.  Not bad for a couple of antipodeans without a compass.

We are met by the owner of the apartment and taken all of 50 metres from the station to our new apartment.  Again relatively new, very well appointed and comfortable.  We settle in, unpack, get organised.  Roy goes off to get some supplies and finds the Greenwich market within 50 metres in another direction. 

We both head off for a look at the market and spend time idly wandering.  Find a shop alongside the market selling games and finally get a pack of Phase 10 cards (bit late but better than never).  Also see a very neat pot plant holder system which I think we might replicate at home.

quilts Spotted this stall selling quilts so took a photo for Ann.  This prompted a discussion with the stall owner who was not pleased.  However turns out she is from the Hawkes Bay and after a chat all is well and we move on.

Finally grab a bite to eat from one of the stalls (Bernice a curry, Roy a Carribean Goat stew) and head back to the apartment.  We hear from Alexandra that she and friends are going to come over and see us later in the day.  So back out to the local Marks and Spenser for food for the multitude. Good old meat and veg for the kiwi blokes, with a bit of added chicken.

Roy decides that he can fit in a visit to the Maritime Museum whilst waiting for them to turn up.   A very interesting and well laid out display of Naval History, equipment, models and memorabilia.

 model 1 Model ship of the line, showing the sweeps extended, which is unusual.

model Model of a 48 gun ship of the line

 portable sun dials A portable sundial

sun dial A very large sundial outside the building.

Alexandra and the team duly arrived and we sat down to a lovely dinner followed by a very good session of drinks and general merriment.

the group Bernice, Simon, Leeroy, Mathew, Alexandra and Roy

Snow and offsider Even Snow found a mate

We bedded down our guests for the night and all retired undefeated.  A good night was had by all.


January 25, 2011

Friday 21st January

Go awry or change constantly, well, they do for us!  Today we had planned to head to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.  First we headed off on the tube toward Westminster Abbey, we arrived at the station to find that there were four exits to choose from, all signposted with tourist attractions to visit except the Abbey!   What is a girl to do?  Ask a friendly London Bobby, that is what she should do.  And that is exactly what I did.  He not only told us which exit to take, he escorted us out to the road to show us exactly which way to go, we chatted away for a bit as he was keen to know about NZ.  Just as we were about to leave he asked us if we knew that the Houses of Parliament were open today and as he also usually worked there he knew where to get in, told us which entrance to go towards and to ask for a “green pass”. 

Bonus, we thought so off we trotted.  The Houses of Parliament are an amazing collection of buildings.  First we were of course right beside Big Ben, and with the London Eye in the background it rewarded us with a great close up view. 

 big ben Big Ben from a different angle

We were screened on entry to the building, surrounded by a large number of police.  We then proceeded to the Great Hall.  This is the largest building of its type in Europe.  The magnificent roof is all timber and is absolutely stunning.  The Hall itself is used for major gatherings and events, both historically and today.

hallThe ceiling of the Great Hall

In a number of places within the Hall there are plaques set into the floor.  These mark places where historic and more recent events have taken place.  Deaths of famous people, conviction of traitors, lying in state of monarchs.

plaquesLying in state location of George Sixth and The Queen Mother.

We  then had to wait our turn to be admitted to the public gallery of the House of Commons.  No photography was allowed from this point onward.  We were led through to the gallery in the House of Commons.  This is situated above the back of the room and above the floor and above the floor of the house.  It is screened from the house by a glass wall.  When we were there a second reading of a bill concerning the rights of inheritance was being made.  There are over 600 members of the Commons and of these there were at least ten present in the House.  It was rather adult performance as the  Government Minister was reading the bill and commenting on various aspects, whilst the Opposition (all three or four of them) were sitting around looking bored. 

After sitting and listening for a time we decided to move on.  When we had gotten our ticket to the House we assumed that we were only going to see the House of Commons.  However, on spotting a sign pointing to the House of Lords we enquired as to whether we could see this as well.  No problem, a very pleasant policewoman showed us where to go and we were off.

The House of Lords is smaller than the commons but somewhat more ornate, particularly as it has the Throne at it’s head.  We again were in a gallery at the rear of the House.  This time however thee was no glass wall separating us from the House.  There were more Lords and Bishops in attendance here than in the Commons.  A Bishop was reading a bill regarding the Rehabilitation of Prisoners.  At the end of his reading one of the members rose from her seat and addressed the House giving her maiden speech. 

Time to leave. On our way out of the building, back in the Grand Hall, we met our friendly policeman from the Tube station where he was delighted to see us again, so we ended up chatting with him for another 10 minutes or so.  We then found a cafe within the buildings and had a coffee and tea before venturing across the road to the Abbey.

The Abbey is a beautiful church with amazing architecture, stained glass windows, and of course history.  Because no photography is allowed within the Abbey there is nothing we can post.  The place is absolutely full of burial places of Kings and Queens, and famous people, but, also, a significant number of memorial plaques to person not buried here but memorialised.  Typically these are grouped in certain sections of the Abbey.  Poets Corner, where you will find a great selection of British poets; a corner where there are a large number of theatrical persons memorialised; a corner where there are a number of scientists.  It was well worth the price of entry and the time spent wandering through.  

By this time it was after 3pm so we felt it was a little late to be heading off to the Tower, another change of plans.  Besides, as we exited the Abbey, the area around us was swarming with Police, I have never seen so many, it took us a bit of time to try and work out why they were there, along with a few vociferous protestors.  Of course, Tony Blair was giving his evidence in the Iraq War  investigations.

police 1Protesters and police

policeA view of the police vans parked up in the side street near Westminster, the cross road with this one had as many again.  A large number had six to eight policemen waiting within just in case.  I am not sure what they expected but they certainly appeared well prepared.

So where were we to go?  Not too far away is the Winston Churchill War Museum, so off we trotted.  This is located within the bunker which held the war rooms used during the Second World War to house Churchill, the Cabinet and Military advisors.  It was an interesting site and also held a museum dedicated to the life of Winstone Churchill.  This was very good as far as content was concerned but could have been organised a little differently to give more cohesion to the exhibits.  Anyway worth a visit.

We were meeting up with Alex, Lee, Mat and Liz for dinner before we headed off to the show We will Rock You, so it was time to head off.  We passed through Horse Guards Parade to the nearest tube station.

Horse guardOn parade

Whilst wandering the streets to the station we came across this plaque.



We all met up at Zizzi, an italian influenced restaurant providing cheap and cheerful fare.

dinner timeMathew, Leeroy, Roy, Bernice Liz and Alexandra waiting for dinner

It was the off to the show.  Bernice and Alexandra had seen the show in Auckland but were keen to see it again in London.

We will rock you

After the show we were all a little hoarse and had sore hands from all the clapping and singing that had gone on.  A very good show, well worth the attendance.

Roy and Bernice left the young ones to party on into the night whilst we went back to Brixton to our flat to pack up.  Tomorrow we move to Greenwich.

Granny hunting

January 24, 2011

Thursday 20th January

Happy Birthday Jeffrey – enjoy being a pensioner!

First thing on today’s agenda was to finally sort out our accommodation for our last five days in London.  Unfortunately the flat we are in could not take us for the whole time so we have to move.  It seemed as though every property we contacted could not take us for some of the time we were after, but after an exhaustive search we have found another apartment in Greenwich.  We have opted for apartments over hotel as this gives us;

1. a bit more space (namely a separate bedroom so the male member of the party can get up at ridiculous hours whilst the female member slumbers on!)

2. flexibility to be able to do our own cooking

3. laundry facilities

That done, Roy headed off into London town for the day whilst Bernice stayed at the flat to get the chores sorted and to wait for the boxes to be picked up.

Roy went “granny hunting” for the day.  Well that was the intent, however the effort was frustrated from the outset.  Every street address I had ended up having been completely remodelled or rebuilt.  Should have known as the family were in some of the lesser desirable areas in the 1850s and 1860s.  In one place the street had been heavily modified to allow for light rail, in another the whole street had been changed from housing to a hospital and school.   Even St Lukes Church had been remodelled and then taken over by the London Symphony Orchestra as a recording studio.  So so much for grannies.

In my wanderings I came across the Guildhall Library and decidedd to enquire if there was any trace of Artificial Flower makers (some hope!) but, alas, they obviously did not have a guild.  But did look to see if another, who was a gold chain maker, was a member of the Goldsmiths.  Alas it appears not although I need to follow up with the Goldsmiths who keep their own records.

Next door to the library was the clock museum established by the Clock and Watchmakers guild.  This was very interesting, showing the development of clock making in London from earliest times.

  Harrison 2 Pages from Harrison’s notebooks

Harrison Harrisons Number 5 clock


Also in my wanderings came across Petticoat Lane, which was obviously having a slow day

petticoat lane Petticoat Lane.

Finally it was back home at the end of the day.

Museums and Boxes

January 21, 2011

Tuesday 18th January

Today we headed out to the Natural History Museum for the day as we had not been able to get to see it on our first visit to London (See Moving Around August 21 2010).  This time though there were no queues.

Entry was made through the earth to the earth exhibit which covered all aspects of the formation and continual development of the earth itself.   Very impressive displays and a lot of interactive exhibits illustrating all sorts of geological processes and there effects on the earth and what we see today.

One downside was to find that in one of the larger earth illustrations (on volcanology no less) New Zealand was missed off.  We drew this to the attention of a staff member who said they would raise it with the powers that be, and then went on to say that the woman responsible for this section of exhibits was a New Zealander!  What the ..?

entry to earthEntry to the Earth exhibition was in fact through the Earth.

On to the dinosaur exhibition (although we did not manage the actual exhibition on dinosaurs)

dinosoaurOne of the main exhibits in one of the other entrances to the buildings.

Then on to the mammal area with its amazing model of a Blue Whale.  I now understand why Alan Davies of QI fame is so impressed by the Blue Whale.  The size of it is beyond any pre conceived notion of size one has.   It is mounted in an area where it is surrounded by stuffed examples of all the major land mammals extant.  Every one of them is totally dwarfed.  There is nothing that compares not even the other members of the whale family.  Even the photos do not do justice to the size.

dwarfedThe Blue Whale

somone is eyeing youEver get the feeling you are being watched?

DSCF8472It does not matter what angle it is viewed from …

dwarked… it is just huge

jawsand it’s skeleton is also somewhat excessive.

One of the often overlooked aspects of the museum is the building itself.  The following three photos are of the interior.

building This is the end wall of the hall in which the dinosaur is displayed

ceiling This the ceiling in the cafe area

decoration Detail carving on the staircase

We then went to the Cocoon in the Darwin wing.  This is an entirely new and absolutely impressive display of museum technology, illustration of the work behind the scenes and insights into the working people within the museum.  The whole was enclosed within a cocoon, one entered at the top and then walked down a spiral ramp around the inner surface of the cocoon.  As one progressed there were stations illustrating all aspects of the museums work.  Particular aspects of collecting, classifying, studying and preserving specimens were illustrated.

But the most arresting aspect was the use of technology to make the experience continue after leaving the museum.  As one entered the Cocoon one was handed a credit card sized card with a barcode.  As one progressed through the exhibition there were card readers at each of the stations.  At the station there was a table with an interactive surface with a number of aspects of the particular exhibit itemised.  One could then choose which aspects one was interested in and by passing ones card under the barcode reader the interest was registered on the museums database.  Then when one had left the museum and gone home, one logged into the museum site, created a login id and registered the card number.  Immediately one was presented with a list of all the items which had been registered against the card.  These then presented detailed information on the particular aspects one had seen in the museum and also additional information and links.  It was the best use of technology in association with a museum I have ever seen.

After the cocoon experience we went to the Spirit Building (no it has nothing to do with ghosts).  It is the building that holds, over seven floors) the collection of specimens preserved in spirits.  Only a very small selection is on display but these are a representative sample from the earliest collections from the eighteenth century forward.   The following two photos show the capabilities of modern preservation techniques.

cartiligenous Cartilaginous structure from a shark beautifully preserved and stained to show all of the detail.

fish 2 An even more impressive feat of being able to preserve the total animal and stain it in such a way as to illustrate several aspects at the same time.

We were lucky enough to arrive at the Attenborough studio as a lecture was being given by one of the staff.  The topic was based on the book  The Worst Journey in the World, a book written by a member of the Scott expedition.  No, not about the journey undertaken by Scott, but that undertaken by a group of three members who travelled from Scott base round the coast (on sea ice) to the breeding ground of the Emperor penguin.  They were seeking to bring back embryos of the penguin contained of course in eggs at various stages of development.  They managed to collect five eggs, then broke two when a member of the expedition fell over,  and return with three.  An interesting lecture well worth the hearing.

lecture The lecturer

Before long, it was after 4pm and time to beat the rush hour on the Tube and get back to our apartment as Alex was heading over tonight for dinner.  We got back in time to be able to call into Sainsbury’s for some dinner shopping, then back to the apartment to get ready before Roy headed off to the Tube station to meet Alex.  We had a lovely dinner before Roy walked Alex back to the tube station.

Wednesday 19th January

This morning the boxes and wrapping materials were delivered.   So the rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent sorting, packing and wrapping to fill two book boxes ready to send back to NZ.  We have packed up (perhaps foolishly) our winter coats and heavy winter woollies as we figure we will not need them in Hong Kong or NZ once we return!  We trust that the weather here will continue to be reasonably mild until we leave!  Fingers crossed.  Oh and there is the odd book or two packed in those boxes!  This seemed to take most of the day, interspersed with trips into the shops to get copies of passports and relevant documents for shipping.

Before too long, it was time to get a move on and hit the tube again to get to the O2 Arena for the Netball.  Roy came along as well as he was joining Alex and Bernice for dinner before the girls headed off to the game.  We quickly wolfed down our dinner to make it into our seats as the game was to start.

By half time, Bernice thought her jinx on the Silver Ferns playing England was still in play as the Ferns were down by three goals.  The half time entertainment consisted of giveaways, so they had the crowd up dancing and awarding prizes for “good dancing” – yes, Alex won a prize but only because of the good dancing going on beside her!!  The second half was a much better performance and the Ferns went on to win by seven goals.  This bodes well for the World Champs in Singapore this July which Bernice & Alex are attending.  Bring it on!

doing what she does best Irene doing what she does best

the winners The Winners.

A good night out so back to the flat and a good nights sleep.

Back to ye olde London town.

January 21, 2011

Sunday 16th January

Oh what a wonderful nights sleep.  The Embankment in Bedford continued to delight with a lovely breakfast this morning.  A wonderful stay, just a pity we could not have stayed longer.


embankment The Embankment in Bedford

Across the road from the pub is the River Ouse, and being a Sunday morning, the rowers were out in force.

rowers Rowers on the Ouse

But we had no time to waste as we had arranged to be in London (Clapham) by 11am to meet up with Matt the owner of the apartment we are renting for the next six nights.  After driving through central London, we got to the apartment only 15 minutes late, and then proceeded to settle in.  The Apartment is lovely, two bedrooms with all the mod cons you could want, including a washing machine.  So the rest of the afternoon was spent reorganising all our stuff, washing, ironing, plus a bit of shopping for some basics and generally getting ourselves sorted.  Then it was off to Alex’s to pick up the bags we had left at her place, before heading out for dinner.

We went to Jamie’s Italian at Westfield where we had a fabulous meal accompanied by some good service as well.  One of Alex’s ex-Uni flatmates has just arrived in London, so Leeroy and Mat joined us at the restaurant for dessert and some chatting.

After we dropped Alex off at her flat, we headed back to “22 Dalyell”, our home for the next 6 nights.

Monday 17th January

What a  fantastic nights sleep on the most comfortable bed we have experienced.  After breakfast, Roy headed off to return the rental car to the other side of London.  It did not take too long before her returned.  Then it was into finding a shipping company so we can pack up a lot of the stuff we do not need to carry with us to ship back to NZ.  For some reason that seemed to take up most of the day, along with popping along to the shops to buy a few provisions.



So not many photos and time to slow down and realise that there is not much time left.  But at the same time there is still plenty to do.  We will just have to make a list and try to do that which is possible and leave the rest.

Scarborough and Yorkshire

January 18, 2011

Saturday 15th January

The view from our room overlooking Scarborough was what we woke to this morning.   After breakfast it was off around Scarborough to look at a few places where Grandparents had lived and of course look at the beach.

scarborough 1Along the north beach


beachLooking down from our room

sherwood 2Sherwood Street

sherwood st16 Sherwood Street

scarborough2Harbour side Scarborough

the frontHarbour front

the front 2further round from Harbour

Then it was onto Bridlington, Reighton Gap and Filey all of which were places that family had lived and also where we had holidayed.  Now the “caravan” parks are full of static holiday homes…by the thousands!

ReightonSign outside caravan park

holiday huts at Reighton“Caravans” as far as the eye can see

Off over a part of the Yorkshire Moors where this photo was taken….”On Yorkshire Moor bar ‘tat” 

bart at

Next stop was York, where the famous Minster is located and the central part of the town in surrounded by a wall.  We also wandered through the Shambles area and took in the sights and sounds and tastes.  Roy did find jam tart in a bakery but apparently they are not as good as Mums!

york gateGate in wall.

york wallThe walkway at the top of the wall

ouse 2  River Ouse

shamb;es 3 Shamblesshambles 2Little Shambles

shambles 3With a sagging belly or “a right shambles”

From there it was on to Pontefract, the town where Bernice was born and to visit the house where she lived with her family.

hilburn 2Hil Burn

By this time it was exceptionally windy so we decided to make a run for it and head south.  We had to call in to Hilda & Ken’s to pick up bits we had left behind.

Bernice and HildaBernice and Hilda

 the team  Roy, Bernice, Hilda and Ken

Then on to Bedford for the night.  Staying at The Embankment which is a lovely pub with great food and fabulous rooms.  We are off to London tomorrow where we will remain for the rest of our time in the UK.  Only 12 more sleeps until we fly out to Hong Kong!  Where has the last six months gone? Oh yes, read the blog from the start you will see.

Family ties

January 18, 2011

Thursday 13th January

First call of the day was to visit Mum’s sister Betty (Carol’s Mum) at her retirement village.   Carol drove us there along the coast, through some beautiful scenery and coastal villages through Kirkcaldy and on to see Aunty Betty. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and they kindly made a cuppa for us as we settled down to chat.   Carol had sorted a couple of photo albums of Aunty Betty’s visits to NZ which she seemed to enjoy looking through, as did we.  We had forgotten many of the events from those trips and the photos served to jog our memory and remind us of those visits, not to mention how we all looked just a little younger!

threeBernice, Betty and Carol

four Roy,  Bernice, Andrew and Carol

After a wonderful stay we bade fond farewells to Andrew & Carol, and set off for the next part of our trip, to rediscover family roots.  But first stop along the way was to Lindisfarne, on Holy Island.  This is a tidal island on the North East coast, with Lindisfarne castle making its presence on the skyline.  We arrived in time to drive out over the causeway to the island and have a quick look around. 

lindisfarne 1Causeway to Lindisfarne

 lindisfarne  Lindisfarne

From there it was on to Durham and to the B&B we had booked, which was out in the country out from Durham.  On the way we had to go through Newcastle-upon-Tyne and past the very impressive Angel of the North. 

angel Angel of the North

We arrived at our B&B, and were very warmly greeted by our hosts.  After a quick chat it was out to the local pub for a quick bite to eat and then back to the B&B to retire for the evening. 

Friday 14th January

We left the B&B this morning to head inland again towards Cholleford which is where we wanted to see Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman Fort.  Again, we drove through some beautiful rolling English countryside before arriving at the site.

complete roman grind stonesRoman hand millstone with the original two stones and handle

hadrians wall 2 Retreived stones from the fort site.

roman bathThe inevitable Roman Bath ruin

From there it was retracing our steps a little back to the coast past Newcastle and on through “wye eye mon” country, Sunderland and South Shields (thought of you Jeff). 

jeff 3 jeff

We followed the coast down to Redcar and onto Coatham, Bernice’s maiden name.  Unfortunately I could not lay claim to any hidden family fortune there. 

coathamCoatham beach

coathamTown stone

From there it was on to Whitby a lovely fishing village. 

whitbyHouses on the far shore at Whitby


big and smallThe long and the short of it

It was getting on in the afternoon by now, and as we had not booked ahead for the night we thought we would head off to Scarborough for the evening.  Scarborough is where Grandma & Grandpop Coatham hail from, and is where I know Dad spent a bit of time as a child.  We arrived just on dusk so first priority was to find somewhere to stay.  Tomorrow will be sightseeing and visiting family addresses before we head off towards Pontefract, where Bernice was born.