Sunday, August 02, 2015

Looking for coffee

Looking for take away coffee before 9am on a Saturday in Montmartre can be a challenge.

Lisa and I set out this morning aided by Mr Google for an uphill climb 300 meters away to the nearest cafe.

300 meters can seem much longer when it is all up hill.  We stayed with the challenge - no people about, just a lonely runner making his way up the hill beside us.

This unusual statue got our attention:-

The challenge for coffee was still ahead and so we continued up the hill.

There did not seem to be any sign of a coffee shop anywhere and then suddenly the hill leveled out and there was our coffee place:-

Success! Purchases were made and down the hill we went again coffees in hand.

Another day in Paris had begun.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A special day with Jackson

One of the most special days so far on this holiday was when Linda and I took my grandson, Jackson, out for a day in London. 

We made an early start and headed for the London Eye:-

Jackson was really impressed with the experience and so were we.

Linda had bought combined tickets to do a river cruise and just as well, as Jackson was very keen to follow through on this.

It certainly was a great way to take in the sights of London from a different perspective.

One of the things that impressed Jackson was Cleopatra's Needle and so, after the river cruise we walked one of the many bridges across the Thames, then along The Embankment until we came to Cleopatra's Needle:-

We stayed there for quite some time.

Jackson was keen to be posing again and again but soon it was time be moving along so we moved towards Westminster and Big Ben.  He was very taken with Big Ben and even bought a souvenir with a working clock in the model.

From Big Ben we progressed towards Trafalgar Square.  We thought Jackson would like to climb on the lions at the base of Nelson's Column but they were closed off for the day.

It was nearly 3pm and none of us had had lunch so we happened upon a pub called The Admiralty and stopped to eat.

A great place to go for the traditional English pie.  Also a good spot for us to sit and talk and review the day together.  After refreshments it was time to pick up a London cab and head for home.

Like I said, one of the highlights of our visit,spending a day out with Jackson.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Those lovely bumbling bees

We love it in the summer when the bumble bees visit in our garden. 

We have never seen them in the numbers we saw at Leeds Castle today. 

A lot of thought seemed to have gone into including plants the bumble bees are attracted by. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting to know Anna-Clara

It has been delightful for our family group to get to know my grand daughter, Anna- Clara, during our time in London. 

She has come to accept our presence so readily and so today we had another short but happy reunion in Trafalgar Square. 

We were all quite taken by the 'living statues' in Trafalgar Square and so was she. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Flat whites in London

On the 4th December 2012 I was in London and my son, Rick took me to lunch at Granger & Co in Notting Hill, owned by his favourite Australian chef, Bill Granger.

Back then a good flat white in London was hard to find so I really appreciated  the one we had there. 

Yesterday we breakfasted at another of Bill Granger's restaurants in Clerkenwell. 

The flat whites were as good as ever along with the lightest and tastiest 
scrambled eggs you could hope to find. 

Since my last visit flat whites have become more commonplace and so I don't have to feel deprived of a 'down under' part of life. 

More things that make me smile

We went the Broadway Markets in London today and it was great to see the way the marketplace has developed since I lived here in the seventies. 

So many amazing food choices from England and abroad. Broadway Markets are small in comparison to many in London but it was just the right size for us. 

After we had finished wandering it was time for a drink in a corner pub. 

There, under the wine list an encouragement to honour God, and outside the pub a promotion that this was the House of Revelry - a contradiction in terms that made me smile. 

In addition the other morning we went to have breakfast at a local cafe. Four adults and every breakfast platter had at least half a dozen fries as extra. 

David had ordered bacon and egg with toast for his but when it came it had bacon eggs and fries only. 

When David queried her, the waitress said, 'oh the fries are there for decorative purposes only' and very quickly produced some buttered toast. 

Fries for decorative purposes only  has become a bit of a by word amongst us. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

First Encounter

Good bye, Canada, hello England.

After an extended time in a very long Customs queue, Linda and I then had to get from Terminal 2 and had to make it to Terminal 4 to meet up with family.  This seemed to take forever.  Just as well we were able to find a cappuccino to fortify us.  We were a bit foot sore and weary by the time we hopped into a car to go to our apartment which is to be our home for the next eleven days.

My eldest son, Aaron, was waiting for an appropriate moment to bring his daughter, Anna-Clara to visit with us.  At first she was very shy and only wanted to be with Daddy.

Then we got talking and she found a space on the floor and started twirling around in a world of her own.  

It didn't seem long until she found a spot to sit between her Uncle Ricky and Great Aunty Linda to settle down and have a chat.

It seems that meeting your overseas relatives for the first time is not so daunting after all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From Vancouver to Whistler

 Whistler was to be the highlight of our Canadian sojourn but if we hadn't been on top of the situation I don't think our bus driver would have even picked us up.  Even when we did get on the bus we spent the best part of 60 minutes scooting around the city hotels to pick up, swap passengers until we finally had the correct mix of people for our journey.

At last we were on our way, out into the pleasant countryside.

Whistler put me in mind of the Bavarian town of Leavenworth in the Cascade Mountains.  Whistler is nestled between mountains much like Leavenworth, the buildings are built chalet style with limited color schemes to blend in with the mountain scenery. 

We stayed overnight and it was very pleasant but the gold nugget of our visit to Canada was the return journey on the Rocky Mountaineer train. 

The customer service on the train was excellent. 

The views of mountains with snow, sharp cliff faces, deep canyons with rivers at the base, all the picture book stuff we had ever seen about Canada was right there before us.

You may have to pay more for the experience than other places but well worth every mile/kilometer travelled.