Saturday, September 21, 2019

So Many Places

Suddenly our time in England is coming to an end.

We have been to so many places, some were repeats, some were new but all so good.

The weather has been amazing.  Apart from buying ponchos for one day we have not had to worry about wet weather.

During our stay in Haywards Heath, Richard asked if we would like to go to Sheffield Park, a National Trust property.

One of the features is the water reflecting the trees in the grounds.

A well established area, beautifully looked after, with some trees well over 100 years old.

Thursday was our last visit to a place of interest.

Arundel Castle is a significant and well kept dwelling, clearly seen on the horizon as you approach the town of Arundel by train.

Well worth walking through the grounds and inside the castle.

We had the opportunity to go to the keep but when they told us it would be 130 steps we declined.

Our outings have meant quite a bit of walking, often 8 kilometres or more in any one day and we have enjoyed the challenge.

When we embarked on this journey we were talking about ‘if’ we come back but now we know it is ‘when’ we come back - there is a wedding to attend next June, so plans will have to be made.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Isle of Wight

I did wonder, before we left home, whether a trip to the Isle of Wight might be possible this time around and it was.

Richard and Hannah, Hannah’s parents and Linda and me.

Hannah’s parents kindly brought their people mover vehicle. We met them at Portsmouth and caught the next car ferry out of port.

An hour later, we were on the Isle of Wight.

Another delightful pub lunch was there for us before we went on to Osborne House.

We very much wanted to see Osborne House, the holiday home for Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children.

Such was progress in those times it took only ‘four hours’ on the steam train from London to Portsmouth.

It was such a beautiful sunny day one can only imagine that as a family, they certainly spent some very happy times here.

Apparently their children grew up, married and brought their children back here as well.  Such were their happy memories they wanted to pass them on to the next generation.

The gardens and grounds were absolutely superb with a beautiful outlook towards the water.

It was nice to get a glimpse of what was once a wonderful holiday residence for the royal family.

The Isle of White was right up there on our list of amazing places we have seen since being in England.

The weather has been extremely good.  Lovely clear blue skies without being too hot.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Epsom to Haywards Heath

After a week with Aaron and family in Epsom it was time to move to Haywards Heath to catch up with Richard and Hannah.

We have talked much about this part of the trip because Richard and Hannah have recently moved into their new build home and we were just as keen to see their new home as they were to show it to us.

Although terrace and semi-detached houses will always be a part of the English way of life we like the fact that Richard and Hannah’s home is free standing. Very nicely appointed, it is in a new housing development, very nicely laid out and landscaped.

We are happy to be with them in Haywards Heath for our last week before returning to New Zealand.

What would a new home be without a cat.

Kratos used to belong to Aaron and Marcele but he has been rehomed with Richard and Hannah and very happily so it would seem.

Another repeat for us

Last year we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum not knowing quite what to expect.

There is so much to see there, this year Linda did some research and found there was an exhibition celebrating Mary Quant.

Being teenagers of the 60’s this really struck a chord with us and we were not disappointed.

Although I very much liked her revolutionary fashion designs when they happened, I really gained a fresh appreciation through seeing what was on display.

Not only did she have new and fresh designs her attention to detail was pretty amazing.

Often she worked with wool and stretch fabrics, which are not necessarily the easiest of textiles to work with.

Bold stripes were a feature in many of her designs making sure that all seams were perfectly matched.  Top stitching and zips were also design features, again, perfect in detail.

Anyone for matador pyjamas?

Quite a few people commented on how comfortable her clothes were to wear and that they became favourites in their wardrobe.

I wasn’t sure about these, but they do look good.

All in all a well worth going to exhibition.

We have been so pleased with all the good things we have been able to see on this trip.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


From our visits over the past few years it has been a pleasure to watch the grandchildren grow from babies into young people ready for school.

With the commencement of the new school year, Anna-Clara is now in her 2nd year and she was so excited to return.  We were all surprised at her enthusiasm.

Although Caleb does not turn 5 until February, he qualifies to start with the new school year and so we were there to see him go to school on his first day.

We all set off for the walk to school and to see Caleb go to his classroom.  A bit tearful for him and Mum but they did it.

Anna-Clara is so happy about going to school we feel sure that Caleb will be encouraged to settle into the school routine very quickly.

We like the fact that they don’t expect the new ones to go for a full day for the first week or so and gradually ease them into their new routine.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Hampton Court

Last time we were in London we saw Hampton Court from the River Thames but did not go into the grounds or castle.

This time we decided to go to the castle itself so we caught an Uber from our hotel and went straight there.

The staff at Hampton Court have created a 45 minute 2 person act that incorporates conversations around Elizabethan times.

I did not take any photos but they were dressed in period costume and did make it an interesting presentation of the history of the times.

After watching The Spanish Princess at home we had hoped to see the rooms of the palace where the young Henry VIII lived but unfortunately these rooms were closed for renovations for a future event.

There were notes at various points that told of life around the palace in Tudor times.

Making palace staff work around the clock to meet deadlines put me in mind of some modern high tech companies that have high expectations of staff meeting deadlines for important events.

We wandered through the palace kitchens which were displayed as they would have been under the Tudors.

It was a cold day outside and the kitchen area of the palace was cold too.

This large open fire was a very welcoming warm spot for us.  Nice to linger for a little to soak up the warmth.

There were more spaces like this for open fires but they were not lit but all with fittings in place for lots of spit roasts to feed the large population of Hampton Court - the kitchen staff alone numbered 400+.

Opposite the palace we found The Mute Swan and had a very nice pub lunch there before saying goodbye to Hampton Court.

Something familiar..........

Time for a change in our travels.

We arrived in Epsom and it was time for visits with eldest son, Aaron, and his family.

So nice to see the quilt again that Linda and I made for Caleb being loved and much used.

We nearly walked our feet off this day.

Aaron, Marcele, Anna-Clara (now 6), Caleb (now 4), Linda and I went to Dorking by train.

We then walked through the parks where there was plenty of temptation for children along the way.

Fortunately, after all our walking we were rewarded with a lovely meal out with family.

Some more soft play for the children in a play centre before we walked and walked some more back to the station and home.

Such is the stuff of family life.  Good to be back in Epsom and to share time with them like this.

After all the walking we had no trouble sleeping that night.  We had intended to watch the first episode of the new series of Strictly Come Dancing but I really had trouble staying awake.  Maybe I will do better for the next episode.

Friday, September 13, 2019

That extra touch

One of our favourite things about coming to England at this time of year is the flower boxes and hanging baskets that adorn so many buildings.

Admittedly the ones featured on this bicycle are artificial but they do add a touch of difference to this boutique shop in Kings Road, Chelsea.

The windows were appropriately adorned with similar flowers.

We had never been to Kings Road, Chelsea before and thoroughly enjoyed our morning there.

Once more for Kaffe Fassett

When we were at the American Museum in Bath we enjoyed the textile exhibition by Kaffe Fassett.

Whilst the focus was quilts he also had other textile items for sale.

These buttoned beanies caught my eye.

I used to have quite a button collection myself so I did find this concept very appealing.

At GBP275.00 each they were somewhat out of my price bracket but I did appreciate the amount of work that went into creating each one.

I can only imagine what size button collection would be needed to give them their individuality.

On to Chelsea, London and amazingly another Kaffe Fassett exhibition (on a much smaller scale), was being prepared at shop called Anthropologie on Kings Road.

More of these amazing buttoned beanies on display along with other textile items.

Some needlepoint as well included in his array of textile skills.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

This time round in London town

We were fortunate to be able to find a hotel to stay in that was just a couple of minutes walk from Trafalgar Square.

Close enough to everything that is important about London but quiet enough to not be bothered by the hustle and bustle at night time.

I lived and worked in London in my late 20’s for 7 months but never visited Westminster Abbey.

On our previous visits, Linda and I had found the queues to be too long so opted not to go there but this time seemed to be different.

With the commencement of the new school year here the tourism numbers seem to have dropped and so we noticed the queues weren’t so bad.

Linda found out online that there was to be an Evensong service at 5pm and so for the second time in one week, after so many years of not going at all, we attended Evensong.

Although we knew the queues were not so bad we still opted to get there early so we could be up front.  It turned out to be very worthwhile as we were seated right next to the choir stalls.

It felt quite something to be in this Abbey, location for important royal events and burial site for many an important person in British history.

What a joy to be able to hear The Westminster Abbey Choir for ourselves and to once again listen to the familiar words of the Evensong Service.

On comparison we think we liked the intimacy of the Chester Cathedral service better but considered it a privilege to be able to attend both.