Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spotted at Selfridges

Linda and I went for a bit of a wander down Oxford Street on our last day in London.

We were blown away by the amazing giant size floral decorations in each of the Selfridges shop windows:-

The display is an Apple promotion for their new watch and against the giant size blooms there is a single Apple watch placed in the centre of the display.

Amazing to the last detail.

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Zealand's 'Other Flag'

On our last day in London, Linda and I were in a pub where flags were on display from all the participating countries in the Rugby Union World Cup.

One flag for every country, except New Zealand.  There was the red, white and blue flag as well as this one:-

New Zealand's 'other flag'

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Special moments

Last time we visited with Aaron and Marcele, Caleb was just six months.  He is now 7 months and what a difference those few weeks have made.

His body is much stronger and he can sit up so much better.

While we were there he sat on my lap for a while and we had a lovely time interacting with each other.  I was the recipient of lots of smiles and snuggles.  Very special moments to treasure and take with me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love that rolling country side

Linda and I have enjoyed many miles of rolling countryside as we have traversed our way across about 2,500 miles of English countryside.

Even today, as we travelled back to London from Staffordshire by train we were treated to a lot more.

Farmers have been busy making hay to see them through the winter season ahead.

Lots of sheep to be seen grazing the green, green countryside. 

These images will remain strong in our memories long after our holiday is over.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday pub lunches and all that

This image reminds me so much of just three of the wonderful things this trip has meant to me.

1.  I am pictured with my son Rick and this holiday has meant that I have been able to catch up with three of my four sons as well as spend time with my three grandchildren.  I don't know if I will have a similar opportunity but am so glad it happened this time around.

2.  The British Sunday Pub Roast has been a pretty good experience.  This is my fourth visit to England and British cuisine has come a long way over the years.  The Sunday Pub Roasts have been excellent but we have had lots of other scrumptious food along the way as well.

3.  Hanging baskets on houses and pubs.  So many cottages, business houses, restaurants and pubs have been so enhanced by the use of floral hanging basket displays on their premises.  Linda and I never get tired of it.  You can meander along a country road for a while and turn a corner and there's a village and the houses and pubs have wonderful floral displays - such a delight.

There have been lots more highlights for me but these will remain strong in my memory.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Poldark Saga

I remember, as a teenager, getting quite wrapped up in the Poldark book series written by Winston Graham.  There's twelve books in the whole series and I may not have read them all but I did enjoy the evolving saga.

The storiy, set along the rugged coastline of Cornwall, was enough to make me hope to visit there one day and last week Linda and I made it and what a treat it was.

The above picture was taken at Church Cove where the shipwreck was filmed in the latest TV series..

Charlestown, another area where filming took place gave us more of that dramatic coastline.

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a trip to Lands End:-

Along the way, we stopped at places like Truro and Penzance, not too bad to fulfill all that in one day traveling from Plymouth.

Winston Graham obviously loved the Cornwall area and it stole a little bit of my heart too.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Still finding the simple things in life to be best

Yesterday was the second day of our return journey to Eccleshall in Staffordshire, coming up country from Plymouth.

We knew we would had have a week to call a bungalow home so we were on the lookout for farm fresh eggs to buy from a road side stall.

Before we got to the eggs we saw a stall for fresh garden beans so they got first tick.

The next stall offered eggs but there were none to be seen.  However, they did have home grown tomatoes so I bought a bag of them.

Third stall lucky.  I was able to buy a dozen eggs.

We had a light tea on arrival and included fresh tomatoes.  The taste was unbelievably good.

This morning I cooked breakfast for us both and included the eggs and tomatoes - absolutely delicious   

Sometimes those simple things are the ones that turn out to be the best.

Monday, September 07, 2015

The flowers in England

The timing of our holiday has meant we have missed most of the New Zealand winter (which appears to have been very wet and cold) and been able to enjoy the benefits of the English summer.

Today we travelled from Plymouth to Gloucester under blues skies. Hardly a cloud all day. We enjoyed the locals making the most of a sunny, warm Sunday. People out walking, biking, sailing on a lake, even just sitting in the beer garden of their local pub and enjoying the warmth of what is left of summer. 

We do see evidence in some of the trees that autumn and all its glorious colour is not far away.

One of the things that has continued to delight us throughout this holiday is the use of hanging baskets:-

I photographed this particular trough of flowers in Bsth but they could have just as easily been in London or the tiniest of English villages.

They bring an enchanting addition to the landscape and have added that special touch to our time in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Highclere Castle

It was wet, the day we set out for Highclere Castle, but we were not going to let that stop us from seeing the property where Downtown Abbey had been filmed.

According to online information tickets for entry had been sold out, but if you turned up on the day you might be able to get tickets for entry.  We thought if we got there on opening time and with the weather in our favour we might just be able to get tickets and sure enough we did.

The setting for the castle and the grounds is every bit as grand as can be seen in the TV series.

No photo taking allowed inside the castle so Linda thought she had better take this one of me at the entrance, in the hope that Mr Carson, the butler might suddenly appear.

If I never get to see another castle I will be content with the Highclere ńĆastle experience.  The architecture and decor is so worth drinking in.  The library, with over 5,000 books, the period furniture, wall hangings and pictures.

Discreet notices are placed throughout indicating different bedrooms and other areas used in the making of Downton Abbey.

I am sure we were not the only ones visiting because of the Downtown Abbey factor.

A huge highlight in our travels, I am ever so glad we made it to Highclere Castle.

The rain had really set in when we left but never mind, we had a great time there.

Friday, September 04, 2015


After our wonderful time in Canterbury we headed for Dover.

Unfortunately, by the time we reached there the weather was taking a turn for the worse.

Dover Castle stood above the city on the landscape and we could see the grey clouds gathering.

We needed to eat and so set out on the local High Street to find somewhere suitable.

Although I don't have images we happened upon and restaurant called The Allotment.  Tables covered with table cloths looked promising se we ventured in.

The cuisine was with a French flavor and so we ordered and waited.  The layout of the restaurant was such that we could see the two young male chefs busy fulfilling orders.

It did seem like a long time before our meal was served but good food is worth waiting for and this was no exception.

Linda's dish was beef cooked in wine and I had a cod fillet cooked in a creamy sauce, both cooked with fresh vegetables - superb!

Such a special dish will long be remembered by both of us.

In general we have been quite impressed with the British cuisine and this restaurant with the emphasis in Fremch food I could highly recommend.

After our feast we proceeded to take in the White Cliffs of Dover but it was not to be.  The rain had settled in to such a degree they were not visible.

It was time to be moving on to other places we had in mind.