Thursday, June 30, 2016

A bit of trivia

Sometimes I have heard it argued that toilet tissue should fall from the front of the toilet roll but some say from the back.  I think I found a solution in Brussels.

A rod attached to wall in such a way that the toilet roll is neither near or far away from the wall.

Speaking of falls, I had a bit of a tumble on my last morning in Brussels on a wet and slippery footpath.  Has meant a bit of an oops for me and I have spent a couple of days resting up at Rick and Hannah's flat.  They have looked after me so well.  Fed me with yummy food and made sure I have rested up. Not sure that I have binge watched TV like this in my life.  

I am on the mend so tomorrow will be heading back to Aaron and Marcele's for another week or so with their family.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Visit to Bruges

We had been told that if we were going to Belgium then a trip to Bruge would be worthwhile.

Another train trip with changing of trains along the way.  All of which we managed quite successfully both ways.  The trains here seem to run quite efficiently which made travel quite easy.

I wasn't very successful with photos on the day but Bruges was quite pretty and certainly historic with its centuries old buildings.

It was Rick's birthday and as he loves the sun it was good that we were able to find a eating house,where he could sit in the sun
Have a drink or two
And order one of his favourite meals, mussels with hot chips.
My choice of stir fry vegetables with rice was very good fare as well.
It was relatively quiet in Bruge when we arrived even though it was past midday.  By the time we were thinking of returning to Brussels around 4pm the place was really filling up with tourists.  Plenty of things of interest, the historic atmosphere, taking a ride with horse and trap, a canal boat ride or indulgence in anyone of the many Belgian chocolate or lace shops.
We came home with a bit of lace as well as some scrummy chocolate.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Herge Museum

On Saturday Rick and I set out to find the Herge Museum.  This involved a train ride with a change of trains so we were pleased we managed to achieve the return journey without getting lost.

The hallmark of most cities seems to be the universal language of graffiti that lines the railways in every spot available.
Louvain-La-Neuve railway station at the university is an example of celebration of this art form.
From here to the Museum where we learnt more about Georges Herge the man behind the Tin Tin comics which provided so much enjoyment for my sons during their formative years.
There was more to Herge than comic books.  He was absolutely fascinated with cats, particularly Siamese ones.
All in all it was very entertaining working our way through the Museum and gaining insights into the person who created the character of Tin Tin.
Apart from Tin Tin I had not appreciated how much the Belgians and Europeans on the whole love the comic book culture.
We visited a bookstore which was totally dedicated to comic books and not just black and white floppy covered comic books, these are full colour with glossy hardback covers.
Herge apparently lamented the fact that comic books were not always accepted as a proper form of reading and hoped that by the year 2000 it would become more acceptable.

We grew up in an era where comic books were disdained by our school teachers.  Our mother took the point of view that if we were reading comic books it was better than not reading at all so I think she and Herge would have had something in common.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time for hot chocolate

When we were out and about yesterday the weather was a bit gloomy and a bit on the cold side.

We stopped for a drink and I decided to try some hot chocolate.

I had not expected this.  Hot milk with a dish on top filled with chocolate buttons. 

I was a bit dubious but with a bit of mixing

The result in the end was one of the most delicious hot chocolate drinks I have ever had.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Snapshots from Brussels

Yesterday (Friday) Rick and I arrived in Brussels to do the tourist thing.  I had said to Rick that a trip to Brussels would not be complete without seeing something to do with Tin Tin and there he was to greet us at the train station.

Tin Tin featured a lot in our family life and I enjoyed reading the comic books to my boys.  We had a lot of laughs together over the antics of him and his friends.

Outside the station the taxi industry appears to be alive and well in Brussels.  Lots of customers from all the commuters coming into town on the Eurostar train line.

After settling into our AirBnB we set out to see what Brussels had to offer.  Lots of history, but these pruned trees caught my eye.  They seem to be commonplace in these open areas.

A bit of window shopping.  I have seen and love flatto peaches but never seen flatto nectarines.  I wonder if they will make their way to New Zealand?
Some New Zealand kiwi fruit.
Beautifully presented lamb. Just double the Euro prices to get an indication in New Zealand dollars.

Couldn't come to Brussels without visiting some chocolate shops so more images to come on that subject.

This is so London

Setting out yesterday (Thursday) I felt that this image captured elements that so remind me of London.

Victorian style apartments on the right, a Victorian style lamp post on the left and in the background from this modern world, The Shard Building, shrouded in cloud on a grey and damp London morning.

I spent an enjoyable morning exploring in the Borough/Southwark area of London and The Shard seemed to be a landmark no matter where I was.

I wanted to explore Borough Market with all of its fine fare of foods from many parts of the world.  I wandered through at about 9.30am and all was quiet.  It was quite a different story when I went back at lunchtime where I found many people seeking out a lunchtime satisfaction from all the food on offer.

In between times I had a look at Southwark Cathedral which is very close to the markets.  One of the oldest church buildings in England and appearing to be in surprisingly good condition for its age.

Another treat was to happen upon Sir Francis Drake's ship, The Golden Hinde.  It was worth contemplating the amazing feats that were achieved for queen and country in this vessel.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Boys and their toys

I wrote recently about how Caleb is just as interested in playing with cell phones as any other toy.

The other thing he loves to do is cover his face with something and walk around the house as if blind folded. 

In this instance he has found he loves using this straw hat belongs to his sister, Anna-Clara.

He gets a lot of fun from this even if us adults might think he is heading for disaster in the process.

Not a problem as far as Caleb is concerned.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time for a change

I have been with Aaron and Marcele and family for just over a week and now it is time to visit with my youngest son, Rick, and his partner, Hannah.

It has been lovely to catch us with Aaron and family and to see how the grandchildren have grown.  I will be away for a week and then return.  This time Aaron will be on leave and we may have the opportunity to go on one or two family outings which will be nice.

Yesterday it was lovely to capture the children at play in the backyard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The birds are singing

Behind Aaron's property there's a row of very tall trees that provide a barrier between properties and the local train line.

For the most part I can't see many birds but I do hear them singing and the sound is most delightful morning and evening.  I know from last time I was here that squirrels also live in these tree tops so maybe I will see them again before I leave.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Anna-Clara's Quilt

Some of you have asked if Anna-Clara's quilt was well received and the answer is, yes, it has been well received.

We have not put it on her bed yet because I am sleeping in there for the duration. 

I asked Anna-Clara if this image was like her mother and so now she tells people that it is.

She also likes the bumble bee in this one.

The other day she found Daddy using the quilt and let him know that it was HER quilt.

I think I can be assured it has been well received.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Good news

Good news. The skies have cleared and the sun has arrived in time for summer in Epsom.

Tomorrow, the 20th June heralds the official start of summer here. 

Linda and I were here July/August last year and were truly spoilt with the English summer we had. 

A bit of a shock this time to arrive to clouds and rain on Tuesday. It has been much the same ever since but today, what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. 

A visit from Uncle Ricky

Anna-Clara is very fond of her Uncle Ricky. When he arrived today she stayed in his arms for a very long time and enjoyed playing a game peek a boo with him. 
Hannah came as well and we all enjoyed some family time together. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hello to Epsom, again

Yesterday I decided to reacquaint myself with the Epsom High Street. 

After yummy coffee at the Zig Zag Cafe I walked to the town market which is held every Thursday and Saturday. 

The local landmark is the town clock:-
with the market stalls at the base. 
This is not a big market but it has the character with stall holders calling their wares.

(Please note the skyline. Not much to be had by the way of sunshine so far.)

We frequented the plant stall last time we were here. Then it was the tail end of the season but there is so much more to be had here now at the earlier part of summer. 
Lots of stoned fruit and fresh vegetables to be had too. 

I settled for some vegetables for breakfast and a selection of cheeses for lunch and then made my way home again. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Universal toys

You can buy your children all the toys in the world but it is amazing how Daddy's cell phone can do the trick as a point of interest for a child.

It is lovely to see how Caleb has found his feet since coming to Epsom.  Last time I was here he was just learning to sit by himself.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The things that make you stick together

When my son, Aaron, came to meet me at Heathrow Airport he brought his daughter, Anna-Clara, with him.
To keep her entertained he had bought for her a Peppa Pig activity book.  Now, this Nana did not know anything about Peppa Pig, but I was about to find out.

Dad had to go away for a few minutes so he left Anna-Clara with me to get re-acquainted.

With nibbles in one hand she removed stickers from her Peppa Pig book with the other, but where was she to put the stickers?

I guess Nana's arm would be as good a place as any,
This could be just one way to 'stick together' with the grandchildren.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Flowers are multiplying

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about this one lonely flower.

Now my flower has some companions.

There's more to come but I have to say goodbye to them for now while I am on holiday.

I hope they will hold their bloom until I return..

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My bag is packed

I have been asked by several people if I have packed my bag and does the quilt fit so today I thought I had better find out.

Turns out it all fitted together better than I thought it would and I have not had to be too frugal with my personal belongings. Yes, it does zip up.