Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dad in Cheshire

Dad has been having fun visiting with George and Judy, and Aunty Alice too (who suprised him by being on the same bus as he!). George also took him to the animation studio he works for, Hot Animations, who makes the likes of Bob the Builder. Very interesting stuff!

Photos courtesy of George and Judy.


To Dale and family, on the loss of his father on the weekend. May he now rest in peace.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Home, wet home

We've made it back home to wet old Melbourne. Its cold, its raining, and we wanted to turn back to go back to the UK!
But its nice to be home in familiar surrounds; although spending 9 days in London really allows you to get to know it better. Now we look forward to picking up Marlee, and catching up with friends and family - well, Gav is the only one home at the moment: Erna is still o/s and Dad is continuing his journey in the UK.
Photos will be uploaded soon. Its 8am and its time for a shower and a nap after a 20+ hour flight home...

Marlee's new coat from Harrod's, just the thing for the coming winter walks.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Leaving London

Today is our last day. We check out at 11am and we'll probably put our bags at Paddington Station as our plane doesn't depart until 10pm. So we have pretty much a full day left in London town. Craig will go back down to Balham to chat with the NZ guys, and I might wander around the British Museum... or go shopping... or whatever takes my fancy!
Back to cold gloomy Melbourne, but it will be nice to be home in our own beds, and to see our little dog.

Friday, June 08, 2007

London: Day 8

Today Dad left London for Cheshire. So we had breakfast with Craig at Troubedour, then he went to workm while we went back to the hotel to check Dad out. We leisurely made our way to the Victoria Coach Station and Dad got on the bus at 1pm for a 5 hour ride via Birmingham to Crewe to meet up with George, Judy and Aunty Alice - whom Dad thought he was meeting later in Gloucester. What a suprise for him!
Craig and I went to Balham to meet a couple of Kiwi's who've been living in the UK for quite a few years. We had a lovely home cooked meal and great conversation, and managed to get on the last train on the tube home to Earl's Court.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

London: Day 7

Another quieter day today. Craig went to work in the morning, while Dad and I went to see the Queen. She was in, but not taking visitors though. Then we strolled through Green Park and made our way to Covent Garden. Would you believe its Malaysia Week at Covent Garden?! They have stalls with food and crafts. Some traditional clothing and art and tropical fruits on display. Dad met a lady there that a friend of his back in Australia knows. What a small world. To come from the other side of the world to be in London during Malaysia week and to meet a friend of a friend.
After walking around for a bit we went back home to rest.
I went out for some window shopping along High Street Kensington. I made my way towards Harrod's where I was to meet Craig after work. I didn't quite anticipate the distance and was very tired by the time I reached Harrod's (via South Kensington station).
For dinner we had some food that Dad bought at the stalls: char keow teow, beef rendang with roti chanai and chicken satays.
Tomorrow Dad heads off to Cheshire to meet with George and Judy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

London: Day 6

Today we had a more sedate schedule. Late breakfast at The Troubadour (a fave) then we headed off to Knightsbridge to visit the institution that is Harrod's. Some parts of which are a bit over the top (the Egyptian Room has marble columns covered in hyroglyphs), but the food halls were something to behold. We, of course, went up to the pet store on the upper floors where there were two very cute Westhighland Terriers for sale... 1,300 pounds sterling each... that's AU$3200 for a puppy! Outrageous!
Then we headed to Chinatown in Soho to meet up with a cousin of Mum's, John and his partner Peter, for lunch. It was delicious but they ordered way too much food - a tradition upheld even on the otherside of the world! John was awarded an MBE for his hard work and long service for Parliament. Very impressive.
We meant to go to Buckingham Palace for a quick look, but after purchasing Dad's coach ticket to Crewe (Cheshire) at Victoria Coach Station, we decided to get back to base to rest. Tonight we're going to the theatre to see Boeing Boeing, a remake of a 60's play, near Covent Garden. Afterwhich we will head back to the hotel for leftovers from lunch for supper!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

London: Day 5

Today we had a big day planned. We got on one of those "hop-on-hop-off" buses and saw some of the sights around London town - Marble Arch, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Royal Albert Hall, Big Ben (again) and the Houses of Parliament etc. We got stuck in traffic on Regent Street on the way to Piccadily Circus and we didn't get to the London Eye til about 1pm. That's where we got off and hopped on a boat to cruise along the Thames to Tower Bridge. We had some interesting commentary from the boat crew, some of which you weren't sure were true or not - ahh the British humour! Then we went into the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, which were rather OTT for my taste.
After that, Dad and I were rather exhausted. So we skipped the "hop-on-hop-off" bus option and took the Tube straight home to crash at 4pm. Dinner was had in-house we were too shattered to venture out.
A quiter day is planned tomorrow...
Pictures to come when we get back home.

Monday, June 04, 2007

London: Day 4

Jetlag helped me with getting up early to pick up Dad from Heathrow at 6am. Alex (bless him again) picked us up and drove to the airport, where (eventually) Dad appeared through the arrivals gate, looking quite fresh for a man having travelled cattle class from Kuala Lumpur for 12 hours (albeit with two lovely blonde Australian girls next to him).
After being dropped off at the hotel, and a quick freshen up, we headed off to have some breakfast, afterwhich we introduced Dad to the London Underground. We three headed off to the London Eye to check out the view and to give Dad an idea of where everything is. We saw Big Ben, then had a quick peak at Westminster Abbey, then we headed off to St Paul's Cathedral.
Dad and I scaled the 400+ steps up to the various viewing positions above the dome... and made it back down more than a little bit weary!!
That was the straw that broke the camels back and the mission was to get Dad (and I) back to the hotel before fatigue really set in. Now he has been checked into his lower ground floor room and taking a well deserved nap. We'll rouse him for dinner in a few hours time.
My feet are sore!

Son of Shand

Congratulations to Glenn and Max on their new baby son, and Rachael's little brother, Lachlan Andrew born at 2:10pm and weighing in at 2.79kgs. May he be a complement to your already wonderful family.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

London: Day 3

Today was scheduled for Craig to play cricket for Alex's team down south over the Thames in Dulwich. So he picked us up at midday and we made our way down. We saw the huge Battersea powerstation that towers over the surrounding neighbourhhood, drove through Clapham (an Aussie ex-pat hangout) and through Brixton (traditionally a Carribean community area) and to Dulwich to a lovely cricket ground.
Craig and Alex opened the batting and did the team proud with an opening partnership of 139 or so; the team finally declaring at 180, Craig - not out for 85. I was very proud and he was exhausted. By the end of the day, they bowled out the opposition and the match was (easily) won.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

London: Day 2

Jetlag took its toll slightly and firstly, we woke up really early; then we went back to sleep and woke very late in the morning. But we got it together and we ventured out to Dagenham in the east side of greater London to meet a couple and their Jack Russell 'Missy', whom I had "met" on the Jack Russells Online Forum. It was terrific to finally meet someone you had been "talking to" for a long time. Pat and Paul were very hospitable and we had a lovely chat in their back garden. The weather was glorious and the company was great. It was really interesting to get to know someone from across the miles, and it felt like we had known them all along.

London Calling

We've made it to London town. Flying in the "pointy end" of the plane certainly helps the jetlag, when you can actually stretch out and get some sleep. I've never felt so refreshed landing in Europe after 20+ hours of travel.
Alex picked us up from the airport (bless him) and we have checked in and freshened up and ready to explore our surrounds in Kensington/Earls Court.
Weather is a pleasant 21 and partly cloudy, but heaps better than 15 degrees and pouring rain!