could do worse

adventures in London

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More holiday memories..

Family holidays are a lot of fun for us at the moment because our teenagers (well one of them turns 13 tomorrow) are able to walk miles and stay up late and can still get up in the morning! Our daughter has wanted to do ‘Go Ape’ for years and this summer was finally old enough and tall enough. ‘Go Ape’ is an obstacle course up in the trees. Dad went along too. our son doesn’t like heights so I stayed with him. I didn’t feel bad about not making him ‘face his fear’ as I think it’s up to him to decide to that when he’s ready.

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This ‘Go Ape’ course was at Whinlatter Forest which is one of my favourite places. There are great walks and a cafe that sells the best homemade soup ever.

On one of the other days we made our way through Dodd Wood up to Dodd Summit. we had the place to ourselves. it was blowing a gale at the top so much so that you could barely stand up. the up side being that there were no pesky flies! The vies of Bassenthwaite Lake are amazing. There is an RSPB run Osprey viewpoint at Dodd and this year as well as seeing the ospreys we spotted a red squirrel. I have never seen a red squirrel before so was really delighted to get a picture.



Bassenthwaite Lake – Ospreys nest nearby.


To me red squirrels are Squirrel Nutkin from the Beatrix Potter book – all sailing to the island where the owl lives. This guy has found the food set out by the RSPB (Royal society for the Protection of Birds) staff. He must think it’s bounty from heaven. After he posed for his picture he was off burying his stash for the winter.

This all happened last week. We are now home and Art homework is being done, school shoes have been bought (a huge amount of money parted with!) and washing all done!!

more lake district photos tomorrow…



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We have been on holiday to The lakes – one of our favourite family holiday destinations. So for the next few days (when my lap top is free!) I shall be posting lots of photos. This is possible because I splashed out and bought a new camera! I just couldn’t face a holiday and no way of recording the places, people and .. well you’ll see.

These photos were taken on our first day – we left home very early and were in Keswick by lunchtime. From London it’s a long drive but we missed most of the traffic. There were plenty of traffic jams but they were on the south bound carriageway of the M6; we felt sorry for the folks stuck for hours but also kind of smug.  We arrived early enough to wander down to Derwentwater and climb up an extinct volcano to enjoy the view. It isn’t a long walk or a difficult climb but you are rewarded with a fantastic view of Keswick and the lake. I could sit up there for hours just watching all of life in miniature going on far below.

We first took our children up here about four years ago and promptly lost them – not something I would recommend. we said it was time to go and thought they were right behind us. They weren’t! A few yells of their names and we were soon reunited but we all remember the incident clearly!


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Tick tock

My good friend mark over at was talking about clocks today. He always ends his posts with a question and today he took me right back to my childhood.

I grew up near Nottingham and every now and then we would go into the city centre to do some shopping. There would be me aged about four, my sister and mum and dad. If we were lucky we would walk as far as the Vicky Centre (Victoria Shopping Centre) where we would watch the clock. I never knew at the time that this clock was created by the man who made all the fantastic gadgets for the film Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang’. All I knew was – it was magical.

The clock was installed in 1973 – I would have been about four years old. I remember being lifted up by my father to see more clearly what was going on.

A precious memory because my father was taken from us very prematurely just a year later.

The clock is in Birmingham at the moment. I have looked for a few You Tube links. The guy in this one has been shopping in Nottingham too.




Elephant and Castle

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These are the last photos on my memory card. I have no idea why this part of London is called Elephant and Castle. The subway system is complicated and not somewhere I would want to be in the evening. Sadly it is the only way to get across the road in places. I’m not sure that the people who plan these things really think through how people are going to use them.

It’s funny how The Shard appears as you walk around a corner. Some buildings you can’t get away from.

I was here a few weeks ago just before the schools finished. Several pupils were interviewing willing people about their views on Homelessness. They were probably about fifteen – seventeen years old and were polite and thoughtful about the subject. We had time on our hands and were happy to answer their questions.


my feet are killing me..

Yesterday we walked – a lot. Didn’t get in the car once. We walked to the tube and took a ride to Tower Hill where we started a ‘Books about Town’ trail. This summer there are book shaped benches scattered about London. Each one is based on a book and created by an artist.

On the walk you see lots of bits of London that you didn’t know existed. Street names that are simply wonderful – Mincing Lane and Seething Lane being two of my favourites from yesterday.

There is a quiz to take along and a map. If you are lucky like me you take along a friend with young children who also enjoys reading the map! My teenagers are always well behaved, amenable and positive when there are younger children to keep entertained.

Of course we did have to politely ask people if they wouldn’t mind vacating the benches so we could take a good look at the pictures painted on them and get a photo. Although being camera less I let my son take care of the pictures with his brand new phone. (Very high novelty factor) People were very kind and moved aside even when in the middle of their lunch break.

Yesterday the weather continued to be sunny and simply wonderful. This morning it’s raining. I’d forgotten that it did that in the summer.



The sun is still shining

Way back in October last year I was moaning about the rain. It never seemed to stop. Well now we have sun shine every day. It is becoming predictable, which is so nice. You can leave the house without taking a coat. You can plan outings. This is a novelty in England.

The school holidays are a week old and already we have seen grandma and returned to London. Had a  home cinema afternoon seeing the Lego Movie ( loved it) and been to the real cinema to see ‘How to train your dragon 2′. Half the family are off to a BBQ tonight. No rain. Eating outside in the sun. Who knew this could be done in July?

Myself and my daughter have done too much shopping, snapping up bargains in the sales. But it’s so hot we needed more summer clothes. (this is what I am telling myself anyway)

Cooking is not what I feel like doing. So salad it is.

Oh, and the Commonwealth Games. Fantastic TV. We get to watch netball, diving, gymnastics, swimming, shooting, bowls, squash and badminton and table tennis. We win more because the commonwealth games isn’t the olympics and so certain folk aren’t in the competition at all.

We have resisted the urge to buy Tunnocks tea cakes.

I wish that Susan Boyle hadn’t forgotten the words to Mull of Kintyre. I sort of wish she hadn’t sung it at all because it’s taken me nearly a week to get the tune out of my head.

So, one week down. Not a bad start. ‘I’m bored’ hasn’t been said that often!

Final note – if it rains tomorrow – I’m sorry.

The LEGO Master

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lego inspiration for the holidays!

Originally posted on Full Access NYC:

By Denise Oliveira

If you had 80,000 LEGO bricks at your disposal, what would you do with them? Corporate lawyer turned artist Nathan Sawaya used his to build a 19-foot long dinosaur that’s currently on display with dozens of his LEGO sculptures at Discovery Times Square, an exhibition center on West 44th Street. The dinosaur is one of the largest sculptures he’s ever made.

Dinosaur at Discovery Times Square by Nathan Sawaya

The exhibition in New York (The Art of the Brick) is an interactive dialogue with the audience, starting with a short video where the artist tells his story, and continuing with comments and questions next to each piece of art.

Sawaya loved LEGOS as a kid, and even took some with him when he went off to college at NYU. He became a lawyer, and after working at a law firm all day he would go home at night and decompress over a…

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