Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A Quiet weekend at Home

After our recent frenetic activity it was good to have a quiet weekend at home.  Friday evening I watched the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics 2012 "The Isles of Wonder" with My husband, son and J's girlfriend B.  It was amazing; I absolutely loved it - well done to Danny Boyle.
I was so pleased that young athletes were chosen to light the spectacular Olympic Cauldron.  I took a few photos at the end of the Ceremony.
The Flames as the Cauldron was formed.

The fireworks at the end of the ceremony.

The Olympic Rings that were lifted into space by a giant balloon.
 I only wish I had recorded it as there was so much detail to take in.
Back down to Earth! I have been enjoying the flowers in my garden

and so have the butterflies now that we have had a little sun.  Sadly, all this rain has meant less butterflies in the garden. :(
Comma Butterfly.
 Ella doesn't like the lawnmower, so she hide underneath my china cabinet in the living-room!
 On the kitchen window sill I usually have a posy of flowers from the garden.  At this time of year I like to include Clematis flowers so that I can appreciate them close-up.  This posy is of "Ballerina" Rose, Lady's Mantle and "Mary Rose" Clematis.
 I have also been baking - Flapjacks (gone already so no photo!) and Lavender Shortbread.
On Saturday we picked Wild Plums from the local hedgerow and I made 10 lbs of jam with them. 
 I also managed some time at the new allotment.

 The slugs have been munching their way through my Runner Beans, so I planted some new ones in case the original ones don't recover.  I lifted the remaining shallots and onions and planted some Curly Kale.  We have been harvesting Courgettes and Dwarf Beans - it is so lovely to eat home-grown vegetables; I find them really inspiring to cook with.  I also sowed various seeds and this week I need to do some more weeding and sow more seeds.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

London 2012

 Last Sunday we decided to go to London to see the Olympic Park before The Games started.
We took a ride on the new Emirates Air-Line across the Thames
 and caught our first glimpse of the stadium.
 A short Tube ride to Stratford and we arrived at the Olympic Park.  This is as close to it as we could get, but there was a sign pointing the way to a better view from John Lewis' viewing room.
 Walking through the shopping centre and we stumbled across the pop-up shop of Magnum London.  We couldn't resist going in and ordering our own custom-made Magnums!
 You choose your ice-cream which is then dipped in a chocolate of your choice.  Next use choose 3 toppings and more chocolate to be drizzled over your ice -cream.  Yummy!
S choose Chilli, Ginger & Coconut
J choose Coconut, Marshmallow & Meringue
I choose Salt, Chocolate Nibs, Meringue and Rose Petals
(I know that is 4 toppings, but apparently as they can only use a little salt you get 3 more choices.)

 Finally we made it into the viewing room at John Lewis!
 Walking back through the Westfield Centre I spotted the Mini Shop.
 Of course I had to go in!
 Back on the Tube we headed to The Tower of London and spotted the Olympic Mascots - 
Ravens Wenlock
and Beefeater Mandeville,
City Hall with its Olypmic Projections,
and Tower Bridge with the Giant Olympic Rings.
 We walked along The Embankment,
 past The Shard,
 The London Dragons
 and The London Eye
 to Westminister.

 Then we walked to St James' Park and Buckingham Palace,
 before catching The Tube back to our car.
 I love the horse on this Underground Poster!
  We are hoping to go back again after The Games have finished as I would love to see the Flower Meadows at the Olympic Park.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Isle of Wight

Last week we spent 5 wonderfully relaxing days on The Isle of Wight.
Warning: this post is photo heavy!
The trip down was extremely wet,  
but the rain had stopped by the time we arrived at Shanklin.
Although it was still dull and windy we ventured onto the beach.
"I love you this much", my husband drawing a heart in the sand 
and my son sending one to his girlfriend via a photo on his mobile.
More sand art by Jay.
The hydrangea flowers were huge along the coast.
Tuesday dawned hot and sunny.
Back on the beach for ice-creams to set us up for our walk.  I can really recommend the Bramdean ice-cream from the kiosk near the pier.  I had rum & raisin, J had bubblegum and S had liquiorice.
We walked along the coast to the end of the chalk cliffs,
hunting for fossils as we went.
Jay found these 3 pieces of a beautiful iron pyrite sunburst.
We walked for 8 hours and unfortunately got a touch of sunburn - were not used to the sun this year!
Wednesday the sea mists rolled in and we went for an atmospheric walk to St Catherine's Oratory aka The Pepperpot

and then strolled around Mottistone Manor Gardens,

before looking at The Long Stone nearby.
"Where to next?"
In the afternoon we visited the Fossil Forest at Hanover Point
Petrified Wood

and were delighted to find Dinosaur Footprints.
Thursday was a special day as we had a close encounter with Red Squirrels at Alverstone Nature Reserve.

They even fed from S and Jay's hands.
Once we were able to tear ourselves away from these endearing creatures we drove to Bembridge Down for a picnic with panoramic views.
Portsmouth on the mainland.
We had a quick look at Bembridge Fort and watched the Swallows diving though the air

before walking across the Down and admiring the Moths and Butterflies.
Six-spot Burnet Moth
Marbled White Butterfly.
We next headed to Hamstead Ledge
which was comprised of thick clay.  The sea was milky with the clay and it was very slippery to walk on.  I will never complain about the clay in my garden again!

We found some interesting fossils.

Friday was our final day and we headed first to Ventnor.

Fay on the Beach at Ventnor.
After Ventnor we took a look at the tiny 12thC church at St. Lawrence,

before driving to view The Needles.

We walked down to the beach to admire the many colours of the cliffs.

We wandered around Yarmouth

and walked along its pier.
We also managed a quick visit to Cowes before boarding the ferry back to Southampton.
The highlight of my holiday was watching my children playing together.

They have always got on well together and it was lovely to see them still being carefree and playing (even though they are 17 & 20!) on a swing. :)