A couple of weeks ago I traipsed off to London to visit Rebekah – while poor Martin went to his Charity Management lectures at Twickenham.

It was lovely to meet up with one of my longest standing friends for lunch in the late summer sunshine at a beautiful spot near London Bridge.

You could see:

The Gerkin

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The Tower of London

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Tower Bridge

 

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The Shard (just about – much better view of that from Rebekah’s bedroom)

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And some weird alien looking thing!

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Then Rebekah met us and we had a walk along the Southbank and then had a tour of the various places she does her placement work (and the pubs she visits).

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A very quick trip to the Imperial War Museum followed.

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Then back to Rebekah’s flat. It was great to see her settled in, having a laugh with her flat mates and generally seeming very at home, and lovely to get some bangers and mash. We waited somewhat impatiently for Martin to arrive with the car and the office chair for Rebekah’s room and then dashed off to try and get the ferry we were booked on – with Martin shovelling down the bangers and mash as we went!

The Shard from Rebekah’s Bedroom:

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Once again I am very behind with my blogging.

A couple of weeks ago we hopped on the ferry for a very brief trip to London. We managed to go on a lovely calm day in the midst of all the recent storminess.

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We were hurrying over to go to my mum’s 70th birthday celebrations. My sister had organised a party for her and we decided we would surprise mum by turning up at the last minute.

We only arrived slightly before my mum did, so only managed to do a little to help. Jane and Jonathan with help from Michelle had done almost everything fantastically by the time we arrived.

We managed to help out a little in the kitchen though:

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Jane seems to be a little frustrated with me and Ruth nibbles a naughty bit of lettuce!

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The food looks great as it always does when Jonathan and Jane make it.

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The room was well decorated too.

 

 

 

 

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Mum started off the evening in character with a nice cup of tea.

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She had lots of her friends around her to celebrate.

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Mum seemed to be having a good laugh with us too.

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It looks like mum had a happy birthday

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Jonathan’s actual birthday saw us at my Mum’s house in London (having spent the night before there and enjoying a lovely meal out with my family the night before at a little noodle bar Dim t  in Hampstead- great food and company always a good combination!). So Jonathan got to open some family presents before we headed out for the day.

  

We were in London to go along to the Big Bang Fair, a science fair with hands on activities and live shows. Our assessment of it was it was good for free but when we took into account the ferry fair and petrol it wasn’t such good value – however Jonathan had a good time and lots of science and maths was done and we met up with good friends there too.

  

  

  

We headed home and had Jonathan’s official birthday the following day. Everyone gets to choose all the meals on their birthday so Jonathan chose bacon bagels for breakfast, ham and cheese toasties for lunch and toad in the hole for dinner – all nice and easy which is always helpful – last year he wanted sushi and beef pie which was much more complicated (not to mention expensive). We did presents and cards after breakfast.

  

After church there was more food and then time spent making paper aeroplanes from Jonathan’s new book and then having competitions flying them – including one that involved needing to do a dance while you threw them!

 

Then a week or so later we managed to find time to fit in a birthday party. Jonathan wanted to have a magic cards birthday but also had friends he wanted to invite that didn’t have an interest in magic cards – we managed to achieve this by having two overlapping parties. Party 1 people had an hour of Lego (and youtube clips) and then pizza then home , party 2 people came to join in with the pizza and then magic cards then home. During this party I had a great time downstairs chatting with some of the mums and drinking tea – it’s great when the kids want parties that don’t involve too much parental involvement. My main involvement was sourcing the mountains of Lego from my friend and making a serious mountain of pizza.

  

  

Then the final installment of his birthday was the present we had given him. It was a birds of prey experience with Haven Falconry. Jonathan and I were the only ones there and we got to learn lots about the birds and to fly them. It was great.

The Barn Owl- this was definitely our favourite to touch as it was so soft and its feathers were and was my favourite to look at.

  

The Harris Hawk – my favourite to fly

  

 The Kestrel – this little bird was Jonathan’s favourite to fly.

  

The Something Something Scots Owl from South Africa – beautiful to look at, Jonathan’s favourite from this perspective.

  

Finally a week and a half after his actual birthday we are finished with the celebrations!

 

Wow – we have had a ludicrously busy time since returning from camping in September. Every week has had about 5 extra activities in it on top of the usual and Ruth trying to do the hated chemistry revision, as such I am very behind on the blog and have missed out some brilliant experiences we have all had. So a quick overview:

Bristol:

Went to Bristol so Ruth could do a trip to ciromedia for an aerial course. Jonathan, martin and I went and looked at the local street art having got a taste for it in London. We also enjoyed a rather nice park – as you can see I have my “home educators” trousers on!

  

  

 We finally finished the van and even had the re-registration from the DVLA, so we spent the night in the van and then went to Beaulieu in the pouring rain with Martin’s parents.

General life:

We had sumo night at youth nite, Martin and Jonathan had a go. I made an autumn table mat that I was really pleased with.

 

 

London:

Another trip to London – this time with Rebekah and Martin. Had a lovely day mooching with Rebekah, great meal out with mum, Jane and Jonathan and then a great visit to Oasis college.

  

 

Rebekah’s Photography Project:

  

  

 Fire Station Visit:

  

Ruth’s Crafting:

  

Ruth’s Birthday:

  

Art Afternoon at Mike Rodriguez‘s art studio:

  

I am so behind with blogging and will go back and fill in at some point but for now here is our weekend away in London. Just Jonathan and I were going which was really nice as we don’t have much time just the two of us.

We started with a ferry ride, breakfast in Ikea and then a couple of hours on the coach. This was very enjoyable and passed quickly as we played crib, the ministers cat, hangman and squares. This got me thinking about how educational doing that sort of thing is – crib with the arithmetic skills as well as strategic thinking, the ministers cat good for building vocabulary particularly thinking about adjectives, hangman good for spelling and imaginative thinking and squares again good for strategy. So a wasted couple of hours were actually spent productively – not with me trying to be educational but just by default by us engaging together (on the way home again we were so shattered we both sat and listened to radio 4 downloads!).

  

A short hop from Victoria to the natural History Museum. Jonathan had specific things he wanted to see before we arrived and then on reading the leaflet decided to see another few things. I resisted the urge to “make the most” of the visit and take him to see lots more and as such we had a very relaxed time looking at volcanoes, dodos, dinosaurs, an archaeopteryx and a giant sloth – and for some reason seeing some obsidian was thrilling too.

  

  

  

Then he wanted to go to M&M world and as this trip was about taking him to do London things that he wanted to do (and that I could afford) that’s what we did. It’s not really my thing but if you are going to do these things you should embrace them wholeheartedly!

  

  

The next thing on his list was a trip to Primark so he could buy a onesie with his own money – my sister obliged by taking us there and then we had a nice family meal out at a little Italian restaurant – again Jonathan’s choice he wanted pizza.

Friday was spent meeting up with Ruth and other zonies from the biology group visiting the Centre of the Cell, wandering around Covent Garden and doing the BBC tour.

The Centre of the Cell was slightly disappointing as most of the material was available online – however I don’t think Ruth would have spent as long engaging with it and discussing cell related topics if we hadn’t gone and it was free. We had seen the TARDIS before Ruth was more excited then.

   

  

Ruth went home with the others while Jonathan and I went back to my mums and had a lovely roast dinner and choice of three puddings!

Our last day in London saw me doing some bargain hunting in the Salvage shop with mum while Jonathan went to the kids club cinema with Jane and Jonathan. A quick trip round the exceptionally crowded Borough Market Then we had my highlight of the weekend an Alternative Walking Tour of London. We spent a couple of hours walking around the Spittlefields area of London learning about its history and looking at street art and graffiti. I learned so much and found it fascinating. I would definitely do it again as by its nature the art work will have changed. I didn’t know that people did street art with stencils and paste ups as well as chilled spray cans (to give a different effect) as well as all sorts of other things. I’ve just put a few pics here but will probably do more later.

  

  

We had a great weekend.

The higlight of our recent CBBC tour was probably before it even started properly. A real former TARDIS parked outside Television Centre! Actually the whole of our worthy “Let’s go to London to help the kids out with their Tudor’s project” trip seemed to turn into a Doctor Who tour. Canary Wharf (Torchwood), the Globe theatre, and the TARDIS to finally top it off. Just look at the expression on Ruth’s face….

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Well we are well and truly back from our holidays now. I was so sad to leave the Netherlands and all the wonderful cycling (not to mention pancakes) that I actually cried!

We had a good time in London with friends afterwards. The highlight was going to the CBBC tour at Television Centre. Ruth was literally jumping up and down (and flapping her arms like wings) with excitement when they saw a real Tardis (not the one they are currently using but a previous one.

We did heaps of other stuff too, Hampton Cout, The globe, the Aquarium and Princess Diana Memorial gdns (lovely play park).

Jonathan meanwhile, stayed with my mum and sister and went to legoland, swimming and played with remote controlled boats, he had a great time too.

Now we are back and we have all the normal stuff to do, home ed committee meetings, dentist appointments, letters to write, companies overcharging us to harrass, playgroup trips, shopping, unpacking blah blah blah. So we definitely feel back again