Thursday, 27 August 2020

London Transport Museum Depot. Acton

 We decided we wouldn't carry on with the Treasure Trail, it was too long and had got boring.  It was also a bit too old for Boy Two, and even The Boy had to have help with most of them.  Even us adults did, on a couple of them....

So the question was, what to do today, which is the last day we could all get together before school restarts next week.  I looked on IanVisits and found that the Transport Museum's Acton depot was, exceptionally, open for a few weeks this summer.  Normally it only opens for two weekends a year.  I had never been - I did buy us tickets to go one year, and forgot to put them in the diary, to discover them ten days after the event..... 

They were selling timed tickets, but the 11:00 am slot was already sold out.  The noon slot was warning "Last few tickets", but they managed to sell me 3 adult and 2 child tickets, so we arranged to meet outside the depot at 11:55 this morning.  The Daughter said she was going to drive, since that was easiest and avoided using public transport, and the Swan Whisperer insisted that we would, too.  I had nightmares about it and was very worried about finding parking in the area, even though we knew that the local CPZs were in operation only 09:00-10:00 and 15:00-16:00, presumably to stop people parking all day and going into work on the Tube from Acton Town station.  In any event, I need not have worried as we found a parking space at the first time of trying, within a couple of minutes' walk from the Museum.  So we ended up spending 20 minutes in the car as it was too early to go in!

It was all very easy, and most enjoyable.  We could only see the bus collection and the Tube train collection (I felt we were slightly ripped off, as the tickets were full price, and there was much of the depot that was, understandably, closed off - we couldn't see the ticket machines, or the little huts that the collectors used to sit it, other than from a distance, and the upstairs galleries were closed).  The daughter, Boy Too and I wandered on, but The Boy and the SW were far more engrossed in the technical details of the buses, wondering how you accessed the engines in these ones for maintenance, 

 and generally being nerdish.  They had fun!  We spent hours in the Museum shop (the Daughter said she never had enough time to browse, usually) and the SW bought her her birthday present there.  Then we wandered on through the various Tube trains and out the other end, where they presented the boys with a pack of things to do at home (mostly make a bus-driver's cap), and we had a drink and a snack in the café area, and then a ride on the miniature railway, before heading back to the car.

As I said, most enjoyable, but I do think they could have reduced the price slightly as not all of the Museum was, or could be, open to the public.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Treasure Trail

 This may well end up being Treasure Trail part 1, but I won't edit the title until I know for sure.

One of the sad things about this pandemic is the dearth of summer expeditions with the Boys.  But yesterday their father had an important court case over the Internet, and really didn't want it added to with fighting in the garden, or football goals being scored against his office wall.  So the Daughter decided to take them out on a Treasure Trail around Spitalfields and Brick Lane.  This was a detective trail, with clues to solve to find "Whodunnit", or rather, to eliminate certain suspects and murder weapons, a la Cluedo.

 We met at Liverpool Street Station and first off found a Prets for a cup of coffee/iced tea/juice/babycino (not that Boy Too is a baby any more; he is very nearly 7, but he still likes them!).  But once that was done, we had to retrace our steps to Bishopsgate to find the first clue, which was a date inscribed high on a building.  Most of the clues were that sort of thing, but sometimes you had to think sideways to find them.  There were definitely two we didn't find before we all decided it was lunch time, and headed to Franco Manca for pizza and affogato.  Or plain ice cream, in the case of the boys, who do like coffee now but aren't allowed it much.  

Once lunch was over, I knew I had had enough for one day, and went back to Liverpool Street Station to get a 133 back to Brixton.  I had hoped to go to Morley's, but there was a 355 behind us when we got to Brixton, and I realised I was absolutely exhausted.  I staggered home and went to bed for the rest of the day!  Not as many steps as sometime, but a lot more than I've been able for since I had Covid-19 back at the end of March! 

The Swan Whisperer came in a little later, saying that they had done one or two more clues after lunch, but the boys were getting a bit tired of it, so they decided to call it a day, and the rest of the clues can be done another day.  

Friday, 31 July 2020

Lockdown Lifted, 29 July

So we are home. In the morning I did a big shopping and then we headed to the terminal two hours before our booked crossing. And were offered one an hour earlier, and were then waved through and caught the 12:20, not the 13:50 I'd booked.

We were glad of the extra 90 minutes, arriving at my mother's at about 14:30 and then lots of cleaning and clearing up to do. Car packed, but the van had to be taken to my brother's yard as the garage we rent from him is having its roof replaced. An excuse to go down again in a couple of days, I hope.

We then drove back to London and unpacked the car, and things are mostly put away now. We have eaten, and it will be an early night.

No photos today, so here is one from the Alps. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Lockdown Lifted, 28 July

It was much cooler this morning, and we were just having breakfast when the heavens opened and we had to rush to close the skylights! Didn't last long, though.

We have had a long and dull drive on the motorway, enlivened by a hunt for diesel and a quick dash into a convenience store for bread and water.
But we are now parked up in a very windy Sangatte prior to crossing at lunch time tomorrow after a big shop and perhaps a dash round Calais.

And I have a new great-nephew, born this morning. 

Monday, 27 July 2020

Lockdown Lifted, 27 July

Once again, we are not where we expected to be tonight, having originally planned to stop somewhere outside Reims that wasn't Chaméry. However, we were going to need services somewhere en route, and the Swan Whisperer picked on this place, by the Lac d'Orient,
and when we got here it was so nice we decided to stay. It will mean a long and boring motorway drive tomorrow, but that can't be helped.

It was a pleasant cross-country drive today, lots of pretty towns and villages and countryside with newly-harvested fields of corn and still-ripening fields of sunflowers and maize. Big sky country here - the French prairies.

After lunch and a rest we went for a short walk
but it is horribly hot so we came back and flaked out in the shade of the van. Now the SW is having a Church council meeting outside (one downside of Zoom meetings is you can't use being on holiday as an excuse not to go!) and I'm flaked out on the bed. 

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Lockdown Lifted, 26 July

The aire where we stayed last night gave free electricity, and there were services not far away, also free, but they asked you to use local businesses.  So the Swan Whisperer went to buy bread only to be turned away because he was wearing a thick, home-made mask rather than a flimsy disposable one!  So we thought if they didn't want our business, they needn't have it, and decided to do without.  We had half a baguette left over from yesterday, which we toasted, and then at lunch tried (not very successfully) to make toasties with ordinary bread. 

Anyway, back to breakfast, which was nearly a disaster as my poached egg slipped out of its plastic cup on to the baguette, then slipped off that and made a beeline for the floor.  Do not catch a freshly-poached egg in your bare hand - it hurts!  But at least I saved it and was able to eat it. 

We were driving as far as Dijon today, and decided to go non-motorway, which was pleasant.  Is this an archetypal or a stereotypical French tree-lined road, do you suppose? 

Sunflowers are very much a crop here - just losing the radiance of their petals now.  We don't know whether they are mostly for animal fodder or for cooking oil (or, indeed, for the delicious seed, either for human or avian consumption). 

We stopped for lunch in Louhan, by a river,
and arrived here, at Marsonnay-la-Cote (infamous for being the place where my mother spilt tonic waer on the cushions in her hotel room in 2003) just in time for the last Zoom church service of the summer.  Live worship restarts next Sunday, with limits, and I am to take the service the Sunday after, which I am delighted about!

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Lockdown Lifted, 25 July

Today I finally found the cows whose bells we have enjoyed hearing over the past two days - sadly they were brought in at night se we didn't have them to enjoy at night.  

Breakfast was horribly late as the Swan Whisperer insisted on going and buying croissants and the bakery was a long 20 minutes' walk, even at his speed, from the aire.  However, we had it at last, although we deprived ourselves of eggs, for once, and had a piece of cheese instead, as quicker. 

We then, sadly, had to say goodbye to the mountains, and come back down those ten hairpin bends - and more, later, down to the Grenoble bypass, stopping to do an enormous shop at an E Leclerc  - I haven't done much shopping over the last few days, somehow, and we were running low on stuff.  

When we got to the aire, on the outskirts of Lyon, we were surprised to find that it was not where we thought it was, and although there were services, which we didn't need, having used them in Les 2 Alpes this morning, overnight stays were apparently forbidden.  All very strange - and then Park4Night pointed out the aire I thought we were going to some 5 miles away.  So I entered the lat and long into the satnav and asked it to find the nearest aire (which it mostly knows), and, lo and behold, it pointed to the place where we were!  So that is how that muddle arose!

We drove on to the aire we had intended to go to, and found most of the space occupied by a wedding party, but they soon cleared off, and as there is what appears to be free electricity, we have been playing with the television, but there is nothing really worth watching, so have turned it off.  

It is so hot  down here - we were really too cold first thing this morning, I had to close the bedroom skylight when I woke up.  But down here it is much hotter.  I wish we had another week in the Alps.... Oh well.