Thursday, 23 June 2016

June Holiday: 22 June

It was overcast in Calais when we woke, but shaping up to be a lovely day. We got up quite early as we had been warned that extra security measures were in place at the terminal.
However, I had been unable to get any citrus tea in Auchan, so did a quick dash into Carrefour to see if they had some, which they did, also any lavender honey shower gel, which they didn't (but they did have a shower gel version of my current favourite shampoo) and a baguette for lunch.  Once that was all put away, we went to the terminal, and although the letter on the hangar was for the 10:50 crossing we were waved through and got on the 10:20, so, with the hour's time difference we were home in time to empty the van before lunch!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

June Holiday: 21 June

Driving. All day.  We had about 700 km to go, from the far side of Frankfurt to Cité Europe. 

So we set off at about 09:15 and stopped for coffee a couple of hours later, and for lunch, and to ship the Auchan at Grand Synthe, near Dunkerque. And finally arrived here about 20:15. We took ourselves out to dinner at one of the long-standing restaurants in the Cité, which was good, and are now enjoying the quietness! 

I did manage to doze for a lot of the drive, but am still tired.  Still, we knew it would be like this, and it was worth it.

Monday, 20 June 2016

June Holiday: 20 June

It started off a a lovely day. We had breakfast with Cestina, pooling our resources, and then set off across country towards Plzen and the motorway, seeing all kind of birds and even a deer on the way. Unfortunately I hadn't slept very well - fennel tea, while delicious, appears to have a diuretic effect on me!  So I soon dozed off and missed much of the lovely Czech countryside.

We crossed the border about 1:00 and found a place to stop for lunch, we thought, but it turned out just to be for lorries, so we parked in the Norma next door and ate there before doing since shopping to justify our parking.

Then we headed up to Bamberg, but the car park the Swan Whisperer thought he'd found turned out not to accept motor homes. We found another one, and he went off tu explore while I got supper ready, but unfortunately the gas cylinder expired about then and I am not sure how change it.  So I had to wait for him to come back before I could have the cup of tea I was gasping for, and then he insisted we move on before I'd had time for more than a mouthful, which did not please me

When we finally arrived at Aschaffenburg, we found the motorhome aire was closed for a fun fair, and were going to sadly drive another 30 miles or so to the next one when, serendipitously, we found the services. So we have parked up near them and stuff it!

And THEN I spilt my supper all over the table when I was putting the plates down.... tomorrow has to be better, doesn't it?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

June Holiday: 19 June

It was raining this morning, so we didn't hurry out of bed, and it was nearly 10:00 am before we finally had breakfast.

Our destination today was Bavorov which we last visited three years ago on our memorable Inter-Rail trip.  This time, of course, we were driving. We had a lovely drive, stopping at the border to buy a vignette for the Czech motorways, and a restaurant there offered duck with red cabbage and potato dumpling, so we said yes please. I had another Aperol Spritz, which was much weaker than the one I had at Zoran's (just as well really!) but equally good.

Then on to Bavarov, and a visit to the Small Worlds museum, and back to Cestina's for the night.  Lovely to see some of the new items In the museum, and how the display has developed over the years.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

June Holiday: 18 June

The last day at Oberstdorf always has the best skaters.  However, to begin at the beginning, we got up when the "Cow Alarm" went off, and after breakfast we visited the services, gave up our Kurkarten, and left the van all ready to move when we got back (oh, it was hot with the windows having been shut), and went to the rink for the last time.

The morning started with the younger Bronze men's artistic, then all the free dances (why do so many couples insist on keeping the same music all the way through when they take such a penalty for it?), which ranged from dire to fabulous. At least two of the Bronze couples blame me for their participation. Moi?  I'm innocent, innocent I tell you!

After the dances came the Masters Elites men and women, including Olympians. We had friends in the Masters Elite Ladies III, so stayed to watch it, but then came away so missed seeing Fumie Suguri, but we can catch up when we get home.

Back to the van, and first stop was the ReWe supermarket we hadn't been to yet this trip, and then a long drive past Munich to a little town called Landshut, where we are parked up for the night, not sure how legally!  It is a pretty town, and the car park is by the Isar river.

Friday, 17 June 2016

June Holiday, 17 June

The penultimate day of competition started with Silver Ladies IV artistic and Gold Ladies III & IV Free. We watched some of the latter and all of the former, and then it was Bronze I, so I went into town to do a bit of shopping, but just missed a bus so explored the back (quicker) way back to the van for lunch.  After which I had a kip, and then the SW and I went back into town so he could buy me two cheap watches for my birthday present. And back to the rink to watch some masters skating and the Short Dance, which was brilliant. Then it was going to be pairs, so I came away.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

June Holiday, 16 June

Today I vaguely woke up with the "alarm clock" of the cows going out to pasture at 07:10, but the next thing I knew it past 08:00 and I was being told that my tea would be about drinkable - which it was!  So got up and had breakfast and decided not to go to the rink just yet, but went shopping in the town to get some knitting cotton so I could make skate cloths if my current cardigan gets to a state where I can't really go on until I have the rest of the wool, which is at home.
Walked back to the rink, stopping en route to buy an ice from the kiosk, which was seriously delicious, and then spent the rest of the day there, watching various friends and then in the evening it was the pattern dances, bronze through to masters, so we sat and critiqued and cheered and ate pizza. Fun, but very tiring, and how the others can go off to the pub now, I do not know!  All I want is my bed....

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

June Holiday, 15 June

After all the excitements of yesterday, I both wanted and needed a very quiet day. There wasn't much I wanted see at the rink until the evening, so I spent the morning doing a load of washing, which took forever and didn't dry quite properly, shopping, and making a huge ragu for supper.

The Swan Whisperer, meanwhile, had gone out for a long walk with like-minded friends, and reappeared at about 4:00 pm, just as the rain started and the kettle boiled!

After supper, we went to the rink for the evening session, which ranged from Bronze Ladies V (aged 68+, one of whom is in her first - and she swears last - season of skating solo, although she and her husband have danced against us on a couple of occasions) to a couple of ex-Olympians!  And the older ladies got every bit as many cheers and "tossies" (small gifts, mostly sweets or tiny soft toys) as the elites, if not more so!  Adult skating truly rocks!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

June Holiday: 14 June

My 63rd birthday, and what better place to spend it than watching friends from all round the world skating, mostly very well indeed.

We were woken by the cows at 07:10, and got up and had breakfast, and then went more-or-less straight to the rink as our friends were skating in the first class of the day. Stayed there until lunch, at which point I took a break to eat and to go round the town, and scored some 4711 shower gel, which I love and is half the price it is in the UK. Will try to get some more before we leave.

Then back the rink where we stayed until dinner time, had a lovely meal in the upstairs restaurant, and back to the van in the rain.

Team GB increased its medal haul again, wonderful! 

Monday, 13 June 2016

June Holiday: 13 June

Why is watching skating so tiring?  I was exhausted by lunch time.....

We got up at a reasonable hour and after breakfast we used the services and I did a bit of shopping.  Then we went up to the rink to watch skating on and off all day. Team GB is doing really well, including wiping the board in one class, and several other gold medals during the day. I won't name names, as I'd be bound to forget someone, but everyone who skated was a winner!

I did have to miss some skaters, though, as I got very tired so went back to the van to sleep for an hour. As the bus had been coming when I left the rink I took it for the one stop back to the camp site, and then thought that, just for fun, I'd catch it back again - it is a one-way circular route, so of course I had to sit on it right out to the first Park'n'ride car park, and then back again! Great fun.

We also missed the last two classes of the day to go back to the van and eat, and I an going to bed now!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

June Holiday, 12 June

Woke up far too early to a lovely view of the Alps. The bread man comes at 8:00, so we bought rolls to have with breakfast.  Then it was to the rink, as I had volunteered to take a short service of worship - they very kindly found us a room where we could do that, and 7 of us gathered.
After the service, we hung around for a bit greeting friends, then went back to the van for an early lunch and a rest.  Then we wandered into town and met up with some Queen's/Streatham skaters and had Kaffee und Kuchen with them.  Then back again to the van - I waited and caught the bus - and I sorted out a bag for tomorrow while the Swan Whisperer went for a walk.
The Team GB dinner was at 18:30, followed by the welcome party downstairs. I couldn't hear a word of the actual welcome, but there was a very good band which played and encouraged the skaters to do a conga line.... all good fun.  We came away after a bit, and over to the main block to use the WiFi, which is free, but the signal doesn't stretch to where we are parked, and I am almost out of data.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

June Holiday: 11 June

Bother, I had a long post written but failed to save it. Oh well.

We have arrived in Oberstdorf at last, after breakfast with the Niece in her lovely flat, a quick trip to her local Netto to get stuff for lunch, and a long, slow drive as far as Memmingen, where said lunch was eaten and things for supper bought.  And then only an hour to Oberstdorf and the Wohnmobilstellplatz there. Very pleasant, if rather crowded site. Showers are extra, so we will have them in the van!

We got settled and went off to the rink tu see who was around and say hi, and then headed off to the town centre to get some cash, and back, which was enough exercise for me. Supper was Maultaschen (can't link from Wikipedia mobile app) which I did in a vegetable sauce with grated cheese, and very good it was, too.  And wine!

Friday, 10 June 2016

June Holiday: 10 June

It was far too early to get up when I woke this morning to clear blue skies and sunshine, but it was too nice to stay in bed, so after an early-ish breakfast and using the services, we were away by 08:30.

We drove to a pretty little town called Cochem on the Moselle, where we parked up and did a bit of shopping and had a wander. We would have liked a coffee, but ran out of time on our parking ticket, so ate cherries instead, and then drove along the Moselle, stopping for a long lunch-break in a random car park.  Then we drove up over the hills and down the other side to the Rhein, which we also drove along - past the Lorelei - to Bingen, where we rejoined the motorway to Ludwigshafen, where the Swan Whisperer's niece lives.  We had a drink in the motor home, then went into town for a delicious supper at the local brewery, with beer (of course), and then back to where we have parked up near her flat.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

June Holiday: 9 June

I slightly spoke too soon last night, as for some reason, although we had been called for boarding, we sat for about 30 minutes at the top of the ramp, and the Shuttle was very late moving off.  I went to bed, and naughtily stayed there while the Swan Whisperer drove to the car-park. Not doing that again, though, as it was very uncomfortable, especially the jolts over the carriage separators on the train.

It must have been well after 2:00 am local time before we got to sleep, so we didn't exactly hurry in the morning. After a latish breakfast, I did some shopping, forgetting to buy eggs, and also looked for new trainers. Unsuccessfully, but would you believe that two pairs have demised on successive holidays? 

Finally we set off. Our first port of call was the Auchan petrol station, and then a very brief stop somewhere for me to get some extra water out of the fridge - I have been thirsty all day - and then we got past Brussels and stopped in a services for a very long lunch break that included a nap for both of us!  After which, we did not stop again until we got to this motor home park, which is very nice, and, for the first time, I am sitting out on our new chairs to write this.

So it has been breakfast in France, lunch in Belgium and supper in Germany!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

June Holiday, 8 June

I am posting this as we wait to board the Shuttle en route, eventually, to Oberstdorf. It has been a long day, taking Boy Two swimming, and then fetching the Boy and his friend from school. Took Boy Two on his scooter for the first time, which ought to have worked but I forgot about bookbags and flutes and coats.... All of which normally pile on the pushchair!  However, when we finally got home, all three children disappeared to play, and half an hour later I was free to go home, load the van, eat supper, and we set off at 8.00 pm. No chance of an earlier crossing, though, and this one is taking forever to load. When it has, I shall get ready for bed and it won't be long before we are snuggled down outside Cité Europe.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Redbridge Central Library and Museum

It being half-term Friday, we were on grandparent duty.  In fact, the Boy had spent the night with us, and so we didn't set off very early, since Granda, who had been going to get up and go to Lidl to buy pains au chocolat for breakfast, got side-tracked by the book of trees that the Boy was looking at, and I was showered and dressed long before either of them were ready to do so.

But we set off eventually, catching the Northern Line to Moorgate, and then the Metropolitan/Hammersmith and City/Circle Line (I think it was a Hammersmith and City train) to Liverpool Street, and then a TfL Rail train to Ilford.  This was great fun, as it was "racing" the longest freight train you ever did see - don't know where that would have been going, but until just before we got to Ilford, it was on the fast lines and we would overtake it between stations, and then it would catch up when we were in the station, and so on....  But it turned off just before we got to Ilford.

When we got out of the station, we weren't too sure where we were, and took some time to orient ourselves; however, eventually we realised that the railway line was going underneath the road, rather than alongside it, so we got ourselves straightened out, and soon found the Central Library and Museum which we had come to see.

The main event was an exhibition - which ended today - of the various Ice Age mammal skeletons and fossils that had been found in the area.  This was not, alas, as interesting as it had been touted, and was, in fact, very small - mostly a rather silly film reconstruction of a lecture given in Victorian times about amateur excavations in the area, and then a few bones.  I rather felt "Is that it?" when I had seen it.   But we then went up another flight of stairs to the main museum, and that was rather more interesting, being set out as a "trip back in time" in the area.  Mostly very good, but an egregious "it's" when they meant "its" set our teeth on edge.  The Boy took more interest in this, and I think he and his Granda went round twice - he had a trail of things to find.  After a bit, though, we decided we had seen it all, and it was time for lunch.  They could always go back up to search for the rest of the things to find on the trail when we had eaten. 

So we descended to the café on the ground floor of the library, which was very good despite purporting to sell "Panini's" (honestly, wouldn't you think a public library would know better?).  The Boy and I both had quiche followed by an ice-cream sundae ("But I can't have that," said the Boy, "It's only Friday!"  I had to explain what a Sundae was and why it was called it, and that it was perfectly all right to have it on any day), and The Swan Whisperer (aka Granda) had a jacket potato with something - chicken and sweetcorn, I think - and a chocolate brownie.  Remarkably good value for money.

Then they went back upstairs to finish the trail, but couldn't find any bison no matter how hard they looked (The Boy wanted to call them "bisson", and I don't know why they aren't, now I come to think of it).  I think the exhibition was being run down as it was the last full day.

And then back to his on the 123 bus - a very quick and easy journey, only about 20 minutes - to find one of the cats had been extremely sick on the floor, but luckily the Swan Whisperer coped! 

I hope the Boy enjoyed it; it's not always easy to know whether he enjoys things or not.....

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Fun in the park

... or, you don't need to go far from home to enjoy yourself!

We spent much of today in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow.  The Friends of the park - or some similar body, not sure who - had organised a nature day.  The pond in the park is in the form of a moat going round an artificial island in the middle, and most of the activities were on the island.  There was grass-beating, and you could see what insects and seeds you collected; tree shaking, ditto, and, above all, pond dipping.  The Boy caught several bloodworms and Boy Too caught a water-boatman in their various nets.  This was great fun, and would have been even more fun had the amount of pollen in the air not set my hay fever off big time!  And I had taken loretidine the previous evening, too, but I was streaming from every facial orifice and just longing to go home! 

However, this was not to happen for some time; there was a nature trail, which suggested various activities like listening to see what you could hear (mostly traffic on the North Circular, it has to be said, but there was also a blackbird); identifying trees; seeing if you could jump as far as a squirrel between two trees (this was a rope laid on the ground), etc.  The Boy and his Granda particularly enjoyed trying to identify the trees, but Granda said every tree he couldn't recognise was a beech tree,
which really didn't help.  To the point where I very nearly sent a picture message to my father to ask what the wretched trees were, which I would have done were he not on a cruise!  Great-Ba, you see, "knows everything about trees" (according to The Boy, anyway).  The best thing was that the Boy can now read the instructions for himself, and didn't need anybody to explain them to him. 

After this, we repaired to the park café for a not very nice lunch, although both boys did more than justice to their sandwiches.  Then we decided to set off home as the children had made ice-cream the previous day and were longing to try it.  However, there was a small funfair in the park, and it was just opening and the boys begged to be allowed to visit.  We said they could have one ride each, and they chose - well, the Boy chose, and his brother tagged along - the "Space Train".
They were the only children on it, and the very kind man who ran the attractions let them have a ride that was far longer than normal, so they definitely got their money's worth.  I was a little anxious about letting Boy Two on the ride - he won't be three until September and isn't very good at following instructions yet - but in the event, he behaved simply beautifully. 

And so we went home, with the Boy riding his bike and Boy Too on his scooter while we were in the park and in his pushchair - where he fell asleep and missed out on the ice cream - on the road.