Saturday, 15 June 2019
We took advantage of the occasion to travel to Oxford from Marylebone, a route we had not done before. It's cheaper than via Paddington, and the train was absolutely rammed! We did manage to get seats, but many people were not so lucky. We went on the Underground, changing at Oxford Circus, but the Bakerloo Line was crowded and there was no step-free access at Marylebone. Still, it didn't really matter.
When we arrived at Oxford, we went out of the station to ask about buying tickets for the 175th anniversary, which the website said could be done at any GWR station. However, the woman at the information desk had never heard of such a thing, and didn't know what we were talking about! Fortunately, the staff at the ticket office were better informed and, armed with a ticket, we went out on the platform just in time to see the 175 Luncheon Circular Tour depart.
branch line to Abingdon that had been such a feature of my childhood, and at Culham, from which my father had commuted to London every day over 62 years ago! Then it arrived at Didcot, where we found the entrance to the railway centre was just a few steps from our platform.
Our tickets included entrance to the railway centre, which was good. First port of call was the café, where we had rather dry coronation chicken sandwiches and incredibly weak coffee, and then I had a
Toblerone ice lolly and the Swan Whisperer had tiffin and his weak coffee. Then we set out to explore. There was lots to see, including a museum which also had a 1960s signal display being demonstatrated, locomotives in steam and hauling passengers from one end of the site to the other
And so on. After a while, we decided we had finished with the site, and caught the next train back to Oxford. We could, perhaps, have visited a funfair in Appleford or an exhibition at the Old Ticket Office at Culham, or even a fair on the site of the original Oxford station, about a mile from the present one, but there are limits on my energy, so we caught a train back to Oxford, and had a cup of tea in the station buffet there before getting a train back to Marylebone and a no 2 bus home.
Well worth the entry fees!
Wednesday, 5 June 2019
This was great, as it meant we could drive the van straight to Sussex, arriving there about 11:15, just in nice time for coffee. We had lunch with my mother and sister, and then my mother went to her WI meeting and we finished unloading the van and packing the car, and then the SW did all the bits for the van that wanted doing, like emptying the loo, sweeping it out, double-checking everything and packing it away until next time. We left for London at about 14:45, the car feeling very strange after so long in the van, and got home about 16:30; we have unpacked, put things away and started the first of many, many loads of washing! I have gone through my blog and added photos, where I had some nice ones, and corrected such typos as I noticed - if you see any particularly egregious ones, let me know!
Tuesday, 4 June 2019
Monday, 3 June 2019
Sunday, 2 June 2019
Saturday, 1 June 2019
Friday, 31 May 2019
Then we walked down past the Cathedral and the various other buildings in the complex and down and down and down until we came out at the bottom.
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Tuesday, 28 May 2019
Monday, 27 May 2019
Sunday, 26 May 2019
Saturday, 25 May 2019
Friday, 24 May 2019
|Pink Alpengluen - rain is on the way!|
Thursday, 23 May 2019
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Monday, 20 May 2019
Sunday, 19 May 2019
Saturday, 18 May 2019
Thursday, 16 May 2019
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Monday, 22 April 2019
It was a lovely walk along the River Lea,
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
We had no idea what to expect, but in fact it was a delightful exhibition. We arrived very soon after it opened, and were about the first people there, although it did fill up a bit later. There were loads of videos you could watch, with headphones; there was a film (rather dull) in the built-in cinema; there were interactive touch screens and games, and even a virtual reality headset. The Boy had a go on that, and had great fun exploring his world rather than playing the game that you were supposed to, but I, for one, would have done the same, I suspect. There was lego and other construction materials, there were books (some free to take home) and generally, there were lots of ways to spend a morning!
Above all, two things stood out - one the slightly relentless focus on how much the world needs civil engineers and how they are "secret superheroes", and the other about Don't Feed the Fatberg. Apparently it's not just London that has a fatberg problem, but all round the world!
I am not sure how much Boy Two enjoyed it, although he did like playing with some of the construction materials and the games on one of the touch screens. He was faintly confused by the acronym ICE for the Institution, but I think he might have sorted it in the end. The Boy enjoed himself, and was heard telling his father all about fatbergs.....
When we had had enough, we followed our noses to the basement, where there is a café and a brasserie, both open to the public. We looked at the brasserie's menu, but decided that it was a bit expensive for lunchtime, so we went to the café, where I had a salad bowl, the boys had paninis and salad (half a panini each, and their "salads" were only cucumber and coleslaw, but they enjoyed them), and the Swan Whisperer had a panini with potato wedges. This was all delicious and disappeared rapidly, and was also excellent value for money.
After lunch, we decided to head up to the Stow, specifically to Higham's Park, as I wanted to go to the big Tesco there (well, any big Tesco, really, but that one was easy enough to get to). We walked to Green Park Tube via both St James' Park
I definitely recommend the Institution of Civil Engineers - the Boy wondered why on earth it wasn't more popular, but I don't think it's widely known. They have had previous exhibitions, but I was never confident of finding them - but now I know, I shall keep an eye on it for an Easter holiday activity
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Tuesday, 2 April 2019
And so the holiday ends, as most of our holidays do, at Cité Europe to be ready for an early crossing in the morning.
We started the day in Amiens, and realised it was raining. Apart from the first two days of our holiday we have had lovely weather; warm, shirtsleeve weather, and I don't think I've worn a coat more than once or twice!
The Swan Whisperer went out to buy bread and then we had breakfast, by which time the sun was out again. I went back to sleep for a bit, and I suppose it was about 11 we set off. We decided to have a look at Doullens, as although we have been there before, we couldn't really remember it. Not very impressive - there is a citadel, but not open for visiting at that time. So we came away and drove to Arras, and parked up by the great cemetery there, where we had lunch. And then slowly, through a tremendous hailstorm at one point, up to Coquelles and Cité Europe. I did a Last Shop in the rain, and then we had supper, and I'm about to go to bed!
Monday, 1 April 2019
All holidays come to an end, and this one is winding down to its close. I really haven't felt able to do anything much today after overdoing it yesterday - the tourist areas of Paris are now overrun with electric scooters, which do not add to the city's charm, but would have saved our legs a bit had we learnt how to use them.
I think I slept all the way to Beauvais this morning, but as we needed eggs I had to go into the supermarket and got some radishes and one or two other things while I was at it. It turned out to be lunchtime and so we had that, and then tried to drive on to an aire from our book that we thought sounded nice, opposite a British cemetery, with full services. But the lat and long just led us to the middle of a field, and there was neither a cemetery nor, indeed, a road by that name in the village. Had it been on-line, I'd have suspected an April Fool prank, but this was in a book. Very odd. So we came to this car park in Amiens, where we have stayed before. The SW had scratched dirt on the place I'd originally chosen, saying it was in the middle of nowhere. Not that it matters. Tomorrow to Coquelles and a Last Shop, and then home on Wednesday.