Jan 30, 2011

London - Day 2

OK back to our Christmas trip to England and day 2 in London...

My husband must think he is a cockerel as he got us all down for breakfast at 7am.. I though this was supposed to be a vacation...

Order of day was..
1. Next Sale at Hays Galleria (well it was the day after Boxing day.. only the biggest bloomin sales day of the year in the UK!)
2.Walk down Thames to catch tour bus
3. Jump off tour bus at London Eye
4. Spend 1 hr 'doing the Eye'
5. Coffee & muffin (probably Starbucks as Brittany is addicted)
6. Back on Bus to Buckingham Palace
7. Walk from Palace to Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament
8. Back on bus to Tower of London
9. Late lunch (turned out to be Wagamama)
10. Last stop Crown Jewels at the Tower..

Somehow I was going to have to drive home after this lot too!

Well we made Next sale by 7.45am (after me having to return to hotel to get my glasses that I'd left by the bed (D'OH)..(I bought a new hat.. we'll see it in later posts!) and then I nearly fainted when Starbucks wasn't open until 8.30am.. so no coffee fix for us until later.. would we survive?

Walking down to London Bridge to catch the bus... some jobs worth driver wouldn't let us on.. he was reading the paper... we didn't know what to do and started walking back across the bridge.. only for a big red bus to stop next to us and ask if we wanted to get on... errrrrm though you were out of service?... 'that was then, this is now'.. like I said, jobsworth!


You know who you are....

Anyway as it was well below freezing we decided to sit outside (brrrrrr) and I mean BRRRRRRRR... thought I was going to lose something to frostbite


Take the picture already.. I wan't to go inside!
 It's amazing what you see when you are bus height though.. you get a different view of the city...


Tower Bridge from the bus

$100 million on City Hall...The building has an unusual, bulbous shape, intended to reduce its surface area and thus improve energy efficiency. It has been compared variously to Darth Vader's helmet, a misshapen egg, a woodlouse and a motorcycle helmet. Former mayor Ken Livingstone referred to it as a "glass testicle",

First view of the Tower of London



Can't remember what this one is.. but it's pretty!


Houses of Parliment & Big Ben....
I don't want to overload you .. so we'll hit the London Eye tomorrow.. figuratively of course...it's too big to hit of course!


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Jan 29, 2011

Vin Diesel gives up acting and random Swedes channel Mozart

Two amazing videos to share with you ....

Thanks to my Romanian friend Monica for an introduction to this amazing 'beat boxer'... quite amazing what some people can do with their mouths.. me I have enough trouble getting the right words out!

Funny.. I wondered what Vin Diesel had been up to?



and herer Volkswagon show us that if you make exercise fun we'll all do it! (well most of us)..

Enjoy.. I'm off to eat some pizza!






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Jan 28, 2011

It's Gary Friday....

Thought it was about time that Gary had a featured roll on the blog... I mean it is supposed to be about him! We can return to London later....

Beautiful in Central Florida today... blue skies and t-shirt warm.. (weekend will be bikini warm..I can't wait!)
Anyway a walk down to the lake was in order... and Gary wanted to show off his new $57 haircut to you...


Notice at this point Gary is on his lead....(leash)... well we have been practicing walking without being on the lead and he's been doing really well... but normally goes a bit crazy when you first take him off!

video

So off we go.. across the land at the back of house towards the lake...

 Smelling everything... taking in the sun
 And then Gary finds whats left of an Armadillo... not much as it happens....

And worse .. he starts smelling something that looks suspiciously like pooh....
 GARY NO....!!!!!
I turn around and Gary is rolling in aforementioned POOH... guess it wasn't dog then!

SOOOO glad I spent the $ to have you washed yesterday you dirty dog. (you're not Naughty George you know!). Don't think this is getting you out of a walk either...Just stay well back from me!!!
Enjoy the pics... we'll get back to London tomorrow!



Nice view down by the lake
 
Which way Gary?

Guess we're going that way then!
 
Sit there and wait until I get a sponge!

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Jan 26, 2011

Continuing on with our travels.....London!

Sorry I've been laid up with snot for a few days, but lets continue the trip to England.....

So I normally avoid London like the plague... overpriced and full of tourists (!), however with hubbies niece in tow it was only fair to have a quick sojourn to the capital.. and I mean quick. Because the miserable train drivers had decided to strike I would have to drive down and back, with us spending just one night there... and the journey down was nightmarish... accidents, hold ups and passengers desperate for a pee.. we were glad to eventually arrive at out London hotel..

A quick note on the hotel. I made out like a bandit on the room rate. We stayed at the Hilton Tower Bridge - a rather nice if business'y hotel.. should have been $300 + / night.. I got for $140 inc $50 breakfast buffet... score!!!! It ranks no. 9 of 1000+ London hotels on trip advisor and the location is the business - you can walk to the Tower of London!

Brittany loved it.. saying it was the best hotel she ever stayed in and took multiple pics... here she just looks like she's doing some mad dance in front of her floor to ceiling mirror!


not bad for $140 in London!

Anyway by the time we got ourselves out of the hotel it was approaching dusk and as the sun went down we took a few pics of Tower Bridge and the River Thames.

Bundled up!

HMS Belfast...


It was the coldest I've ever been and as much as we had wrapped up it was time to get inside for an early tea and a hot ALCOHOLIC drink.

Order of the day was fish & chips and we quickly found a pub on the river to disappear into...

The Horniman at Hays wharf... I childishly got a giggle from the name!

Britt & I.. unwrapping in the warmth

Yummo -
fish & chips!
The Horniman (great name!!) is located directly on the bank of the Thames next to the HMS Belfast and in between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the London Gherkin are in eyesight (during the day!!) and it was warm and inviting.. the food was delicious and I fell in love with some Swedish pear cider called Rekorderlig (which we can't buy here ..!) it's like nectar!

We then decided to brave the elements and go for a walk in the dark along the bank of the Thames.. and within 15 mins we'd come across Southwark Cathedral. It has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,000 years, but a cathedral only since 1905. The present building is mainly Gothic, from 1220 to 1420. Mind blowing really!

In 1611 it looked like this (engraving)


In the day it looks like this


And in the freezing night air it looks like this....



Interestingly there is a monument to a Mohegan chief who visited London in 1735 to petition Queen Anne for their lands back. Unfortunately he dies of small pox whilst he was here and was buried at the Cathedral. At the unveiling ceremony in November 2006, present with the Queen was the tribal chairman Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum and other members of the tribe. An audience with the monarch that failed in 1735 was finally achieved..

The Queen unveiled this memorial to Mahomet Weyonomon

By this time I could no longer feel my fingers and in lieu of anything else to do (it was Boxing Day and everything was closed) we made our way back to the hotel to warm our extremities and watch a film..I fell asleep within about 5 mins which was either me being tired or the Guinness, cider and Jack & Coke catching up with me... I'll let you decide...

Tomorrow we were going to have a big day of sightseeing so I needed my beauty sleep anyway!



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Jan 18, 2011

Glad I never had a Virgo tattoo!

This week the Astronomy world was thrown into disarray...

Astronomy instructor Parke Kunkle generated a wealth of online and water cooler discussion in the US and elsewhere after he pointed out in a Minnesota newspaper that a wobble in the Earth's rotation meant that the stars were in a different position - as viewed from Earth - than they were 2,000 years ago when the Zodiac was drawn up.

I was a Virgo before...

Modest and shy..Meticulous and reliable..Practical and diligent...Intelligent and analytical
On the dark side....
Fussy and a worrier...Overcritical and harsh...Perfectionist and conservative

hmmmm I fight messiness, and speedy rather than meticulous, some would say intelligent but not analytical.
I don't worry (much) and I'm only harsh when needs must... definitely not conservative either.... ho hum..

Now apparently I'm a Leo

Generous and warmhearted..Creative and enthusiastic..Broad-minded and expansive..Faithful and loving
On the dark side....
Pompous and patronizing...Bossy and interfering..Dogmatic and intolerant

Oh I think he's on to something.. I'm Leo personified... Bossy, faithful and loving :-)


Don't know what this poor bugger is going to do!


Did your star sign change?


Capricorn: 20 Jan-16 Feb
Aquarius: 16 Feb-11 March
Pisces: 11 March-18 April
Aries: 18 April-13 May
Taurus: 13 May-21 June
Gemini: 21 June-20 July
Cancer: 20 July-10 Aug
Leo: 10 Aug-16 Sep
Virgo: 16 Sep-30 Oct
Libra: 30 Oct-23 Nov
Scorpio: 23 Nov-29 Nov
Ophiuchus: 29 Nov-17 Dec
Sagittarius: 17 Dec-20 Jan

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Jan 17, 2011

Christmas day 'English Stylie'

The last two years I have had Christmas day in Florida... mainly because my parents were coming for a holiday... and so this Christmas it was time for us to go back to them. Now Christmas over here is super hectic when my parents are here....it goes something like this...

6.30 am Leave for Mother in Laws house to arrive by 8am.... everyone converges (16-18?) for breakfast and present opening... then people go their respective ways...
10.30am... try to be leaving to get back to either 1. start making lunch or 2. get ready to go out for lunch
3pm... people either arriving for Christmas dinner or we are out the door, the four of us, letting a celebrity chef take the strain (last Christmas we went to Emeril Lagasse's in Orlando - you can read about it on my other blog)
8pm...comatose somewhere..

It's draining..... to say the least

Well its all change in England...

6.30am.. still sound asleep, no one peeping, cows gently mooing in the background, mentally challenged cockerel next door's body clock is up the shoot and he thinks dawn is 4pm ...excellent.
10am... Bacon butties all round and lots of hot tea and coffee..
11.30am .. walk to the pub for a Christmas morning drink....(and here is where the plan when a little skewy)

THE PUB WAS CLOSED
shame 'cause it looks like this inside!


Dad disgusted the pub was closed
Fam pic anyway... its -10C outside we might as well celebrate!
 Once over the horror of the pub being closed we remembered that fortunately for us the other pub (phew) was open, and within 10 mins of us arriving and snagging a table it was full.. (see other pub (CROWN, Hallow) you should have opened!). As it was so cold we HAD to have four drinks before we bundled back up and started the long (15 mins!) walk home!

Once back we busied laying the table, getting more drinks and helping Mom get all the dinner together...we sat down at abut 3pm...very civilised!
4.30pm... adjourn to lounge room to open presents ... we have never gone overboard, in fact I was surprised there was no comedy presents this year.. we must be finally growing up!...!
6 pm...a spot of dessert now dinner has gone down sufficiently...
7.30pm Brother & Fiance leave after having a sleep on the sofa..
8pm.. Hubby's niece says her goodnight.. jet lag finally catching up me thinks...
9pm .. Hubby gives up and goes to bed leaving me to watch Peep show with Mom & Dad...
11pm.. I finally haul myself up to bed.. happy and relaxed (that was probably the red wine and brandies though!)

 Tomorrow... London.... and they predict -12C for our 9am start...Brrrrrrr


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Jan 15, 2011

Freezing our bits off at Warwick Castle!

So I am the tour guide for my husband and Brittany, his niece, and although its freezing, to stop the jet lag from kicking in I decided a day out was in order to blow the cobwebs away.

About 40 minutes from my parents is Warwick Castle. Warwick Castle is a medieval castle built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It was used as a fortification until the early 17th century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted it to a country house. It was owned by the Greville family, who became earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978. It's now open to the public and the for the bargain of 18 British pounds you can pretend to be a princess or knight for the day.

It is one of the most beautiful castles in England and well worth a visit... oh and my husband proposed to me in the Rose Garden here in 2002 !












Just down the road is Stratford and we just had time to see Shakespeare's house before the dark descended!






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