Woolston was my half way point on a journey today. Offmac stationers are my favourite laminating service. The ladies are so friendly and kind, you feel like you are in a 1980s sit com. Today a customer was photocopying her dead dog (pictures of) and telling the staff member all about the little hound. I am giggling now, thinking of her actually photocopying her dead dog, which probably the ladies in Offmac would nod and smile about too.
Sholing. It lies between Bitterne, Thornhill and Woolston, and means you have to go through it to get to other places. Thing is, it is a no man's land that neither Bitterne or Woolston could be bothered to fight over. I cycled zig zag through it, in a cunning hill averse strategy which went badly wrong. I zigged and zagged and was up hill on almost every pedal. Best thing is to go straight down the outside of Sholing, never try to cut through. It will eat you up and spit out the bits.
Scootering was the transport choice for the afternoon's journey and we had a great time climbing trees on the way home from nursery. We go through 'the woods' - a patch of maybe 10 or 12 trees on a widened grass verge, but it works for my girls as 'woods'. We find conkers and pine cones there, see squirrels and even climbing ability tested out today.
We had our first barbecue of the season today. Less washing up - I love the summer. My courgettes have got 2 leaves on them now, and I cheated on Saturday and bought some plants already going from Haskins, to help me win the slug battle. I have watered every night, although tonight got 3 of our friendly 9 year old neighbours to do it. I have decreed that we need another water butt and will ask R to get one on his bike on the way home from work. He might struggle a little, but today I cycled home from the scrap store with a bucket and 2 full and heavy carrier bags on my handlebars, and R is much more experienced than me so should not have a problem carrying a butt. I did find it difficult to brake, and was going down hill, but all in the name of fashion so its worth it.
My blog was blocked again for 'adult content'. Really struggle to see how I might offend, but sorry if you are easily disturbed. They must be really sensitive at the nanny net dept. So much has happened and I have been eager to write for days now.
Our public transport trip to Thames Ditton. All went well. It took a long time, with some long waits and diversion as Basingstoke has imploded. Ah well. Taking the bikes was the most troublesome thing, especially trying to ensure that all of us and our bikes were on trains before the whistle blows and the door shuts. Without bikes the whole thing would have been a delight. We did 14 trains in 4 days, as we did a trip up to east London and stayed one night in Bethnal Green, with Millie and her owners. We were very impressed with Stratford, in London, although it has a different feel to the more well known Stratford. We went to 'Discover' which is a fantastic afternoon's entertainment for 2-7 year olds, with creative play, crafts and an adventure playground. It is such a friendly place, we thought, and so diverse that H asked 'Are we still in England?' which I thought was a good question and a good place to talk about where people live and why. Bethnal Green is famous for its toy museum, which is big and open plan and allowed us the luxury of letting our girls (and the cousins we met up with) have the chance to roam around more freely than is usual. A spent an hour on her own in the sand pit. Yes, she could have stayed at home and done that, but where's the fun in that? My favourite bit of our trip was pretending to drive the DLR train, and trying to explain to H why there were no drivers on the train and how it works. I went way beyond my comprehension of computers and control, into tortured explanations of messages and switches, while R sat quietly and mentioned at the end that he taught GCSE control as a job. Ha!
Ham House (not made of pig meat, sadly) was another stop on our cultural tour of the capital. It is not far from R's mum's, and as we have bought NT membership we are going to go to every single stately home in the guidebook this summer. The gardens were fine, we did a trail thing which involved measuring and was up H's street. The girls and R stayed in the gardens playing while M and I went inside to nod at the paintings and look interested in the furniture. There were many voluntary workers at this site, which impressed me. There was one in every room in the mansion, and a team of gardeners doing gardening things. It seems to me there are worse ways to spend one's retirement. You might disagree on that. Outside Ham House there is a ferry across the Thames to Twickenham, which we were attracted to because of the playpark you can see from the river. It was great to do the river crossing, at £1 per crossing per person, it might be the most expensive stretch of water, per metre, to cross in the world. The guy driving the boat was smiling, and reminded me of Richard Branson.
Furzey Gardens was our car borne treat on Sunday. If you only go once this year, go now. The azaleas are out and it is amazing, walls of bright pink flowers, bees everywhere, and the apple blossom and lilac smell wonderful. It is so worth a visit in the next couple of weeks, it is by far the best time to go - just go! We did a memorable ditch crossing which went badly wrong when R's instructions to me to 'just catch her' did not match up with me already being precariously balanced on a muddy bank. A, in new white dress, went in the ditch big time. H had wanted to vdeo the crossing, but I had refused as I wanted to look after the camera - oh how I wish I had let her, we would be £500 richer courtesy of ITV by now.
On Saturday we did Itchy Valley for a picnic and play, impressed with the new 'facilities' and mainly by the sunshine. I don't think I have been there on a day that is not sunny. Am I just lucky, or does the sun always shine on Itchy V? We had a birthday party to attend on Sunday for one of A' friends ( 'the one she will marry' -H) at Bitterne! Wahey! Managed to do an hour in the gym during the party and felt loads better for it. beat my own personal best on the rower - 14 miles in 7.8 seconds. Good huh?