United Kingdom · 411 Days · 31 Moments · June 2017

Frederick & Isabel's days out

8 August 2018

Today we went to visit my former manager Kate at Kew Gardens where she now works. We did a lot of walking, saw a giant gnome puppet (Gnomus) in the recently re-opened temperate house, saw and heard The Hive exhibit and enjoyed the log trail and dragon sculpture-spotting!

28 April 2018

Just a quick write-up about our visit yesterday to Valley Leisure Retail Park in Croydon! We popped into Ikea first in search of a battery for Frederick’s radio, but unfortunately it wasn’t in stock. Then we went to McDonald’s for lunch and intended to bowl at TenPin. Unfortunately it was really busy, so instead we played in the arcade and won some tickets (92 in total) which were then exchanged for Love Hearts sweets! For some reason the ticket machine thought we were in Eastbourne though! Isabel discovered she was pretty good at throwing balls into a milk churn! There was also a play as you win crane machine for sweets that was broken (its jaws were all hooked on each other!) so we played on that for a bit as it was stuck on free credit but the claws wouldn’t open! It was an unexpected but very fun afternoon!

15 April 2018

On Day 2 the weather was still dry and sometimes sunny, so we played a very good round of Mini Golf and popped into the arcade. There we had a go at the ball drop machine, and to our great surprise Isabel won one of the top prizes of 75 tickets! We claimed two ceramic Disney figures as our prizes! We enjoyed looking at all the different beach huts as we walked past, with our favourite being one of a gull and its reflection. We later were joined by Hazel and Ant and visited the beach and the pier, which had a lot of character with hand painted boards for you to put your face through and knitted decoration on the rails. There was also a Rotary charity box there connected to a machine which displays lots of TV characters as moving toys. We all went out for dinner at Table Table and played Yahtzee whilst we waited for the food.

14 April 2018

This weekend we went to stay with Isabel’s parents at their holiday home in Herne Bay, Kent. The weather was lovely, especially on Day 1 when we went down to the beach and watched people on jet skis riding the waves. There were also lots of beetles and quite a few birds around enjoying the sunshine. Frederick and Isabel saw their first ever Brent Goose too. We also went to B&Q and Sainsbury’s, and enjoyed cooking steak and chips for four in the evening.

24 March 2018

There was also a giant rubber duck on board our vessel because Isabel bought it for use at the duck race event at work!it seemed a shame not to have it on show for a bit in such an appropriate location!
There were lots of lovely bridges and water birds along our route, and we all enjoyed making up interesting facts about the scenery around us in the style of the official punt tours being conducted by the punters all around us along the route. Frederick told tales of the emergence of swimming lizards and sharks from the drainage pipes of the colleges and we pretended to have seen the oldest pair of mallard ducks alive today!
After lunch we went to the Tourist Information Centre and hired a punt. We then went down to the river, where designated punter Frederick had a quick lesson before we took to the water! The punting pole was very long, but soon Frederick had developed a great technique and he piloted our craft expertly through the backs of the colleges.
Next we visited St John’s College to go to the Douglas Adams exhibition in the Old Library. It was a small exhibition but interesting (especially for Isabel and Graham who know more about the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which he wrote!) We then managed to find a rather camouflaged McDonalds for lunch!
This day out was an action-packed day in Cambridge for Frederick, Isabel and Graham! We woke up in Cambridge today after travelling by coach after work and staying in the Cambridge Newmarket Road Travelodge. This was very good accommodation and from there it was just short walk into the centre of Cambridge. We began our day with a delicious cooked breakfast at The Copper Kettle restaurant, and as we were in the window we had a great view of King’s College just across the road from us. We watched all the river punt tour sellers start their work, and saw students in full gowns parading our through the college gates. On the way back to check-out of our accommodation, we saw a clock art installation and visited a few shops.

10 March 2018

Next, we walked from the O2 to travel back in time 67 million years to see Dinosaurs in the Wild. This was a walk through interactive experience led by live actors as guides, with animatronic dinosaurs and 3D CGI imagery which really brought the story of our visit to life! It was a bit like going to Jurassic Park except we visited the dinosaurs in their own Cretaceous period at a Time Base. It was all very clever, and even a little scary at times! Isabel especially liked the triceratops, and Frederick was asked to keep very still when an aquatic reptile swum over our heads as we were rushing back to 2018!
Next up it was time to board a Thames Clipper boat at Embankment and ride the full route up to North Greenwich. There we had lunch in the O2 with Graham at Five Guys before heading off for our next adventure!
Today we are having a day trip in the best city of them all - London! We began with a high-octane speedboat ride from Tower Pier to Embankment Pier, with lots of speed riding around Canary Wharf! We veered from side to side and bounced into the air over the water, it was lots of fun!

8 October 2017

Day 3 of our short break began with another Wetherspoons breakfast, and then we set off to another National Trust place called Baddesley Clinton. This was another Tudor house, but there was a bit more to see as it has grounds too. This is quite an impressive moated house, with hidden passageways for when the Catholic priests needed to hide from those trying to find them. The property came to the Trust in 1980, when two kind ladies donated £300,000 to secure its future. Today we also listened to more episodes of Radio 4’s Cabin Pressure in the car, and we have just finished Paris, so we are getting through them quite quickly!

7 October 2017

We have been having a lovely weekend break in Stoke and Blackpool, staying at the Travelodge in Stoke. Together with Frederick’s parents we started on Friday night by having dinner in Pizza Hut and then seeing The Pitmen Painters play at the New Vic Theatre, which was really good. On Saturday we had a Wetherspoons breakfast and then went to two National Trust places, Mow Cop (a folly castle) and Little Moreton Hall (a Tudor house). We then went on to Blackpool and saw the 50 Years of Star Trek Exhibition, went in the arcades, had dinner in a fish and chip shop and then saw the beautiful Blackpool illuminations, including projections onto the Blackpool Tower building, even the trailer for the Star Trek Discovery series! There was a little rain but we were lucky with the weather, and as well as walking quite a long way alongside the lights, we also rode the trams up and down. It was a very busy day, and lots of fun! We even found time for sketching and buying sticks of Blackpool rock!

3 September 2017

Today was also our last day enjoying roving on the cruise boats on the Thames. The weather was overcast and a little wet, but we still had a lovely time seeing the sights again, including the opening of Tower Bridge whilst we were on board.
Today we started our day in London with a 4 hour visit to Draughts boardgame cafe in Haggerston. We played lots of different games and had a tasty lunch too!

2 September 2017

Dinner this evening was very special as we came back to Morden and had a meal at Harvester with Frederick's colleagues. This is because he is leaving his job at Sainsbury's, so they gathered to wish him all the best.
Day 2 of London boat sightseeing brought more sunshine and informative commentaries. This time we spent longer off the boat exploring Greenwich, including lunch, walking around the Old Naval College and a whistlestop tour of the National Maritime Museum. We also walked through the tunnel under the river in Greenwich.

1 September 2017

After a great day out on the tour boats we joined Frederick's parents for an evening of 'work in progress' comedy with Dara Ó Briain at the Pleasance Theatre. It was really interesting to have him asking us what we thought of his work, and taking notes along the way in preparation for his proper 'Voice of Reason' tour.
After lunch it was time to board our first boat, and we travelled from Tower Pier to Greenwich, walked around the Cutty Sark boat, boarded again and did the rest of the route, going to London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
When we arrived in London we had lunch at the Pizza Express in London Bridge. Unlike some Pizza Express restaurants, this one has quite a bit of character, and has a quieter atmosphere since there is less metal and glass.
Today we have travelled into central London to use our 3 day river rover ticket for cruising along the River Thames! This was a special deal that we purchased online, giving us 72 hours to hop on and hop off the boats operated by City Cruises between Westminster and Greenwich, so we are making a long weekend of it!

24 June 2017

After a walk around historic Bath and some dinner in the city centre we are now homeward bound after a long and exciting day. The train ride has been very picturesque, with the golden sunlight highlighting the yellow fields against a sky of dark clouds.
I have just come back from taking part in the spider walk, led by local expert Mark. I was impressed that he had located so many different spiders out in the field and he took us to see each one and explained about their different web structures (e.g. orb and lace). He had also caught a very impressive cave spider and false widow spider, which he passed around in small sample pots for us to see. I had a great time but Frederick wisely decided to give this one a miss as spiders are certainly not his favourite animal! Considering how large that cave spider was, I think that was a wise decision!
We have just come back from Team Butterfly which was a walk looking and recording them. We did not see that many species of butterfly but it was still really good fun. We saw lots of meadow browns, a ringlet, some small and large skippers, and a small tortoiseshell.
For a short while we joined the Bugs and Bees activity with Avon Wildlife Trust, taking out nets to sweep through the meadow. I was interested in the ID guides provided, which were really good and I had not seen them before. Frederick collected two butterflies (a meadow brown and a ringlet) which he showed to the rest of the group. We also saw meadow plant bugs, capsid bugs, soldier beetles and grasshoppers.
We have just been on a bat workshop. This was really interesting as were learning about sound and light and sound location, thinking about how bats echolocation works. So the first activity we did was having a person blindfolded and the rest of the group standing around. Those around the edge took it in turns to clap then the person in the the middle tried to point at the person clapping. I found it quite easy to tell where the person was clapping. The final activity we did was to do with the speed difference between sound and light. To do this a group walked off with a set of cymbals. When about 100m away they then crashed the cymbals together above their heads. It was really surprising that there was quite a bit of time between the sight of the cymbals crashing together and the time you heard the sound.
Just had a great wildflower ID walk with local expert David. We helped spot and identify 36 species towards the BioBlitz total. We picked up some interesting floral facts too! Did you know that the grass Yorkshire Fog has a base stalk that looks like pink striped pyjamas or that orchids seeds need to 'eat' a certain type of fungus to be able to germinate? Frederick had also not heard of bird's foot trefoil being also known as 'eggs and bacon' ! We also learnt how to tell the three common buttercups (meadow, creeping and bulbous) apart from each other, and how to spot tall oatgrass growing high above the other grasses! Our expert also knew his lichens well, so we 'branched off' the route to find a dead twig, which was home to a whole lichen community.
We have arrived just in time to see some of the moths caught here last night - apparently about 100 different species! There were some really pretty ones, and we took quite a few photos!
Our adventure continues with a quick stop off in the City Centre to pick up lunch for later on, and then a scenic bus ride through the city to the University of Bath campus. We are impressed by the free WiFi and USB chargers on board. We think this bus goes on a loop so we need to make sure we get off at the right stop!
Today we're off to Bath to take part in their first BioBlitz (a big wildlife survey) at a site called Bushey Norwood. We set off on our adventure at 6:50am which was too early for me but not so much for Isabel. On our way we stopped for sausage rolls for breakfast. They were really nice. We can not wait to start our action packed day.