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Archive for February, 2010

Devon

Posted by robjwall on February 15, 2010

We arrived at 8.30pm (11th Feb) at my old climbing mate Jason’s house near East Allington, Devon, after some interesting ‘SatNav’ navigation.  The next day we all went for a cold walk to Start Point and back (on the other side of the ridge to escape the bitter wind).  Country life!  Sheep, hens, dogs, cats: luckily they have some antihistamines for me.

On Saturday (13th Feb) we visited Jason’s waveguide factory and got the tour from the founder & inventor of the machines.  It was in a slight state of chaos as they are in the process of doubling the capactity to cope with a large order.  Then we visited the beautiful town of Dartmouth (via the ferry).  It really is the most stunning town to look at, but don’t come for a coffee shop: the good one was closed, the next had a broken coffee machine, the next would not allow children under 7, of course when we got one it was aweful.   The kids (sans T) and I walked to the caste at the river-mouth.  On the way back you go past a 1850’s house with a 1970’s garage suspended on top!

Sunday turned out to be a great sunny but cold day so  we went for a walk on Dartmoor and came across iron age stone circles (or so Jason told me, they certainly didn’t look natural).  Lunch was in the ruin of a 3000 year old house: soup in Jason’s ‘Kelly Kettle’ that  heats the water in a metal jacket outside a small fire in the inner. I want one!

…Alf loved the ‘icy poles’ as he called the icicles that were in the shady areas.  Some mad men were climbing on some nice looking rock on Hay Tor – too cold for us!  The temperature hasn’t been above 4C since we have been in England, its fantastic.  I managed a run the other morning, but 15 minutes was the limit of my cold-endurance.

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London

Posted by robjwall on February 12, 2010


I’ll start this blog for our year (+/-) away with an airline story: Air Asia was cheap ($350 one way to UK). The plane and the service was fine – I’d do it again- but annoying to have to recheck bags in KL; worse they didn’t tag a bag until I noticed. Thankfully they didn’t seem to notice that I was on a one way ticket to UK with no visa. The best thing about the flight was my new pair of $60 TDK noise canceling headphones – you can actually listen to classical music, and I slept well.

London, Monday 8th Feb 2010. Kira and I were first up, so wandered from Spring St down to Hyde Park & looked at the swans. On the way back we had a really good coffee and hot chocolate served by a nice Spanish gentleman chap next to Queensway tube station. The service is better than Perth in general, and with the weak pound prices seem good too. There was a copy of ‘The Independent’ on the table, bliss. After a surprisingly good hotel breakfast (continental + egg is 5 quid, or less than ten dollars!), the whole crew walked through the park, past the new Diana memorial fountain, by some men in silly costumes on horses…

On to the palace, the houses of Parliament (I LOVE this building) and then to the forgettable London Eye, and the unforgettable Tate Modern. Over the bridge, St Paul’s, and then the tube to visit Richard and Clare in North London. Alf fell asleep on the tube and missed seeing the red bus he had wanted to see all day.

Tuesday was a little shopping trip at Oxford St, and a visit to Hugh and Kate’s at Chalk Farm. The kids were suitably impressed by Camden Markets. Kate went with her mum to N.Y. that afternoon so the kids and I ate at the ‘Pride of Paddington’ which was a nice pub with forgettable food. The next morning we went (via Hamleys to change a toy) to visit Helene and Marco in Tottenham. It was nice to see them changed, but unchanged, and meet Maya (6) and Ziggy (2). We all managed a suprisingly long walk through the old cemetery, and then went roller skating! The kids and I tubed it back to Picadilly and had a nice walk around Chinatown and Lester Square: back via Paddington Station this time, and we all had a solid nights sleep (the end of jetlag…?).

I find I am enjoying London greatly. We were due to leave Wednesday, but instead we walk along Craven road with amazing early morning light through trees onto a row of white terraces, and through the park past an amazing gold statue, and Albert Hall to the Science Museum. Steam, technology through the decades, Apollo 10 capsule (the real one), Maths! A quick black cab ride to Kensington High St to look out outdoor gear, and we were back at the hotel to move 100 bags into an overpriced taxi to pickup our car.

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