Monday, 31 August 2015

Finishing Up

Here we are on the last day of the school hols.
S returns to school tomorrow, T will return on Thursday after his school has an inset day and Wednesday is given over to the new Year 7 pupils.

Most of the things we've done I've already posted about but there are just a couple which need to be recorded.
The children spent much more time than ever before amusing themselves or spending time with friends. In fact S isn't at home today, she is having one last day out with L's family at a local farm.

T has volunteered at the charity shop alot.
I must admit to being a little concerned he wasn't socialising with friends so much but he has made a good set of friends at the shop and he is learning the life skill of having to work alongside others.
To help raise extra funds he came up with the idea of customers being able to pay £1 and soak the staff with a bucket of water, in the end over £30 was raised.
This opportunity did not pass us by, only because we do like to make contributions to charity where we can you understand.
I'm hoping the uploading of the video of S and my mum giving him a soaking works.

As I mentioned at the start of the summer break, this was the first year I wouldn't be off with them due to my change in employment.
Thankfully things worked out well.
S went and stayed with Grandma, she stayed with my mum, was invited to friend's and I had arranged some swaps with a friend.
G would look after S three times and we would look after her 5 year old four times.
The age gap was a bit tricky at times but once at the park they both enjoyed themselves.

One morning was spent at a local country park, the one where we do the Halloween trail, so we could do the summer trail.
In the rain.
This holiday it was a common theme.

As well as the biscuit baking there was butterfly cake making inspired by the purchase of chocolate chip cookie spread.
They didn't last much longer after this photo was taken.

One evening we played Mario Karts on the Wii where everyone laughed at how inept I was and I'm really pleased to say we even managed a couple of sessions of good old board games. 
T and I had a Piranha Panic contest and the three of us had fun with a game of Cluedo. I got my guess wrong, T solved the murder and S was only one step behind him.
 S proved to be a dreadful cheat when we did the egg and spoon, got very ratty during a game of draughts (which I found hilarious!) and despite saying he didn't want to play T enjoyed the card game Pit, something we hadn't played before.

A bit of something for everyone.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

We Had A Ticket To Ryde

Travelling over to Ryde on the Isle of Wight for our little break away last week was nice and simple.
Five minutes on the bus and a further five minute walk and we had arrived at the ferry terminal.
We decided to travel as foot passengers on the car ferry and arrived in East Cowes 55 minutes after leaving Southampton.
Once settled on board I took out my camera to take some photos of our crossing and very annoyingly found I had left the memory card in my laptop and so couldn't take a single one.
Once in East Cowes we hopped on the bus to Ryde and found our Airbnb accommodation. Our hosts had been unexpectedly called out so we couldn't properly 'check in' with them but we were able to safely leave our case and rucksacks and go off to do some exploring, but only after we had bought some lunch which we took down to the beach to eat.
Late afternoon after a good wander and a dash into Boots to buy a new memory card it was back to the attic we were renting for 3 nights to get properly sorted.
We met our hosts and their assorted pets and then took ourselves back into town and our evening meal.
This was the first chance I had to take any photos and the first one I took was of All Saints Church which can be seen from all across Ryde

and which had a feathered visitor keeping a watchful eye from his lofty position.

There was a vintage shop just up the road from where we ate and I really liked the closed door sign they had up. We didn't walk past it during the day so I don't know what the open looked like.

Wednesday morning and there was only one thing S wanted to be doing, she wanted to be in the water.
When we got down to the beach, the tide was out

and when the tide goes out at Ryde it looks like it goes all the way back to Portsmouth which can clearly be seen directly opposite.

G and S went in search of the sea and had a short paddle before coming back to the beach where we all energetically played catch and then sat sedately for some reading. Once the tide had come in a bit S got her wish and spent some time messing about in the water with G.

As lunchtime rolled around we felt the need for a cream tea. We found a suitable venue which S was delighted with once she read their hot chocolate menu. She decided on the Malteser one.

There were ample opportunities to snap things which caught my eye in Ryde but due to the memory card issue I was severely restricted but I did manage to find....
a shop with the exact same spelling as S's name

and a fish and chip shop named after T

Don't blink, an angel from the graveyard opposite our accommodation

assorted features on some of the shops

the frontage of the Chocolate Apothecary which was painted in a beautifyl shade of sage green which doesn't really show in this photo.

The painted ceiling of the Royal Victoria Arcade 

Each figure representing a month of the year.

Our plan for Wednesday evening had been to go to Newport to have a meal and then watch the illuminated carnival which started at 9pm. When we opened the door to go out at 6pm the slight drizzle had turned into proper rain and the thought of standing around in that for a couple of just didn't appeal so we stayed in Ryde.

So to Thursday and a little day trip to Shanklin.

Our means of transport there was the train which on this service consists of old London underground carriages.

After a fairly bumpy 20 minute journey we arrived in Shanklin and walked down to the seafront.
This was the view to our left back towards Sandown

and the view to our right.

It wasn't quite a bit over cast and there was a bit of a breeze

but we ignored it and settled ourselves on a spot on the beach.
Then it started to spit with rain.
After a few minutes of this is got a it heavier, we continued to ignore it.
Then it started to rain properly.
We packed up our things and headed for the amusements.
Just a shower we were sure of it.
After all nothing had been mentioned on the forecast. We left our waterproofs and brollies behind on that basis.
But it didn't stop.
It just got heavier and windier.
We got soaked.
As did plenty of other holidaymakers who were also caught out.

But we tried to see the funny side and you can see here!
Weather is fair?
Are you sure?
Can you see the raindrops on S's glasses and in her hair?

We found somewhere warm and dry to have lunch and made a plan to cut short our trip by one night and travel back home Thursday evening.
Despite the weather we really had had a lot of fun and we wanted to end the break on a high, rather than perhaps staying another night and risking Friday being a bit of a wash out to and then maybe going home feeling like we'd been cheated and it all ending on a bit of a downer.
We will definitely go back again at some point. I really liked Ryde and there was so much more to see, plus I need to take photos of the things I couldn't this time. I don't think I'd want to go back to Shanklin though. Nothing to do with the disappointing weather but the parts of it we did see just didn't warrant a second visit when there are so many other places to explore.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Oh Ducky

Isn't he handsome.
I have no idea if this duck is actually male, but he definitely looks like he's smiling.

We've had a couple of days away this week and since our return we have hardly left our home.

Yesterday we needed to get out and took a very short wander to the local pond. It's somewhere we went to frequently when the children were younger and holds happy memories.

Our time away was spent on the Isle of Wight, just a hop skip and a jump over the water from us.

We spied this cute long legged fellow who was busy cleaning his feathers.
I've been busy too.
My brother-in-law gave me a book for my birthday, Banish Clutter Forever, and I've been been sorting and decluttering. I'm about two thirds of the way through it at the moment and I have found it incredibly useful.

The weather has been all over the place hasn't it and we noticed there was another reminder that summer, or what passed for summer, is on it's way out and autumn is drawing nearer.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

New to me Jewellery

It's been nearly a month since my birthday and I realise I still haven't shared the other items which were given to me by my sister.
Here's a further 3, so with the other 4 that makes 7 so far with another 3 to go.
First up is a very pretty daisy brooch.

Second is a chunky necklace.
I like big beads and I cannot lie.
I do like this new addition, but I can't help but think the beads look like chunks of chocolate which have started to bloom.

Third is a new bangle. S has her eye on this one. I have a feeling we end up sharing ownership.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Mural #2

As promised here is the other mural we found in town.

This mural was commissioned by Sainsburys in 1978 to decorate the outside of one of their large supermarkets on the outskirts of the City.
The designers were Henry and Joyce Collins who, among many other artworks, created further concrete murals for the supermarket chain.

The mural was removed from the store in 1990 during refurbishments and then went into storage.
A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund meant that the mural could be cleaned and restored and installed at it's new site of Hamtun Street.

The 37 concrete and glass mosaic panels depict Southampton's history from the Roman Clausentum

Saxon Hamwic, the Medieval wine and wool trade,

and the Bargate which was built in the 12th Century. Deer heads give a nod to the nearby New Forest.
Southampton has a long maritime history which is shown in the Ocean Terminal, the Titanic and the cranes at the docks.

The City was, for a time, home to RJ Mitchell and construction of the Spitfire at Supermarine made it a prime target for the German bombers.

On a happier note the fact that Saints won the FA Cup in the summer of 76 is also commemorated.

 The mural ends how it starts with more and very different ocean going vessels.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Mural #1

A couple of weeks ago S and I ventured into town together on a school uniform buying mission.
As well as buying new polo tops and jumpers I also had another item on my agenda.
I wanted to go and see the two murals I had recently picked up a leaflet about.
The first one we found is a recent addition to the City and the more we stood looking at it the more we saw.
I recommend clicking on the photo to see an enlarged version.
The central panel was made the artist.

'What do those pink and white dots on the tree remind you of?' I asked S.
'Blossom' she answered.
'All I can think of is pink and white marshmallows' I told her.

The items around the border were made by local residents which I think is fantastic. Imagine being able to point out your very own contribution to a work of art proudly depicting the history of your home city.
The best bits for me are the Saints football scarf.

The old floating bridge, an old cable ferry which crossed the Itchen and was taken out of service in 1977.

The P&O flag. P&O have had a long association with the City. I remember when the Canberra left the docks on her journey down to the Falklands.

The information plaque which mentions how this mural came to be created following the restoration of another mural. This one is on display just around the corner and will be in my next post.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Lepe Beach

This day out is from the weekday before last, this weekend was a very quiet affair spent more or less at home.
We like to use public transport as much as possible and when we found about  the beach bus service we thought it sounded like just our sort of thing.

For £15.00 we were able to take the ferry from Southampton to Hythe, then take a bus to Lepe Beach.
The bus also goes to Beaulieu, Buckle's Hard and Exbury Gardens and you can hop on and off all day. 
Plus showing your ticket at these destinations entitles you to 20% off the cost of the entrance price.
The ferry would normally be this price alone so great value for money.
Four of us went, me, G, S and her friend L but the £15 is available for groups of five.

Oh and you all get a free ice cream from the kiosk at Lepe when you present your ticket.
Once ice creams were eaten and enjoyed the girls headed into the playground you can just make out behind S.

It was such a pretty spot to sit and enjoy the view we stayed there to eat our picnic. The Isle of Wight can be seen in the distance along with a few of the boats which were out on the water.

Once the girls had had their fill of playing we took a stroll along the front and found somewhere to settle for the next couple of hours.
This was the view to our left.
The white building had scaffold all around it and a sign to say it was a private residence. I would love to know who owns it and what it's like inside.

This was the view to our right.
The Beaulieu River Millennium Beacon 

and another private residence. This one further back from the beach, but I bet the view from the top is spectacular.

Initially the girls went in for a paddle but before long they were in the water playing mermaids. S was called Sapphire and L was called Aqua. They could have stayed there all day.

The wooden groynes were absolutely plastered in seaweed.

Just as we were starting to make our way back to the bus stop this group of birds began swooping through the air together and then settling back on the waters edge before taking off again. It was a sight to see.

More colourful sails from the boats out around the Island, Cowes week was on so I guess they were taking part in a race.

The orange of this plastic bucket sung out brightly from it's surroundings of blue and green.

Once back in Hythe we only had just over half an hour until the ferry was due. Time enough for G to have a quick dash into a couple of charity shops to look for records, for the girls to have another ice cream and for me to stand and gaze at the bunting.