Saturday, May 13, 2017

Royal Windsor Horse Show - a spectacular day

I bought Ali tickets for the Royal Windsor Horse Show for Valentines and hadn't expected to enjoy it as much as I did. Ali loved horses as a child, so the day was mainly for her. We started the day looking at a Landrover display, walked through the shops, saw the Welsh Cob class in the smaller arena and then walked to the Windsor Enclosure. I purchased the enclosure tickets as a treat and it really was. We had our own deli, bar, champagne bar and most importantly, posh toilets. No portaloos in the enclosure, more portacabin with flushing toilets, wallpaper and hand cream!

We ordered a sharing platter for lunch which was gorgeous and arrived on a tree trunk! We then took our seats. We had designated seats in the enclosure for the duration of the day. The Shetland pony grand national was first and it was fabulous. We then watched show jumping and gosh it was from one extreme to another. The horses were huge and the jumps massive. A few were scared at the big tower bridge jump in front of us. We then watched more show jumping but with lower fences, and joined by Her Majesty the Queen and the King of Bahrain.

It was then prize giving time and the Queen presented the rosettes and trophies to the winners. There were 5 generations of Royals at the horse show today. Next up was the musical show of the household cavalry. Oh my gosh, they were amazing. How they interweave each other, stand on their horses...all to music. The end was marked by a huge Union flag sprinting across the arena to a humungous cheer. What a day.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Getting the bug for Archery

Following our training session with John at Shooting Targets, we can now hire the archery range, so that's what we did. We hired the kit and the range for £32 for the hour and off we went. I loved archery as a Guide and really getting back into it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sailor and Penny at Wrest Park

Sailor and Penny love an English Heritage site. Today we started with Houghton House in Bedfordshire. A short walk down to the ruin, through a tree lined walkway. We wandered through the ruin for a little bit and then back to the car to visit Wrest Park which has over 300 acres! It's very much a garden visit, with a fantastic audio guide tour through the different buildings, sculptures, lakes, ponds and woods. I'm still raving about how good the audio guide is. It talked through the Dukes garden with statues dedicated to the children he outlived, one was his heir. We look in the orangery and the bathhouse. I loved the stories of how the Duke of Kent, Jemima Marchioness Grey and the Earl de Grey put their own stamps on the garden. There is a Capability Brown statue to thank him for designing some of the gardens, a Chinese bridge and a dog cemetery. We loved it and will be back soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Climbing up and down ladders on HMS Belfast

I've wanted to visit HMS for a long time, so that's what we did. We started on the maindeck and I had an audio guide. We stopped at the silver bell, the surgery, the naafi, the dentist, the engine room, the shells room and saw a lot of weapons. We were up and down ladders like nobodies business. It wasn't a good day to wear a dress. I loved the exhibition detailing the day the ship was damaged by a mine, being in the arctic and the role of the ship on the D Day landings.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Thetford Forest - I've never seen so many bluebells in my life

Staycation Day 2 started in Lynford Arboretum. I've never seen so many bluebells in my entire life. There was a sea of blue for as far as the eye could see. We had a lovely two mile circuit and didn't see a single person. It was wonderful to hear the birds and smell freshly cut grass. We next drove to High Lodge, complete with vehicle recognition to pay for the car park. A whopping £2.20 per hour! The car park was huge, it has bike wash, a cafĂ© where we had a pit stop, a place where you book to hire BBQ's, an ice cream parlour and Go Ape.

I love the fact we can travel in school term time, places are empty. We decided to take the fir walk, supposedly 3 miles but we were there for 3 hours so I think not. Surprisingly though, we had the roar of fighter jets flying overhead for most of the walk which was a little off putting. In between though we heard a cuckoo very close by, we saw some amazing playground areas and spotted a stag beetle. We definitely had that 'are we nearly there yet' feeling by the end.

£6/60 for the car park and then the drive home, after 18,000 steps today!

Monday, May 08, 2017

Afternoon tea at The Shard

Staycation Day One. Thanks to Mum and Dad for our Christmas present - afternoon tea at The Shard. A short stroll from London Bridge station. We took the express lift up to Aqua Shard and sat at the very plush bar, while we waited for our table. We were right by the window. In front of me was St Pauls, behind me was Tower Bridge. The view was fabulous and I was loving it. Ali is a little scared of heights so the view made her feel queasy - not the best for afternoon tea.

We started with lobster sandwiches, salmon brioche, black pudding sausage roll and goats cheese quiche. Then the most amazing white chocolate scones, with clotted cream and jam in a tube and toffee in a tube. This is where Ali finished, she was stuffed. The top layer was a lemon meringue on top of a macaron, white chocolate moose covered in a blood orange gel, mushroom chocolate (yes mushroom!). I started eating the chocolate thinking it's really rather yummy but when I got to the end I really wasn't so sure. I'm not a fan of mushrooms at the best of times. Then marmite milk chocolate with Turkish delight in a pipette which was fabulous.

Completely stuffed to the brim.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Brownies visit the UK Space Centre

Our first Brownie coach trip and we chose to visit the UK Space Centre, somewhere I've never been. I wouldn't say I managed to read a lot, but the girls loved all of the interactive exhibits. We saw the pod used to send the first dog into space. Alas it died a few hours after launch due to heat exhaustion. We went in a simulator to launch a rocket. Half the girls were inside the rocket and half in the control room. We saw space toilets, space food and saw how they exercise in space. I'm definitely going again but might read things next time.