An Interval between Trips

Two weeks have passed since we returned from France.  During that time we’ve enjoyed visits from family members and friends who have come to see our new flat.  We’ve also done more babysitting, looking after Charlie and Oscar while Claire was on one of her Dubai trips.  And we’ve had some good days out.

From Marlow to Maidenhead

We woke one morning to find the sun was shining and realised it was one of the (comparatively few) days when we had nothing at all planned!  So we decided to take off and walk a stretch of the Thames Path (again).  That’s the great thing about being retired – being able to do just as you please.

We got the bus to Marlow, had coffee and a brief look round the charity shops, then set off to walk to Maidenhead Bridge, about 7.5 miles away.  We know this stretch of the Thames well, as it’s quite close to where we now live, as well as where we used to live in Langley.  We love walking by the river – it’s easy (being flat!) and there’s always something to see.

Leaving Marlow

Leaving Marlow

Thistledown

Thistledown

Old Father Thames

Old Father Thames

We stopped for a drink in Cookham and a snack at Boulter’s Lock.  From Maidenhead Bridge we walked into the town and had time for a look round the shops before getting the bus back to Wycombe.  We stopped off on the way, and had dinner in a pub before walking home.

Traffic jam on the footpath

Traffic jam on the footpath

Cruising down the river ...

Cruising down the river …

London with the boys

Like many young children, Charlie is interested in dinosaurs, so we promised to take him and Oscar to the Natural History Museum while Claire was in Dubai.  We also thought about having a day in London ourselves, in order to visit Stanfords, the travel bookshop.  Since time was short, we decided to kill two birds with the proverbial single stone.

On the train

We drove to Amersham and went by train to Charing Cross.  Charlie was really excited about this, particularly the prospect of going underground!  We had a stroll around Trafalgar Square (noting the bright blue chicken now residing on the ‘spare’ plinth!) and then walked to Stanfords, where we bought a guide to Botswana (that’s a clue to our next trip).

The giant blue chicken

The giant blue chicken

Reflections in Leicester Square

Reflections in Leicester Square

After lunch in Leicester Square we walked through to Piccadilly Circus and took the tube to South Kensington.  We knew the Natural History Museum would be busy, but had not expected to queue for almost an hour to get in!  And once in, we had to queue again for the dinosaur gallery.  The museum has changed a lot since our last visit, and perhaps it has improved, but the new design seemed ill able to cope with the number of children (and buggies) that visit in the school holidays.  Still, Charlie enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs, and the blue whale.

The Natural History Museum, with queue

The Natural History Museum, with queue

Wow! That's a BIG whale!

Wow! That’s a BIG whale!

From the museum we walked to Kensington Gardens, and eventually managed to locate the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, where the boys enjoyed themselves for half an hour before we began the journey home.

Climbing the mast

Climbing the mast

The following morning we took the boys over to Langley Park, and they enjoyed the playground there and exploring the trails through the park.

Look, Oscar, this is where we are

Look, Oscar, this is where we are

Chaos on the slide

Chaos on the slide

Legoland with the family

Last Sunday Andrew, Ellie, Hope and Bel came to Wycombe to see our flat and meet Bruce (Claire’s cat).  They stayed overnight in Burnham (with Ellie’s mother) so that we could have a family outing to Legoland the next day.

On the (small) Big Wheel

On the (small) Big Wheel

Queuing for rides

Queuing for rides

On Dinosaur Safari

On Dinosaur Safari

Negotiating the park with a group of five adults and four children of varying ages was not always easy – inevitably there were different views about the best rides to try, as well as limitations due to height restrictions.   Like the Natural History Museum, Legoland was crowded, and some of the queues were horrendous.  Nevertheless, we all enjoyed the day, and it was great to be together, especially as it was our last opportunity to do so for a while.

Helicopter fun

Helicopter fun

A motley crew

A motley crew

On the spinning spiders

On the spinning spiders

Getting ready to go

On 15th August Ian had another carcinoma removed, this time from his shoulder.  He opted to have it done privately, as there would have been a long wait for NHS treatment.  The consultant diagnosed it as a squamous cell carcinoma, which is potentially nasty, but as it was caught very early there should not be a problem.

Just as well, because… on 20th August we are off on our travels again, heading for Southern Africa (not South Africa) this time.  We hope to have wifi in some places, and to continue our blogs.  But we begin with a fortnight’s camping tour of Namibia, so you may need to wait a while for the first instalment!

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