Monday, 21 September 2015

Catch up!

There's a suggestion that jet lag doesn't really exist when travelling to the Northern Hemisphere.  I say RUBBISH.  Waking at 3.30 am wasn't something I had on my agenda, but it was useful.  When do other bloggers blog?  

Anyway, this happened yesterday...

We're in Shipston-on-Stour. A medieval town in The Cotswolds, a place of sensational beauty and lots of history. We hung out with owls and falcons and eagles.  We all had a turn at flying a very friendly owl named Devon.  

D had to use 2 hands.  One seriously heavy bird.

Goughy having a 'moment' with Thumper the Owl.  

Yep, this is Bald Eagle named Rob.

Buongey needed help to hold Rob.  
Guy, the Battler Eagle.  D had to pretend to be a rabbit to help show how Guy caught his food.
The day before we had a cruisy day and went walking around town and exploring the farm where we are staying. 

These pretty things turn into the not so pretty things below and stick in places only reserved for closed doors.  We all got nailed

Friday saw us hanging out with Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  We did a Red Double Decker bus Tour and wandered around the Food and Wine Festival. The highlight for Koby and Kaden was a continent sized 4 scoop icecream bucket.  We've been giving the boys 10 pounds of pocket money each day for them to buy what ever they would like.  So far Kaden has a collection of 14 swords, 6 guns (including the loudest machine gun in the universe which accidentally got run over when I reversed out of the driveway - teehee), a bow and arrow and 3 pairs of hand cuffs.  All D's money has gone on sugar.  Needless to say we've reduced the pocket money and have put some parameters on what they can purchase.  With nothing they want to buy, they have now saved 30 pounds. I might reduce the parameter even further to include pub meals for the whole family.

4.50 pounds or $9.75 for clotted arteries

Shakespeare was born here.  Did you know he invented the word frugal?  Surprising, given he was raised in Stratford upon Avon, where there's not even the remotest chance of being frugal.  $$$$$$$+++++

Oldest Pub.  Outside
Oldest Pub.  Inside........and Kaden's bum.

Just your regular street lights
Nice canal, but I wondered why the water was that colour, until......
 I rounded the corner to see all these swans and  imagined the poop level.

Thursday was the last day with Kerry and Paul and Tika and Tango.  A sad day really.  But it's not goodbye, just catchyalata.

We started the day with an awesome excursion.  Go-Karting!  
What fine specimens!  D is the only normal one!

We decided initially to only purchase a ten minute session.  Kaden had never driven a Kart before and the owners wanted to make sure he could manage himself without crashing all over the place.  He started slow - Driving Miss Daisy style, but at the end of his second 10 minute session he more resembled Mad Max.  Just get a look at his head.  What is going on with it?  He looks like a crazed psychopath, albeit a loving, brotherly one.  This is one of those photos that gives you a fleeting glimpse into the future.  I just know I'm going to be reliving this shot in 15 years time, he'll have the same look on his face, the same swagger, but there'll be something a bit different.  There'll be extras - most likely hand cuffs, and black eyes, but possibly girls, or guys, or fast cars or money.  God love him.  

We couldn't leave Salisbury without cuddles from Tika and Tango, so we made off to see our Salisbury fur babies.  The boys have had such a lovely time with these two.  They've been gentle and tolerant of heavy handed boisterous boys.  It was love at first sight for Buongey and D, and I think they will always hold a special place in their hearts. 

Thanks Paul and Kerry for a truly fantastic time.  Love you lots. xxxx

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Persisting Down

Many of the English people I have met in the few short days we have been here have a love hate relationship with their weather app.  It's their goto button.  If there was such a thing, it would be number one on speed dial.  Hour by hour weather information is spelled out to users so their 'elation meter' can be adjusted accordingly.  It's all about the sun.  If the little sun symbol is anywhere on the daily forecast, people's smiles get a little bit brighter.

There was absolutely NO little sun symbol anywhere near the weather app today.  The hourly forecast only showed rain.  Lots of it.  But we headed to a seaside village anyway!

Weymouth is a lovely town on the south coast of England and where my sons got their gambling addiction.  Usually, in every town I've been to in England, there's a pub on every corner and five in between.  In Weymouth, that is definitely still the case, but right next to every single one of those pubs is a game arcade.  They're a bit like our Timezone, but with pokies.  

The boys spent all of their pocket money on pokie machines that spit out tickets.  You know the drill.  The more tickets you have the more options you have to choose a prize that would have cost you a quarter of what it cost you to win all the tickets from the machines, if you had just gone to a shop up the road and bought it.  

I could imagine the town on a stinking hot 20 degree English summers day.  Gear off, pubs over flowing, children frolicking on the beach, no room to move and selfies being taken all over the place.  Actually, that's pretty much how it looked today.  The boys and I are rugged up to the nines, Goughy has his beanie on for goodness sake and there are men and women walking around in shorts and t.shirts.  I'm assuming they were on holiday from Antarctica, because that would have been the only place colder than Weymouth!

It really was a gorgeous place and with lots of history.  We learned after a visit to Nothe Fort that many many Australians spent time in Weymouth during and after World War I.  The ANZACs were highly respected here so long ago.  There's even a war memorial in their honour.  After reading the stories about the part they played in the War here in Weymouth we felt very proud to be Australian.  


It was our last night in Salisbury.  We move to our next destination tomorrow.  A family meal at the Three Crowns Pub was called for and enjoyed by all.  We have been thoroughly looked after during our visit.  It was an absolute pleasure to have these people as part of our holiday.  We love every single one of them.  xxxx

Our UK Family xxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Pleeeeaaassseee Muuuuuummmm!

There's a school in heaven or the uterus or stork land, or wherever babies come from.  Every child must attend.  Every child graduates.  My children graduated at the top of their class, Magna Cum Laude.  Now they're  bloody Associate Professors, experts, schooled in every way known to man in the art of nagging.  

Goughy will tell you I'm an expert too, but I am a nagging pleb compared to my boys.  It starts small.  Just a simple question.  The answer I give is irrelevant.  It's like water off a ducks back, like a basketball shot that misses the hoop entirely.  It grows - the same question but asked after a quick "I love you', or at the completion of all their jobs.  My God they're good.  What I need to do is Slam Dunk that ball right now.  Answer the question and enforce it with a threat of death if it's asked again, but I'm weak.  I might be making dinner or preparing tomorrows lessons or pinning on Pinterest.  I'm distracted and I'm dumb.  I forget about yesterdays experience with nagging and the day before and the day before that.  I try another non committal answer in an attempt to appease the gods.  It's a rookie mistake, one I repeatedly make.  They've seen a chink in my armour, a weak link in my defence.   They see a glimmer of hope because I haven't threatened death.  The two of them, with tiny glances at each other and using the ancient, secret language of nagging, launch an all out assault on me and bring out the big guns - the whine.  Whine is very different to wine.  Either one works on me, but thankfully children are not allowed to purchase alcohol to support their nagging attacks.  "Plleeeeaaaassseee Muum, pleeeeeeeeaaaaassssseeee."

I cave.  Please Lord make the noise go away.  "Yes boys, yes you can have that, you can pretty much have whatever you want, just leave this vicinity immediately."  I'm bruised and battered and ashamed.  And reality has just set in.  What have I done?  What have I just promised them, just so I could pin one more pin in peace?  

Today's excursion is the result of an especially brutal nagging attack.  Paul brought me some touristy brochures and left them on the coffee table for me to look through.  The boys found the Longleat one and the rest is history.  I'm secretly glad because this happened......

and this...

and this,

Too much?  OK, how about this?

or this?

I think part of the attraction of this place for the boys was the chance to have a go at the Deadly 60 Challenge.  Deadly 60 is a TV program the boys watch and love.  It's hosted by an English Steve Irwin type.  The Challenge involved physical obstacles and animal knowledge quizzes. 

See that result in the middle? 
This is Longleat House.  It's spectacular.  The 82 year old single owner still lives here on the top floor.  He's eccentric and a bit of a recluse.  His Dad, who had a mate in a circus, was the one who started with the animals and allowing the public access to them.  He rented the Lions from the circus, bought a few other unusual animals, mowed some of the 9000 hectares of lawn for people to picnic on, and Bob's your Uncle. 

We arrived at 9.45 am and left at 4.45 pm with little left in our energy tank.  We'd experienced everything and had an absolute pearla of a day.  

Below is a video of our encounter with one of the types of animals.  It's pretty indicative of how we all reacted to many of the animals that were so close to our car.  A cacophony of laughter and fear and excitement and awe and anxiety - it truly was brilliant.