Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Living The High Life…Again!!! (Photo Heavy!!)

Earlier this month we were lucky enough to be given the use of a London apartment, currently being rented by one of Lee’s friends. You may remember we had this privilege last year, when we stayed at his flat in Belgravia. Well, he sold that flat, but found that he still needed a London base so took out the lease on this apartment.

London August 2011 090 It is in the very salubrious Arlington House which stands back to back with The Ritz, just off Piccadilly!!


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We arrived on the Tuesday to find that the apartment was on the top floor & overlooked Green Park from one side & we could glimpse the hustle & bustle of Piccadilly through the trees at the other!

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London August 2011 094 The boys were very impressed that we got to use our own private lift!!

We were just as impressed that over the road was the historic pub ‘The Blue Posts’….I remember coming here for ‘after work’ drinks in those far off days when I worked in Harrods Perfumery Halls.

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It’s close proximity meant that we could leave the boys in the apartment & enjoy some time soaking up the atmosphere (& a few beers) knowing they were quite safe!! The restaurant ‘Le Caprice’ is also in Arlington House, but sadly was closed during August for refurbishment!!! :(

London August 2011 001 Once we’d settled in we set off for a walk through Green Park & ended up outside Buckingham Palace.

The boys had a great time exploring the statues & fountains…

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…although Alex did point out to Nathan that if he sat there too long, the lion might just pooh in his head!!  Ugh…boys!!

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I was glad that it was as quiet as it was, as Alex doesn’t cope well with crowds & he got to enjoy it all in relative peace…

…as did we!!

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Walking back through Green Park the boys were astonished at how tame the squirrels were, coming right up to us to see if we had anything to eat!  Alex was particularly taken with this one, who followed us for ages as we walked home!

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On the Wednesday morning we set off to Olympia for the ‘Dr Who Experience’…as a family of Sci-Fi fans this was a real treat!

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London August 2011 111We got to ‘help’ the Doctor save the Earth!!! There were plenty of special effects & a fabulous 3D screening! Then it was on to the exhibition & a chance to ‘meet’ all of those weird characters past & present & to explore the inside of the TARDIS!!

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It was surprisingly un-crowded wherever we went & Alex coped remarkably well…even when we got on a tube heading East instead of west!! It helped that a lot of the track in this area is above ground!!

I had thought that after all that excitement, Alex would just want to go back to the flat & chill, but no! As we came up out of Green Park tube station, he asked ‘Can we go for a walk through the park again?’ So we did!! In fact we walked right through Green Park & into Hyde Park, heading for the Serpentine.

London August 2011 154Before we got that far though, we came across this tree! I don’t ever remember seeing it before but it was certainly proving popular with kids & adults alike…there were already several people in the process of climbing it when we arrived!

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It was like a green cave under those branches & Alex made us smile when he picked up a sign that had been laying face down in the leaf mould…it read ‘For Your Own Safety, Please DO NOT climb this tree’ hee hee!!

Well, never one to heed a warning it didn’t take Nathan long to live up to his nickname of ‘Monkey’ & start doing just that!!

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He was soon at the top & not content with that decided to climb back down…on the outside!!

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Which of course needed a little help from Dad!!

That tree gave us almost two hours of FREE entertainment! Then it was on to the Serpentine, where Lee & the boys took out a pedallo & I retired to the lakeside cafe for tea & cake…& to play with my new camera lens!!

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I love this shot I got of the three of them walking back to meet me, totally oblivious that I’m shooting them!!  They were some 200 yards away & I’m pleased with the quality of the shot!


Thursday was a grey day, but we sallied forth never the less!! Once more on the tube, but this time heading for the Thames!!

London August 2011 291 First stop HMS Belfast

…right up Alex’s street with guns & militaria…& great for Nathan too…he shimmied up & down those ladders between decks with no problem!

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…& just in case we ever wondered what Alex would look like with a full beard & moustache….?!!!!

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Me? I was impressed with the laundry room…now if I had kit like this, the ironing would be a doddle!!!


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…& of course I loved the ships cat!! Even though he was stuffed!!! How cool that he has his own little hammock…

…apparently he did when he was alive & the Belfast was at sea…I’ll bet he needed a bit of helping getting in & out though!

London August 2011 359 Then we were off to Tower Bridge…

…we were there to see the bridge raised & lowered, something I’ve not witnessed before…impressive!!

Then we took the lift up to the walkways as the heavens opened!!

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I found the whole story of how the bridge was built & how the mechanism to open it works fascinating. The visit to the engine room Is so impressive…all of that original machinery still working like clockwork!!

You’ll be pleased to hear that my saga is nearing its end!!  I’d like to be able to tell you that on Friday morning we watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. But,in truth, it was absolutely packed…the sun was shining & there were HOARDS of people in Green Park & outside the palace!!  So Lee & Nathan headed into the throng, while Alex & I stayed with the squirrels & just listened from a distance!!!

Lee & I did spend a very enjoyable early afternoon without the boys!!  We window shopped our way along Piccadilly, stopping off at Fortnum & Masons, Brompton Arcade & Simpsons for a browse!! We had lunch in the National Geographic restaurant on Regent Street & then wandered back in the sunshine to pack & head off to St Pancras!!

A thoroughly enjoyable few days in the Capital…& considering we’re on a tight budget at the moment, a very comfortable one too!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by & hanging in there till the end!! Can you believe it’s September tomorrow? If you’re taking part in Shimelle’s ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ this year…see you in the forum! I’m planning to pick up where I left off last year & complete my mini book!! Watch this space!!! :)


scrappyjacky said...

Sounds like a great few days,Sandi....and amazing accomodation!

Sian said...

Oooh, fancy! I love the way you have arranged these fun photos Sandi - it's makes it easy to see and enjoy lots of pics without the endless scrolling.

debs14 said...

I'm with Sian on the photo front, they are positioned so well and easy to view (blogger never cooperates for me on the picture front, I have them put where blogger wants them or not at all!) Sounds like you crammed loads into your visit and had a great time. Thanks for sharing!

furrypig said...

what a great trip to London, I loved hearing all your adventures and look forward to seeing you in class!

Sandra said...

You made this a really enjoyable post, by having the photos scattered in-between your story, plus you've made London look beautiful :). Sounds like you all had such a great time :)

JulieJ said...

You should be rightly proud of that shot of them walking towards you. Your depth of field is perfect.