What a fabulous place to hang out during a cold February, central London. Admittedly it brought the winter woolies back out, but the sun shone and it was brisk for our morning walks, just as we like it. Coffee always tastes better when you get home a little chilly and the house is cosy, it’s an absolute pleasure to be residing here for a month.
We had a lovely touch of snow, even Ella ventured out to play in it. Sadly not cold enough to last more than a few hours but looks great when you can just admire and don’t have to get your hands dirty. People are out in their wet weather gear - even in the middle of London its a good excuse to bring out Wellies and Barbers and brave the elements (or just look good). A tad early but the spring flowers are out and poking their heads through. Although Brian, the delightful gardener, has just admitted to wearing seven layers of clothing so perhaps it is cold!!
After getting far too comfortable with city life we headed to Midhurst and Haslemere for a bit more action and some very brisk dog walks back in the country.
Then hit the skies again and this time with a new carrier, Norwegian Air, who were super slick and efficient as you can imagine. Headed southwards to Spain for a wee break and what better reason than to celebrate Judes birthday. Somewhere amongst the celebrations we squeezed in a little sightseeing. We headed up the coast from Estapona, past Malaga to visit the “ Prettiest Village in Andalucia” (this is according to the “in flight" magazine I read on the way down). Frigiliana is rather lovely with quite a Moorish influence, but does resemble a number of other white villages up in the hills. A wonderful spot to have breakfast, enjoy the stunning views of the Med and meander the steep cobbled alleyways along with locals and their trusty donkeys.
Then down towards the coast to visit the spectacular Caves of Nerja. Wow what a sight, these caves stretch for almost five kilometres and amazing to think they have found skeletal remains inside the caves dating back from 25,0000 BC. They were only re-discovered in1959, almost by accident, are now easily accessible. One of the chambers has its own natural amphitheatre which is frequently used for concerts. What a treat that would be - depends on who’s playing of course.
Back to the UK and we hit the ground running as a new assignment was booked for that afternoon over in Kent. It was a fun two and a half weeks, just a stones throw from Canterbury, with a whole menagerie to look after.
Mrs Beethoven the Giant Land Tortoise had all the moves and Typhenna the African Parrot had a repertoire like you wouldn’t believe. Whistled like a pirate and made my day to think I could still pull a good wolf whistle!!
But it was the Harry the exuberant over enthusiastic English Bulldog who I really fell for hook line and sinker, especially after we pried him free from the jaws of the German Shepherd. Nursing him back to health built a special bond.
Its such a different bit of countryside, with large flat field stretching for what seemed miles. Lots of small historic towns and church spires often appearing on the horizon. We had some stunning walks with two of the big boys, everyday the countryside looked different. A day out down to the coast and a wander around the historic town of Sandwich and of course a visit to the Royal St George Golf Club. Not being great golfers the reason for the visit was more because cousins of mine, Annie and Christopher, had managed the club for over 10 years and we’d sadly missed visiting and having a real introduction to this world renown Links course.
Before we know it we’re back in London, the grubby work clothes, washed and put away, while we enjoy the city life.
Fabulous Sunday morning walks through Richmond Park with great London friends, Graeme, Rosie and Jane amongst the thousands, but who would know it, so much space.
Picnic's in Hyde Park with masses of ‘suits’ scurrying out of their offices, bearing as much flesh as decent to the sun, making the most of every second.
Over to Canary Wharf to experience ‘life underground’ in this main financial centre of the city. Well thats what it feels like when you hop off the DLR and find yourself amongst thousands of ’tunnel visioned bankers' swarming this underground shopping world for their food and water.
Once known as the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, this area formed part of the busiest port in the world. Now its houses over 14,000,000 sq feet of office and retail space and is home to the world headquarters of a number of major banks and financial organisations.
Then we tunnelled our way under the Thames and over to Greenwich. Well known for all its maritime history and of course GMT, Greenich Meantime. First sight as you come above ground is the old Tea Clipper the Cutty Sark and further on Sir Francis Chichester’s, Gipsy Moth. The Old Royal Naval College is a very grand architectural masterpiece designed by Sir Christopher Wren, one of Londons most well know architects, between 1696 and 1712. Originally built the as the Royal Naval Hospital, the best view of this impressive group of buildings is from the north side of the river.
During the 2012 Olympic Games this area around Greenwich was used as home for the Equestrian Events. Such a pleasure for the riders to be right in the centre of this magnificent city, within a World Heritage Site. It gives you an idea of the magnitude of this 578 year old Greenich Park and its surroundings. It also holds a delightful village feel to the place, full of wonderful romantic Baroque architecture, the huge O2 Arena is there and also the Greenwich market full of unique arts, crafts, vintage clothing’s and food. You can soon see why its quite a weekend destination for many Londoners and tourists.
We wandered down to Putney Bridge to watch the start of the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. A fun afternoon with thousands lining the river Thames, waving flags supporting their boats, balloons tied along the bridge and masses of others picnicking in Bishops Park as they prepare for the big race. Sadly Cambridge got whipped but the partying continued long into the night.