My blog - July 2008

Weeks Two & Three with Mater and Pater

July 25th 2008, 11:31pm

After puttering about Comrie for a day, we headed up over Loch Ness (stopping for a few snaps with the loch, Nessie and the castle) to Eilean Donan Castle. We had lovely sunny weather on the way up and we were greeting with a smattering of rain. We took a wee trip over the bridge to Skye briefly while in search of supper, which seems to have given Mom and Dad the bug for returning to Skye in particular, and Scotland in general.

The next day we jumped in the car nice and early to get to Fort William. We were hoping to catch a ride on the Jacobite train (the one used in Harry Potter), but all the tickets were sold several days in advance. So we decided to "race" the train to the viaduct to get pictures of the train crossing it. It looked so cool, with the billowing clouds of smoke trailing after it.

We spent another two nights at Comrie Croft. After all our nice weather, we had the rain come down on us right before we hit the hay on our last night there. We packed all our gear up in the morning, some of it slightly damp, and made our way back to Cov.

We decided to rest on Friday, as there were gales forcasted for Snowdon, where we were meant to be going. Instead we went to Leicester and met our new niece, and had a brief visit with James' parents. Amelie is so sweet and tiny and such a lovely quiet baby! It will be fun to watch her get bigger.

Saturday we headed to Kidderminster to take the Severn Valley Railway. We got to see several steam trains and rode on four of them. I think we may have to do that more often, it was a lot of fun! Mom and Dad certainly seemed to enjoy the chugging along.

Sunday came with good weather and we were on our way to Snowdon. We decided to take the Pyg track up to the top. What a hike! All the stone stairs that there are to climb - I'm not sure whether they make it easier or not! When we got the top, the wind was blowing something fierce, so James and I headed down to the Snowdon Mountain Railway to take the train down, while Dad went for the very summit and Mom waited for him. They ended up hiking down, with a brief stop at a tea shop while we took the easy way down! Our bunkhouse for the night was a total dive, but luckily Mom and Dad had chatted with the tea shop guy a fair bit, and he suggested a nicer bunkhouse, which turned out well.

We had a relaxed day Monday, and two fantastically busy days in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. We saw Tower Hill, Tower Bridge (it even opened while we were looking at it), the changing of the Guard, St James' Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Horse Guard, 10 Downing, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Charing Cross Road, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Soho, and plenty of statues! Thursday we dropped Mom and Dad off at the docks in Dover to catch the ferry, stopped in Sandwich for a sandwich (really good ones, too!) and made our way back home. Today I was back to work, and thank goodness for the weekend ahead! I think I shall have a good lie-in!

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Week 1 With The Parentals

July 12th 2008, 8:51pm

Sunday we drove down to Gatwick to pick up my mom and dad from the airport. After driving past Windsor Castle, many "Oh my goodness"es and"Wow!"s later, we finally arrived back in Coventry. James and I spent Monday at work, while Mom and Dad puttered around Coventry, showing themselves the sights at their own pace. Probably a good option, since we've kept them going since! :)

Monday morning, we piled all our gear and ourselves into the car and headed north. We drove up into Derbyshire to see Chatsworth House. Chatsworth what, I hear you say? Well, if you've seen what my sister-in-law refers to as "the cheesy North American ending" of Pride & Prejudice, with Kiera Knightley, it's the house they used as Pemberley for that scene. Very cool gardens, and an AMAZING house! Next time you're looking for a good stately home to visit, try this one, it's the bomb. Then we piled back into the car and made our way to the very wet and rainy Lake District.

We woke up Tuesday morning, all of us feeling a bit tired after pitching our tents on fairly slopy ground, having dug our toes in to stop ourselves from sliding out the front of our tents all night. The rain lifted for most of the day, and we took Mom and Dad over to Hill Top to check out Beatrix Potter's house. We enjoyed sitting in front of the fire at a nearby pub, as we'd been there last year with Sharon. After a short "walk" we went to Bowness-on-Windermere, had some pasties, chilled on the lakefront, and bought a couple of waterproof jackets for James and I so we could stay dry. Good thing, too, because when we got back to the tents, it started raining again.

After a bit of a later start on Wednesday morning, we took the very scenic tour to Ennerdale where we managed to pitch our damp tents in only a spatter of rain. A nice pub lunch later, all fueled up, we hiked up to Crag Fell to look around the area and got a gorgeous view for our troubles just as the clouds cleared from the summit.

Thursday morning, Dad woke us up at 6:11 a.m. (I kid you not - and this is a holiday!!!) and we drove from the east coast of England to the west coast, and just to see some birds. Not just any birds, though. Puffins. They are so great!! We made really good time getting there, and managed to get on a tour boat one hour earlier than we planned. There were lots more puffins on Inner Farne than we had seen on Skomer, just because we were there at the right time this year! But the ride out around the islands was a bit rough - not too bad, but for people who aren't used to the open ocean, not so nice - and one woman had to make a dash for the side. We had a great time taking pictures of the shags and cormorants and razorbills and puffins, I just wish we could have spent more than an hour there. We got back to Seahouses, topped up our baking, and got back on the road towards Comrie. Which is where we are now!

We're kicking back, enjoying being back at Comrie Croft, chatting with Andrew. He's really done a lot to this place, it's fantastic, and his campground is like a Canadian campsite, which is rare over here! We get to meet his little son, Harris tonight, who's only 5 months old! And we have a niece to meet when we get home, whose name we don't even know yet!

Hopefully this kickstarts me on a new blogging run. Hope you like the new design. There are still changes to come, but I wanted to at least get something up and running!

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