Wednesday, 11 July 2018


A few weeks ago, I suggested to R that we go away for a few days before the schools broke up for the summer. We decided on a weekend trip to Stockholm, never dreaming that England would get through to the World Cup quarter finals, let alone that they would be playing Sweden on the day of our arrival! Yellow shirts abounded, and though we didn't watch the match, we were having a late lunch at the time and could hear excited shouts and cheering from the pubs and restaurants nearby that were screening the game. When we'd finished eating, I had to ask a chap wearing a yellow shirt if the match was over and, if so, who had won. He was very nice about their 2-0 defeat and I managed not to do a fist pump until we were some distance away! 
Stockholm was lovely, and you could spend far longer than our 3 days and still not cover everything. The people were very friendly, spoke excellent English which made it very easy for us, and the weather was sunny but cooler than the heat wave that we had left behind in the UK. We walked almost non-stop for the 3 days, managed to find vegan food to sustain us, and generally had a wonderful time.
Here then, are a few of the many photos of our trip:
Walking from our hotel to the city centre:
 Stadshuset, the city hall. The Nobel Banquet is held in the Blue Hall every December and you can also get married here. We took a tour of the building and, if we'd had longer, would have climbed the tower for the view.
Storkyrkan - Stockholm's cathedral.  The Statue of St. George and the Dragon dates from 1489 and is carved from oak and elk horn:
 There may have been a few of these! 
 Loving the old telephone boxes:
 The Dala shop in Gamla Stan, the medieval city centre. The Dala horses are very popular with tourists but, like Stockholm generally, were very expensive.
 These houses reminded me of Amsterdam:

 A guard outside the Royal Palace:
 This little chap kept popping up in various places:
The spire of Riddarholmskyrkan. This is one of Stockholm's oldest buildings and is the burial place for the Swedish royal family:
 We hid the Islastone here:

  The Vasamuseet was, for us, the highlight of our trip. The warship Vasa was built between 1626 and 1628. Unfortunately, she was top heavy with insufficient ballast and capsized and sank before even making it out of the harbour on her maiden voyage. In 1961, she was raised to the surface and is now housed in the museum. She is remarkably intact, far more so than the Mary Rose, and you could spend an entire day here learning about her restoration and crew.

Lunch at a music 'lounge'.  We found this little gem down a small side street and ate sandwiches  (made by an old lady who seemed rather bemused that we only wanted salad on them) to the sound of classical music. It was all rather surreal.
Stockholm has a huge open air museum called Skansen. Founded in 1891, it shows Swedish history through the ages. It contains over 150  traditional buildings which were dismantled and then rebuilt on the site. Staff in traditional period costumes bake and craft whilst giving talks and answering questions.There is also a children's petting zoo and a selection of Nordic animals.
The funicular railway:

Is it a moose or an elk?!

Monday morning saw us walking to a yarn shop near to our hotel. I was hoping for a little yarny souvenir but, sadly, it was closed. I think the owner was on holiday.
Amusing bird on statue - initially it just landed on the statue's arm. I commented that it would make a good photo if the bird was on his finger - it immediately obliged by shuffling along!
We couldn't go to Stockholm without going on a boat!

Yummy Lebanese food  before heading to the airport - I ate far too much!

Well, that was our short trip to Stockholm. I would heartily recommend it for a city break. If  you have more time, please visit the ABBA Museum for me!
Toodle pip for now. x

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Ooh, what a scorcher!

Is anyone else praying for rain? Now, I like a sunny day as well as the next person; our skies can be predominantly grey in the UK, so a nice bit of blue and some sunshine works wonders for my feelgood factor. What I dislike are hot, humid nights. I don't sleep brilliantly at the best of times, so recently I've been feeling more than a little sleep deprived. Windows wide open, curtains drawn during the daytime, loft hatch open to facilitate heat loss, all to no avail; we're still sweltering. Yesterday, we were having dinner in the garden and, for all of a minute, there were a few rain drops pattering down. It wasn't even enough to send us inside, just enough to tantalize. The same goes for the barometer which swung hopefully round to rain earlier in the week, only to swing back again rather irritatingly. The garden is parched, Hamish is moulting like he has some awful vitamin deficiency, I'm watering the greenhouse twice a day and the river is the lowest I've seen it since we moved in 20 years ago. Enough is enough, this is the UK for goodness sake, rain is what we do best. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, and I don't want weeks of relentless rain, making Wimbledon a washout and ruining the summer holidays for the children, just one good, heavy downpour to cool everything down and revive my plants is all I ask. There, rant over! Sorry. :0)

Here then are some photos from the last few weeks:
Cutting out fabric for a pinafore dress. I'd actually booked a workshop to make one of these, but sadly it was cancelled, so I thought I'd give it a whirl by myself. It has been sitting in the dining room for over a week as I can't face getting all hot and bothered over a sewing machine at the moment:

 A play at The Watermill. This was a bit of a disaster of an evening.  On the spur of the moment, we bought a couple of last minute tickets for a play that we knew nothing about. Apparently, it is a modern classic with pupils studying it for A levels. We were completely ignorant of the plot, but enjoyed Act one, had an interval and then were a little bemused by the end of Act 2. The car park at the Watermill sometimes gets a bit choked up, so we made a speedy exit and drove home chatting about the strange, inconclusive ending to the play. It was only after a while that a thought hit me ............. the cast hadn't come out to take a bow! You guessed it - there was actually a second interval before the 3rd and final act! Still, I always like to pay to see 2/3 of a play!

Taking Bridget to a local Classic Car Show. Most cars there seemed to be in pristine condition ....and then there was Bridget, all dusty and well used. R bought an old AA badge for her front grille - we told her that it was an award for the most beautiful car!

 My Antwerp socks are off the needles, although I think it may be a while before I need them!

 A  trip to Bristol to see E. She showed me the archives where she is doing her summer internship and then we walked along the harbourside before having lunch at 'Root':

 Playing with mosaics:
 A walk at Boar's Hill trying to see the famous view of Oxford - it may be better in the winter!
 Lunch at The Nag's Head in Abingdon: 

The Medieval Abbey:

Finding one of 'Islastones' in the Abbey Gardens. Read all about it here. We plan to take the stone to Stockholm when we go on holiday:

 The view from the roof of the county hall museum:

Well, that's all for this week. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. I'm just off into the garden to do a little rain dance!
Toodle pip for now. x