Monday, 25 August 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Gananoque has got quite an airport for a community of 5000 residents. There's a reason! The Link Manufacturing Company in Gananoque produced the 'Link Trainer' - a flight simulating device to train pilots. In 1943-1944 hundreds of allied pilots were brought to Gananoque airport - some to train, others to be trained. One of the trainers was an RAF pilot named John. These visiting airmen were often entertained in Gananoque - one such event was a dance at the Gananoque Golf Club. At this dance John met a young woman named Alice, one of my mother's best friends (see, this isn't just a random World War II story!!)
Well, as you can guess, the two fell in love and Alice moved abroad, to be married in a little church in John's home town of Bognor Regis, on the south coast of England. They had four children and (since Alice's family still lived in Gananoque and John was a BOAC pilot with staff privileges) made frequent trips to Canada. The children were sort of like cousins to me and the eldest, Kate, is my mother's god-child. In later years, John and Alice often holidayed with Mom & Dad and and Ted and Clare, travelling across Canada and to Florida. This continued connection with John, Alice and their family has always been special for us. One of the reasons for our trip to Clovelly when we were in Cornwall last week was Mom's fond recollection of her trip to Clovelly when she and Dad visited John and Alice in England.
Sadly, both Alice and Mom are now gone but the Bognor Regis connection lives on.
Saturday we, along with PetDoc and Noise, took the train to Bognor Regis and had a lovely day at John's cottage in Felpham, visiting with him and two of his daughters. We had a delightful lunch, walked along the seashore, watched some Olympics, and then caught the late afternoon train back to London. I doubt that this will be our last trip to Bognor Regis.
Tonight we went to a pub which specializes in Bangers and Mash - I ordered a safe choice (pork with cheese) and was startled when my dinner arrived with the announcement that they were out of that selection and had substituted Wild Boar. Delicious!!!!
It was a nice day so we decided to walk to the Library. Note to self: the number 91 bus which stops outside the Museum stops shortly thereafter at the Library! We limited our visit to the Sir John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library. Among these are: original musical manuscripts by Handel, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mozart; the Magna Carta; early maps showing Ireland nearly as big as England; Shakespeare manuscripts; a Gutenburg Bible; pages from Leonarda da Vinci's notebook - well, you get the idea. One highlight for me (sounds plebian after the aforementioned list, but it's not) is the Beatles display. Here there are handwritten lyrics (some with corrections) for many familiar Beatle songs. I think my favourite (maybe it's the teacher in me) is the handwritten lyrics to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" with the notation "3/10 - See Me"
Our daily pub visit today was to O'Neill's, near the King's Cross tube station. We went for the 'Pickers and Sharers' - a combo of 4 starters (we chose cod, prawns, potatoes (with cheese and bacon) and chicken wings). We thought we'd get a plate with a couple of each (as we had at 'The Shakespeare' near Victoria Station) and were startled to be presented with generous portions of all four choices. The atmosphere was a little more like Kelsey's than a pub, but the food was great!
We stopped at the butcher shop near the Baron's Court station to pick up lamb burgers and chicken brochettes to barbecue and then walked through the cemetery (a wonderful short-cut and well-used) to Greyhound. Took Buggy for a short walk and then relaxed until PetDoc and Noise returned home from work for supper.
Saturday we're off to Bognor Regis, but that's a separate entry. Sunday we're planning to participate (as spectators) at Trafalgar Square in the Handover Ceremonies being broadcast from Beijing. The Olympic Flag will be handed over by the mayor of Beijing to the mayor of London (2012 and all that, you know) and there's going to be a city-wide party here. We wouldn't come to London for it, but since we're here ...
Friday, 22 August 2008
Since, on our way, we were passing through King's Cross Station, we stopped for the obligatory picture at Track 9 3/4. I do believe the family set of photos here is now complete!
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
From the palace we headed back toward Victoria Station where we grabbed a very tasty sandwich in Cardinal Place at a shop simply called EAT.
From here we went over to locate the Apollo Victoria Theatre to make sure we could find it to see 'Wicked' tonight. So often we have found that when you're trying to locate a landmark in a strange city you turn a corner a WHAM! - there's the Eiffel Tower -- WHOA! - there's Stonehenge -- WOW! - isn't that St. Paul's. Well, same deal with the Apollo Victoria Theatre - around the corner from Victoria Station and BOOM! - there's the theatre.
Confident that we could find our way to the theatre this evening we contemplated what to do for the next 6 hours. We started with a trip to Harrods - what a store!! Everything from fresh vegetables to a Bosendorfer piano for £51,000. Our only purchase was a Krispy Kreme donut and a coffee. From Harrods we took the tube to the Victoria and Albert Museum. If you want to know what's at the V&A, read Rick Steves. There's really no thread or plan to these exhibits - just a vast collection of stuff that British monarchs thought ought to be in a museum.
We then headed back to the Victoria Station area and had dinner at 'The Shakespeare', a pub noted for its fish & chips (which were excellent, btw). After a leisurely dinner (another way of describing slow service), we headed to 'Wicked'. It was awesome and that's not a word I use lightly. Being familiar with (having performed) some of the music and intimately familiar with 'The Wizard of Oz', it was spell-binding.
Two little asides here regarding theatre: 1) I realize they want to sell you a souvenir programme but every patron should receive a free programme which lists the cast, production crew, orchestra, etc. 2) When did it become OK to come into a theatre at any point in a show and get up and leave and come and go like it's a rock concert? Whatever happened to 'latecomers will be seated at a suitable break in the show'? I felt especially sorry for the person who got up just as 'Defying Gravity' began at the end of Act I. I hope she was please to be first in line at the bar, because she missed one of the most spectacular events in London theatre this year. However, that said, we thoroughly enjoyed the show although when we stayed and applauded the orchestra at the end people around us looked at us like we were from another planet. Here's a little teaser, taken during a legal moment:
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Friday, 15 August 2008
Wednesday we started out in Ottawa having birthday lunch with Singer and Serdic and then headed off to the airport. As we approached the check-in counter, we saw J & S's Zoom flight land (they were returning from a 2-week visit with PetDoc) so once we were checked in we headed to Arrivals to wait with their mom for them to disembark. This sure helped shorten the wait for our own flight - once through security we only had about a 20-minute sit at the gate before our own flight was loaded.
Our flight was comfortable and actually appeared to be short. The A-V system was not working so there was no music / TV / movies - only the map showing our progress across the Atlantic. Air Canada has offered us a 5% discount on our next flight as compensation for the lack of entertainment. This is a very real possibility because we REALLY like this direct flight from Ottawa.
As we approached London the pilot gave us a wonderful banked view of the highlights of the city. We were able to see all the landmarks and even got a glimpse of PetDoc's street (the tennis courts of The Queen's Club are a dead giveaway). After passing through customs and collecting our luggage we headed to the Arrivals lobby where PetDoc was waiting for us. Then on to the tube to head home. It was strange to get off the tube at Baron's Court and know exactly where we were and where to go. The Google satellite images and maps have allowed us to become familiar with this neighbourhood even before we left home.
Noise had not left for work yet so we were able to deliver a large box of Tim-Bits in person as requested. A few were kept but the rest went to the London office of PWC for a little taste of Canada.
We went for a little walk with Buggy around the immediate Greyhound Road neighbourhood; had to check out the Vespa. We then decided that if we were going to adopt London time were were going to have to consider the breakfast we were served on the plane a midnight snack and have breakfast in London at London breakfastime.
Later in the morning we caught the tube downtown to meet Noise for lunch. We had a very nice lunch at a pub on Fleet Street and did a little sightseeing in the area. Then we took the tube to Tower Hill. We headed to St. Katharine Docks and had a coffee before we walked across Tower Bridge and along The Queen's Walk in front of City Hall. After a visit to The Borough Market (Borough Market is London’s oldest food market, established on the south bank of the Thames when the Romans built the first London Bridge) to pick up some fruit & veggies for supper we walked across London Bridge to catch the tube back to Baron's Court. It was rush-hour so fairly crowded but at least we didn't need Japanese-style pushers to get us on board.
After a great supper of stir-fry and Pims (gotta have Pims!!) we turned in fairly early. This morning (Friday) both PetDoc and Noise have to work so we'll do some sightseeing on our own. We're thinking maybe today's plans will include a visit to Greenwich. We're meeting PetDoc at her clinic after work - we saw Noise's stomping ground yesterday; today we'll see how the other half works.
Tomorrow we're picking up our rented car, dropping Buggy at a sitter's, and heading off for a couple of nights at Cornwall. We have B & Bs booked and all we need now is sunny, warm weather.
That's all for now.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Earlier this summer we decided to save a few trips up and down the cliff to check on the boat. We bought a wireless camera and mounted it on a post at the top of the cliff, aimed at the dock. Even though it's stretching the limits of the wireless range, it transmits a clear enough image that we can check on the waterfront situation by turning on the TV. If I get up the energy to trim a few trees (between the camera and the dock and between the receiver and the camera) the image will be even clearer. All in all, it's a pretty effective outfit for <$30 on eBay. Better not skinny-dip off our dock or the video will be on YouTube.
Saturday, 9 August 2008
btw - while we were at Beau Rivage last weekend I removed the stock swim ladder (a two-step job that swung up and fastened to the stern boarding ladder. We felt that this made climbing the ladder to the boat awkward and as a swim ladder two steps was not quite enough. We replaced it with an under-platform 3-step ladder and it's much more satisfactory. It also increases the amount of space on an already small swim platform.
We've been struggling with which kind of dinghy davits to buy and finally settled on the C-hoop style. We've seen a lot of weaver davits pull loose with the stress of leaving the outboard motor on the dinghy and we liked the idea of being able to offset the dinghy to one side or the other if necessary. We also sprung for the swivel motor bracket (scroll down a bit), allowing us to keep the outboard nearly vertical when carried on the swim platform. Lifting, securing and lowering is really quite easy and the system appears to provide an excellent method for carrying the Zodiac.
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