Sunday, 21 January 2018
It was an early start for us all, and London early on a Sunday morning has little traffic, so we arrived at Clapham Junction in good time, and joined my nephew and his partner - who had caught the train at Victoria by the skin of their teeth - on the train. Soon the Daughter and the Boys arrived - they, too, had only just caught the train, and had based themselves a couple of carriages further up, so there was much visiting. The Boys were resplendent in new ties - Boy Two had never worn one before, and was very proud of it.
We eventually arrived at Barnham and had to wait about 15 minutes - and a long, chilly 15 minutes it was, too - for the shuttle bus to the racecourse. The rest of the family had already arrived, and waved vigorously from the hospitality suite on the 2nd floor. We joined them in time for a cup of coffee before lunch, and gave my mother her presents - just oddments; I've ordered flowers but no point in having them delivered before tomorrow.
Lunch was good - paté, followed by rather wonderful fish with new potatoes and (undercooked, but not as badly as at Christmas) carrots. Then there was poached pears with white chocolate cheesecake, but I was able to swap mine for Boy Two's brownie, as he likes white chocolate and I don't.
Then the racing began. I don't bet, but it was fun picking the winners, and seeing whether they matched the tipster's selections - mostly, they didn't! The Boy is obviously too young to bet himself, but his father placed bets for him, and he was delighted to win in the first race - but, alas, lost all his winnings during the rest of the afternoon! The Daughter, with her usual luck, ended the day £3 ahead!
The third race, of course, was the main event so far as we were concerned, and we went down to the paddock as my mother had to pick the best turned-out horse (with helpful hints from the niece who is in the business and told her what to look for), and then we went to the grandstand to watch the race. I watched it from the railings, which was rather fun.
My mother then presented the trophy to the winning owners, and then we all went into the winners' room to watch a rerun of the race and drink complimentary champagne. And then we went up to the hospitality suite again and it was time to cut the cake, which my sister had made:
Then back to the shuttle bus, and a wait for the train (there was a waiting-room, so we were not too cold. And the train back to London, and for us, a quick bus home from Clapham Junction - noticeably more traffic than there had been 10 hours earlier!
Thanks particularly to my brother for a lovely day!
Monday, 1 January 2018
So we went to Dulwich Park, as the SW runs in Brockwell Park at least twice a week and is tired of it. I hadn't been there for many years - probably at least 30 - and have little or no memory of it except that it's a nice place. It's one of the Victorian parks laid out by the Metropolitan Board of Works, like Battersea Park and Southwark Park. I vaguely remember, when I was last there, that there was an aviary that still had birds in it, but that, of course, has long gone. There is the obligatory lake
Next to the café was what was called a "Dry Garden"; we didn't know what made it dry, as the beds looked as though they had recently been mulched, and some of the plants obviously longed for a drink. But there was a lovely mosaic in the middle of it:
We still weren't quite sure what the point was, so made our way back to the car. I'm sure the SW would have liked to have walked for twice as long and at twice the speed, but as it was probably the furthest I've managed to walk since July, and the first time in a very long time I've really wanted a walk, I was very pleased! And now home and a well-deserved cup of tea. Happy New Year to you all!
Monday, 25 December 2017
On Christmas Day, of course, there is no public transport in London, but one can park, so we drove up to Westminster and found a parking-space behind Westminster Central Hall, about ten minutes' walk from the pier. Boarding was supposed to start at 11:30, but when we arrived, about ten minutes earlier, they had already begun - and we were glad we had not been much later, since the queue behind us swelled to alarming proportions! In fact, there were three boats making the cruise.
We had booked a window table, and, once our ticket had been checked, were escorted to it with a glass of sparkling wine.
Thursday, 21 December 2017
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
Monday, 18 December 2017
What a difference a day makes! This time yesterday, we were shivering in bed, clad in our warmest pyjamas, bedsocks, jerseys or bed-jackets and hot-water bottles, and taking what felt like forever to warm up (although once we had, we were very warm and snug!). Now we are sitting round the table in our day clothes, vaguely thinking of heading off to bed. Yes, the heating has been fixed. It was, as we suspected, the thermostat, and the man showed us how to do a temporary fix should it happen again!
However, the place (recommended to us by the farmer's wife where we had spent the night) didn't open until 2, so we went into Sedan and did a bit of shopping and had lunch, and the SW went to have a quick look at the castle there - I found just walking round the supermarket reminded me too vividly of yesterday's fall - and we then had to think what to do next.
We could have resumed our itinerary and gone to Mons, as planned, but it would have been dark by the time we got there, so no point, really. So we came to the aire in Landrecies, where we have stayed before (the place where the fishermen talked all night, and where we stopped for lunch and found we'd forgotten the picnic table), and parked up for the night. Tomorrow we will revisit Cambrai before heading to Calais and a massive Christmas shop!