Crikey, over a month has gone by since my last blog update.
Looking back, it has been a busy old time
I offered to meet up with a friend from work and their family for a day out during the school summer holidays and as a pre-cursor, a trip to London's Natural History Museum was arranged. I haven't been for years, so couldn't resist the chance.
After a quick visit to my Mum, I doubled back to Victoria to meet my friend and their 6 year old daughter.
We had a stroll through Victoria, past Buckingham Palace during the Changing of The Guard and then over Westminster Bridge to the South Bank. After that we went back over the Thames on the Hungerford Railway Bridge and picked up the Underground train at Embankment and went around to South Kensington.
I have always loved the Natural History Museum, so it was good to go back.
We visited the Mammals Gallery with the full size model of the Blue Whale, saw the skeleton of the Diplodicus in the lobby and also risked the wrath of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Dinosaur exhibit.
The crowds around the museum (and to be honest, Central London generally) were heaving and the queues to go in massive, but it was great to see the place again, although now I did notice that the cleaners needed to dust the exhibits.
I also had reservations about some of the exhibits and "suitability" for a very young audience - questions being raised by the 6 year with us when we saw the stuffed remains of Chi- Chi the panda who was at London Zoo were excruciating: "Is it real ?".
A tricky question was answered with a definite sounding "No".
Wise, I feel.
Still a great day out.
My festival of choice for 2016 crept up on me and was a brilliant few days.
The music good and the support events really good.
I would certainly have it on my list again
My website <Latitude 2016 pages are here>
Littlehampton, 23 July
The Saturday after I got back from Latitude, I was booked to help out at a Family Day at Canon UK HQ in Woodhatch.
This year I was tasked with a bit of set up, Reception duties checking in the 250 pre-booked people and helping pack up.
There was the usual bouncy castles, crafting and face painting, but this year there was a farm petting zoo, crazy golf, a hog roast and a road train around the grounds.
It was a good one, and I managed to take the last train ride of the day.
The family day started at 10am and ended at 2pm and a good time seemed to be had by all on a very warm and sunny day.
After the tidy up, I met up with my friend and her 6 year old and we headed down to Littlehampton.
I have liked Littlehampton since visiting when the boys were young and not much has changed over the years.
The beach is sandy and it is just a friendly feeling place.
We had a lovely afternoon and evening chilling on the beach and strolling along the front and paddling in the sea.
We also checked out the neighbouring beach at Climping.
After receiving an email telling me that a couple of special exhibits would be ending in early September, I thought I had better make the effort.
I had seen posters for "Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph" and "Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius" and they were both on my "Must Get To That" list.
I booked up entry times and took the tube to South Kensington after I had visited my Mum.
Having an interest in photography and knowing that he was a pioneer in the art, I thought that the Fox Talbot exhibit would be really interesting.
Sadly, this proved not to be the case and the 5 or 6 galleries were actually quite tedious. There were of course copies of the pioneer's photographs of his home, but there was just too much reading.
Later on, I thought about why it was not for me. It was just too dry and academic. If I had wanted to read about the man and his mission, I would have got a book by now!
I then ventured down to the basement for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, which looked at the genius's inventions.
Cleverer folk than me had made models and replicas of some of Leonardo's designs for war machines, aircraft, diving equipment, water pumps, wind-powered and man-powered vehicles.
All in all, it was fascinating and worth the trip.
Another opportunity came up to meet up with a friend and their daughter and go out for the day.
Having decided on London Zoo, my friend very kindly laid on a lovely picnic and a full day's plodding from area to area was had and enjoyed by us all.
It was a great day out.
I remember going years ago when there were elephants, bears and the famous chimpanzees tea party.
A great day - I know it was, because I was absolutely shattered by the time I got home!
I thought it might be good to get out for a day during the school summer break, so we chose a date and went off to Southend on Sea.
Apart from the pier I knew little of the place, even though I lived for a while in Pitsea, a short drive away up the A13.
Initially the weather was less than kind and it rained on us for about half an hour after we got there.
We lunched on the beach with another nice picnic, paddled in the sea, walked the 1.3 mile pier (and came back), pottered along the front and chilled on the beach.
In truth, we decided that Southend is a pretty garish place, and is full of places to take your hard earned cash, it is a little vulgar for my tastes.
We did spend another great day out, but with a 6 year old with us, Littlehampton wins in a head-to-head battle as it is all in all, a more gentle feeling place
Cubs Scouts - has broken up for the summer break
Football - the Premier League is kicking off tomorrow
The Rio Olympics is becoming very interesting for Team GB
Tomorrow, I am off to London to see the acclaimed long running musical Wicked, which I am pretty damned excited about.
Watch this space ...
Until next time.