Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Choir Tour Day 0

August 1, 2010

Hannah, Ella and I have been in Brittany for a few days now. The weather has been very changeable, eg yesterday it was rainy in the morning but hot by evening. We had a big rush of packing up the house for Cowes Week renting before leaving home, as well as all the usual pre-holiday stuff, along with rehearsal, trips to buy extra cables for sound equipment, test viewing of the DVD of the choir’s summer concert, etc.
The journey didn’t start too well as we missed our ferry off the island, as we were booked on an earlier one than I’d thought, so we had an hour’s wait until there was space. It wasn’t a big problem because we were going to Rachel’s house (Hannah’s sister), rather than connecting with another ferry. Other than that, the journey to Benodet was okay.
So far as the tour goes, Hannah and I were in Quimper yesterday sorting a couple of things. Hannah negotiated with a restaurant that we’ve been to before to organise Monday dinner. It’s called O’Keltia, and is central and pleasant. She got a good deal, which is important as this one is out of choir funds. We also visited the Office de Tourisme, where Hannah confirmed our visit to an asinerie (more on that later) and tried to find out more about our concert in Pont L’Abbe, as it didn’t appear in any listings. Unfortunately we couldn’t get confirmation so back at the campsite emails were sent and we’re waiting to hear.
The rest of the choir bus out of Medina High this afternoon, with an overnight ferry over The Channel. We’ll meet them at the B&B Quimper Sud early tomorrow afternoon, and the festivities will begin!

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Chessington

November 9, 2009

I realise it’s been a terribly long time since I last blogged, and Ella has continued to develop at an amazing pace, and in the missing period Hannah has had a birthday, but I’ll update on our weekend, rather than the past month or so.

We were away at Chessington this weekend with various members of my family. Unfortunately my younger brother, Douglas, and his family couldn’t make it due to illness, which was a shame, as Ella would have had a great time playing with her cousins. Nevertheless, we all did have great time. The Holiday Inn there is much better than others we’ve been to before, and coped well with our number (9 including Ella) turning for meals, and some fussiness amongst my family. Our room was very good, with a cubby hole especially for children with little beds and their own television. This meant that Hannah and I didn’t have to retire to the bathroom when Ella was in bed because she was separate from the main room, so we could watch telly.

As usual, Ella did her best to charm the socks off people. She was very good throughout the weekend, but did occasionally flag when tired. She was very happy to see Uncle Hamish and Auntie Christine, and to see Nan and Charlie again. It was also the first time since our holiday in Benodet that she got to see Grandpa again. So all-in-all she was very busy socialising.

On Saturday we went around Chessington Zoo. Hannah, Ella and I visited it in February when we got snowed on, which is not the best weather for wandering around a zoo. On Saturday the weather was very good, and we all had a good time seeing the animals, as well as getting to go on a couple of quite sedate rides that were open. Ella did enjoy the Stormy Sea ride, featuring little boats that went round in a circle and up and down, although there was much trauma around getting her height measured. She did like seeing all the animals, certainly more so than she did in February. She spent nearly all of the four hours we were in the zoo walking, rather than in her buggy, which was very impressive.

We also had a couple of goes in the swimming pool. Hannah did quite a lot of teaching Ella some swimming basics, and she got on very well with that. Ella definitely enjoyed the time in the pool, and I suppose it is something we should try and do more of with her.

Back home, and it’s safe

August 15, 2009

We’re back home now, having returned on Tuesday. The last few days in Benodet were mostly spent on or around the beach. Thankfully the weather turned consistently good after Hamish and Christine arrived (lucky them), and so we took advantage. We even persuaded my mother and step-father to go to a different beach, and we visited Cap Coz. This was partly a cathartic visit, because last year when we visited, it was teaming down with rain and windy, and we have a lengthy piece of video of Ella pushing her buggy along the beach screaming in delight, despite the horrid weather. This time it was lovely and sunny, and we had a tasty, if drawn-out (French speed of table service) lunch.

On one of these days, Hannah, Ella and I went to visit Quimper. This wasn’t to do anything particularly touristy, because we went last year and saw the major sites (mostly the cathedral). Instead, Hannah wanted to look for a new diary, and we wanted to take Ella to a merry-go-round that is in the cathedral square. There were successes on both fronts, as well as a circuit of the cathedral, after Ella requested to go into the ‘church’. She is very cultured. It was slight embarrassing because Mum’s buggy that we were using needs a good dose of WD40, and the squeaking was very loud in the hushed cathedral. On the outside, Ella did need some persuading to go on the carousel, but eventually did, selecting the tram as her place to sit. The ride in question was based on the travels of Jules Verne, so had a balloon, submarine, horses, cars etc etc, so there was plenty of choice. We tried later in the day to take her on some other, more flashy and noisy rides that are situated on the riverbank, but she said she was ‘bit shy’, and wouldn’t go on, although enjoyed watching the cars going round and round.

The trip back was fine. We stayed overnight in Cherbourg in a pleasant chambre d’hote, which is a French B&B. It had the original name of ‘Chambre d’Hote Cherbourg‘, which didn’t make Hannah’s search for it on Google on my phone in the car to give them a call with me ETA easy. Anyway, it was a lovely place, with a four poster bed, and a conversational hostess. It was also stunningly handy for the ferry port.

As the title says, the house was fine when we got back to it. Nothing appears to be broken or missing, although our tenant did leave some cash and a credit card behind, which I still need to return to the letting agent. Since our return, we have Hannah’s sister, Miriam staying; Hannah has organised a BBQ for some Cowes-based friends (yesterday evening, very successful); attended a cream tea for one of Hannah’s friends birthday; celebrated Miriam’s birthday, my birthday and Hannah and I’s fourth anniversary. So needless to say, there is still a lot of unpacking of the house stuff to do.

It’s sunny right now

August 7, 2009

My last post was from a lovely chateau hotel that Hannah and I spent the night at. It was near Josselin, called Domaine de law Ferriere. We had a big room with view over the lawn and the lake. For dinner we both had steak, which was served sizzling on a hotplate, and you cooked it to your preference. I usually have mine well done, but this was so succulent that I ate quite a lot of it rare. It was also a very large entrecote, and we were both very full afterwards. The potatoes were top notch too.
The next day, we visited Josselin, which is a very pretty medieval town with impressive castle. We had a tour of that: me, so I could see round; Hannah, so she could listen and translate the tour guide’s French.
Yesterday I drove, with my Mum, up to Brest to pick up my little brother, Hamish, and his wife, Christine, who flew in there to spend a couple of weeks in Benodet. This now makes it quite a gathering at the campsite, and Ella is making the most of playing with her aunt and uncle.
The title of this post tells of the weather, which is nice today, but has been very cloudy and sometimes wet. The ladies gone to neighbouring Fouesnant to the market, and if the weather stays fine we’ll make the beach this afternoon.

Latest from France

August 5, 2009

On Monday we were back in Benodet to go to the market. For me, who isn’t a big shopping fan it was an opportunity to walk very, very slowly around some stalls selling over-priced tat. Trying to push a buggy through the angry crowds didn’t make it any more enjoyable. Still, we didn’t stay long, and then all went for a nice crepe. Ella got a ride back to the campsite on the back of her Granny’s bicycle.
The next day, Hannah, Ella and I walked into Benodet to take Ella to some beach amusements, including bouncy castle. She ignored that and played with the wendy houses instead. Unfortunately she got stung while we were there. She did cry a lot but calmed down when her favourite house came free. It has swollen up a bit since, but hopefully will be okay.

Holiday Update 2

August 2, 2009

After the excellent weather when I last blogged, it has become somewhat random. Yesterday it teamed down with rain until mid-afternoon and then was sunny, today has been relentlessly cloudy.
Hannah and I visited Concarnaeu yesterday, leaving Ella with her grandparents. We had a lovely time, with Hannah especially impressed with the mussels she had for lunch at Les Byblos. Today has been spent in Benodet, with more lunch. Ella did get some beach time as well.
What isn’t progressing is the potty training, with only accidents to report.
Tomorrow we are making the obligatory trip to a French market in nearby Fouesnant.

Day One on Holiday

July 31, 2009

I’m writing this from my HTC Magic, in a campsite in Brittany, where we are camping with my mother and step-father, Clare and Chris. The trip over yesterday was okay. Today the weather has been lovely and sunny. We’ve been to the beach and Ella has had a paddle on the sea. Hannah went food shopping with Clare. Not much progress has been made with Ella’s potty training, though.

Frantic Preparation

July 25, 2009

We’re off to France on holiday next week, for a period that co-incides with Cowes Week, and so we’re renting the house out to someone willing to pay a good deal of money. This means all our superfluous stuff has to be packed away into one room, which then gets locked. This includes things like our clothes, Ella toys, photographs, odds and sods, and right now I’m sat in the middle of it all. It’s been an ongoing task over the past couple of weekends, and it has always seemed that there isn’t enough time to get it done. Coupled with all the usual pre-holiday tasks, it is quite a lot, but you don’t get money for nothing.

Ella has developed a new phrase – ‘I don’t know’, which is actually quite cute when she says it. Hannah was reading a book to her tonight, and when Hannah asked where something was on the page, Ella kept replying ‘I don’t know’. It’s a handy phrase to have, but hopefully she doesn’t use it too often. Also on the calendar is a trip to the Isle of Wight Railway tomorrow for their Day with Thomas [Tank Engine]. Ella is quite excited, and when Hannah was asking her about it today, Ella said ‘can’t wait’, which Hannah reckons is quite advanced because it is an idiom. Anyway, it should be fun seeing the steam trains, and Ella loves Thomas, though she might change her mind when she sees a great big, steaming, noisy engine.

As a result of packing up the house, Ella’s cot is currently in its original flat packed state, and Ella is sleeping in some kind of portable blow-up bed on top of a fold-out double bed. This means she is free to escape the confines of her sleeping area, and hopefully she won’t wreak too much havoc either tonight or tomorrow morning.