Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Wine Library

The dusty amber lantern, shines for those who have lost their way.
A winding rusty staircase, trails off into the underground hemisphere.
Daring you to enter its unknown world, sits the sinister black door.
The weathered creaking sign, mocks those who question its origin.
Yes I've often walked past The Wine Library with a sense of curiosity, wonder, and twisted imagination.
It's on route on my daily commute to the office, situated by Fenchurch Street Station, and a short walk from the underground station.
Many a time I have thought it would not look out of place in its own novel.
For years now I have pondered over its hidden contents.
Until one dreary day I texted my friend: Shall we go to the Wine Library?
To which my friend's immediate response was: That's a cracking good plan.
Bring forth the arrangements and pretend cheese names!
Allow me to explain, we googled said place and were informed good cheese accompanies the fine wine. So we thought it best upon table booking to provide the names of Mr Wesley Dale and Mrs E Dam from Cheddar.(Except we then decided it might be inappropriate but it made us laugh anyway.)
Henceforth a merry night of stinky cheese and well-balanced wine.
A night where I discovered the Wine Library does not contain one single book or creepy dwelling.
It's a charming little place, with cosy atmosphere, and as one would suspect, rows of wine to tempt you.
It was also a nice break from normality. For as much as I love bedtime stories with Tommy, the world will not stop revolving if for one night daddy steps in.
And at last, my curiosity for the Wine Library was dead.

Enjoyable night spent here.

Probably the only book was the one for the bookings.

Lots of wine!

Wine and cheese. Great combination. I think it will catch on.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

When Animal Aid came to the village

When a large portion of the world strutted around in platform shoes, flared trousers and gigantic collars, Animal Aid was founded. The year was 1977.
It's now UK's largest animal rights group and one of the longest established in the world.
They campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promote cruelty-free living. They investigate and expose animal cruelty, and their undercover investigations and other evidence are often used by the media, bringing these issues to public attention.
It's an extremely worthy cause, wouldn't you agree.
Recently my home village raised money for Animal Aid. On the cricket green was a huge inflatable chicken slide, next to a stage of musicians, various stalls and rides. And the cricketer's clubhouse served food and drink.
Despite the sky threatening to rain all day (it didn't), myself, Mark, Tommy, friends and neighbours had a whole heap of fun.
I was too chicken to climb the chicken slide, but Mark, Tommy and my god daughter Faith were clucking to go on it. (Sorry about the bad jokes.) The inflatable house was a success, as was the merry-go-round and strongest man. All washed down with cider (but absolutely not for the kids), ice-creams and burgers (absolutely for the kids and adults). I even had a little jig about to the the bands (I blame that on the cider).
There were police dogs jumping on slides and running through tunnels and lots of cool animal stuff.
Erm, I actually forgot to take any picture of the animals, but the most important thing is, I bought a bunch of raffle tickets and enough cakes, with all proceeds to Animal Aid.
Every year I donate some money to charity, looks like Animal Aid are next in line.
Let's face it, anyone who can find a giant inflatable chicken and erect it opposite my house, gets my vote.*
*Not forgetting all the incredible work they do for animals.

Here it is...

The ice-cream van, popular with children and adults.

Tommy loved the mini police car.

Mummy loved the music.

The inflatable house was a big hit. Pity I was too big for it.

Spider-Man on his arm!

Showing Faith his Spider-Man arm.

Spider webbing us!

It was great to also spend some time with my friend.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Are we going to the pub?

Tommy opened his bright blue eyes and smiled at me.
"Is it the weekend?" he enquired.
"Yes it is!" I replied triumphantly.
"Are we going to the pub?"
And that is how our day begun.
Now, it is not usual practice for our day (or weekend) to begin in such fashion. Contrary to what you may think from reading this post, we do not spend the majority of our waking hours at the pub.
It was Mark's birthday weekend and his chosen destination to celebrate was - our local pub.
As pubs go, it's a nice one. It dates back to 500 years and is brimming with history and character. It has a pretty garden, with fish pond, waterfall, veranda and outside bar.
We often pass the pub, it's on route to my parent's house and Tommy's nursery. And a few days before Mark's birthday weekend, I informed Tommy, several times,"We're going to that pub and garden, at the weekend, for daddy's birthday."
Hence, the recollection on this particular Saturday morning.
So off we set.
We closed the door to the cottage, crossed the road, passed the petrol station, then walked across the cricket green. We turned left at the end of the cricket green, and there sits the The Green Man.
Tommy was over joyed when he knew friends would be joining us in the garden.
Plus we'd promised him chips with tomato sauce.

If you need us, we'll be at the pub, with the sun peeking through.

Pub grub, you can't beat it. Especially at our local.

The pub has a very pretty garden and veranda.

Mark's friends from near and far visited with their kids, so Tommy had play mates. Hannah lives around the corner to us, and her mummy and I were pregnant at the same time, comparing bumps. Then we were new mummys together, comparing worries! Love seeing Tommy and Hannah playing together.

The fish pond.

There's always one who won't look at the camera, it's usually always Tommy!


After lots of running around it was time to do colouring in.

And playing with toy cars.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Grandpa in my pocket

I haven't really got an actual grandpa in my actual pocket.
That would be slightly mad.
Although it would be quite handy for baby sitting duties, as long as I didn't squash him and could turn him full size fairly easily.
Anyway, Mark and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in the exact place where Grandpa in my pocket was filmed. We know this program because it's something Tommy sometimes watches. Therefore, he was rather excited when we told him we would be visiting the lighthouse and beach huts which feature in the show.
Mummy was rather excited too, to be perfectly honest.

Here it is! The lighthouse. In Southwold, Suffolk.

The beach and pier.

Some groovy shops and restaurants are situated along the pier.

Tommy loved driving this car.

We had lunch with lego.

Then asked the nice lady for an ice-cream with a flake.

A stroll along the beach. It usually ends up with daddy's shoulders.

A spot of shopping. My kind of shop.

Before we headed to our hotel for the night.

Tommy exploring the hotel. It was very grand.

Slightly bigger than our bedroom at home.

I have never stayed in a room with it's own telly room, have you?

Playing with his new sticker book.

I always carry toy cars in my bag. You never quite know when you'll need them.

Next we dined here. Delicious Sea bass and chips.

Then it was back to the hotel. Wine and X Factor for us, bed time story and Tigger for Tommy.

The next day, after a delicious breakfast, we browsed around the market.

We headed back to the beach. Tommy made a friend called Harry. When I asked him what they talked about, he replied, "Windows." The mind boggles.

We finished with fish and chips on the pier.

Happy fourth wedding anniversary to us. We had a blast. Still love him to bits.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Strawberry Fields Forever

I have decided there are certain things in this life which should be repeated each year.
Bearing this in mind, I have complied an informative list. Do you care to be enlightened by this list?
I will assume the answer is yes and detail my wishes below:

1. We (which refers to Mark, myself and Tommy) must always visit the seaside.
2. It's important we venture somewhere we have never been before.
3. Even though Mark doesn't like picnics, I will use my picnic basket and do so. Picnics must be encouraged as should the great big outdoors.
4. We should always celebrate our wedding anniversary, preferably in charming destination and hotel.
5. We will enjoy the amazing Father Christmas grotto at local garden centre. Well, whilst Tommy is young enough to believe in magic.
6. We must always believe in some kind of magic.
7. And pick fruit at a local farm.

I'm sure there are many other things which should be experienced each year, but I'll start with the above, thanks all the same.
Please allow me to focus on the last, most recent addition to the list - and pick fruit at a local farm.
Many moonlights ago, when I was a little girl, I frequently picked strawberries at our local farm. Sometimes with my mum, dad and brother, other times with my cousins and aunts, followed by trips with friends. I would often participate in such activities as who could pick the largest/most. Then we would go home and make all sorts of delightful things with our treasures.
One year, too young to know any better, myself and a friend held our own private competition, who could eat the most. I won, much to my delight, which soon turned to horror. The strawberries should have been washed first (not to mention paid for, I know, shocking irresponsible behaviour) as I realised after experiencing the worst tummy pains ever.
This year, I visited a farm with Mark and Tommy, a short drive from our cottage. I'd seen signs for, and seen pictures of, but was yet to indulge.
I was not disappointed. What a fabulous place. They'd thought of everything - a shop selling locally sourced produce, a tea room tempting us with homemade goodies, a children's play area, and field of seasonal fruit and vegetables, all waiting for our eager hands.
Plus, it boasted it's very own field of sunflowers.
Have I ever told you how much I adore sunflowers?
To say I loved this place was an understatement.

Thoroughly recommended, big time.

Strawberry Fields Forever.

Farm shop.

Tea room.

Play area.

A real tractor, made his day.

Sunflower field, made my day.

Strawberry picking.

These look nice.

Searching for onions.

This way!

Found some!

Back at home, making smoothies and ice-lollies.

We're planning our next trip already, this time - blackberries, blueberries and pumpkins, we're coming to get you!