Sunday, 6 January 2013

Tinkerbell Twice

It turned out that it was Jess that was to stay the first night. She had eaten by the time we collected her so we only had to cook for ourselves once we were back at the boat. The motorway was a bit busy so we came back through Slough. During the evening she enjoyed watching a Wallace and Grommit film on the television.

Next morning we all drove up to Uxbridge. Originally, Christine was just going to drop Mike and Jess at the cinema but she decided to stay and explore the shops. Although she had tried once before and was not impressed, this time she found rather more, perhaps parts that she had missed last time.

Jess and Mike bought their tickets at the Odeon and went in to see the new Tinkerbell film by Disney. A carton of popcorn was also considered a necessity!

Afterwards, we all met up and meanwhile, although shopping had not been successful, Christine has discovered a pleasant coffee and sandwich place in the city centre church. This had only re-opened a few days ago after an extensive refurbishment and they were now selling toasted sandwiches and paninis as well as standard sandwiches.

After a little more wandering the shops we returned to the boat (Mike and Jess made the trip by bus) where Jess worked on a new sticker book (and Mike did some maintenance) until it was time to return to Windsor.

We swapped Jess for Alice and set off back - this time the motorway was much less busy and we came the usual route, but stopped at Tesco to buy some ice cream treats for the evening.

Next day, Alice and Mike caught the bus to Uxbridge and saw the same film as yesterday. However, Alice opted for the Film Feast bag which not only contained popcorn but also a drink and a tube of Smarties. Some of these made it back home!

This time Alice decided that she would prefer to have lunch back at the boat so, after raiding Tesco for some yoghurts, they caught the bus back again. With a bus pass and a frequent 8 minute service, it really was the sensible option, especially as seats on the upper deck were an added attraction!

After lunch Alice settled down to her latest library book by Michael Morpurgo whilst Mike tackled a few more small maintenance tasks.

By three o'clock Alice announced that she had finished her book! She opted to visit a bookshop on the way back home (she had not thought it sufficiently urgent this morning) so we all set off to Windsor and parked in the town centre.

After a good browse through all the books on offer, Alice decided to take a Mr Gun book. Then she spotted that the one she chose had a sticker Buy 1 get 1 half price and asked if she could have two!

Christine was still in search of a couple of items which neither Slough nor Uxbridge had supplied so we rang up and asked if we could have a little longer. As it happened. in that time she found both items!

After leaving Alice at home we returned to the boat made a meal and settled down with an excellent bottle of wine and so came to the end of this final trip to the boat for 2012. The one thing we did not manage to do this time was to move the boat out of the marina! Still, we did have a couple of pleasant walks instead.

Today we loaded up the car and were off just after 11, returning home in just over four hours with a brief comfort break at Taunton Deane.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Slough Shopping and Chimney Repair

It was a clear sky that enabled the sunrise to be brilliant it came up over the boats moored in the marina. Otherwise, not a lot to write about today! This morning we bought some coal from High Line chandlery shop before setting off to drive over to Slough. We had not tried there before for the shops and there was parking close to the shopping malls.

All research has its backwaters and failed experiments! Suffice to say that we will not be rushing back - even the anchor stores of Debenhams and M and S were very downbeat and, especially the former, rather shabby. The range of goods on offer was dreary and made worse by having 'Sales' everywhere - excuses for dumping the goods which none of their other stores could shift, we suspected!

After leaving the car park we drove out to Homebase to pick up a piece of mini trunking to finish off the cabling to the new aerial where it passes through our bedroom wardrobe.

After lunch, Mike tackled the chimney - we have been having a lot of tar running down the outside of the stove pipe and could not really see from where it was coming. However, we dug out the previous sealant, cleaned as much as possible and put in some new sealant which we bought from the chandlery shop, expensive but perhaps it will do the job.

We also removed the ceiling collar around the stove pipe and added a lot more sealant on the inside. If tar runs down in the near future, expect an anguished howl!

After a mug of tea we will be off to Windsor to pick up one of the girls for the night - not sure which one until we get there!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Langley Park

A very different day for weather compared with yesterday. The wind and rain had gone and we enjoyed bright blue skies all day long. Apart from Mike walking to the shop for a paper and putting sealant around the new radio aerial, the morning just disappeared!

After lunch, finishing the soup Christine made a few days ago, we opted for another walk. We set off planning to visit Black Park Country Park, the other side of Iver, but ended up on the other part of the estate, Langley Park to the south. A couple of wrong turnings - in one case the map indicated a road bit it proved to be a cul de sac - and we parked by the road as intended. From here it was a ten minute walk, or perhaps a little less, to an entrance to Langley Park.

The first sign told us that there is an Arboretum which we visited first. It was originally developed in the mid Nineteenth Century by the Harvey family who occupied the estate for 150 years, although there are said to be connections going back to Henry VII.

The garden was planted with a variety of coniferous trees but the largest are the Giant Sequoia, introduced to this country from North America, and which was once known commonly as Wellingtonia in honour of the Duke of wellington. Although nothing like the size of native specimens, several were impressive enough, especially with a blue sky background.

Later, several avenues of sequoia were planted around the estate.

We headed up towards the Temple Garden, so-called because it once surrounded a large pavilion which has long disappeared. However, the garden contains an important collection of rhododendrons that were originally planted at the start of the twentieth century. They had become rather old and liable to decay so a program of coppicing was devised by a national expert and they have already started to regrow quite vigorously. Strangely for the time of year, we saw one that was in full bloom.

We eventually reached the northern perimeter of the park and crossed the dual carriageway into Black Park. However, after taking a look at the map just inside the entrance and noting the time, we decided that it was safer to head back so that we did not end up walking the country roads after dark.

We came around the edge of the Temple Garden where we had a view of the moat lit by the glorious low sunshine.

The cafe at the Visitor Centre was still open and we enjoyed sitting outside in the last of the sunshine drinking a cup of tea. It was so pleasant that we almost forgot about the need to walk back to the car!

With no clouds or rain the light lasted a little longer than yesterday but by 4.15 when we reached the car it was dusk and just as well we were no later!