Published: July 28th 2008July 27th 2008
As close as I got to her
Well following my tour of the sporting grounds, there has been a lack of sport around. It’s like the country has gone into hibernation waiting for the next football season to start. Oh well, only a couple more weeks to go! This blog was also going to include my weekend trip to Belgium, but I loved Bruges so much that it deserves its own entry.
Following my trip to Dover and Canterbury with Leah, we welcomed a friend of ours from New Zealand over. Cara had decided to visit and see what our lives were like over this side of the world. She also came at the perfect time. Escaping the NZ winter and arriving in the very best of the English summer (if you blinked, you missed it. It’s over now, back to chilly wind and drizzly days). We welcomed her properly by having the quintessential English meal - a curry in Brick Lane.
The next day we headed out to the Royal Ascot horse races at the express invitation of the Queen (us and 30,000 others). Despite the weather being a bit dodgy, it held off and everyone dressed up and looked fantastic. I managed a couple
A better shot of the people lining the railings in all there fancy dress
of photos, but I didn’t really capture how dressed up everyone was. I placed a couple of bets and came out pretty much even. I made the most money on a horse I chose because of the name. Get this, the horse was named King Charles! I bet Charles himself wasn’t allowed to bet on that one!
Over the next week, we had a surprise cocktail party birthday for Cara (very much a surprise because her birthday wasn’t for another two weeks), a birthday dinner for Ange (on her actual birthday), and I took a day off work to go out to visit Windsor Castle and Eton College with Cara. As you can see from the photos, we had beautiful weather. We saw the Changing of the Guard, the church where Prince Charles and Camilla were married, and the interior of the Castle. This was phenomenal and one of the best decorated castles/palaces I have seen. I even saw Sir Edmund Hillary’s crest and shield from when he was a Knight of The Royal Garter, to my knowledge the only New Zealander to be accorded this honour. Next up in the town was Prince William and Harry's old school,
Would you believe that this guy just works here part-time to pay for his Oxford fees? Me neither. And the horses racing in behind him.
Eton College. We wandered around the school grounds, even parts we weren’t supposed to and saw the students coming out from classes in their tales! Bugger that! I quickly got sick of wearing a normal suit to work, let alone a suit with tales to school for 10 years!
My next event on the calendar was heading along to see Shihad, a New Zealand band from Wellington. They were one of my favourite bands from home and they didn’t disappoint. It was another case of walking in the venue and I recognised quite a few people (including former All Black Chris Jack). It’s strange how small New Zealand really is! The following day it was more music, this time free through work as I took Leah along to one of the festivals in Hyde Park, the O2 Wireless festival. We saw acts like Goo Goo Dolls, Powderfinger, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and finally Counting Crows. Leah was very disappointed with the last act as they performed one of her favourite songs but the lead singer was completely stoned and stuffed it up!
It was with Leah and Alaina that I saw another musical, the classic Phantom
Clay, Katie and I
At the Royal Ascot races.
of the Opera. I can see why it has stood the test of time because I loved it. It’s not quite as good as Wicked in my book, but fantastic nonetheless, and Leah loved it as well, despite seeing it years ago with Rob Guest starring. So it only leaves a few shows I want to see while I’m in London! But it works out quite well as I probably won’t see many once Leah has left, and she only has a matter of weeks left!
As for my future travel plans, as promised in the last blog, I have been on a spending splurge. I’ve now booked a 5 day trip to Iceland on the 1st of August, 2 weeks in Italy from the 5th of September and a long weekend in Munich for Oktoberfest on the 3rd of October. Also as soon as it allows me on the website, I will be booking a week long trip around Scotland and the Highlands at the beginning of November. I have also booked my next huge adventure, my 6 month South American Odyssey. So I fly out to Costa Rica on the 22nd of February next year, spending 6
Flowing through Windsor near the Castle and Eton College.
weeks at a language school in Heredia and Playa Samara before starting South America down in Venezuela. Exciting stuff!
There are more photos below