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All posts for the month April, 2014

For Easter weekend, we decided to head over to Devon and Cornwall, for a nice long weekend away.  We was myself and Dale, and Henri and Alastair.  I was excited, as Devon is the home of cream tea, and Cornwall the home of pastys, both of which I love!

They hired us a car, and we left on Friday 18th April, and to beat all the traffic , we were up super early, and on the road by 7.30am.  The streets were deserted.  By about 9am, roads were very full of travellers, just like us.  We had a quick stop at a service place off the motorway for breakfast, but Henri and I mostly just slept for the trip.   We stopped for lunch at delishuz little pub, then on to Carrington, where we are staying in a little house.

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Amused by the life ring for the pond.

 

Saturday

We drove to a nearby woods, and hired bikes, for riding around forest!  Zoom zoom.  It was very pleasant, with easy soft trails, and lots of trees.    Had cream tea at tiny café in Morewellham, which looks like it was an old mining town.   Biked up a big hill, which wasn’t as fun, but it had a lovely view.   Mossy, green, overgrown, pretty Devon countryside, birds singing.

Cycling: you're doing it worng

Cycling: you’re doing it worng

Nice view

Nice view

On the edge of a cliff

On the edge of a cliff

View another way

View another way

dangerous rocks

dangerous rocks

Waterways

Waterways

Zoomzoom

Zoomzoom

Zoomzoom

Zoomzoom

Cute little Norwellham

Cute little Morwellham

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Morewellham

Waterways

Waterways

nomnom cream tea

nomnom cream tea

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about cream tea yet, but it is amazing!  At first I was confused, as it sounds like tea, with cream in it, which doesn’t appeal that much, but it is actually scones, spread with clotted cream, and jam, and served (of course) with tea.  The essential component, I think, is the clotted cream.    It seems like a cross between cream and butter,  it is very thick. I think they make it by heating cream, and taking the thickest bits from the top once it has cooled.  To be proper Cornish clotted cream, it needs to be made in Cornwall, and have a minimum fat percentage of 55%, but they can average around 64%.  Normal single cream is about 18%.  It is very thick, spreadable, but just a little teensy bit liquidy, and spreads easily on scones.  It is rich, and thick, and delishuz.
Wikipedia thinks that clotted cream in America would probably be classed as butter, though it is not as solid as butter.

We then drove to Tavistock, wandered around, and looked at the river and buildings.  They had a market outside, and in and around the town hall, was built ages ago, and looks kind of like small castle.  Was an old market town, so many of the buildings are old and pretty.  Bought relish, cupcakes, flapjacks (like sweet, sticky oatcakes), and some pasties, took them down to the river to eat, where we enjoyed the sunshine, and discussed dog breeds.

Tavistock

Tavistock

Tavistock

Tavistock

Easter weekend market. Tavistock

Easter weekend market.
Tavistock

Tavistock

Tavistock

Easter weekend market. Tavistock

Nomnom carrots! Easter weekend market, Tavistock.

Easter weekend market. Tavistock

Easter weekend market.
Tavistock

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Pretty bridge

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Tavistock Canal

We then drove up to Dartmoor.  Amazing place, my favourite.  Windswept and rocky.  I really wanted to go to Stonehenge, but it was out of our way, you have to book a time, millions of other people want to go, and it costs.  I’d researched the area, and found there were plenty of stone circles, mounds, and stone lines, that were just spread around the moors, with just a little walk to, and no entry fee.   We went to the Merryvale circle, lines and area, where there used to be a prehistoric settlement.  Small circle of standing stones, and two sets of two lines. Then we walked up the neighbouring tor, where it was very pretty, but windy.  Got stuck in a marsh walking back.

Powwwny!!!!

Powwwny!!!!

Dartmoor ponies

Dartmoor ponies

Dartmoor

Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement – Dartmoor

Merrivale Lines

Merrivale Lines

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Merrivale Lines

Merrivale Lines

Merrivale Circle

Merrivale Circle

A big rock!

A big rock!

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Cool rock formations - Merrivale

Cool rock formations – Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

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It was a tad windy

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Merrivale

Drove around a bit, visited Burrator reservior, where they had a big dam from 1910?  And the earlier reserviour was older.  Pretty.  A lovely area of woods next too it, all green and moss and fallen leaves.

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Dartmoor Ponies

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Reservoir

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Reservoir

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Reservoir

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Bare trees

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Edge of the dam

 

Them rocks in England are pretty scary

Them rocks in England are pretty scary

waterways

waterways

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Chickn

Chickn

Piggies

Piggies

Merrivale Lines

Merrivale Lines

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Merrivale Circle

Merrivale Circle

Dartmoor, Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Dartmoor, Merrrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Nice Views - Merrivale

Nice Views – Merrivale

Birthday 2014

The big 30.  Eeek.

I didn’t really want to turn 30.  So much so, that I had a 25th birthday about 6 times.  I am now no longer in my twenties, and I don’t really like it.

To me, 30 always seemed like the marker to being a proper, adult-grown-up type person.
Who really wants to be that old?  I certainly wouldn’t want to be a teenage again, hells to teh no… But my twenties, I enjoyed them.  I thought that by thirty, you would have received the instruction manual for life and all things related.  But no, it turns out everyone is just playing along and trying to figure it out as they go, no one really knows.   And everyone does it for so long, that it gets to the point that we all think we know now, but we’re still just figuring it out as we go.

 

Anyway, I had a nice birthday, got up and went for a relaxing run along the waterfront, then ate a yummy breakfast and watched my favourite episodes for the day.

Lovely morning run

Lovely morning run

After work, people turned up with presents: Henri spoiled me with purple shoes, and pug slippers!   And Dale got me a trip to Paris, once I’m back from NZ!
Then we all went out for dinner at Terre de Terre, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant. where I could literally order and eat and enjoy anything on the menu. Fantastic.

The prettiest shoes

The prettiest shoes

Pug slippers!

Pug slippers!

The most adorable cake, made by Henri

The most adorable cake, made by Henri

little animals!

little animals!

Surprise battenberg cake!

Surprise battenberg cake!

Amazing foods

Amazing foods

The restaurant bought me a birthday dessert

The restaurant bought me a birthday dessert

 

 

Also, I've finally stopped biting my nails off.

Also, I’ve finally stopped biting my nails.  Win.

 

Wednesday – We were up early, grabbed a breakfast Panini as we were walking, and were ready and waiting outside the National Gallery, so we could go in as soon as it opened.  When we visited previously, we saw there was a Van Gogh exhibition, including some of his sunflower paintings.  The line was kinda long though, so we decided to come back today, as soon as it opened, so we wouldn’t have to wait.  And that worked perfectly, got to walk straight in.  It was very lovely, no pics allowed in the gallery though.  More wandering, to see Michelangelo and Raphael, then onwards to our next stop.. coffee..

Early morning at the National Gallery

Early morning at the National Gallery

Pretty springtime tulips

Pretty springtime tulips

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips

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The gate on the North Bank of the Thames, back in the day

The gate on the North Bank of the Thames, back in the day

Jerome is a very knowledgeable about coffee, every time Dale needed some, would just ask Jerome what was good in the area we were in, and he would know.  !

Headed out to the tower of London (NOT A TOWER, IS A CASTLE!  Misleading), where we stood in line for a half hour to get tickets (sad), then went inside.  I was expecting a tower, but is so much more.

This is an old wall!  The terracota tile bits were laid down probably around 200AD, by the Romans, as part of the wall around London.

This is an old wall! The terracota tile bits were laid down probably around 200AD, by the Romans, as part of the wall around London.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower of London

Lions at the Tower of London

Spent all afternoon there, exploring all the bits.   Definitely worth dedicating a full morning, afternoon or more to a visit.  Especially at the price they charge.  Did a yeoman tour, where he told us stories and was very entertaining; a torture dungeon; crown jewels (so very sparkly); The White Tower (built around 1100AD!), with its armoury, then a quick walk around the walls.

Mid March

Mid March

The White Tower

The White Tower

Trebuchet!

Trebuchet!

Our Yeoman (Beefeater) Guide

Our Yeoman (Beefeater) Guide

A clock

A clock

Armour

Armour

Lastly we crossed the Tower Bridge (pretty!), which you need to realise is different to London Bridge.  London Bridge is just your average run-of-the-mill street bridge, whereas the Tower Bridge is ornate and pretty!

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

London

London

Self-explanatory-ie

Self-explanatory-ie

The Tower Bridge

The Tower of London, and the Tower Bridge

We headed to meet Jerome at the London bridge station to hand over house keys.  So many people.  Headed to green park again, for another loop around the palace, and to examine the statues, which were gift from NZ, then a pleasant walk via Cornish pasties to Victoria  station, for the train back to Brighton.  Got seats which is good, as the train was very full, some people didn’t.

Buckingham Palace - they're having a meeting!

Buckingham Palace – they’re having a meeting!

Rawr

Rawr

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A herd of cranes

A herd of cranes

All in all, a good first visit to London.

Spikey edges

Spikey edges

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Old walls

Old walls

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The White Tower

 

 

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge

 

Tuesday – We were up a bit later than expected.  We had Oyster cards, which make travel really easy.  Much like the Snapper cards in Wellington, you just top them up with an amount of money, then swipe into the subway system, or swipe on to the buses.

Took the tube to Green Park, where we walked through, past the deck chairs waiting to be sat on, to our first view of Buckingham Palace.

Squishy subway ride

Squishy subway ride

Deck chairs in Green Park

Deck chairs in Green Park

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

We planned to view the changing of the guard, and had read that we needed to be there early.   We arrived 45 minutes before it was supposed to start… Yet, People!  People everywhere.  Everyone else was also there early.  We positioned ourselves at what we thought was a good spot, and hung around.  Eventually they came, with their music and their horsies and their very straight marching.  They yelled a lot, and marched around, and swapped places.  The prim and proper guard band played some music for us, including Dancing Queen, and various songs by Abba.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Waiting patiently!

Waiting patiently!

All in line

All in line

So very many recording devices

So very many recording devices

::marchmarchmarch::

::marchmarchmarch::

Toy soldier

Toy soldier

Selfiee

Selfiee

Fancy gates

Fancy gates

Wandered up along Constitution Hill, grassy, cool, and pretty.  The mounted police went past occasionally.  They have horse crossings, complete with horse height buttons to press, to cross the road.  We visited the Nz war memorial, the Air corps memorial, and the Wellington Arch.  Briefly stepped foot into Hyde Park.  Literally inside then out, just to say we’d been.  I’m sure we will go back there!

Bumblebee hat is off to somewhere important,,,

Bumblebee hat is off to somewhere important…

Patrolling Ponies

Patrolling Ponies

Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill

Pony crossing button!

Pony crossing button!

Ponies can't cross yet

Ponies can’t cross yet

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

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NZ War Memorial

 

NZ War Memorial

NZ War Memorial

They erected this statue!

They erected this statue!

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

Entrance to Hyde Park

Entrance to Hyde Park

Rawr ponies

Rawr ponies

Back to subway, over to Brick lane,  where we wandered for ages, trying to find somewhere to eat.  We walked past a lot of Indian restaurant people trying to convince you to come eat at their restaurant.  Apparently we are supposed to bargin.  But the thought of sitting in the restaurant while they all stare at you and rush around to serve you just didn’t really do it for me   We ended up having a very late lunch + cider at a yummy burger place.

Cute little castle house

Cute little castle house

Abandoned buildings

Abandoned buildings

Unicorn house!

Unicorn house!

Street art

Street art

Do not disturb

Do not disturb

The owl and the pussycat

The owl and the pussycat

A pleasant lunch spot.

A pleasant lunch spot.

Then took the Toob to Greenwich.   Large boat, cutty sark, lots of lines!  Walked through the info centre, then up to the observatory, to stand on the gmt line.  It was such a lovely day.  Like everything else awsome that you want to get your picture in front of, there was a line to get a picture with the line.  Instead of waiting, I took a picture of it by itself, then we went down the path to the side, where there also was a line, but it was by itself, so we got our picture there.  Much better than waiting.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

Cannon

Cannon

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park, beautiful

The Prime Meridian Line, where time begins!

The Prime Meridian Line, where time begins!

A clock

A clock

The lesser known part of the, where you can get pictures any time!

The lesser known part of the, where you can get pictures any time!

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Pop

Pop

A lovely walk back across the green, then the subway back to town, to Oxford Circus.  Ridiculous amount of people.  A seething mass of humanity.  We were meeting Jerome and Amy for dinner at a place called ping pong.   We waited for them at Oxford Circus, so I got to just stand back and watch the hordes.  There was a constant stream of people descending into the depths of the earth to ride the tube.  Constant and never ending.  Or so it seemed.

Masses

Masses

Hordes

Hordes

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus

Ping Pong is my new favourite restaurant.  they serve Dim sum, and amazingly, a whole vegetarian option!   Mmm steamed bun, mmm dumplings.  Deilishuz vegetarian,  so good.  Home for raspberries and icecream dessert, and chatting with our hosts.

Yum

Yum

Steamed dumpling yumminess

Steamed dumpling yumminess

Our first visit to London, Exciting!  We got up at a reasonable hour and headed off to the train station for our 10am train.  We didn’t have to catch an early train, as it is supposedly very busy in the morning, with all the commuters.   We had to carry our bags around for two of the three days we were going to be there, so we had packed very small bags, with minimal stuff, so we wouldn’t have to lug the stuff around.

Brighton Station

Brighton Station

We hopped off the train at Victoria Station, and out into London.  Almost got run over by a bus within a block, as I was staring simultaneously at the other red double decker buses, and the old stone buildings that were nestled amongst the newer, more modern ones.

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The Albert

The Albert

Busses

Busses

A few blocks walk took us to Westminster Cathedral.  Not the really big one, but still pretty big!  We wandered around, checked out all the small chapels dedicated to different saints, and marveled at the sheer amount of pretty stone that was used in the building.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

After that, we walked down to Westminster Abbey, which we didn’t go in to, as the line was out to the road, and halfway down the block.  We did admire the outside.  Walked down past the Houses of Parliament, and the House of Commons.   Such a fancy building.  We wandered through a park, and took in our first view of the Thames.  A brownish, fast flowing river.

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Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

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South Bank, and the London Eye

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Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

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The London Eye. And a bunch of tourists.

 

We walked back up the road, and past Big Ben, who chimed 1pm for us.  Headed over the bridge to South Bank.  There were so, so many other tourists there with us.

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Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

We wandered past the London Eye, with a conscious decision not to go on it, like the hundreds of people lined up, waiting.  It was near Easter, so there were carrots in the trees, and bunnies all around.

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Bunny…

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Eye

Eye

We took more subway, via Waterloo Station, with it’s pretty exterior, and ended up in Leicester Square (hey, these places are named just like in Monopoly!), where we sat for a few moments.  There were some very cool, probably super old, knobbly trees, in amongst the rush of people and bustle of city.

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Waterloo Station

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Some of the escalators are pretty steep!

Crazy horse fountain

Crazy horse fountain

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Knobbly tree

Knobbly tree

After our lunch in the park, we wandered an indirect way to Trafalgar Square.  It was quite weird walking through near deserted streets for a few blocks, to come right smack into the middle of tourist central, hundreds of people, as we entered Trafalgar Square.    We were greeted firstly by a big, blue cock, who stood out the most, on the fourth pedestal, that is reserved for changing art installments.

Big and Blue.

Big and Blue.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square was pretty, if you ignored all the people.  Some lions, a couple of fountains, and surrounded by buildings.   We had a quick look in the National Gallery, which was free.  One of the paintings I saw was of Lady Jane Grey.  She was Queen of England for just 9 days until she was removed from the throne, and sent to the Tower of London to be executed.  I think she was only 16.

After the gallery, we subwayed to the Covent Garden Markets, which have been around for quite a while.  It is quite an interesting place, back in the 1600’s was a developing area around a square, with an open air fruit and veg market.  Over time it fell into disrepute, and for a while was a red light district, as taverns, brothels etc opened, and artists and poorer people moved in.   They built the roof cover in the 1800’s, and was more organised after that.  It has been various things, but is now more of a tourist destination, with cafes, shops, and a crafty market area.  We ate at the Pie Shop, and at Creme de la Crepe, where I had an amazing, fantastic apple crumble crepe.  Yum.  Nearby was Punch and Judy Pub, which has been around since 1787, and is thought to be named after the puppet show that used to take place at the market.

Covent Gardens Market

Covent Gardens Market

Chimneys

Chimneys

Magic

Lots of street performers

Covent Gardens Market

Covent Gardens Market

A very old pub Covent Gardens Market

A very old pub
Covent Gardens Market

Lastly we headed to King’s Cross Station, to see the infamous Platform 9 and 3/4 (or the representation of).   There was a very big line to get a picture taken there, which I didn’t want to stand in, so I have a picture of it, just not with me in it.  Maybe one day we will go back when there are no people.  There was a cute little shop where you could buy scarves, cups, wands etc.

Best to just sit on the roundabout

Best to just sit on the roundabout

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station

 

We stayed with one of Dale’s friends from back in NZ, Jerome and Amy.

 

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That is quite a long way down!

 

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Big and Blue

Big and Blue

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Big and Ben

 

I spent a few runs along the water front, in various weathers, plenty of pretty views and chalk cliffs.

One weekend we biked out to the Smugglers Rest Inn, in Peacehaven, for lunch, with Henri and Alastair.   They had good bikes.   We had medium hire bikes.  But it wasn’t too bad.   Lovely ride along the South coast, chalk cliffs, a bit of a breeze, a non nudists beach, and chalk!

 

Brighton Marina

Brighton Marina

Marina

Marina

Keep off...

Keep off…

Brighton

Brighton

Bike ride!

Bike ride!

Chalky cliffs

Chalky cliffs

Zoomy

Zoomy

 

Smugglers Rest

Smugglers Rest.  Henrietta, Alastair, Myself and Dale

A beach

A beach

Low tide

Low tide

Climb the wall

Climb the wall

 

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I realised that I could use the chalk walls to write with!

I realised that I could use the chalk walls to write with!

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<3

<3

Don't be nekkid

Don’t be nekkid

Bye!

Bye!

 

Contrail shadows

Contrail shadows

 

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Fancy places to moor at the Marina

Springtime

Springtime

Springtime

Springtime

Springtime

Springtime

IMG_0847

St Peter’s Church

IMG_0846

St Peter’s Church

After arriving back from France, we didn’t get up to much.  I was mostly just waiting around till our next travels, as I was going to New Zealand and the end of April, so not a lot of point looking for a job yet.  We also wanted one of us to have a job ideally before getting a flat, so we weren’t really looking for that yet either.   We had Sunday Lunch at some delishuz places, usually equipped with some great vegetarian option (like nut roast, and mushroom roly poly), roast veges, gravy, and Yorkshire puddings.

The most biggest omelette I've ever eaten. Well, didn't manage to eat it all

The most biggest omelette I’ve ever eaten. Well, didn’t manage to eat it all

Sunday Lunch, complete with Yorkshire pud

Sunday Lunch, complete with Yorkshire pud

Grubbs vege burger!

Grubbs vege burger!

Fountain in Brighton

Fountain in Brighton

 

Lots of buildings around that are old and fancy stone, or ones that are all the same, a whole row of houses up the street, all like the others.

Buildings in Hove

Buildings in Hove

Samey

Samey

Buildings

Buildings

Self explanatory

Self explanatory

Pretty buildings

Pretty buildings

Henri's street, sameseys houses

Henri’s street, sameseys houses

The next weekend was cruisey, Henri and I went op shopping – lots of cool 2nd hand stores in Brighton and Hove.  They are all quite small, but I think they have a high turnover of stock, and they seem to keep a lot of nice stock in.  Some of the also seem to get donations (?) from department stores/bigger stores, so occasionally they have new stuff tags still on.

We wandered around town, and the Pavillion, where we met the local squirrels.  Wandered the streets a bit, met a few showers (its a bit like a tap is turned on).

Pavilion

Pavilion

Hey a squirrul!

Hey a squirrul!

Tulips

Tulips

Pavilion

Pavilion

Nomnom

Nomnom

Tempting the squirruls down to me

Tempting the squirruls down to me

Nomnom

Nomnom

Noms!

Noms!

Who knew I was taking a photo

Who knew I was taking a photo

Moved to a friends house to stay for a while, whom had a spare room, and we were very appreciative of the opportunity to have our own space.   One of the nights, we made Saag paneer from scratch, including the paneer, and it came out a lovely shade of virulent green.  Way greener than any curry you get at a takeaways, and I think it is cause the spinach is so fresh.

Home-made Saag Paneer

Home-made Saag Paneer

Went bouldering with Alastair in Portslade, which was very fun.  It is wall climbing, but without ropes, so you need to be a bit careful, rely on your skills and strength.  It is not as high as a usual climbing wall, only 3-4 metres high.

Bouldering Brighton

Bouldering Brighton

 

Is this how I get back to Blackrock???

Is this how I get back to Blackrock when my hearthstone is on cooldown???

Guy on the beach was sorting the pebbles

Guy on the beach was sorting the pebbles

Cat shoes!

Cat shoes!

So many of these are painted all cool n stuff

So many of these are painted all cool n stuff

mmm tea

mmm tea

In NZ it is "Streets"... not so much here

In NZ it is “Streets”… not so much here

The eye of Brighton

The eye of Brighton

Kemptown

Kemptown

Night eye

Night eye