Saturday, 1 November 2014

This Half-Term

It's been half term here at The House with the Blue Door and I am greatly enjoying the break from work. It has not, however, been a quiet week for us as we have been away for a few days. First we went to London with my youngest, D, and two of her friends. My son, J, came too which was lovely as it's the first time we've seen him since he went to university, and it was good to catch up with him.
We walked to the railway station from where we were staying, and on the way I spotted these lovely berries, clematis and leaves growing over garden fences, little bursts of colour on a drab day.

Once on the train and into central London, we let the three girls decide where we would go and they opted first to go to Covent Garden. We crossed the river and got our first views of the London skyline. As you can see it was a very grey day, but the scene was as impressive as ever.

We then walked to Trafalgar Square to enjoy the street performers and general atmosphere.

On the Fourth Plinth was this enormous bright blue cockerel which caught my eye. It was a lovely burst of colour on such a dull day.

On we went to Covent Garden which is already looking festive for you-know-what (I can't bring myself to mention the C-word yet).

I even spotted a Moomin outside of the very sweet Moomin Shop. I remember the books by Tove Jansson with great affection from when I was at primary school.

After lunch we caught the tube to Camden to visit the markets. The girls absolutely loved it there and went off shopping together. P, J and I went off for a wander amongst the stalls, but I have to say I found it much too busy for my liking. It is undeniably hip and happening, but was absolutely packed with people which made it hard to move around. We found a cafe and sat with a coffee while we waited for the girls.

I did enjoy a stroll around the attractive indoor market there which was more to my taste with lots of hand-made things for sale.

We caught the tube and train back to the flat where we were staying, said goodbye to J, and headed off home. I have to say that whilst I love the buzz of London, and the fact that there is so much to see and do there, I am a bit of a country mouse at heart and am always relieved to return home. We spent a day at home, and I noticed after all the concrete of the capital just how colourful the leaves of the horse chestnut are opposite our house.

However, we weren't there for long, as we soon set off for Plymouth. We were there for a couple of days to spend some time with B, our oldest. We had a walk around the Barbican which is in the old part of the city near the seafront, and has a lovely selection of independent shops. There's a button shop, jewellery shops, bookshops, craft shops and lots of cafes and bars. I didn't take many photos as it was a bit overcast and I thought I'd take some the next day when we had more time. However, the next morning we woke up to this ...

... Thick fog. The weather forecast said that it would lift by lunchtime, so we decided to go ahead with our plan of a walk on the Hoe, although the views across the Sound that we'd hoped for were unlikely. It certainly was very atmospheric and spooky, with hardly anyone out at 9 o'clock in the morning - appropriate for Halloween week.

Up on the Hoe, it was hard to find the lighthouse until we were almost upon it. I must say that standing next to a lighthouse in a thick mist is a very eerie experience. There were a few dog-walkers around, and everything sounded muffled and deadened.

We walked on along the seafront and could just make out the sea below us. It was a mild day, but had to wear raincoats as it was very wet.

These poor pigeons clearly didn't think much of the weather - they looked so bedraggled.

We had to laugh when we saw these telescopes dotted along the seafront. Visibility would not have been improved by spending 20p on one!

Around the corner we came upon some colour at last in the shape of these sweet vintage ice cream and doughnut vans. They were so jaunty they made us smile, and were playing some 1950s style jazz music which was very cheering.

By late morning the fog was showing no sign of lifting, so we headed for a cosy cafe which was also a bike shop and sat in the dry with a coffee. 

I gave up taking photos at this point because it stayed foggy all day, but we did enjoy our wander around Plymouth which is a really attractive and interesting city, full of history. Hopefully next time we visit the sun will return and we can enjoy those sea views that we were hoping for! Till then here's a photo of the Hoe and Plymouth Sound back in April this year when the sun was shining. 

If you're on half-term too, hope you're having a good one x


  1. Yes, half term for us too, we haven't gone away but just enjoyed days at home and the odd popping out to meet up with friends. And of course the all important truck or treating last night!
    Your trips away sound really great, my lot would be a nightmare, especially my eldest (autistic) one, lovely as he is it's all very stressful for him and hence me! and while I don't want to wish the time away, I do look forward to having trips away, even big day trips!

    1. I must say that when my three were little trips to London could be very stressful indeed, especially if a push-chair was involved. Our trips now are definitely calmer, and browsing in shops etc is now a feature when it wasn't before. I still can't believe that my oldest ones are now so grown up that they catch trains to meet us! :)

  2. I've enjoyed reading about your trips this half-term. The weather has been a mixed bag but you've made the most of it. We used to live in London and one of our favourite places is Covent Garden. It's a great city, with LOTS happening, but like you, we're now happy to live somewhere less busy.
    My older daughter just started reception and she's knackered. So we've spent most of half term having easy days at home.
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend.


  3. I've enjoyed looking at your blog too. It sounds like you've had a relaxing, creative week together. Yes, London is a place that I love to visit, but I definitely prefer to live in a country town. hope your daughter is settling in to school and has recharged her batteries over half term - I remember how the new routine took a lot of getting used to for the whole family x

  4. Your half term trips look fun. I too enjoy visiting London for very short periods whereas some where smaller closer to the sea such as Plymouth I prefer! The fog looks so thick there, we had it very thick one day last week too.It's a while since I have visited that button shop too! Sarah x

    1. Yes it was a real pea-souper! And that button shop is a little traesure-trove, isn't it? a great place to spend time on a foggy day :) x


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