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Circle B Bar or alligator scouting

On Sunday we went east to see some alligators. At Circle B Bar Reserve by Lake Hancock you can walk the trails and you will come across alligators.

At the entrance to the reserve

The trail were you’re most likely to see them was closed today due to them nesting. You’re not recommended to come between an alligator mama and her baby. We saw one gator, a raccoon, a sunbathing turtle and several birds.

The walk was warm but still nice – in and out of the shadow from the trees and some breeze.

By the entrance
Lovely walk on the Oak trail
Dragonfly
Sunbathing turtle
I believe this is some type of Egret
The head and back of an alligator
A Great Blue Heron
I think this is a Little Blue Heron
Lake Hancock
Dragonfly
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Ybor City

Today we went to Ybor City (pronounced Eebor) which is located northeast of downtown Tampa. We were lucky to have some clouds while walking down 7th Street but it was still HOT!!!

The arch at one of the entrances to 7th Street

Ybor City is a National Historic Landmark District and founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in the 1880s. He along several other cigar manufacturers as well as immigrants from mainly Cuba, Spain and Italy.

7th Street is the home of several restaurants or cigar shops. Ybor City was unique in the south as a successful town almost entirely populated and owned by immigrants.

Beautiful street signs.

We also tried the street car which you can take from Ybor City and down to downtown Tampa and back.

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Coffee morning

Today I went to my first coffee morning with the other spouses. It was the first in a long time apparently as the last one they had was in March last year a couple of days before the base went in lockdown as well as rest of Tampa.

My contribution but picture’s from the internet.

The afternoon was spent in the pool – even I’m starting to enjoy it. Went in twice today 😊

Not a big pool but enough for us
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Driving alone in Tampa

Yeah, today I took the car and went shopping myself.

I found my way there and back but not like Peter showed me 🤪 I was so focused on finding the way avoiding the larger street that I missed it and had to take the larger road. Was easy going there but coming back I couldn’t remember the name of the street I was supposed to be taking so I found a new way 😊

Spent the afternoon in the pool ☀️

First visitor arrived today 😉

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Welcome to Tampa

Now Peter and I have started our next adventure in Tampa. Peter actually arrived already in February. He was home for two weeks to see family and friends and we travelled back together.

The flight between Copenhagen and Washington was long and boring but on time and went smoothly. We had a few hours at Dulles before heading south and everything went nicely until everyone was seated it was time for take off. Apparently a hatch was broken and needed to be fixed and then approved before we could take off. That took three hours sitting in the plane waiting and a two hour flight all of a sudden became a five hour flight. Glad to be picked up at the airport and driven straight home. We went straight to bed and by then we had been up for 24 hours. Not much sleep on the flights either even if the Atlantic flight wasn’t fully booked.

First day was driving around to learn how to find my way around. The street system is fairly easy to remember and traffic similar to London. We also saw some of downtown Tampa before we went grocery shopping.

Along Bayshore towards Tampa downtown.

The next day Peter worked but came home to get me to fix a ID at the MacDill AFB and then later meeting the bank to get a debit card. Later in the evening we took Peter’s assistance to the airport.

Saturday we went to St Petersburg to sign the papers for Peter’s motorbike which should have been delivered several weeks ago. But due to the pandemic the factory had problems to build it in time. We had lunch at the beach and it really felt like being back in Mombasa. Not the best food (good enough) but the atmosphere makes up for it.

The Getaway
The Getaway
You could sit “indoors” if you preferred.
Peter’s enjoying the view
Shrimp ceviche

Today I drove for the first time and did find my way to both places we were going and without the navigator.

Cooling down in the pool
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It’s time to leave London

We have now been here for 3,5 years or rather 1333 days, we have been travelling to Wales, Scotland, Cornwall as well as other places in England. All together we have made about 440 outings while we’ve been here, met a lot of people and gained new friends.

We have enjoyed being here and would have loved to stay longer – we haven’t done everything yet =) But it is time to leave, Felicia have finished her GCSC, Emelie want to apply for university, I have got a permanent position at the school I want to work at and Peter has been offered a really good job back home. It will be nice to be closer to family and old friends but we will be back and visit those of our friends who are still here. The other friends we will visit where they may end up and they are always welcome to come visit us in Sweden.

In a few hours, we are driving on to the ferry taking us to Hook of Holland and tomorrow morning we are driving back to our house. Thank you, UK, for a lovely time and we will never forget you – we will come back and enjoy you even more.

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Buckingham Palace and Royal Mews

Our last outing in UK before heading back to Sweden, Buckingham Palace is only open during the summer when the Queen is not living there. The palace was called Buckingham House when it was built in 1761 by George III for his wife Queen Charlotte. In 1826, it was changed into a palace and Queen Victoria moved in 1837 and since it has been the official residence for the royal family.

The palace has 775 rooms and include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. As the Queen is not at the palace everything has been changed into a display area to also show some of the gifts she has received over the 60 years as a reign.

We also went to the Royal Mews to see the carriages and coaches and we also saw 4 of the horses. They run transportation for the royal family by both cars and horse drawn carriage. They also still train the horses that are used for pulling the royal carriages.

At the mews, we could take pictures but at the palace we weren’t so the pictures are borrowed.

Front of Buckingham Palace

Ball room (royalcollection.org.uk)

Blue Drawing Room (royalcollection.org.uk)

East GalleryBlue Drawing Room_royalcollection.org.uk

Grand Hall (royalcollection.org.uk)

Grand Staircase (royalcollection.org.uk)

Buckingham Palace garden

Two of the horses we saw today

Royal Mews

The girls infront of the Semi-state Landau

Queen Alexandra’s state coach built in 1865

Irish state coach exhibitied in 1851

The glass coach acquired in 1911 for the coronation of King George V

Scottish state coache was originally built in 1830

One of the royal cars

 

Gold state coach

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Museum day with the girls

Today the girls and I had a day at Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A Museum. Peter was also supposed to come along but as we are moving in a few days he was fitting the car roof box yesterday and saw that the fittings don’t match the roof rack…. Well he didn’t look very sad when we left him.

All museums are too big to do all of it and frankly 3000 stones don’t interest me that much. At the Natural History Museum, we saw the dinosaurs and the earth exhibition and at Science we did Engineer you future and Who am I but wanted to do Mathematics: The Winton Gallery as well but didn’t want to go up the stairs again when we came down.

We took a quick visit to V&A Museum as well but by then the girls where done with museums and we left. They did have energy for some shopping so we went to do that before returning home. A nice but warm day!

On our way into the middle of the earth

Dinousaur at Natural History Museum (well not the girls)

The world at Science Museum

Reading at Who I am

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Battle of Britain bunker again

Today I had booked a visit to the Battle of Britain bunker in Uxbridge for Peter, some colleagues and friends. The only reason this bunker has been preserved is because it was still used up until 1974 when it was closed but someone was clever enough to suggest it would be kept as a memory of the battle.

We saw the table where they had some idea of where the enemy’s and their own planes where, how it was done and everyone’s duty, visitors such as Churchill and all the activities going on. We also saw a documentary done in 1990 with pilots that was on active duty during the battle. Sadly, they are no longer around but it’s great that they did the recording when they did.

When we were done our group went for lunch at the White Bear in Ruislip where we had a lovely lunch before everyone had to head back to work or free time.

A replica made out of plastic as the real one was used for spareparts

The map where they could see where the enemy where but as well where their own pilots.

The board where they could see which squadrons that were ready to fight or needed to return to base.

 

Children were sent to the country side to survive the bombings of London

Famous word from Mr Churchill

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Middle Temple Hall Lunch

After been to the Middle Temple Hall and seen the impressing hall, where they serve lunch every day for members and guests, we decided to go there for lunch. It was a three-course lunch and a salad buffet as well – today they served pumpkin soup or pea soup as a starter, for the main course you could choose between steak with roasted potatoes, fish & chips or a vegetarian dish and for dessert there where 3 different cakes (chocolate, lemon and carrot) as well as fresh fruit and berries. If we could have eaten more we could also have cheese.

The lady who showed us to our seats became our private informer, we asked her several questions about the hall but also about the main table and the only table with a white tablecloth. It is only high court judges who are allowed to sit by the main table and if they want to have lunch with their wife or other guests they have to sit by the table with the white table cloth.

 

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Spencer House tour

Today I visited the Spencer house.

From its conception Spencer House was recognised as one of the most ambitious and splendid private palaces ever built in London and is today the city’s only great eighteenth-century house to survive intact.

They started building it 1756 and was done by 1766, the 1st Earl of Spencer ordered it and the land is still owned by the Spencer family (Lady Diana’s family).

Some of the pictures are from their website.

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V&A Museum tour

Today I was at the V&A Museum and got a guided tour through the British Galleries.

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Yearly visitors are here again =)

Evelina, Helen, Henke and Hampus flew with me back to London after I had helped my parents. We have had a few fantastic days together again and now they have returned to Sweden.

Me at SkyGarden

Felicia and Evelina at SkyGarden

Henke, Helen, Evelina and Hampus at SkyGarden

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Been helping my parents

Went 10 days to Sweden and helped my parents to pack as they are moving out of their house and into a flat. Found a lot of things I thought were gone a long time ago.

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Benjamin Franklin House

Today I visited Ben Franklin house, where Benjamin Franklin lived between 1757 and 1775. While lodging at 36 Craven Street, Franklin’s main occupation was mediating unrest between Britain and America, but he also served as Deputy Postmaster for the Colonies; pursued his love of science (exploring bifocal spectacles, the energy-saving Franklin stove); explored health (inoculation, air baths, cures for the common cold); music (inventing the glass armonica for which Mozart, Bach and Beethoven composed) and letters (articles, epitaphs, and his witty Craven Street Gazette), all while forging a hearty social life and close friendships with leading figures of the day.

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Middle Temple Hall

Today I visited Middle Temple Hall which is one of the four ancient Inns of Court. Inns of Court are the professional associations for barristers (lawyers) in England and Wales. All barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional accommodation. It is a self-contained precinct where barristers traditionally train and practice.

Middle Temple Hall was built between 1562 and 1573 and remains virtually unchanged to this day having survived the Great Fire of London and both World Wars. Middle Temple has one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan hall in the England with a double hammer beam roof carved from the oak of Windsor Forest and an elaborately carved screen made in 1574.

It was a fantastic tour and I will go back to have lunch there and make sure I visit the Temple Church nearby.

The entrance

The lamb and flag is the emblem of Middle Temple

The double hammer beam roof

One side of the Elizabethan hall with the carved screen

The Elizabethian hall

One of many nicely decorated chairs

The carved screen made in 1574 in the hall. The stained glass windows were removed at the beginning of WWII and stored. There was damage during the war to the window and the screen. All parts of the screen were gathered up after the WWII destruction and reassembled.

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Burn’s night 2017

Again we went to NHQ mess for the Burn’s Night where we had a three-dinner-course with haggis as a middle course. A fun evening in good company again!

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Whitechapel Bell Foundry

 

Today Peter and I went on a guided tour at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

Whitechapel Bell Foundry, known to be established in 1570, is the oldest manufacturing company in the UK. Bells of all sorts and sizes are manufactured, ranging from large church bells to musical hand bells, ship’s bells, level crossing warning bells, and a wide range of small bells for domestic clocks, pocket watches and musical boxes.

Two very famous bells came from this Bell Foundry: A bell originally cast at the Foundry in 1752 for the State House in Philadelphia and later known as the Liberty Bell and in 1858 they cast Big Ben, a 13,5-ton hour Bell at the Palace of Westminster.

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Poppy Factory visit

We went to visit the Poppy Factory in Richmond who supports ex-servicemen/women who has been injured or disabled in war. They get help to find a new career and some of them work in the factory but they do help a lot more.

It’s a charity and has been around since 1922 when they started by helping the servicemen returning from World war 1. They make the royal wreaths and other wreaths that are laid down on Remembrance Sunday.

It was really interesting to listen to and really nice to see how the poppies are made – we even got to make our own.

 

 

 

The entrance to the Poppy factory

The machine cutting the petals for the poppy

Another cutting machine

The Royal Navy wreath

The original cross for the unknown soldier

The founder of the Poppy Factory – Major George Howson MC

The Royal wreaths – The Queens, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry

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A cold evening in January

Tonight I gathered my friends for another guided pub tour – as always a fantastic evening. Thanks for coming!

The Golden Boy of Pie Corner

Canadian and Swedish friends

Colleen’s gin & tonic at The Viaduct Tavern

Swedish and American friends

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Skiing in Sweden

This year we didn’t stay in Northwood to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve but went to northern Sweden to go skiing with Peter’s side of the family. His parents as well as his sister with her family had all driven to Björnrike to ski and celebrate Christmas.

The weather was lovely and even if I didn’t ski we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the lovely surroundings.

We drove down to our hometown to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends before we headed south to my family and then go back to London.

Beautiful sun set

We saw reindeers when driving to the resort

Peter and Felicia in the slopes

Another sun set

The girls <3

Even Santa was out skiing

The slop system at the resort

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Christmas Walk in London

I had a nice walk in a Christmassy London today.

A stiletto in Golden Square

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Northwood Liberal Synagogue

After my English class today, I joined the tour at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue. Very interesting!


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Winter Ball 2016

We had a wonderful time at the Winter Ball at the NHQ. The girls thought the best was the chocolate fountain =)

We weren’t really impressed by the reindeer they had by the entrance

White chocolate fountain enjoyed by the girls

Peter and I at the dining table

Mary, me and Colleen

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Dick Whittington tour

I was on a tour today that was all about Sir Richard Whittington who was an merchant and politician during the latter part of the medieval time. He is also the real-life inspiration for the English folk tale Dick Whittington and his cat, which has very little to do with the real Whittington as he didn’t come from a poor background nor if he ever even owned a cat.

He was a member of parliament and a sheriff of London as well as he was Lord Mayor of London four times. He financed different public projects, such as a hospital ward for unmarried mothers, and drainage systems in the poorer areas of medieval London. He also donated his fortune to a charity which, nearly 600 years later, continues to assist people in need.

But as usual we heared a lot of other history on our walk around London.

The Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange

The Gresham family crest is a grasshopper

Dick Whittington and his cat

The house where Sir Richard Whittington lived once

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Embassy of Finland in London

Tonight, Peter and I was invited to the Finnish Ambassador’s residence here in London for some Christmas drinks and nibbles together with other defense attachés. A nice evening with nice people.

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Lucia in London

It was time again for celebrating St Lucia together with other militaries stationed here in London. The department of Defense at the embassy arrange it every year and it’s really appreciated by everyone that are invited.

The Lucia train consist of the middle school students at the Swedish school in London, they come and sing and the guests will applaud after each song if not told that you do that once they are done.

In Sweden, it is done on December 13 and everywhere – schools, pre-schools, care homes, work places, shopping malls and churches, from the youngest to the oldest it is liked. We do not only listen to them sing but also eat Lucia buns (with saffron), ginger snaps and drink glögg (a sweeter mulled wine).

Photo by Claudia Gründer – Claudia Gründer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3221537

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A birthday weekend in Edinburgh

When Peter was in Sudan he worked with a British officer (among others) and last time we were in Edinburgh we had dinner together. Peter has also met him in London when he’s been here.

We were invited to his birthday party at Craigiehall, outside Edinburgh, together with a large group of whom we had not met any before. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed the food and company. We stayed at Craigiehall overnight and after breakfast the next day we went back to Edinburgh and did visit the castle.

We didn’t do that last time as it was the tatoo at the time and so many tourists. This time we took our time, only thing was that we had to carry our bags as the line for leaving them at the station was too long. It’s a nice castle and different from other castles we have seen.

Craigiehall

Craigiehall – close up

Edinburgh castle

 

Mons Meg – she kept enimies of Scotland at a distance 500 years ago.

The dog cemetery – for officers dogs during Queen Victoria reign

 

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Hindu Temple

Today I went on a tour to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir here in London. No passports were needed to go to India for a few hours. 

The whole world is one nest” – Atharva Veda

”We are the birds of the same nest.
We may wear different skins,
We may speak in different tongues,
We may believe in different religions,
We may belong to different cultures,
Yet we share the same home – Our Earth.
Born on the same planet, covered by the same skies,
gazing at the same stars, breathing the same air,
we must learn to happily progress together
or miserably perish together.
For humans can live individually, but can only survive collectively.”

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NAWC visiting Northwood HQ

For some time, the NAWC ladies have asked if it would be possible to have a guided tour at the base. Many of the ladies have lived nearby for years and years but know nothing about it or have never been there. For us who can go there anytime it’s nothing special, there’s a coffee shop, gym, hairdresser, church and a thrift shop, but they were curious.

The tour ended with a small coffee morning that ladies connected to both the base and NAWC helped out with.

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Northwood School

Been to the new Northwood School where Felicia go, Emelie only attended the old one. The school is well planned with every department having their needs met. Especially the science floor – my fellow teachers in Sweden teaching science would love this.

Lecture Hall

 

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Fashioning a reign @ Windsor

I went with some friends to see Queen Elizabeth’s fashion over the years. The exhibition was held in 3 places but we chose to go to Windsor.

 

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Fleet Street & Middle Temple

From Lloyds Bank Law Courts Branch

Two Temple Place

The Edgar Wallace pub in the corner

The Devereux – 2nd Earl of Essex

The sign for St Clement Danes and fire insurance

The lamb and flag of Middle Temple and some former gas lamps.

Temple church (where part of Da Vinci Code was filmed)

Inside St Dunstan-in-the-West

17 Fleet Street

Dragon guarding the City

Lloyds Bank – Law Courts Branch

My exploring took me today to Fleet Street and Middle Temple.

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Visit to FGS Karlsruhe

We were invited to the German ship FGS Karlsruhe who was visiting London. It was moored outside HMS Belfast in River Thames, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

We had a lovely evening with a lot of food and company. It was the ships last visit to London before being decommissioned next year (2017).

Picture from Wikipedia

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Guy Fawkes @ Cassiobury Park

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

On the 5 of November England is still celebrating/remembering what happened in 1605 when Guy Fawkes was caught guarding gunpowder that was placed under the House of Lords. He was part in a plot to kill the King, James I. Talk about not putting the past behind you =)

Me, Felicia and Robbie went to Cassiobury Park in Watford to see the fireworks as this was the first year it didn’t rain on the evening. First they burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes and then there is fire work. There were so many people we could see the fire but not the effigy.

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Kings Cross Rejuvenation

Kings Cross has been an area for a long time where people only went if they had to, it was a red-light district. The city decided to claim the area back when the Eurostar started to operate out of Kings Cross station. Even if this started already in the 90s they are still building and bringing it back to its old glory where the trains delivered coals among other things. They are keeping the outer walls of some of the old buildings and builds new behind.

The area is called Kings Cross and the train station is called Kings Cross/St Pancras.


John Betjeman was one of the founding members of Victorian Society who worked to save Victorian architecture, which St Pancras is.


Sir Nigel Gresley was one of Britain’s most famous locomotiv engineers. He designed fast, elegant and powerful locomotives including the Flying Scotsman and Mallard, the fastes locomotives in the world.

One of many companies having their headquarters in the area.


Paul Day’s sculpture The Meeting Place


The base of Paul Day’s sculpture The Meeting Place

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Hampus and Emma spends the weekend in London

My cousin’s son and his girlfriend came to visit. I picked them up at the airport and when they walked out my first thought was that they missed getting their luggage as they had no bags. But they had forgotten to book bags for going to London, luckily, they had it booked for going home. They just needed to by bags so they could take everything home they shopped here.

It was nice to have them here even if we just saw them for breakfast and when they came home to sleep. I’m glad that they came!

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Nordic Defense attaché dinner

Tonight, we were invited to the Finnish defense attaché and his wife for dinner with the other Nordic and Baltic attachés and their wives. The hostess had together with the chef put together a lovely dinner with food from all the countries – Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Sweden.

The food was delicious and looked amazing. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the food…

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My parents visiting

As mum and dad have now sold their house and is going to move beginning of next year they decided to come visit before all the packing and then unpacking. We had a few lovely days together where we did mostly spend it together but also got to do some outings. Took them to Sky Garden as they have never been there and I thought it would be something they both would like to do.

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Bombay Sapphire Distillery visit

Together with some other Swedish friends we went to Bombay Sapphire Distillery for a guided tour. First part was with audio guide but then the last part inside the distillery it was by a lady who gave us the insight of how to make gin.

A part of the tour was to smell a range of different ingredients used in making gin, you were there plotting it on a piece of paper what you liked. After the tour you take your paper and give to the bartender, he then makes you a gin drink based on this ingredients. As I was driving I got a small bottle of gin and Fevertree tonic to go.

 

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Bloomsbury & Foundling Hospital

Today I went on a tour in the Bloomsbury area with my women’s club.

The clockmaster that invented the chronometer that allowed sailors to navigate more accurate.

Outside the site where Rossetti, Morris and Burne-Jones lived in 1851

She was an English crime writer as well as a poet and translator

Thomas Coram was a sea farer and the founder of the Foundling Hospital

A piece of art that symbolises the hospital and the abandoned children.

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell outside Great Ormond Street Children Hospital. SirJames Barrie donated his royalties for the play version of Peter Pan to the Hospital.

Russel Square

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Anzac Cemetery in Harefield

Today we went to Harefield and the Anzac Cemetery. The hospital in Harefield, Harefield Park was during world war l used as an Australian military hospital. Those who died there were buried with military honors in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church.

Being there we met a man from Australia who asked Peter to take a picture of him and the stone – his grandmother’s brother was buried here. He was told by the family that they wanted a picture.

She is the only staff that is buried here.

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Deeds Not Words

Today I went to London for a guided tour about the women of WW1. Many worked for the first time and still didn’t have any rights. Strong women that carried the country through tough times.


This lady was killed by the Germans for treason – she helped a lot of soldiers to escape from Belgium after it was occupied by Germany.


Where The London of Economics and Political Science is today the organisation of receiving Belgian refugees started.


From this post office a lot of letters were sent to the west front.


This tin Queen Mary made to send to all soldiers fighting the first Christmas 1914.


Ivor Novello wrote a famous song that become very popular during the war – today known as Keep the homefires burning.


Where the doctors were female – Endell Street Military Hospital 1915-1919


The words of the suffragettes.


Dame Agatha Christie DBE

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Girl friends visiting

A group of friends came to visit, as they were so many they stayed in a hotel in London. We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing as everyone have been here before but we did spend the time together walking around, talking, laughing and just enjoying.

We had Afternoon Tea, ate at Sartori, Carluccio’s and La Perla and some shopping before they were going back home.

 

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Peter & Felicia watching Zlatan

Manchester United with Zlatan visited Watford. Of course Peter and Felicia was there almost secretively cheering for Zlatan from the most devouted Watford stand. Surpisingly Watford crushed United. It was great to see him on the pitch though.

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Motown Musical

We went to see the musical Motown which was arranged from the base. We took Jesper with us and I hope he enjoyed it.

The girls and I liked it even if there was a lot of music that was new to us. We liked the story, the singers and actors as well as the music.

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Having Jesper staying with us

In Swedish schools the students do work experience when they are 15 and 16 years old, for the 16-years-olds it’s two weeks during the fall. The son of our friends asked if he could stay with us and do his work experience in London, he was going to work at the Swedish store Totally Swedish.

We are looking forward having him here.

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Tishit-Stolla family

When we arrived here in Northwood Felicia couldn’t continue with her German language studies as her school only offers French. As she was 1,5 years behind of the others she needed help with her oral presentation, her parents not being able to help her. At least she says we don’t speak French, Peter and I think it sounds good =)

In my English class I have a French guy whom I asked if he could help Felicia to be able to get the pronunciation right. He has come around to help a couple of times and now it was time to invite him and his family over for dinner.

We served typical Swedish food – meatballs with cream sauce, lingonberry and pickled cucumber.

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Emelie has found job

After coming back from Sweden and before going to Paris Emelie went around in Northwood applying for a job. She had handed in her CV at several places and was hoping to find something local to avoid commuting.

While in Paris she had switched off her phone and turned it on again entering UK. She had a missed called from Costa Coffee and contacted them the day after by going there, they wanted her to come in and do a trial shift to see if they wanted to hire her.

She got the job!!! She will now train to become a barista and we know she will be the best <3


Picture from www.research-live.com

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Notting Hill Carnival

Over the years, I have wanted to go but never got around doing it as there was always something else happening. But this year we got around to do it and both girls came along as well as Rebecca, Kicki and Sven, who’s here for a year.

We saw the parade as well as walking around having some food. It’s always a lot of people but nice to have done it.

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Emelie and Peter in Paris

When Peter, Felicia and I went to Paris in February Emelie couldn’t come along as she had school. We promised her to take her once school was done so she could also experience Paris. She could bring Peter or me and figured that Peter’s credit card was better to bring than mine =)

They had beautiful days but warm, almost to the point they were melting.

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Felicia’s birthday

Felicia decided not to have any birthday party with friends here. We woke her up by singing and giving presents and then we spent the day together. In the evening we went out for dinner to a local restaurant of her choice. She was pleased with her day and her parents can’t believe it’s 16 years since she was born.

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Visit from Mia and Leif

Our lasts days without the girls, Mia and Leif came from Brussels to visit. We had a few nice days together with sightseeing, food and lovely company.

They lived here when we arrived but left during our first summer, they have given us plenty of tips where to go and what to see here in UK. So I was very pleased to be able to show them something they hadn’t done while living here for 4 year.

We went to Sky Garden and they liked it.


Picture borrowed from insider-london.co.uk


Picture borrowed from skygarden.london

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Winchester

As the girls are still in Sweden it was just Peter and I who went on a daytrip. We decided to go to Winchester which is about 1,5 hours’ drive from Northwood if traffic is good, which it hardly ever is, so we had a 2,5-hour drive but we got there.

We started at the tourist information to see what else there was except the cathedral. We were surprised that most places closed already at 5 pm but decided to do as much as possible in the hours we got.

Winchester dates back to the Roman time when the town was called Venta Belgarum in 9th century. King Alfred the Great did changes to it so that he could better defend it against the Vikings. In the city center, there is a statue of King Alfred the great. King Alfred ruled Wessex from 871 until his death in 899. At the time of his enthronement the Vikings had taken control and were threatening Wessex.

We decided not to go inside the cathedral and if the time allowed in the end we would do it later. The cathedral was built in 1079 and is one of the largest in Europe as it is the longest overall of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe, it’s supposed to have the longest nave as well.

Where the Abbey house stands today was Nunnaminster founded during the years of 899-902 by the queen of King Alfred as a nunnery. The name was later changed to St Mary’s Abbey and survived until the late 1530s. In the 1700 Abbey House was build and it’s today the official residence for their Mayors.

We also saw the City Mill that was built in 1086 and then rebuilt in 1744.

We also went to see the Great Hall in the Winchester Castle, it’s where King Arthur’s Round table is and the Great Hall is the only surviving part of the castle today. The castle was built by William the Conqueror and the Great Hall was later added by Henry lll.

 

By the time, we reached the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Nobel Poverty it was closed but we could still look at it from the outside. In 1130s it was started to aid pilgrims on their way to Canterbury and it is the largest medieval almshouse (sv=fattighus) in Britain.

 

Winchester

We had a wonderful day in Winchester and going back home we stopped at Bombay Sapphire Distillery. We are going back there for sure!

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Visit to Sweden

Nu är Peter och jag tillbaka i London efter 2 intensiva veckor i Sverige. Vi hann både vara i Blekinge och Skåne och fick träffa de flesta vännerna även om det inte var alla. När vi åker hem så här är det mest att åka från än det ena stället till det andra. Ibland önskar man att vi hade haft något eget som folk kunde ha kommit till men det fungerar inte heller eftersom vi har vänner och släkt sprida i Blekinge och Skåne.

Denna gången skulle vi dessutom hinna med att ha student- och födelsedagsfest för båda tjejerna och då fick vi samlat många på en gång. Vi är ju hemma mitt i semestern vilket innebär att många är iväg också. Tjejerna var nöjda med sitt firande och vi hade sett till att beställa det mesta så vi skulle slippa slita i flera dagar. Våra vänner som kom från Karlskrona hade med sig mat från ICA Maxi Karlskrona som hade en fantastisk grillbricka – massor av mat och gott var det. Enda problemet när man har så stor fest är att man inte riktigt hinner att sitta ner och prata med alla. Hoppas att ingen kände sig bortglömd!

Vi hann även med att åka på vår årliga tur till Bakken i Danmark och åka så många karuseller att vi alla är nöjda i ett år.

English

Peter and I are now back in London after 2 intensive weeks in Sweden. We went to Blekinge and Scania and saw most of our friends even if it wasn’t all of them. When we go to Sweden like this it’s mostly spent going from one place to another. Sometimes I wish we had a place where we could welcome everyone but it doesn’t work as we have friends and family in both Blekinge and Scania.

This time we also had planned a birthday and graduation party for the girls and then we could see a lot of people at the same time. We do come home during the holiday for a lot of people and that means that many are already book on other things. The girls had a great party and were happy about it, we had bought everything ready made to have more time with family. Our friends coming from Karlskrona brought the food and it was really nice and tasty. The only problem with having a big party is that you have so little time to spend with everyone. I hope no one felt left out!

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Cornwall in a few days

Nu är vi hemma igen efter att ha varit i Cornwall ett par dagar. Vi har hunnit se en hel del och även suttit en hel del i bilen men det var det värt.

Vi började resan med att åka förbi Stonehenge, inte så imponerade då vi tyckte att det påminde en del om Ales Stenar på Österlen. Nåja lite större kanske men ändå stenar. Vi fortsatte ner mot Cornwall och kom på att vi skulle åka till Jurassic Coast men då det låg lite åt fel håll slutade det med att vi doppade tårna i Atlanten på Charmouth Beach nära Burton Bradstock. Vårt boende låg inte i Cornwall eftersom det var omöjligt att hitta boende för de dagarna vi kunde åka i Cornwall. Vi hittade däremot boende i Torquay där vi utgick från resten av resan.

Vi bodde på ett fint hotell som låg otroligt vacker uppe på höjden i Torquay med utsikt över både stan och hamnen, vi hade båda våra rum med utsikt mot vattnet. På kvällen åt vi på hotellet och jag valde att äta fisk med tanken att vid kusten borde ett hotell med så hög standard ha en bra fiskkock, låt oss säga som så att jag hade fel…

Det blev ingen sovmorgon utan vi ville komma iväg så fort som möjligt för att få ut så mycket som möjligt av vår dag, uppskattades inte lika mycket av tonåringarna men de överlevde. Vårt första stopp, dag två, var vid Smeaton’s Tower i Plymouth där vi hade en fantastisk utsikt över stan. Peter och jag har varit i Plymouth tidigare men jag har inte varit vid fyren tidigare. Vi var fortfarande inte i Cornwall så nu var det dags att ta sig vidare.

Vi åkte till St Michael’s Mount dit vi kunde gå ut eftersom det var ebb men fick sen skynda oss tillbaka för att inte bli blöta om fötterna. St. Michael’s Mount är ett slott som ligger ute på en liten ö och som du kan ta dig till på två sätt, gåendes eller med båt. Du kan se här hur det ser ut.

När vi var klara här tog vi oss vidare till Land’s End som ligger längs ut på spetsen av Cornwall. När vi kom var det inte sol utan molnigt och blåsigt, vi gick runt och tittade och gick så långt ut vi kunde. När vi började gå tillbaka började dimman rulla in och sen gick det fort. När vi kom till bilen så var det som att titta på en filmjölksvägg när man tittade ut mot där vi varit bara ett par minuter tidigare och man såg inget.

Vi åkte då till Minack’s Theater som är en utomhusteater från 1932 men tyvärr hade de precis stängt så vi kom inte in och kunde titta på den. Men vi gick runt där det gick att se och såg då Porthcurno Beach som såg ut som om man befann sig någonstans på varmare breddgrader. Hade det varit varmare hade det varit mysigt att bada där men vädret var definitivt inte badväder.

Det började bli kväll och vi var alla hungriga så vi bestämde oss för att åka inom Falmouth för middag på väg tillbaka till Torquay.

Vår tredje dag började inte så där lysande, det regnade och var inget roligt alls. Men eftersom vi skulle åka tvärs över Cornwall visste vi att vi skulle sitta en del i bilen så då gjorde det inget. Vårt första stopp var på Jamaican Inn i Bolventor som är ett värdshus som ligger på Bodmin Moor och som förekommer i Daphne du Mauriers böcker. Värdshuset har funnit länge och sägs ha byggts 1750.

Efter att vi ätit lunch där så åkte vi vidare till Tintagel, vi tittade på det gamla postkontoret som byggdes runt 1380 innan vi vandrade vidare ut mot Tintagel Castle. Där slottet låg har man hittat lämningar från Järnåldern på att det redan då fanns ett fort här. Sin stora litterära berömmelse fick Tintagel Castle när Geoffrey Monmouth namngav det som stället där Kung Arthur avlades, och det sägs att Richard, Earl of Cornwall blev inspirerad att bygga ett slott här 1230.

Emelie ville inte klättra upp på höjden då hon inte gillar höjder, jag stannade hos henne medan de andra gick längst upp och tittade på vyn. Emelie och jag tittade på vyn från vår höjd vilken var betydligt högre än Emelie önskat. När de andra kom tillbaka ner gick vi ner till grottan (Merlin’s Cave) för att inspektera den och ta lite foton.

Alla var nöjda med resan och även om det blev en lång hemresa var det ganska så skönt att få komma hem och sova i sin egen säng igen.

English

Now we are back home after have explored Cornwall for a few days. We have seen quite a lot even if we also have spent a lot of time in the car.

We started the trip by going to Stonehenge, we weren’t so impressed as we thought it reminded a lot of Ales Stenar in south Sweden. Well bigger but still stones. We continued towards Cornwall and realized we wanted to go to Jurassic Coast but as it was the wrong way we ended up dipping our toes in the Atlantic Sea at Charmouth Beach near Burton Bradstock. We weren’t going to stay in Cornwall as we had problem finding accommodation for the days we wanted to visit Cornwall. We did find a great hotel in Torquay where we stayed and then did outings in Cornwall. The hotel was situated above the town and harbor and we had sea view from both our rooms. In the evening, we had dinner at the hotel and I figured that a nice hotel as it was, by the sea must have a chef good in cooking fish. Well let’s put it like this, I was wrong…

We didn’t sleep in the next morning as we wanted to get going and enjoy as much as possible of the day, wasn’t as appreciated by the teenagers but they survived. The first stop for day two was by Smeaton’s Tower in Plymouth where we had a wonderful view over the town as well as the harbor. Both Peter and I have been to Plymouth before but I have never been up by the light house. We still weren’t in Cornwall but now it was time to move on.

Our first stop in Cornwall was St Michael’s Mount where we could walk due to low tide but had to hurry back not to get wet feet. St Michael’s Mount is a castle on a small island just outside the Marazion Coast and you can go there by either walking or by boat. Look here to see the tide.

Once we were done we continued to Land’s End which is the most westerly point of mainland Cornwall and England. The weather wasn’t sunny but not bad, windy and cloudy, and we did start to walk around the site. When it was time for us to turn back the fog started to roll in and then it went quickly. By the time, we got to the car it was like a milky wall looking in the direction of where we came from just a few minutes before and you could make out the buildings.

We drove to Minack’s Theater, an outdoor theater from 1932, but sadly they just closed when we arrived and we couldn’t get in to look at it. But we walked around the area to see what we could see and then saw the Porthcurno Beach which looked like somewhere further south where the temperature is higher. If it had been better weather, we would have taken a swim there but sadly we didn’t have nice weather.

The evening was coming and we were all by now hungry and decided to go back to Torquay via Falmouth to have dinner.

Our last day didn’t start with good weather, it was raining and windy. But as we were going to cross all of Cornwall we knew we were going to spend some time in the car and then it didn’t matter. Our first stop for the day was at Jamaican Inn in Bolventor, an inn on the Bodmin Moor that has been there since 1750 and made famous by the author Daphne du Maurier’s book.

After we had our lunch there we continued to Tintagel, we saw the old post office house which was built in 1380 and then we walked towards the Tintagel Castle. Where the castle laid, they have found remains of an Iron Age fort. The castle became literary famous when Geoffrey Monmouth named it to be the place where King Arthur was conceived, and it’s said that Richard, Earl of Cornwall got inspired to build a castle here in 1230.

Emelie doesn’t like heights so she and I stayed halfway up while Peter and Felicia continued all the way up and looked at the fantastic view. There was a view where Emelie and I stood as well and way higher than Emelie liked. When the others came back we continued down to Merlin’s cave to look at it and make some pictures.

Everyone was happy with the trip and even if it was a long drive home it was nice to get home and sleep in my own bed.


Charmouth Beach

Charmouth Beach

View from our hotel in Torquay

Peter having a beer in the harbour of Torquay


Plymouth

St Micheal’s Mount

Land’s End

Porthcurno Beach

Jamaican Inn, Bodmin Moor

Old post office in Tintagel

Tintagel

King Arthur, Tintagel

Outside Merlin’s Cave

Merlin’s Cave

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Emelie’s Graduation

Idag så tog Emelie studenten här i Northwood. Här i England så firas detta inte alls utan man har vanligt skoldag och sen går var och en hem till sitt.

Farmor och farfar kom i onsdags och skulle vara med men Emelie hade även två kompisar som flög in på fredagen för att överraska henne. Mycket lyckat eftersom hon inte hade någon som helst aning om detta., mer än att hon tyckte det var konstigt att jag slängde ut henne för att jag skulle kunna fixa och förbereda. Dessutom behövde hon vara i väg när de kom.

Även Mia och Charlie kom bort till skolan för att gratulera Emelie, hon ville inte springa ut när skolan precis var slut eftersom alla yngre elever stod i vägen. Flera lärare stod och väntade för att se hur det skulle se ut när det var svensk student. När Emelie kom med sina klasskamrater så applåderade alla och kantade vägen ut. Vi stod utanför med skyltar och sjöng studentsången, Emelie tyckte det var lite pinsamt men glad var hon. Hon såg Kristina och Paulina direkt och det var dem hon gick fram till först.

Vi hängde blommor och nallar runt halsen på henne och gratulerade. Rektorn kom fram och pratade och även poliserna som skulle kolla så att det lugnt när alla skulle hem samtidigt kom fram och frågade vad det var för något. När vi stått där en stund så var det dags för Emelie att åka i väg med bilen vi fått låna av Rebecca en svensk tjej som bor här i Northwood nu också. Tyvärr var hon i Sverige och kunde inte vara med men vi får skicka lite kort till henne eller så får hon titta här när hon kommer hem igen. Peter körde några varv i Northwood men det är liksom inte samma sak när man är den enda som tar studenten.

Vi gick sen hem till oss för att fika svensk gräddtårta innan vi gick ner till ASK Italian för att äta studentmiddag. Emelie hade fått välja och tyckte att italienskt går alltid hem. Vi hade en fantastisk dag/kväll och Emelie verkade himla nöjd över dagen. Peter och jag är så stolta över henne för hennes kämpande och slit för att fixa det med ett helt nytt skolsystem de sista 2 åren.

English

Today Emelie graduated from Northwood. Finally, she’s done with school and next step will be university once she knows what she wants to study. Here in UK there is no celebration what so ever, it’s a normal school day and afterwards everyone goes home.

Peter’s parents arrived Wednesday to be here for her day but Emelie had also two friends who flew in on Friday to surprise her. Very successful as she didn’t expect it at all, well she did find it a bit odd that I made her leave the house as I wanted to arrange everything. She also needed to be out of the house when her friends arrived.

Mia, Charlie and Anna also came by the school to see her do her running out of school. She didn’t want to do the exit when the school just finished as all the younger kids would still hang around. Several teachers were standing outside to see how a Swedish graduation looks like. When Emelie came with her classmates everyone applauded and lined the sides when they left. We were standing outside with student posters and singing the student song, Emelie found it a bit embarrassing but was happy. With a big grin on her face!

We hanged flowers and other memorabilia around her neck when the head teacher came up to us. Even the police standing outside the school asked what we were doing, they were there to make sure that traffic and people behaved. After a while it was time for Emelie to leave in the car we borrowed from Rebecca, a Swedish girl living here in Northwood as well. Sadly, she and her family was not here to be a part of this but she can see the pictures once we are all back in Northwood. Peter drove around Northwood for a while before returning home. It’s not the same when you are the only one doing it.

The rest of us went home where we were joined by Emelie and Peter after a while. I had made a Swedish cream cake which we had and later in the evening we all went to ASK Italian to have the dinner to celebrate. It was Emelie’s choice and she seemed to be very happy about the whole day. Peter and I are so proud of her to do this and in a new school system for the last 2 years.

 

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Midsummer @ Philipson

Så var det dags för midsommar igen. Vädret har varit lite ostadigt men vi hade tur och kunde sitta ute även om det blåste en del. Som förra året var vi hos familjen Philipson där många av de andra svenskarna också var. Vi körde med knyte och fick ihop ett ganska så rejält midsommarbord.

Vi åt, sjöng snapsvisor och dansade runt midsommarstången.

English

It’s now time again for midsummer. The weather wasn’t really during the day but we were lucky and could sit outside even if it was a bit windy. As last year we celebrated at Philipson’s together with several of the other Swedes. We had a potluck and go a decent midsummer smorgasbord.

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Beer & food festival @ Alexandra Palace

Idag var hela familjen på utflykt med de andra två svenska familjerna här i Northwood. Givetvis hade männen hittat dagens utflyktsmål – en öl och matfestival. Det var en bit att åka med kommunala färdmedel men vi kom dit så småningom och en rejäl backe som vi fick ta oss upp för.

Vädret var väl så där men vi hade en härlig dag men en massa lokala ölsorter och ett ganska så stort utbud av mat.

English

The whole family went on a trip today together with 2 other Swedish families here in Northwood. It was of course the men who found the place to go – a beer and food festival. It was quite some way to travel by tube but we got there eventually and even climbed a hill getting there.

The weather wasn’t the best but we had a nice day tasting a lot of local beers and a fairly large variety of good food.

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Legal London & Old Bailey

Idag var jag på en Legal London guidad tur där vi till och med fick möjlighet att lyssna på en rättegång.

English

Today I went to a Legal London walk and could even listen to a case.