Standing still is boring. Get outside!

The Lovely Lakes

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Mum and dad have arrived!!! 🙂 🙂 It was so exciting to see them pull up at the house in Nett’s little red car. It’s crazy how as they hop out they look just as if they’ve come to visit us in Newie and it feels like it was only just a few weeks ago we saw them! Mum and dad have a month holiday here in the UK and we get to spend about 2 weeks with them. That night we had a lovely family dinner (one thing I do miss about being away), a catch up on all the goings on back home and travels and planned the next few days trip to Wales.

We drove our camper and followed the others along the north coast of Wales from Manchester to the little island of Anglesey. Prince William and Duchess Catherine happen to be here at the moment with their new babe Georgie but we didn’t manage to spot them… which left Jono bitterly disappointed. Mum had wanted to go on a bit of a nostalgia tour while she was in the UK, checking out a couple of childhood haunts hence the random location of Anglesey. Mum holidayed at the beach here every year as a child. While I found it lovely…the beach has nothing on South West Rocks and Australia and we didn’t hesitate to let mum know we approved of her choice of immigrating.

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Next stop was Llanberis where Jono and I found a quiet layby next to Llyn (Lake) Padarn and mum, dad and nett checked into a lush B’n’B! It feels like winter again here. The weather is a bit miserly and cool but I’m enjoying the change from the heat and its nice to rug up and find a cosy pub to sip a cider in with the fam, which is exactly what we did. Dad and Jono tried the local brews and we played an hilariously silly game of trivia before a hearty meal. Wales, your alright.

I have been to wales once before with Nett. We wanted to get up the top of Mt Snowdon but it was misty and the rain foiled our attempt.  7 years later we get up in the morning to try again. As I pulled open the curtain of our van to look up at the mountain I could barely make out the sheep standing 10m away. Sigh. Not to be.

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My father is an engineer, or as Jono calls him an ‘Engineers Engineer’. He loves it. So that morning we join the oldies in a “Magic Mountain” tour. At risk of being engineering geeks we really enjoyed it! When it was started 1984 the Power Station was regarded as one of the world’s most imaginative engineering and environmental projects and today its operational characteristics and dynamic response capability are still acknowledged the world over. The Dinorwig Power Station is the largest scheme of its kind in Europe. If you google it there’s a website full of facts and figures that would make you weep with the nerdiness of it. It’s the only hydro electric faculty in the UK all built inside Elidir Mountain it’s pretty awesome and most of all its pretty green! 🙂

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Post return from Wales it was time to farewell our ugly but faithful wicked van. It needed dropping In London and once again my ‘I can’t drive it’ excuse saved me. Jono took one for the team and drove it to London while I had a whole day of chilling.

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The following excerpt is from Jono as he took a tour of Lords on this magical ‘no Clare day of freedom’ and I don’t think I’ll be able to express how exciting he found it….

JONO TO INSERT HIS STORY WHEN HE GETS AROUND TO IT

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As there was no way we could all fit in Nett’s little car with all our stuff Jono and I went to Manchester for the arvo and caught a train to Windermere. Nett had hired an amazingly cute little cottage in the Lakes District in a tiny 14th century town called Near Sawrey, which isn’t actually near Sawrey at all, it’s inbetween Hawkshead and Lake Windermere. 2 houses down from Beatrix potters house! I love the lakes district, it’s beautiful, green and rural with lots of little towns full of cottages and cosy tea houses! House called Ees Wyke Cottage.

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After filling the car with food we made our way to the house for a week of relaxing fun. It’s so nice being able to chill out with mum, dad and Nett. During the week we had so many laughs, delicious meals, wonderful hikes and played any hilarious games. The house didn’t have wifi so Jono volunteered very selflessly to wander up to the pub each evening to check what was going on and plan the next part of our trip. While he was at it he also tried all the pubs different beers, lucky man.

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I love a good glass of wine and a board game, particularly a word game. Haha, what a nerd but it’s true and throughout the week we played a fair bit of Articulate. It always ended in mum crying in laughter and dad defending his complete inability to give good word clues. Here’s one of his finest  “it’s like you’re having a hop but your not” – the answer you were supposed to guess …? Only bad part was me getting way to into it and telling Jono, quite passionately that ‘lumps in tomato sauce’ was the worse description of baked beans I’d ever heard and him being really offended. Probably the biggest surprise was just how good Nett was (no offence Nett). Having never played the game before, she picked it up really quickly, and possibly enjoyed it more than she expected too?

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Dad and Jono found a mad old foozball table in the garage and played it for hours. Jono and I even convinced him to have a go at need for speed on the PlayStation and one night I wandered into the lounge room before I went to bed and found Dad playing it by himself, too competivtive to let the computer beat him.

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Since the sun was out for a lot of the week we decided that to make the most of the last week of the English Summer a picnic was in order.  We went in search of the perfect location. Seconds before I started chewing on the seatbelt we found the perfect spot! A grassy knoll in a farmers field overlooking the lake, bliss. On day Jono and dad had some quality time fishing on the lake together while mum and I had a nice wander, coffee and a chat. I love my mum and dad!

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Considering it was still summer it was pretty chilly at times. One wet day we popped into small town (Ambleside) for a wander and a coffee. It has such a cool outdoors vibe everywhere, the place was full of hikers and there were awesome climbing and hiking gear shops everywhere – I wanted to buy so much stuff. IMG_7957

There are blackberries on all the hedge rows everywhere! We’ve been loving it and stop to pick them whenever we can. It’s a bit hit and miss sometimes you get a fully sour one but most are de- lish! So on the way home from the pub one night we picked a massive bowl of blackberries on way home for dessert, felt like being a kid again.

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We were up at the local pub with mum and dad one evening when my mum makes this squeaking noise and jumps back! Before I had much of a chance to sus out what had happened Jono erupts in laughter! The barman who was also the owner happened to find it funny, and rightly so, to let down a massive plastic spider dangling from a fishing line onto the poor unsuspecting patron sitting in the seat underneath! Classic!

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We said goodbye to Nett at the cottage and mum and dad drove us into Windermere for a final goodbye 😦 it was very sad but it won’t be long till we see them all again. After seeing us Jono the train they went back into the car park to leave but since our train was still there they peeped over the fence like 2 cute kids and waves us off! Miss you guys!

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To cap off our trip Manchester and the UK we joined thousands of fans and made our way to the Football!! Manchester City was playing Hull City and it was a cracker of a sunny afternoon! Man CIty won whoo!

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We couldn’t believe it had already been a month in England! It was sad to say goodbye to mum and dad and Nett but we were pretty excited to be going to Portugal! Jono has always wanted to go! So we were up early for the train, hoisted out packs on our backs again and set out. At the train station we find that the only train of the morning that would make our flight had been cancelled due to not enough staff? What kind of a reason is that? Luckily, there was a really nice English couple with their son who needed to catch the same train. They offered us a lift into Manchester and we were back on track. How lovely!

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