Archive for April, 2011

New adventures for Ella

Tuesday 19 to Friday 22 April – sunny, warmish

The past few days have been spent doing the usual baby things – feeding (actually watching Janet feeding), watching Ella sleeping, cuddling her, and doing the mundane things like the washing, ironing etc.

However, there have been a few exciting things:  Ella had her first bath at home; Ella had her first walk in her pram, accompanied by Janet, Adrian, Katharine, Eenie and the two of us, to walk Eenie up Shoppenhangers Road to her hotel.   Ella loved her pram and slept the whole way. The other exciting thing we did was that we went into Maidenhead to buy a few things and Janet had Ella in the baby carrier (we used to call them a possum pouch).  Several people stopped to look at the beautiful baby!!  See photos of both excursions in gallery.

Yesterday, we drove Katharine to Windsor/Eton Riverside railway station to meet her friend Melissa, who is currently over from Australia and working in a school nearby.  Katharine had a wonderful day, exploring the area in the sunshine and catching up with Melissa.

A lot of shenanigans took place yesterday evening while Katharine was trying to wake Ella up for a feed – Ella had slept for 5 hours !  Ella was fast asleep and despite Katharine’s efforts, it took quite some time to wake her.

Currently, Eenie is nursing Ella, who is asleep, Janet is checking her emails on her laptop, Adrian and Richard are both playing with photos on their laptops, Katharine is playing WiiFit and I am doing the blog on our laptop – the age of technology!

We are all thoroughly enjoying our time together.

 

Out to dinner, Ella comes home, Big surprise arrives

Friday 15 April

The four of us went out to dinner to the Novello Pub and had a wonderful night together – the food was lovely – see photo in gallery – and the company was magnificent.  Little did we know that this would be the last night that Janet and Adrian would be out to dinner as a “couple” because Janet’s labour started at midnight.  See separate blog about the birth – sorry this is out of order – we were a “little” distracted!!

Saturday 16 April

We picked up our hire car – a 7 seater VW Sharan in the morning, ready for our visitor (Katharine) on Monday.  We decided on a 7 seater so that we can all travel in the one car when we go anywhere.  (It was fortunate that we had picked it up as we used it to drive Janet and Adrian to hospital – they were able to sit in the back comfortably and Adrian was able to continue to support Janet during her contractions.)

Monday 18 April

Overcast but warm – 20 degrees

Janet and Adrian brought their special little bundle home from hospital today at approximately 1.30pm, to their home in Maidenhead – how exciting.  Ella enjoyed her first car trip and slept most of the way.  She settled into her home and had a quiet afternoon with Mummy and Daddy, while Nanna and Poppa went to the shops.

At approximately 4.30pm the two of us headed off to Heathrow to pick Katharine up from her flight from Australia and also a very big surprise for Janet and Adrian.  Katharine, Steve, Eenie and the two of us have been plotting and planning for months to organise for Eenie to come over to England to surprise Janet and Adrian.  We couldn’t believe that we managed to pull it off without anyone knowing or any of us putting our foot in it! The look on Janet and Adrian’s face when Eenie walked into their flat was priceless!!  See photos on Gallery.

Because Janet and Adrian’s flat only has 2 bedrooms, with us occupying one and Katharine camped on the lounge room floor, we organised for Eenie to reside in the hotel just up the road from Janet and Adrian’s flat – just 8 minutes walk away or 2 minutes in the car.

 

IT’S A GIRL !!

Our beautiful new grand-daughter, Ella Maree Sutton, was born at 6.50 am on Sunday 17 April 2011, after a very long labour.  She weighs 7lb 11 1/2 ozs and is 56 cm long. Janet and Adrian are over the moon.  We were very privileged to be able to be at the Wexham Park Maternity Hospital to encourage Janet as her labour progressed.  We were also fortunate in being able to see Janet, Adrian and Ella minutes after her birth.  We are all exhausted but extremely delighted with the new arrival!

See photos in gallery.

More English Experiences

Monday 11 April

Sunny, warmish 19 degrees

Caught up with some washing and ironing while Janet went to see the doctor – all is well.  In the afternoon we went upstairs to Pat’s flat for a lovely afternoon tea, with lots of chatter and laughter.  Pat is a delightful granny with a keen sense of humour and an adventurous spirit.  She was telling us about a 4 month cruise that she has booked on the Queen Elizabeth II later this year.

Tuesday 12 April

Overcast, cool 15 degrees

Janet and the two of us spent the morning visiting some of the nearby towns, looking at christening gowns and suits.  We went to Crowthorne and Bracknell and then, after lunch, we went to Marlow to a Bump and Baby shop, where we found some gorgeous baby clothes. (won’t purchase any until we know what colour we need!)

Wednesday 13 April

Overcast, cool  11 degrees

Most of the day was spent relaxing.  Janet went for a catch up with her antenatal ladies, while the two of us enjoyed a walk into Maidenhead.

Thursday 14 April

Overcast, cool

Janet took us for a walk down to the station to show us how to use the ticket machines and we purchased our tickets two off peak travel card, ready for this evening – 27 pounds for the two of us.  This entitled us to the overland train from Maidenhead into Paddington and any number of tube rides we needed to take plus our return journeys.

The three of us went out to lunch at the Shire Horse, which is a traditional English Pub set in the countryside not far from Maidenhead.  Richard had a beef and ale pie and a pint of Stella, which he thoroughly enjoyed; Sandy had Chicago chicken and Janet had a jacket potato.  We enjoyed our lunch and a chat while soaking up the atmosphere.

At 4.30 the two of us got tarted up, ready for our night out at Royal Albert Hall for the Mountbatton Festival of Music, our Christmas present from Janet and Adrian.  We walked down to the station, where we caught an express train into Paddington, which only took 20 minutes.  Once again we were impressed with the speed and quietness/smoothness of the express trains.  At Paddington, we headed to the Underground to catch our tube to High Street Kensington to discover that there was an issue with the signals on the line we wanted to use and the announcement was telling everyone to catch the next tube and change at the next station for the onward trip.  We were impressed when a nice gentleman (a Londoner) standing behind us was able to ensure us that we could catch the next train with him and he would show us where to get off and which train to catch to get us to where we needed to be. We enjoyed chatting to him and it turned out that the train we were on actually took us to High Street Kensington!

We walked along Kensington Road towards Royal Albert Hall and came to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and the Albert Memorial.  This is a monument to Prince Albert which was commission by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved late husband who died of typhoid in 1861.  We sat in the park and ate our sandwiches before heading over to the Hall.

The distinctive exterior of the Hall was inspired by the architecture of Northern Italy and was built from some 6 million red bricks and 80 000 blocks of decorative terracotta. The Hall, which was opened in 1871, is round in structure and holds 8,000 people in a combination of stalls, grand tier, circle of three tiers of boxes each holding 8 people and the upper gallery. Janet and Adrian had organised a box, number 15, in the Loggia section for us with a magnificent view.

The Mountbatton Festival of Music is the Massed Bands of Her Magesty’s Royal Marines, and this year was the 39th year of the Festival, which brings together the best musicians from Marine Regiments.

We were entertained with excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Buble, classical music as well as traditional military pieces.   The drums demonstration was even better than those that we had seen at the Edinburgh Military tattoo in 2009!

The time passed very quickly and too soon it was time for us to walk back to High Street Kensington Station for our tube to Paddington and the much slower train back to Maidenhead.  We arrived back at Maidenhead at midnight to hear the town clock striking 12 times.  Richard had borrowed an overcoat from Adrian, which he put on for the walk back to the flat!

We have had an absolutely wonderful day!  We really enjoyed our present as this is something that we would not have thought to do ourselves!

 

Sunshine Adventures

Friday 8 April evening

This evening was so lovely and warm that we decided to take our dinner out into the garden (see photos in the Gallery at right).  The four of us enjoyed our meal is this very pleasant surroundings.

Saturday 9 April (Janet’s due date)

Fine, Sunny, warm – 21 degrees

The four of us drove to Marlow to meet Janet and Adrian’s friends, Natalie and Neil, for a picnic down by the River Thames.  The six of us went shopping at Marlow Waitrose for some fresh crusty rolls, cold meats, cheese, etc for a picnic lunch.  We enjoyed our walk through Marlow to the large park beside the river, where we spread our blankets under a large tree.  We watched the ducks and swans swimming and relaxed along with the hundreds of other families out enjoying the sunshine.  We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with Natalie and Neil – we spent the afternoon talking, laughing and having fun.

Sunday 10 April – our Wedding Anniversary

Fine, Sunny, Warm – 22 degrees.

Sandy’s Mum and sister, Maria rang to wish us a Happy Anniversary and then the four of us (Janet, Adrian, Richard and Sandy) headed off on a little adventure out into the country to soak up more of the sunshine in the Chilterns.  Our first stop was Chalfont St Giles, where we went to the Chiltern Open Air Museum, which is a collection of historic buildings, dating back to the 16th Century.  We wandered through the farm and the little village, which had a green, cottages, forge and chapel.  We saw the Henton Mission Room, a church and the High Wycombe Toll House, which was where people had to stop and pay a toll if they were transporting livestock – we saw people dressed in Victorian clothes – one lady was making bread in her tiny kitchen.  The museum also has learning experiences for schools – they have various displays, including brick making, furniture making, lessons in ploughing and feeding the farm animals.

From there we went to Amersham where we drove through the Old Town, with its cottages and Church of St Mary, which was built in the 12th Century.

Then we drove on to Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl, the children’s author, spent 36 years of his life.

We drove through West Wycombe, where we saw a huge car-boot sale in a paddock – cars were lined up to get into the parking area.

We had lunch at a lovely English Pub in Turville, the Bull and Butcher, where we sat out in the garden, soaking up the sunshine and the views.  Then Janet and Adrian took us for a walk to show us the Vicar of Dibley’s house and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang windmill.

We drove back to Maidenhead via Skirmett, Hambleden and Henley-on-Thames, thoroughly delighted with our trip out into the beautiful, green English countryside.

Janet and Adrian’s friends and soon to be Godparents of the new baby, Wanda and Alan had invited us for “pudding” at their house in Maidenhead and we spent a delightful afternoon eating the lovely pavlova that Wanda had made, chatting, laughing and enjoying their company.  We also met two of their children, Erik and Nicole and also the gorgeous cat, Rosie.

We all attended the evening service at St Mary’s church, which is a beautiful, friendly church in Maidenhead, where we met some more of Janet and Adrian’s friends.

We had a lovely Wedding Anniversary and have had a delightful weekend in the sunshine with Janet and Adrian.

 

 

Maidenhead, United Kingdom 2011

Monday 4 April

Katharine picked us up at 11.30am and took us to the Brisbane International Airport to check in with Singapore Airlines for our flight to London.  We had lunch with her before heading off.  Sandy was delighted to catch up with a colleague from work, Kasey and her husband, who were heading off overseas too.  The flight from Brisbane to Singapore was quite pleasant – we both watched movies and enjoyed being spoilt by the Singapore flight attendants.  Coming into Singapore, we could see the lights from ships that were waiting to dock in the harbour – it looked liked fairyland.  We had a 3 hour stopover at Changi Airport and then a very long flight to London on the top deck of the A380, which we found to be comfortable and quiet.  We spent a fair amount of time with the seat belt sign on because there was turbulence, but we didn’t think that it was all that rough.

Tuesday 5 April

Finally, we arrived at London Heathrow and after waiting for a long time for our suitcases, we finally got to see Janet and Adrian, who were waiting for us. It was wonderful to be able to give them lots of hugs.  Unfortunately, Adrian had to then head of to work – he caught the express train into the city and Janet drove us to our home-away-from home at Maidenhead.

The weather was cool – 9 degrees and overcast and there were a few showers on the way home from the airport.  After being seated for so long it was nice to wander around the grocery store, Waitrose, with Janet.  This brought back some happy memories of our visit in 2009, when we walked to Waitrose every day that we were in Maidenhead, in between our adventures.  Later in the afternoon Janet took us to the big Mothercare store in Slough where we had fun looking at all the new baby clothes etc. planning what we are going to buy once we know what colour we need.

We all had dinner together and sat around chatting – Richard lasted until just after 8.00 before his eyes started closing and Sandy lasted until after 9.00 before heading off to bed.

Wednesday 6 April

Fine, Sunny, warmish –20 degrees.

After a good night’s sleep and getting the washing done, Sandy headed off with Janet to a joint Baby Shower for Janet and Laura, from their church home group, while Richard headed off to explore the shopping precinct in Maidenhead.  Janet and Sandy had a lovely morning at Philippa’s place in Windsor.  Philippa had gone to a lot of trouble with decorations, little cupcakes all individually decorated and fun games, with prizes.  We had a leisurely afternoon, had dinner and then Janet and Sandy went to Janet’s school, the Piggott School, to a music concert, which was very enjoyable.  Janet enjoyed seeing some of her very talented students performing and catching up with some of her teacher friends.  Sandy has thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of Janet’s friends today.

Thursday 7 and Friday 8 April (Happy Anniversary Maria and Dennis)

Fine, Sunny, warmish – 20 degrees.

We had leisurely days at home, catching up with Janet’s stories and doing some housework, as well as going for a walk around the district in the lovely sunshine.  Tomorrow is Janet’s due date, so we are all excitedly awaiting the new arrival.