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Life of Ryrie

Adventures in family life

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The focus of this post is on places I have visited that other people might want to visit too.

#LoveLondon

We have walked and walked and walked.  Remarkably, the children have even looked up on occasion!

We have seen Buckingham Palace, Queen Victoria’s Monument, Nelsons Column, the Ritz, Downing Street, The London Eye, the Shard, the Cenotaph, the huge victorian lanterns at Covent Garden and the Rose-Ringed Parakeets in Kensington Palace Gardens.  We have experienced the emotional roller coaster of a West End show, the mayhem of the Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank Centre, and the tranquility of Constable’s ‘Hay Wain’ at the National Gallery.  Yes, my friends, we have been to London.

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Carnival

I love Carnival.  I suspect that the word ‘Carnival’ has conjured up images of feather clad women shaking their booties to a heavy samba beat and that’s why you’re nodding in agreement.  Actually, Somerset Carnival couldn’t be further from this.  The Carnival I am actually talking about is a procession of decorated tractors in November, which, let’s be honest, isn’t that conducive to feather bikinis.

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Hug a Tree

Golden, russet, caramel, tawny, honeyed, verdant… how many colours are there in the leaf spectrum each Autumn?    On Monday the children had an INSET day and so off we trotted to appreciate the full spectrum at Westonbirt Arboretum and to make the most of the (very) late summer sunshine.  Considering that Autumn is really a season of dormancy, decline, decay and death, it ain’t half pretty!

Trees also appear to be ‘having a moment’.  Last night there was a fascinating documentary about the life of a  400 year old Oak (now available on BBC iPlayer).  You can currently vote in the Woodland Trust’s annual ‘Tree of the Year‘ contest (until 12th October 2015) – the winner of which goes forward to compete in the European Tree of the Year.  You can also bring trees indoors with the plethora of soft furnishings, pottery, ceramics and the like bearing leaves, trees, branches and landscapes in an array of different hues, almost as plentiful as the amount of leaves we are crunching our way through on our trips to the Rec. Continue reading “Hug a Tree”

Little Bo Peep

This week I have found myself searching for sheep in the cosmopolitan city of Bristol.  This sounds a bit like an oxymoron – sheep in a city – but when you know that our hunt wasn’t for the fluffy baaing variety but for huge sheep sculptures instead, then it becomes a whole lot more understandable.  We were off to find Shaun in The City.

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Up North

Having arrived back in the UK we didn’t hang around too long before going on a little trip.  After all, we’re seasoned travellers now aren’t we?  Off we set Up North.  Well, I say ‘Up North’ but really it was Stafford with Manchester thrown in, decidedly Midlands with a touch of North.  However for our sensitive Southern souls this was definitely a trip Up North.

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Mount Titlis

“Joshua, what would you like to do for your birthday treat this year?”

“Skiing or sledging.”

Joshua was born in July.  Usually a month associated with sun, beaches, holidays and gelati, my son decided to flip the norm and present us with a challenge.  Fortunately, we live in Switzerland and are only an hour away from Mount Titlis and the Titlis glacier.

Midsummer’s Day dawned, and whilst Druids were witnessing the sunrise at Stonehenge, we were dragging out our winter weather gear and heading off to find summer snow with two of Joshua’s friends to celebrate the (nearly) six years he has been on this fascinating planet.  (Little did we know it, but half the population of India and China were doing the same, but more of that later).  Mount Titlis is located in Egelberg, part of one of the largest ski networks in Europe and, at a height of just over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), is above the all important snow line thereby giving us the opportunity for summer sledging.  Engelberg-Titlis is all about the outdoor adventures; hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, fishing and all manner of other -ings can be done at Engelberg.  It boasts beautiful alpine views, plenty to do and a central location, and is only an hour from Zug.

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Glasi Hergiswil

February half term.  In Switzerland known as ‘Ski Week’.  Hmmm, slight problem as we don’t ski, and slightly bigger problem of not having spare cash enough to embark on this crazy pastime.  So the eleven days of the children’s break needs to filled by other activities.  The novelty of Grandma and Grandad arriving lasts one day, sledging takes up another…

Time for a trip, on a budget.  Hmmm (we are in Switzerland and I’m not sure if the word ‘budget’ has the same meaning here). Tilly suggests the zoo but then Joshua pipes up with the Glass Factory at Hergiswil am See which he visited with his class on a school trip.  He enjoyed it so much last time that, as the rest of us haven’t visited, and it’s within half an hour drive (just south of Luzern), and it’s free for under 10s, and only 7chf for adults (yes, you read that right 7chf!), we decided to go for it.  The website reassured us that there were all the facilities we could possibly want to make use of: cafe, museum, shop, restaurant, play area, science experiments and car park.  What could possibly go wrong, and what more could we want from a trip out?

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Haus Hiltl

That was the tweet that popped up a couple of weeks ago.  I had actually won something!  And that something was two places on an English speaking (very important) cookery course at the legendary Haus Hiltl vegetarian restaurant in Zurich.

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Carry on up Pilatus

Switzerland.  Home to The Alps.  A formidable mountain range that includes Monte Rosa as it’s highest peak and the Eiger, the Matterhorn, the Jungfrau and a whole host of other ‘horns’ too numerous to list.  Standing on our balcony we are able to see (on a clear day of course) the three peaks of the Eiger, Monch and the Jungfrau nestled between our local ‘hill’, the Rigi, and our local mountain, Pilatus.  Mount Pilatus has legends of ghosts and myths of dragons (more of those later), oh, and even has a radio station named after it.  Pilatus was to be the destination of our first mountain trip.

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