Sunday morning

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It is still a little windy this morning.  Not quite the gusting wind that came through here yesterday.  It is interesting to be in an old house with a strong wind.  Lots of noise.  At least the sun is out today, even if it is just above freezing.

Today is a chore day.  I’ll be heading to the workshop shortly to finish the bookshelves.  My list for today includes a walk with Susanna and the dogs, painting the new door for the workshop, and moving stuff from the workshop to the garage in preparation for structural repairs on the workshop.

The boys have gone to their mother’s house for the next couple of days (as is almost always the routine on Sunday mornings).  Will helped me go over my plans for the kitchen island I’ll build next (after I fix the barn).  Will and Ben also started writing a blog.  It’s still new, so something fun to do – it will be seen if they stick with it for longer than a week.

I think the whole family is ready for spring and warm weather.

Saturday morning

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We had a slow Saturday morning.  Ben slept in until almost 7 and Will until nearly 8.  Of course Susanna and I are still getting adjusted to the time zone and we were up at 5am.

New Mailbox

Yesterday the mailbox post fell over in the snow storm (no idea if it was just time, or if a plow/car bumped it).  This morning Will and I headed to Home Depot to get a new post.  $30 and 15 minutes of work later, we have a new post.

Not a very exciting house project.  Nor was it much work, but getting mail is nice.

This afternoon we are going to Mitchell College to visit the “Cat in the Hat” fair that the early childhood education department is putting on (and where Susanna is spending the morning).

I’m planning on taking Will to get new shoes after the fair while Ben goes to his piano lessons.  I know shoes aren’t that exciting, but he is complaining about blisters on his feet, so he wants to go shopping.

I think we will take a quiet day here – last night was “Bouncy Castle” night at the boys school.  Imagine 50 elementary school students running crazy around the gym filled with bounce houses.  Of course I think they should supply beer/wine/margaritas for the parents.  No point in the kids being the only ones having fun.

 

 

Ancient Egyptian Chair

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I took a picture of an ornate chair from Egypt at the British Museum. I didn’t get a good look at the construction – but the chair is 3000 years old.

Ancient Egyption Chair (click to enlarge)

Pictures from London

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Susanna and I are enjoying our last minutes in London at the SAS Lounge in Heathrow Airport (it is a nice benefit of being a Star Alliance Gold member – I can use the lounges on international flights).  Next stop is Ottawa on Air Canada.

The last full day in London was a blast.  We went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in the morning.  It was well worth the time spent there – lots of fun.  Susanna didn’t make the scream tunnel (too scary I think), but her mom, Charlotte, and I went through.  I thought it was funny (not too scary), but the girls in the line behind me were terrified (they were holding on to my coat for dear life the whole walk – and I didn’t even know them).

We had lunch at a hamburger place nearby, and then off to shopping (okay, not the whole day was fun),  We spent way too long at Primark shopping for clothes.  Dan got bored and went for a drink.  I eventually wandered outside and sat on the street to watch people walk by.

We returned home in the early afternoon.  Susanna and I went town to the hotel spa.  It was a little disappointing.  The steam room was nice,  but the hot tub wasn’t so hot (more of a warm tub).  That night we went to Cafe Rouge for Dan’s birthday dinner (after drinks, games and gifts in the hotel room).

This morning we were up early and took the underground to the airport.  I recommend getting an oyster card to get around if you go to London.  It is a prepaid card – you are charged the lowest rate for each trip you do.  No stressing about paper tickets.

As promised, pictures from the trip:

Centaur at the British Museum (this is for Will and Ben)
Ben's Cookies (Kingston High Street Station) - we never went it, but thought the name was worth a picture
View from our walk around Notting Hill
The required photo of Susanna in a phone booth.
And of course... Rebecka in a phone booth

Heading home

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We are heading home today. We just checked out of the hotel and are getting a coffee on the way to the airport. We had a great trip, lots of fun. I’ll write more about it when I get home. But for now I’ll upload some of the pictures from the visit to Madame Tussauds Museum. I’ll fix the pictures if I can get Wifi in the airport.

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Susanna at Madame Tussauds

 

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Me hanging out with a couple of friends from work (ok, not really)

 

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Rebecka attacked by the hulk

 

London (day 3)

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We are starting today off a little slower than yesterday. I was up at 7:30 and went up the street for a coffee and muffin (and free Internet). Susanna sleept in – so we passed on the family breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast we all met up at the cafe and then headed our own ways. The girls (Susanna, her mom, sister and cousin) headed to Piccadilly Circus for shopping.

Susanna’s dad, Dan, and I headed out to visit the museums. The first stop was the British Museum. There we saw the Rosetta stone and other artifacts of ancient Egyptian civilization. We also visited the Greek and European exhibits. The museum
Was followed by a beer and snack at a local pub.

We took the underground to the Imperial War Museum and spent the afternoon there. It was a perfect sized museum. Not too big. The British Museum is way too big to take in at once. It was a good assortment of items from the military, plus a very sobering section on the Holocaust.

After that another bite to eat and a beer at a different pub.

Now back to the room for a bit and then out to a show this evening. Pictures to follow later.

London (Day 2)

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Of course, I’m posting this on Day 3 early in the morning from Caffe Nero

After coffee, the we all sat down for a late breakfast at the hotel. The we headed off to find a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. We didn’t have to walk far until we were accosted by a woman selling tickets for a bus company. But we did have to wait a while until the bus arrived. And, yes London is cold this time of year.

Rebecka, Susanna and Karolina (left to right) hanging out at the "Blue Door"

We took the bus to Notting Hill, and walked through the shopping district until Susanna, Rebecka and Karolina found what they believed was the blue door from the movie “Notting Hill.” Susanna kept trying to get me to ask for directions – I said I didn’t want to be the first guy in history to be looking for the blue door from that movie. I’m pretty sure Hugh Grant had someone to tell him where to go.

After that, back on the bus until we got to the Thames near Big Ben and the London Eye. We walked a bit, found lunch (after a try at a hotel, where the other patrons said they were waiting for over an hour for their food). Then to the London Eye for a trip up and down. Or rather around.

Then back to the hotel to warm up. We took the tube back from Westminster. We waited a while for the circus line to come, but then wound up having to take the green line (I can’t remember what it is called right now). Only after we got to the next station did I read the sign that said the circus line was shut down for the weekend due to engineering work. We would have waited a very long time for the train if we weren’t so impatient.

Dinner was at a local pub. I had a steak pie. The fine local cuisine. And beer. Tomorrow (or rather today, when I get to post this) will be to the British Museum and maybe some more walking around, with a show in the evening.

Riding the London Eye

Sunday Breakfast in London

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I had a nice coffee with Rebecka and Karolina this morning.  We met at the Caffé Nero pretty early (8AM).  The whole family is meeting at 9:30 to eat breakfast in the hotel.  I wanted to get up early enough to get on the proper time zone.  Karolina suggested doing an Internet free vacation.  I’m not sure I want to do that, but I’ll cut back on checking the Internet.

Rebecka asked about my job.  She asked how I felt working on something that was designed to kill people.  I said that was a good question – difficult to answer.  I have thought a lot about that, though not as much recently as I probably should.  I do accept what I do, and think it is important.  Though I really hope what I work on is never really used.  I hope for peace, but am not a pacifist.   My quick answer is that I think of it like a police officer carrying a gun.  He wants to make sure it works, and that he can shoot well.  But I’m sure most of them don’t ever want to use one for real.   Maybe that is just a superficial answer to a difficult question.

We also talked about blogging.  I think I write to give myself a record of what I do.  It is a journal for me.  I used to write  a private journal.  I can go back and find books with entries from random times in my life.  I was never consistent with my writing.  I am much more consistent with writing for my blog.  Maybe it is the public nature that make me more willing to write.  Though I mostly write it for myself – not for my two readers (thanks for reading Mom and Susanna).

London (Day 1)

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London.  We made it.  Our journey took us on Air Canada from Boston to Toronto then to London.  It is nice to fly a non-US airline once in a while.  The accommodations on the aircraft were much nicer than the normal United aircraft – individual entertainment centers.

The flight across the pond was an overnight flight.  The trick is to try to get as much sleep as possible.  In the past, I had tried the Tylenol PM route.  It knocks me out, but I feel pretty groggy the entire next day.  This time I tried melatonin.    Susanna slept most of the flight with the melatonin.  I slept for the first 4 hours.  Not as long as with the Tylenol, but better than nothing.

We arrived in early afternoon.  We couldn’t check into the hotel until Susanna’s parents arrived – so we dropped off the bags and walked around Kensington High Street.  We found a nice Italian place for lunch – though apparently it is a chain restaurant.

After Susanna’s family arrived (Dan, Charlotte, sister Rebecka, and cousin Karolina) we checked in, unpacked and headed out to a nice dinner at another local Italian restaurant.  Since we had turned right on Kensington High Street today for lunch, we turned left and found the first place to eat.  We enjoyed a nice dinner and good conversation.  We did end the night discussing the upcoming election in the states, which was a decidedly unintelligent conversation.  Or more correctly, a conversation about the unintelligent.

Internet is a pain here.  No free internet in the hotel. I’m too cheap to pay for internet, so I’ll post this tomorrow from a free Wi-Fi hotspot at a café up the road.  I’m also pretty tired tonight from the lack of sleep last night – so if this blog makes no sense, that is my excuse (plus I never proofread anything anyway – it is just too boring to try and get it right).

Tomorrow’s plans are (though I’m pretty sure they have changed a bit) – in order:

Frukost
Kyrkbesök
Lunch
Hop on Hop off+buss
Afternoon Tea
Ev Spa
Kvällsmat

Of course the agenda is in Swedish (or it seems more like Swenglish).  Frukost is breakfast (food is important).  Lunch is lunch (I needed special help from Susanna with that one).  Kvällsmat is dinner.  Which covers the important events of the day.  I’m pretty sure “Afternoon Tea” is English and the second one has something to do with a church.

I’m meeting Rebecka before frukost tomorrow to go grab coffee and free internet.  Actually, I think it should be free “Internet” not “internet.”  Not sure Susanna will be up in time to get coffee.  Of course I’ll either amend this in the morning (or just add a note if she makes it).