Busy, busy, busy!

That’s my life at the moment.

We’ve booked our tickets to return to India, and suddenly there is just too much to do.

Last weekend, for instance. It started off with Friday. There was a Fashion and Beauty Night at school for the mums, and I had planned to go. I never end up going to these events because husband is never around. This time the event would go on from 7 to 11 pm. Daughter had dance class until 7:30, and husband would be back by then. I had it all planned out. Drop daughter off after dance class, handover-takeover with husband, and off for my fashion and beauty night. It is another story that daughter wanted to know, ‘ Amma, you are not Fashion or beauty, so why do you want to go?’. If she ever finds me looking good in anything I wear, her biggest compliment is, ‘You look Fashion, Amma!’. Which by the way, does not happen much, as much as I would like it to 😉

As I was saying, I had it all planned, sorted to the last minute. Until I received a text from husband -‘Flight delayed by an hour’! That was it, all my planning down the drain. Fashion and beauty was not going to be a possibility. That was Friday sorted. Saturday was the usual saturday rush, to get to swimming, get back home, and this time, instead of rushing out again, I got daughter to sleep. We had a dinner at a friend’s place, and I wanted to get her to sleep. We are bound to stay later than her usual bedtime, and I will have a cranky, unhappy child if she doesn’t take a nap. I lay down with her, and before I knew it, both of us were in dream land. Thankfully my contribution to the evening was already made – Tres Leche – I put on weight just thinking about it!

Dinner, of course, was loads of fun. And for me, tinged with a bit of sadness as well. I am going to miss my friends here.. Its been such a great time, full of fun, laughter, and loads of food! My friend had made some yummy, yummy food! I drool thinking about it! It was just yum! A perfect evening it was- stuffed to the gills with food, cheeks aching after laughing way too much, just the perfect weekend treat!

Sunday started early – for me. Somethings happened to me, no matter what time I sleep, I wake up at 6:00 in the morning! Six in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays! I must be mad! Since I can’t go back to sleep, I use the time to drink a leisurely cup of coffee sitting in my conservatory, listening to birds chirping, and basking in the warm sunlight. Of course the peace only lasts until daughter wakes up.

Daughter had a ballet exam on Sunday. They had been planning it since ages, and finally it was here. It’s funny how exams are such fun things for these children. She and her friends were super excited about it. The excitement dimmed a bit only when they(and we) realized that we wouldn’t get to know the results until another 4 weeks. That was a little disappointing but never mind, nothing keeps us down for too long.

We had planned to go shopping after the exam, but the weather was just gorgeous! Too gorgeous to waste on shopping! So off we went to Yorkshire Dales, and landed up in a gorgeous scenic place. We parked the car, walked to a river bank, with cows and sheep gazing at us, soaking in the gorgeous sunshine, relaxing and having fun doing nothing. Daughter found herself a new hobby, collecting stones! We now have a bunch of stones in our car boot. We could stay there forever and ever.

We then managed to go further and find a cute pub which would accept credit cards( I ran out of money and husband did not bring along his wallet. Sigh!). Before I forget enroute, we passed a car boot sale. Normally car boot sales are in the mornings, and I always have a million and one things to do in the morning. I saw signs advertising a car boot which would end at 4. It was 3:30 then, so we decided to stop and check it out. They waived off the entry fee for us, we realized why when we entered. It was almost empty. Needless to say, we did not buy anything. Infact, I felt I could donate some of the stuff I have in my place:) We left with an ice Lilly for daughter.

So going back to the cute pub. We landed in a tiny village where most restaurants accepted only cash. It was daughter’s dinner time, and we gratefully entered the only pub which was ready to accept cards. Daughter had her dinner while we snacked on onion rings and we started our journey back home.

That was it for the weekend. Monday and Tuesday seems to have whizzed past. Why does time fly so? I’ve got all the sorting and clearing left to do, while squeezing in meeting up with friends, planning playdates and hoping that I don’t miss something important. Also the realization that you have just a month to sort everything out, and you have two holidays scheduled in that month! I suspect though, that the month after I land in India will put this one to shame.

PS: I’ve been reading you guys, I’ve just not been able to get down to commenting.

Day Out – White Scar Caves

There couldn’t be a better proclamation of Spring, than the weather last weekend. Gloriously sunny, warm, perfect!

We always wanted to book a B&B and go away on a spur-of-the-moment trip – but alas, we couldn’t, this week. Daughter had a Kumon award ceremony on Sunday, so we couldn’t really go away. We still wanted to make the most of the time that we did have, so off we went to the White Scar Caves in Yorkshire Dales. We had been to a show cave in Wales a few years back, and had really enjoyed the experience.

Just a 1.5 hr drive away, the caves are Britain’s longest show cave.  We only started at around 1:30, after daughter’s swimming lessons and lunch. On a side note, Husband will never be happy with the fact that the swimming lessons are on a Saturday- it kind of cramps the day, you know. But then, swimming is a life skill, and I did not want to compromise on that, when we have nothing available on any of the other days.

The route was scenic, as always. Yorkshire Dales have a distinctive look, and it feels amazingly calm and peaceful. All you want to is stop the car, and lie down on the grass.. with sheep grazing nearby, and streams gurgling away.. The only thing I don’t like is that it is difficult to park the car and reach some of the most gorgeous places..

You can catch a glimpse while driving through, but not much more.. I so wish we could find a B&B near these most scenic places, and then find a walking trail – that would be just great! We had once been to a place like this. We keep planning to go back there- but funnily enough, have never managed to.

We reached the caves just after 3. After that glorious sunny weather, we were shocked to be greeted by cold winds. Thankfully we had our jackets with us(you never know, when the weather changes, in this country!). The next tour was at 4:00, and we had a long long wait – in chilly, windy weather. There was a cafe, thankfully, we sat there, nursing coffees while daughter inhaled a doughnut – I’ve never seen her eat something so fast. Sitting there, we noticed that there were some ponies and ducks, so we decided to go and say hello to them, for a change.

Only here, do we get all excited when we see goats, and hens 🙂 Daughter, was too chicken to touch, she was happy enough to just see them. I’m not complaining, I was happy to not have to run to the washroom to wash our hands again.

Finally the tour began. Just to give you an idea of how old these caves are..

These caves were first discovered by Christopher Long, a student from Cambridge. Apparently he stumbled across these caves, and entered it with just a few candles balanced on his hat. A model of his is placed there to give us an idea of what Christopher Long did back in 1923.

He had wanted to open it up as a show cave, but he died in 1924 before that was possible. In 1925, miners were brought in, to create an entrance so that visitors could view the show caves so thankfully, we did not need to crawl through to get into the caves.

The first stop – the water fall..

Then on, we followed the water trail to go further up. The only way to see these caves are by by tours. Each tour takes about 80 minutes, passing through two low height tunnels -we had to crouch low to go through, a squeeze(not too bad, to be honest 🙂 ), and 97 steps. We covered about a mile underground. We had been given hard hats, and we had assumed that they were just general health and safety procedures – but most of us did bump our heads – especially in the low height areas – even short people like me!

Can you see the gushing waters? We walked over it on a metal grid pathway.

Dark and spooky…..  ….it would have been, if we were not accompanied by a group of chattering tourists 🙂

And we saw formations – stalactites and stalagmites.. of all sorts.. If this had been in India, at least one of them would have been worshipped as a ‘natural’ Shiva Lingam 🙂

And now, I am too tired to upload any more pics!

Okay, just a few more. We also got to see the fossil of a sea snail, much to daughter’s delight. She has been fascinated by fossils ever since she started learning about dinosaurs.

And finally reached the Battlefield Cavern(climbing up 97 steps -not so easy, as we realized). It was so named because it looks like some giants had a battle there, throwing boulders at each other. It also had the most delicate, beautiful stalactites ever! They were gorgeous! Photography was not allowed in this cavern.

Check out these natural pavings – don’t they look man-made?

And can you see the witch of the cave?

That was the end of the tour -all we needed to do was make our way back. And that was much faster. Most people seemed to run back. Of course, all that speed went off as soon as we reached the Gorilla Walks, where we had to crouch and get our heads bumped – all over again. Coming back into the open, felt so different. The sunlight never felt more welcoming.

That was one wonderful Saturday afternoon. Even if we ended up underground on a gorgeous sunny day. We did make the most of Sunday’s good weather – but I feel too lazy to to write about it now.

So what did you do this weekend? Who else is celebrating Spring?

Celebrating summer..

Or the few days of sunshine that we get in the name of summer 🙂

We check the weather the first thing every weekend. Checking the night before is no good, it sometimes changes even within that span 😦

If it is sunny, we set off, and get to see others enjoying the weather like this 🙂 See the clear blue skies? Such a treat to see that.

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Only to realise that a lot of others have the same idea.  So we sit in a traffic jam , crawling, coering 4 miles in 45 minutes. There was also an office space sort  situation, with the traffic, video below for more information 🙂 After a point, we decided to relax and enjoy the weather.

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Or drive through country roads where the speed limit is 60 mph, but we could never dream of driving at that 😦

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Driving through country roads that looked( see that puddle in the side of the road?) and smelt (of cowdung) like Indian roads 🙂

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Driving aimlessly through the yorkshire dales and ending up in a quaint little town, with a square like this..

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And a church like this…

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And wrapping up the trip outside with some park side fun 🙂

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And it’s all going to come to an end soon :(I am going to miss these summer days so much!

PS: Have not yet reached the comments on the previous posts – had a busy weekend. Will get there  – I promise. (Disclaimer especially for Hitchy’s notice 😉

Our Lake District experience

Alert :Long and possibly boring post!

The place which was the inspiration behind William Wordsworth’s poetry and Beatrix Potter’s lovely stories – Lake District. England’s Lake district also boasts of  Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, Wastwater – its deepest lake apart from one of the most scenic locales in the country. Lake District is also the birth place of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy and it has the only Laurel and Hardy Museum in the world!

We had been planning to visit the Lake District since May 2005 but for one reason or the other – it just never worked out. So one day before the last long weekend in May, when we were deciding on where to go, Lake District was easily the first choice 🙂 Husband was keen on taking a risk, driving up there and finding a B&B or a hotel there or just driving back in case we could not find one. Though extremely tempting  – it was far too risky a strategy especially with a 3 yr old 🙂

So to cut a long story short, we were really lucky to find a B&B which thankfully had a cancellation and packed our bags and started off at around 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. A friend had recommended that we take a scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, instead of the shortest route. Given what they say about the journey being as important as the destination, we decided to have fun on the journey as well, instead of going through the boring  motorways 🙂 Needless to say, it took us 5 hours to reach our destination – a journey which should have taken not more than a couple of hours on the regular route 🙂

Yorkshire Dales is a designated National Park , which is now a favourite destination for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders alike and for those who want to explore the lovely villages. There are lots of farm shows and duck races happenning.. We did not see any – but saw lots of hand painted signs with directions:)

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We drove on roads like these – much narrower in some places, passing people walking, cycling and even fishing 🙂 Notice the fence – almost all the fences we saw in the Dales and Lake Distirct was made of stones – and from what I could make out – it did not have any binding element like cement …

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The roads start narrowing to the point where if another car came by, it was near impossible to get by.. But we hardly saw many cars as this route was primarily used by the residents and not by tourists.

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We travelled up hills and down again – almost like a roller coaster ride 🙂 And here are some tired cyclists pushing their bikes up the hill..

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We stopped on the way, to see some sheep 🙂 or rather so that daughter could see some sheep, and as you can see it was extremely windy 🙂

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And finally, our first glimpse of Lake Windermere. We had arrived at our destination announced our Sat Nav 🙂 Apparently ‘mere’ is the name given to lakes

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We went straight to Bowness on Windermere, which is quaint little town with some very cute, very English buildings.. There were lots of swans near the lake and they were so extremely friendly – they would actually reach into people’s pockets 🙂

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And we then loitered around the lake soaking in the feel of the place..

 

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We ended the day with a bunch of brochures to read up and decide what to do the next day 🙂

The next morning was bright and beautiful. Sunny and totally welcoming 🙂 We decided to do the Cross Lakes Tour. We were just in the nick of time before the cruise took off. So we ran to the boat and jumped in. The cruise was wonderful, across the Windermere to Ferryside – only we were mistaken – we actually got on the wrong boat and it took us to Lakeside instead 😦 Thankfully, the boat was going right back to Bowness so we hopped back on and had another cruise – which was totally worth it – even though we lost 2 precious hours.. But as the weather was gorgeous and daughter was having the time of her life – we enjoyed it too 🙂

As soon as we reached Bowness, we realised that we had just about 15 mins before the boat to Ferryside took off and this time, we wanted to make no mistakes! So we grabbed sandwiches and ice-creams in record time and reached the pier – totally in time 🙂 I felt a little like something out of an Enid Blyton book – sunny weather, sandwiches, ice creams and all set for an ‘adventure’  🙂

 

 

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The Cross lakes tour that we took.

 

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This time thankfully, we set off in the correct boat to Ferryside. The Cross Lakes tour was supposed to take us by boat to Ferry Side, and then we had the option to walk or take a Mountain Goat(name of a bus 🙂  ) to Hill Top. Hill Top is where Beattrix Potter had a farm and where she is supposed to have written a lot of her stories, including some of her best loved works. I wish I could post some of the pics from here – but all of them have us in them 😦 What was I thinking????

We went from Hill Top to Hawkshead where again there is a Beattrix Potter Gallery. It was again a quaint little village. Again no pics 😦 The one thing I wanted to do was do the walking trail – but with my daughter and the time constraint- it just was not a feasible option, so we decided to use the bus transport instead – which was a wee bit embarrassing as everybody else on the bus was old and frail 😦 But we had our excuse of a daughter 🙂

Off from Hawkshead, we went toConiston , which is another village and lake by the same name. By that point in time, daughter was all sleepy dopey and tired. And we decided to head back to Bowness.

Then we entered the magical world of Beatrix Potter!! The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction has all the 23 stories by Beatrix Potter re-created! Its absolutely a magical experience. You could see Peter Rabbit being chased by Mr McGregor, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, being obedient little rabbits – doing what their mother told them to.

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And here’s Jemima Puddle-Duck 🙂

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It was such a magical experience seeing all the characters brought to life(almost)!  My daughter loved it and both of us loved it just as much! We cane off with souvenier photographs and a Peter Rabbit Book for daughter – which I have to admit I enjoy just as much 🙂

We spent the rest of the evening, exploring the little lanes of Bowness.. with it’s quaint old fashioned tearooms and pubs full of people enjoying the gloriously sunny day and ended the day watching the sunset and eating more ice creams 🙂 Next time, I want to go there for 5 days – at the least, do some walking trails and if possible stay in a caravan 🙂

The next day, we went to a Wild Animal Park..and returned home after that. But I am too bored of uploading pics(and I am sure you must be too – with this post).. so will do that another time – when I feel less lazy 🙂