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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Exploring Blenheim

Laura decided to take her little brother to Blenheim Palace on the Sunday after Easter.  

In the long library they found the coronation robes which the family had used when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953.
Laura and Edmund with the Blenheim Palace Coronation robes
The information board about the Coronation clothes
In the long Library is a historic Willis pipe organ - it was being played for the Sunday afternoon recital by an organist called Jonathan Kingston
Laura and Edmund were impressed with the sound of the Blenheim Palace Willis organ, even though it needs restoration it still sounded good because the organist was so good at avoiding the bits which didn't work.
Outside Edmund found a milestone path about Churchill
Laura and Edmund looked up at the bust of Winston Churchill in the milestone path, which was surrounded by daffodils
Next they visited the Blenheim cascade
Edmund and Laura stood on the bridge below the cascade and looked up at the falling water
Then they walked up to the viewpoint beside the cascade to get another look - it was very noisy
The information board about the Blenheim Palace cascade
On the walk along the lake back towards the house Laura and Edmund found the boat house
Edmund REALLY wanted to have a ride in a boat
Near the house were the water terraces, Edmund wanted to run on the grass to the water and Laura had to restrain him as she didn't think walking on that grass was allowed.
Edmund was a bit disappointed about not being allowed on the grass
However Edmund soon cheered up when he saw there were Easter egg cupcakes and hot chocolate at the Water terrace restaurant
Laura and Edmund found the entrance to the house overlooking the south lawn, which was vast
They stood on the steps in front of the big entrance door to look out at the south lawn
Edmund and Laura found the entrance to the Secret Garden at Blenheim Palace
The Secret Garden had been restored and was just waking up after the winter

Beyond the secret garden was a fountain called the Roundel - Laura and Edmund sat down to rest and watch the water jets spurting out of the centre
Soon it was time to go home - Laura and Edmund had one last look at Blenheim Palace
This happened at the beginning of April, however I've had so little time for blogging because of work and the volunteer project that it is only now, the last day of the month that I was finally able to find a moment to sort my photos of this fun trip.  Last year on Easter day we took Laura to Blenheim Palace however I never edited those photos and they didn't find their way into a blog post.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

We visited Leicester Cathedral for Easter today as a certain person was singing in the choir for Evensong and wanted to come home for the holidays afterwards.  

Laura and Isabel decided they wanted to join us on the outing.
Laura and Isabel found the way to the Cross
They also found the empty tomb on Easter afternoon, along with a pet chick who had climbed into their travelling bag
The rolled up grave clothes were lying in the entrance to the empty tomb
Laura, Isabel and Chick sat down to admire the Easter Garden outside Leicester Cathedral in glorious sunshine
The blue sky above the Cathedral was beautiful but not long afterwards it clouded over and rained
Inside the Cathedral Isabel found the Archbishop's carved wooden throne
The choir were rehearsing for Evensong. Laura and Isabel enjoyed listening to the uplifting music made by choir and organ.
The stained glass window showing the risen Christ over the high altar was lit up by the afternoon sunshine (before the rain)
Laura, Isabel and Chick enjoyed their Easter outing to Leicester Cathedral.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Welcome party

There was a party going on
Music was provided by the band with Laura singing the vocals
Laura was wearing a dramatic red velvet cloak as she sang and danced
Edmund had joined the band with a guitar though was in danger of being deafened by Trendon Elliott's trumpet!
The flute, guitars, drums and backing singers were in full swing
The backing singers Matroshka, Jayne and Harriet were dancing and moving their arms in time as they sang while Matilda and Belle danced on the balcony and Nicholas James played the guitar
Clemence the bear fancied himself a singer too and held the microphone stand for Laura
Peter the drummer and Matroshka the singing dancer
Matilda and Belle were loving the music
Trendon Elliott was playing the trumpet, Anna the flute and Samantha the guitar
Reuben, Miranda, Florence and the babies Amy, Mabel and Leo were loving Laura's singing as they danced along to the music
The music drew two newcomers into the room - they were astonished by the welcome to their new home
Reuben rushed over to greet them "Melanie, Nina, at last you've come" he yelled in delight to see his new sisters
"Welcome home" cried Reuben as he hugged his new sister Melanie while Miranda greeted baby Nina
"Hello Melanie and Nina, we've been looking forward to meeting you" exclaimed Florence and Miranda as baby Amy peeped between their legs to see Nina
The Sasha and Gregor family gathered round Melanie and Nina to welcome them, there was a lot of excited chatting
soon they were all partying together as the band started playing again to welcome their new sisters to the family
Melanie, Reuben and baby Nina (with Nina's basket)
Melanie and Nina my two new Trendon Sasha dolls arrived at the end of January via Susanna Lewis's site. They both came with their complete original outfits and boxes, and Nina has her basket.  They are both minty, in fact Melanie still has the new vinyl smell and Nina, who was a shop display doll until she went to the same private collection as Melanie also has a faint new vinyl smell and her basket is perfect.  Melanie is the 1983 Cora Flower dress and Nina is Little Flower.  Reuben, who is a later Caleb is slightly shorter than Melanie (though it may be her hair) - he doesn't seem to mind though as he is delighted to have two new sisters.  The elder sister of my childhood playmate Reuben was called Melanie and another Sunday school playmate I had at the Cathedral was also called Melanie.  Nina is named for two Nina's - one was the mum of three neighbouring children whom I knew all my childhood and the other is a current friend.

My daughter was playing music from Queen while we set up and photographed this story, including Bohemian Rhapsody, We are the Champions. Somebody to Love, Another One Bites the Dust, I Want to Break Free and We Will Rock You.

I've had so little time for the dolls in recent weeks so it was fun to carve out some time with my younger daughter today to play dolls again together.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Adopt a polar bear in the snow

A lonely polar bear was trekking across the snowy wastes...

He was hungry, however his black skin under his thick white fur kept him warm.
His big paws stopped him from sinking into the snow
Three children out for a walk in the snow spotted him
One very intrepid toddler showed no fear as he ventured across the snow towards the polar bear (maybe his panda bear hat made him brave)
His brother and sister decided to follow to be on hand if the bear did anything to scare their little brother
The bear saw the children and turned towards them
he picked his way across the snow to the children
Bear and children were fascinated with each other
with their adopted Polar Bear
My younger daughter's godparents gave her an adopted Polar Bear from World Wide Fund for Nature as a Christmas gift.  There is an information booklet and a cuddly toy to go with the certificate about a bear.  She has been learning lots of interesting facts about Polar bears and this toy has become a favourite.

The overnight snow on Saturday/Sunday was enough to prompt a photo story. Taking photos of dolls and cuddly toys in the snow is always a challenge because tracks show up and sometimes they fall over.  They all got a little surface damp on their clothes so warmed up indoors again afterwards.  Nicholas James is very attached to his polar bear sweater by Halyna, Laura wore an outfit by Dee (with boots from Rosie S) and Edmund was well wrapped in his Dollydoodles outfit and panda hat.  The Polar bear said he was quite warm enough thank you with his own coat of thick fur!