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Thursday, 25 August 2016

An island adventure

A small sailor and his big sister set off on a summer adventure...

A ferry ride was planned
A beautiful sunny day for the departure from Poole Harbour, however there was fog in the channel
It was foggy in the Channel Islands and patches of fog lingered when they arrived at St Peter Port in Guernsey.  Edmund was glad of his warm coat and beret (he was wearing his full Claudius outfit for the journey).
A few days later Laura and Edmund were excited about another ferry trip - this time to Herm Island across the bay from Guernsey
It was a beautiful bright sunny and warm day as they waited to board the ferry to Herm
Edmund was delighted to see the Guernsey Lifeboat in the harbour
He also liked all the yachts moored in St Peter Port
The crossing to Herm was only 20 minutes which docked in the main harbour as the tide was high
 Soon Laura and Edmund were hiking around Herm to find a beach.
"What is that island beyond the rocks?" said Edmund, pointing from the Herm cliffs
"That is Sark" said Laura "and beyond it is Jersey"
After their hike, they found a lovely sheltered beach in Belvoir bay and decided to build a sandcastle.
It was a lot of hard work to build the sandcastle as the sand in the bay was quite coarse so didn't stick together very well, however Laura persisted as Edmund watched.
Laura dug out the moat around the sandcastle
"This moat digging is hard work" said Laura
"Can I dig too?" asked Edmund. "I think I've finished, so lets look for shells instead" said Laura
They enjoyed looking in a rock pool to see the sea creatures and find shells
Edmund clutched a shell he found, there were thousands of pretty, tiny shells all along the beach
After shell hunting Edmund and Laura rested for a short while in the sun, though Laura was careful to make sure they applied sun cream
 They hiked back to the harbour and got the ferry from the Rossaire steps as the tide was out.
The captain of the Herm ferry was using a real ship's wheel to steer the boat, much to Edmund's delight
As the ferry came into St Peter Port they saw a beautiful two masted sailing schooner approaching the harbour and a large cruise ship preparing to leave.  They made a fascinating contrast.  Edmund wanted a ride on the sailing boat.
Back at the Guernsey farmhouse where they were staying they spread all their shells from Belvoir Bay and Shell Beach on a plate to admire the collection.
 Sadly it was soon time to leave the beautiful Channel Islands.  As they boarded the ferry back to Poole, they saw a car being loaded into a cargo ship.
The cargo ship being loaded in St Peter Port
Edmund, Laura and their new Guernsey cow watched from inside the ferry as the cargo ship was loaded.
"Goodbye beautiful Guernsey" said Laura and Edmund as the ferry set a course for Poole
They saw Castle Cornet which their girl had visited a few days earlier (unfortunately without them which she regretted as they would have enjoyed the castle - the cow was purchased there along with a Guernsey teddy calendar)
"See the lighthouse Edmund" said Laura as they left St Peter Port "it helps to guide ships and sailing yachts safety into the harbour
Fortunately they had a smooth crossing back to England.  It was sad to leave Guernsey and Herm but good to get home again.

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The Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands is a very special place for our family as my godparents live there - I have visited many times since I was 9, however I hadn't been to Herm for a while.  I have very happy memories of collecting the tiny shells on Belvoir and Shell beaches when I was 16 and subsequent walks on the island as well as mooring off Shell beach one summer evening in a yacht which belonged to our friends.  Baby Mabel traveled with us to Guernsey last time we visited in 2012.

For the doll visit to Herm they traveled in their girl's rucksack rather than the doll bag as they could be zipped right inside it and protected from the sun which was very bright that day. It was risky taking two precious Sasha dolls on ferries, my girl refused to take them onto the outside decks as she was terrified of tripping and dropping them in the sea. So although the intrepid Edmund wanted the breeze to blow in his hair on board ship, he had to be content with looking at the wonderful views through the windows. And we were very careful with them on the beach too. It was a busy beach, however as the tide was going out we were able to find a sheltered place by the rocks before other people claimed the spot so could do a doll photo shoot in relative privacy. That sandcastle was a challenge to build, the sand is finer on Shell beach but there is less shelter. Unfortunately my only photo of the dolls with the shells is blurred. Some of the shells are very tiny - only a few millimeters across.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A visit to Durham Cathedral

On a sunny Saturday in August Laura took her little brother Edmund all the way to Durham.
Edumund and Laura stood with the growing Durham crosses
It was a warm day in Durham however Edmund kept his hat on.  Laura was pleased to be wearing a new summer outfit purchased from Lorraine at the Sasha Celebration weekend.
On the other side of the Cathedral they found The Chorister's School
"I can sing in tune - can I be a chorister?" asked Edmund
"When you are a little bigger" whispered Laura in Edmund's ear
The crest over The Chorister School door
In the cloisters they sat down to eat their picnic lunch
Sandwiches, apples and water were very welcome
They saw The Chapter House where Durham Cathedral choir robe up for singing and discovered that it was used for filming Professor McGonagal's classroom in the Harry Potter movies.  They could not go inside though so peered through the window to get a tiny glimpse.
Edmund and Laura admired the incredible Lego model of Durham Cathedral
Lego Durham Cathedral is incredibly detailed
Each brick cost a sponsor £1 and it was used as a fundraiser for the Durham Treasures exhibition.
Lego Durham Cathedral is now complete and behind glass, so is hard to photograph
Laura tried to take photos of Lego Durham Cathedral
The East wall and Rose window looked splendid as it was lit from inside the Lego model
Another view of the East wall and Rose window of the Lego model
The Great rose window at the East end of Durham Cathedral
The South East corner of the Lego model
The belltower of the Lego model was open so the bell ropes could be seen
Some windows were open so tiny glimpses of inside could be seen - this figure was a Monk wearing glasses
There was information about the building of the Lego model
People could buy Lego blocks to add to the model when it was being built
After visiting the Lego model, they also went to see the Treasures of Durham exhibition - no photos were allowed inside the exhibition or in the Cathedral where they sat to listen to Evensong.
When they left Durham Cathedral they posed for a photo
A shop called 'The Mugwump' in a Durham street had a lovely teddy bear's picnic display in the window
Laura and Edmund were very tired after a long day in Durham Cathedral and slept all the way home.

(We visited Durham for a day as Leicester Cathedral choir had their summer choir tour to Durham and were the choir in residence for the week.  It was lovely to see a certain young university student singing Alto in the choir and we were also fortunate to be allowed to watch them rehearse for the Sunday services in The Choristers School earlier in the afternoon.  Durham Cathedral's photographic policy did mean there was no one taking selfies inside but it also meant we couldn't show anything of the interior or photograph the choir in rehearsal).

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Practice for the Summer Music Festival

A Summer Music Festival was being planned so the young musicians were practicing hard. Trendon Elliott got out his trumpet and music while Melanie started tuning up her violin.

Trendon Elliott found the right page of music for his trumpet
He had to remember the correct fingering to use on his trumpet 
Soon he was playing the trumpet with Melanie sight reading the piece on her violin, an easy duet for Trumpet and Violin by Mozart.
Melanie was careful to hold her bow properly with a nice soft wrist to make the sound better
While trumpet and violin practice was going on, baby Nina was playing with the blocks
Nina was briefly distracted by baby Leo having fun on the rocking horse
Soon Jakob arrived with his flute
Jakob waited patiently while the trumpet and violin duet continued and Nina played on the floor
In the kitchen Miranda was frying breakfast for hungry musicians
"Breakfast is ready" called Miranda as the duet came to an end
"I definitely need some more violin practice" said Melanie
"I bet you're hungry though" said Trendon Elliott as he held his trumpet
"Playing the trumpet certainly makes me hungry" said Trendon Elliott
"Yes, lets put our instruments away and have breakfast, then do some more practice later" said Melanie.  
Jakob came and put his flute music on the bigger music stand as Melanie watched
Soon Jakob was running up and down his scales on the flute, making them sound like rippling rivers.
"Yummy, a banana" said Trendon Elliott holding it up for Melanie to see as Miranda approached with a frying pan filled with eggs
"Who would like some fried eggs?" asked Miranda.  "No thanks" said Melanie while Trendon Elliott was only too pleased to have both eggs on his plate
Miranda went to get some more food from the fridge as Jakob would need breakfast too.
Melanie and Trendon Elliott made short work of their breakfast ...
... while Jakob continued his flute practice
"I wonder if our friend Henry will be happy to play the piano part to accompany me during the Summer Music Festival - he played the piano at the Sasha Festival in the USA - I'll ask him" said Jakob.
Leo joined Nina on the floor
The babies played happily with the colourful blocks as they enjoyed the music practice for the Summer Music Festival
Music practice will continue, there is lots to do in preparation for some Summertime fun.