Sunday, June 23, 2013

Royal Ascot Week

It's June and that means Royal Ascot week!

I take so many pictures of this event because around every corner is an unbelievable hat, a character, a statue or a Royal so here are a few of my favorites this year.
I'll start with "our" Ascot Family and friends because honestly, this is the best part of the day!  

New Hats.....

(Philip Treacy knock-off or the real thing?)

Always a sucker for butterflies!

Does this hat make me look old? 
And more characters .........

Makes you want something chocolate.....

Fabulous lunch and dessert.....
in the Royal Enclosure!

The Queen arrives.....

Entertainment by the "Tootsie Pops" 


and at the end of the day, 
flag waving and singing around the grand bandstand.....

It's always a great day at the races!  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Explore the Jurassic Coast

We have looked forward to this trip for months ... a relaxing weekend with good friends at a charming country B&B, exploring the tranquil and picturesque fishing villages along the eastern Devon coastline and.....

the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site and Brandon's Fossil Walk!
I know, "How do you find these things?"
This time Tim and Sandra lead the way!

We took the train from London Waterloo to Axminster and checked into this adorable B&B in Uplyme -

Meet Joy, the owner .... what a delightful woman!  She is a long time friend of the Eddy's and we enjoyed getting to know her and listening to her hilarious stories about being an "Inn keeper". 
She cheerfully greeted us each morning with a fantastic English breakfast including freshly baked gluten free bread and homemade jams. Sandra enjoyed her kippers!  

All decked out in our best mud-rucking clothes we headed for the harbour of Lyme Regis where we met our guide, Brandon for a description of the fossils we were looking for.  He explained that the cliffs in this area are constantly crumbling and slipping into the sea, revealing fossils 180 MILLION years old. 
The ones I was most intrigued by were the spiral shaped ammonites, looking a bit like a nautilus.  

Brandon taught us how to explore the rock pools and sift through the fools gold.....

I am happy to report that according to Brandon I found a perfect specimen of two Ammonites back to back .... and one day my girls will inherit it and think, "What are we going to do with this teeny tiny 180 million year old snail?" 

I thought the same thing, so we purchased a bigger one at the fossil store - for Dad's desk! 

And it is very cool!!!

Our day was not complete without a walk up the road from the Hedgehog Corner to the local pub for a pint of cider .... no sidewalks, can't be too careful!   
Mud rucking is hard work!  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hats, Hats, Hats!

In preparation for Royal Ascot, it was "necessary" to spend a day hat shopping.... and we did it right!
Gillian and Sandra arranged our train tickets from Kings Cross to Kings Lyn via Cambridge.
*** Tip: Gillian used to book the tickets and saved a lot!
The hired car was waiting at the station to drive us about 30 minutes to one of Norfolk's  prettiest villages, Burnham Market.  Across the village green, next to the Bakery and above the Butcher Shop was the most fantastic collection of hats I have ever seen in one place.....
I was like a kid in a candy shop!!!

The Hat Shop ~ Pentney House

Every room was colour coded and filled with hats and fascinators!
the orange room.....

the blue room....

the green room with bags to match  ......

All these colours and I was looking for a simple black and white hat to match my striped jacket - boring huh? 
I tried on 50, it came down to 2 ...... I really liked the one with the big red bow! 

 Gillian decided on this cute orange one....

..... you will have to wait until Ascot to see Sandra's periwinkle hat! 

All the hat shopping made us hungry...The Hoste Inn, across the square, has rooms and cottages for rent, a spa, a bar, and a great restaurant.  

And plenty of room for our boxes!

Our car picked us up at 3:00, we were back on the train for a 4:00 departure and back in Chelsea before dinner.
I have promised to take a whole AWC group next year before Royal Ascot rolls around again!  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Roland Garrrrros

Wimbledon in London, Flushing Meadows in New York, Roland Garrrrros in Paris, only one more Grand Slam to go ......
Melbourne Park in Australia!
(I'll have to wait until my Aussie friends move back!)

Sandra and I anxiously received our tickets only the night before and the friendly front desk clerk at our hotel (Holiday Inn- Paris-Auteuil) made copies for us......still unsure if the tickets we have with the name Johnsson on them will get us in, we proceed to Roland Garros, just a few blocks away,  and enter the maze of long lines with passport in hand.

We're in, with fantastic seats in Court Philippe-Chartrier and the first match, ElenaVesnina VS Victoria Azarenka is about to start...... there was going to be a lot of grunting going on!  

One of the tricks we learned quickly was to find two ground courts close together and sit on the top row allowing us to watch two matches at once.  That is where we came across this American player who I seemed to connect with immediately. She fought for every point. 

`Her name is Jamie Hamilton and she has only been on the pro circuit for a few years.  If I had googled her earlier I would have known that she went to High School in Auburn!
I am sure that is why she looked up at me when I cheered her on - my southern accent stood out among every other nationality cheering for her opponent.   

We watched Andy Murray's brother play doubles ... he was not there but his mom was!

Back on our court we were entertained by these guys changing into red, blue, and white bodysuits (Where's white?) ......
their buddy bailed when he saw them escorted out of the stadium.  

We really wanted to see Serena play but our time ran short and we needed to start the long trek back to the train station to catch the Eurostar back to London.
It was a momentous 36 hours in Paris!
I would do it all again !!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2 Day trip to Paris ~ Fat Bike Tour

The chance to go to the French Open in Paris...
AND go on the Fat Bike Tour...
sign me up!

I didn't tell her but my plan was to let Sandra lead and I would follow. Both of us were a little apprehensive about "doing" Paris on our own. I have had some, let's say "unpleasant" experiences in the city but we were willing to tackle the adventure of the Eurostar, the Metro, hotel check-in, restaurants, a tour, and a day at the Roland Garros stadium together.  It was a fabulous trip!!!
First, the Fat (butt) Bike Ride......

........ even though the forecast was ominous, with clouds threatening rain any minute! 

(In honor of the Fat (butt) Bike ride!)  

We met our enthusiastic tour guide on the south side (?) of the Eiffel tower and followed him to pick up our bikes AND ponchos!  I have to admit, I was a little fearful of riding a bike around this busy city full of 4 lane roundabouts, with rain blowing sideways, rushing water in the streets,  and a plastic poncho blowing behind me, but hey...
I was following Sandra!   

~With a break for an afternoon treat of Croque Monsieur, apple tart and a glass of wine in a quiet park~

I really did FOLLOW her!  

And at the end of the day, we made it! 

I would recommend the Fat Bike Tour to anyone who wants to see Paris from a different perspective!

Next, THE French Open, a major grand slam tennis tournament .......