Thursday, 30 July 2009


No, not ours.

A Barbary Macaque Monkey baby. It might be the cutest baby I've seen in a long time. Well, at least since baby Harry Watson was born (he lives up the street and belongs to our friends Pippa and Neil). Or before that, Florie FitzGerald. Oh my. What a cutie.

But let me tell you, this baby monkey could capture the heart of anyone. Hardened criminals would coo over this little girl.

We stopped at a Forest Park on our way home from London on Sunday. We needed a picnic place and our handy road atlas had "Monkey Forest" printed on it just 20 miles ahead. Thanks to the world wide web and wireless connections, we checked it out and decided the Monkey Forest at Trentham was not to be missed.

These monkeys roam free in a 60 acre forest where you can walk the paths while observing their behavior.

It was fantastic and worth every minute we spent there. We sat and watched this baby (2 months old) for approximately 30 minutes. Oh she was cute.

She crouched.

She steadied.

And she jumped. Back and forth. Back and forth. The mother would hold her back leg if there was some reason she should not jump at that moment. It was so fun to watch their interaction.

This one stopped right at Ethan's feet as he was taking pictures of the baby. He was 2 feet away and was not concerned about us at all. One of the employees told us that he was a few years old and that he too was fascinated by the baby.
And this little rascal was determined to figure out this speaker. The woman in the yellow coat was giving us a nice talk about the Barbary Macaques and this monkey was yanking on that speaker the whole time. We couldn't listen we were giggling so much!

But really, this little girl stole the show. Oh she was cute!
So if you are ever close to Stoke on Trent, England and need a place to stop, check it out!

12 Hours in London and Irish Cousins

As I mentioned in the last post, the main point of our trip south was to visit Lego Land and see our Irish Cousins. We also managed to squeeze in a little time in London.

Now I am a planner. I like to be organized and researched about the places we are visiting so that we make the best of our time there. The only thing I'd planned was the Duck Tour. We were winging the rest. This was a big mistake. Transportation was a disaster for us; they have started construction on the tube and train lines for the Olympics. I won't bore you with the details, but will say we wasted lots of time and learned lots of lessons!

Here's what we WERE able to see and do!

London Duck Tour - Quirky fun way too see the city. It's an amphibious vehicle that cruises the streets of London and the Thames!

The view of the London Eye from our vehicle. We wanted to ride the London Eye but the que was too long.

We walked by Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square on Friday night. Saturday morning we saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace with 5000 other tourists, enjoyed a pub lunch, the Tower of London and a view of London Bridge.

Ethan misplaced his phone in Trafalgar Square and was asking this Bobby where the "lost and found" was.

Christopher is practising flipping his new Michael Jackson hat.

London Bridge

Buckingham Palace - Changing of the Guards

Tower of London Torture Lesson - Just what we need. Torture Lessons.

The Tube. We're learning. We're learning.

All in all it was fun but next time we'll be better prepared!

Saturday night we enjoyed a meal with some of my Irish Cousins. Glyn and Hilary and Gilly and Tom. They live in Guilford and we had a great time catching up! Glyn and Hilary have lived all over the world and continue to travel the world so I love to hear about their adventures. And Scott shares their sense of humor so we always spend much of our time laughing! The boys built their Legos and rode on Hilary's Stair Chair!

Lego Building after dinner.

The whole gang.

Riding the stair chair! Who needs the rides at Lego Land when you can do this??

Sunday morning, we were sad to see Ashleigh go home but thoroughly enjoyed having her here for 10 days. She leaves for University in 2 weeks and we look forward to hearing of her adventure!

Ethan found a postcard in one of the souvenir shops that said, "Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go clubbing!" Poor Ashleigh. Our boys were more than curious about her experiences out on the town in Glasgow!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Cadbury World and Lego Land

Last Wednesday, we loaded into the car for a road trip to Lego Land. It is located close to Windsor and we'd planned to visit cousins in the area on Saturday so last week seemed the best time to go. It just worked out that Davis was here to join us and Ashleigh too. Ashleigh was a saint to put up with a day and a half of Lego Land while in the UK!

A friend told me that Cadbury World was a good stop on the way and since we've toured 2 other chocolate factories this year, I did not want to pass this one up! It was my least favorite of the 3. Cadbury is similar to Hershey in that the companies built their communities with their industry. Both companies were very employee oriented and interested in running a family friendly firm. Again, Ashleigh was a trooper to endure this quirky stop. The chocolate was terrific but the entertainment and information was a little strange!

They had a playground, a gift shop and toilets, so all was good in the world (of Cadbury!)

Thursday, we woke early to be at Legoland when it opened and we stayed until it closed. The park is geared towards younger children and the 4 boys were hilarious to watch. Most of the rides are focused on the very young but Davis and Ethan still seemed to find their fun. Miniland, the area with a replica of everything in Legos was fantastic. We hit the big shop at the end and the boys have spent every free moment since then building Legos. Since we missed a few things Thursday, we went back Friday for a half day to catch the things we missed. It's a great park and I have to give a big thanks to Ashleigh for helping me keep track of everyone while there!
Remember the Angel of the North from our visit to Yorkshire in January with Mims and Gramps? They even had a replica of her!
Each of the boys took part in Lego driving school, passed with flying colors and have their Lego License! Wish I could say the same about my UK license. But that's another story for another day.
Don't Christopher and Davis look thrilled to be taking pictures??
I loved the fact that we've just seen this Rodin statue at the Burrell Museum in Glasgow last week and now they are seeing it in Lego. In this display, they had a creator office where we could see the Lego Creators at work and boy did that spark Ethan's interest. I think he has a new passion about his life's career.
It was a great visit and I think we'll be back!