We landed in London on Thursday, after three flights from Wellington, New Zealand, taking some serious flying hours!
It’s just Alice and I on this trip, whilst my older two daughters are at home with their Daddy. Alice is such a happy and positive travel companion. We managed to get a good stint of sleep on both of the long-haul flights, enjoying the amazing ‘sky-couch’ on the Air New Zealand flights from Auckland to LAX and then onto London Heathrow.
We landed at midday on Thursday and were so happy to see Grandma and Grandad waiting at arrivals to pick us up. It was a glorious day of weather, with sunshine, blue skies and temperatures in the mid-twenties. We headed to Wisley Gardens, before heading back to my folks home in Fleet, Hampshire.
There was a wonderful ‘sculpture trail’ on, as well as the annual flower show, so an amazing atmosphere with so much to see.
Alice was fascinated with the different birds and trees, all so new and different to the ones she’s used to seeing in New Zealand. At the entrance to the gardens there were leaflets for children to tick off birds and trees that they found. I made sure to grab a couple.
We meandered through the happy crowds admiring the flower show, before enjoying a drink and cake. Alice started to get tired after about an hour so we headed back to the car.
She nodded off for a little while in the car, but woke when we arrived at Grandma and Grandad’s house, managing to stay awake till 6pm. I crashed to sleep with her (just as well, since she woke up at 1am raring to go!).
We anticipated Alice taking a nap at some stage in the day – but she had other ideas! She ended up lasting till 6pm that night, having been awake for 17 hours!
In the morning we headed to Fleet Pond for a stroll and ended up walking all around the pond!
Alice was running along, stopping when a nature find caught her attention. Grandma and Grandad kept a steady pace, catching up with us each time we stopped (tortoise and hare style!).
Alice was delighted with all the blackberries hanging ripe and ready for eating!
She loved all the different types of birds too. We saw a lovely Heron.
Another fascination was all the flint stones, which were used for building stone walls, using lime mortar, and often combined with other available stone or brick rubble. It was most common in parts of southern England, where no good building stone was available locally, and brick-making not widespread until the later Middle Ages.
Flint was used in the construction of many churches, houses, and other buildings, such as King John’s Castle, in Odiham, which we visited later on Friday afternoon (after it became clear that a nap wasn’t going to happen!).
After a wonderful second day in England, of fresh air and outdoor exploring, Alice had a good ten hour sleep, from 6pm to 4am, which enjoyed too!
The next day we baked cakes and enjoyed the company of family and friends, before falling asleep at the much more normal time of 8pm!
There was a little drizzle, but thankfully it held off enough for the visiting children to have a run around in Grandma and Grandad’s garden.
Looking forward to so many more outdoor adventures around England in the next couple of weeks, celebrating Grandad’s 70th Birthday and my sister’s 40th Birthday (she is busy running 15 epic marathons across the National Parks of the UK – you can read more about her amazing adventures on Park Discoverers!). We are meeting up with her and her friend in Snowdonia. Their blog posts so far are a great read, with beautiful photographs and lots of fascinating science.