Thursday, 28 July 2011

Saludos Desde Madrid!

Last weekend, Mr P and I had a wonderful short break in Madrid.

There was so much to see in the Spanish capital and so many different types of architecture. It is a true melting pot of style and design.

Both exteriors and interiors of the buildings are very impressive. My favourites were the Atocha train station and the Cathedral de la Almudena.

Did you know that there is an authentic 2nd Century BC Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid? See the picture in the bottom right corner, it's called the Templo de Debod. In 1960, due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan and the consequent threat posed to several monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.

There is also a Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park which is based on the original Crystal Palace that was built for the 1851 Great Exhibition. It was a great opportunity to see what the palace would have been like and I can now describe it more vividly to the children when we study the Victorians at school. The Madrid Crystal Palace is now used for temporary art exhibitions.

One of the favourite things we did in Madrid (other than eating - more on that to come!) was riding the TelefĂ©rico which is a cable car that takes you just outside the city to the public park, the Casa de Campo. You get lots of great views during the 11 minute journey, my favourite was the view of the Manzanares river, and at the end you can walk around at the top and take some pictures looking back towards the old town.

Madrid is definitely worth a visit - it is only a two and a half hour flight from London. The city looked so lovely in the summer sun and in the four days we were there we only scratched the surface of all the cultural activities it has to offer. I'm sure we'll be back there again soon! 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Back To Blogging

Clockwise from top - Posh Polo, Sheepdog Trials at Box Hill, Toasting the Bride-To-Be, A Battle of Britain Flypast, Joss The Sheepdog and Fairy Cakes Decorated by Little B,

 Today, with just five days left to the end of the school year, I am sat at home with a head full of cold. I got up this morning, ate breakfast and showered, determined to go in. Yet I felt so worn out by 8.15am that I put my pyjamas back on and crawled into bed.

I blame sniffly children and this horrible, gloomy, damp weather. I keep wondering where the hot, sunny days have gone to.  And to top it all off, because of my cold and the nasty weather we stayed at home last night instead of going to see Kate Rusby perform at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. The weather and my cold are getting very annoying now.

However, since my last post back in June, life has been good. I continue to enjoy my new job and have loved throwing myself into all the summer activities: sport's day, fete, science week and school trips. I really will miss the children over the summer holidays, I love the quirky comments that make me smile each day.

When I go back in September I will be in Year 5 for again. The year group is fairly rowdy with a boy heavy ratio but the teacher (who has just finished her training) is absolutely lovely and I think that even though she is new to the school, she will keep all the pickles in check.

Outside of work, Mr P and I have been keeping very busy. There's been sheepdog trials and babysitting, a hen party, a Boy George concert and lots of catching up with friends. 

There was also a very lovely unplanned night out at the Take That tour with Acton Belle. We had the most amazing time possibly because we only decided to buy tickets on the morning of the gig. Together Acton Belle and I have laughed, cried, sung and danced our way through our teenage years and twenties with TT in the background. It was very special to share the evening with her...and we still know all the lyrics! 

Unfortunately our house renovations are taking much longer to come together than we had planned. We decided to have a full survey done on the property (it hasn't had one since the early 1970s) and we found out that we have damp in nearly every room. It's going to be a large project to fix it and now we are back at the beginning, trying to decide what order to do things in. I'm hoping we can get everything completed by Christmas but don't feel optimistic at the moment.

On a more jolly note, I have been enjoying dropping in on everyone's blogs and love hearing where people are at in terms of their summer holidays. In Australia they're going back to school, in America they have a few weeks left and here in the UK, things are just beginning. 

I can't wait to enjoy my first 'school summer holiday'. I have lots of plans to meet friends, a little trip up to Stoke, a week in Cornwall with Mr P and my parents and a very big to-do list. I'm hoping that the weather will change to offer me the opportunity to finally fix my vintage deckchairs and sit outside with a glass of Pimms and a good book. Fingers crossed!

We are off to Madrid on Saturday for our friends' wedding celebration so I'll definitely have a 'postcard to send you' next week. 

Until then, enjoy July come rain or shine!