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  • clivenmel

May 27th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Saturday May 23rd - Well, best laid plans and all that!  We did have visitors at the weekend but their numbers were depleted by one � Vicki was poorly!  She texted me on Saturday morning to say that she had come down with a real heavy cold in the night and felt absolutely dreadful!  Apart from the fact that she felt rotten and didn�t feel a bit like driving for two hours she was also very conscious of the fact that her cold germs would be trapped in a 57� tube and be sharing themselves around to all and sundry � so she decided to stay at home with her cat and let Gareth and Indy come on their own.  Bless!   So, Gareth and Indy finally arrived in the afternoon after a longer than usual journey due to the Bank Holiday traffic.  It was great to see them both again.  The last time we saw them was the Easter weekend � I swear Indy has grown every time we see her!   We had a spot of lunch and then went for a walk and found a lovely place called Syon Park just a short distance from the boat.  Syon Park is actually the London home of the Duke of Northumberland, whose family have lived there for 400 years.  Originally it was the site of a mediaeval abbey.  Syon Abbey was named after Mount Zion in the Holy Land and was one of the last great abbeys to be built, founded by Henry V in 1415 but was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539.  Now thereby hangs a tale���.. In 1547, King Henry VIII's coffin was brought to Syon on its way to Windsor for burial. It burst open during the night and in the morning dogs were found licking up the remains! This was regarded as a divine judgement for the King's desecration of Syon Abbey.  Not a lot of people know that!   Anyway, we didn�t get chance to go and look around the house itself as there was a wedding taking place there, the bride was just arriving as we were walking past the driveway!  However we hadn�t really come to see the house, it wouldn�t have been much fun for Indy, but there was something else there that was � The Tropical House!  On the approach to this there was a large round pool with a fountain and as we got closer we could see it was full of fish, Koi Carp.  We went over to have a look and I can honestly say there was the biggest Koi in there that any of us have ever seen, it was really huge!  I took several photos but none of them really showed how big it was.  The best I could get was this one with Gareth�s hand to give it some perspective.   Once inside we found all sorts of things to look at and Indy was fascinated.  There were tiny little Marmosets; turtles; fish of all kinds including huge Piranhas!  There were also rabbits and guinea pigs.  Indy was in her element!  We hadn�t been in there long when we saw lots of children all going in one direction and a man ushering them through into a room, so we followed them.  A man was showing various different animals to the kids, explaining about them and then letting the kids touch and hold them.  The first one was a large scorpion!  Then he brought out a couple of iguanas and after he had finished talking about them he carried the big green one around the room and let all the children touch him, Indy had a go too!  He took the iguanas back and came in with a large Boa Constrictor.  He invited all the kids to stand in a line so they could each hold a bit of it � Indy was looking rather askance at this large reptile and despite Gareth�s urging she wouldn�t go and join the other kids!  However once he put it on the floor she did finally go and touch it.   Then he brought a baby Gharial in, which is a type of long nosed crocodile.  Again he took it around for all the kids to hold and touch.  Gareth held it and Indy stroked it.  After that we went for another wander round the place and looked at all the bugs!  She wasn�t too fond of those - neither was I!   Once we had seen everything there was to see we set off back to the boat but on the way we passed an Italian restaurant so decided to stop off and have a pizza for dinner, saved me having to cook!   Sunday May 24th � we all got up bright and early and had breakfast before setting off for the day.  First of all we caught a bus, just around the corner from where we are moored, to Boston Manor underground station where we caught a train to Gloucester Road, then we walked along Cromwell Road until we arrived at The Natural History Museum.  Needless to say, being a Bank Holiday weekend, there was a long queue.  However it didn�t take too long before we were finally inside.  Gareth was dying to see Indy�s face as she saw the dinosaurs, he had been telling her all about them for weeks.  However, although she seemed reasonably impressed, when all said and done, when you are only three and a bit, they are just a load of old bones!  We wandered around all the exhibits, which have been considerably updated since we last took Gareth there when he was about 8!  It is all very modern now with the introduction of new interactive technology, which was right up Indy�s street � all she wanted to do was touch buttons, turn wheels, press levers etc etc � she is definitely going to be a technodweeb when she grows up!  You should see her on the computer!   The one dinosaur exhibit she did seem impressed with was the moving Tyrannosaurus Rex!  It was very good and she stood and watched that for quite a while but they kept announcing that you had to keep moving, so we had to drag her away (and Gareth!).   I think Gareth was also a bit disappointed at Indy�s reaction to the Blue Whale.  When we took him to the museum as a child he was absolutely captivated by this whale � well lets face it, it is absolutely huge, even I have difficulty comprehending that something that size is actually alive and swimming in our oceans somewhere!  She did look at it but with nowhere near the enthusiasm and awe that her father had shown all those years ago!   Now you will recall that Clive is in the process of researching his family trees.  Well, I don�t think he needs to go any further because I think we have found one of his long lost relatives.  I spotted this statue just as we were going across the main hall and suggested that Clive come and have his photograph taken with the gentleman.  Just as he was posing for my photograph another photographer rushed up and shouted �Ooh look, it�s Charles Darwin � do you mind if I take your photograph!�  Well, you have to admit there is a very strong resemblence!  He had a boat as well, it was called The Beagle!!!   We spent several hours in the museum before deciding we had had enough (well Indy certainly had!) and it was time to head back to the boat.  Once home it was a case of packing all Gareth and Indy�s stuff into the car and it was time for them to head home to Cambridge.  Once again we were sad to see them go but at least we know that over the next few weeks we will be getting closer and closer to them as we head into East Anglia.  Fortunately their journey home was much easier and they were soon back home safe and sound.   Monday May 25th � It rained!  That is about all I need to say as we stayed on board in the dry and relaxed all day.l   Tuesday May 26th � It was raining first thing when we woke up but then it brightened up.  We were very glad as we were going to Woking for the day.  We walked to Brentford railway station and got our train tickets for Woking, with a change at Clapham Junction.  We only had a short wait before the train arrived and it didn�t take long at all before we arrived at Clapham, which claims to be the busiest railway station in the country.  It really is huge!  There are so many tracks converging there and at one point, whilst we were waiting for our connection, I counted 9 trains either stationary or passing through the station � it was amazing!  We finally got our train for Woking and it only took us a short time to get there.  Then we got a taxi to the Surrey Family History Centre.  Once again time ran away with us, no sooner had we arrived than it was time to leave!  Where does the time go!  We arrived about 11.30am and it closed at 5pm, we didn�t seem to have been there all that time at all but we were so engrossed in what we were doing that it just flew by.  Then it was back to the boat for a well earned dinner and a bottle of wine!   Wednesday May 27th � The weather forecast for today was heavy rain all day!  Well they got it wrong again!  It did rain this morning, but it was never heavy, just a prolonged drizzle which finally fizzled out about lunch time.  However, we hadn�t made any plans for today so we relaxed again.  Tomorrow we are off to Kew Gardens � yippee!   We haven�t been for quite some time � Clive took me there on a magical mystery tour for my 40th birthday � I had absolutely no idea where he was taking me but was absolutely thrilled when we arrived.  I am really looking forward to going again.  Will tell you all about it when we get back!      

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