Weekend in Cambridge

Last weekend I got to stay with friends in their very lovely home in Cambridge.  While I was there I was on a mission to take photos of spring for a photo competition I’m running at work.  So our first little venture out was to a park where there would be plenty of cherry blossoms and hopefully some cute little fluffy ducks.

On the drive back from the park we stopped by the side of the road for some shots of some glorious trees in full blossom.


We had a really lovely walk around the park and I even learnt some history.

For dinner we went to an amazing restaurant called Alpha St.  The food was amazing and I had the most fabulous desert ever.  You pour this hot berry sauce over a stunning ball of white chocolate to reveal the dark chocolate mouse inside.  Not only was it fun but it was very delicious.

  
The next day we drove to the Hamilton Zoo where we got to see some very pretty birds.

  
Meerkats, pigs and giraffes.


Tigers, ducks and a turtle.


A family of monkeys with a really cute baby.


But my favourite was the rhinos because it was their feeding time and we got to see them up real close.


After the zoo we headed back to Cambridge for lunch and then I drove home amongst all the school holiday traffic also heading home.

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Weekend in Whanganui

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to stay with friends in their lovely home in Whanganui.  What a great weekend it was.  A friend picked me up early from work on Friday so we could avoid the Auckland traffic and enjoy a couple of beers at the airport before jumping on the plane.  After possibly one too many beers we boarded the plane and very quickly made friends with the guys in the row in front of us and kept most of the passengers very amused the whole way (it was an intimate little plane).  Something about buying houses, finding a good bar to drink in with lots of homeowners had us in stitches for a long time.

One of our kind hosts picked us up from the airport and took us straight to the supermarket so we could purchase more alcohol.  Whanganui New World had the jackpot of wine selections – they sold BOTH of my faves.  These days it’s getting harder to find one or the other depending on the supermarket and the last supermarket I went in to with the biggest selection of wine ever had neither!

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We had dinner and a few drinks at a lovely neighbours house before settling in for many many laughs and quite a few drinks at the friends’ home.

The next day we drove round Whanganui looking at houses for sale, eating lunch at the Citadel – a very groovy café, walked through an amazing succulent garden many residents had got together and planted.  After dinner we did the real “Netflix and Chill” – I don’t have Netflix so it was cool to see what all the fuss is about.

For a treat on our last day we got taken out to an amazing garden in the countryside.  On the way we stopped at the recycling centre – you have to do your own recycling in Whanganui.  There was an impressive mural on the fence made out of recycled bottle tops.

Last stop before the garden was for a coffee from a funky coffee shop called Article, which sold groovy second hand stuff.  I really wanted to stay for a while and soak it all in, plus wander around the glass blowing gallery next door, but we had no time for such luxuries – we were on a mission to get out to the gardens and have a wee picnic.

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The Paloma Gardens were awesome – fascinating, clever, unusual and beautiful.  There is a large glasshouse with many types of cacti.

There’s even a Garden of Death, not my favourite thing but I have to admit it was a very clever concept and well done.

There is an unusual conservatory type area with chandeliers and a peacock.

Unusual art, beautiful flowers and pottery is everywhere – you could walk for hours to try and see everything but we did a short walk.

Then… just when I thought I’d seen everything the garden had to offer, we crossed to the other side of the driveway and found a fabulous setting for a wedding.

The fence near the entrance has lots of cool phrases painted on it, so even the driveway is fun.

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On the way back to town we stopped at a local pub for a beer and a bite to eat.  Then we went to the Wintergarden and lake to feed the ducks rice – because apparently bread is bad for them, but the ducks don’t know that and didn’t seem all that excited about the rice.

Then it was time to go home.  The flight home was very quiet and subdued compared to the flight down.  But it was on a really old plane which I’m sure had been borrowed from an aircraft museum, it was very cool though and quite spacious.

London Day Sixteen

Monday 17 April

Today’s mission was to see Madame Tussaud’s and revisit the first place I stayed in when I got here in 1987 plus see the old hotel used in the movie Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont as it’s in the same area.

As it turned out the day had some disappointments and some unplanned surprises.  The first disappointment was Madame Tussaud’s had 6 mega queues and none of them seemed to be moving and I really didn’t feel like standing around too long on my own.  So I jumped back on the Tube and headed for the British Museum to photograph the roof I have seen in many photographs.


There was a queue but this was only a security queue and it moved really quickly.  So it didn’t take too long before I was inside the museum and photographing the amazing roof.
    

From there I caught the Tube to Queensway to see the place they filmed the movie.  While walking alongside Kensington Gardens I thought it would be a nicer walk if I walked through the park, so I crossed the road, checked out a map and headed for the big pond in the middle of the park.  When I got to the pond I saw Kensington Palace and remembered that’s where Princess Diana used to live.  So I thought I’d get a bit closer to take some pics.  Once there I noticed there was no queue to go in and I could see the exhibition: Diana – Her Fashion Story, an exhibition of her famous dresses, this was a big happy surprise because when my friend looked up booking tickets for the exhibition they were all sold out.

  
  
  

One of the cool features of the exhibition was the large familiar photos of Diana on the walls and then opposite them were the  dresses in those pics.

  

After that I strolled around the garden which had a tribute to Princess Diana, full of white forget-me-not flowers.

    
  
Once I got to the place they filmed the movie I was very disappointed, it turned out to be a very abandoned building sadly in need of repair.


And as for the bed and breakfast I stayed in for a few days upon my first arrival it seemed to have gone – but it could’ve been this building, then again it could’ve been any one of the buildings on that street – they all looked the same lol..


After dinner we finished off our Audrey Hepburn trilogy with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.