Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010 - London

This year we returned to England to spend Christmas with our families.  An offer by British Airways when we booked our flights included two nights in a Central London hotel which we decided to take at the beginning of our break.  We flew to Heathrow T5 and took the Piccadilly Line underground right through to Russell Square Station which was the closest to our hotel, the President Hotel on Russell Square.

It was already dusk by the time we checked-in, the view from our room overlooking Russell Square.


Our first evening we had arranged to go to the theatre to see a play that Davids uncle was starring in.  Ghost Stories was at the Duke of York’s Theatre on St Martins Lane, only a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.  We took these photos the following day of the theatre.  It was a great performance and we enjoyed catching up with David’s uncle and his wife after the show over a bottle of wine.

IMG_3319 Ghost Stories at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

IMG_3320The following morning we headed over to St. Thomas’ Hospital to visit a friend and ex-colleague of Davids who is working at the adjoining new Evelina Childrens Hospital.


It was a very cold, grey winters day so no spectacular views even though the hospitals are situated right on the River Thames just up from the London Eye.


After our visit to the hospital we cross Westminster Bridge to the North side of the river and get these views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.


Closer views of the Houses of Parliament


And Big Ben

IMG_3317 We walked along the embankment and up through Charing Cross to take photos of the Duke of York’s Theatre before then heading back past St Martin’s in The Field church.  This church was built in 1726 and named after an earlier church built on the site by Henry VIII in 1542 when at this time the location was literally ‘in the fields’ between the towns of London and Westminster.

IMG_3321 We pass through Piccadilly Circus.



Then the excellent views up Regent Street.


The window displays of Hamleys Toy store.


Shortly after we met with Craig, an old family friend of Davids in Covent Garden, we did a little shopping and then had a drink in the Lamb & Flag pub on Rose Street.  Reputedly one of the oldest pubs in the area and believed to date back to 1623 the pub was small and bustling and very very British !
IMG_3336We spent the afternoon with Craig before heading out to his home in Shepherd Bush and meeting up with his wife Mia and enjoying a lovely meal in the Havelock Tavern.  After our meal David and I returned on the Piccadilly Line back into Central London and enjoyed some of the Christmas light displays on our way back to the hotel.

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Beautiful Liberty Department store on Regent St was actually built in the 1920’s but to an authentic Tudor style.


Then we walk back past the British Museum to our hotel.


The following morning after breakfast we took a walk around the immediate neighbourhood of our hotel.  David had stayed in this part of London when he was working at Great Ormond St Hospital in 1997 so showed me where he had lived during that time in Nurses accommodation on Bernard St.



We walked around and past Great Ormond St Hospital and then through another beautiful city square – Queen Square


Then back to our hotel to collect our suitcases and check-out.  The daytime view from our room as we leave.


We then walk around to Russell Square tube station and take the underground to Kings Cross where we have booked tickets on an East Coast mainline train to Peterborough.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Holiday

Mojo heads off on the Dog Ranch bus for his Christmas Holiday.

Mojo Christmas holiday

Monday, December 06, 2010

Snow Shoeing

This weekend we had a surprise ‘treat’ – a sunny weekend day when we were both free and with no work pressures able to go out snow shoeing.  Being such a beautiful weekend day the mountain was extremely busy with skiers, boarders and snow shoe walkers.

David and Mojo.  Mojo absolutely loved the deep fluffy snow and raced around continuously.

IMG_3260 It was about +5 degrees and deep blue skies – they’re not photoshopped ! 

IMG_3262 At times the trails were quite busy having to over-take, pass and get over-taken by other people. Mojo despite wanting to charge up and down the trail ahead of us would run up the banks to the side to let people pass.

IMG_3264 Mojo having an off trail exploration.


More views along the trails


Looking across a frozen First Lake towards the cabin at the top of the hill on the otherside.


Mojo and I

IMG_3274 Movie of our crunching through the snow with Mojo.

As we return from the walk the sun is starting to go down and casts beautiful yellow shades over the snowy landscape.


The chair lift which had sat unused when Mojo and I walked up to Mystery Lake in October is now in full operation.


Views across the water with Vancouver Island visible on the horizon.


Looking East with Mt Baker in the distance


Grouse Mountain.


A stunning end to a beautiful day.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pitt Lake and Wildlife Reserve November 2010

On Tuesday while it was still very cold it was sunny and bright and the bone-chilling breeze of the day before had died down so we decided to head back out to Pitt Lake as this promised some easy walking with good views.

These views from McNeil Road across farmland in Pitt Meadows.


Looking East towards Golden Ears Provincial Park.


The views along Rannie Road leading towards Pitt-Addington Marsh and the lake.


Are we there yet ?


Further along Rannie Road, almost at the park entrance.


Once parked we could see the waterways were all frozen.


Looking across the boat ramp and marina.


When we were last here with Mum and Dad in July the waterways were a hive of activity.  On this cold November day all is quiet, including the canoe rental hut.


We get onto the nature trail running East from the parking lot.  Mojo is convinced there’s something interesting in this tree.

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This trail is much easier to walk today than it was in the summer when it was somewhat overgrown.


So there’s plenty of stick-fetching to help keep warm.


Looking North-East from the nature trail.

IMG_3207 We see the first of two observation towers a little further along the trail.


One of several fallen trees, probably due to recent snowfall and also the winds that followed.


Looking North across the frozen ponds.


North-West across Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.



We reach the observation tower (and of course Mojo is first up !).  The low sun at this time of year means no good photos to the South, just this one looking South-East across the frozen marsh.


Then the view North-East along the dyke where we will continue to walk.


North-West across Pinecone Burke.


Views to the North.


We continue along the trail onto the wider open dyke.


Another tree to be jumped over.


The wide dyke trail turns North to head towards Pitt Lake.


A panorama view from this location.

We follow the dyke to the base of Pitt Lake and turn Westerly along the gravel road which heads back towards the parking lot.

Views North up the lake.


We reach the second observation tower and get these views to the North-East.


Due East towards Golden Ears with the frozen marsh on the right of the trail and the unfrozen lake to the left.


The last views to the North-West from the tower before we head back to the warmth of the car and head home.  A stunningly beautiful walk and perfect for a crisp winters day.