Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blooms in February

February is coming to a close and already we have flowers blooming. My gardener sister, Tracey told me the growing season here was long, but I didn't realise it would start this early. The tree in our front yard started blooming about two weeks ago, and this week the crocus' came up in full force!

Hannah and Mira with the crocus' in our front yard.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Manchester Part 2

This past weekend we ventured up north to Manchester to visit our friends the Tolans. As usual, we had a great weekend with great friends. The kids always have a fantastic time together and this time there was a new addition to the gang - 5-month-old Tommy Tolan!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - there ain't nothing a kid loves better than a big stick!

Thomas is such a smiley guy!

The kids did a little baking on Sunday morning - well if you call mixing melted chocolate with rice krispies baking :-)

Hannah loves Tommy - well, she loves babies in general, but she grew especially fond of the new Tolan. Poor Joe felt a little jilted and kept trying to pry Hannah away from his baby brother.

On Sunday, we visited a National Trust site - The Quarry Bank Mill. The mill began operation in the 1780's and is powered by Europe's most powerful working waterwheel - quite an impressive sight. It was interesting to see the different machines at work and learn how cotton was produced at the mill over the years.

Also interesting to note that child labour was a huge force behind the production of cotton at the mill. A few years back, children the ages of our group would have been hard at work for 10 hour days at the mill.

Amazing to think that the single spinning wheel was eventually replaced by machinery that could...

...mass produce the same end product.

This picture of Matthew is one of my new faves!
So, what was the best part of the weekend - well besides being with awesome friends, that is... the Tolans greeted me with the most awesome, thoughtful gift ever - no, not jewels, gold or love - but my very own cast-autographed, framed Coronation Street print! Just wait until we get back to Canada - it's going up right beside Stan's Phd!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Afternoon in Shotover Park

Our friends, Manos and Sarah have done a good job of introducing us to all the great walking spots in and around Oxford. With our two little monkeys, and their baby Pandeli in tow, we never make it too, too far on any of the trails, but they are beautiful all the same.
Unless you were a local, you would never find Shotover Park which boasts several well-tred walking paths. We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon strolling with our friends - after a hearty pub Sunday roast of course!
Sarah, Manos and Pandeli

Hannah takes a break.

Pandeli laughs with his daddy.

Mira leads the way.

Nothing makes a kid happier than a really big stick!

The girls are on a search for...

...great, big puddles!