Celebrations, Canterbury and Cold

I had a quiet few weeks after the holiday but got busier again later on in February.

First was the night out to celebrate Karen’s promotion with some extra special people. Really should have had champagne as that begins with C but actually prefer prosecco so had some of that instead followed by some very welcome food.

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As you can see, I did a bit of sword fighting, although not sure who with because everyone there was far too nice for any fighting.

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Karen is often busy taking photos of me to take photos of people so here’s a nice one of us with Paula.

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The next day we headed off to Canterbury with Maria, primarily to go to see the musical The Band at the Marlowe Theatre. It was a pretty awesome show and fabulous colour seats too.

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Decided to stay overnight as we went to the late show so easier just to walk to the B&B. Had a lovely breakfast the next day – well, what was left of it.

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I did rather like the alcove in the restaurant and it would be a lovely place for something a bit more private. Far too big for me on my own though and not sure who Todd is.

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Stayed for a bit longer in Canterbury and wandered round the shops. First though we headed back to the theatre as they had a giant BAFTA face that I couldn’t resist.

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It was fairly lovely by the river too, despite the cold. The property in the background is the Quakers meeting hall which looked very welcoming and homely.

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Also saw some very creative pavement art. You had to look through your camera to get the 3D effect and I then got a bit scared to be in the picture. It looked a rather deep drop which I really didn’t fancy.

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We walked for ages so definitely deserved a bit of a rest and hot drink. I held onto Karen’s cup so I could warm up.

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But that was nothing compared to what was to come.

Sub zero temperatures and snow, even at the seaside. I only braved one day outside and for a very short time to have fun doing some sledging and exploring some strange footprints. I did make sure I wrapped up though and still have the jumper on today.

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Just in case you really think this is in the alps, here’s a picture which includes the sea in the background and me in some even deeper footprints.

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Headed out yesterday for a while, first time in 4 days, so nice to be outside. Just a bit of remains of snow on the beach.

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I think that’s a bit of a cold note to end on so here’s a picture of Margate main sands which was taken in February this year (yes, really).

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Fuerteventura

I was lucky enough to have some winter sun in January but its taken a while for me to write about it. Hope I can remember what happened.

It was certainly an early start for a Saturday. Although the flight wasn’t that early, leaving home was to make sure we got there in time to check in. Here’s me attempting to help Karen with her suitcase which was pretty impossible for someone of my size. It was rather confusing too as we’re not on our normal platform but I found out that’s because we were going to a different station.

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One advantage of the early start was that we could have breakfast at the airport including a nice pot of tea of course.

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Flight was uneventful and when we got to the hotel we went straight to the room as it had been a long day. It was a lovely large room and best of all the headboard was orange. Karen didn’t like it though because the lines weren’t straight. Like me, you probably haven’t even noticed.

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Karen did like the shower as it was a nice walk in one but I think they could have chosen a different colour for the tiles (like orange, for example).

1801-04 Shower.jpg

We wandered around the town the next day and saw some very creatively decorated fish on the harbour walkway. This was my favourite because of the colours.

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The beach was pretty beautiful and the sea so clear and blue, rolling onto the clean white sand.

1801-06 Beach.jpg

The island is quite windy and is renowned for that so lots of surfers and kite surfers. I was tempted myself especially when I found a board just the right size for me.

1801-07 Surfing.jpg

I also found a nice sized wall for me and even better it was orange (sort of). It even had space for my big ears. I fit in well don’t you think?

1801-08 Wall.jpg

There were also lots of rocks there and some of them were black as the island does have a history of being volcanic. Fortunately not any active ones in recent years.

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And with that lovely clear blue sea, how could I not try to go for a paddle.

1801-10 Paddling.jpg

The rock Karen found me was heart shaped but unfortunately that hasn’t come out that well in this picture.

After all that activity, it was only right that I had a rest so I did a bit of reading by the pool. Karen made sure that I had suncream and enough water so I kept healthy too.

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I was rather tempted to go in for a swim but Karen wouldn’t let me even though I did a towel with me. I think it was because I’m made of wool. Either that or because the towel wasn’t Malcolm sized.

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The rest of the week was spent walking around the town and along the beach watching the mesmerising waves, sitting having a drink, reading and even more walking.

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This is one of me on the harbour wall and in the background you can just about see Lanzarote. Karen was having to hold on to me due to the high winds.

1801-14 Lanzarote.jpg

I did manage to get onto some rocks and that’s the Isle of Lobos in the background, one of the national parks, with Lanzarote just to the left.

So that’s about it for this trip apart from one last bit of silliness at the airport. I liked the coconuts but I think Karen was drawn to the name of the shop which was ‘No Work Team’, quite apt for a holiday.

1801-15 Airport.jpg

Final question, then, what do you think is missing from this post? Answers on a postcard please. Prize may or may not be awarded (depending on who makes Karen laugh the most).

Christmas Part 2

Now, where was I … oh yes, enjoying myself with the Christmas festivities.

I made sure I helped Karen with decorating the tree and making her lounge festive and cosy. I’m glad I didn’t have to stay in the tree as it was a bit awkward what with those pine needles and all that, but I couldn’t resist my sparkly decoration.

171222-01 Christmas tree.JPG     171222-02 Lounge.JPG

We popped down to the festive fairground at Dreamland with our friend Jenny. Dreamland also had many Christmas trees but I didn’t think any of them were a patch on Karen’s. It certainly wasn’t as warm either.

171222-03 Dreamland tree.JPG

I did rather like the teapot ride and the reindeer but they didn’t seem to have many presents under any of the trees.

171222-04 Dreamland teapot.JPG     171222-05 Dreamland reindeer.JPG

We did have a nice meal and I’ve got a photo of the main course. I particularly liked this as it had orange bits in it. The desert was lovely too but photo hasn’t come out on that one (and it didn’t have orange bits in it).

171222-06 Dreamland risotto.JPG

By the time we got home it was dark but thankfully we were welcomed with some pretty outside lights.

171222-07 Outside lights.JPG

So then it was Christmas and what a lovely time I had. I was made to go for a walk in the morning and got a bit worried as there was white stuff on the beach which I thought was snow but Karen told me it was chalk. As we were on the beach, it was only right that I went for a paddle and I found a nice little shallow pool for me.

171225-01 Snow.JPG     171225-02 Paddle.JPG

When we got back, I had to work for my Christmas lunch as Karen wanted me to help her peel potatoes. I’m not quite sure how she expected me to do this as the peeler was bigger than me. Let’s just say I supervised.

171225-03 Peeling spuds.JPG

As I’d made such a good job of the tree, thought I should apply that to the table so it was appropriately festive. It looked better when the candles were lit but I’m a bit hazardous to be left alone with them.

171225-04 Table set.JPG     171225-05 Table close up.JPG

Christmas lunch was very delicious and there was lots of food left at the end. No pudding at lunchtime as far too full.

171225-06 Christmas dinner.JPG

Boxing Day started with another walk, although that was probably a good thing after all that food the day before. It was a lovely sunny day so a very pleasant walk even if it was a bit fresh. Thankfully that’s ok for me as I’m made out of wool.

171226-01 Morning walk.JPG

We then headed to Botany Bay Hotel for lunch but I did get to do a bit of tree climbing while we were waiting for our food.

171226-02 Tree climbing.JPG

More food was consumed and the pudding was particularly stunning. Just to point out, it was a sharing pudding and I didn’t eat it all myself.

171226-03 Lunch.JPG     171226-04 Pudding.JPG

Big sister, Steph, led me astray and gave me some of her wine. Not a good idea as I then did silly things.

171226-04 Wine.jpg     171226-05 Hanging about.JPG

Fortunately I was rescued before I fell. My punishment was suspended so I was free to go for a walk on the beach.

171226-06 Botany Bay.JPG

In the evening we played a card game called Belisha, inherited from Grandma, and James won (we think it was beginners luck). I particularly like this game as it has orange cards.

171226-07 Card game.JPG

So that’s the final part for Christmas in 2017. I did see a very nice saying in a local magazine which I’d just like to leave you with:

Happy New Year 2018

  • Wishing you 12 months of success
  • 52 weeks of laughter
  • 365 days of fun
  • 8,760 hours of joy
  • 525,600 minutes of good luck
  • 31, 536,000 seconds of happiness

I look forward to sharing mores of my stories and adventures to come in 2018.

Christmas Part 1

Welcome to the start of the Christmas festivities. It began quite early this year with a party on 30 November – rocking the Christmas boat with Tanya. Here’s me under the disco lights.

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I was lucky enough to stay over in London that night and booked into a hotel so didn’t have to worry about trains home. The hotel helped with making me feel festive by having some reindeer in reception. Not sure where Santa was though, maybe having a rest before all the hard work starts.

171201-01 Reindeer.jpg

The next day I was out for drinks with Julie as a belated birthday celebration. We left work early and went to one of the high rise hotels near Canary Wharf. The view was fabulous view and even better as we got there just in time for sunset. The way the sun lit up the water was so pretty.

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The only problem was choosing which cocktail to have as they were all so unique. I was not impressed with the girls for not having chosen an orange cocktail although Julie’s did come close and, of course, Karen had a purple one.

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On the way out, I saw these fabulous cups outside a coffee shop. I think they were more wobbly than me but that’s because I was good and only had one cocktail (despite what’s the picture shows).

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At the weekend the lovely Maria and her hubby John were staying in Broadstairs so I went over to meet them to see the Christmas lights switch on. I was lucky enough to have a ride on a blood bike but fortunately didn’t need it for real (apart from anything else, I don’t have any blood).

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Later on we went to Restaurant 54 for dinner and that was all rather delicious.

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I think, though, that the chocolate platter for desert was my favourite even if it did mean I didn’t have room for the after dinner chocolate despite the fact that they were orange.

171202-04 Desert.jpg     171202-05 Chocolate.jpg

I was then lucky enough to meet Santa at the hotel so that must have been where he was resting when I didn’t see him earlier with his reindeer.

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The following Friday was the works Christmas do and we went to a place in central London for lunch which was delicious too. I even dressed up for the occasion but that was more so I didn’t have to do a forfeit.

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I may have had one too many sherbets as started climbing the Christmas tree.

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After a few more drinks, I even managed to make a new friend.

171208-05 Clubbing.jpg     171208-04 Meringue.jpg

The only thing I could do after all that partying was have some fresh air and exercise at the seaside. Gosh, though, it was rather fresh yesterday but Margate was looking as stunning as ever in the winter sunshine.

171216 Fresh air.jpg

So that’s it for part 1 but look out for part 2 in a couple of weeks time.

October

At the beginning of October Karen was on holiday although she wasn’t much fun as had a stinking head cold. Still managed to get out and about a bit, starting with afternoon tea with Debbie at Bessie’s Parlour in Broadstairs.

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We then headed to Cromer for a couple of days to see Karen’s mum. The sea air certainly helped her cold. It was nice and bright and sunny, a perfect autumn day for walking along the seafront.

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Walking further along the seafront, right into the wind, we came across a shipwreck. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a real one but something that had been designed as a children’s play area. It was so much fun to explore and thankfully it was in a less windy area.

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It took me back to my childhood but, wait a minute, I still am a child (or was I ever a child if I’m a monkey?)!

And, of course, it wouldn’t have been Cromer if I didn’t have some crabs.

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I then fancied playing hide and seek – can you see me?

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Isn’t it a beautiful painting? Someone very talented did that but I don’t know who.

After all that playing, I was rewarded with lunch at the Rocket House Cafe which gives a great view of the pier.

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And that was just the morning. In the afternoon, we headed to Sheringham Park to see an exhibition of outdoor photography. If I remember correctly, it was organised by Kew Gardens. On the way we came across this brilliant wooden arch which meant more playing.

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More sustenance was needed after that so we went to a local cafe and I had a very nice hot chocolate. It was relaxing as there were some artworks to look at too.

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The next day we headed back home to Margate. It was a bit of a journey so I made sure I put my feet up and relaxed.

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I’m not quite sure where the rest of October went but we’re now in the last weekend. Despite it being windy and cold, Karen still took me out for some fresh air and she had to hold on to me.

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We were heading to The Hoy for Sunday lunch, always good value there and tasty too.

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After that it was back out in the wind and the cold but the sun had come out, so it was actually quite lovely walking back along the beach.

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I even managed to stay awake to write this blog although think it may be an early night tonight.

Afternoon Tea and Seaside Sunshine

The other Friday I was lucky enough to work from home, actually that’s all I do now but without much work involved. What I meant to say was that I was able to go for a lunchtime walk as I had Karen to supervise me. We had a lovely wander to the Bus Cafe and the beach practically to ourselves. Shame that we had to go back to work.

170915 Lunchtime walk.JPG

On the Saturday I was let loose in London. We met up with Alli to go for a Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel which was quite a treat. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I should have dressed up but fortunately it was fairly flexible so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have my tie on.

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It was a bit strange though going for afternoon tea in the evening. Think it was because it was a tipsy one as had a few cocktails included as well.

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I wasn’t sure which one to start with and, then to make it even more difficult, there then came layers and layers of food. The best bit about that was that they had Malcolm sized cocktails so that finished it off nicely.

170916-03 Afternoon Tea.JPG     170916-04 Cocktails.jpg

After all that food and drink I needed a rest, so sat in the garden chair. Technically it wasn’t the garden but it felt like it because of the landscaping and waterfall.

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On the way out and in the reception area I found a very lovely shaped sofa. Much loved it was by all.

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This weekend I had a relaxing one in Margate as I’ve had far too much fun of late. It was lovely wandering into town yesterday whilst being able to listen to the waves lapping against the sea wall.

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Even though it was quite a nice day, the beach was relatively empty. Karen took the opportunity to have a walk in the sand barefoot.

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When we eventually got to the harbour arm, lots of seagulls had congregated, probably because they were being fed.

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That gave me an idea and so I decided to have a snack at the Turner Contemporary. Lovely it was too as less noise and even found a place to sit in the sun.

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Sunday we went to the Farmers Market in Cliftonville as it was their 16th birthday. Managed to get the odd treat or too but made sure we walked a bit so that we could enjoy them. We weren’t far from Walpole Bay tidal pool and it did look tempting. Karen didn’t have her swimming costume and, as you know, water doesn’t agree with me.

170924 Walpole Bay.JPG

My next blog may be back to having more fun as going on holiday so will let you know how it goes.

Puddings and Birthday Bonanza

We were treated to a rather glorious bank holiday weekend when the sun shone loads. It was really beautiful so I couldn’t resist getting out and about. The challenge was finding a bit of beach without too many people on it but I did manage it (just). It was so lovely walking home as the tide was coming in so the waves were gently lapping onto the sand (sigh).

170827-01 Westbrook Beach.jpg     170827-06 Westbrook rocks.jpg

170828-01 Westbrook.jpg     170828-02 Westbrook.jpg

To make sure I didn’t have too much sun, I went into the Turner to see their exhibition but, before going inside, I was very impressed by the orange pieces outside. Perfect colour and perfect shade.

170827-02 Turner.jpg

I then, of course, headed out to see the Anthony Gormley sculpture and was rather taken by the sailboats too.

170827-03 Gormley.jpg     170827-04 Turner beach.jpg

I then headed onto the Harbour Arm and had a longing look across the sea to my home. Its just a bit too far to swim (and water doesn’t agree with me) so I did walk back but took lots of breaks to enjoy the scenery and not tire out my little legs too much.

170827-05 Harbour Arm.jpg     170828-03 Westbrook.jpg

Then it was back to work, unfortunately, but I did get treated to this amazing sunrise.

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At least Karen had the decency to provide a chair for me this time around. Not sure it was approved by occupational health but it did the job as I felt that I was still in Margate.

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I did have to do some proper work at some point but I was supervising really.

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I soon found out that it was actually a trick and the reason I was in the office was because we were going away for the weekend to the Cotswolds. We went to the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton because that is the home of the Pudding Club.

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Pudding Club was on the Friday night and was very ceremonial, including the march of the puddings. I won’t give too much away but would highly recommend it.

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We also had to mark each of the puddings (if we had each of them) and choose our favourite. Karen’s was apple crumble and Maria’s was jam roly poly but unfortunately not everyone agreed (which is just wrong).

170901-03 Pudding club.jpg     170901-04 Lyles syrup.jpg

As I was rather full after all that food, I had a little explore of the hotel and enjoyed the lounge. It will be really comfy in winter when the fire is lit. There are some really lovely photos adorning the walls too.

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Saturday I looked a bit further around the hotel and found these very nice purple flowers in reception. I can’t imagine why Karen liked them, can you? I also saw some of the gifts that you could buy too, many with reminders of the Pudding Club, but somehow I didn’t come home with any.

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Karen and Maria then headed into Broadway which was a lovely village not too far away. I think they went the scenic route though which is fine, except not much good for Maria who was driving. Fortunately I found some signs so it was better on the way back. Even after all those puddings, I still managed to fit in a scone, just to keep me going.

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Some of the shops in Broadways were art galleries and I had lots of fun climbing on some of the sculptures when no-one was looking. Karen did, of course, spot me messing about but it did amuse her, particularly when I was on the sheep.

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170902-07 Glass sail.jpg     170902-08 Tree.jpg

We then headed back to the hotel and found some treats in the room, something to do with chocolate indulgence apparently. Decided to have a little wander around the hotel garden before having a snooze.

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I did wake up for dinner which was good as I had a gap in my tummy by that point. We didn’t choose all the dishes with chocolate in but certainly had to have it for dessert.

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Again, for some reason, felt quite full after that food so decided to have a few games of scrabble. Not sure I was much help so I was the referee and Maria won.

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Sunday was the rest of the chocolate indulgence and that was much better than the Saturday. We had a car treasure hunt where we had to solve clues which were chocolate related. It was quite good going around new areas in the car but we didn’t do very well at the quiz. Despite that, we still got some chocolate goodies and watched the chef, Tim, cooking up three different dishes, all of which had to be tasted.

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Somehow the girls managed to fit in Sunday lunch too, although it was so that they didn’t have to cook when they got home (apparently).

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After all that food, I really needed a rest, but it was back to work again. However, it was Karen’s birthday on the Monday so her and Julie went out for a long lunch by the sea and then they had a paddle! Well, they paddled, I looked after the shoes.

170904-01 Paddling.jpg     170904-02 Harbour Arm.jpg

Karen was rather spoilt as she got lots of lovely cards and presents which also included all these flowers.

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Karen also purchased a picture from Julie, who is extremely talented, and it looks very lovely on the lounge wall.

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So the next birthday in the birthday bonanza was Maria’s (but not the Maria that went to the pudding club, her’s is on the 11th). This Maria had a milestone birthday so I made sure that Karen remembered her gifts and tried to help her carry them but not very successfully. Fortunately they got there in one piece.

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As it was a special occasion, we went to the Ivy City Gardens near Liverpool Street. I hope you notice that I got dressed up. We even had a cocktail too.

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The food was yummy too and Karen had an rather inventive dessert which was, of course, chocolate. Its a video that Karen has but she hasn’t quite worked out how to add this to the blog so you’ll have to ask her to see that one.

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I wasn’t sure if somewhere so smart would allow animals but they do as they have their own elephant.

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I think that’s you all caught up now and sorry it was such a long blog this time around but I do hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed making it. I promise the next won’t be so food orientated (apart from afternoon tea next weekend …).