White Christmas

Snowballs

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No teather ball today

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The snow is still with us, so we had a proper white Christmas,

Snowy

Snow burying

complete with some fun in the snow.

Beer Cooler

The beer cooler was superb.

Ice & Snow

icicles

Icicles
(sign of a poorly insulated roof I think)

snowy hoop

Hoop
(it’s hard to bounce the ball in 12” of snow)

Snowballs!

snow ball

The boys made some small snowballs in the garden yesterday…

tea service

…it was hard work, but mum appeared just in time with some refreshments.

More big snow

snow monster

the post-selding trek to starbucks

A post-sledging trek through the snow to a long starbucks line (we should have gone over the road to the organic coffee shack :-( )

snowy street

This was our street before the deep stuff came!

Finn at Five

Finn at Five

Finn is now officially five, having been "nearly five" since about June.

Finn at Five

I think he knows something I don’t…

Christmas Tree Team

Tree decorating team

Tree from Noel’s at Cottage Lake, decorated by the gang in the picture
(including the shy one hiding in the reflection)
I had nothing to do with it, except dragging 8ft of fir from car to garage to family room

Tree jumping

This year we also appear to have started a new Christmas tradition (can it be a tradition if this is the start?): yup, tree jumping. I can see that this one may end in tears.

Small Snow

Crawling along Woodinville-Duvall Road

Freestyle sleding at St Edwards

Snowperson

Snow sliding

We got back to a certain amount of snow. Fun fun fun.
Apparently, this is what’s known as ‘trace’.

Big Trip: Wrap Up

The Firm

The Firm

End of the Big Trip. "The Firm" reconvened at Heathrow T5 for a final farewell, fortunately news reports of an ensuing chaos were significantly exaggerated, and T5 continued to function normally.

 Custom headphones

Finn’s return trip was also enhanced by the custom headphone adapter, cunningly crafted from BA socks. Nice.

Big Side Trip: Genève

Crossing the Rhône River

A little side trip from the big trip to Genève for some work-stuff.

Genève by night

Decent view from the hotel…

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…including some kind of student party. Something to do with history, the French and large pots of chocolate, apparently.

Entrance to the Rhône River

Genève is at the end of Lake Geneva, where the lake flows into the Rhône River

Bell tree

…and all the trees have bells on.

Sunrise over the Alps

Unfortunately, I didn’t get up into the Alps, although the view from 5,000 feet on the early morning flight out was pretty impressive.

Big Trip: Hainault Forest

Woodland trail

A winter walk in Hainault Forest

Grandparents & Trees

Admiring the view

with granddad, nana and the boys

Evening sky over London

and views across London as the evening drew in.

washing up

A quick clean up

Cheers Granddad

and then drinks and

Taking a break, English pub style

a relax at the Camelot.

I do miss English pubs.

Big Trip: Night out in London Towne

Fay and bankside

Big night out. Train into town, wonder down past St Pauls and across the wobbly bridge to the Tate Modern in the old Bankside power station.

Thames sunset

Great views of the city as the sun went down, with even a peek of the London Eye.

Tate modern

The Tate even had an old friend (do you recognize this?) although it was far inferior to the Seattle version (it was made of ply, complete with fake rivets, although maybe that was the point). Food at level 7 was a pass, so we ended up and a nice place in the OXO building before heading along to the National Theatre for a spot of culture.

11 years. Awesome. Thanks Beautiful.

Big Trip: Frinton-on-Sea

Breakfast on platform 3

Early start (at least early if you’re all jet lagged and used to sleeping in until 12) with breakfast on platform 3 at Romford station

On the train

to catch the 0924 to Frinton-on-Sea (changing at Thorpe-le-Soken).

Frinton

Postbox

Arriving at Frinton for a quick walk to great grannies house for coffee and biscuits!

Frinton Sunset at the Rec

We even managed a quick jaunt over to the rec,

Playground groupshot (balanced on a seesaw)

Frinton Sunset

and the sunset wasn’t too bad either.

I didn’t get a good pic of gran (far too stern!) so instead, check out this much better one from last April’s visit.

Big trip: wii

WII Playing 1

Uncle Paul was the hero with wii games…

WII Playing 2

…concentration was key…

WII Watching

…and the crowd were riveted. Literally.

No damage to report, although Dad had a near miss with the chandelier. Opps.

Bottle Beach Walk

Bottle Beach

Exhibit A: A bottle

Amelie hiking the easy way

us

Boj & Brov on the Thames path

Victorian Trash

A fine example

Bottleland

Along the north bank of the Thames, downstream from Tilbury, is where London’s rubbish ended up. Just past the power station is Bottle Beach, where the remains of a (Victorian?) dump are exposed by the river. Bottles, glass and china survives, but most of everything else has decomposed. Even the metal has rusted away.

Thames at East Tilbury

The ‘water tower’ was an early radar station, and according to to font of all knowledge was, until recently, still marked as a water tower on maps.

Proper walk - on glass

A proper walk, even if it was across crushed and broken glass :-)