Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Posh sandwiches and a wedding, deco's and killing pigeons

Believe it or not, its now 101 days since me and the Canadian one landed at Manchester airport. Its feels a lot longer since we got here and so much has happened. Chris is now well on the way to recovering from his broken ankles, Taz has lost so much weight he looks like a thin dog. I have been working for Asda for a little under 2 months and Buffy is starting to get the Christmassy feeling she loves so much - even though there is very little chance of the kind of snow she loves so much in Canada.

We did have the kids over again this weekend though and so we took full advantage of the time of year and piled on down to the shops where we all had an input into the tree and Christmas deco's for the house.
A couple of hours was spent putting up the real tree (unfortunately we couldn't chop one down like we did in Canada last year and ended up buying one from the shops) and the various decorations all around the front room - it is now covered in snowmen, tinsel and flashing bulbs everywhere. There are even a smattering of presents sitting under the tree waiting for Christmas day and the opening!

Buff, Abbie and Peter start decorating the tree
Even Taz got decorated
Adding the lights
More in the window!
 The morning after decorating the front room I had my first day off work for over three years (The first day off an actual job rather than just another day travelling!) and me and Buffy were up early as we had a weekend in Harrogate planned. The main reason for going was to attend the wedding celebration of Nikki and Matt in the evening. However, we went up early in the morning so that we could spend the afternoon looking around Harrogate and I could show Buffy the town where I spent the first two years of my army career.

We saw the Army Foundation college, which has replaced the Army Apprentice College I attended and I showed Buffy around 'the Crags', which is a small rocky cliffed area by a river where as a young squaddie I was beasted up and down the steep hills to get fit. There is still a lovely walk up to the top of the crag and a great view over the valley below to the College that sits atop the opposite hill a mile or so away.

Exploring the crags
  After a good walk in the countryside we went into Harrogate itself and spent a lovely lunchtime enjoying afternoon tea in the most famous tea-rooms in the world. Bettys tearooms! This place has been running since 1919 and although a little posh, still has the feel of a wonderfully warm and welcoming cafe. We sat down and were served a lovely afternoon tea of sandwiches and cakes along with a scone and a pot of tea. All served with silver cutlery and matching silver teapots. It might have been a little expensive but was well worth every penny and we loved our posh snack!

Bettys outside!
 In the evening we made our way into town again to celebrate the wedding of Nikki and Matt. Nikki is the Doctor who I met in Tasmania and travelled with me Buffy and Joel in Asia, spending a week in the hospital with me when I was ill in Thailand. We had a lovely Saturday night watching them get their wedding blessed. (They were actually married a couple of weeks earlier in The Dominican Republic and this was the English celebration) Lots more posh food was eaten and a few beers drunk as we sat chatting and enjoying a great night out. We were lucky enough to get quite a time chatting with Nikki and Matt too finding out about their upcoming trip abroad. I am so jealous that they are taking six months off to go back to Australia and the USA among other places. Have a great time guys!

Nikki and Matt getting hitched!

Buffy getting her walking boots on to go home!
The Sunday was an interesting day - we decided to stop off on the way home from Harrogate on Saddleworth moor. It overlooks the city of Manchester with great views over the city, so we climbed a steep hill in order to get a better view. It was hard work getting up the slippy shale hillside but well worth it for the views!

Buffy clambering up the hill
and enjoying the views
The last bit of the weekend I went out with Chris and the kids to do a little shopping. It wasn't an unusual afternoon in itself, but when we went back to the car, we noticed some bloke on his knees peering under a car with feathers lying all around on the ground. When we looked under the car we saw a hawk, which had caught a pigeon and was in the process of having it for his dinner. Although it may be a little upsetting for some of you to look at, I found it fascinating to see a bird of prey so close up doing what is completely natural to him. It is nature in progress, so if you don't want to see then look away now, but here is a photo and a short video of what we saw.

 So there you go for now. Its time for my tea and Buffy is making meatloaf! So I have to go!!

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