To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Our trip to UK was eventful this year (as indeed it is every year).

Firstly I screwed up spectacularly and gave the wrong dates to #1 son. Consequently instead of making bookings to be in London at same time (he lives in Ireland), he booked 2 weeks after we were leaving. (I have to say that he took it a lot better than I would have and bless him he rescheduled)

Secondly in the 2 weeks prior to visiting we had watched in absolute horror the news reports of the arctic weather conditions in UK ( second coldest since records began more than 100 years ago). We made a trip to the Outdoor Shop in Kowloon to buy suitable clothing. This shop specializes in Cold Weather apparel and with the exception of Jamie's coat, which he will grown out of within 2 if not 1 year, we justified the purchase (at sales prices) on the basis that we would use them for a winter holiday in Korea, Japan, China or Latvia that we keep talking about. Of course the worry was that after buying them the UK temperature would shoot up and we wouldn't need them . Fortunately (for us) it didn't

Thirdly my wife lost her wedding ring when we went to visit the Tower of London. Basically it was so cold her finger got thinner and it fell off . We were gutted!! Fortunately it fell off inside the camera case when she took the camera out and I discovered it when I put the camera back. We were well pleased !!

And finally when we back home we discovered that Jamie had caught a virus (probably whilst mixing with other kids at the Science Museum in Kensington) which he gave to both our helper and Rebecca. The doctor, who was obliged to fill in forms and report it to Health authorities because we had just arrived from a foreign country, (SARS HK has very strict control procedures after SARS especially with the outbreak H7N9 on mainland) subsequently suggested that it was in fact Scarlet Fever, MMR vaccination was not an issue here.

On the up side however we did have a good trip.

We visited the Tower of London and apart from losing and finding a wedding ring we didn't see the Crown jewels nor indeed the Armoury but we did walk the walls, visit the towers where the prisoners were kept , traitors gate and Tower green etc which satisfied #3's blood lust. "Off with their heads !! " It's a long time since i visited the tower but personally I think Hampton Court is more interesting

Seperately we also visited Tower Bridge and did the exhibition . For me this was a first and I thought it was great as did jamie who is into engineering/mechanical things. From there we walked to the Monument and I did my tour guide bit. The ascent and decent was child play ... literally. Shame about the view though

Cutty SarkWe also went to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark. The fact it was a tea clipper which sailed to China, and that every day we can look out of our window on ships sailing into Hong Kong, had a certain resonance. And Jamie particularly liked the "pong" boxes and the easter eggs. I think the remodeled exhibition is much better than previous.

And then there was the Science Museum... we decided to give the dinosaurs next door a miss. So there we are looking at the rockets etc and Jamie turns tround and asks .. where are the Chinese ones?? (he has seen the chines stuff in HK space Museum ) .. and you know they are going to have to remodel the London display The Chinese plan to launch 20 spacecraft this year alone and are going to the moon. We also took in the early trains including "The Rocket" and early cars before going off to to do children's area (and catch scarlet fever) On the second floor in maths section we were (well I was) surprised to see in a display case Montessori materials Afterwards I kicked my self for not taking a photo to show the teachers at Jamie's school which is a Montessori.They would have been pleased.

We renewed old acquaintances at the Oriental Chef in Wanstead High Street , We humoured #1 and ate 2 nights running at Loon Yee Chinese Restaurant and introduced him to new beef dishes. And although I didn't have fish and chips we did enjoy suitably English breakfasts at the Eagle pub, The Bungalow Cafe and Cafe-Brunch both favorites with the local constabulary. I didn't know that the Bungalow served a Lebanese menu in the evenings !!!! Who says that Wanstead is not a fine place to live !!!! ....

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