Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bits & Bobs + a trip to the UK!

I spent just over a week in Abu Dhabi on returning from South Africa. For the most part, Clare & Ahmed were in Thailand & I was looking after the cats! A weekend working in Doha was a welcome break! I arrived in beautiful sunshine on a wonderful winter's day. Thought I would go for a walk, but was thwarted by a Shamal which came from nowhere & ruined the rest of the day. I did take this photo at dusk & I think it is quite atmospheric.

Doha at dusk.

Anne; Colin; Me; Robin; Leanne & Liz.

Returned to Abu Dhabi & enjoyed a night at The Club with friends, then flew to London on the 10th March. Yet again the weather was fantastic, bright sunshine, on a lovely crisp winters day.

The white notice says  Welcome granddad!
I know you can't read it!

Second photo!

Third time lucky? I don't think so!

Please note, I added the dinosaurs!

Arrived at Nicci & Justin's house & was shown to my little Granddad room! The kids were there to greet me!
 Early spring flowers in Hyde Park.

Enjoyed a day out in London, mainly to renew my passport. Everything was fine, but I had to wait for four hours to collect it. So, I went for a brisk walk around Hyde Park. The weather was pretty mild for the time of year & I really enjoyed the walk. Plenty of birds on The Serpentine including several Grey Herons.
Grey Heron among the more usual fare
 on The Serpentine.

There was a bit of a surprise awaiting me in Kensington Gardens, a Cetti's Warbler was singing! This could be the first record for central London. I later found out that this bird had been there for at least 10 days previously.

Peter & me!

Then it was time to meet Peter for lunch. Peter was on the Colombia trip with me back in November 2014, but unfortunately had to go home early because his Dad was involved in an accident back home. It was great to see him again & to find out his Dad was recovering very nicely. He is 90 years old! It was great to see Peter again.

 Gabe & Peache's bedroom!

 Gabe & Peaches with their 
Comic Relief umbrellas!

Justin, Peaches, Gabe & Alistair.

The weekend was spent at Nicci & Justin's house: the Saturday was mainly spent watching rugby & on Sunday I went for a local walk around a nearby park & then joined up with the kids at a local playground.

Rowan is so poor these days!
She is wearing rags!

Me & Rowan.

Evening meal at The Manly's house.

On 16th went tp pick up Rowan, who has come down for a couple of days to see her Daddy! The evening was spent at Nicci's house catching up on all our news.

 Borough Market

Different foods from all over the world!
Even Boston!

The iconic Shard.

Rowan with The London Eye in the background.

Enjoying a cocktail at The Milestone Hotel.

The next day Rowan & I enjoyed an outing to the South Bank in central London.

 Nonsuch Park.

It was a little sad saying good bye to her on the 18th. In the afternoon I went for a walk around Nonsutch Park. This is a huge area of green, mainly open grassland with some scattered woodland. It was a nice walk & I saw 6 Green Woodpeckers!

Tony Curtis at 90!

On 19th, I went on the train to Newbury. The reason was to visit an old friend of mine from Mutare, Zimbabwe: Tony Curtis. 

I met Tony in 1986 when I first arrived there & we did quite a bit of birding together, mainly around the eastern highlands. Tony was in his early 60's back then, so I was keen to see how he had got on in the intervening years.

As he opened the door I received a pleasant surprise! He is now 90 years old & still sprightly, with a dry sense of humor. We had non stop talking for the best part of the next five hours. We covered a lot of ground & he cooked lunch for me, complete with beer & wine! I really enjoyed seeing him again.
On the way home saw 2 Red Kites, a Common Buzzard & 2 Roe Deer from the train. How times have changed!

What I should have seen, but didn't see!
Taken from the Daily Telegraph.

The 20th is the date of a total eclipse here in the UK. I arose early to try & view it but it was very cloudy & not much to see. It did get very dark though!

The next day I flew back to Abu Dhabi.

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