July 2014

July was an action-packed month, blessed with fantastic weather from beginning to end. Ideal for us and nice for visitors too - including Kiwis Mike and Michelle who stayed with us briefly during their UK visit. Keen to find something of local interest to show them, we went up to the Wellington Statue and then on to Farnborough Air Sciences Museum which is brimming with old aircraft of all shapes and sizes. Here's Matthew in their Gazelle helicopter.

Next day was Brickfields Summer Fair. Brickfields is a small nature reserve which our house backs on to - it claims to be the smallest country park in the UK. Anyway, they run a fundraiser each year to cover the cost of tools and stuff that the volunteers use to keep the place tidy throughout the year.

We didn't really know what to expect but Cassandra decided she wanted to run a stall and so collected a whole heap of things that she'd made or didn't want any more (and in some cases, even bought a few things from the pound shop) and then ran a tombola where every ticket was a winner. She did really well, helped by her friend Megan, and raised just over £40 which the event organiser was very grateful for.

Next up and another Family Fun Day at Chris's work. Fortunately, they have much the same things on each year (bouncy castles, dodgems, face painting, free ice cream etc. and the kids know where everything is so they can just go off and enjoy themselves. The kids both took a friend along too.

It was seriously hot though. Having said that, Matthew had refused to wear shorts so got pretty warm in his jeans and then wouldn't sit in the shade for lunch - preferring instead to create the tiniest breeze using a little battery powered fan his friend brought along.

Shortly after lunch, the heat got the better of all the kids so they went inside where they could play computer games on some seriously big screens...

... and get to play with some of the military hardware that Chris's team had put out on display.

The following weekend we had to look skyward for military hardware as the Farnborough Airshow hit the town (as it does every two years). We didn't really want to sit through the whole display so drove up to Farnborough to get a nice close-up view of the Vulcan bomber...

... and then parked up and climbed the hill at Caesar's Camp near Aldershot to watch the Red Arrows.

You can just about pick out their signature 'heart' drawn in the sky with smoke trails. Quite impressive.

Aircraft gave way to Boats at the end of the weekend as we joined our friend Keith on a Thames River cruise from Windsor to mark his 50th birthday. We did exactly the same thing for his 40th and many of the people on-board were old acquaintances who we hadn't seen at all in the intervening time. It was really nice, although the beautiful weather and party lights attracted an awful lot of midges towards the boat so we didn't get many good photos. In fact, this is about the best of the bunch - the turnaround point at Glen Island near Maidenhead.

The fine weather continued for school sports day which this year was relocated to the Aldershot Military Athletics Stadium which provided much better viewing (and some shade) for the parents whilst allowing the kids to do a much wider range of activities than they used to. It was all very professionally run, including a one-lap parade of athletes at the start...

... and a medal ceremony for each event - though this photo was staged at the end of the day so that Cassandra could show off her Silver medal and Matthew his two gold and a bronze.

It really made a great difference being in a real sports arena rather than the school field. Everyone had a great day.

That's it for photos this month ... but the fine weather did cause us to dig out the paddling pool and water slide and whilst our new garden isn't quite as sloped as our previous one, it does still work pretty well for the slide...

Water Slide Fun