Sunday, 15 January 2006

Our Honeymoon/Babymoon

Happy New Year! We seem to write in fits and bursts, so now that I have half and hour, I thought I'd update you on our honeymoon/babymoon. Which was now nearly two months ago!
It was such a wonderful time and I highly recommend it to anyone. It may have been very good training for having a baby now that I look back on it. Early mornings, doing shift work, eating on the run, exhausted by 7 pm and in bed by 8. Does this not sound like parenthood?

I kept a journal of everything we did - something I wish I did more. So here is the Coles Notes version of our time in the UK.

Part 1 - London
The first week we spent kicking about in London. We stayed with John and Dave who live in West Greenwich. They were, as always, amazing hosts. Dave put together a lovely book of "things to see and do" complete with sightseeing maps detailing where to nip in for a bit of lunch or a drink.
Weather was amazing - we wore t-shirts and light coats the whole time. We walked for hundreds of kilometers. Took lots of pregnancy breaks - resting feet, frequent trips to the washroom, lots of snacks, sparkling water...

Day 3: Tate Modern. Often I drag Marcus to museums and galleries to see lots of paintings by dead white guys. He finds this very trying. I find it a challenge to get him to walk around with me. But we BOTH agree that the Tate Modern is the perfect. Sam Taylor Woods Still Life, a 4 min time elapsed film that shows a gorgeous bowl of fruit rotting, was perhaps our highlight. For the entire week we laughed ourselves silly trying to see the "juxtaposition" in everyday life. You just had to be there I guess. Lets get this straight, I love walking around art galleries but there is a significant speed difference between Lisa and I, to the point where I fell asleep on a gallery floor on our previous visit!

Day 4: Week 21 of pregnancy. Baby at this point is small enough to do somersaults and we can visibly see my stomach ripple and bump as she has a party. Had to be the most exciting thing I had ever seen. I'll never forget it. We were also in London for the Lord Nelson / Trafalgar celebrations. Being somewhat over zealous in the protection dept of wife and future mother to our baby, I decided we should opt out of the celebrations just incase some terrorists decided to join in the celebrations.....

Day 6: Royal Observatory. Very pleased to be married to someone who can take me to these places and explain what it all means. Marcus will make a fine dad because it is days like this that I feel I am married to Bob MacDonald.
Had great time with John and Dave later in the evening as we saw Guys and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor. We all agreed it was great - a little too many songs ("enough singin already!"). There is something about musicals that I love and simultaneously hate. It is the ultimate cheese of course - watching grown men and women breaking out into song. I can deal with musicals like Rocky Horror because there is a huge element of the ridiculous there anyhow, but when two adults try and express how much they love one another and starting dancing and singing...My gag reflexes kick in.

Day 7: Natural History Museum. Again, we HAVE to go to the geological section of any museum, for obvious reasons. And after having gone to half a dozen ones with Marcus I am proud to say, I know the three types of rock. Only because he quizzes me each time. Later met J&D again for night of surprise destinations. First saw Kew Gardens at night with the Chihuly Nights exhibit. Really something. Oh yes and can't forget amazing view from Vertigo 42 - if you are going to London, do not waste your time on that tourist trap known as the London Eye. Go to Vertigo 42!

Day 9: Left London for the Cotswolds. Spent a day with Paul, Jenny, Louisa and Oli in Bath. Did the Pump Rooms and Marcus went shopping. Its like Freakie Friday in our relationship sometimes.

Part 2 - The Canal Boat
This was what we had been planning for months! A week of picturesque rural scenery, peace and quiet, no emails, no phones, no television...just peace and tranquility.

Day: 10: We start off from Worcester (Home of Worcestershire Sauce!). with our "Viking Afloat" canal barge. Nice man rides with us for the first lock to make sure we know what we are doing and then leaves us. We don't start until nearly 3:30 pm, so much of what we did was in the dark. I steered the boat, Marcus operated the locks. I had issues with the fact that when you steer to the left you boat goes to the right. I felt like I was on drugs and spent a few hours wildly swinging from rudder trying not to crash the thing. Which I did numerous times, into the lovely 200 year old brick work of some poor lock. Marcus did his best to be a grumpy old man directing me to the left, then to the right and throwing up his hands in dismay. We did quite a bit of blaming one another and had no problems with communicating this at the top of our lungs. Many cows and sheep were traumatized along the way. We both wove a tapestry of obscenity which probably still hangs above the midlands somewhere. After we moored up for our first night (At Tibberton) we worked out what was going on and decided to be a little more teamlike. After this we found we had a wonderful time!! I still managed to crash the boat and Marcus found a way to drain most of the British Waterways by forgetting to shut some paddles, but we laughed the whole way and over all it was a wonderful experience. Here are some pics of the trip...


So as you can see, we had the most amazing time. We traveled all the way up to Birmingham and back again. The River Avon was flooded and we were advised to take another route - it was wonderful. There is a whole other culture that exists in rural England upon these waterways. Similar to camping I suspect - families have their own barges and set off on weekends or whole month long trips on barges. There are public moorings along the way and these always have some quaint little pub near by.
Day 17 - Fast forward on week...we arrive back in one peice and are psyched for the next time we do it! We have spent 7 days just talking to ourselves, dreamign about our baby, and looking at the country side. What else could you want? We are so lucky I can barely explain it to you.

We spent so much time laughing and talking that in the end the honeymoon turned out to be everything we had hoped it would be. And if you ever need counseling or some sort of team building exercise - I highly reccomend going on a barge trip as you will either learn how to work together, or you will drown one another. Hopefully not the later...

Next week - baby update! T-minus 6 weeks and counting!!!!

5 comments:

The Great Blandini said...

Next time you are in the UK, stop in for a cuppa.
It sounds like you had a lovely time.
Bonzer.

Marcus & Lisa said...

Alistair

We would love to. Will have to make sure we give you a heads up. You guys should give it a go. Great fun. Next time I think I would aim for Yorkshire canals however.

As we got near to Birmingham it got a little nerve racking. There are some "neglected" areas. However Birmingham city docks were excellent and so was the city.

Take it easy

Marcus

The Great Blandini said...

What exactly does 'neglected' mean?

They've made Birmingham quite groovy, haven't they?

Marcus & Lisa said...

Neglected means that a couple of country bumpkins such as Lisa and I were concerned for our welfare when we moored up for the night outside Cadburys, we wondered if we would make it through the night without getting hassled by young hooligans. I think if the barge had wheels we would have been up on blocks and the wheels gone!

I spent the night listening to every firework, crack of a twig etc. Maybe unnecessary, maybe not. This is a stark contrast to the lovely network of canals and pubs we had frequented prior to this.

Apparently this stretch of the canal network is well known for the natives causing problems. Not to mention every kind of imaginable garbage floating in the water. However the following morning at 6am sharp I fired the diesel up and off we went.

This being said when I woke to fire up the diesel and get out of dodge, the smell of Cadburys chocolate greeted me and hung in the air as we chugged away. Yummy!

Stopped for full English breakfast near the University and then headed into the City.

Birmingham City centre and the docks are beautiful! It was well worth the trip. Well set-up for the canal barges. Excellent coffee shops, restaurants and of course Great British Architecture, if you like that kind of thing.

Valerie said...

Hi guys, just a post to let you know that I took the time to read your blog. You are both pretty funny. Anyway, thank you for helping me waste a good half hour!! miss you very much
Valerie