From Berkshire to Bruges – the Tribe’s half term continues at a pace! Having spent the last couple of years in the Middle East, the thought of visiting a European city in the winter is rather exciting. From Hampshire we head to Folkestone and the Eurotunnel and within 31/2 hours we are through the tunnel and in France. Having experienced the border controls of the Middle East – quite time consuming – the Tribe are amazed at how easily we pass into France and then into Belgium. I guess that it’s the equivalent of driving between the Emirates – Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Fujairah or Ras al Kamaih. Just a little less sandy.
Over half term we stayed with my parents in Berkshire and during our stay they took us to the River and Rowing Museum in Henley. The road to the museum was flooded in places and the adjacent park mostly under water, with benches half submerged.
The museum’s building is beautiful, using plenty of glass, oak and steel. Its design was influenced by Oxfordshire barns, the local riverside boathouses and the temporary tents that transform the riverbanks around Henley every summer for Henley Regatta. The architect was David Chipperfield and in 1999 the building was given the accolade Building of the Year by the Royal Fine Arts Commission.
2014 starts with what will become the story of the year. Rain. And a lot of it. In fact by the end of the month, the only wetter January was in 1948 in a record going back all the way to 1766. It has also been the mildest January since 2008. Fortunately we still have sunshine stored up in us, so the novelty of torrential rain beating down outside, remains. We are due to join the annual New Year’s Day walk to our friends in Abbotts Ann Down together with the extra children we have gained after New Year’s Eve, but given the weather we’re not so sure this would be a good idea. Together with Father of the Tribe, we find over trousers and sailing jackets and wonder if it would be madness to take 6 children ranging in age from 3 to 12, across the sodden fields. Guaranteed it will initially be an absolute hoot, but I’m not sure how long this will last. So, we wimp out and pile everyone into the car. Watching some of the other guests splashing through the flooded field to the house, we realise we made the right call. Continue reading Winter walks & rain! – January 2014