Feeling Blessed

At the time of writing this blog, I am patiently awaiting the arrival of my great nephew. He is due at the weekend, but I guess that it could be any day now, so the anticipation is growing. This is my niece’s first child and my brother and sister in law’s first grandchild. My niece’s partner already has a boy, who is definitely part of the family, but this is the first baby that we have had for a few years, which is always exciting.

Santa’s little helper

One of the reasons that I feel particularly blessed this week was because I got to see my eldest daughter in London. I had gone to London for a conference and luckily had some free time in the evening. She is currently working as one of Santa’s helpers (I’m not sure she’s an elf, as she’s quite tall), so I was able to go and see her at work. She seemed very happy, along with all the other little helpers.

As a bonus I also got to make a snowman and see Santa in his grotto. I may be a grown up, but there is still something very magical about Christmas, particularly seeing the little children’s faces light up at all the twinkling lights and snow scenes. I know that it’s probably still a bit early for Christmassy things (1st December is probably my limit), but sometimes you just have to take the opportunity that is handed to you.

 

 The Book of Mormon

Also whilst I was in London I finally got to see “The Book of Mormon”. Now I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is very inappropriate in places and some people may find it offensive, but I have been wanting to see it for ages. Luckily I got to go with my daughter and my friend from work.

I thought that it was hilariously funny. The singing and acting from all of the cast was amazing. It takes the mickey out of lots of different musicals along the way, as well as poking fun at religion. Although I think that for me, there was a moral to the tale, whether that was what was intended or not. I think the moral was that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, or what you believe in, but if you are giving people hope and help, then that is better than converting them to a religion that they don’t really understand and then walking away and leaving people in poverty and danger.

I would definitely see it again if I had the chance, but if you are easily offended, don’t like bad language or feel that religion is not meant to be humoured then I would give it a miss.

 

 

 

 

 

California Dreaming (1)

A long journey but worth it

After many months of planning we arrived safely in San Francisco at about 5pm local time, which was 3am British time. We were all feeling a little weary, but once we’d got to the hotel and checked in we decided to keep going until a “normal” bedtime.

Our first venture out was to Fisherman’s Wharf (all down hill). We had a wander round, then called at Boudin for something to eat. I had soup in a roll (soup and a roll will never be the same again). By this time we had reached our tiredness limit and walked back up to he hotel. Obviously this was all up hill, and boy are they big hills! However we made it all the way back, with a slight detour due to tiredness and poor map reading skills.

We were staying at the Fairmont, which is quite a swanky hotel. It is a bit old-worldly and reminds me of the hotels you see in black and white films. After a lovely warm shower, I got into what felt like the worlds comfiest bed and slept until 6am

Big bus tour, micro climate and lovely food

Our first day started with the sun shining and with a walk in the opposite direction towards Union Square, calling in for breakfast at The Cable Car Cafe. The food was great. I had scrambled eggs, potatoes and toast and a lovely cup of tea.

Our next stop was to pick up The Big Bus Tour at Union Square. The tour took about 2 1/2 hours and covers a large area of San Francisco with a pre recorded commentary. There was so much to see. Of course we sat on the open top of the bus. It was initially warm but going overGolden Gate Bridge the wind picked up and it was decidedly chilly. However we braved it and it was worth it to see all the amazing sites on offer.

There are some very pretty areas and some interesting sites Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge and the hippy area are great to see.

However, here like most major cities there is a massive divide between the rich and poor. The many homeless wander pushing their trollies but not really bothering anyone. It certainly makes you appreciate how lucky you are.

Another hilly walk

After the bus tour we alked along pier 39, which was bustling with people and the sun was out. There are some great quirky shops and eateries and a combination of tempting smells.

The seals that lay in the sun at pier 39 are amusing to watch. I knew that they had seals there, but didn’t appreciate how many there would be.

Our next stop was another walk to the top of Lombard Street which then leads to the curviest steepest street you will ever see. It’s great for a photo opportunity and to watch the drivers making their way down the hill slowly. I for one was glad that I was walking down not driving.

At this point hunger was calling and we stopped at a lovely bar called Jack’s Cannery Bar. Sitting out in the sunshine having a cold drink and a crab salad chatting and a thing the world go by- You can’t beat it!

A chilly evening tour

Our evening took us back on The Big Bus for the evening tour. It was breezy and cold, but we expected that so we’re well prepared. This tour took us over Bay Bridge to Treasure Island and around some of the sites that we had seen during the day.

It was quite good, but as it was still daylight we didn’t get to see the city at night with all the lovely twinkly lights like I thought we would. Perhaps I ¬†underestimated how late it would be when it came dark.

Our day ended in Louie’s Diner near Union Square. We were going to go to The Cheescake Factory but it was packed. The Diner was a 50’s style, like you see in the films and the food was great, so not at all disappointed that we didn’t make the Cheescake Factory.

After a warm bath I got into bed feeling that I’d had a great day. I’d walked 30000 steps and the equivalent of 139 flights of stairs!

Oh and by the way one site I never expected to see on the bay – naked cyclists. A group of middle aged, pale men Apparently it’s legal in California as long as you are wearing one item of clothing. Which explains why one was wearing socks and one was wearing a mask. I didn’t look for long enough to see what the others were wearing!!