If you had said to me at the outset of this A-Z adventure, that we would manage to find LOADS of things to for the letter Q, I don’t think I would have believed you, in fact I would have been rather quizzical, and perhaps I would have questioned your sanity! But, you know what? Q was quite a doddle!
It helped that we didn’t have a lot of other things already scheduled for this fortnight that we needed to work around, so we could pretty much devote ourselves to Q-related activities.
Our first big Q-event was a day trip to Windsor to see the Queen! Well that was the idea, but it turns out she wasn’t home. Oh well!
We did find one Queen in Windsor before we set off for home – a lovely old locomotive on display near the station – built in Swindon, no less.
All in all – a quality day out!
Earlier the same week we had also been to Legoland (2 trips to Windsor in the same week, no less, we're almost locals) - where, thanks to it being the summer holidays, the queues were horrendous! an hour and a half for the log flume!
Thankfully, they have a marvellous little contraption for hire at Legoland called a Q-Bot, which allows you to pretty much skip the lines, so we got a couple of those. They aren’t cheap - £15 per person in the summer holidays, ouch! – but I only got them for the boys, and as I had got our main entrance tickets free with Tesco vouchers, I didn’t mind parting with thirty quid to avoid them being stuck in queues for half the day. I had taken my little quilt along to work on anyway, so I didn’t mind so much missing out on most of the rides.The following week, Connor and I headed over to Quedgeley one evening to see Jay - and he took us out for dinner at the Gloucester Quays complex, to the Angel Chef Chinese buffet, which was delicious, can't wait to go back there!
Oh and I made a new geocaching blogger friend called Hannah, whose surname begins with Q :) :) :)
We were back to Quedgeley the following weekend, as we stayed over at Jay's for the whole weekend for a change.
We went shopping in Gloucester first, mainly for computer games, and we very nearly bought this one just because it was the only one that started with Q :) but we resisted as it was pretty pricey and we couldn’t find one in the second hand section.
At least I got a photo of them both in their gear first:
My other plan had been to take them both quad biking – but I couldn’t find anywhere local where it was offered for their age, sadly, most places were for 14+ or even 16+ only.
We did at least SEE someone riding a quad the next day while we were geocaching, I guess that almost counts.
That evening we had a visit from Michelle & Tracy as they are also doing the A-Z thing and therefore needed to visit Quedgeley to tick off another Q. They had been to a Playhouse Disney event and brought us back some quirky hats :)
We had quiche and quorn escalopes for dinner – yum.
The following day, we went on a different kind of quest – on a geocaching trail called the Coldwell Quarks series.
And yes, we chose it just because it had a Q in it, but I’m so glad we did as it turned out to be the best series we have done yet!
this post, so won’t repeat myself here. But here is a Q-related item we found in one of the churches along the trail :
Connor and I completed Q fortnight with a midweek visit to London to visit my dad, and also the Queen (seeing as she wasn’t home when we went to Windsor).
And the whole experience involved us standing in lots of queues, as the place was packed!
There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things.
I dare say you haven't had much practice, said the Queen. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Next it was R fortnight, which ran from August 27th to September 9th
The big news for this fortnight was that we gained a new resident – Sanrio the cat – Rio for short.
She is an adorable little thing, she followed Ethan home one day and has refused to leave ever since. We have tried really hard to find her owners, but with no luck. So it looks like she’s ours now!
For example – I used the start of R fortnight as a good excuse to stock up on my favourite tipple, Reef (yummmmmm) – and it got subjected to a little photo shoot before I would let myself drink any :)
Rayman Raving Rabbids on the Wii, which he dragged out especially in honour of the letter R.
This was organised by Jay’s workplace, and so I got to meet a lot of his work colleagues, including his boss Rachael.
The NT staff here are even cool, hip and “bang on trend” enough to have hidden their own set of 6 geocaches throughout the grounds. We only found a couple today but we were very pleasantly surprised at the size of them – they were listed as size Small, but I think my caching buddies would agree that these big boxes were at least Regular size.
The following day, with Reece back in the gang, we attempted a rescue mission. One of our geocaching travel bugs - Three Boys One Shoe - was logged into a cache on Selsley Common near Stroud, which was reputedly in a really bad state of repair (broken lid, contents soaked, etc)
There are two large greenhouses, within which they have recreated a convincingly immersive rainforest ecology. There are all sorts of animals and birds in there, some roaming completely free. And lots of amazing looking plants too.
We went and told a member of staff what was happening, and they were excited about it too, so it must be quite a rare event.
I’m really glad we came here, yet another great experience that we probably would never have had if it wasn’t for the A-Z Year!
Finishing up R fortnight, on the second Sunday we finally saw the return of ice hockey to Swindon after the long summer – it was their launch day today for the new team, so we all returned to the rink to see the new roster revealed.
Some of us wore red shoes, to match the Swindon Wildcats kit colour.
After the skate-out, the team put on a barbeque in the garden of the nearby pub (that was very nearly rained off, but the sun came out just in the nick of time).
After our soak on the first S Saturday, we headed over to Stroud, to a gallery called the Space, to see Jay’s brother Simon’s first ever solo art exhibition. Very exciting!
On the Sunday, I was supposed to meet up with my sister and our cousins Susan and Liz in Somerset – that would be all the girls from the Southam line together as all our mothers were sisters – but sadly that got cancelled at the eleventh hour.
They had to sniff each one and mark on the sheet which one smelled the worst :)
As we drove down towards Salisbury, however, we hit really bad traffic. The M4 was closed because of an accident, and it seems that everyone and his dog had diverted down the tiny little road through Marlborough, and we pretty much stopped moving altogether.