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we went to watch a netball game on sunday.  it was quite excellent.  new zealand vs australia.  australia won in the last quarter (boo!) but we had a great time.  got to hear Opshop (world famous in new zealand) and the prime minister was there as well.  few photos above.

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enjoy your sport but be mindful

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friday was a noisey day at work

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i fear we're not yet over the worse

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we went to a fantastically retro bowling alley today.  apparently this is the more modern one of our two nearest.  i'm sure i remember this machine from trips bowling in nottingham from when i was a lad

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the shoes certainly looked like they've seen a few years of action

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and there were plaques all over the place celebrating big achievements on the different lanes.  this one showed the first time someone had scored over 300 on lanes 15 and 16.

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the machines looked modern in a retro calculator sort of way

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you could image people playing the original space invaders game in the background loving all the new technology

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and the cafe was great too

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and finally there was a lovely universal greeting sign as we came in.  all absolutely lovely and we shall be back for more of the same next month !

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sport is a way of life over here in kiwi land.  here's a good example.  two all blacks, a couple of olympians, an international triathlon lady and a national netball player came along to encourage the kids at a triathlon yesterday morning.


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esther and kezia did their first triathlons yesterday.  i don't think they would have done anything like that in england.  although the sea was a bit chilly a good time was had by all !

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we did the auckland 'round the bays' walk on sunday.  it was jolly good

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we even got to be 'wooped up' by the new zealand prime minister john key

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kezia said he was much bigger than she expected.  but that's because she's been singing "little john key" (to the tune of little donkey).  esther thought he should dress as a key and do the race in fancy dress.  but he didn't

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we went to the local stadium to see 'the blues' football team who were doing some signing

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when we got there it turned out they were a rugby team

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that serves me right for not doing my homework

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rather than queue for an hour to get things signed we took a few photos

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this chap was prowling the area trying to queue jump

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but he was quickly sent to the back of the queue

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a friend here told me that it's quite amazing how close you can get to sporting stars over here and she was right.  if you know who they are (i don't) then you're likely to bump in to them all over the place, and not just (free) signing events like these

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i love london.  and i love how you can walk down the street and see something fantastic that everyone else is ignoring.  like these athletes we saw being photographed after we'd dropped our passports off at New Zealand House (that's the base of eros just behind them)

A bit of googling revealed the chap is Laurent Vidal  There was also a swedish athlete and another lady with her back to us (who perhaps could have done with longer shorts).

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i like how they've made it clear it's playing or practising golf which is outlawed.  just so you can't claim you were playing when you were practising and vice versa to avoid the rule

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compii

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used cups only

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tree time

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finish

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Graham Gristwood proudly showing his World Orienteering Championships gold medal.

i've seen a few gold medals (olympic curling gold here, and olympic shooting gold here), but so far none of the sporting skill has rubbed off on me.

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i had the day off yesterday so i took the girls ice skating.  exhausting stuff, although esther and kezia are now much better than me which helps.

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there goes esther up the climbing wall
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this man was concerned.  so would i be with a fantastic beard like this
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every holiday needs a trip to the crazy golf course and we went to this excellent one at Heatherton.    it had a pirate theme and was your more sensible sort of crazy gold with pretend bunkers and sloping greens rather than comedy obstacles

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we were the first on the course in the morning so we could lead the pace.  we scored using the funkypancake family amendment to the rules (no one can score more than 8 on any hole, so people don't forfeit the game by having one bad hole)

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it ended up being down to the final shot by my father-in-law.  if he pocketed the ball on a shot from a tricky bunker up against a wall, he would win against jane.

he hit it, and it went straight in to the hole but it bounced back out !  his next shot went in so it was a draw with jane.  well done to them both



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on sunday afternoon we popped down to the watch the wales open stone skimming championships which is held in the mill pond under pembroke castle.



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occassionally there would be a pitch invasion by a passing swan

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my father in law signed up for a go and selected his stones

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as his time approached he went down to stand by the commentator

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he did very well and all his shots were in.  not the longest of the day, but he displayed a previously hidden (to us) talent

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esther then had a go

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as did kezia

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this chap won in the end.  the website is worth checking out for the official rules

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it was all for charidee and was an excellent of raising hundreds of quids in a short afternoon as well as being thoroughly entertaining for both competitors and spectators

kezia, esther and jane all hit the ropes on day 4 at the heatherton tree tops trail

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it was my job to catch the action from the safety (and dampness) of the floor. the three shots above are of them whizzing down the death slide thingy at the end

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i was very impressed by everyone's progress through what looked (to my untrained eye) quite a challenging course (hence the name i guess)

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even the signs said it was difficult, so it must be

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esther was brilliant and went whizzing on ahead

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kezia was only just tall enough to do the course (although she did need poking with a stick from the ground at one point as she couldn't reach the nextswinging rope !)

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and of course jane did very well too !

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seeing this photo reminded me it was sunny as they went through the training before the rain storms arrived for the day

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i'd like a sign like this for my desk at work, with an arrow i could use to point to the level of trickiness of the task in hand

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my good friend elton sent me a link to a video he's posted on youtube.

i thought i'd share it with you as even if you're not an athelete you can make the sign whilst sitting and watching it on the telly box.


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modern warfare is dogged by health and safety requirements, such as clear signage so no one gets hurt.

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there's always singing on the terraces

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i'm on a training course at stamford bridge for two days.  but don't panic.  it involves no exercise.  although by the end i might be more assertive.  (if that's ok with you)

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jane took the great photo of me missing head. i love those kinds of shots.

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jace took this photo and said "I'm just back from queenstown (south island nz), an infinitely beautiful place, with wild frisbees in the park, apparently"

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when we were on holiday over the summer, the girls encouraged me to shoot some dry pigeons. there was something primal about shooting a gun whilst encouraged by my wife and daughters.

i got lucky with a couple of shots thankfully so didn't completely let myself down !

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jane's instruction book for the marathon warned that people often drop dead on marathons, which was quite encouraging. and so was this sign.

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jane ran her first half marathon yesterday. rather than doing a standard one, she chose the hilliest one possible - The Windsor Half Marathon

jane thinking about the run ahead of her
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the start of the half-marathon involves a mile long run up a long straight hill (to the copper horse, if you are interested)
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jane just over 1 hour in
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the windsor half marathon runs a very pretty course through Windsor Park. plenty of trees to sit under for spectators
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jane half way through (already declaring a victory)
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a deer which ran across the marathon route
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the official winner (1 mile in)
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Our winner - half a marathon over
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update: i forgot to mention that she did her half marathon in 2hrs 20mins !

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my first two ever shots hit the clay and it went rapidly down hill from there. some of my colleagues were really caught by the shooting bug, but in the flea or flight stakes, i'm definately an insect.
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jane did the windsor race for life yesterday which was jolly good. fanastic weather too.
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i'm not a sports fan (other than the bingo, which isn't really a spectator sport). yesterday there was no escape from football which seemed to be playing on tellies in every cafe and bar in town. to escape the misery i took kezia on a tour of electronic shops, but it was no good as banks of televisions were tuned to the same channel and people (mostly male shopping-widows) were stood watching.

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this is the 'rabbit' that the greyhounds were chasing at the dog racing. it's most peculiar (click on the picture to inspect)
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jane and i went to dog racing on Saturday night. it was very good.
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it was just like the blur album parklife
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each race started with some laboratory technicians (in their best lab coats) walking the dogs up and down the track
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the dogs seemed to enjoy this bit
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then they were set lose and off they ran
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and here are some people placing bets
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this is a self portrait i took whilst sliding along. the camera was upsway down, rather than me (at this time)

the only sport i do is walking. and that's not particularly sporty. but when i was off at the winter olympics i got to have a go at skiing

look how relaxed and natural i looked whilst moving slowly on two pointy flat sticks
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here is the steepest incline i went down. i nearly dissappeared off down that dip to the right at one point, but managed to catch hold of the rope to stop myself.
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i had a great time though and would consider going on a ski holiday. so there.

we went ice skating yesterday. there was much talk amongst the children of obtaining 'the balance' like it was some skating-zen nirvana.

kezia suddenly announced she could skate on her own (after being dragged round by the grown ups for nearly 2 hours) and we didn't believe her until off she went ! she had obtained 'the balance' and all was well.
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here are esther and i doing not quite as well
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there's ice-skating rinks popping up all over london so it was only a matter of time before we got a ski slope too.

here's one outside the tate modern. hoorah.

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the place we went curling was Fenton's Rink and it was most excellent. you must go with a group of friends and have a go.
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i've put a few more photos here

i spent the day curling yesterday.
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the three teachers were all olympic gold medal winners (see here).
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it's a mad game of sweeping and sliding and pushing a big stone
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the olympians were rhona, janice and debbie
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i'm unlikely to ever own one of these:
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primarily because it was won at an event in the past and was awarded for the women's curling. an event i didn't take part in:
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Debbie Knox won it instead:
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curling is a funkypancake sport. not because i'm good at it though, because i'm not.

look at his utility bin.
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beyond brushes, which are an essential part of the game, you also get to wear the most fantastic shoes.

initially they looked like normal trainers:
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but you can pull the rubber bottom off (called a 'kipper') and reveal a super-slippy teflon sole, enabling you to whizz about on the ice like a mad thing
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and look at all the other gadgets and gizmos you can get:
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we sat and watched people grabbing plastic cups of water from the drinks station. open cups of water for runners is a bad idea and there was much fun to be had watching water and cups going flying as the runners failed to grab them properly.

esther spotted the noise that the runners made as they ran over all the discarded cups. it was quite fantastic.

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we went for a family cycle ride in Windsor Park yesterday. we didn't realise but it was also the windsor half marathon so we planned and timed our journey so we could watch the runners as we had our picnic. in reverse order:

here are the main body of runnings coming up the hill (about a mile in to the run)
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here are the front runners
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and here was the start an hour and a half earlier.
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crazy golf is our favourite family sport. it can be quite a dangerous one too of course.

here i am going for a hole in two watched by my ever-suffering daughters.

eventually it went in the hole

and then kezia grew incredibly big on the last hole



jane and lynn completed the London to Brighton bike ride without any trouble

in reverse order - here they are coming round the final straight to the finish:

here they are setting off:

and here are the bikes loaded on the car:
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i walked back from southwark bridge to paddington one evening last week as part of my marathon training (have you sponsored me yet?).

on the way i saw these people looking over the wall in to the thames. but what were they looking at ?

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it was this - a swimmer in the thames. probably not a great idea


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i mentioned last week about the olympic exhibition in Traf Square. i went in yesteday lunchtime whilst walking back to the office. it was quite good actually.

it's only a teeny weeny exhibition but well worth a spare 2 minutes if you are passing

there's a giant aerial map of london on the floor which is fascinating. there's also a nice wall-of-smoke to walk through:
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here are hyde park and buckingham palace/westminster/london eye

click maps to inspect more detail

london is bidding for the 2012 olympics. here is part of an exhibition to celebrate the fact we're in with a chance.

it's a giant statue in trafalgar square. there's a person in the foreground in the picture which might give you some idea of the scale.


click pic for big

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esther and kezia held on to their bubbles and floated up to the ceiling

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we went ice-skating again yesterday. this time it was a family disco session which meant loud towny music and flashing lights.

ice skating is very much like speed walking down Oxford Street on a busy shopping day. you have to watch for people doing random things (especially suddenly stopping without warning and appearing at speed in unexpected directions).

in fact if people carried massive shopping bags and even occasionally giant suitcases then it would be exactly the same thing.

kezia seemed to get the oldest ever ice skating boots:

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even though she skating for a maximum of 2 minutes over the 2 hours we were there she seemed to enjoy herself:

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it was the last day of the holiday yesterday so we went ice skating. esther was brilliant since she thought falling down was funny.

kezia needed more help, but that's what happens when you take a 2 year old skating.

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since jane and i were both occupied keeping ourselves and our family upright i didn't get any photos of us 'in action'.so here is a general shot:
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here are some workmen playing keepy-uppy over their security tape.

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i know very little about football. but i did used to collect panini football stickers when i was a kid. (i've been very impressed that panini have diversified in to the chewey bread market).

i used to love football stickers for three reasons:
1) the feeling of removing the back of the stickers after the endless chase to find the corner which would lift up
2) the fanastic smell of the glue
3) the silkyness (and later, shineyness) of the club emblem stickers
4) the hairstyles of the footballers (this was the 70s).

that'll be four reasons then.

it's amazing i've turned out so well adjusted isn't it !

i remember emlyn hughes from those sticker days. and also from when i used to live in sheffield (he was our local celebrity). i once shook his hand you know. i was amused that he had a son called Emlyn Hughes and a daughter called Emma Lyn Hughes. i thought that was't very british.

anyway, he sadly died yesterday. and bizarrely his book was at the front of the pile in our downstairs loo.

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do you think this is part of London's olympic bid?

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my company is one of the sponsors to TeamGB, the UK olympic team. As a result it's been olympic fever for the last few months. here is one of the actual olympians actualy fencing at the funday.

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the olympics have finished and the british atheletes have returned victorious (so i hear on the wireless news forecast). people have a new found interest in sport and have impromtu races whilst going about their daily business.

today, for example, someone has set up some parallel bars which can also be used as hurdles for races up and down edgware road. or 'The' edgware road as some people call it.

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here's one for those who like football a little.

it's a little football.

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this crazy golf course has been upgraded and made more exciting. it now contains concrete mixers, giant deep holes and a tractor. and there's a big metal fence round it which says 'keep out'

a real challenging course if ever i've seen one.

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the southern county show is definately one for the country folk. you can buy guns and other scarey things that only country dwellers really need.

one of the less violent / pointless animal destructive things was this game of archery. the most vulnerable creature he was the woman working behind the counter when esther had her go.

she was quite good actually and the only real damage done was to my wallet.

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we don't really do sport in our house. especially not football. which is probably why esther didn't really get the hang of the stickers for this football chap which appeared in her cereal box.

she's very pleased with the elaborate design. the chap looks more like a morris dancer (as seen as at the other May bank holiday - where the weather was also rubbish)

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07 Apr 13