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bank holidays are not called bank holidays here.  it's a bit like saying 'butcher holiday or chimney sweep holiday'.  it means nothing to them.  but that's still what it is.

it's also a long weekend, i'll grant you that



we went to a kiwi farm and learnt more than we thought possible about kiwi fruits.

day 1 of our holiday last week

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here's the view from our kitchen window at butlins.  it's not luxury accommodation, but then we didn't come here to sit in the chalet (although i've been doing a fair bit of that).  anyway, we're having a jolly good time thanks for asking.  wish you were here.

jane's aunt and uncle kindly hospitality-ised us at their house for a few days on the way up to the highlands, and again on the way back. h'auntie barb set up a mini-tourist information facility for us which was nice.

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on the first morning of our holiday in devon i bought a play station 1 with a few games for five pounds. it proved to be good entertainment in the evenings, and the children quickly organised themselves to turn taking.

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we've been in devon for the last week, but i preloaded lots of funkypancake goodness so hopefully you won't have missed me - although i did stuff up by forgetting that May had 31 days not 30 - but i managed to man handle the server remotely so you might not have noticed.

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plenty of photos to follow. here was our holiday house. it was called Columbia in Ashcolme (near Teignmouth / Dawlish) and was mostly good. here is a list of things which weren't good about it.
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The bar was closed our week too, although we didn't put this on the list

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we stayed at the hurst dene guest house

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if you've noticed funkypancake has been a little less interactive this week, it's because i've been at Butlins. with jane's mum (hello if she's reading!). and it was jolly good. although the chalet left quite a bit to be desired. cleaning mainly.

going to butlins with your mother in law is a traditional british thing. it wasn't just me and her. it was jane and the girls and some other families too.

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the great thing about t'internet is that people can search for things.

for example, someone might be going on holiday to the same place we stayed and want to know whether there were enough coat hooks or what colour the sitting room carpet was.

so. if you are planning on going to stay in the library at sedgeford hall near hunstanton and want to know more then let me know ! It was very good.

here's the swimming pool:
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and here's the lounge (can you see why they call it the library ?)

when we usually end up sharing our holiday days out with bus loads of european school kids. on one particualr holiday jane and i were bumped in to the same class of french school kids for three days running.

our recent holiday in norfolk was punctuated by coach loads of elderly people. these coaches unload their contents next to the tea room in whatever attraction we'd be visiting. they would queue up, drink their tea and cake, then get back on their bus to be transported off to another tea shop.

it sounded ideal. and all the people were really nice.

here are bunch of olds queuing at a tea shop, viewed from up a windmill.


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this is one of my favourite pictures from our recent holiday.


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here is a rare sign of family togetherness on the journey. about half way in esther moved up front and i was relegated to the back with kezia. this worked much better and reduced my moanyness greatly.

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once we got to cumbria the scenery started to pick up:


scotland is a long way from the south of england, especially if you go by car and have two little kids with you. our 7 hour journey stretched to 11 hours and we had many a happy toilet stop.

i was allowed to take a few shots on the way when i wasn't driving. here's one that jane took of the motorway split just before birmingham. it's got a jaunty jiggle hasn't it ?

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we went to center parcs at longleat for the day today thanks to our friends andy and gill. i saw the dogs signs (here and here) again which was great.

their chalet was in a pine forest. i don't know if i like pine. it smells like toilets to me.

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these bags were all lined up outside a very posh hotel in the rain this morning. i think this sums up british holidays quite nicely.

i also saw a group of American tourists who were stuck crossing a road as their giant suitcases on wheels were preventing them from crossing a huge puddle which seperated them from the pavement.

i'll see if they are still there this evening on the way back to the station.

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here's something outrageously british. apologies to any american's still in shock from janet jackson's superbowl outing ! It's the Cerne fertility giant

It's best seen from the air, but you can see it fairly well from a viewing point. unfortunately we went on a very foggy day.

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notice the giant's scissors.

Continue reading "cerne abbas fertility giant" »

Behind our holiday house was a wood where we went for an early morning pre-breakfast walk.

here is a sign to the lovely sounding puddletown:
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here is a pond (highly reflective):
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and a nice loverly path:
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and here is kezia all dressed up puddle jumping:
here is kezia:
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have you ever seen a sadder donkey ?

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it rained one day on holiday so we went to a dinosaur museum in dorchester. it was a bit dull to be honest. the posters claimed it was a multimedia museum, but that meant a few computers with picture databases on which were built in the 1990s.

here is a dinosaur head:
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in amongst all the factual dinosaur stuff they had these to scare little (and big) kids with some imaginary life sized people dinosaurs:
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crazy 3D effects were courtesy of red and blue glasses (very 1980s):
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and i was happy to see some jurasic computer history:
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here is another comedy hotel (real this time). to encourage you to stay in their lovely hotel they had installed an ancient crumbly photo montage showing what the rooms were like. if the quality of the photos was anything to go by, they won't be having many happy visitors.

left is the board for the board (and lodging) and right is the bedroom

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last time we were here it was a bit warmer. compare and contrast jane nearly one year previous.

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randomly, round the beach is a load of fencing. thankfully some of this has been kicked in by the locals (i assume) so there are a few holes where pensioners can see the sea through whilst sitting on benches.

who says the youth of today don't care about the old folk ?

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this ball is a glove showing the British Empire (as was):
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a few metres away from this point was a really tame (wild) fox:
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it even stood still so we could get a nice photo.
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swanage beach in march is cold but good fun (if you are a kid)

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and here is jane looking jolly:
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there's still a load of holiday stories to tell (we've only got up to last monday night so far). i'll post them later in the week so as not to flood you all with new stuff today !

but for now, here is a falling apart rusty sign from falling apart rusty weymouth. we don't know what award they won ...

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as seen by jane and i last year. it wasn't as foggy then.

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after the beach was the walk back (with me carrying kezia this time).

i just hadn't got a clue about the Dorset coast before this holiday. It dates back to Jurassic times (it's known as the Jurassic Coast) and dinosaurs roamed this very place millions of years ago. It's also been the home to neolithic people and romans and everyone since. i just couldn't get my head round the scale of history and geography involved.

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here's jane on top of the world (before the kezia swap).
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after our long walk we finally reached the beach.

the sea was incredibly flat and sparkly:
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so we had a picnic:
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and refreshed ourselves with ice cool cans of coca cola (i'm hoping for corporate blog sponsorship):
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esther and kezia inspected the thousands of small stones which made up the beach:
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and of course i went in search of lost stuff:
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There is a fantastic walk you can do from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. it's quite steep. especially with a child on your back. i know cuz jane told me.

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milestones provide excellent resting points:
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Esther took this photo from the top of the hill:
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and eventually you see the famous eroded archway:
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we then climbed down to the beach

where do seaside buckets and spades come from ? they grow on trees of course. usually such trees are kept hidden away in factories, but this one was clearly visible from the main street leading to Lulworth Cove.

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a strange trick of the light resulted in kezia appearing in TV as a reflection from the seat where she was sitting reading a book which she was very much enjoying. [what kind of a sentence was that ?]


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it's important to eat well on holiday so you have enough energy to have lots of fun. i was delighted to be see the fridge contained nothing but beer and chocolate once we had unpacked.

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my only concern was what everyone else would eat and drink. but i needn't have worried as we went to Tescos for a greasy breakfast.

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i love holidays !

happy thanksgiving to any american readers who may stray this way over their holiday period. i found this lovely music whilst researching what Thanksgiving was actually about. the music says it all.

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here we are at corfe castle. it was deliberately knocked down by the Parliamentarians after the civil war, hence the mess

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it's in a ideal location for castle - on top of a little pointy hill with great views in every direction.
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here's jane looking cute and lovely (she is) in her rain coat. behind her is the local stream train line
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here is a view from the village overlooking a pub (click for big version)
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Jane's parents kindly offered to look after esther and kezia for the weekend. we couldn't believe our luck and quickly booked a weekend away in Bournemouth using lastminute.com.

it was excellent to spend time just jane and I (no Internet or children). we missed the kids of course, but had a great time. i highly recommend this to anyone - go on holiday with your partner for a few days without anyone else. just have some fun and forget about everything else.

esther and kezia had a good time at their grandparents, and jane's parents enjoyed it too. hoorah !

(we're already looking forward to our next weekend away to Stockholm next summer ...)

here is jane by the seaside:
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jane and i had lunch at Harry ramadam's Ramsden's. Fish and chip tastic.

here it is from the outside (Bournemouth sea front)
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here is stonehenge built from sugar lumps (sponsored by tate and lyle)
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your actual delicious actual fish and actual chips (jane had cod, i had plaice)
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jane spotted this playing card on the ceiling. it was signed by Mike so i suspect it was part of a magician's trick. i haven't got a 4 of spades in my card collection so i was very pleased.

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sometimes british sea-side resorts have things their foreign counterparts don't have. one such thing often present is 'scum'

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yeah - off to bournemouth ! British seaside resorts are so cool.

update: that's cool as in 'very cold'. our hotel room didn't really have any heating to speak of which was a shame.

other than that the hotel we stayed in was fantastic ! Highly recommended (just don't let them put you in room 96-104 as they are in chillsville).

added a last couple of entries for the holiday - a few of them are backdated. If you want to see the whole story look on the holiday category

especially enjoy the mysterious pink hat mystery

another exposed french toilet
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nice touch this time - has a mens' sign on the side just in case you were confused:
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ooh the trouble we had when jane lost her old sunglasses. luckily retail therapy made all good again
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tourists in st malo.
girls have pink hats, boys have blue hats
saves trouble later on when people have had too much to drink
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however the mystery continued and was finally revealed :

Continue reading "colour coded tourists" »

it's our last day ont he campsite today. off to another for one night tomorrow then a day on the boat on sunday.

times have been a changing on the campsite recently. the fm radio brigade have moved in with their loud music and angst ridden teenagers are lingering.

we must move on before the adolescents move in.

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yesterdays game was bury kezia in the sand. first dig a hole. then kezzy jumps in and pulls loads of sand on to herself shouting 'pat pat pat' whilst patting the sand down. we dug her out before going home
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in order to raise esther's hat above eye level we made her wear bunches. she looked silly. but silly is good.
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like window shopping, only trespassing. possibly
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i saw the sign and had to wonder. not clear if we had to prance in the water, on the water or just on the way
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turns out the internet is a car.
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scarey french man windmiller. absolutely no sense of humour. dreadful for kids. looked good though and i enjoyed it.
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i have a lot to say about postcards. i shall save it for another time (with an english keyboard)
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i recon all the dutch people at our campsite are on a british theme holiday set somewhere nice. it wouldn't surprise me if they had all been watching reruns of Eldorado.

jane getting changed on the beach ...

Continue reading "jane naked !" »

holiday games this holiday are putting on other people's shoes and wearing other people's sun glasses. kezzy made up these games and is best at playing them.

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just in case people didn' believe i'm actually here. so is esther
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the french love to see other people urinating. especially men.
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only passable at low tide. we were 45 mins early
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recently fortified by kezia's droppings, an army of ants has invaded our caravan. They enter under our bed and walk under (sometimes over) the bed to reach the living room.
we were given a small trap:
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i couldn' sleep for the sound of the little springs snapping shut on the little ant bodies ... worth it though

cycling in a forest wasn,t exactly a walk in the park. though just as nice (depending on the park i guess)
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mostly we eat alfresco which i thought meant everything covered in special source. but it doesn,t . instead it means kezia can throw food on the floor and not worry about tidying up. we are keeping a colony of ants alive. which is nice.
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mad safari park where people kept their windows open and let their fat kids dangle in to animal mouths
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the best comedy british abroad campers were a bright red sunburnt couple walking through the campsite at 10am. he had a bottle of red wine and a baggette. she had a copy of the daily mail.

campsite kids disco - parents made to do the lambada etc. total quality or your money back. we were quids in.
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kezia does her beach dj thang
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whilst esther gets seaweed from her hair
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at least they know cod fishing is bad
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my middle name is les(lie)
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a nice restaurant serving fish soap
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arrived and canpsite full of english people
three types:
1) old people
2) parents with pre-schools children
3) parents with older children who are either skiving or have been expelled (latter more likely).

whoole thing reminiscent of butlins

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the boat trip took 11 hours. not sure why. but in the morning i saw this which was nice

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this handdrier on the ferry was guanteed hygenique et economique for 5 years. after that all bets are off.

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leaving for the uk
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in the hold
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i could never be a sailor for a number of reasons. fear of drowning even in calm sea being the main one

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07 Apr 13