Wednesday, 31 August 2011

London Tourist Attractions


Some London Tourist Attractions are more iconic than most. Over the last couple of days we have played true tourists, in our nations capital. We have been, seen and bought the T-shirt (literally). 

The trip started with a 7:30am Train from Manchester which got us into London by 10am. By booking weeks in advance Mrs RJR had secured tickets for all 5 of us at a bargain rate of £90 return total. Buying on the day would have cost us double that much each ! The train arrived in at Euston Station and there we bought 2 day tickets to hop on and off the capitals fantastic bus service. Straight onto a 73 bus and 10mins later we arrived at our pre-booked Bed and Breakfast accommodation.


The B&B was very nice and the only one we could get that accommodated the 5 of us in one room. Most places had a maximum of 4 occupants, which would have resulted in us having to pay for 2 rooms. As we had such a busy schedule we didn't want to pay extra, just to have somewhere to sleep. 

After dropping the bags we hopped on another bus and dashed to Buckingham Palace just in time to catch the end of the Changing of the Guard. This only happens on alternate days, not to say the guards have long shifts !! They just don't make such a fuss for the benefit of the tourists every day !!


Above, the guards can bee seen escorted by a rather large band ! 
Below the new Guard is left on his own to do his duty.


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From the Palace we went walking round lots of Famous Places including, Admiralty Arch, Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards and Piccadilly Circus.



The Guardsman in the Red Tunics are incredibly disciplined standing perfectly still despite the crowd and their attempts to distract. Within the gates a second Guardsman stands in three arches that lead to the barracks. One tourist got a shock when she attempted to step into one of the arches and he yelled without moving ..
"Standing in the Arches"
She moved back pretty sharpish

A very bizarre shop we went in around Leicester Square was M&M World, an entire 4 floors of a shop, that sold just M&M chocolates and related merchandise ?!?!

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After a Lunch break at TGi Fridays in Leicester Square, London Tourist Attractions continued with Parliament, Westminster Cathedral, The Cenotaph, Big Ben and Downing Street

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The evening was fantastic as we went to see WICKED which I posted about a few days ago here it was an excellent show and I would recommend it to any one, Rachel Tucker, the lead was brilliant.
The stage set pre show

The next morning, after a Full English Breakfast it was off to The Tower, a London Tourist Attraction that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Unless you are one of the 365 that had your head REMOVED from your shoulders !!!


The guided tour by one of the Yeoman Guards was very entertaining and as ever the girls took every photo opportunity. I would show you pictures of the Crown Jewels but they are displayed in a NO CAMERA area. Something to do with security ..

A brief stop at Nando's for a lunch break then onwards..

The afternoon was a bit more daring, as we went on the London Eye. The London Eye is a 470 foot wheel that gives fantastic views of all of the London Tourist Attractions, if you are brave enough to keep your eyes open !!


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After the London Eye it was a short break to let Mrs RJR get her "land legs" back, then on to St Pauls Cathedral, famous for a lot of things one of which was The Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana.


Then back to collect our bags and a diversion to Kings Cross Station famous for...


This is actually a mock up on the front of the station. I don't want to shatter any ones illusions but the real one doesn't exist. Platforms 9 and 10 are actually on opposite side of the tracks, not back to back !

These are just a few of the pictures we took, if you want to see the rest they are uploaded to an album in my PhotoBucket account and can be seen HERE all 5 pages of them !!

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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Family Friendly Blogs Linky List

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I have a lot of friends who, despite the world we live in, still consider the internet to be an unsafe place and not Family Friendly. It does seem that the Media likes to paint a picture of all things on the web as being a risk. As a family we use the internet and we have taught the kids to be aware of dangers, how to spot problems and what to do if they stumble upon some content that is inappropriate. Having taught these principles you then have to allow a degree of self governance.


I have noticed that Blogger allows you to denote your blog as having adult content, which seems from a Family Friendly point of view to be another negative view. What if there was away of being positive and declaring "My blog is a Family Friendly Blog" it would be nice to have a list of Family Friendly blogs that you could go to. Well now there is. Because we have just made one !


Most of the blogs I follow, I consider Family Friendly so they can be instant additions. I've included my own as I try hard to ensure nothing I post is offensive to anyone, for example always watch through a YouTube clip before embedding to make sure it is appropriate. 


Here is the plan. If you consider yourself to be a family friendly blogger add your name to the Linky list. Grab a badge and wear it on your blog with pride !!


Here is the code for a badge, the image is a gif file so should work on any colour background. Note the numbers in red are the display size and you can change these if you wish. The Badge provides a link back to a page that can be found on the navigation tab of my blog above, this will spread the word and allow people to always find the list.

<a href="http://rjrdaydreamer.blogspot.com/p/family-friendly.html" target="_blank" title="Family Friendly Blog"><img src=" http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w295/johntealon30/RJRdaydreamer/FamilyFriendly.gif " border="0" width="150" height="150" alt="Family Friendly Blog" /></a>


How do you qualify. There are no strict criteria, you decide if you are Family Friendly. I guess its a form of self regulation. Although I will browse blogs added and I reserve the right to delete those that I wouldn't be happy showing my teenage kids. 


If you add your blog to the Linky List you get free advertising, in return I would ask that you keep a badge on a sidebar to promote the list. Hopefully it will grow and grow and become a really useful list of Family  Friendly Blogs. You don't have to create a special post on a certain day but you can blog about it if you wish. 


Wicked

Its weekend ! In fact its a Wicked Bank Holiday weekend ! Which means an extended break for the citizens of Great Britain. So what do you do with such an opportunity ??

For sometime the RJRDaydreamer family have been planning a short trip to the nations capital city London. like lots of people we don't visit our capital very often and the kids are keen to do all the tourist attractions on offer.

We are taking a couple of days to see the sites. Mrs RJR got a good deal on return train tickets for the journey and a cheap bed and breakfast. This may turn out to be a mistake ! Its an en-suite room with 5 beds ! I'm not sure but I imagine the 5 of us being like a scene out of Snow White !

You can expect several pictures next week as we tour places other people have travelled the world to see, but we have never seen ourselves !

Tower of London, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Museums, the Big Wheel thingy and much more.

We are also going to see the musical Wicked in the West End. Rachel the eldest has seen it before and is getting very excited about seeing it again. Having heard it SEVERAL times, as it gets played around the house, it does sound good.

I will leave you now with the lead singer Rachel Tucker performing GRAVITY. Rachel assures me there are no ice skates in the real show so I don't need to wrap up warm ! This is just happens to be the best quality clip I could find, taken from an episode of Dancing on Ice....


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


If you haven't seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes yet, go see it !!
I have just recently been and thoroughly enjoyed it.



Starring Andy Serkis as the lead character "Ceasar" the ape. Of course as his role uses the technology of motion capture, you are not going to recognise him in the local super market !
Andy also played Gollum and the Gorilla in King Kong.

Motion capture allows the actor to be in the scene acting as the character, but rather than prosthetics and make up the actors image is altered by computer. A highly detailed computer model is manipulated by every action the actor makes. His actions are captured by tracking spots on his suit and skin. This provides stunning results.

I have previously posted about the film AVATAR which is also made by WETA, but with the apes they have leaped forward in many ways. This short film shows how it is done. When you see the split screen with Andy Serkis on one side and the rendered image on the other, it really brings home how even tiny facial movements are created by the actor !




Unlike lots of other science fiction / action films this also captures humanity and some tender moments.
So even if you are not a regular cinema patron, don't miss the chance to see this in BIG SCREEN format !

Monday, 22 August 2011

Exciting New Challenges



As September approaches, so does my new church assignment.

The 14 - 18 year old youth at church have the option to take an early morning scripture study class, I have mention this before around in a post Easter Time.


Last year I occasionally taught this class as a substitute teacher, but I have now been given the role full time. This means I will be teaching a 50 minute class 5 mornings a week from 6:10am - 7:00am.
The course of study for the year is the Old Testament.
The challenge - to engage a class of 12, possibly 13 teenagers at ridiculous o'clock in the morning ! I have to say they are an excellent group. As they all attend our ward (church unit) I have known most of them since they were tiny and two of them are mine.


Here are 12 of them, taken last night at an introduction meeting we had for students and their parents. The purpose was to get them enthused to study a book that a lot of adults find dull and boring. As part of the presentation I made and showed a video with some "trailers" for classic stories..


Along with teaching in the morning, I am running a Blog for the class, with information and updates for students and parents  If you fancy a look, click on the image below.

Oldham Seminary

Finally, with all the well wishes and concern expressed for my Mum, I have added a box on the right had column, that I will keep updated with her progress.  

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Thank you, Weddings and Followers


This is just a short post as I am rushing to get things ready for a busy day. Firstly let me say a big thank you for all the comments on my last post. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time to leave thoughts. It really is a small world, that is made smaller by the blogging community.

As the opening picture may give away, its a case of  "another weekend another wedding" Yesterday we were privileged to share in the wedding celebrations of Melissa and Matthew.
We are connected in many ways, Melissa and my eldest, Rachel, are very good friends, Melissa's Dad was our Stake President when I was a Bishop and Mrs RJR has spent a lot of time with Melissa as her Stake Young Women President.

Rachel was a Bridesmaid for Melissa, in this picture they are just doing what girls do best, make up ! Rachel is the on the rear left.


I snapped this while the "real" photographer was talking.

Finally for now, I have hit the 100 followers mark !


Thank you to all that follow !!!!!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Hope is sometimes all we have


There are times in life when you need HOPE, the desire to see a positive outcome. I use to visit a customer that had a poster over his desk. It stated that it was okay to be concerned bit not okay to worry. I used to wonder about the difference then decided to look up the meanings. I soon realised being 'concerned' was taking an interest, trying to affect the outcome for good. 'Worrying' however, was seeing only a negative outcome.

Once we Worry, we cease to affect the outcome of any event for the good. We don't worry we will win, we worry we will loose. The word Worry is charged with negativity, and sometimes we don't need any more negatives. It is these times, that all we can do is HOPE.

On the 17th of July I posted about Hope, I shared the picture of the little flower that overcame a concrete jungle.




I mentioned that I came across it while Hospital visiting, which we are still doing. My mum spent several weeks in Hospital in July, and after a short spell at home is now back in Christie's Hospital. Those in the UK will realise from the name, that this hospital specialises in the treatment of Cancer. We still have hope. The staff are very caring and doing all they can to build her strength to a point she is well enough to handle chemotherapy.
I don't share this for sympathy or concern, but I have had reason today to realise that not facing these things head on serves no purpose. 
In Harry Potter, Voldermort is referred to as "HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED" as though not using the name offers some protection. As I grew up having lost grandparents to Cancer, the word became taboo, always referred to as "The Big C" . Now those taboos need to be washed away. 
It is somewhat over whelming, to walk into a hospital like Christie's and realise that ALL the patients there are fighting the same thing. Some are winning, some are loosing but the fight goes on. There is HOPE on so many peoples faces. 

I have to be honest, its hard to write this but it is my therapy. I have spent the last hour looking for a motivational video that will give me and others hope. Then I came across a guy named Nick Vuijcic. You can't watch this without realising there is ALWAYS hope, whatever life hands us we CAN overcome. 

Nick, a Christian, believes that "he who is thankful, can't be bitter" 

Watch and be stunned by his happy attitude to life. Then share it with others, HOPE is infectious.







Friday, 12 August 2011

Wales



Croeso i Gymru

Welcome To Wales




Wales, the land of castles, a practically unpronounceable language and horizontal rain !!
As unusual as it sounds to those outside the United Kingdom, we don't speak just English here. We may be United in land mass, but England, Ireland Scotland and Wales still like to keep a little of their own independence, no more so than the Welsh, who over the past few years have fought to increase the use of their native language. To the point that all signs in Wales are now in English and Welsh. They also seem to hang on to their own weather system. Where else can you sit on a beach in the sun one day and get drenched by rain for the rest of your holiday ?

The reason for this post ? We have just taken a short break in Wales (2 nights/3 days camping) The eldest 2 children are away at a church activity (EFY) all week, so Mrs RJR and took a pair of 2 man tents, our youngest and her friend and set of in search of fun.

On the first day around Porthmadog and Criccieth the sun shone and we got to spend time on the beach and walking around the two towns.

Ruth and Sariah



But as the night drew in the weather got worse and it didn't really stop raining for the rest of the time we were there. To be fair we didn't really expect much better. As a child on Holiday in Wales in frequently rained, I assumed everyone wore waterproof coats when away till I was about 10 !

Not to be put off we carried on having fun !! Including a trip on a narrow gauge railway that once hauled slate from the mountains down to the sea. And a drive up through mountain passes.



Taking pictures and Video clips as we went.



To finish here is one of Wales most famous comedians...Mocking Wales in front of Prince Charles (The Prince of Wales)


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Temple Sealing

Over the weekend I posted about the wedding we attended. As wonderful as it was, on Tuesday we had an even better day.

For those not familiar with LDS (Mormon) beliefs, we take weddings a step further. You may have come across one of Temples on your travels. One of their purpose's is to provide a place where marriages can be sealed "For Time and Eternity" we believe this type of marriage goes beyond a standard "Till death do us part" service that is performed in one of our chapels.


It is a much simpler event, only close friends and family attend and the ceremony, performed in one of the temple sealing rooms only takes a short time.

The sealing rooms are beautiful places and common feature of them all, is a pair of large mirrors facing each other on opposing walls. When mirrors are set exactly parallel in this way, looking into one creates an endless reflection from the one behind. You see yourself  "reflected eternally"

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Our local Temple is Preston England.
The small group here, are those that were invited along.

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This is the third time I have been privileged to be asked to take friends and families wedding pictures and it is always a wonderful experience and privilege but a little stressful , for fear the camera breaks or you don't get a single decent picture. Fortunately  I survived this one ! I have no plans to make it a paid activity though !!
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