We started our stay in Ipswich with the Queen's 60th Jubilee street party. Bunting flew, crowns glittered and tables groaned with traditional street party fare - cupcakes, quiche and trifle.
There were games, music and dancing in the street. Flossie and Freddie didn't win the crown competition, despite sterling efforts from Grannie and Aunty Jess.
But Flossie had a fantastic time dancing, eating her own body weight in cake and getting stuck in to tug of war.
Freddie spent the whole party trying to grab pieces of the outdoor chess set. Lots of nerdy eleven year old chess buffs got quite annoyed with him.
But all in all, both children have had an amazing time in Ipswich.
Flossie loves her new doll's house (actually my doll's house, renovated by Grannie):
She also loves the fact that Zeus the cat has taken to sleeping at the bottom of her bed:
Freddie likes taking all the things out of Grannie's baking cupboard:
He is less enthusiastic about being used as a real life baby in the resident doll's pram:
After the excitement of the street party, Flossie, Aunty Jess and I headed up to London. I went over to Chiswick to see Heidi - a radiant new mum of the super-sweet Finlay, and then to central London to meet Clare. We had crispy duck at a Chinese in Soho and then relived our mid-20s with wine in a pub off Oxford Street. I made the mistake of picking up more wine on the way back to Jess's, which (of course) didn't survive the evening. I learnt all about Flossie's adventures with Aunty Jess at the aquarium and the three course meal she scoffed at Pizza Express.
Aunty Jess had to go to work the next day, so (despite my hangover) Flossie and I found our way across south London to Dulwich Village and to Emily's beautifully renovated house and garden. Floss had great fun with her daughter, Mia's, dressing up box and was reluctant to leave but we had another date in Ipswich. Her little running legs allowed us to just catch the 12.30 train so we could meet up with Monica and her daughter Cecilia in the park.
I'm so lucky to still be in touch with a bunch of great friends in the UK - nothing like catching up with people who have known you for years.
Freddie, Flossie and I were so well looked after by mum and Jo for the week he was away. We've caught up with lots of local friends and eaten until our tummies bulged. The kids have had fun playing in the garden and trips to the playground, the duck pond and to Christchurch Mansion where Floss loved seeing the old doll's house and children's toys.
The weather has not been super-kind but we managed a short sail on Sunday. Floss like curling up in the fo'cstle and eating the chocolate brownies that Grannie bought.
Freddie was a bit more hands on:
Monday, however, bought new adventures. We have had some high winds and a big branch came off a tree that overlooks the garden, meaning the whole thing had to come down. A hunky tree surgeon did some fairly impressive manoeuvres to cut it down. Jo now has fire wood for the whole of next winter, but the whole drive was clogged with logs for a day and some of mum's plants got squashed.
This was fairly small beer, however, compared to the shock I got when I took Freddie to the doctor to get a nappy rash checked out. Dr took one look and diagnosed chickenpox. The poor boy is covered in spots and we got a couple of itchy sleepless nights to coincide with Rob's return. Fortunately he is on the mend, but it has meant that we had to delay our departure to Shropshire - we are now leaving tomorrow morning.