Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend log

Saturday we went to a fair in Victoria Park, right here in Widnes. It had these great old organs, ranging from very small to gigantic. The biggest one had a dance floor in front and some girls were showing off thier vintage dancing skills from the turn of last century.

Some intereting cars and motercycles on display. This 1960's Triumph Herald is for sale for 1500 GBP.

Also they had plenty of junk food, midway games, and carnival rides.

Today we took the train to Liverpool. The Widnes station is a mile and a half from our house. It takes 30 minutes to get to the end of the line. It cost 11pounds total for our round trip tickets. From Limestreet Station you walk a block and arrive at the Walker Art Gallery, central Library, and Liverpool World Museum. Both the gallery and the World Museum really impressed me. Admission to both were free, and either would have been worth paying 10 quid per ticket, easy.

The art gallery was very good for families, because they've redesigned a wing just for kids. After they've played for a while, they get a scavenger hunt to look for certain works around the museum. Both kids were into the hunt, but I could see them stopping to take a good stare at some of the paintings...wonder what was going through those little minds. The world musuem is done up very nicely, with 5 levels divided by subject matter (sea life, 4 great human civilizations, bugs, pre-history, and space). Then on the other end of the buidling it has in depth sections on other civilizations, Indian-Asian, Japanese, could spend days going through all the stuff. Once again, they worked really hard to make things interesting for adults but also for kids. My son loved counting the 24 arms of the bodhisattva or compassion, and my daughter was quite taken with the mummy.

Something tells me we'll be going back there many many times!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You've never seen a church like this...

My supervisor brought his team together from around the world this week. For dinner we went to Alma De Cuba. This is a 200 year old church in downtown Liverpool thats been converted into an upscale resteraunt and bar. The approach from the street gives no clue about what is found inside. The nave is a long marble bar, with and tall narrow booths along the edge. Almost like confessionals, all done in very dark rich woods. Great old stained glass going down the sides. At the front of the place is a very ornate alter that they've prett much left alone. Going upstairs (on spire staircase, stones worn where you step) there are candles leading the way to the balcony which wraps around the walls. These are the main eating areas. Sat next to Eddie who I haven't spent time with since the Ben Lee concert. The food was perfect, decent wine, great company, a time I won't forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


We put the kids into swim lessons...the local public fitness center is very nice. We can watch the kids practice through this window.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Badders and Boddis

Had a friendly doubles match of badminton tonight, and afterward a few Boddingtons at the local pub. I could get used to this! This pub, called Micklehead Greene, is pretty close to our place. It has a decent menu, large non-smoking section, beer garden, outdoor playground, and most importantly, a big supervised indoor play center. It has video cameras so you could be anywhere in the pub and check in on your little ones. Even slighly older kids would be entertained whilst you drink your beer due to the free playstation kiosks. I could really get used to this!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trip to Microsoft Campus in Reading

Today I drove down to Reading (pronounced "redding") for a Sharepoint 2007 seminar. The system blew me away. I think the search crawler complete with knowledge mapping email account scanner is the most impressive part. Out of the box it will allow you to scann your company's email boxes for key words and associations to quickly help you find knowledgable people an any subject indexed. It has privacy features as well, such as a user filtering what content can be indexed. Enough of that boring techy stuff...

The campus is in a beautiful setting along the river Thames, just northwest of London. I stayed in what must be one of the oldest Quality Inns around, built in 1890. Of course I don't know when it became a QI, but it just seems wrong.

The drive was so perfect. Blue skies, colorful sunset, hot air balloon drifting overhead. One thing the British really seamed to have figured out, is they don't have nasty looking utility poles and wires strung about. Also, they tend to keep the greenways green, and sprawl kept to a minimum. One thing they haven't figured out, is how to put garbage into a trash can (or recycle etc). There amount of litter here is astonnishing, and you never see volunteers cleaning any of it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of school

Both of the kids seem quite happy with the local public school...I know I am. After meeting the teachers, parents, and seeing the behavior of the kids, you couldn't ask for much more.