Visiting The UK

As soon as we arrived in Florence at the beginning of the year, we arranged to go to the UK during July for a week, because everyone had told us that Florence was unbearable in the height of summer.
We caught the train to Pisa and flew to Stanstead with RyanAir.
We nearly kissed the ground when we got off the plane - a balmy 18 degrees and sunny - awesome after almost two months of +34 degree heat during the day in Italy!
From here we hired a car and drove over to Little Paxton (near St Neots), where they live.

It was great to see Lyn's son Liam, Jo and the kids (Alba is now over 2yrs old and Yarran is 1yr old next month) as well as catching up with Jo's parents, Jennifer & John who are great company.

Alba remembered us from 6 months ago when we stayed over Christmas and was pleased to see us. Yarran is now crawling and getting into all sorts of mischief, so we like to think that we helped Liam & Jo out with the kids while we were there.
We gave them the night off on Friday night and they went to London for dinner and the theatre.
Getting Ready For The Day
Brush My Teeth, Mummy!
Yarran & Guy
Cooling Off In The Garden
On the weekend that we were there, there was a local fair in the Little Paxton common, so we all went down and met some friends of Jo & Liam's who also have a couple of kids. It was nice to sit in the shade, enjoy the atmosphere and play with the kids.
The Local Fair In Little Paxton
Alba & Liam
One day, we went into Cambridge for a walk as Lyn & I have never been into the actual centre of town. Lyn had been punting on the river as part of Jo's hen's afternoon two years ago, but I had never  been there.
Unfortunately, this was the day that it decided to rain, so we had to cut the tour short, but it was a nice place and Cambridge oozes history.
Strolling In Cambridge
For me, the highlight was seeing the "Corpus Clock" outside the library of the Corpus Christi University.
This is a modern clock built by an old student of the university and donated to the city. It was dedicated by Stephen Hawking in 2008.
The Corpus Clock
It has a very unusual escarpment that sits on the outside of a serrated gold-plated stainless steel disc that rotates within a large cover with slits in it, also gold-plated stainless steel.
This escarpment is in the form of a very ferocious looking insect similar to a locust or grasshopper (John Taylor calls it a "chronophage" which means "time-eater" in Greek) and appears to move around the rotating disc as the pendulum swings.
The time is told by LED lights that show through slits in the large disc - multiple rotating discs inside the movement let light through that corresponds to seconds, minutes and hours.

Below is a link to YouTube which shows the clock operating, it's maker and how it works.
It is fascinating to watch and almost mesmerising.

As mentioned earlier, it rained while we are in the city. It was not cold, so Lyn & I really enjoyed the experience.
Lyn & I took Jo & Liam out for a Turkish meal one night while Jo's parents looked after the grandkids - another night off for them both. 
It was great to chat and enjoy the meal and generally catchup over a nice meal and a few beers.

Finally, we had a really nice afternoon BBQ at Jennifer & John's just before we returned to Italy and it was great to relax in a family environment.
John cooked some "Russian Roulette" chilli peppers on the BBQ which were supposed to be mild in taste with a few hot ones (hence the name), but we think he only got the "Roulette" ones, because they were damned hot!
John & Guy enjoyed them and Liam had a few, but they were too hot for the others.
As usual with a good BBQ, we needed up eating too much, but a good time was had by all.

It would have been nice to stay longer, but we had to get back to Florence because our next round of guests were arriving the next day and they were driving across Europe (from the UK) to see us!
Probably not good form to not be there!

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