Thursday, 29 April 2010

Seven things…

Stay with me here…these are random.  The downside of keeping your thoughts to yourself for a while is that there is a lot of randomness that comes out when you open up again.  And I will be opening up again properly soon, but for now I'm going to share with you seven things.  The reason for this is because Angela (Craving Cupcakes) thinks I'm a beautiful blogger.  And I will do anything for people that think I'm beautiful (ok, not really, but some things, if they appeal and I feel like it an all that).  She’s tagged me in the Beautiful Blogger meme that is currently going around…

1.  I had the best dream the other night and it's made me want to get out and see more of the UK.  In it, I was zipping all over the country in an original mini (British racing green of course) with a friend, stopping to take in views, climb mountains, swim in streams, eat cream teas, have beers by the fire etc.  It was a magical dream and there is so much about it I wish would come true.  It left me on a high that day, and I'm still a little bit giddy from it.  A wonderful natural high.

2.  It is a long weekend in England this weekend.  And I'm doing the unthinkable.  I'm S.T.A.Y.I.N.G. I.N. L.O.N.D.O.N. for a long weekend.  You would think I'm doing something seriously illegal or certifiable the way my friends react to this news.  They're all heading off - mostly to Amsterdam for the Queens Day weekend (big street parties in the 'dam this weekend) or to fun parks and forests north of here.  It isn't that I couldn't go away if I wanted to, I've had offers, I've got some cash.  I just had a gut feel around January that I'd didn't want to/wasn't going to.  I've got the use of a mates car (whilst he's in the 'dam) and might do some day trips or maybe just head to Ikea.  Who knows?  What I do know is I'm excited to have 3 unplanned free fun days in London.  I think it is exactly what I need.  That, and for my mates to stop trying to talk me in to going to Amsterdam (seriously - I said no when flights were £130, why would I now pay £300?  I've been henpecked about it every day since I started this contract).

3.  I had an unceremoniously large week last week.  Ridiculously and disgracefully large.  And I wasn't the worst, not by a long shot.  A combination of a weekend away, a night out with friends, farewell drinks for a colleague, a friend of a friend over from Australia, a mates birthday and what not.  Large.  Drinks were drunk; shots were shot; cake was eaten; Cubans were smoked; tears were cried and wiped, pool and darts and jukeboxes and Barry machines were played, laughs and hugs and kisses and arguments were had; dance floors, tables and chairs were danced on; tables were fallen off; toes were broken; teeth were chipped; cuts, bruises and scratches were acquired.  And my head hurt bad at the end of it. Really bad. I don't want another champagne, lager, cider, white wine, Bacardi & coke, pimms, gin & tonic, mohijto, JD& coke, ale, sambucca, tequila, Jaeger, jelly shot, vodka or whisky any time soon.  Any one of those nights would have been quite the night.  So many, so close together - well, we're not 18 any more and didn't we know it afterwards!

4.  Despite the debauchery and messiness of last week, I kind of enjoyed it.  As a one off stand alone string of events.  I'd been pretty meh for a bit and some all night dancing at a bar with friends was good good fun.  I just think there is some balance that we missed last week.  Oh, and me - I've got some cuts from falling of a table but the broken toe and chipped teeth do not belong to me (thankfully!).

5.  I really like live music but I'm a bit of a bad luck charm currently.  Of the 4 most recent/soonest gigs I've had tickets to, two have been cancelled, one postponed and one I couldn't make it to.  Elton John's concert last December was cancelled because he was sick.  Paolo Ntuni's gig at Royal Albert Hall was the same day I found out about Timbo and was in no mood to be out, let alone listening to sad songs.  Powderfinger's April 22nd gig was postponed because they couldn't get here due to the ash cloud (good news though - they'll be here in June).  Grinspoon's May gig has been cancelled as it clashes with some festival bookings they've taken in Australia.  Yeah, I'm a bad luck charm but I think the tide is turning.  It better be - I've got some good gigs coming up this summer.

6.  I don't have as many friends in London as I do in Melbourne.  I don't have any family in London like I do in Melbourne.  But those friends I do have here? They're gold.  Human gold.  They've been magical this past little while when I haven't been, and have really needed them.  And the circle of human gold seems to be getting bigger.  This is wonderful news.

7.  Girls are actually braver than boys, in case you are wondering.  I've have anecdotal evidence for another time too.  It's not that I don't think you all don't already know this, I think it is just important sometimes, if you are feeling a little helpless or doubting or what not that we are damn strong people if we want to be (and are not scared of water being too cold like some boys are- true story!).

I'm also meant to tag 7 bloggers, but I'm not sure who to tag.  I think anyone that wants to play along should.  Most of the blogs I follow are decor, cooking or travel related so I'm not sure if the theme fits.  Still

Friday, 16 April 2010

My Highland Fling

As I may have mentioned a time or five, I was lucky enough to be able to spend the Easter weekend in Scotland.  A late night flight after work on Thursday took me to Edinburgh where I then joined a tour group Friday morning for four days of fun and good times.

As is often the case, the pics don’t do the place justice! I was surrounded by natural beauty.  All the fresh air really puts a spring in my step!   Some of the better shots made it into my Project 365 but here are some others.  Are you a city break or country air person? (I'm both but if I could only have one, I think I'd go for the country)

There’s a map at the bottom, showing where we went.

1.  Forth Bridge over the Firth of Forth.
2. Crail, a fishing village
3.  Waterfalls at the Hermitage, Dunkeld
4. A dam in Pitlochry
5. A cairn at the Culloden Battlefields
6.  Me and McSpotty, the tour mascot
7.  Views over Inverness.
8.  Kyleakin, the fishing village we stayed in on Skye
9. Me dunking my face in the glen to ward off evil fairies
10. A boat, Portree
11 - 15. Climbing.relaxing/jumping on the Trotternish Peninsula, Skye
16. Kilt Rock
17 - 18. Fairie Glen
19. Uig
20.  Kyleakin

View Larger Map

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Project 365 – Week 13

Week 13 – March 28th through April 3rd.  Please do let me know your favourite one.  For me, I think it is the cupcakes – not for the subject matter but for the reflection.  It was fun to play around with these and the camera.

28.03.2010.  The local resident peacock at Holland Park (and a little squirrel).  I love the colours of peacocks and in this environment (all brown) the tail really stood out.  Would have been majestic if it was raised but it wasn’t to be.
29.03.2010.  Lemon cupcakes – I tried to make the most of the reflective tin and was really happy with the results.
30.03.2010.  My new toy.  Sadly, at the time of writing – everything was still in its box.  Soon it shall be set up.  Soon.
31.03.2010.  An older fashioned postcard from home.  Which I still chuckle at.  And yes, maybe I do!!
01.04.2010.  Edinburgh Castle, late at night as I arrived at my hostel.
02.04.2010.  Castle ruins in St Andrews, Scotland.
03.04.2010.  Ruthven Barracks, Scotland.  These were British Army barracks but after the Jacobites were defeated by said British Army, they retreated here and blew the roof of so they would no longer be of use.
Flickr Set, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (to come)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Ten on a Tuesday – 26 - It's My Time

We interrupt this break to bring you 10 on a Tuesday with my set of questions.  (no go and re read that with your best broadcasters voice…please?)

These questions come from moi, via Chelsea.  A special shout out to D and V, some friends who helped me – we were chatting about them over dinner one night and they're some of my partners in crime when it comes to travel.  Whilst there is a definite theme, I’ve tried to make them answerable to all.  If you don’t play along on your own blog, please do play along in the comments (that includes you V!)

1.  What book, movie or song has made you want to travel to a particular place? (eg. I went to Prince Edward Island because I was such a Anne of Green Gables fan)
Aside from PEI (that was my example), reading The Bronze Horsemen was a real driving force in me wanting to go to St Petersburg (booked for October).

2. Aside from your significant other, who would you want to take with you on a dream trip?
Tough one.  One of my friends maybe, that hasn’t travelled much, or one that I know I travel well with would be good choices.  Although, I think I’d chose my brothers.

3. Where would said dream trip be to?
I’d love to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and I think either brother would make a good supportive company.

4. If you were hosting guests or providing tips, what three things would you show visitors to your hometown? (be it where you live now or where you grew up)
Melbourne – coffee at Journal (in Flinders Lane – great coffee, great location), footy (Aussie rules) at the MCG, and probably drinks/gig/taking in the surrounds at the Espy – a classic pub in St Kilda near the beach.
London – coffee at Monmouth (Borough Markets), head to the V&A museum and then Brick Lane (a laneway full on Indian restaurants) for dinner.  Anyone want to come hangout with me for a day?

5. If you had a long weekend ahead of you, where you head – beach, city or country/mountains?
I’m a country/mountains girl at the moment with beach a close second and city a distant third.  I feel a bit city-breaked out – although I love each trip when I do it.

6. Do you have a passport? If so, did you get it for a particular trip or just to have, in case?
Yup, sure do. I got it for when I moved over here in 2001.  It’s up for renewal soon.  Hello paperwork.

7. Are there any travel souvenirs you collect? If not, is there something else you collect?
Bouncy balls.  They’re a great souvenir – small, unbreakable, cheap and cute – but they’re surprisingly hard to find.

8. If you could name a paint colour, what colour would it be and what would you call it?
A purpleish grey – often seen in the sky – as dusk hits.  A name for it escapes me now.  Sorry (I know - I've had a while to think about it, but I'm drawing blanks)
9. If you were heading away for a weekend citybreak solo, where would you go? (forget about practicality here and flight times, assume you can get to any city in the world for the weekend)
Right now I’d say Melbourne.  I’ve been looking flights for this weekend but I’m not strong enough to deal with the distances and practicalities of it. 

Previously, I would have probably said New York.  Is anyone surprised?  Oh, what, your not?  How funny.  It’s a cool place to wander on your own – so much to do and see.

10. Is there a song or a smell or something that you strongly associate with a particular holiday/place/time, such that it always takes you back?
Loads.  Loads and loads and loads of songs. Most trips have a song associated with them.  Blistex and the smell of sunscreen are the big ones I think – they both remind of summers spent at the beach.  Song wise, Spirit of the West’s home for a rest reminds me of my first European foray.  Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees reminds me of the train journey from NY to Toronto.

{views over Malta, Aug 09}

Project 365 – Week 14

April 4th – April 10th.

The week started in Scotland on the Isle of Skye and ended up with a 12 mile walk in NE London. In between was a bit of this and a bit of that.  What is your favourite this or that from below?


1.  4th April 2010.  View over the water in Kyleakin, Isle of Skye.
2. 5th April 2010.  Glencoe, Scotland
3. 6th April 2010.  A lazy indoor shot.  My passport – the best travelling companion.
4. 7th April 2010.  The bandstand at Clapham Common.  I often go past this during a BMF class but never with my camera.  Due to problems with the Northern line on Wednesday, we took a detour so I got to snap it enroute.
5. 8th April 2010.  The Monument.  London.  Maybe one day I will climb it?
6. 9th April 2010.  The sky above Canary Wharf tube station.  Not the perfect shot but the clear roof is only over the escalators so time to line everything up is very tight.  Maybe another time, I'll do better.
7. 10th April 2010.  Woodlands in Trent Park, London.  There was a real green light about as we tramped through them at the beginning of a 12 mile walk but I didn’t really capture it.


Monday, 12 April 2010

Project 365 – week 12

Week 12 – 21 March 2010 through 27 March 2010.  The weekend shots bookend this group nicely I think.  The weekday shots are kind of meh and they show just how badly my sony handles low light situations.

21.03.201021.03.2010.  Willow reflections on the canal in Hertford.
22.03.2010.  An important sign at my local deli. When the deli is shut, this is the only sign that is lit.  In my mind, it show’s their priorities are right.23.03.2010
23.03.2010.  British high streets are littered with chicken shops.  I still chuckle when I go past this – a ripped off version of KFC.  There’s Dallas Fried Chicken too.

24.03.2010.  Last week’s carnations go on, joined by this week’s daffodils.  Notice twilight? This pic was taken at 7.48.  It’s getting better still.
25.03.2010.  A lazy dinner.  Egg on bagel for tea.
26.03.2010.  Brolly day.  Boo.

27.03.2010.  Spent the day shopping with a friend before taking a multitude of buses home. A quick walk through a park enroute presented me with daffodils in all their glory.  Spring is here!!

Your favourite this week? (Mine is the field of daffodils)
Flickr Set, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Lemonade from Lemons

Hi - I'm just stopping by to reneg on my word.  You know how I said I'd be better at blogging this month? (Reneg one because I said I wouldn't mention it again).  Well, turns out I might not be.

I’m taking some time out now just to be, and deal, and to focus on gosh knows what.  I'm usually pretty good at (and happy to) make lemonade from whatever lemons life throws at me.  But I've had the wind knocked out of me more than usual this last week. The events of last Thursday news have left me shattered and shocked and a bit here and there.  And I don't yet know how to make lemonade with it.

I may or may not be stopping by other blogs and commenting.  I may or may not be writing this week.  I don't really know - I just want to take the space I need to decide as I go.

That said, I've put together some catchup posts for you which will bring my Project 365 up to date.

Until I'm back writing live, stay safe and love your loved ones.


p.s. I'm fine.  I really am.  And I will soon be finer again.  It's the way of the world.

Friday, 9 April 2010

and into the next life…

I’m in a state of shock and sadness and disbelief.  My cousin, Tim, passed away last night after a motorcycle accident.  Tim was 30.  He had a full life in front of him and that it has been taken so soon is just tragic.  That he has been taken so soon after his father makes it so much harder, yet also comforting, for the family. He is survived by his wife, mum, two brothers, sister, extended families and so so many friends around the world.

He was and is a beautiful soul and in my grief, I’ve been remembering the good life he lived and the happy times.  Tim married his high school sweet heart in 1999 (yup, aged 20).  Together they have spent the last ten years travelling the world and living life with a sense of adventure that some may only dream about.  Photos only tell a fraction of the story, but here are some of my favourites of him…
7022_150985756664_830246664_2516578_3651349_n 18759_305133382428_667792428_4499348_7115979_n  Saringar boathouse tim and jem tim canoe tim climbing chimneys tim crack climbing tim goggless tim on rocks  tim skking tim swinging in canada tim tinkerbell   tim with izzy and chelli

Top to bottom:
1. In India
2. Dressed up and enjoying a music festival in country Victoria
3. With his wife, celebrating their 10 year anniversary in Vietnam
4. Another music festival, hanging out with his oldest brother
5. Dressed up and ready to lead sea canoeing trips with his wife in Canada
6. Climbing chimneys, because he can.
7. Crack climbing in the States
8. A moment of rest whilst tele skiing in Canada (Baldface)
9. More climbing, with wife and friends (yes, he lived life on the edge)
10.  Fresh fresh powder skiing.
11. Swinging in the Rockies
12.  Enjoying the festivities of the Burning Man Festival, Nevada (yes, he’s tinkerbell)
13. Skiing/snowboarding Europe with his brother and nephew.

These photos don't tell of how soft a soul he was and how he nursed and tended his Father in his last days or how he flew half way around the world on hearing of his fathers illness or his best friend's death last year.  They don't show just how good a person he was.  Nothing will, but we all know in our memories.

Love you and will forever miss you Timbo. x

{all photos are from Timbo’s facebook}