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Showing posts from 2012

White Horse Winter Wonderland

Days 69-72: it's cold and chilly here...

The Uffington White Horse Hill dominates the landscape around where I grew up, I would ride my pony up onto then Berkshire Downs (now Oxfordshire) and go for miles...
The White Horse is a highly stylized prehistorical hill figure 110m long formed with deep trenches filled with chalk and visible from a long way away in the surrounding villages.
It is a great place to head with Emlin after her arrival, to blow away those cobwebs from the long flight from Australia...




With our green wellies on, the wind blowing through our hair and horses galloping past, it's good to be back in Britain - I reflect this a far cry from the city life that our kids have been brought up in...




People have been walking these paths for a very long time - we walk for 2kms along the Ridgeway and come across Waylands Smithy Long Barrow which was used for burials over 5,500 years ago in the Neolithic period.




Down from the hillside and cold to the bone, we head for the near…

Little Brighton Belle

DAY 65-67
We are off to see my Brighton Belle today at her new University in Sussex. For this special trip I've hired a flash new car - a Fiat 500. They have great marketing for this car: 'Unmistakably Italien, undeniably you'...
And even 'The Happiest small car'>

However my reaction to my VroomVroom.com bargain booking is less than cheery. 'Don't tell me I've got that car..?' This is at the thought of a long journey in an inch winsy, bloody tiny tin can... with my Father unable to open his large AA map book in the front, and my Mother squashed in the back....


However as we speed along the motorway with windscreen wipers on full tilt in the pouring rain, the car holding her own in tricky driving conditions on the M4 and M25, Little Brighton Belle was more than doing alright. My father in a wave of nostalgia remembering our own Fiat 500 in the 1960's and my Mother proclaiming cheerily that she could see a touch of blue sky through the sunroof...…

Christmas at Kensington Palace

Three generations, for three days in London.... We're here to see the sights, enjoy the Christmas lights & festive window displays of Harrods and Harvey Nichs, do some shopping - including treating Grannie to a Victoria's Secrets experience - watch the West End show Wicked, and last but not least, attend the first ever carol concert at Kensington Palace.
We stayed at the Grand Plaza Apartments in Bayswater just a brief stroll from the Circle Line tube, and a short walk to Kensington Palace. This was the view from our two bedroom apartment.... Nice!....I reckon I could move in here for good...




There is a lot to fit in, so first off we're going to Kensington Palace, which is recently opened following a 12 million pound investment.
The Palace has been home to many famous Royals from Queen Victoria to Princess Diana (from 1981 to her death in 1997) and currently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate and William, with Harry often hanging out here on an unofficial basis unti…

Wet 'n' wild in Stratford, UK

Day 62-63 D Block girls out on the town again....
Almost exactly 30 years ago to the day, five first year undergraduates moved into D-Block in Sherwood Hall, Nottingham University to study Psychology, Archeology, Sociology and Medicine. Thrown together on the second floor of what we later found out was the Drinking Hall of Residence, solely because all our surnames began with C and D, it was by chance a perfect mixing up of the Great British North - South divide.
Here our differing backgrounds and private/comprehensive schooling were irrelevant and as we grew up at Nottingham University, we formed long lasting friendships that were happily nowhere near as improbable as Fabian's quote from Twelfth Night suggests:

If this were play'd upon a stage now, I could condemn it as
improbable fiction.
Twelfth Night Act Three, Scene Four

So here we are all these years later, still meeting up whenever we all in the country together....we haven't seen each other for three years, but this time…

Stratford under Avon

Day 61: Dutch proverb - After ebb comes flood, and friends with good....
Today was a whirlwind of travel ending in a flooded Britain...I started on the very smart high speed train (below) from Zug to Zurich airport, then I flew to London City airport, crossed the Capital by Light Railway and Tube to Marylebone Train station, where I took the train, changing at Royal Leamington Spa to splash along the tracks ending up at Stratford Upon Avon where I walked into the Q Hotel, nine hours after I'd left Switzerland & bang on schedule. ........Youd-le-he-he...Life's good!




However, as we passed through the final fields on the outskirts of Stratford upon Avon the countryside changed to resemble the great Lakes that I had just left behind...the train driver welcomes us to Stratford by Sea ....'




Thursday's Stratford Herald reports 'Rain brings flood chaos to district.... There were chaotic scenes across Stratford district as heavy downpours and widespread flooding brought m…

Das Aus!

Day 59-60 A picnic in the Alps - that's cool!!!
I have arrived for 30 hours in Switzerland with an Aussie friend who has recently relocated from Aus to Zug. It was an amazing stay, here are some of the fun things we did...




The Aus Zug poster above means From Zug which I thought was apt.
Zug is a small town in the heart of Switzerland easily reached by a direct train (45 mins) which is found one escalator down in the Arrivals Hall - how good is that? It is picturesque Hans Christian Anderson type town with the old medieval buildings and cobbled streets looking like they came straight out of a fairy tale...




It is easy to see why this would be a popular place for a few years or more. Switzerland has been described as the 'Less tax, More fun'... posting for expats, and it certainly looks a wonderful life. Zug offers one of the worlds lowest tax regimes and is the reason why nearly 30,000 companies are registered here...
It's a safe, everything works, affluent but almost underst…

Cycling in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park

Day 57 - Cycling to the Grand Masters...
When my friend left Australia to return home to the Netherlands, I promised to visit so we could go cycling in Holland together - today was that day...
We're off to a 5000 hectares park - that's maybe a small bike ride for the locals, but for me it seemed like it could be a big ask!!!
I needn't have worried, the De Hoge Veluwe National Park has 1700 free white bikes for park users to explore the 40 kilometers of cycle paths. The tracks are great, the bikes easy to pedal and all the major attractions are not too far away....




First stop is the bike park just inside the main gates to choose a bicycle of the right height. We set off to the visitors centre, museum and park shop wrapped up warmly in our hats, gloves and scarves ... It was chilly, but had all the promise of a spectacular autumn day, the park resplendent, cloaked in bright orange the leaves crunching as we cycled along the paths....




Just look at that sunshine - how lucky are w…

I AMSTERDAM

Day 56 : 28 hours in Amsterdam...
Sooo what did we get up to in our 28 hours in Amsterdam?! Well we had a wonderful time with no set agenda other than to catch up, enjoy each other's company and wander around...The special thing about exploring a city with a girlfriend, is that every time we saw a place that we fancied looking in, we could!



We made our own walking tour, not one where we hit the popular tourist sights but one where we could explore the back streets and markets.... We had a brilliant time just following the canals and seeing where we ended up!


Cat barge on canal - home for all the rescue cats in Amsterdam
Every time we needed to stop, recover and warm up there was an inviting bakery tempting us in.... No wonder those ladies with the red lights are so tubby...!



For both dinners we went Spanish enjoying Tapas on the first night at Tasca Bellota.( Herenstraat 22, 1015 CB) The sangria and the tapas of chorizo picante, octopussalade etc were a perfect sharing meal. The…

Dutch Delights...

Day 55 - Here we are in Holland...

I'm off today to meet a Dutch friend in Amsterdam...




I'm on the road for 10 days and it's Operation Easyjet to cram the impossible into my 'of course this is my hand luggage' little blue suitcase... the first challenge is to see whether the check-in staff agree...
Easyjet is a budget airline who charge extra for everything... luggage, food, magazines although not yet the toilets. Their rules are clear and specific, only one hand luggage of any sort... it's my handbag that always tips me over ........... and that's only a little fib....
It was the jobs-worth 'My father was a Communist dictator - you need to test the size of your suitcase...You do it my way... ' Prague check-in Supervisor that has left me anxious about boarding, and that's MEAN, because I was born to be in the air...'I'm a frequent flyer, my Dad was a pilot', sort-of-a-girl, who is now reduced to buying booze at the airport just to ge…