windemere: (golf)
You've heard the refrain. He'll 'make America great again'. And the 'oh, that's just compaigning. He'll calm down when he's in office' and 'we should give him a chance' and 'it won't be that bad'.

Humans have been deluding themselves since the beginning of time, but I don't think we have an example this good since Hitler. And don't get me started on those comparisons (some are valid, some are not).

What I do know is that my daily feeling since January 20th has gone back and forth between horror and fear...and 'I told you so'. I really wish I didn't have to say that. I really wish it hadn't turned out this way. But 26% of the voting populace voted for this. And whether they thought it would calm down, or not be so bad, or they are still out there cheering him on doesn't matter. They caused this. And the people who protest voted in favour of independents caused this. And the people who couldn't be bothered to vote caused this. And here we are.

And I live in Canada, so there's not much I can do. But I CAN speak out. I can be sick at what is happening. I can show my support for all the people he is harming. And I can make very sure, personally, that I don't contribute to the same happening in Canada.

Speak up. Protest (online, in person). Stand up with others. Protect. Donate. There are plenty of things you can do, even if you can't legally vote in the US. And as citizens of the world, it's our responsibility to do everything we can. This can NEVER be allowed to happen again.
windemere: (winter luck)
So, that happened. As it does every 4 years (Summer Olympics don't count by Canadian standards). I have been a wreck for 14 days now, and only because the really stressful stuff doesn't get started until team skating medal awards, so like, three days into the Games.

It's hard to describe Vancouver to people. I was alone in February 2010, housesitting, and I literally spent the better part of two weeks crying in front of the TV pretty much all day long. Because if the events weren't on they were doing replays and musical montages to I Believe, and that song still makes me cry to this day. I spent a lot of the last few days of the Games screaming at the television, and memorably remember listening to the finale Gold Match men's hockey game on the radio on the way home from work (which had run long) and managing to make the TV in time for OT, at which point I pretty much had a full blown anxiety attack in the 8 minutes it took Crosby to score the Golden Goal. I had not really paid attention to the 2006 Olympics (the hockey lead to nothing that year, so it was rather a bore all around) and in February 2002 I had just acquainted myself with the person I now lovingly call sister, so Olympics wasn't high on the list of things to do (as I recall, obsessing about LotR was).

2010 was my first proper Olympics. The first time I honestly watched it to cheer for my country. And I think it was like that for a lot of people. I think that was the year many of us learned to be proud (and vocal) Canadians. To celebrate our successes even on the international stage. To acknowledge that, for a country of 34 million people, we are pretty awesome. We cheered, we cried, we won (we lost), and for many of us I think we thought it was a one-off. It was Vancouver, and we were Canadian. It was home soil and nothing was going to take that from us.

Russia is a long way away from home soil, and I admit I was worried at first. But not because I was worried we would lose, but because I knew now that we had it in us to win. And then, Canada, look what you did. Through trials and tribulations you pulled it off again. You pulled off 10 gold medals and another 10 silver and you did it in a foreign country who is good at the winter games. You fought the USA every inch of the way and several other countries even further and you made it. You won. And as always, it all comes down to that last game. For Canadians, that final game on the last day of the Winter Olympics is our Olympics. It's what we spend 16 days waiting for (and 4 years planning for) and it's the one that matters. The other games all matter. It all matters, but that last game is the one that really counts for us. The one we measure ourselves against. Because to come so far and lose the gold is, for us, becoming I think, unthinkable. It's our gold now. For the women AND the men. It's ours to lose, basically, and we are not going to let it go without a fight. This was not the heart-pounding final of Vancouver (the women got that game instead), but it was an amazing hockey match and Sweden deserves that silver wholeheartedly for fighting as hard as they did. But as someone took to waving on a placard in 2010, this is our game.

And boy, Canada, did you make it a good one.

Here's to 2018 Korea. We'll make that a good one too.
windemere: (Ned Stark)
I feel this icon is justifiably appropriate.

In about 45 minutes we get to see the unveiling of the Richard III reconstruction. I am EXCITED. I miss archaeology. I am very, very proud of the U of L Arch Dept. today. I am massively thrilled to be living in Leicester right now. I am super happy the exhibit opens on Friday (going Sunday). And, lastly, it is more than a little fantastic that #RichardIII became the top trending subject of Twitter today. Take THAT SuperBowl.
windemere: (castle)
Still adjusting to this new format for everything on LJ. It's very modern looking. Not entirely sure yet. But I can type properly again in order to post, so that's certainly a good improvement!

So, I intended to go to Windsor yesterday. I've never been, though I've visited both Buckingham and Holyrood, the two other royal palaces. Windsor is, of course, by far the oldest, as it was originally constructed (well, a bit of it was) 900 years ago, so it's the original royal castle of the British monarchy. And the Queen was even home!

Anyways, because I am SUCH A NICE PERSON and I CAN'T SAY NO TO PEOPLE, I ended up leading the trip. It was for the international students association, and the guy who runs it, Yasin, happens to be the boyfriend of one of my fellow PhD students in MS. And he's a really, really nice guy, don't get me wrong. He's so nice, that it's kind of hard to say no to him, because you know if you asked him a favour he'd do it in a heartbeat. So, last week he called and asked if I'd run the trip, because he couldn't go anymore. And I said, 'of course'! And then I got off the phone and said 'shit'.

Well, a lot of things went wrong. It could have been a nice easy trip to Windsor for the day (if a very, very long one), but because some students go out of their way to be thoughtless and because of other things that no one had control over (traffic jam), it was just a very long exhausting stressful day and I was so HAPPY to go to bed last night you have NO IDEA.

But, in amidst all that, Windsor was beautiful. I mean, tourist central and no mistaking it! And even though it was December it was so very crowded. But the town is very cute, and Eton college is a nice walk across the river, and the castle is very beautiful. Especially in the winter sunlight. And the Queen, at least, was home, so probably Prince Philip too, and who knows who else. Maybe the rest of the family as Kate is in London in hospital with morning sickness, says the news, as she is now pregnant. Poor woman.

Anyways, I'll post a few pictures eventually (still on my camera and this week? NOT A GOOD TIME), but the castle is a masterpiece and I think much prettier than Holyrood and much less um...overdone, than Buckingham. And much grander than, say, Kensington. It kind of reminded me of Hampton Court, except it was built before Henry VIII, though he did add to it, as did most monarchs up to and including Queen Victoria.

Anyways, you can only get into the State Apartments, because the rest is where people actually live and work, and it was Sunday, so St George's Chapel was closed too (where Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are entombed), but oh well. The entry ticket is good for a year so maybe I'll go back next summer! And I saw one of the Queen's corgies being walked in the garden!

Anyways, glad that is over with. Took today off because work? yeah, that wasn't happening. I still had to answer emails, post a few announcements online and have a short meeting though, even on a day off. Tomorrow I have training, Wed. is a day-long artists' seminar, and Thurs/Fri are marking presentations. But, after my meeting today I have about 500 Pounds worth of work coming my way in the next month, so yay!!! I can pay rent in January! Wee! And more in work in March too. That I think I'll put aside for the Camino. A few hundred pounds might last a few weeks in Euros in Spain. Or at least pay for flights/train travel.

Also, I still owe Ross a week of work, and have since July. Not sure when I will have to do that! But I will have to, as he paid me for it already! Oops. Still, it was very useful having the money at the time.

Dinner. Telly. Bed. Freeze. Hat tonight, me thinks.
windemere: (garden)
It's been exactly 3 years since the last time I was in the Lakes. Last week wasn't quite exactly 3 years, but it was as close as I could come. And four days wasn't enough, but it was all I could spare. I could have stayed a lot longer, but then, I always can.

I can't explain the Lakes to anyone who has not been to them. I can sort of explain Muskoka to someone who's never been, but add in a few mountains and an ocean a stone's throw away, and I can't come up with words to describe that perfect little paradise that is North-West England. Between Carlisle and Kendal is this stunning area of countryside. Almost all of Britain is beautiful, but there is something about the quaint towns of slate houses, curving roads, little lakes, and a beautiful history that makes me happiest. I want to retire there. Hands down.

IMG_1891a

I saw more of the towns this time around, since last time I spent most of it hiking in the mountains. This time, Trina and I toured Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere (and Bowness). Each one is so different to look at, though they all feel just a little touristy, a little quaint and much too busy. We did do one of the higher climbs (1000ft), which was mostly straight up a Cirith Ungol like staircase, under the sunny skies and then down a progression of short hills (not in as bad shape as I thought!). We walked around Rydal Water too, which is an easy and pleasant walk. The temperature was mid-teens, which was perfect weather for hiking and we had only a brief spell of light rain on Friday in Windermere. We also saw three museums and the Beatrice Potter Experience. And shopped...a lot. And ate...a lot.

IMG_1893


Already planning a grand trip next year, which will involve renting a holiday cottage for a week, a district bus pass, and Hadrian's Wall too. Sounds perfect for next September when I finish my field work.

IMG_1915
windemere: (alice in wonderland)
For the rest of the week I've gone walkabout in the land of trees, lakes and mountains, searching for illusive fairies and...things.

My proper holiday.
windemere: (Default)
The moral of the story is, always buy a London Pass when it's on sale. It totally pays for itself. We didn't see as much as I was hoping, but we still saw 103 pounds worth of stuff! Had M&D been up to, you know, actually walking like Londoners then I think we could have done more. Also, the Globe was closed due to day performances, so that nixed that one immediately. Rose was open, however, but they weren't interested. Would have been nice to do more around Westminster too. Oh well.

Still:
  • Kensington Palace and Kensington Park
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge Exhibition
  • HMS Belfast
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Harrods
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • British Museum (yes, I know this one is free - still, they went to a museum!)

Pretty good for 2.5 days I think. Would have been nice to have the full third day, because then we could have done something more than just Kensington. Like RAH. Tried to get them to do the theatre one evening too, but they didn't want to be out late. And the Eye was overbooked. I wanted to book that ahead, but the weather kept changing everytime I looked and I didn't want to book tickets if it was raining. Not a great view when the rain is pissing down.

I was so glad to get back to my bed last night. Today is all grey and cool outside, but that's okay. It's a bank holiday and I'm not doing anything except getting all the 'non-work things' finished so that I can get to the work things tomorrow. Well, as well as run into the centre to shop.
windemere: (Family)
I will not be around (no computer) for the next two weeks. Try not to do anything terribly interesting while I'm gone, yes?

I will be in Denver and London dealing with various members of my 'blood relations means never having to say You're Kidding' family. Yes, proper use of icon is proper. Special doesn't even begin to describe them.

And then I'm taking a holiday to recover from my holiday. I should be backback by September 8th.
windemere: (Default)
I have this thing. Every time I go to Stratford-upon-Avon I spent the whole day comparing it to Stratford. Because it's almost impossible not too. When they designed Stratford, Ontario, it must have been by a person who had visited Stratford-upon-Avon, because they are just too similar. They both host THE Shakespearean festival in each respective country. The river is wide, shallow, and meandering. There's a park all along it which seperates it from the town. The theatres line the river (mostly the biggest theatre), the shops line the main street. Before you get to 'nice' Stratford you pass through 'normal suburban town' Stratford, with hotels, big chain retailers, and ugly buildings. Then you get to nice, small, condensed little town Stratford. That has lots of craft, nic-nac, fudge, sweet and clothing stores.

Also, it was about the same temperature today.

However, Stratford-upon-Avon has one thing going for it.  It's actually Shakespeare's birthplace. Oh, and it has lots and lots of canal boats.

But today I spent five hours walking around every interesting shop (except the Wiccan store, because it was too busy, and the Museum of Witchcraft because...I've had bad experiences with those in the past), eating English chips by the river, and lying in the sun.

Oh, and I got paid to do it. ;)
windemere: (London)
There are certain things I love about London:

I love that you can spot a tourist a mile off, and that's when the Olympics aren't on and they aren't running around in their country's flag/shawl.

I love that you can tell a Londoner about five miles off.

I love that I used to be one and therefore always will be one and can blend in.

I love that when you put headphones in people don't even make eye contact.

I love that random men call me Love. Most of them are good looking too.

I love people watching in Trafalgar Square. And Leicester Square. And Covent Garden.

I love that dressing up as Batman and being a statue is entirely normal.

I love the Canadian embassy.

I love that there is PRET and it is everywhere. I had it twice yesterday just to get my fill!

Apparently, the Boris Bikes are actually getting used. Of course, we have cyclists getting killed too.

If there is a barracade, the army, and five police officers standing around...you probably shouldn't try to access that area. But hey, if you can't see five steps in front of you, I guess you deserve to be shouted at. ;) Stupid tourists...in high heels.

What makes you think that stilletos is good footwear for London's many uneven paths?

Things I don't like right now:

Purple and pink are not okay colours together. Especially when every tenth person in London is wearing them.

If you want to stop and consult your map to figure out if you are going the wrong direction, don't stop in the middle of the path so that everyone behind walks in to you.

For that matter, slow as a turtle is not an acceptable walking speed; I really don't care if you are admiring the scenery. Get out of my way and THEN stop to look. Other people have places they want to be. For that matter, my walking speed in ANY country is 'pretty good'.

Also, for that matter, don't step backwards to take a photograph without looking to see who you are going to step backwards into.

I get that you think it's British!, but really, finding the most beatup purple taxi in all of London and posing for a picture? Just sad, really.

Do NOT take away my only accessible Tim Horton's and replace it with Costa. I HAVE Costa right up the road. I don't have Tims! Seriously, NOT OKAY.

If you are going to redirect the flow of traffic, can you do it in such a way that actually makes sense to the people being redirected?

If you are going to put up barracades and then ignore them...why bother? People will take the most direct route...especially Londoners, so why waste the fencing?

It's not illegal to cross on a don't walk in this country. So don't block the road by lining up waiting for a green light. You'll be waiting A LONG time. If there are no cars coming, there are no cars that are going to hit you.

Don't create 'Olympic only lanes' and then, as soon as the Olympics starts, realise it was a bad idea and then open them up to everyone. Everywhere I went there were big signs saying 'Olympic Lanes open to all traffic'. Signs are really very distracting for drivers, actually.

In the end, I love this city and wish I could have spent more time there yesterday. Still, I got to see the Picasso Sketches, Mind the Map exhibit at LTM (awesome!), lots of people watching, PRET, and definitely had a good walk.
windemere: (London)
I rarely get to use this one for it's actual purpose.

Off to London to museum hope, see a Bond exhibition, sit in Trafalgar Square, eat Tims and bask in Olympic mania. Which there is now, since we're actually WINNING STUFF. Go Team GB!
windemere: (celebratory libations)
Dear UK,

I would just like to thank you. After Beijing, we all wondered how you could possibly top the opening ceremonies. Except you knew that and you therefore didn't even try. Because you didn't need to. Last night was honest, true, beautiful and completely understandable even without commentary.

So thanks, for reminding the world that you can blow your Olympics budget on security and architecture and still pull off a great show. I look forward to the closing ceremonies, and I've never said that before.

Amy

P.S. You get a new tag!

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windemere: (Default)
Amy

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