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.
Also, for reasons known to no one on this list I am once again stupidly excited about April and my Spanish walking holiday. Because it's only 5 months away now and OMG I am DOING THIS!!
Still hating LJ and this slow as dial-up typing speed it insists on for posting. No other application on my computer requires it so I must assume it is LJ causing the issues. Whatever it is, it requires the old two-finger typing and is driving me nuts!
And yes, there IS a new tag now! ;)
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.
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.
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.
- Kensington Palace and Kensington Park
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge Exhibition
- HMS Belfast
- St Paul's Cathedral
- 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.
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.
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. ;)
This week I went to Belfast.
( And it was amazing! )
Pictures are available here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g242/
I seem to have become the person people ask about for advice on doing an MS PhD at Leicester. How do these things happen? Two people in two days! [Both Canadians.]
I am watching Being Human again. I have no clue what is going on, having missed a season and a half, but the vampire is sort of cute, the accents are nice, and it's British. Also, it's entertaining, even if I don't understand most of the current backstory or who the hell the villain is.
I am taking tomorrow off. By which I mean, I have laundry and cleaning to catch up on, a whole host of movies lined up to watch (and a bit of telly), an Irish trip to plan and, you know, relaxing to do. Maybe I'll walk too, as I haven't all weekend due to weather/paper writing. Might try to do more than 5km too.
Apparently I agreed to be up at 6:30am on Wednesday before I realised that was what I agreed to. That is going to be a very long day (though not as long as I thought at 2pm this afternoon, thankfully). I am hopeful there is good research to be had and that someone else comes with, because the MAs are going to be so busy with things they don't even get a tea break (though they do get lunch). Also, I will have to spend the day avoiding my former supervisor as well as my current supervisor. God, why do I do these things to myself?
I am watching yet another BBC documentary. God, I love BBC documentaries. Doesn't even matter what they're on! Though this one is all about the rotation of the Earth and the impact that has had on climate, civilization and nature. I know most of it already, but the scenery shots are nice. And they went to the Bay of Fundy. Of course, the are ending on Britain and how much the rotation screws the weather up there. Which is sort of the last twenty-four hours summed up in an hour long documentary. The best part is the fact that it's new, so it's all about the horrific weather we've had here of late! Damn windstorms are really starting to bug me.
Anyways, that's...it? Oh, I got one last one: Bella Italia, which is an international chain btw, is advertising the Breaking Dawn Part I DVD which comes out next week here. I am greatly amused, can I just say? Who knew that a little restaurant in Port Angeles, Washington would spawn an international marketing campaign for a movie about vampires? Oh, it's the little things in life that keep me going. [I entered the contest they are running too, but that's because it's for a weekend shopping trip to London, with a nice hotel and train tickets included, and I could use one of those.]
It's February 23rd and, ladies, it is 16*C outside, sunny, and the wind feels warm.
It's like, almost summer. By which I mean, it's like proper English weather, finally. I was beginning to worry that the next ice age was going to arrive while I was living this far north of the 39th Parallel. Which would have made me very angry and complain about the weather a lot more than the average Brit already does.
In other news, ;D, there will be N. Ireland in May for sure! And the Giant's Causeway, of course.
Sunday I had a whole game plan. It was slightly destroyed when I slept in late and then got sidetracked watching Top Gear. I got more sidetracked around the Naval Memorial and the east side of Fort Amherst and thus missed the tour of the tunnels at 11. I will simply put that on the to do list for another (warmer) time. Stayed in the cafe for a coffee, bought a postcard, wandered around the less well preserved western section of the Fort, and then walked to Rochester.
It's about 2 miles between Chatham and Rochester, and you never actually stray off of High Street. It just starts in Chatham, runs through Rochester and then becomes High Street in Strood, which I think is sort of fun. It was Sunday and so very quiet, so it made for pleasant walk up. Rochester was a bit busier, because it boasts a Cathedral, Norman Castle and a museum, all within 200 yards of each other. I think that's impressive for a small town. I am also in love with it. If I could pick a place (in England) to live, it would be either Grasmere in the Lake District, or Rochester in Kent. It's all random hills, but the High St is completely flat, and the whole village runs right along the river's edge. And there's a stunning Cathedral and A CASTLE. And the Guildhall Museum is better than the one in Leicester, I admit. Not to mention the Charles Dickens connection, or the fact that's it's Kent which is gorgeous even in the winter. Yesterday was very, very enjoyable.
I stopped for tea at the Cathedral and read some Pride & Prejudice. The castle excursion was cut short due to it being extremely windy up at the top and in danger of being blown over, or the camera blown out of my hand. I walked about 8 miles, at least yesterday, all in the sun. There was people watching in St Pancras (an entertaining pasttime if you've never tried it, the Eurostar makes it more interesting than other train stations). I had a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks, which thankfully didn't keep me up last night.
It was a good trip and I will definitely go back in the summer to do the Dockyards area and an actual tour of the Fort tunnels! And maybe Upnor castle down the river too, because the pictures are stunning, but it's a bit of a hike from Gillingham. Be nice in the warmer weather though! There's also a few castles and the like around Kent to the south that I want to visit.
This much sun should be statistically impossible in Britain, but here we are. I'm not complaining because despite the fact that it is cold out there is no wind and the sun makes it feel quite nice!
This morning, after a slow hangover induced start I went for a long walk around Gillingham all the way down to Fort Amherst (which I actually plan to properly visit tomorrow). Then I met my contact at the Royal Engineers Museum for a two hour tour. It was great to get the 'this is why we've done this and this is what were changing and this is what we want to do when we have the money' instead of the usually tour. They have a very clear hope for the museum's future and it seems like everyone is on board. They have a great eduction officer who is Canadian!
Had a lazy day since then as last night left me quite tired. Was a great dinner and really good company. Spike regaled me with stories about the work he used to do inAfrica. Too much alcohol though and I was definitely sloshed by the end. McDonalds for dinner to make up for it. Best cure besides the many cups of tea that I can think of.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
This is now my most review story ever on FF.net.
Who knew in 2004 when I finished Twin Spirits that it would take until 2012 and a story about a book that hadn't even been written to top the review count?
The fact that it's this particular Twilight story doesn't surprise me. I've figured out the fic fandom crowd now; they're sort of predictable on FF.net.
To bed on a happy note. Also, I'm nearing the end of 1493 finally! I've only been reading it since September! Funny, it's ending pretty much how I thought it would. ;) Haha. Now I can start Pride & Prejudice this week, as part of my 'read a classic every few weeks' resolution. Pride & Prejudice while in Kent. That sounds like a lovely weekend, doesn't it? Austen, museums, history, supper at King Charles' and Kent. That sounds about perfect actually.
I am so ready to get out of Leicester for a bit.
Anyways, the aunt and I talked and I reminded her that I turned 30 in 17 (OMFG) months and that I plane to do SOMETHING AMAZING. Which, considering my life, means things like taking off to New Zealand for 6 months or cruising around South America to Antarctica or, you know, something crazy. But since I will be in the second year of my PhD, and taking more than a couple of weeks off is just not feasable, I'm narrowing the playing field to Something New. I mentioned diving. Then I mentioned Sardinia. Then she mentioned a liveaboard, and hey, I've never actually done that. So, that's the game plan for my 30th: a week aboard a diveboat in Sardinia and/or Corsica cave diving. And the really fun thing about dive trips with the aunt? They go well.
In other words, the best part about turning 30 will be being so caught up in everything that I forget I'm turning 30.
Now, back to the game plan for 29, which I a hell of a lot closer!
STOP SLAMMING THE DAMN DOORS PEOPLE!!!
- but it was meant to be 3000. I sort of ran out of steam on constructivist theory, which, can you blame me? I can make it up later, or simply add something else to that section. There is research I did for this paper that so far isn't planned to be part of it. I might add it in later. Fixing the damn thing will be December 26-January 1st problem.
Preliminary plan to make a weekend trip down to Gillingham (Kent) in January to spend a few days at a nice B&B, visit a dear friend of my parents, and tour two museums that have been on my To Visit list for a while. Obviously, January is not ideal, but I'll take what I can get. It is, however, cheaper. Then it will be Germany and hockey! [And more museums].
So, the latest one was 13,000 and change. There was also the 6,000 one on the weekend. Everytime I think I know my daily word limit, Twilight surprises me. I think I'm starting to understand why the books are so long. SM probably couldn't stop. For which I can sympathise. Unfortunately, unlike SM, I'm not making money off of this and so would prefer it fill up less of my time. The world has definitely tilted if I write more than I read. It's not right.
The good weekend approacheth, but I have to get through the next 3 days first. Bugger that.
Oh, the Aunt deigned to email again, with a subject line instead of a body message, followed by a one line dig about Kindle. It's heartless, but after I get my Christmas presents from her, I'm not talking to her until Easter. Because I am just that much of a hypocrit. Thank you very much.
Wednesday and Thursday we spent touring DC by foot and tram. We saw a lot in a very short time, and I don't think I've really stopped to enjoy it all. Some of it I've wanted to see for years, like the centre of the National Cathedral (West Wing 'Two Cathedrals'), the National Archives (National Treasure), and the Natural History Museum (you have to ask?). We did two tram tours that covered most of the city, and I've walked the whole length of the Mall this week. The weather was really much too hot until Friday, when it was much too cold, but today was perfect. Mom and I went in to the city for the parade (while standing in line to get into the Archives) and it looked like a blast. Very well attended and organised. Afterwards we walked down to the Sakura festival that runs at the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and had pad thai for lunch as we walked back to the Capitol to take a few last pictures in the sun. The whole city looks so beautiful with the last of the cherry blossoms, tulips, budding trees and the white buildings. I could love it here! (Except for the traffic, tourists, and constant sirens)
Yesterday we had a `day off`and drove out to Virginia to the Air and Space Museum (also a Smithsonian). It was a fantastic place, definitely one of the best museums I`ve been too. They have a full sized replica of the space shuttle there and dozens of planes, including a concord and the Enola Gay. The exhibits were really well done, very focused on the planes and not on endless history. Even the text panels were well-written and very carefully thoughtout (considering how many international people visit the museum, it`s a good idea). It was a long trip back from Dulles in the traffic (gods, the traffic here), but I got back in time to go back into the city on my own (!) to meet Amber. Amber and I met and Exeter two years ago doing the same master`s degree and we`ve kept in touch. She came back to Washington to live with her dad, but she`s finding it tough to get a good job (or an interesting job) and wants to move. It was great to meet up with her.
Today I`m tired. I suppose it`s all catching up with me. It`s the most busy I`ve been since Florida two months ago (was that really two months), so I`m not surprised. Tomorrow we leave to head north to the New York-Pennsylvania border to a camp ground for the night. Then probably to one in Niagara Falls to shorten the trip. Will be back to Burlington Tuesday morning.
It`s been a great trip and I`m so glad I had the chance to make it. Despite my sometime aversion to Americans, I do think America has a lot to see and to offer and I hope I can see more of it (than Florida). I`d love to do a road trip around New England or down the east coast from Maine. And I want to see Boston these days; rather badly. Even if I`ll be disappointed that it doesn`t look like Vancouver.
See you on the other side!
(of the border, that is)
It's been an interesting 7 days. It didn't start well (last Monday will live as a day I'd rather forget ever happened), but it ended pretty damn awesomely. (Is that a word?) The party I hosted on Sunday went really well, and I definitely impressed everyone. I really can do hostessing well. If only I could make a career with that, although I'm sure someone has. I've got a fair amount done at the museum this last week too, including walking in to the Volunteer Coordinators Office and telling her I was appointing myself Volunteer Coordinator's Assistant. I'm now organising the volunteering schedule for the Easter Day Egg'spectacular, which means a lot of shuffling, a lot of phone calls, and a lot of me standing up and telling people what they are doing (instead of letting them decide). It's going to look fantastic on my CV.
I will also be starting next week with inventorying (?) the costume collection with an actual conservator, so I will hopefully be learning lots and maybe between the two of us we can make things better, because the way it is now? - So not good.
Tomorrow evening I am off to my cousins' in Toronto for the night and then to the AGO to see the King Tut exhibit finally! Considering how mad my cousins' lives are, I'm really impressed they got around to inviting me, but it's great of them. My 'baby' cousin has been missing me terribly, apparently, which I find amusing since I saw her 3 months ago and before that it'd been 2 years, but you know how 12 year olds can be...It will be nice to see her for a bit and then spend an enjoyable day with my cousin Amme, who is certainly the only person on the face of the planet who understands me (including the Aunt).
There is an open bottle of wine in the fridge that has to be drunk. Isn't that a right shame?