holiday


Few links to photo sets, and an update of our summer….

In June we drove to Germany to stay with Michiel’s parents for a couple of weeks. We daringly decided to drive, having just bought a car a few months beforehand. Michiel was a little apprehensive about the idea of me driving on the “wrong” side (as was I, if I’m honest) but in the even it went swimmingly, and I only had a couple of problems. Unfortunately when we were returning from a visit to the Netherlands to visit with his family a small deer ran out in front of us and I was unable to stop or swerve to avoid it. It was killed on impact, fortunately (and not running around the woods in pain). Fortunately there was very little damage done to the car, just a bit of dented bodywork – and a rather shaken me! We also visited Osnabruck, to look at the Cathedral and the Liturgical Museum which was amazing, had BBQs and went strawberry picking under a blazing blue sky. We had a fantastic time, having the car made a lot of difference to our freedom while there, and next year we plan to drive to the south of France to stay with his parents there (they have a caravan down there).

Holiday Photos

In July my mother’s church hosted a 24 hour “entertainathon”. I offered to make some cakes/buns for this, and we went down to help. I got roped in doing flowers for the church, doing an arrangement I was very pleased with, and I was pretty pleased with the varieties of cupcakes that I produced too! Took the opportunity to take photos of the fields surrounding Mom’s church, as well as photos of the event but I can’t post those on a public forum, alas.

Entertainathon Photos

In August Mom visited for her birthday and we went to Donington-le-Heath Manor house, near Coalville. The friends of Donington were hosting a “Donington at the home front” day, with lots of demonstrations of crafts and a live fire exercise from the home guard! Mum and I had a lovely afternoon wandering around the gardens and house, and jumping at the bangs coming from the demonstration, and talking to the various volunteers.

Donington-le-Heath

Just a couple days ago I visited St. Mary in Arden, a ruined church in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. its very picturesque and well worth a visit. I returned a couple days later with the camera, and these are some of the results. I’ve visited other properties but i keep forgetting to take the camera, so this is all the photos there are! I also visited St. Dionysus (the main church in Market Harborough) but the photos of that visit were hurried and not so good.

St. Mary in Arden

A mini update: In terms of my uni studies last year, I’m pleased with the vast majority of my work. I just missed out on a first across the whole year, but that doesn’t affect my final degree grade – all that is required from the first year is to pass (40% or above). Full details, as ever, are on the education page. With regard to my health and diabetes, my weight has been steadily creeping up again, and my blood sugar with it, so I have to make an effort to get that under control again. Jess is fine. Another dog attacked her earlier this summer, cutting the skin around her eye quite badly and shaking all three of us up and necessitating a trip to the emergency vets. But with antibiotics and lots of TLC she was soon back to normal. She’s getting old and slowing down, sleeping a great deal, but otherwise, is fine. Like many of Britains cats and dogs she contracted fleas this summer, so we had to deal with that too. She definitely didn’t like the scratching! The house is good as well. we settled in very quickly and have loved this summer, being able to sit outside in peace and quiet. I developed a little garden in the yard, out of a series of pots, which has been lovely to watch and potter around in over the summer as well.

Garden Photos

So on that note I’ll leave you to enjoy my garden photographs… till the next update!!!

 

 

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well… the news is in. and I guess I know now where I’m heading to in September: Leicester University. I had applied to Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, which is a mature women’s only college, and one I was very impressed with. I will admit to being a tad disappointed that they didn’t make me an offer, but I’m not entirely surprised: I didn’t acquit myself terribly well in the exam, I think, although I did my best at the time I panicked a little and made some poor choices, and I burst into tears in one of the interviews: never a good thing, I know, but I was talking about the effect of Dad’s death and it just grabbed me, unexpectedly. I was absolutely mortified, but they were very kind. The college itself has a very supportive atmosphere and if I can, I would love to go there as a postgrad, to do my Masters, but we’ll see. That’s a fair way off, and I still have to get at least a 2:1 for that!

In some ways I’m relieved, though. I was concerned about keeping up with all the work and the other students: I do feel I can relax more at Leicester. Still, I feel fairly confident that I can finish this course and get the required distinctions, so come October, we should be in a new home and I’ll be starting at a new uni. its all exciting and nervewracking and there’s so much to sort out. I just hope I can do it all.

We’re currently in Ludlow for Easter, visiting with Mum. She’s in the middle of having the house redecorated so its not as quiet as we would normally expect, but the weather is sooo delightful, its quiet in the garden, except for the noisy sheep in the field next door! still, it makes a change from listening to loud music and the thump of a football we usually get. I went bike riding yesterday on Mum’s bike with Michiel, and we’re investigating the uninvestigated Roman Villa I stumbled across in my research into Wroxeter – no digging, but we are going to look at the site and maybe fieldwalk it, if we can get permission from the Landowner. We went for drinks with one of Mum’s friends last night, who is just as interested in the Roman villa as we are, and she introduced me to Pimms and Lemonade. YUM!

View (and the noisy sheep) over the back of the Hedge at the end of Mum's garden....

Tomorrow we’re heading to my Grandmother’s house to help pack stuff up and clear it out – it and the contents are being sold, as she’ll never go back to living on her own. Sunday the same Grandmother is coming here for lunch, and I’ll probably go to church with Mum – its Easter Sunday, and it feels right to do that. Monday we’re driving across to my other Grandmother, and Tuesday, we’re probably going to Acton Scott to have a look round there. Then Wednesday, home again, and back to work – although I’ll be taking Friday morning off to watch history being made… of course!

In terms of college work: I was working on my Independent Research Project before I came down here (having a break this week), which is researching the Disabled in Ancient Greece. Its interesting but I’ve already written too much and am half way through, so when I return I have to whittle it down and clean it up some. I’ve also got to do a presentation to the class on this, so that should be fun too, and a diary for the project, as well as a bunch of other paperwork that has to be submitted as part of the whole course.

Also to do: an essay on the differences between wet and dry preservation in the Mesolithic Period, and revision for two exams: one on the New Kingdom of Egypt (a choice of three questions, either Hatshepsut/Thutmosis III, Akhenaten and the Amarna period or Rameses II) and one on the fall of the Roman Republic (a choice of various figures from that period, including Julius Caesar). We’ve also got a group presentation on the Jugarthine War, me and two others – although the rest of the class is also doing presentations, their subject are different. We’re getting towards the end of the course now, starting AngloSaxon England next in Archaeology, Augustus in Ancient History, and the Bronze Age Collapse in Near Eastern Archaeology. All are fairly short modules and, certainly the last two are examination assessed, although I’m not sure about the AngloSaxon England one. Still a lot to do. But the end is in sight.

There’s a lot to do with other things too. I have to confirm my uni choices with UCAS, get my student finance sorted, and apply for Disabled Students Allowance. I have to find somewhere to live and sort out a whole bunch of other stuff to do with moving, not least, finding a man with a van.

but for now… the sun is shining, and I think I’m going to go enjoy a bike ride with Michiel. I’ve pictures to post – some posted already, and I’m sure I’ll have more at a later date… 🙂

* title of blog .. thanks to Robbie Williams, from “Lazy Days

Michiel and I went into Ludlow (the nearest town to where Mum lives) yesterday, to spend the afternoon looking around the church, exploring the back alleys and little shops that make up 90% of the shops in Ludlow. Very few chain stores: the only “names” I knew were Timpsons (the shoe heeler/key cutter) and Stead and Simpson, who sell shoes. There were lots of little deli-type shops: selling cheese, meats (two butchers had rabbits and pheasants hanging outside their door which was great to see, and you could buy mixed game, venision.. great!), breads and cakes, all sorts. Lots of charity shops too – we had a good rummage and I came away with some great books for studying. Got some other stuff done too: got my Dad’s watch resized to fit my wrist, my coat dry cleaned, picked up another pair of leggings. But best of all was the food we had at a charming little cafe/restaurant called ‘Aragons’. They don’t have a website or I’d point you towards it, but if you’re inclined towards a meal in Ludlow, and you don’t want to pay through the nose, then you could do a lot worse than to eat here. Michiel had a gorgeous mixed grill, all made with good local meats: Gammon, Steak (a thin one, but expertly cooked), bacon, some of *the* best sausages i’ve tasted in a long time, proper onion rings, fried mushrooms and a decent fried egg. All for the princely sum of £12.75, which is not bad going. oh, with a side of chunky chips. I had scampi and chips. Proper scampi, as in prawns dipped in batter and breadcrumbs and fried, not the stuff that is passed off as scampi in so many bad pubs (reformed “prawns”.. *shudder*), and the chips.. oohhh the chips were gorgeous. chunky cut, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside.. serious nomable. And then there was pudding. Award winning warm honey cake, served with organic honey and ginger icecream… it was the kind of pudding where, on first bite, your toes curl, your eyes roll back in your head, you close your eyes, and the world just recedes, there’s just you, and the mouthful of food, communing in silent, orgasmic bliss. yes, it was THAT good!!

The Tower of St. Laurence's Church, Ludlow

St. Laurence, over the main entrance to St. Laurence's Church in Ludlow. St. Laurence was a Roman who worked with the poor, orphans n the disabled. When asked by the Emperor Valerian to turn over the treasures of the church, he presented them with the poor, saying that these were the treasures of the church. For this, he was tortured and roasted on a grid iron.

West Window of St. Laurence's Church in Ludlow, a beautiful stained glass window

Detail of the West stained glass window of St. Laurence's Church in Ludlow. Prince Arthur of Wales was the son of Henry VII, who died in Ludlow Castle in 1502, six months after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. His death set in procession the reformation: his younger brother, Henry, became Prince of Wales instead, and on the death of their father, Henry VIII. He proceeded to marry the Spanish Catherine of Aragon and, 30 years later, ripped apart the church in England, and much of England, in his quest to end his marriage to Catherine, on the basis of that she'd been married to his brother before him (and he wanted a son by another woman.. one Anne Boleyn).

Standing underneath the tower of St. Laurence's, Ludlow, looking up.

 

 

 

I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging again – not because of depression, though, this time! I simply ran out of time to update the blog how i wanted to before i went on holiday to Germany (with details of dresses and skirts i’d made) .. and then i was on holiday – we only got back a few days ago.

We had a great time in Germany – visited Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, which was an extremely interesting place to visit, and well worth the long drive – and spent time with family, of course – and i had my first ever Dutch-style birthday! It involves lots of singing.. !!! I took lots of photos, of course, which i will be posting on flickr (especially now i have a new computer which is much faster than my old one)

however, that’s not the news i’m so excited about.

I had confirmation earlier today that i am officially now a student! I start my Access to Higher Education course on 13th September, studying History, and, if i get the grades (and the funding sorted out), will be going on to University to study some kind of History degree in Sept 2011. Exactly what kind of history degree i don’t yet know – the university have several degrees within the general area of history, and then there’s the option of combined degree courses, but i have about 6-9 months to decide that.

For now, though, i’m just really really excited about this – its probably the last chance i have to get to study at this higher level, and its a subject i also find really really interesting. I can’t wait!

In terms of my diabetes, i had a check up at the beginning of August. My Hb1Ac is at the same level, and the cholesterol ranges have moved in the right directions, so Cathy (diabetes nurse) is absolutely over the moon with my progress. So am i – i’m now a size 18, heading downwards, and i’ve started running as well – just running/walking on and off at the moment, with Jess, as i build up my stamina, but its all exercise and its all good for me.. 🙂 the only negative thing with regard to my diabetes is my vitamin levels. Apparently Metformin, the drug i take to help stabilise my blood sugar levels, can also inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B12, and that’s what’s happening with me. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the more unpleasant ones – affecting memory and concentration, can cause dizziness and various other problems, none of which i need right now. Unfortunately the remedy in this case is injections, intramuscular injections, five times over the next two weeks, starting on monday, which is going to bloody well HURT. *sighs*. that starts on Monday…

ah well. its necessary. *wince*. Unfortunately.

and finally, spotted on a bus today: Stagecoach is no longer issuing free tickets with concessionary bus passes. FINALLY. Two and a half years after i wrote to them pointing out that they didn’t NEED to print the damn things, that they just wind up littering the floor of the bus and are very bad, environmentally speaking. Two and a half years after they said, in a reply to me, that they were “reviewing the need for the production of a ticket”. Jeeze. they move fast, don’t they?

… said in my best Monty Python voice.. although not as nuts as Monty Python’s stuff, i hasten to add!

I said before i was going to catch up with some of the photos i’ve been taking over the last six months or so.. so here’s some of the ones from Christmas… As usual, most are behind the cut, but be warned, its a very image intense post.

I adore this photograph. It just says "Christmas!" to me. This is actually a long table decoration that i made for Michiel's mom and dad when we visited them before christmas - there are wider shots behind the cut. there are actually four candles in the long decoration, the last is out of shot on the right, and unlit, as is the custom - we were then only 3 weeks into advent.

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Well i don’t think anyone who knows me would be surprised by the next part!! I didn’t take photos of all the food – it was too gorgeous for that, i always thought about it afterwards! – but we did have some seriously good food while we were there. Our anniversary fell on 16th August, while we were there, so Michiel’s parents took us out to a greek restaurant we’d spotted. I had bruschetta to start with, which was lovely, so refreshing, and then the most gorgeous dish which i never would’ve chosen on my own, but Michiel’s dad suggested for me. It was three steaks, lamb, pork, and beef, grilled and then placed into an oven proof dish, with fried mushrooms placed around them. The three were then covered with a gorgeous greek brandy sauce, topped with cheese. A serious amount of meat, i couldn’t finish it all (which made Michiel happy) but it was seriously lovely. I have GOT to find out how that sauce was made…

Otherwise, highlights of the visit, foodwise, included: BBQ (two nights in a row, which made Michiel a VERY happy bunny), Indonesian food, both at Oma’s house and the following day, a little bit of Indonesian food for Michiel’s Dad’s birthday. I cooked a pasta dish once – my chicken pesto pasta – and we ate german food, of course, in Munster. But, enough is enough.. to the photos!

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apart from my post complaining about 36*C heat last week (was it really last week? seems like ages ago), I’m well aware i haven’t posted anything in absolutely ages. I apologise. i haven’t felt much like posting.. haven’t had much TO post. My usual reason for not posting is depression, but that’s not why i’ve not being posting – quite the opposite actually. i’ve been getting out and about almost every day, out of the house, doing a lot of research into family history and things like that, and its done me the world of good.

Anyway. As you can imagine i took rather a lot of photos while i was on holiday (which may be the understatement of the year). Some i can’t publish here – photos of family and i have to preserve their confidentiality – and others would just bore the pants off anybody but me, but there’s still a lot that i think are good enough to go up here, so they shall. However, since there’s so many, i’m not even going to attempt to publish them all in one go, but over a series of posts over the next few days…

And we’ll start with the airplane! We flew from Manchester International to Bremen Airport. Manchester has recently been redesigned and i have to say, i think the new design is simply awful. Once you’re through baggage control and security, you have to walk through a series of very confusing halls to reach the food court – halls that are badly laid out, with no clear path, full of stinking perfume and women reaching out to give you samples. It makes perfect commercial sense, i have to admit, but as a traveller? Its a nightmare. It didn’t help any that Burger King was closed. We usually treat ourselves to a BK when we fly out on holiday, and this time we couldn’t. We were both starving, and were reduced to eating a substandard, expensive panini each which cost about as much as we would’ve spent at BK, and Michiel’s was cold. Never Again! And when we got to the gate… the queque for the plane stretched back into the corridor, impeding progress for everyone else, there was a screaming child (who was really old enough to know better) behind us.. and.. well. both our tempers were fraying by the time we got on the plane but we managed to get away from the screaming brat and we soon relaxed once we were in the air.

Anyway: I took some experimental shots out of the window of the plane, and they turned out surprisingly well. It does help that the weather was co-operative – it was reasonably clear – and i was able to get some nice shots of the ground…. Enjoy! Behind the cut as usual…

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