curiouswombat: (skye)
2014-05-12 08:52 pm
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I'm home from my trip to Skye. Had a lovely time, all the travelling arrangements worked perfectly - and I am really tired! I know, I've just had a holiday... I think it was getting up at 7.00 this morning that had that effect.

However - here is just one picture to give you a quick taste of where we were;

Skye 2014 a086

That was the view from one end of the living room of our self-catering 'cottage'.

There will be a lot more pictures over the next few days.
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2014-05-01 08:26 pm
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Speed Bonny Boat...

Actually, the bonny boat will certainly be speeding as our big boat is having her biennial refit and bottom inspection. So tomorrow, bright and early, D-d and I will be speeding across the Irish Sea in Manannan - which can be bumpy if the sea is rough, so let's keep our fingers crossed...

Where are we off to? Why over the sea to Skye, of course! But first we have to go over the sea to Heysham, then we have to get to Lancaster railway station, and from there to Glasgow where we will have a few hours to potter around.

We stay on Friday night at The Millennium Hotel - chosen especially because it is close to the railway station from where the train goes, at 8.20am on Saturday, on one of the great railway journeys of Europe - up to Fort William.

We get to Fort William at lunch time, pick up a hire car, and head up to the Skye Bridge - and we get to Skye somewhere around 2.30ish.

We are joining [ profile] dougalsservant and another friend and her husband, and staying at The Two Byres. We should eventually reach the Two Byres mid afternoon, about 34 hours after leaving home!

I will have my tablet, and my camera - so there might well be a couple of posts and there will, eventually, be pictures.

D-d was in Dublin last night - she had to go to a meeting there for work, and flew back to the island this morning. And she is not staying for the whole week on Skye as she is flying on from Glasgow, with friends, to go to Copenhagen as they have tickets for the second semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest, on Thursday, and are staying in the city until after the final. So she will go to England, Ireland, Scotland and Denmark within a week!
curiouswombat: (Noggin)
2014-04-26 09:13 pm
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I seem to have been out almost every evening this week, or had someone here - and mostly it has been a week of being a very committeed Christian - and yes I did mean committeed!

But on Thursday D-d and I met up to do something purely for pleasure. (Poor S2C was at work that evening).

We went to the cinema within The Manx Museum to see the live broadcast from the British Museum of their Vikings Exhibition. Our island was a central part of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, and there are even a couple of pieces on loan from our museum to the BM for this exhibition.

The whole event was very interesting - and made even more so by the prominent position, in the crowd of reenactors at the end, of one of our local guys; noticeable by the three legs on his shield!

We completed our evening with an Indian take-away eaten at her flat; a good evening all round.

D-d and I are off, on Friday, to meet up with [ profile] dougalsservant on another part of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles; Skye. And I can tell you that not only was it was probably a lot easier to plan the journey when the Vikings did it, but it was probably much faster to simply row, or sail, up the great highway of the Irish Sea than it is going to be for us using modern day transport!
curiouswombat: (CrabbyLucy)
2014-02-22 04:32 pm
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I feel like Lucy in my icon. I am fed up with winter now, I would like spring. If we can't have spring can we at least have a week without winds gusting to 70mph - which are due tonight and tomorrow again? At the moment it is just beginning to blow a hooley again, but at least I don't have to go out any more today, so that's of the good, I guess.

Poor S2C has hurt his back. It was improving, and he'd even walked down to the shops before he went to bed for the afternoon. But he must have moved awkwardly in his sleep or something, as it is very sore again.

I know this because I heard him yelling at me from the landing. I went as soon as I heard him, only for him to berate me because he had, apparently, been calling for me to help him out of bed - but the bedroom door was shut, I had the living room door pushed to because the tumble drier is on, and I was listening to the rugby on the TV, which had a lot of crowd cheering, whilst also concentrating on what I was doing on the computer.

But, it seems, he believes firmly that I had heard him and was ignoring him... So he's crabby too.

As for what I was concentrating on on the computer...AAAARGH! D-d and I are going up to Skye in early May to meet up with [ profile] dougalsservant and another friend from my uni days. It should be straightforward to organise. After all, 1,200 years ago there was regular traffic between her island and ours. But these days it takes 2 days.

First attempt was to leave here on a Saturday morning, go to Heysham by sea, then train to Glasgow, stay overnight and get a train from Glasgow to Mallaig on Sunday morning, and a boat from Mallaig to Skye. Except that the morning train doesn't run on Sundays, and the afternoon one only gives 10 minutes to get the boat at Mallaig. If the train is late you are stuck at Mallaig overnight.

[ profile] dougalsservant came up with a fix involving hiring a car at Fort William, rather than once we got to Skye.

Then we find the train from Heysham/Lancaster to Glasgow is not running on the Saturday because of track works. There is a detour which adds 5 hours to the journey.

D-d manages to get an extra day off work, we bring everything forward by a day and it all looks smooth. The lady at the car hire place says it is fine to have the car for an extra day, so the only thing to do is change the hotel booking made for the Saturday night in Glasgow, before we found out about the train problem. Finally got this organised this afternoon. Good job I did, as it seem the hotel website had assumed that when I booked a room for the return journey, just after booking for the one on the outward journey - that it was instead of the first one, not as well as it... WTF?

However, hotel all organised now, tickets all bought for the travelling, everything is fine. Except that now they have changed our boat times between home and Heysham... The big boat is going into dock, despite it being a bank holiday weekend, and the fastcraft is doing the route instead; so we can only hope for good weather. And then D-d and I will be stuck in Lancaster, with our luggage, for about 3.5 hours because our Lancaster-> Glasgow tickets are non transferable. Don't ask about the trip home.

However - we will get there, come hell or high water! And at least I am in the house, warm and dry, and have comfort food - toast with black cherry jam. And hopefully S2C's back will be better when he wakes up. But I still feel crabby...
curiouswombat: (Writerconicon)
2013-08-17 05:52 pm
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What I Did On My Holidays... Part 1.

I got home last night, and it feels as though I've been away for months rather than just over a week. And, at the moment, the most noticeable thing I did on my holiday was caught a cold! So I am feeling rather ropey.

Mind you I seem to have arrived home to winter, anyway, so a cold seems reasonable.

Honestly - the sun was shining when I got home last night - but it now so dark, wet, and gloomy that, at 4.15 in the afternoon, I have the light beside me on.

Anyway - back to the trip, and back to last weekend in Coventry.

Read more... )

Many farewells said, the numbers slowly dwindled - and, leaving my husband to make his own way home next morning, I set off for the station to head to London for a few days - of which there will be more in the next couple of days!
curiouswombat: (Grandma infinitemonkeys)
2013-08-15 09:49 am
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Still in London

I'm still in London - last day today - home tomorrow.

So - Monday's trip to Kensington Palace was very interesting - I will post some pictures once I get back to the laptop as my tablet doesn't have a slot to upload from the camera card. There was an exhibition of dresses belonging to the Queen, Princess Margaret, and Dead Di - I am hoping there are some nice pictures on the card!

We had afternoon tea, and walked to the Royal Albert Hall, where we had seats right up in the gods, for a classic prom, and then, also, for the Six Music prom which featured the London Sinfonietta and The Stranglers, amongst others!

Tuesday saw us up bright and early again - tube into town and then a visit to the Churchill War Rooms, followed by a pause in St James Park, and then a visit to the Banqueting House where actors were 'rehearsing for a great masque' - which was fun.

Thence to the Covent Garden area, a meal, and to Mathilda. Which was excellent and worth every penny of the very high ticket price!

Yesterday we went to the Wallace Collection - a wonderful collection of works of art, porcelain, furniture and an armoury. This included a break for lunch in their rather excellent café - and then back to the hotel for D-d to collect her case and head for London City airport, as she was flying home last night and due back to work this morning.

I pottered off to Waitrose to get a couple of bits to eat in my room and laze around.

Then began a series of messages - the airport at home was suffering fog problems some planes were being turned around, her flight might be delayed... Eventually she ended up in the Gatwick Hilton, and is hopefully in the air now on her way home! She seems to have an affinity for the Gatwick Hilton - I think this is the third time BA have put her up there.

I'm heading out now to see what the queues are like at both the Natural History Museum and the V&A and take it from there...

Train back up to Lancaster tomorrow, and boat home.
curiouswombat: (Grandma infinitemonkeys)
2013-08-12 03:53 pm
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Checking in...

Just checking in, to say that I had an excellent time with some excellent people at Writerconuk in Coventry, and am now having a few days with D-d in London.

We are staying close to the Natural History Museum, in a rather nice hotel. Last night, as I'd just travelled down from Coventry and D-d had been at a wedding on Saturday, flown in on Sunday morning and met up with her friend from uni before coming to the hotel, we ate in the hotel - and were truly stuffed.

This morning we had a light breakfast and then walked over to Kensington Palace - we had free tickets from our hotel - and it was excellent. Apart from the usual exhibits there was a special one of clothes belonging to The Queen, Princess Margaret, and Dead Di. There will be pictures....

D-d decided to explore Kensington Gardens - I decided to spend a little time in the Natural History Museum, especially to see the portrait of Alfred Russell Wallace who is now given his rightful place beside Darwin. But there was almost a 1 hour queue to get in - so I'm afraid I didn't bother!

We are going to have afternoon tea in a few minutes and then pause, briefly, before walking to the Royal Albert Hall to see 2 proms - prom number 39, Holst, Nishat Khan, and Vaughn Williams, and then prom 40 - the Six Music prom, featuring Cerys Matthews, Laura Marling, and The Stranglers.

I'll report back.... but it might not be until Wednesday, as tomorrow's plan looks to be The Churchill Rooms, The Banqueting House (where Charles First was beheaded) - and we are going to the theatre to see Matilde.
curiouswombat: (Rainy day)
2012-10-11 10:05 pm
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The streets are running with water...

It is very wet today. As I drove up the hill from the promenade to the village (about 1/2k or so) there was water running down it, all the way, like a small river. I know it is worse in Clovelly but, even so, it is still unusual to create waves all the way up Summer Hill.

When I got home my screen saver made me smile - and so I thought I might upload a few of the pictures and share them.

You'll see the relevance of the opening sentences if you look under this clicky )
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2012-08-22 11:45 am
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Short Update

I'm on the train on my way to Lancaster, hence to Heysham and the boat home. D-d is to meet me from the boat this evening and take me the last two or three miles home - and my Great Tolkien Adventure will be over. I will write it up properly tonight... or maybe tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, just for now, that I had an excellent time and met some lovely people.

I am heading for home a little later than everyone else as I went to [ profile] gillo's on Monday and we wound down together.

I have lots of pictures to share, and a website or two to link to, and...

Actually, in reality, I have washing to do and will, doubtless, have to shop. I think it might take less than a couple of days before I am swallowed up by the flow of everyday life!
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2012-08-14 09:45 pm
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On the boat in the morning...

I'm going to The Return of the Ring aka Tolkien 2012!

I know it doesn't start until Thursday, and tomorrow is Wednesday, but I'm going to [ profile] gillo's tomorrow and we are going to the Big Do together. Better pack...

I'm taking my netbook, and I'm sure to be around, but I guess we are going to be busy.

I'm looking out for Inzilbeth-Liz and Altariel... anyone else coming?
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2012-05-28 05:25 pm
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I'm on the boat!

I had fully meant to report daily from Coventry - but was too busy doing - and then too tired.

So this is really just to show that it doesn't take much to make me happy, or impressed.

I am updating my journal from the Ben-my-Chree about 15 miles off the island, on our way home.

These days even the boat has Wi-Fi!
curiouswombat: (Writerconicon)
2012-05-23 08:08 pm
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WriterConUK Event 2012

S2C and I are off on the boat in the morning to go to Coventry. I know we are a day early - as a committee member it is nice to be there to welcome everyone, but we can't get any earlier than 16.30. So we go a day early, meet up with fellow committee members Gillo and Daiseechain, have a lie-in on Friday morning and then sort out break-times and things with the hotel staff on Friday morning - before retiring to the bar ready to greet everyone else as they arrive on Friday afternoon!

I will have time on the boat to put together a Powerpoint presentation with my headers on - and possibly the odd illustration... the talk is more or less written.

We will doubtless be blogging more or less live on the community - quite possibly including our thoughts on Eurovision through a slightly alcoholic haze...

If I don't post anything here over the weekend, we should be home on our small island on Monday evening.
curiouswombat: (suitable job for a lady)
2012-01-16 07:49 pm
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The WIP meme

I can't resist - I'll have to join in. The WIP meme - you know the thing, post a taster of your current Work In Progress...

Under the cut there are a few paragraphs of Immigrants )

It's unbeta'd - so the punctuation may leave a little to be desired!
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2011-08-03 07:58 pm
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Off to The Event of the season...

I'm tired. I've been hectic at work all day and think I need an early night. Especially as we will have to be up early in the morning, to get down to the boat to check in, as we are off to The Event!

In other words we are off to Coventry for WriterConUK. Yes, I know, it doesn't start until Friday evening, but as one of the three person committee I want to be there to greet everyone as they arrive. (We'll be in the bar to the left of the front door...)

Poor old S2C is even more tired than I as he was at work last night and has then been awake all day.

So - the plan is that I put a lot of stuff in a suitcase (I get T-shirts dirty very quickly!), he adds a spare T shirt and his undies and socks - and then he looks after the suitcase so that I can bring my proper laptop as it has useful things like the accounts on it...

He's a good husband!

Looking forward to seeing everyone who is coming - I'll report back about it all.
curiouswombat: (D-d does glam)
2011-06-28 09:48 pm
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D-d's Summer Travel Itinerary.

After my post this morning it occurred to me that I hadn't explained properly just what D-d is doing over the summer - just mentioned it to one or two people. She finished at the College of Law on June 17th - and her new job doesn't start until the beginning of September. Technically she is still a student until the 31st August - and so this was her last long break and also her last chance to make use of a student round the world air ticket.

D-d has the travel bug - and so she wasn't going to let this opportunity pass her by. She has a very good friend who is teaching English in Buenos Aires and grandparents in Western Australia. She has wanted, since she went to Australia as a 17 year old, to explore the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian rain forest and so on, and also wanted to see Thailand as a couple of her friends have been there.

So she decided to put these things together and, if you are interested, here is her planned itinerary - already slightly altered to allow for volcanic eruption... under the cut )
curiouswombat: (D-d does glam)
2011-06-28 08:44 am
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Update on travelling daughter.

So - D-d left the island yesterday morning, and at the moment, 8.35am on Tuesday, she should be within an hour or two of landing in Buenos Aires.

Note the 'Should be'. She is just having breakfast in the Hilton at Gatwick... The Chilean volcano caused her flight to be cancelled. B.A. are putting her up at the Hilton, and the current plan is that she will take off from Heathrow tomorrow (Wednesday) about 7am for Madrid (yes - the one in Spain) where she will get an Iberia flight to Buenos Aires.

I am now wondering what happens if she gets to Madrid and then the onward flight is cancelled - presumably Iberia then put her up in Spain. Good thing many of their staff are likely to speak English as D-d knows no Spanish at all...

And why the Hilton at Gatwick? They'd already filled the Heathrow one - but they do hope to get her to that one for tonight as it would be very difficult, otherwise, for them to get her to Heathrow in time for check-in on Wednesday!

Here's hoping everything goes well this time.
curiouswombat: (notes from a small island)
2011-06-22 11:15 am
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Home Now.

D-d and I are home. To be honest we got home about 6.45am yesterday - but I only got the laptop out of the car late afternoon and was too weary to think straight in between all the 'doing of things' like unpacking cars, shopping and so on.

We had a nice extra day in York - we went to an exhibition of film and TV costumes used to illustrate clothing styles through the ages - which I will post pictures of sometime this week - and went to one of the 'hidden secret places' for our trunch (if brunch is breakfast/lunch then surely lunch/tea should be 'trunch''? It sounds more like a sort of meal than 'lea' anyway!) We also spent half an hour having our feet nibbled by fish - which was most restful - although to get rid of all the hard skin on my feet it would probably have taken them a month...

There was a big traffic diversion on our route home - I knew from getting lost on it on the way there. So we left York about 7.30pm to have good light for that bit. This was a very good decision. We had decided that it was not sensible to try to travel in convoy - we would doubtless get separated and then, probably, worry about it. So we set off separately and agreed to just meet at the boat, in Heysham, about 90 miles away.

Both of us managed to get lost, in different ways, on the diversion...

It is one of those 'local diversion for local people' things! One that assumes you probably know the way anyway. At one point there were two different diversions - one the main road one we were trying to follow, and one a more local one - both simply signed 'diversion'. D-d says that she reached a point where she had a choice of two diversion signs pointing in opposite directions and neither saying where it was a diversion to or from...

However - both of us had remembered that the diversion led through Harrogate, Otley and Ilkley to Skipton - and so found our individual ways back to the road we knew outside Skipton eventually! In the end, because there was very little traffic, I got to the boat about 10.15pm - miles too early as the boat wouldn't come in from the island until midnight. I was there before the staff came to open the check-in and so on. The 90 mile journey had taken me 103 miles...

About ten minutes late two sets of headlights came into view - one car was one of the check-in staff - the other was D-d in her little Citroen C3. Despite both getting lost in Harrogate, taking different routes from there to Otley, and so on, we arrived 10 minutes apart!

We were stuck there for hours. The overnight sailing is mainly the freight sailing - there were only 15 private vehicles - and they made us wait until most of the freight was loaded. D-d filled some of the time by chatting on her phone to a friend for over an hour (the friend was using up free call minutes...), we both read, ate our supper bought earlier in M&S in York - then drowsed whilst watching the freight load. Watching how they loaded the freight was interesting - for the first 10 or so trailers... but watching almost all of it load was getting a bit like watching paint dry.

Eventually we got on board after 2a.m. - picked up the keys to our cabin, got there, kicked off our shoes and got under our duvets within tn minutes of driving onto the boat. Fortunately the bunks are comfortable and we both slept until almost into Douglas - and three and a half hours sleep just put us on enough that we could safely drive home when we disembarked.

Poor D-d had a dental appointment at 9.15 yesterday morning - so only got another 75 minutes nap when she got home. Me? I went to bed and didn't stir until about 11 am.
curiouswombat: (Travel)
2011-06-15 09:48 pm
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Another Milestone.

Tomorrow I am off on the boat again, back to York. This one is a Rite of Passage trip, though. After this S2C and I will no longer be the parents of a student. Yes - D-d will have finished her 2 years of Post-graduate law.

Her final exam is on Friday, she has a ball on Friday night - and then she and I will spend the weekend packing all her belongings into her car and mine. Despite bringing some of it home at Easter, she still has more stuff than fits into one car, after five years in the same city, hence the need for me to go.

We were talking on the phone the other day, her and I, and she said if you had told her, at the age of eleven, that she would just be finishing her full-time education now, at twenty-three, she would have been appalled. Especially as she thought, then, that she didn't really need to go to Secondary school as she already knew everything!

We will sail home over night Monday to Tuesday - she will then be home for six days before she sets off to go around the world in 64 days. Chilean volcano permitting. I will worry about her all the time. S2c will do all required worrying for me when I'm asleep over this period...

Then she starts work as a baby lawyer at Appleby - and yes, we are very proud of her.
curiouswombat: (D-d does glam 2)
2011-06-10 09:48 pm
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Help! Mainly to do with Blackberries, duty free and travel!

This is a request for help from Daughter-dear. She is planning on buying a smart-phone and has decided that she would really like a Blackberry. She had thought it would make sense to get a contract with one of our two local phone suppliers (Sure and Manx Telecom - we don't have things like T-Mobile here) and then get one cheaply. But to get a free one she would have to take on a 2 year contract at about £40 a month - and still pay extra for the global roaming for her upcoming holiday.

Otherwise, using local Pay as You Go, it is no cheaper than Amazon.

So - the questions are;

1. Anyone have any reasons why a Blackberry is not a good idea and she should go for a different one?

2. If you've travelled through Heathrow Terminal 5 recently, are the prices in the Duty Free there (in for example the Dixons) much cheaper? And if she bought one there would there be any problem bringing it back into the UK later?

3. Would it be cheaper to buy one in Australia? Or even Thailand? Would she have to pay duty on her way back into the UK if she did?
curiouswombat: (Ivor the engine)
2011-05-28 09:02 pm
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Are We There Yet?

Ha! Even more about our train trip - well it was a big event, and a long day!

Finally the train was able to start back south - we were so happy to get back into our seats - look at how happy I was...

Train trip - glad to be back in my seat!

And how welcome to see this -

train trip - ready for dinner

Because by 8PM I was well ready for my

dinner... )