Thursday, November 30, 2006

with wings

how long was that journey? it feels like i was travelling for at least a week. Three flights and two nights later i am here in Christchurch, New Zealand, and it all looks wonderful. Emirates was really good to fly with, plenty of food and 800 channels of inflight entertainment to choose from, so i wasn't bored for a minute.
The stopover in Dubai was an experience. The largest airport terminal you could ever imagine, sat on the side of the runways looking like a giant insect pupae, shimmering in grey and blue glass. with lines of Emirates planes down both sides. Inside, it took a good 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other and was crammed with people like a huge bazzar. The three hours passed by in no time.
Sydney was quiet by comparison and only for an hour. Got off the plain, walked round the corner, through passport control, upstairs and then almost straight back onto the same plane with the same seat!
Christchurch welcomed me with sunshine and warmth, and not a hint of jetlag. Booked into a backpacker hotel for $28 (ten pounds) for the night. Spent the afternoon checking out the town and imersed myself in the plants at the botanic gardens for much longer that i thought i would. Loads of familiar plants and lots of new ones too. There will be plenty to keep me busy here for a good few days.
Strangely, after 24hours here am only just starting to feel tired at the wrong time, guess the jetlag is starting to kick in so i think i need a bit of fresh air to keep me awake, even though it is pissing down with rain.
Another epic entry...I will try and write less, although there is so much to tell you. Once i get the hang of downloading photos in internet cafes it will get more pictoral again i promise.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the final countdown

Spent a great last few days with Mum n Dad in salisbury, trial packing, getting the last few bits and pieces and catching up with the family news.
Left on Mums Birthday, hope you had a good rest of the day. It was also great to see Windy(Peter, my little bro). He is also off to France for the winter ski season so it was a double farewell.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

moving on

Joy watching the world go by outside Greenwich Picture House and the school opposite Joys house.
tomorrow i will leave my wonderful friend Joy and continue on my journey. I have had a great time here gathering my thoughts and preparing for my trip. We have had some great laughs together, drinking red wine and smoking too much. Joy, I will miss your company and words of wisdom, the mince and potato dinners and the football, doing the chores and popping down the coop for cheap booze, using your computer for hours on end and planning my trip. Thank you so much for letting me stay in your peaceful, little home, it has been marvellous and i love you very much.

HMS Invincible

This was amazing, such a huge ship in London and i nearly forgot to post it for you to see. HMS Invincible moored in the Thames just off Greenwich. She was there for Rememberance Day. The other picture is looking downstream, with the dome of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel illuminated green.

more work and play

Have been busy working again, which is great, as i had begun to enjoy being lazy and needed a bit of a kick to get me going. The agency sent me to a new office complex that was being landscaped where i helped with planting and mulching. The weather was foul and the ground got stickier and stuck to my boots and my spade and the wheelbarrow wheel until it stopped going round, so everyone was wet and rather muddy. It was a big team, mainly of agency people from all over the world, we had a laugh and worked hard, they were all fit and in their early 20's but i kept up with them and was exhausted by the end of each day.

Julia and Paul invited me over for a wonderful meal and to meet their new son Benjamin which was great, Lyn and Paul were there too and it was so nice to see everyone again and hear their stories. I stayed on for an extra day and relieved Julia from childcare on her own, which i now realise can get a bit boring after a while. I had great fun playing with lego and going to the park with Ben and chatting with Julia about all sorts of things and putting the world to rights.

A massive "Well Done" to all at Coolings Nurseries ( i worked there for many years) who presented a cheque for £3000 to Breakthrough, a cancer charity, at a big party the other night. You should all be very proud of yourselves. It was a great event and a good opportunity to catch up with so many friends that i haven't seen for ages.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

lest we forget

need i say anything on this day of rememberance

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

bonfire weekend

Photos : Me after the wine tasting, Tower bridge at night and fireworks on Blackheath
Wow, more meeting up with folk. Lorraine suggested we meet for a drink and then go to a wine tasting event in a vintners close to where she used to work. What an excellent idea, loads of wine for free. Turned out to be an excellent opportunity to taste some amazing red wines (we were too drunk to sensibly carry on and try the whites). The hosts, including one from Oz, discussed a whole range of tasty tipples from the Hunter Valley region of Australia, using their special vintner speak of terroir (soil) and precepitation (rain) etc.. and oodles of mad descriptive words to explain good, very good, expensive and ever so expensive products whilst wondering through the assembled throng sloshing out generous tasters to all.

We staggered from there, we being Lorraine, Pete, Gin and Don good skiing buddies of several years (sorry guys you'll have to go without me this year) to a very good Vietnamese restaurant for a good chat, catch up and meal and to slowly absorb some of the alcohol.

Stayed at Lorraine and Peters comfy pad overnight and went on a tour of the locale in the morning with Pete to rid ourselves of a hangover. It was sunny and there was a wonderful park and street market and canal, we sat and watched the world go by, slowly, and drank hot chocolate and coffee, I took my camera which i carried dutifully about and didn't remember to take any photographs at all. Although later in the day the hangover cleared.

Slowly crossed London during the afternoon by bus and train, doing a bit of holiday preparation shopping on the way.

Fireworks on the heath, Blackheath to be precise, that evening, with Tania. They were as amazing as always, i took my camera and did manage to take some photographs that were a bit shaky, hopefully you can see one of them here. Lots of OOhs and AAhs from the crowds and coughing from Tania, who had a cold, so we went home early and had an early night to see off all the germs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another busy week!!

(picture: Jenny, Giles and Me at Windys party)
Have been doing some major catching up with folk.

Saw my sister, Wendy, her husband Rob and daughter Poppy in Sheffield, had a great meal and took Poppy to a farm where we fed a whole variety of animals, Poppy is just 2, and was a bit aprehensive of the larger beasts but had a great time. It was great to spend time with them, though not long enough.

Then on to my little bro, Peter (aka Windy) who hosted an amazing party in his house in Nottingham. Fancy dress was the order of the day. I ended up in a 'devilled egg' costume the same as Windy's which confused most of the people there. Superb venue and sounds, brilliant fun, met and caught up with loads of his mates and some of mine. Hi to all of you, trust you are all well and truly recovered by now!!!

A flying visit to Emma n Steves' and their children Lily and Sam, who are lovely, and Kerry and her new(ish) boyf Simon came to dinner. Great to hear you are all doing so well and to see you are all looking so good. Will have to give you a hand with the garden another time.

Ikea Nottingham for a quick lunch and catch up with Chris Booker, who everyone remembers for his Mutant Ninjer Turtle outfit from a party years ago. Doing great, designing flippers, masks and goggles etc for Speedo. Will look out for your products on the beaches later on.

Now, the shock of some work.... a day strimming the grass in a churchyard. Gave me plenty of time to contimplate life and beyond. Don't think i want to be buried, it takes up too much room. Mebbe a cremation, a good send off party and a scattering of ashes overlooking my favourite beach, Bantham, in south devon. Sorry if you think i'm morbid, but i just thought it needed writing down.

Next day weeding, clearing and preparing borders for planting at Kent Fire Brigade HQ in the brilliant sunshine. Lovely. Hopefully will be back next week to help with the planting.