Mental Couple of Months.

10 08 2012

Ahoy, it’s been a while (again). I make no apologies, because I have been really busy. Here are some of the things that I haven’t had time to write about.

Firstly, my Wedding (I got married on the 27th July) and the amazing day that we both had. I know that everybody says that about their wedding, but it was true.

Secondly, my Stag do(s). The first to St. Davids in Wales, where a group of my best friends (women included) organised a weekend getaway. The second was to 2000 Trees festival, which I loved despite the mud and having to leave early. 4 of us went to that.

After the wedding came the honeymoon (or mini-moon as we only went for 3 days) to Paris. We did the usual touristy stuff, but also some other bits and pieces that we wanted to, like the Catacombes under Montparnasse cemetary, and Pere Lechaise to see the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Modigliani.

All of this is on top of the busy period in the office with graduations and new student admissions.

It’s still going to be busy for the next few monts, but I will try and write a bit more. In 3 weeks we are going to The End of The Road Festival, which is our wedding present from my group of excellent friends. Then in 7 weeks, we have the honeymoon proper, which we booked yesterday. We are heading to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for 21 days. Which will be amazing.

All in all, I’m having fun at the moment. I hope that you are too.





France

24 05 2011

I have just come back from a week in France, but to be honest, I don’t really have that much to repot.  It was nice and relaxing, apart from the first day (after a night on a ferry with no sleep) where we rushed around the D-Day beaches, to give H a brief over-view of what happened.  To be honest, touring those sites is emotionally draining, especially after no sleep. 

After that we went down to our farmhouse in Hirel on the Baie de Mont St Michel.  Just across the road from the beach, the house was large enough to sleep about 20, and incredibly comfortable.  We went to Mont St Michel on one of the days, but the main thing was the food and wine.  We ate far too much (mainly seafood) and drank too much too, but we were also quite active, going for long walks on the beach and bike rides.

We had oysters straight from the quayside at Cancale, and mussles from the bay, as well as the best piece of Pork that I have ever had (the cheek, cooked in local cider). 

All of my Photo’s are on Flickr, and I will add some to my photo blog in the next week.

Good stuff.  I did add another couple of books to my reading list though:

Cant be Arsed by Richard Wilson

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell





Riga Pt 2.

19 05 2010

Thursday in Riga was cause for celebration.  It was my 30th Birthday, a day that I cannot believe has come around so quickly.  In fact the whole reason I was in Riga was because my Parents had paid for mine and H’s flights (thank you) and the hotel (Hanza Hotel by the way is very nice, and fairly cheap.  I would recommend it).

Hannah had bought me an amazingly cool Watch to add to my growing collection.  Dev, KP and May-Z had found me a spectacularly crap commemorative Prince William and Harry mug.  Bimbo and Fat Bob bought an oil burner to help me sleep, which I am a bit scared of trying incase I set fire to my curtains.

After a leisurely breakfast we made a plan to walk to the TV tower which is on it’s own separate island.  This meant that we had to walk over one of the massive bridges.  Which built during the Communist era is now crumbling and doesn’t look particularly safe, but it has some brilliant graffitti on it.  

The tower started looming large as we walked towards it and only got bigger.  It is the tallest structure in the Baltics at 328m.  We paid our money and travelled up in the weird slopey lift to a height of 92m where we got a great view and a tour in German.  I think that we understood a lot of it and found out the Riga has a population of One Million, that the windows are covered in Rust and that the tower is on Rabbit Island.  Exciting stuff.

After scaling the tower we headed towards the old town for a drink and a look around the Occupation Museum, which despite being incredibly interesting also throughly depressed me.  It depressed me so much in fact that had to go and have cocktails in the Cuban Bar.  Followed by more, posher cocktails in the Skyline bar on the 26th floor of a hotel, with fantastic views over the whole of Riga.

Dinner that night was a medieval feast in a 12 century cellar restaurant called Rozengrals.  All of the recipes that they use can be traced back to the 12th or 13th century.  The wine comes in Goblets and the beer in tankards, and your bread comes in a hessian sack.  I partook in the French Onion soup and then the Rabbit Stew.  Both were amazing and well worth the money that we spent on them.

Friday was slightly sad as none of us actually wanted to leave the un-seasonably warm city, and we had a slow mooch around the old town and ended up in the Sun museum, which is a collection of images of the sun from around the World.  This was made better by the fact that we had a great guide who talked us through the whole collection and afterwards we could go and paint our own suns. Mine was terrible, as I have no artistic talent what so ever, but we all had fun designing ours.

I loved Riga, and although I try and go somewhere different every time I go away I would go back there.  I suspect though that this will become more and more touristy as cheap flights go there.  This was already evident as we saw a couple of Stag and Hen parties there, letting the country down with their drunken behaviour (you shouldn’t be falling in a ditch at 2 in the afternoon).

I am putting more photo’s up on my photo Blog and as always there are more on Flickr.





Marrakech – Pt. 1

1 03 2010

Its funny how your opinion of a place can change. Let me tell you a story…

I am a light sleeper anyway, and when I have something to get up early for I may as well give up on sleep. Its what I should have done the night before we flew to Marrakech. We left my flat at about quarter past 4 to check in and catch our 8.30 flight to be in Morocco by 11.30am. Come 11.30 we were still on the runway. On most planes this is a bad thing , but on an easyjet sardine tin, it is a nightmare. What happened was the pilot made a joke. It went something along the lines of this:

Posh Pilot: Welcome to this Easyjet flight to Marrakech, our journey will take 6 hours.

Passengers: Gasp

Posh Pilot: Only Joking its 3 hours and 15 minutes.

2 minutes later a warning light had come on in the cockpit and a crew was being dispatched to fix it and fill out paperwork in sextuplet. All the while this was happening the cabin was getting hotter and hotter, as we had just left our stand from the runway, a passenger fainted, and we had to go back to our stand while he was taken off t=of the flight much to his annoyance, he wanted to go on holiday and so did we.


Eventually we got into the air and having been sat down for 6 hours we were finally in a wet and rainy Marrakech. Passing through passport control is never exciting, but this one seemed to take three timedsas long as any others I have encountered, luckily our airport transfer was there, and I have to say that it was the best thing that I could have done, entering the city for the first time, is like another world, and there would have been no way in the world we would have found our Riad.

So we went for a walk around the Djemma el-Fna, and I found it to be busy and loud and I was being hasseled everywhere I turned, I put this down to being hungry though, so we had some food, and I tried Tagine for the first time and really enjoyed it.  To be honest, I wasn’t enjoying Marrakech though, and after another terrible nights sleep I had decided that I hated the place.

Our first morning there we had a nice breakfast of bread (the Moroccan flatbread is really nice, I could have eaten it all day) and honey with Mint Tea and we then decided to go out and see some things.  First we headed to the Bahia Palace.  Something about this new morning had changed my opinion, maybe it was the tea, or the fact that it was sunny and warm, or the fact that the colours were bright and cheerful, or there were oranges on the trees, but I started to settle down, and the Palace was a good place to start.  This had taken 14 years to build from the 1860’s and its mosaic and fretwork is simply stunning, and with its fountains and courtyards is an oasis of calm inside the manic city.

From here we went to the Dar Si Said, for more amazing architecture and a look at some Moroccan art.  In the afternoon we had our first real look at the Djemma from the terrace of one of the cafe’s.  Seeing the Snake charmers, acrobats and story tellers gave a whole different perspective on the place, by now I was beginning to enjoy myself.  Even more so when the restaurant stands started turning up.  Over the course of about 30 minutes, the square went from being emptyish to being full of food stands and cooking and wonderful smells, we headed into one of them where I had the best Calamari that I have ever eaten.   After yet another mint tea we headed back to the hotel in a much better fram of mind and went to bed having my mind changed over the course of 12 hours in the city.





Snowy Mushroom

21 12 2009
Originally uploaded by andyspex

 

Its a bit cold outside, so I thought that I would post this picture that I took yesterday on mine and H’s walk around the woods.

Today the square around my flat is like an ice rink, I actually skated to my car, but I wish that it would snow properly.

Also, I have now started a seperate Flickr Blog, which is available here.





Morrissey and Mushrooms

27 10 2009

Originally uploaded by andyspex

Yesterday I was supposed to be going to see Morrissey, but as the fragile old soul collapsed at the weekend, I didn’t get to go. As I had the afternoon booked off I decided that I would go into the woods with H and take some photo’s. We went to Hundred Acres (Not where Winnie the Pooh lives), and I came across a load of red and white Toadstool’s and Mushrooms. I am really liking the macro feature and manual focus on this, as you can get some really superb close up detail.





Dinner Parties and Orchids

26 10 2009

On Saturday night H and I drove up to Thame in Oxford to have a dinner party with the Smyles’ and their friends Hayley and Aiden.  They had pulled out all the stops and the food was beautiful with wine matched to each of the 4  courses.

First up was a Pumpkin and Chorizo soup, followed by a Game Stew (Pigeon, Partridge and Pheasant) with seasonal vegetables.  Then there was either a cheesecake or a rhubarb trifle, or if you are me, both and then a cheese course.  The conversation was good, but dominated by both Formula 1 (Aiden works for Brawn GP, so is technically part world champion) and Babies, which as H is a midwife was her fault.

We eventually went to bed at a very tired 3am.

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and some cheesecake before H and I went to the Living Rainforest again.  When we had got our ticket last time it came with a free years pass, so we had a look around, and I took loads of photo’s of orchids and Butterflies, which can be seen on Flicker, just click the side bar you know what to do.