Friday, December 24, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
We were meant to be doing a Faure Requiem concert in Powys, mid Wales this weekend, but it was cancelled due to the weather. We are hoping for snow in Brisbane too, to save the first test!
The video demonstrates Stuart clinging onto his Auzzie stuff, sporting an Akubra, North Melbourne scarf and R M Williams boots, all designed for very different conditions, but all doing a fantastic job.
Being an academic cat, and now living in the country of Sir Isaac Newton, Wodonga is learning about gravity. He has established that however much he tries it is impossible to get all four paws off the snow for more than a second!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Belgians have a wonderful diet - they are famous for very strong beer, waffles and chocolate. It is amazing they live past 50. Stuart had a hot chocolate, made from a cup of hot milk with a block of chocolate on a stick, melting in the milk. Yum. And the choccies are made in many shapes and sizes!!
After a trip the museum to see some amazing sacred Dutch and Belgian art, it was time to drive to Koln, and Nickys first trip to Germany.
Stuart and Axel were bass-bores for an hour on Sunday morning, then met up with the girls for coffee by the Rhine. The Dom is huge and magnificent - we need to return to Koln to do it properly.
Carrefour in Calais was visited and the supermarket trolley was load tested with grog for the train ride back to the UK. On Sunday we drove thro parts of five countries, Germany, then 20 mins of Holland close to Maastricht, right across Belgium and a little bit of France, passing Dunkirk and then Calais, before returning to Old Blighty.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
...hence we went to the Millennium (with two n's apparently) Stadium for the first time. It is magnificent, a stadium worthy of world class sport. So it was a good job the Auzzies were on the pitch!! Stuart annoyed some of the locals by shouting for the Auzzies, and we both struggled with the national anthem, but I have it on good authority that it is un-Australian to know all the words to the NA. Phew.
I like Cardiff, and if things work out I hope to be spending more time there. We had lunch at an awesome tapas bar very close to the ground, a monster curry in the evening then a Humphreys special brunch on Sunday - we didnt starve! And we even got chance to catch up with Marion, Beth and Frankie before heading back to Brizzle. An awesome weekend - but we were shouting for the Poms the following week at Twickenham!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
A. go visit friends in London, Paris and Bristol!
Pip popped across the world for a week, and came down to Brizzle to stay overnight. It was wonderful to catch up and show her the sights, including the Roman Baths, an english pub, a curry and the delights of medieval Bristol. A lot in a day and a bit. And that was just the 30 or so hours Pip had in Bristol!
Pip - it was great to see you darl.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The visitors are coming thick and fast now. Last week we have Lawrie and Vicki Jacks, Adam and Gerry Skinner then Glenn Prohasky, all from Australia. We returned to Bath – Stuart belatedly bought a season ticket as it is the 4th time he has been to the Roman Baths. Its the sort of place you never tire of. Next was an open top bus tour of the City to enjoy the Georgian architecture including Royal Crescent.
Friday was a trip North to two historic battlefields, Tewksbury (1471) and Evesham (1265). The former was much better set up than the latter. At Evesham, Simon de Monfort came up again Prince Edward, who would later become King Edward I. Simon was keen on taking power from the King and setting up a parliament. The King was none too chuffed about this, and the resulting stouch at Evesham saw Simon coming 2nd, and it was not just the battle he lost – his arms, legs, head and a few other sensitive bits were chopped off on the battlefield.
Tewksbury is a wonderful medieval town. The history of the battle and the wonderful abbey are not lost on the locals – the high street is full of colourful banners replicating those used on at the battle in 1471. The only way to work out which knight was who was via their flag. The video show the boar emblem of the Kings brother, the future King Richard III, who fought with the King at Tewksbury, who was to die at Bosworth Field in 1485. Bosworth was the big victory for the Lancastrians, that saw Henry VII become king and the start of the Tudor era. But Tewksbury was a big win for the Yorkists. Margaret of Anjou (Lancs) had returned from France to try and put her son Edward on the Thrown. King Edward IV (Yorks) wasn’t having any of it, and chase her army to Tewksbury, where they rested before crossing the river Severn, by the Abbey.
Edward IV was a brilliant strategist, and routed the more heavily numbered Lancs, who were cornered as they crossed the river, and slaughtered. Others were caught taking refuge in the Abbey – they were removed, tried and beheaded. Prince Edward died here and his remains are buried in the Abbey. On the ceiling right above Edwards plaque is King Edward IVs emblem, just in case the Prince needed any reminder of the result.
We walked the battlefield, eating blackberries along the way. Wonder what the fertilizer was, Lancstrians perhaps?! After a trip round the Abbey we had tea and stickies!
Friday, September 10, 2010
On Sunday we visited the Roman Baths in, er, Bath with Nor in mid August. This was not the last time Stuart was to visit this wonderful monument. This place is truly remarkable. The built history dates back 2000 years but it is possible that the water coming up from the ground at over 100 degrees C fell as rain 10,000 years ago. Wow.
Our first visitor in Leigh Woods was Stuart’s mum, Nor. She popped down “Sarf” over the International Balloon Festival weekend in mid August, which of course meant is was a mix of glorious sunshine and howling rain. The balloons take off from Ashton Court, Leigh Woods and given a prevailing Westerly there are spectacular views from the Clifton Suspension Bridge as they wend their way East, over the Avon Gorge and Bristol. Ashton Court is a beautiful old manor house in massive grounds complete with Deer Farm. Get the barbie on, I smell venison...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Aug 2010 is the month of our 20th wedding anniversary. We were together for 5 years before that, so its really our silver wedding. So we celebrated in style, with a trip to Paris, the first of our European trips, for the princely sum of 60 quid! We stayed in the Latin quarter, close to Arenes des Lutece, the roman arena. Saturday saw us on our feet for 8 hours - first to Notre Dame, then into the Congierge, which is not the nice boy at the front of the hotel, but a palace built for French kings that was then used to house prisoners just before thier appointment with the big blade, including Louis 16th, Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre. The list of 2000 who copped it included a musician - Stuart will be careful to play in a Republican style from now on.
Next was the Tuilleries quarter, past the lourve, thro the gardens to place de la concorde, the site of many of the guillotine executions in the late 18th century. Place de la C is 20 acres, the gardend much better, then lourve probably bigger still - the space in Paris is quite remarkable. Marie Antoinette was beheaded in site of her Paris appartment - how apt.
The Orangerie is in the SW corner of the Tuilleries Gardens and houses the spectacular water lillies by Claude Monet. Two rooms have been built to house the most amazing 3d effect artwork that reflects the lillies at different times of day. And downstairs there were impressionist paintings that we could get round.
It was not beer-o'clock, so we headed back home, failing miserably to get the Velib bike system working. There are many stations around Paris with lots of bikes parked there, and the idea is that you pay a few euros to use a bike for a short term trip. Great in theory, crap in practice as half of them have no pedals, brakes, air in the tyres etc.
Stuart ordered Steak Tartare, by mistake - do the French really eat a pile of raw mince??!!
Sunday was much of the same - we headed off to Gare du Nord to drop off bags, then schlepped up to Monmatre and Sacre Coeur. The cheese wire fiddle playing has to be heard to be believed - see video! After and amble thro the streets of Monmartre we ended up at the Moulin Rouge (yes, you know the tune, get those knees up). Having bought a musee passport, we went to Musee D'Orsay to be totally overwhelmed by impressionist art and Rodins. We got to the stage where we walked into a room and commented, "oh right, another 20 Renoirs..." What an amazing gallery - so rich.
The Velib machine then did its stuff and we cycled past the Louvre, up to Opera Garnier, and onto Gare du Nord, before heading back to Charles du Gaulle airport and back home to Bristol. Legs were aching, diets needed to be restarted but a wonderful weekend was had by both of us.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This short video is for family and friends to show our house, car and new surrounds and the very beautiful Leigh Woods, just to the North West of Bristol, across the Avon.
Living here is a bit of a deja vu for Stuart - in 1983 he visited as an civil engineering student, to see the bridges. Brunel's masterpieces is truly stunning.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Nickys dental student buddies are a quite amazing lot. They developed strong friendships almost 30 years ago that are just as strong today. They get together for a camping holiday once a year, and this year we were lucky enough to be invited along to Langton Matravers in Dorset on the South Coast.
It was hot, and we were unprepared - embarassingly we burnt! So we blend in with the Poms now, like Hamish!!
Nothing much has changed over 30 years. The boys all have hair albeit more grey. The girls all look gorgeous and spunky. But there is one slight change - lots of little people running around the place! And playing cricket, it was only the little ones, ie those with functional knees, that could run around.
On Saturday we went to Dancing Ledge, a rocky spot in the coast that is a favourite with clim bers. We were turned back by emergency services as a helicopter was landing to pick up an injured climber - see video. All very exciting.
The people on the videos are (in order):-
Stuart and Sonny, Jason, Debbo and Helen
Marco and Hamish, Archie and Will, Sonny, Frankie, Sue, Helen and Will, The Boys - Marco, Jason, Hamish and Budge, Hamish and Budge, and finally Marco the arsonist
The wildlife is spectacular - robins and tits in the garden, a bold fox who clearly thinks he owns the place, lots of squirrels and a family of deer who stroll into our garden for a feed, from the Avon Gorge Nature Reserve.