Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow in November - 27/11/2010

In case we were not sure what country we were in, the snow on 26th Nov made it very clear. We are on the North Pole! We are flattered to have had two requests for a snow report, thank you Sheena and Loch!

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!

The footprints in our garden are not ours. We met Jock, our local policeman this morning, who was checking up on reports of crooks in the neighbourhood. Abbots Leigh church has had £10,000 of lead nicked off the roof recently, and Jock believes Leigh Woods church, right next door, is about to get a bit leaky and draughty. Might check the household insurance policy. Welcome to Britain!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Brugge und Koln - 19-21 Nov 2010

One of our goals in returning to the UK was to "do" Europe. So we nipped across the channel and sampled 5 countries, in a single day!

Axel knew a great farmhouse near Damme, which is just North of Bruges, Belgium. Nic was working in Manchester and flew to Brussels - Stuart drove to Folkestone then thro the Eurotunnel to Calais, on to Brussels to meet Nicky, then back to the farmhouse. Eurotunnel is remarkable - slick, efficient, even if a few trains were cancelled each way. They left on time and took 35mins - much quicker than other methods of getting to France. We met up with Axel, Chloe, Matilda and granny Dorothy - had a great dinner, sleep, breakfast then hooned into Bruges on Saturday morning.

The Bach cello suites have been borrowed by many other instrumental groups, violas, basses, even tubas, but if you listen to the video clip carefully you will hear a version on the church bells in the Belfry in the market square. Even a bass player thinks this might be going a little too far!

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

Cardiff - 6 Nov 2010

A fantastic weekend was had in Cardiff, staying with Alyn (very odd calling him by his first name, as he was always Humphreys when studying dentistry with Nic) and Ruth. Astute reader will have noted that Alyn might be welsh - well done. The Humphreys family are a bit of an institution at the Glamorgan Wanderers club - both Alyn and his Dad were Presidents and stalwarts of the club. So he gets access to rugby tickets...

...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.

The Auzzies played well, the Welsh dominated the scrum and there were some superb back moves from the men in green and gold. All in all a great day out.

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!