No flow, just no flow….

After two weeks of (nearly) continuous travelling, my feet have hit the ground – thank god.

It started off with a trip to Cardiff for two days, followed by a trip to Hay-on-Wye and Bath for a weekend, Reading for a day and then Dublin for another two days. The next trip it seems I may take is Sunderland oop Norf and then Paris at the end of March, which I am over-excited about.

I spent this weekend planning our itinerary for our five day escapade in the city of Love – which will include the Louvre, Orsay, Pantheon, Notre Dame, Saint Sulpice, Champs-Elysee, Arc du Triomphe, Versailles, possibly the catacombs (depending on whether we have to stand in a queue for 4 hours or not) and NOT the Eiffel tower – apart from gazing upon its Eiffel-ness (reason being that I could not be arsed to either pay through my teeth to fast track it up, or to stand in a queue forever and a day…also, my husband doesnt like heights). Perhaps a hop on and hop off tour. And definitely the Moulin Rouge – and a few Parisienne markets. Its going to be a full five days. I’ve also been learning to parlez the franciase again, as I have forgotten most of what I learnt in school. If you think verbs of any kind in Afrikaans are confusing…sister, you aint tried them in French. Je suis..comment..er habitons (habitans? habite?…) d’ou..OUI! *smile and wave*. I know Cafe au Lait. That’s the most important thing.

Bath was simply amazing – Jean and I plan to go back there for a weekend to explore it properly, as we only had an afternoon to spend there, which we used on a tour of the Roman Baths. Romans were kinda gross. And naked. Wont lie.

Anyway, I picked up this little thing from my mom, where I collect fridge magnets for every place that I go…so I was pretty sad when I opened the fridge last week and chopped the head off my Welsh dragon magnet. He is now headless and attached to the microwave for fear of further body parts being crushed.

Speaking of our fridge, our estate agent popped around last week because we have an old building mould problem – which is pretty bad at the moment. We cant open our windows to ventilate our flat because they are wooden and swollen from the winter damp and, as a result, we have mould growing around the windows in our bedroom. We also have a water collection on the windows sill from the condensation of our single glazed windows (which, oddly, both our cats like drinking. Again, kinda gross). I’m not sure what to do about the damp and the mould, and I’m not sure that our landlord can do anything because we live in a listed building. I’m sure things will be fine in summer…but what about now?

Lastly, for now, most exciting news – we have friends moving to England! Yay for friends! They arrive in October and I am so excited that I may sleep at the airport the night before. No jokes.

Anyway, that is me.

Peace out”

The overriding emotion is just gonna be excitement

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Its taken less time than I thought it would, considering we have been living on English soil for a mere 6 months, but we have taken our second steps towards becoming world travellers.

Granted, I have already been to Ireland (and I am going back on Sunday, again, for two days…sigh…) and Sweden, but Jean has not, yet, been out of England. To kick off our travels, we have a weekend coming up at the end of January at a little place called Hay-on-Wye in Wales, which is, apparently, called the town of books (I am not sure why, I haven’t done enough research, but I imagine it may have something to do with a lot of books). This will be my second trip to Wales in a week, as (as of about 4 hours ago) I have a trip up to Cardiff scheduled for earlier that week for work commitments. I’ll be back up in Wales a few weeks later, in Newport this time, also for work commitments.

Fast forward to March and Jean and I have booked a trip for Paris, France for five days. I cant even! (contain my excitement, that is). I have dreamt of going to France since I was, probably, about eight years old, and never thought I would because, well, South Africa is continents away from France and helluva expensive to travel to from there. Thankfully, from London, its a sweet 2 and a bit hour train trip into Gard-du-Nord and “Bonjour Paris!” We’re staying in the lovely Montfleuri near the Arc du Triomphe and have booked tickets to dinner and a show at the legendary Moulin Rouge. I’ll also be booking tours up the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre, Notre Dame…well, there is much we will be doing. I am also learning French, which, to be fair, I have been doing for years and have always been able to speak a very basic level of the language, but I am trying my best to be a bit better and more conversational.

Scotland is also on the cards for sometime before the middle of the year. I fully intend to invest in Boyd tartan while we are there. Because, when in Scotland, do as the Scots do.

For now though, I need to clamber through the slight catastrophe that is my working day and make it through to the other side, in tact (which I feel I barely did this week).

Aside from all of this excitement, our home is finally a real home and not the empty cavernous shell that is was for the last month of 2014. All of our furniture arrived between Xmas and New Year, so our lounge and bedroom are, for now, complete – with the exception of a few aesthetic details that we plan to add.

I have also re-invested myself into literature and have been reading up a storm. I’ve committed to reading 10 books this year, but as I am already on my second book, think that may be a bit unambitious. The book I am currently reading is a thriller called “The Girl with All The Gifts” – if you are into post-apocalyptic type cutesy thrillers, check it out.

Anyway, that’s me for now.

Dream of strolls along the Seine and butter croissants

x

Excerpt from my life

I’m aware that I may state this in every post that I write, but I really am bad at this blogging thing – I resolved to do this at least once a week. If I get to it once a month, its an accomplishment. I cant even attribute it to being very busy (well, maybe I can, a little bit)…

Captured in Gotherburg

Captured in Gotherburg

Narnia or Harry Potter? Green Park in London

Narnia or Harry Potter? Green Park in London

Winter Wonderland fun!

Winter Wonderland fun!

So, in an effort not to type myself to death, Ill summarise the last month in bullets:

  • Travelled to Ireland and Sweden (again)
  • Moved into new home
  • Cats arrived in England
  • Fell down stairs, went to A&E for x-rays, sprained ankle
  • Got a call from A&E because they thought my ankle was actually broken…was forced to use crutches for “in case of…”
  • More x-rays, ankle isn’t broken – thank god
  • Booked a weekend road trip for Jean and I to Wales for end of January
  • Bought Xmas presents
  • Got a tattoo (not drunk or at a music festival, this time)
  • Participated in a bar crawl on aforementioned crutches
  • Jean smashed the passenger side mirror on the car into another cars mirror (had to put it in there – to prove its not only me that it happens to!!)
  • Attended book club (and have spent excessive amount of money on books due to rekindled love of reading)

I am going on leave after tomorrow, until 5th January and am quite looking forward to the time off. I keep thinking to myself that taking leave is ludicrous (I only took it because I had days that I would, otherwise, lose) as I haven’t been working hard all year, but then I also think that I worked like a donkey before I left South Africa – I juggled a wedding, emigration and title handover at the same time, I trained two people to take over my team when I left my last job, only to have a weeks break before I left the country. Sure, I didn’t work for the first month and a half in England (not full time anyway), but I was job hunting and doing part time work, until I found a job and I have been working hard ever since…perhaps I do need the slight break.

Aside from all of this, I am still waiting for this epically Arctic British winter that I’ve heard about – its been cold enough to wear a coat, scarf and gloves, and its been cold enough to freeze the car shut, but only for a day or two at a time. Today, it is too warm for a coat. Will I ever see the snow!? Its not even raining, for heavens sake! What is this place? Surely not the muddy, cloudy, rainy, cold England that I’ve heard stories about!

Anyway, now that I’ve made the mandatory, British comments about the weather (clearly, the British are rubbing off on me).

Peace out!

All that glitters isn’t gold

Some days, and they are very few and far between, but some days I wish for a semblance of the normality that was my life in Cape Town. On most days, I can handle the new “normal” of England – I can handle the strange people with their odd habits, the food that tastes different, the relentless weather, the impending darkness of winter (even thought its not even winter yet), yet, every so often I miss the easiness of my former lifestyle – warm days, a place that I knew like the back of my hand, people who understood my sense of humour and who understood South Africanisms on a whole, flavoursome food, vibrant personalities and a job that I excelled at – with my eyes closed.

Don’t get me wrong…I do love England and I love that England is on the doorstep on the rest of the world, where South Africa is like the back room of the house that people seldom go to because its just too much effort. I travelled to Sweden last week and I am travelling back to Ireland next week, so I cant complain. I love the travelling – more than I love the heat of an African summer.

But on days when I doubt my existence, such as today, South Africa glimmers like gold in my mind eyes, whereas England is grey. But only for today (every other days, its green!).

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was homesick, because I don’t long to go back, my soul does not ache. I know what I left behind and I know why, but, I suppose, I miss the familiarity. I mostly miss being around many people with whom I can relate on many levels, as opposed to one or two who I can relate to on one or two things.

What I think I need most (as pathetic as it sounds) is a new group of friends – who live the same country as me, because, currently, I have one.

This is me not enjoying my day.

Dublin

I know I haven’t blogged in the longest time, but I have been meaning to write this post since I arrived back from Dublin some three weeks ago, and will have to blog about the rest of my present life on another day (although, as I am off to Sweden on Wednesday morning, I suspect you will get a Sweden post, before you get another “day in the life of…” post).

Anyway – three weeks ago, I popped over to Dublin, Ireland (in case, you don’t know where Dublin is. Also, perhaps you should reconsider the rock you are living under). If I had to put my feeling of Dublin into a few words, it would be something along the lines of “I never want to leave”. Granted, I didn’t get to see that much of Ireland, as a whole, but I did manage a few interesting conversations (mostly with cab drivers, mind you), see a bit of the night-life and take a extended walk around the city. Before I departed for the land of sheep and leprechauns, I managed to find this amazing little self guided tour book called “Dublin in half a day” – which is all the time I really had to fit in as much as I could. If you are in Dublin and want to do a short tour-type thing, I would, definitely, recommend this one and, I suppose, if you have more time, this could help you out too, because some of the sights do require more time to see them properly – more on that later.

So, in review of my trip to Dublin, I took pictures of each site that I went to, in order of the tour guide:

1. Trinity College, College Green

The only real significance that I took from this place was A. that it was exceptionally beautiful and B. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde attended and graduated from the college.

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2. Book of Kells

Out of all the real “to-do” stuff, this is the only place where I paid to go in and actually spent a bit of time. I am an outright Atheist, but even so, I could appreciate the absolute wonder and significance of seeing something like the Book of Kells. If you don’t know what it is, the Book of Kells is a 600-800 year old original Biblical manuscript which contains four Gospels of the New Testament. It was absolutely humbling to be able to stand in front of- and witness something which has shared part of and helped shape the face of humanity. Again, I don’t believe in religion or God, or any of that, but I can’t deny that it is a monumental part of the world as we know it. To be able to view one of the few original remaining artefacts which date back to the beginning of this very large part of human history is something else entirely.

I also had the privilege of seeing the “Long Room” which is a massive, old library and no longer in use, as, from what I can tell, they are trying to preserve and it was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books

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3. National Gallery of Ireland

I popped into the National Gallery only because it was on the list and would have, otherwise, not bothered. I am no art-fundie and have very little interest in it really. I didnt recognise any of the artists, as expected, but I will say that the art I saw was rather (at the risk of sounding totally vapid) “pretty”. Honestly, if it is your thing, then sweet. If not, perhaps give it a miss.

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4. Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square

In the middle of a park, in the middle of town, I had to opportunity to gaze upon and read the quotes of the famous Mr. Wilde, the writer and poet. As he so famously said, and one of my personal favourite quotes: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

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5. Leinster House

The National Parliament of Ireland – because what good is a trip to a country, if you don’t visit the parliament buildings? Historically, these are the types of buildings that crazy people try to blow up (yes, different country, different parliament building, but same importance)

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6. Government Buildings

Again, another mandatory thing to see in the countries you visit. Everyone should know where the law comes from.

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7. St. Stephens Green

Main public park in ireland, opposite Grafton Street, which is a major Shopping area (and the location of a bar I went to on the Thursday night called Lilly Bordellis). Didn’t spend too much time here, as it would have meant spending hours loitering in the sunshine and green-ness, for which I did not have the liberty of time available.

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8. Kildare Street

The address of the National Museum of Ireland, which I only saw the lobby of, as I had not the time to browse the entire place (and trust me, I could have spent a whole day there). What the guide doesn’t mention is that Kildare Street is also the former home of Dracula author, Bram Stoker, which I was way stoked about. I even ambled into the middle of the street, in all my tourist glory, to take a picture of his largely-unremarkable former home.

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Museum of Ireland

Museum of Ireland

9. St. Annes Church

I would have enjoyed this more had the church been open so I could explore the inside of the building. The outside, nonetheless, was beautiful

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10. Mansion House

I can’t say I know that the deal was with this place – apparently, the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin….er…okay then?

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11. Grafton Street

Shopping, you say? Now you are talking my language – also, buying things in Euro, when you work on Pound Sterling…well, hello. Busy as anything, and quite entertaining. They were also quite into Halloween at that stage.

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12. Powerscourt Centre

If you are going to give any of them a miss, I’d say let it be this one – once upon a time, it was the indoor garden of an 18th Century mansion. Now, it is, quite simply, a shopping centre. Not something worth seeing honestly. I didnt even take a picture because I was so whelmed. I did take a picture of the entrance to the flower-sellers, which was the entrance to the house, though:

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13. South Great George’s Street

Because tourists love markets, innit? Sweet place, but a market is a market. Historically, it is a bit more interesting. Did I mention that they sell all kinds of old vinyls?

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14. City Hall

Again, another one of those things that people should see when in another country/city. Typically, it was grandiose and old.

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15. Dublin Castle

The first real castle I have seen, in real life, in front of my face! Whoop! I didnt go in thought, due to the fact that I was on a time budget and, also, because I want  to leave some things for when I return with Jean in March for our anniversary.

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I did pop into the curio shop – only to find the same old stuff that you find in any Irish curio shop (of which I had already bought enough to fill a suitcase)

16. Christchurch palace

I nearly missed this one, because the guide is not hundreds on the directions, but I did find it and, again, was slightly whelmed, considering it is vastly less palatial than one would expect. Maybe its a poor-man’s palace?

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17. Christchurch Cathedral

Now, this was magnificent. Again – I would have liked the opportunity to go inside and walk around as I am totally into cathedral and said-architecture. I actually have a bit of an obsession with churches and their architecture (perhaps I am the oddest atheist…but I have great interest in the history of the church, the architecture and the religion surrounding it, but no actual belief in the “faith”, if you will..I dunno, perhaps, Im just too curious. Anyway…)

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18. Fishamble Street

The only real significance of this stop is the neat little bronze “art” piece, found in the sidewalk…which appears to be a bronzed block with combs and a knife inlaid. It’s a bit of a :D moment, because you kind of just happen upon it and then are like “someone stuck a bunch of combs and stuff into bronze and popped it into the pavement…this is so cool!”

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19. Handel’s Yard

Something that I am totally into is classical music, so, while you may not know who George Frederic Handel is, I certainly do and did. There is not much of the Yard left, but this used to be the yard of the old Music Hall, in which Handel first conducted the performance of “Messiah” – one of his greatest works. I stood in front of this old yard arch in awe of what was. :)

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To boot, I stayed in the Gresham Hotel, which, as I found out, has been the hotel of many a famous entity over the years, not least of which was (my favourite) The Beatles:

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Jean and I have decided that we would go back to Dublin for our 1st wedding anniversary in March to do a few more of the Dublin sights, as well as some of the country side – kind of like a little honeymoon, I guess, since our actual honeymoon moved us to England.

I can, also, officially, say that the travel bug has bitten me.

The Luck of the Irish

x

Residential Bliss

I found out this morning that Jean and I have passed all relevant credit and reference checks and are now, officially, the new residents of 8 Riverhead House as of 1st December – I am excited beyond words to have my own home again. Admittedly, I will miss all the voices in the same house as me, and I think it will be a slight adjustment getting used to just two of us again – its been a while, you see.

The other most important and exciting aspect of this renewed independence is that we can finally ship our beloved fluffins over. Perhaps I sound like an overly-obsessed, in-need-of-a-life, hoarding cat lady, but if you have kids, can you imagine leaving your child in another country for an indefinite amount of time? Its the same thing for me, really. If you dont have kids…um….

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Anyway, I’ve started going slightly bos (for lack of a better word, because there is not word that quite explains like bos does) with the procurement of basic necessities – in a week, I have bought the following:

A kettle, cutlery, a dinner set, a chest of drawers, bed linen, a farrow and ball vintage country chair (okay, now that I’ve Iisted it, it doesn’t seem that bad…). I am currently also in the process of buying a vintage TV stand and a vintage bureau.

Whoa Nelly.

Thankfully, my mom and sister are donating some other stuff to us (like coffee cups and a couch), which means we don’t have to spend more money on those things.

We, also, only move in on 1st December, so we have a month and a half to save for the rest of the deposit and buy the other little things that we find we may need (like a TV, according to Jean – not that I am complaining) :)

Most of all, I am so excited to have a sense of normalcy in my life again – even if it is a new kind of normal in a new place.

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Too many kinds of excitement!

Peace!

PS. I totally have to mention that this place has a dishwasher. OMFG.

Friday words

I wish I was better at this blogging thing. I think about blogging quite frequently, but unfortunately, I rarely have the time to sit and blog. Today, being a Friday, with an empty office, is an exception.

Before I start rambling on about my life, I would just like to mention this quirky little thing about WordPress…I logged in and selected “Add a new post” and this little picture appeared stating “beep beep boop” – which, I think, is just so funny and cute:

Capture

As I sit here on the cloudy Friday afternoon, listening to Queen’s greatest hits, I have to wonder – why is it called radio gaga?

Haha. Okay no, Im not really wondering anything. I am, actually, most pre-occupied with finding furniture on eBay. Jean and I are currently being vetted for a flat in Sevenoaks, which we would move into on 1st December.

It is a huge, beautiful 1 bedroom flat, which, in African terms, could fit about 20 families in it. It has massive surrounding gardens and is neatly tucked away in a corner near the main road. Its a 40 minute drive for me to work and a much quicker trip for Jean to work, so we are quite excited. The only problem, of course, is that we have no furniture to fill this glorious space – except for a bed and a red couch. I’ve bidded on a lovely book shelf for the entrance hall, a chest of drawers for the bedroom and a kettle – for the kitchen, obvs. I’ve bought drinking glasses and cutlery and we bought a toaster together. My moms also donated some kitchen-y type stuff to us. All in all, we should be able to survive.

The best part of this all is that, if we get this flat, I can start making arrangements for my kitties to come over to England. I cant wait! I miss them so much (even if they, probably, haven’t noticed that we aren’t even there)

In other news, I am off to Dublin, Ireland for 3 days in 2 weeks time – I am super excited to see Dublin! I, also, have to go to Sweden twice before the end of the year. The only dates I actually know of for the Sweden trips are 17th and 18th December though, which is for our Xmas party (never mind that we also have a UK Xmas party on the 11th December – or something like that). So excited for all the upcoming travelling!

Anyways, that is my little update for now!

Peace!