sea_thoughts: (Courage)

  • Spent the first two days of February sick. Yaaaay. I'm really hoping that I don't have to take any more time off for at least the next two months.

  • Forgot to mention that I went to Sunday lunch at my friend's house in late January. Similar to my previously mentioned friends, this couple moved into their cottage in the Forest of Dean last year but have only just felt able to invite people around. The cottage is mahoosive and Edgar, their toddler, is a cheeky chops. The roast was amazing.

  • Had Mum's birthday at The Suffolk Kitchen in Cheltenham. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed the food. Mum liked it so much we went back a couple of weeks later to take advantage of their early bird offer - £10 for three small plates or £14.95 for a starter and a main. I had leek and potato soup, then fish of the day. Mum had cured mackerel with horseradish creme fraiche and citrus salad (segments of grapefruit and orange), then mussels in white wine & garlic sauce with chicken goujons.

  • I finally ate out with my friend again after she spent January fighting a resurgence of Crohn's disease. We went to the JRool Bistro in Stroud. We were the only customers in there from the time we arrived (just after eight) until we left (just before ten). Slightly worrying. I hope this was because it was a Thursday evening as it's a great place to eat.

  • I have finally decided that I will go to Cornwall for my holiday this year, but ALONE this time. I realise I didn't actually make an entry about what happened when I went to Cornwall with my friends in September 2015, because it ended up being exhausting on both a physical and emotional level. I may write one later just to get it all out. This time I will be going down by myself and staying in a nice B&B in St Austell, five minutes' walk from the train/bus station.

  • I just found out that the Dulwich Picture Gallery is hosting an exhibition of Vanessa Bell's paintings COMBINED WITH Patti Smith's photographs. I have now bought a ticket to London for April Fools' Day on National Express to see this.

sea_thoughts: (Fly Away - iconomicon)
Just got back from a week in Cyprus with the family, which was lovely but had very limited internet access so will be catching up on entries and commenting today and tomorrow. Aside from a three hour delay on the outward flight(!) due to poor weather conditions and then debris on the runway (caused by an Airbus CRACKING THE TARMAC according to Twitter), we all had a good time. Madeleine behaved so well, honestly could not have asked for more from her, she was so sunny and happy despite the change in time zone and the heat. I don't think my sister will suggest going there in June again, haha.
sea_thoughts: (Summer - eowyngiulia)
I'm sorry that it's been over a month since I posted in this thing. July was actually a busy month. I got my new car (well, second hand, it used to be my mum's) and spent a week getting used to it and driving around. I had the whole week off so I was able to do this without worrying about work. Unfortunately I managed to rear-end someone on the second day of driving it. Fortunately, it was only a small bump and the man I hit was a gentleman. I drove my friend R to see Stonehenge (so she could say she'd seen it) and then we went to Avebury, a first for both of us. Avebury is a lovely little village and the stones are amazing. Because we went during the heatwave, they provided shade and they were cool to the touch and it felt like leaning against them was okay, it felt like they were old friends. (Well, they are old!)

I drove all the way to Canterbury, which was nerve-wracking because it involved at least three M roads (major motorways) but we made it there in one piece, even if we were almost two hours later than planned due to horrible traffic. The owner of the B&B was gobsmacked that I'd managed to get a reservation at The Sportsman, huffing that he'd never managed to book a table for himself or for any of his guests.

"Are you someone special? Is she someone special?" he demanded.

Maybe I am? :)

I drove R to The Sportsman with an unplanned but pretty detour to Whitstable on the way (Seasalter is not well sign-posted). I gorged myself on bread and rock oysters (not at the same time) so I didn't have enough room for my main, which I still regret, because it was roast chicken with lemon truffle sauce and potatoes and it was utterly delicious. I did have enough room for my dessert though (jasmine tea junket) because priorities. I showed R around Canterbury, around the cathedral, and we saw The World's End, which is hilarious and highly recommended. (We also saw Pacific Rim and if you have not seen that, get thee to a cinema.)

I miss Canterbury so much. I had a pain in my chest on my last morning that refused to go away. Only the anxiety of driving all the way back on my own was able to vanquish it. I miss Canterbury and I want to go back there, not just for a visit but forever.
sea_thoughts: (London - sunlitdays)
It's now two weeks since my birthday and I finally feel ready to write about that amazing week; that is, say goodbye to it. Writing about my birthday celebration is putting it into the past and I was reluctant to do that.

Part One: London )
sea_thoughts: (DWCarmen - wg15graphics)
Had one of the best Bank Holiday weekends in recent memory a couple of weeks ago. Had the Thursday and the Friday off because I went to see Michael McIntyre on the Thursday evening with my sister in Cardiff. I've never been to Cardiff before (never been to WALES before) so I was very excited to finally see the Severn Bridge and the Severn Estuary (which was beautiful even under the glowering clouds). The sat-nav managed to take us into Cardiff but didn't direct us to the entrance of the NCP car park, so we had to drive around in a huge circle. We really only found the entrance thanks to my sister's driving skills and experience, because it was TUCKED AWAY behind some houses. I wonder how anyone parks there considering it's such a major car park. Due to traffic, we only had time to eat a Burger King meal before running off to the arena (and it started raining) but the show made it all worth it. McIntyre is just as funny live as on screen (possibly funnier). There were points during the show where I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard. Stayed at my sister's for the night, then went down to see my parents for the weekend and did basically nothing, which was very nice. :)

Have seen The Dark Knight Rises (oh my God, I want to see it again); The Avengers (saw it four times, I regret nothing); The Bourne Legacy (mainly for Jeremy Renner, let's be honest); and The Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield IS Peter Parker, Emma Stone was adorable, can't wait for more).


Currently planning my birthday weekend in Paris with [livejournal.com profile] vifetoile and my sister. Definitely going to see the Musée d'Orsay this time, and the Eiffel Tower, and lots of other things! There will be photos because my sister is bringing her boyfriend's camera, and they will be GOOD ones this time!
sea_thoughts: (Fly Away - iconomicon)
I keep thinking I should post about what I've been doing and then that self-pitying voice which should just SHUT UP keeps saying "What's the point, nobody reads it" but I am going to ignore that voice and post, except WHERE DO I START?

I just spent a week in the USA, specifically New Jersey. I spent it with [livejournal.com profile] alizep who educated me in the ways of New Jersey, which is apparently considered by everyone to be a "strange" state. The condition of the highways is terrible but everyone was very friendly to me. I have been to the Wawa aka The Wa; I have eaten a hoagie; I have been to a Stewarts and sat in the car while they brought dinner (this does not exist in the UK) and I have finally drunk root beer (which was nice, kinda like dandelion and burdock with added fizz). I walked along a boardwalk and took photographs of funny T-shirts. I have finally eaten sushi and tasted the famous honey miso dip, which is now my favourite dip of all time.

NYC )

My birthday was spent in Baltimore. Camera had run out of battery but that didn't matter too much. We strolled around the Inner Harbor area, had lunch at Phillips, where I tasted clam chowder for the first time (for the record: I loved it). Three course lunch for $29.99! We couldn't finish our cheesecake, so we took it with us. We tried to visit the art museum but it was shut! On a Monday! Unimpressed. Also saw the Edgar Allen Poe exhibition at the library (Poe died in Baltimore when he was meant to be in Philadelphia) and tried to find his grave but it was hidden, typical of Poe! It wasn't exactly in a nice neighbourhood so we decided to cut our losses and go home. We almost got caught in a thunderstorm and then the sun tried to blind us, so obviously Baltimore is more dangerous than people think (it's not just the guns and drugs, it's the very weather itself!).

Plus wrote more Exiles.

Edit

Gels, I bought all three of the Emily books! I'm so happy, you cannot find them over here, you have to order the American copies! I only ever read "Emily of New Moon" over 10 years ago, and it's great to actually find out what happens to all of them when they grow up!
sea_thoughts: (Embankment - sunlitdays)
I'M BACK!


Did anyone miss me? Anyone?

First of all, belated birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] ada_kensington for September 24 and [livejournal.com profile] dogstar101 for September 30. I hope both my fellow Librans had happy birthdays, though I know you were travelling on yours, Jo. How's the course coming along? Are you feeling better? Will there ever be an end to my questions?

For those of you who missed my previous entry, I was in Cyprus for nearly two weeks. It was around 29/30 centigrade almost the whole time (except for the two days it rained, and even then, it cleared up in the afternoon). I spent most of the time reading, and here is a list of the books I read:

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
Most of Ibbotson's YA books follow the same basic pattern: young intelligent girl goes to a foreign country, falls in love with mysterious man, is separated from him by misunderstanding and misfortune, but reunited with him at the last for blissfully happy life. But she's a good writer and the stories have different settings and very colourful secondary characters, so I'm happy to keep reading. This particular book focuses on Harriet Morton, who has a miserable home life with her father, a bigoted Professor of Classics at Oxford University, and her maiden aunt, who is a miser and hated Harriet's mother, so doesn't treat her with any warmth. Harriet is eighteen and her only escape from her loveless, constricted life is her ballet classes, until a Russian master arrives, seeking dancers for his corps de ballet, soon to head to the Amazon. This is the titular "company of swans". Desperate to escape her family and her potential suitor, Harriet runs away to join them. I recommend it for those who like romance and exotic locations. THIS is how you write about sex in YA novels, SMeyer: acknowledge it but don't go into detail. Don't just SKIP the whole thing.

Holes by Louis Sachar
Fabulous little book for those aged 8 and upwards. Stanley Yelnats is unlucky, and he comes from an unlucky family. He is not surprised when he gets sent to Camp Green Lake through a miscarriage of justice. The Warden and Mr Sir make the boys dig holes each day "to build character", but what are they really looking for? A prison story for children, with more twists than a rollercoaster.

The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde
DCI Jack Spratt is head of the NCD - the Nursery Crime Divison. Any crime involving nursery or literary characters is automatically given to him and Reading, Berkshire is the epicentre of nursery crime. The Gingerbreadman, notorious mass murderer, has escaped from his not-very-high security prison; Goldilocks has disappeared, last seen by three bears; and Punch & Judy are the new next door neighbours. Along with DS Mary Mary and Ashley (the token alien), Jack tries to solve all these problems, often at once. Sequel to The Big Over-Easy. Absolutely hilarious. Read it. And if you're wondering about Jack's surname, yes, you're right.

Zorro - Isabel Allende
I don't usually like Allende's books very much, I don't know why. I think it might be a translation problem: all the third person "and this happened and that happened" is totally against the grain of most English novels, which have much more character interaction, but this is a rollicking good read. You don't even have to know very much about Zorro. All swashes are duly buckled, lots of drama and a bit of romance, plus racial tension and the dissolution of the Spanish empire. What more could you ask for?

Burning Bright - Tracy Chevalier
Forget Girl With a Pearl Earring, this is so much better, mainly because it's actually got some HUMOUR in it. The Kellaways have recently come to London, fleeing from a family tragedy. Jem Kellaway becomes best friends with Maggie Butterfield, who has lived in London all her life. They both do their best to survive adolescence in Georgian London, which is becoming increasingly paranoid about the French Revolution, and find out more about Jem's strange neighbour, William Blake. And there's a circus, too. Family drama, social injustice, romance, illusion and reality all combine in a sterling historical novel.

Sisters by a River - Barbara Comyns
One of the most eccentric upper-class families you'll ever encounter, so autobiographical that it should be called a memoir. For HP fans, read this and you'll see just where Jo could have got the model for the Black family (though I don't think it was this particular one, this is a perfect example of just how messed up aristo families get). It's very honest and written with all her spelling mistakes (she didn't have a very good education) so it isn't just written from the point of view of a little girl but with authentic spelling, too!

Away - Amy Bloom
Complete opposite to previous book, all about a young woman who comes to the USA after most of her family is murdered in a pogrom, only to be told by her cousin that her daughter may still be alive. She sets off on a journey across America, intending to cross the Bering Strait and get to Siberia, where she thinks her daughter may now be living. The effect and consequences of her journey on the people she meets are also examined and detailed. Bloom is one of the most compassionate writers I've read, she never judges any of her characters for what they do (or don't do). I think this book would have a special meaning for people whose families came from Eastern Europe and Russia in order to escape persecution but I don't have that background and I still found it very moving. Also, despite everything, it has a mainly happy ending.


A quarter of the way through The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which I know is going to be heartbreaking but still reading anyway.

It was my birthday on September 28, thank you to all those who posted either entries or comments to wish me Happy Birthday, I really appreciated that. :) Sorry I couldn't reply until now, as stated in previous entry, I had no internet. It was lovely and sunny, but Dad had volunteered both me and Mum to a hash meal, so we didn't go anywhere that I wanted to go or do anything that I wanted to do. Which probably sounds whiny as hell, but I don't care. I got a nice book from my sister, a couple of cards, and my parents bought me some cycling things today, so it wasn't a complete loss.

Comment and tell me what you're up to!

Holiday

Sep. 18th, 2008 12:30 pm
sea_thoughts: (HPRupert Ice Cream - dark_branwen)
In case you wondered where I'd gone, I'm now in Cyprus, staying in a villa with my parents. It is 30C here (which is early 90sF) and I am quietly melting but the weather is gorgeous and I'm having loads of fun revisiting my early memories. (The last time I came to Cyprus, I was twelve years old. It's become a lot more touristy since then but the old Cyprus is still here if you look. We went to the Famagusta Taverna last night, which does the biggest pork chops you have EVER seen. I had seftalia (which is spicy Cypriot sausage) and saved two to have today for lunch!

Happy Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] mrstater, sorry I missed it, was travelling!

Just a little update to let you know where I am. Comment away but I might not get back to you right away as the villa doesn't have internet.
sea_thoughts: (Ginny - royaldawn_uk)
First of all:

Happy Belated Birthday to my dear [livejournal.com profile] amamama!


We haven't known each other that long but you've been a great comfort to me in many ways and I always know when I see a comment from you that there will be wise, soothing words for me to read and savour.

Secondly, I'm off on holiday! Not to foreign climes, but just travelling around dear old England. I shall be off to London on Saturday morning (I'm catching the 7:10am coach, to be precise) to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] dogstar101 and then spend Saturday and some of Sunday with her. Hopefully I shall also see my friend Pid and then on Monday afternoon, I'm off to Canterbury!

I heard cathedral bells tripping down the alleyways...

When I started this LJ, I'd already left Canterbury, but I've never forgotten it. I've missed it so much in the three years I've been away that just the thought of being back there makes my heart skip.

I need to be with people who are on my wavelength. I was just talking to one of the girls I sit with today. She doesn't find Mock the Week funny. Enough said. (There are clips on YouTube for those who haven't seen it.)

Man, I really need to download this song.
sea_thoughts: (Happyness - royaldawn_uk)
GCHQ have decided not to continue with my application. That's fine, I'm happy I got selected for the test. I hope my friend Emma makes it. My dad seems more disappointed than I am. I don't know whether to feel guilty about that or not.

Wednesday )

Maundy Thursday )

Good Friday
Spent most of it sleeping.

Saturday )

Easter Sunday )

Bank Holiday Monday )

Cool YouTube Videos
The Founders of Hogwarts - any Harry Potter fan will love this. It's a really good video of the beginnings of Hogwarts, effortlessly combining clips from different films in order to portray the Founders. The films used are Pride and Prejudice, Tristan and Isolde, and King Arthur.

Harry's Potter Bohemian Life - clips of all four films set to La Vie Bohème from RENT. Sounds crazy, but it works, and it's hilarious.

We Didn't Start The Fandom - the complete history of Harry Potter fandom by the founders of The Sugar Quill, sung to the tune of We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Very funny.

Potter Puppet Pals 1 - Bothering Snape - hilarious animation of the Trio doing just what the title says - and suffering the consequences.

Potter Puppet Pals 2 - Trouble at Hogwarts - Voldemort invades Hogwarts! Oh noes!

Potter Puppet Pals 3 - P-P-P-Potions - now actually using puppets! Snape 'shares' his Potions knowledge.

Potter Puppet Pals 4 - Wizard Angst - possibly my favourite of all the PPP videos, even though it's very difficult to choose, but this one has some amazing lines. Takes the piss out of Harry's 'teenage' moment in OotP. "I'll WOUND you!" XD

Potter Puppet Pals 5 - The Mysterious Ticking Noise - Snape hears a mysterious ticking noise. The whole gang becomes hypnotised by the sound. Then they find out what it was...

Snape Angst - Snape runs Heartbreak Hotel!

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