27 December 2011
My Christmas day began when I forced my body out of bed at 6am so I could go online to 'have Christmas' with MY family back home in Australia where most of them were gathering for a Christmas barbeque tea. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours chatting with video (when it worked), and three way conversations with my brother and his family still in Sydney. They waited to open my presents so I could watch which was really nice. It's one of my favourite Christmas traditions to sit around together opening presents. Eventually it was tea time for them and time to get dressed for me. We had an appointment to gather at the top of the stairs to check out our stockings!
We sat around in one of the lavishly decorated rooms with a little fire going. After a while a quiz box came out and we were answering questions that were read out. That was fun. Made me feel right at home too. It's one of the things I enjoy doing with my family on the odd occasions we do it. I got a number of questions right. There was also plenty I had no idea what the answer was. And I excitedly announced the answer (with some armraising for cheer) to the question, 'In which country do you find the Barossa Valley?' With the sons telling my boss' mum to relax and go with the flow, we were quizzed for quite sometime before we moved on with the next planned Christmas tradition. The lighting of the Christmas tree. Their huge tree, wonderfully decorated in silver and white, also had candles clipped to various branches. Real ones soon lit with real flame. Another first experience for me. They sung a french Christmas carol (my boss' mum is french) and then some english ones.
Boxing Day mid morning I joined them for a trudge across the muddy fields to where they'd set up to do some clay pigeon shooting. That was interesting to see live. I stood with everyone else for most of it watching the shooters hit and miss.
23 December 2011
Last weekend was book club. We had tea together at one of the girls houses and talked about the book for the briefest amount of time. Yeah, we don't ever talk about the book for that long but this time we did less. But the main event--aside from the food and wine and chat--was a trip to Winter Wonderland. We walked along Oxford St to see all the lights and then down to Hyde Park Corner. I must admit, I was a little disappointed. I'm not sure why, perhaps the phrase usage in songs and movies, but it was NOTHING like I expected. I was thinking snow, ice sculptures and other wintery stuff though I was unsure how it would work being that it's not really cold enough outside for snow to stay.
One for the boy!
This week, with the boy on holidays from nursery school, we invited his friend and nanny to go on a trip with us to the Museum of Natural History. Both boys have recently got into dinosaurs so we caught the bus (after it eventually came) and went straight to the dinosaur display.
Next up is Christmas. I'm on holidays already until 2012. I'm spending Christmas with the family at the country house and then hanging out in London. Hope you all have a good one full of wonderful laughter and great company.
11 December 2011
It was a Christmas present from my sister which is sitting on my window sill while I work on getting it all Christmasy. I think I'll open it early since I know what it is. . .having chosen the yarn for her to weave. Included in the parcel though was the most delightful pictures I've seen in months. Yes, mostly scribbles but being away from home missing my sister's little ones growing up, receiving some drawings from them is the highlight of my week.
I was laughing and most impressed with my 4yo nephew's drawing. He's getting really good. Such a detailed picture with lots of imagination. I love it. The best part was reading the huge description my sister wrote on the back of his explaination. It's all about fighting monsters in the tavern protecting the innkeeper. Swordfights, the big flying boss, a special red bubble that makes monsters inside it fight each other, axes, bashers... My nephew is the squarehead who is healing the zapping tower. Such a little gamer. He he he.
06 December 2011
01 December 2011
30 November 2011
In the stadium I opted for the drink of choice (between my friends anyway). I've had a guinness in Ireland and a whisky in Scotland and even German beer in Germany. I was told I should have a bitter in England. So I did. And I still don't like beer. :P Took me the whole game to drink a pint.
I also squished a book club meeting and a movie with some other aupairs into my weekend. I was a little socialed out by Sunday night. It was a good one though.
21 November 2011
They have a teepee area too which I never see many kids playing at. It does look cool but not so much to do. More imagination needed I think but with all the other areas having loads to do and climb on and all that they are easily distracted away from this one. There's also a section with a treasure chest, a water play area and a little farm sort of area with huts and a tractor.
The boys played for ages on these big wobbly circles in the general playground area. They had so much fun just jumping across them from one end to the other and back again. They also climbed across the bridges and slid down the slides. Then we went to the music area that has lots of great clanging and spinning things and these cool squares that ding when you walk across them. Quite an excellent playground. We stayed until they closed the playground at 3:45pm. Seems early but it's starting to get dark by that time here now.
14 November 2011
New age for the boy. He turned 3 years old on Friday. We had a party with a few other children at his grandparents' place. Very simple--toys and food and cake. Once the boy got over being grumpy after being woken up from his nap, he had fun. Lots of presents.
New boots for me. I went shopping on Saturday and for the first time in my life I bought myself some nice black boots. Other than gumboots (aka. wellies) or hiking boots. I keep wanting to buy some every winter but never have. Here there are so many choices and I wanted something nice but warmer than my slip-on shoes. I found some that are reasonably flat, reasonably priced and that I'm more than reasonably happy with. Let's hope they last well.
New bed for the boy. Now that he's 3 he's progressed from a cot to a big boy bed. A bunk bed in fact. He slept in it for the first time last night. He was quite excited about it and woke up happy this morning. (Nice change from the last week.)
New little one on the way. Not for me obviously though it does effect my life. My boss told me this weekend that she's pregnant and all going well there will be a new little baby in about May next year. The sketched future plan at this stage is possibly to have me stay on and help for as long as my visa allows. I'll work with the boy and they'll have a newborn nurse to help out for six weeks or so from birth. Then it'd be me and my boss with the kids and I'd be full time once she's back at work . I love being a part of a new baby coming. It's an exciting time. A wonderful newness.
06 November 2011
Yesterday was Guy Fawkes Day (or Bonfire Night). There are literally fireworks all over London all weekend. Last night, since I'm here in London, I decided to go out and see some of the celebrations. I planned to go to Battersea Park because there was loads going on there. They were also going to light a big bonfire and have a big fireworks display. Some friends of mine were looking for something to do after the Rugby so I changed plans to watch the fireworks from the shore of the River Thames (rather than us all paying £10 each to get into the park).
The little project bag works well for knitting on the move. You should check out my little creations in my store at www.kelgellcreations.artfire.com. There's several in there still. :)
29 October 2011
But of course there are perks, good times, fun and cuteness. Today we had some yummy fun making gingerbread men...and women...and monsters...and snowmen. ^^
Being a nanny is a great option if you want to get paid to play, be silly and have fun baking yummy treats.
24 October 2011
17 October 2011
I did a little shopping. Got some nice tops for myself but mostly bought bits and pieces for presents. Got a few family birthdays coming up. It was a sight to see. I went into Selfridges just to look. I'd been told it is quite glamourous and that is true. I only strolled through the first floor. Mainly I just looked around to see what was here. I got some lunch from M&S foodhall and went and sat in the sunshine at Soho Square. You could not walk straight down this street. Honestly, it's the most packed with people I've seen any area of London. I noticed this more when I caught the bus home. From the top deck it was more noticeable.
04 October 2011
Loughcrew Megalithical Cairn where I ate my lunch and then walked up the hill. It was a bit windy but it was great to see the green fields sprawled across the landscape. I couldn't resist spreading my arms and exclaiming with a laugh, "I'm in Irleand." It was good to be back and know I had five and a half days before me to see it properly this time. I walked up to Carnbane East and had a look at the interesting rock set ups. It's a tomblike place though I don't think it actually is. But apparantly at the spring and autumn equinox at sunrise the sun shines at just the right angle onto a rock at the back that has carvings all over it. But you know, it's rocks. Not quite like the ones I'd seen in pictures though. I think I missed the main photographed ones in Ireland because I didn't have time that day to make a detour. These, and the walk, were a nice start though to exploring the country.
I was driving along one of the highways when I spotted a sign for the Museum of Country Life which someone had told me about the day before. So since I was passing by I took the detour and happily spent more time there than planned. It was set out in lovely gardens/woodlands and I wandered around a little before I actually found the museum building that was around the back of the estate. This museum was a display of country life (obviously) that existed right up until the 1950s or so. They were so resourceful. They handmade just about everything they needed and used what they could get their hands on. It was interesting to see how they did things and got what they needed. I was fascinated by all that they made using just straw; furniture, rope, bridle and saddle and reins and more. They also used reeds, heather and willow. I also found a huge spinning wheel and saw a short video of napping which I'd never heard of before. (It's a method to roughen and treat fabric to make it warmer and more waterproof.) In the 'education rooms' there was a whole bunch of women knitting and spinning so I went in to have a look. I chatted with a lady who said they all got together once every two months to craft together. We talked about dyeing because that's what they'd done last time and I found out that the 'fruit' around the walnut and shell is the best source of brown dye.
I backtracked slightly to the Cliffs of Moher which were quite a sight. Pity it was a little hazey though. The sun did come out momentarily and it didn't rain really so at least I was able to view it comfortably. I took lots of photos and wandered back and forth. I thought it looked great but it would be an amazing view on a clear sunny day. I had in mind to sit out here somewhere and just enjoy it but it's one of those tourist destinations so there was lots of people around. Whilst I did linger I didn't kick back and relax like I had planned. Not that it was really the weather for that anyway.
On Tuesday the weather was a bit patchy so I decided to switch my walking idea with a driving one and see if the weather would, per chance, be any better the following day. So I drove around the Dingle Penninsula. It did rain on and off too so I didn't particularly stop anywhere--not for long anyway--just once I got to the point where there was a scenic stop. There I decided to pull out the watercolour pencils I'd been carting around with me and actually use them. I sketched without water though as I stayed sitting in my car and didn't want to bother getting too messy. My sketch was based on the view you see below. Nothing particularly fabulous but I haven't done any drawing in a while I probably prefer to draw more from my imagination with perhaps some inspiration rather than copy what I see. Eventually I continued on around the penninsula and back to Killarney.
This evening was a bit wierd. I wandered into town again but the atmosphere wasn't the same. But of course, it was Monday. I should have gone to have my pub meal the night before when it was still the weekend and more lively. I feel so silly and odd going into a pub by myself. I eventually stopped thinking about it and just went in. (The offer of Bailey's Cheesecake helped.) I did still feel awkward but I sat down and ordered the cheesecake and some Bailey's as well. It was sweet on my tastebuds. Mmm. Then I went and ordered some soup. He he. Fun to have tea backwards. The soup would have been quite enjoyable too except it really was over salty. Oh well.
Tuesday I checked out early and drove southward stopping at Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park as I'd planned. Very glad I did as it was beautiful. With the cloud covered sky and the tree canopy above the atmosphere on the short walk to the falls was delightful. Almost like I was in a misty, mystical forest. There was plenty of rocks and green around to make me gleeful. I hung out there a long while and took lots of photos.
I stopped at Lady's View which is apparently so named because Queen Victoria and her ladies thought this view was so beautiful. Perhaps so. It was hard to tell for me with the low cloud and misty rain. I decided to go find one of the walking tracks even though it was spitting but after walking about five minutes I changed my mind and headed back to the car. It wasn't really going in the direction I wanted to go and I really couldn't see much of a view still. So I just drove on to my next destination, another couchsurfing stop. The drive there wasn't bad. I giggled when I drove through a rock. I wish I had been able to stop and take a photo. There was this huge rock, smack bang in the middle of the road's path. So the builders of the road dug through it. Now I have been through plenty of tunnels but this was more like just a hole in a big rock. Shortly after this experience I drove through a cloud. (I have done that before and did a lot more this day too.) Once I got down near the Beara Penninsula it cleared a bit. At least in patches and I got to view a bit of the natural beauty of this more remote area as I drove. I didn't stop as I planned to just get to my host's place and settle in. I didn't know this would be the best I saw of the Beara Penninsula. I got to Allihies from a different direction than my hosts had given me, then drove on to find a buddhist centre they'd mentioned, and then pulled over and smsed them again. I ended up driving back and forth quite a bit trying to figure out where they were. Turns out they weren't actually in Allihies, just near it...somewhere. Eventually I found the Buddhist Centre and went there to ask them as my hosts volunteer there. One of the ladies there helped me make sense of the directions I was given and I was able to find my hosts at last. They were a nice couple and we had a pleasant chat. It was interesting to stay with Buddhists as I don't think I've ever spent time with any before. I hadn't previously connected the 'no killing any living thing' to being vegetarian but it's a good thing I quite enjoy vegetarian meals. And this homecooked one was most delicious and I savoured every bite. They had a living area that was glass for one wall that looked across what they told me was a beautiful view. But the cloud had come right down to the earth and I could see maybe five metres down the hill. The next day was no better. My hosts suggested places that were worth a visit but when I left mid morning the driving conditions were exactly like the photo above. I wasn't gonna see any views out here. I was a little down because of that and the fact that this was my last day here. In the end I decided I'd go straight to Blarney Castle; one of those landmark tourist places of Ireland. Since it is right by Cork where I was due to fly out from later that evening, I was gonna spend a few hours there and check off the Blarney stone on my 'visited' list.
It was a good decision too. There's more than simply a castle there. I went straight to the castle first though to make sure I visited the blarney stone. Good thing I did too as there were lots of people and you had to join the queue at the top. There was a staff member assisting people to kiss the stone and one taking photos you could collect at the bottom. I settled for my own version of visiting the stone. I word it that way coz I had no interest on putting my lips on that hussey of a stone. But I was there. :)
I then went to wander around the gardens which were wonderful. All green, damp, rocky and almost hidden. There was lots of tracks to explore and a boardwalk area too. Even a little waterfall though it looked manmade. It very nice to relax and wander about in such beautiful nature before I left for England where a few days later I would move to London.
It turned out to be an expensive holiday and cost me more than I had hoped it would but I'm still glad I saw Ireland properly AND that I drove myself around. I'm sure there's more wonders there I could have seen. Other great places to visit. It's one of those things...the more I travel the more I realise there is to see and the more I realise I won't get to see it all. At least I now consider Ireland sufficiently covered. So now to think about what country to visit next.^^