a few of us went to bendigo
( see )
A pleasant day. We saw no bush fires or evidence of any. Except what looked like a solitary house fire. We did see the aftermath of a nasty car accident. or some of us did, I was squeemish and looked away. I do wonder whether we should really have gone last Sunday. Our hosts had been monitoring the fires in the region and our driver was an old Bendigo local. We did at least inject some funds into the Bendigo economy I suppose.
just about my favourite bit of the Palazzo Vechio ( I think, home of the Medici before they took over the Pitti palace anyway)
One of my favourite pics that I took of Florence, nay Europe. Same palace. Love the angles and highly variable window styles, the brickedupedness and bits added on.
I'm a bit tired and a lot thankful to be home though I am still sort of trying to convince myself that I am home. Do I have a strong or a weak sense of place? It can sometimes take me ages to be convinced I am in a new place. I sort of need that sense to seep in and occupy the 'place sensing bit' of me. Perhaps I am just distracted and think too much.
I brought home the latest collection of weird things from the parental abode, there is always something:
-12 pieces of cutwork wood bits for the back verandah made by Papa- my birthday present
- a new pine seed box- constructed by Papa in about 10 minutes. Served to demonstrate some of his impressive new woodworking machinery.
- a venerable retractable washing line- again for the back verandah. Mum used this when I was a child. Wonder how long it will last for me?
- a set of brass keys, decorative, including a cute one that is also a bottle opener, was my grandma's. Does our seneschal still need a key? If so, I can offer one.
- a tweed suit of my grandfather's- I am thinking of remodelling- more steampunkesque stuff!
- a tweed jacket of my father's- ditto
- a convex mirror in brass frame with laurel wreaths- which I fell for in an antique store. Where shall I hang it?
I have lots of laundry to do, how exciting. Also a new LBD, probably too girly but more exciting than laundry.
In other news unpublished from last week:
-there will be no beatiful show of blue flowers on the ceanothus* tree this year. A vast and unwelcome collection of caterpillars ate all the flowers. I finally got to them with pyrethrum, which worked, but I was too late, all eaten :-(
-the new almond tree is still looking dead, no spring growth yet. Fingers still crossed
-the first ranunculus** have flowered. One scarlet and one yellow.
-the freesias are past but I did so enjoy them this year, such lovely scent.
-all the new stuff in the herb garden is growing in a modest way, except perhaps the capsicum, maybe it is too cold yet. The new geraniums are taking off. The ones I am trying to strike are not dead yet which is a good sign.
- the rosemary bush is still only half pruned which looks pretty silly and is smothering the spring blooming lavender.
Now I shall try for a hot chocolate and some book before my lids fall whether I like it or not.
-update- blast, no hot chocolate 'cause some silly person did not buy any milk.
* bother, just looked this up. I thought it was a native but it turns out to be from north America
**spelling corrected-I thought that was slightly too many 'u's for one word
I also found a couple of other things I have been wanting.
-a punnet of pink Armeria seedlings. This covered much of the Brough of Birsay in Orkney including growing out of the walls of viking/12thC ruins(see below-this could have gone in the pink pic post). It is a dense grass like plant with lollipop flowers, pink ball on a stick, very cute. I have a white one which is doing quite well. The Birsay ones are pink though and I was keen to get some. I rather think that over time one could divide the clumps to get more spread.
-two punnets of trailing geraniums, one white/blush pink, one red. I have been meaning to plant out the rest of the front wall. Not enough energy for that just now but I have got as far as potting out the seedlings. Later I will get some quantity of potting mix, dig out the nasty stuff in the wall and replace.
Come to think of it, the red geraniums might stay in the back yard. So far there is no red at all in the front, all the flowers are shades of pink, purple, blue, yellow, white. Ah, that is unless some of the new rununculas (sp?) flower red?
Now to shower off the dirt and ready myself for a spot of visiting.
All these pics come from different places. I like all of them and when strung together they almost make a story.
Enough for now. More pics later.
BTW I slept until all of 6am this morning! I have been feeling tired and sluggish all arvo but not so much now. Still, time to go at least attempt to sleep.
Thanks to all who kindly wished me welcome home.
Car started first go, hoorah! It then took 2hrs to drive to J's place to pick up budge. Normally takes 30-40min. I hadn't driven for a month and that was not a good drive to start with, my clutch muscles were complaining. Not to mention the boredom/frustration. There had been a spill of phosphoric acid that closed the Westgate bridge so all traffic was trying to get across the city by other means.
Time for that second coffee and some photo uploading. I will post some pics, really.
I am killing time while I wait for the hot water to heat. I've turned the system back on but it is a storage one so will take some time. Oh I sure want a shower. Then grocery buying, unpacking, laundry and the collecting of a certain much missed little blue bird. Wonder if the car will start? I had meant to disconnect the battery but that fell off the list.
So having made that decision I went into town this morning and bought more stuff, which I have squeezed into the suitcase but only just. There is a specialist folk music shop just off the Royal mile. Fabulous place, did not seem to be able to leave the place without a dozen or so CDs, eep. Would have been more if I hadn't exercised some restraint. All stuff I would buy anyway, it just happened all at once and without having to do special import orders. I have stripped off the crystal cases so they take up less space. There will be a listening frenzy this weekend I'm sure.
The trip into town was interesting. The weather has gone strange. The Ha has made an appearance. Yesterday was warm, sunny and pleasant (pretty rare here). Apparently it is reasonably common for a warm day to be followed by the Ha- a heavy misty fog thing. Visibility drops right away and the air is really wet, so wet that the fog is sort of falling out of the air on you. It is not really raining, more like walking through a cloud. I came home rather damp.
Now I wait for Bro to come back from his appointment, then to the airport. If the flights run to plan I'll be back Thurs morning to battle the jet lag and reassure myself that the house is ok and the garden not dead, fingers crossed.
We have spent the last few days walking through beautiful woodlands, climbing over crumbling castles, driving around terribly scenic, heather covered hills, buying odd things in secondhand shops, eating pork pies and drinking fine ales. All very lovely but I am now keen to get home. The thought of my own bed in my space is almost too good to contemplate. I have two 1.5hr flights and a 23hr one to survive before I get there.
quick note to let you all know I am still alive and well. My feet have not been worn down to nubs but I have walked enough that they should be. London is big, crowded, noisy,fascinating and today, warm (the english think it is hot- there are warnings on the underground to drink water).
Highlights of the last few days
-the cleaning lady on the train smiled like Judy Dench.- that wry sideways smile
-seeing the original waterhouse "lady of shalot" and finally see the proper colour values.
-finding 14-16th C printed linens in the V&A. That pretend printed blackwork fabric is more authentic than I thought.
-visiting dennis Severs house. SO atmospheric. 18th-19thC as it was?
-buying 18thC plate or so we think- so did H.
-seeing handwritten original of Jane Eyre- opening of last chapter- nearly made me cry.
-meeting up with
-and ... getting to see a whole bundle of actual extant 16thC costume pieces courtesy of lady H. Meep, eep.
-MOL had 'the sleeve' on display-made me go all fizzy. (14th C sleeve end from dress and textiles book).The amount of old stuff here and easily available in museums is overwhelming, fabulous and I sure wish I could see it more often.
this keyboard is horrid. please excuse the lack of capitilisation resultant.
tonight I meet up with a bunch of expat aussies for dinner, looking forward. R+J amongst others.
So, I am supposed to be touristing? well, instead today I decided to do all those bits of shopping that I have been collecting up saying- I really must get that before I go. A delightful whirlwind later I got all on the list except one. There is a Scottish painter that I have decided is fantastic. Sir James Guthrie. One of those cases where I keep saying to myself "that painting is fabulous" and it turns out to be another Guthrie. Frustratingly, no one in Edinburgh, including the National Gallery, seems to stock any books about him or prints of his work. I shall have to search the internet later.
I have pretty much resigned myself to needing another bag to come home. Hope I can make that work. It would be worth excess baggage charges.
I spent 2hrs this morning with Bro at the allotment that he and J look after/have access to. Such a phenomenon the allotment, all very cute. Basically a big piece of dirt you can grow what you like in. Most people grow fruit and veg, some have great flowers. There is a tiny cute wooden tool shed per plot. It's great. I have been there 3 times now with them and have been picking raspberries! and strawbs, spinach, peas, lettuce, potatoes. The rasps are most fun though one tends to come up with thorn splinters. Today we weeded the allium patch. yes that is pretty amusing for a girl who can't eat them. They are growing onions, shallots, garlic and leeks. My grandfather had an allotment before they left England so this is a bit of flavour of the past as well as keeping my new gardening habit fed. Bro and J are pretty lucky to have the use of one. There is a 5yr waiting list but they are caretaking this one for friends of theirs.
This arvo we went to a great shop, it does remaindered stuff. I went slightly mad and bought 3 pairs of sunglasses. Well I have two dodgy broken pairs at home and none with me. They were also very well priced. Also got a great pair of shoes, olive green with a strap and quite a high heel. They also do homewares - wanted to take about half of that home with me but contented myself with just one handtowel (cream and gold ,lush foliate design).
Then we climbed up a hill called Arthur's Seat. This is just off the foot of the Royal mile and gives one a view over pretty much the whole of Edinburgh. It was VERY windy. Much caution employed until we were off the rocky part.
Last night we came back from a four day excursion to the Orkney islands. One day each way driving and two days there. It is a very pretty place and we had a lovely time. Lots of world class neolithic stuff to look at, gentle rolling countryside, vast numbers of very healthy looking cattle and so green. One of the things that would prevent me from settling there is the lack of trees. Outside of the major towns there are pretty much no trees at all. We even managed to see a pair of puffins!.
Tomorrow I think I will aim to get to Stirling to see both town and castle.
Hope all are well there. I have only skim read the journal entries for the last week, not much time online. I did check the BOM site to see that there has been a bit of rain at home. So hopefully my garden is not dead. Until later I leave you.
I was going to post more but have spent a couple of hours this morning on the initial stages of turning a too small, charity shop suit jacket into a sort of piratical bodice thingy. This is to wear to an event called Magic Theatre on in London in a couple of weeks. Same night as Winterfeast I think. Looks like a grand, enormous costume party. H wants to go and I think it looks great. So I am making a costume. What fun. There will be photos later.
I had gone into a big art gallery but did not really feel like being there. So I wandered out and found two fantastic buskers. A young piper in full scottish rig plus a chap of african origins playing drum, together. It really worked, fabulous music. They mucked about with rythms on trad tunes, piper man did some stuff just on the chanter. It really made my day. Cheered me up in general but also made me feel better about my current policy of doing a lot of wandering around rather than tightly scheduled touristing. Then I got to see the art gallery anyway.
On the less good side, my cold is getting worse. Must get some decongestants today. I am concerned that it needs to improve before we all get cooped up together on our trip north on Friday. J is keen to avoid getting this, most understandable.
Think I will head to Holyrood today. After I do the dishes.
-lambswool jumper in russet by burberry. lovey and soft. I think it is a small man's jumper but I don't care.
-stripey wrap jumper by benneton
-pretty summer frock
Bro and lady J are the proud owners of
a dining table and two chairs
-a heavy french iron skillet.
You can tell who lives here and who doesn't eh?
Today I spent ages in a fabulous vintage clothing store and failed to buy anything. All the things I liked either didn't fit or were more expensive than I was prepared to come at. However they had racks of tailcoats, corsets, trenchcoats, cashmere sweaters, kilts, 50s dresses....wave hands and squeak a bit.
Some time later we went to a local designer's shop. He takes old garments, chops them up and puts them back together. Very funky, very inspirational! I want to have a go. His stuff is very rough, deliberately I suppose. I would like it better with a bit more refinement. I will look at thrift shop clothing differently after this.
Bro is making bread. We had monkfish for dinner last night. There is hotsmoked trout to look forward to. Last night we went to one of the local pubs. It is a proper old couching inn built in 1890something. One side was for the posh people, the other side for the coachmen etc. Fabulous wood panelling and ornate ceiling. Oh and fab beer of course.
I spent a very short time in the Museum today, must go back. I was barely into the exhibits when I needed to leave but I still managed to see the Lewis chessmen and several exciting gold- actual gold, not brass, not silver gilt - hair fillets, 12th and 13th C. Yes, that is on the list for next week.
Bro has just handed me a jumper to fix and might let me loose on a tweed blazer that he doesn't like as is. I shall stay home in the warm and stitch jumper while Bro and J go off to harvest soggy raspberries at their allotment. I do want to see it later but the weather is cold and damp and I seem to have a cold.
I think we are off to scrounge in thrift shops this arvo.
Yesterday I exhausted myself by running around the Burrell collection. So glad I went. Lots of medieval stuff and beautiful grounds to walk through.
Greetings all from grey but (sometimes) grand Glasgow.
apologies it has taken me so long to write but \i am here safe and well. This is just the first time \i have managed to get online since I arrived. Bro has a laptop with him but he is only around at sleep time and for occasional meals.
Flights and transits and stuff all went to plan. \my bag even followed me without any delay. By the time \i made it out of the duty free shop after my last flight- there was my bag on the carosel.
-Arrived terminal 4 at Heathrow. For transits to other flights you just follow the signs to flight connections rather than heading with the bulk of people to border control. Do check which terminal your next flight goes from, they are changing this around a bit while terminal 5 comes on stream. \if your next flight goes from a terminal other than the one you arrived in, there will be a bus to transfer you. Again, just follow the signs. There are also staff herding people in the right direction.
- when you get to the next terminal there will be a passport check of some type. \not british border control. I am not sure exactly what it entails 'cause that is not what \i did. Again, this is easy and well signposted. \hope sneetch finds it all as easy as I did. Actually it was good. Far smaller queues than doing full customs for a London arrival.
I could write lots about what I have seen, what to tell? Highlights so far:
-GREEN trees, whew this is good to see.
-Charles Rennie Mackintosh stuff- School of Art, interiors from one of his houses. Hope to get to Hill house this afternoon.
-visited Provands Lordship this morning- oddly named but is the oldest house in Glasgow, built in 15th C. Furnishings are mostly 17th C but \i took lots of pics. Some cool stuff. My favourites were an appealing tall, square brazier and a chair that converts to a table. Like many places, most of the items were not labelled, frustrating.
-Underneath Glasgow Cathedral is a lovely white vaulted room called "Blacader's aisle". Makes you wonder if this provided some inspiration for a certain TV series?
-really good ale on tap. Lets not talk about the food.
I'm here until Friday afternoon when we head to Edinburgh. My phone has roamed nicely thankyou so if anyone for some reason needs to get a quick message to me, that is the best way. No idea when I will next be online. Now I shall see how much of your posts \i can read before I run out of credit. Hope all is good back home.