Monday, 25 January 2016

A Meditation

Entering the last week of my UK visit. Popped over to the Wharf at Welford to see my friend Jim. One of the few places you can still get a pot of tea for a quid. We downed a few pints in front of a cosy fireplace built of horseshoes.

I'm going to miss proper flat, warm beer.

Headed back over to Guilsborough, where my local pub is going from bad to worse. I doubt there's going to be a pub there at all when I next visit. Still, bumped into our friend Chris and continued drinking until I fell asleep in an armchair.

It was a very comfy armchair.

On Sunday we headed over to Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre. They were having an open day and mum wanted to see about their meditation sessions. It was really interesting. We had a welcome talk, then a demonstration on how to create shrine offerings from marzipan (very pretty), before a short mindfulness of breathing meditation. It was a lovely day, and I think mum is going to join their regular meditation class.

Altar Offerings

On the way back we were accosted by militant sheep who had claimed the road in the name of the Fleece Revolution.

"You Shall Not Pass!"

Thankfully two cyclists came to the rescue!

It was home for my last roast dinner of the trip (chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips).

And a bit of light packing... ~sigh~

Not forgetting the meds. Something to make me poo more, something to stop me pooing, something to replace all the water lost from pooing, something for conjunctivitis, inflammation pain, general pain, throat pain, blister pain... and deodorant. And clothes... a year's supply of clothes. 

As a friend in Rwanda pointed out, most of this is available from pharmacies over there, but drugs are so much cheaper in the UK, most of the time. You can buy aspirin for under 30p, and an entire pack of 36 Strepsils costs less than £4, whereas in Rwanda - like the contraceptive pill - people usually buy them one at a time when they can afford them. Strepsils are about 35p per lozenge (cheaper than the contraceptive pill). So, you stock up whilst you have the chance.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Snow Flowers

Flowers for mum.

Drove back over to Northants for my final visit of the UK trip. 

Mum and Merrick ordered snow for me yesterday. It only came for a single day, then it melted away again, but what a day! Had such fun snowball fighting with my nephew. 

Snow on the Solar Panels

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Kinky Weekend

Had a wonderful over-nighter in London with Dad & Marilyn, celebrating Dad's belated birthday present. We hopped the train down yesterday. For some reason you get a seat allocation with Network Rail. It's hard to see why - it was a ghost train.

Had lunch behind the Southbank Centre. The puddings were delightful: chocolate sponge and mouthwatering lemon and pistachio coulis. 

It's been a very food-based weekend. We had a beautiful meal at Andalucia Tapas Restaurant, full of fairylights. Once again the puddings were delicious. This time chocolate cake and delicious crema catalana.

After that we headed round the corner to The Harold Pinter Theatre. Dad's treat was tickets to see Sunny Afternoon, the story of The Kinks.

It's a really beautiful theatre. Formerly Comedy Theatre until 2011. A small, intimate space - really nice.

It was a brilliant performance. The lead actors, Danny Horn and Oliver Hoare (Ray and Dave), brought the house down. If you get the chance, go and see it. I think it's due to go on tour soon.

We walked back through Piccadilly, and the Horses of Helios fountain - one of my favourite monuments.

(by stayontherun)

Sat up late into the night drinking in the hotel bar and chatting. It was a really fun weekend. 

I'll finish on yet another food pic. This was at the little Italian bistro Sandro, where we had breakfast before catching the train from Paddington. I know I photograph food a lot, but soon I won't get most of this stuff for another year, so I need something to drool over. How gorgeous are these paninis? Love the presentation.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Birnbeck Pier


Had a stunning day by the seaside today. Really dramatic skies at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.

(panoramic - click to enlarge)

It was really something to be by the sea again. Living in a landlocked country, you sometimes forget what it's like to come from an island. Even though Lake Kivu is practically an inland sea, you just don't get the tidal to-and-fro in quite the same way, or the smell of saltwater on the breeze. It calls to the soul.

I was there to visit the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, taking a look at the pier they are trying to raise the funds to renovate. You can read all about the history on their website. It's a really special structure. Not just a pier, but a pier leading to a natural island with buildings on it, and a second platform. Unfortunately it's reached a level of dilapidation now that it is unsafe to walk on. The only way to reach there is at low tide when you can set foot on the sand for up to two hours before the sea reclaims it.

I also had a nose around two of the out buildings which might make a nice museum and café.

A truly fascinating adventure. I was extremely privileged to get the guided tour and to meet such an enthusiastic group of people fighting to preserve their local heritage. Hope to one day walk along the pier myself.