Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Of the Caribbean wildlife anyway. Those mosquitoes are seriously vicious, the bites swell and go really red, and itch for days! Those ones are 4 or 5 days old now! Hopefully I don't scar!
And lastly the view from the villa. It really is lovely especially first thing in the morning while it is still cool and covered in soft light and a bit of mist. I love having a view again!
That is all I've managed for pictures for now folks, but when I get a chance, I am so going after more of the wildlife with a camera. I want one with monkeys that aren't running away! They aren't always running away, just when they see a camera. And the crabs. I want a picture of those crabs. They're so cool!
Monday, December 12, 2011
A 10 minute taxi ride, 30 minute train ride, 3 minute shuttle-train ride, 10 hour aeroplane ride, 15 minute taxi ride, 40 minute boat ride, 10 minute golf-cart ride. This is the travel required to reach an exceptionally awesome house on an island in the Caribbean.
I honestly can't say what my favourite thing is, the climate, the wild monkeys (!!!!!), the jacuzzi, table-service while you lie on the beach, the pretty shells all over the beach. Oh and the crabs, the crabs are pretty neat (I'm totally gonna get a picture of those crabs)... Probably the wild monkeys. I do like monkeys, and seeing them running free is the best way to see monkeys. Yay monkeys!!! The fact that you have to go on a boat to get here is pretty spiffy too, I like remote. Although the whole American-style resort kinda diverts from that illusion.
So, as you have probably gathered, I have arrived well and good. Tired, and slightly jet-lagged, although not too bad, just a bit muddled. And I am liking this version of my new job, it's good. Not that I didn't like it in London, but really, being here is going to vastly improve pretty much any job, and nannying is vastly open to environmental influences. The much more relaxed routine is good too, I feel like more of a fun nanny, less of a grinch hurrying the kids from one activity to the next. And hopefully tomorrow I will be a bit less tired. I really appreciated getting to sleep on the plane, I had a lot of sleep to catch up on at that point, and I sure needed it later! Oh and then the kids woke up at 5am, because in London, that would be super-late for them, being like 10am there or something. *yawn* either way, 5am is still 5am so far as I'm concerned.
I had so many thoughts going through my head today about this place, and everything I want to tell everyone, that I can't remember any of it. Again, Monkeys.
At times it reminds me of home. Particularly when I'm sitting on a beach playing with kids in the sand. Some things don't change :-) I love how green it is too, and the sand isn't as white as the internet would have you believe. Hills clearly the product of volcanoes and earthquakes rise out of the sea, hazy blue-green and shrouded in clouds. If you don't look at the details (like wild monkeys!!!) it even looks a fair bit like home. Oh and it comes with the "Live-at-the-beach" life of my childhood, which is really just a short-cut to winning my heart.
In short, life is good; adventure is fantastic!
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Last time I caught a late morning train to London we thought I had found the daytime equivalent to the nutter train (traditionally your last train home at night). That may be true of that service, but today I sat across from a couple of business managers/owners. I did actually contemplate moving as they irritated me with their general conversation. But mostly I couldn't be bothered. The girl across the carriage had an interesting looking book, 'the attack on university' or some such. I put on my headphones and life continued.
I was glad I didn't move, as girl with the book started chatting to them and it sounded debate-y so I took out my headphones. Brilliant, jobs, recession and benefit cheats. That is the best time I've spent on the train, we were joined by an MA student, and an ex-university lecturer, who basically ended up being arbitrator. More train rides should be like this!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
But I just had a band cover Crowded House (Don't Dream it's Over) and *then* another band covered Gogol Bordello (Start Wearing Purple)!!! Talk about win. I'm in a country pub in England. Drinking delicious real ale. Nom nom nom!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Well, I see I haven't even put up anything about when I was in Paris, which means I have a lot of catching up to do.
Paris was neat but I had hardly any time off. And when I say neat, I mean I kinda fell in love and desperately want to move there. Yay for Paris! I climbed the 700 or so stairs they let you in the Eiffel tower, and then the lift to the top, putting me firmly in mind of Willy Wonka's elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Following that I trekked all over Paris, walked past the Louvre (that's in line for a later trip where I actually have time), and went to the Notre Dame cathedral.
I have to admit that the Moulin Rouge wasn't all I had hoped for. As somebody pointed out, it was near the end of the season, so the dancers were probably totally over it, but it was still disappointing. They were well out of time, generally un-enthusiastic and rather out-shone by the acrobats and jugglers between acts (who were very good), which lead to the feeling that they were just trading on their name. Overall, for the price (we got cheap tickets at 90 Euros) I can't say it was worth it. But hey, it's the Moulin Rouge, and I've been :-)
After Paris I was back in London for a week, before getting right back on the Eurostar to Lille. This was approximately enough time to pick up a new solid shampoo bar from Lush and accept a new job in Athens, as I was still working the whole time. Oh and sick. I think I picked up something from the Eurostar, as I started to fail the next day, and then remained in a similar state for the next two weeks, which was not conductive to my holiday, but didn't ruin it.
Speaking of the holiday, that is being saved for another post, possibly a two or even three part post. For now, suffice to say that it was good and deserves to be done justice!
Writing this I am …..... somewhere over Europe, en-route to Athens. Believe it or not I can't actually post it mid-flight, so presume it is being posted from Athens.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tower! And the biggest lumps of nougat I have ever seen. Scarier than those is the information that actually those are the small lumps. He demonstrated the size of large ones. Not something I would like to encounter rolling down a hill in the dark.
I'm back in England for, oh, a couple more days. Friday I fly out to Athens. Yay for Greece :-) remarkably normal sounding job there, not sure how I will cope yet. Two weeks to find out.
I will attempt a post on France either tonight or some time tomorrow, although that's not a promise!
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The only bad part of my trip was that I screwed my back part way through, and spent several days rather incapacitated before being tortured by a French doctor, and half killing myself with anti-inflammatories before being able to even do up my shoelaces. But at least the painful experience with the French doctor seems to have been worthwhile, I appear to be fixed.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Not that I am actually suffering the consequences of not having insurance, but having screwed my back somewhere I can't speak the language, and in a lot of pain, without a European health card, I am acutely aware of how precarious my situation actually is.
So, hot French doctor says I have an inflamed lumbar region and has prescribed some apparently heavy painkillers, as well as anti-inflammatorys, and pills to protect my stomach from the anti-inflammatorys. He made me cry in front of my boss by poking me in the back (hence heavy-duty painkillers).
Curious Sam is currently in the process of becoming seriously drugged up in a resort town on the North coast of France. At least I can lie on the beach I suppose. My exploring plans are looking rather improbable at this point.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
When I came over here I had a discussion with a friend about the area of France I was going to, and was advised that it was very gently rolling hills, but essentially flat. Thus I had images of the Canterbury plains in my head, and was rather disappointed when I discovered that I was to be living part way up a hill! I can cycle up to the driveway, but it is an effort, and if don't want to get all smelly then I really have to walk. Or if I am wearing sandals that are all slippery on the pedals. Damned hills!!!
Anyway, climbed up the hill, it was hilly. Took some pictures from the top. Also, at the end of the series is one of the castle. Just so you know I'm actually not kidding!!!
Another village which isn't far, maybe five kilometers away, give or take. I mostly took pictures of the river, which I assume to be the Loir, but I could be wrong, I didn't actually see any signs proclaiming it to be so. I think I found a massive nunnery here. I couldn't be sure because I really couldn't quite be bothered to stop and check, but I followed the sound of the church bells chiming 7pm and decided to see if there was also a lovely church here. I found instead a wall, which I followed up some hill and around a wee way, maybe a kilometer in total following the perimeter in a loop. All I could see over the wall was what looked like the top of a cross, and the roofs. When I got to the front part (which was of course the last side I reached) I could see a big building with some clothes drying in one window. Thus I have decided it is some sort of nunnery. Oh and it did seem to have a church as well at this part.
After circling most of the village in my loop around the nunnery perimeter I then had some dinner in a restaurant which appeared to have won many awards, which was nice. The waitress spoke some English, by no means good, but significantly better than my still reasonably non-existent French, so between us I managed to order fish, which was thankfully not creamy or fatty, like everything else I have eaten since I got here. I had bread, of course, which was nice to dip in the broth, and for dessert had icecream- I even had an idea it was icecream before I said I wanted it! Although I turned out to be maybe home-made icecream or real-fruit icecream, or something. Some was green and I think apple flavour, some was white, very icy (not so creamy) and possibly peach, although I really couldn't be sure. And I have no idea what the other flavour was, but it was decidedly the most normal flavour, maybe caramel biscuit or toffee or something. Hooray I am starting to be able to order food without translation!
After my dinner I came home, but not before realising that there were tiny traffic lights which I had completely ignored on my way in. I assume they were for cyclists, but clearly rather poorly positioned as I completely failed to see them when I came in!
Firstly, I cycled to Lhomme, a really sweet little village which is the closest to the castle. Really lovely. With the bakery where I bought brioche for my mini picnic, to be addressed in detail later. In New Zealand, and in fact England too come to think of it, brioche always had chocolate or some sort of filling in it, but this was plain. I shall thus assume that we have taken up bastardising a traditional food again by adding chocolate or some other sort of ingredient which changes the essential nature of the food. But anyway. There was this really cute church in the centre of the village, which looked to be really old, and was clearly not for tourists. So clearly not for tourists in fact that I felt totally ridiculous standing there taking pictures, so I took a bit of detour and found this really bizarre place, which I can only assume was somebody's garden full of lots of old machines!
In further strangeness, I stumbled upon a little house behind the church, with such an odd little garden, it immediately made me think of Hansel and Gretel!!! I took a few pictures, but I think it was somebody's house and garden, so I felt a bit weird and stopped! But such a huge old tree overhanging this garden which seemed made for children, little stone table, flower beds. Very strange, quite eerie!
Following my explorations of Lhomme, which is a pretty tiny village, I discovered this little stream with an old stone foot-bridge next to the new one for cars, so of course I had to play on it! I ended up having my picnic of brioche and nectarine there. So delicious, and such a lovely spot. I was disturbed only twice in my endless photography, by the same man. I think he went to pick blackberries or something, because he stopped on the way there and we had one of those oddly satisfying conversations where we both talk at each other in different languages, probably about completely different things, and then walk away smiling. When he came back again maybe 15 minutes later when I was actually about to take a last picture and leave, I had the presence of mind to ask him to take a picture of me on the little bridge. Yay for my awesome Franglish (not retarded Franglish, tyvm)!
When I was cycling away from the little picnic spot I also found this little spot with more wildflowers and a view over the wheat fields, which I love. Why don't we grow wheat like this in New Zealand? It's such a similar climate, we grow other crops the same, why not wheat? There is a lot of wheat here, as well as the wine which of course the Val de Loir is famous for.
And my other favourite crop here is the sunflowers! Fields and fields of them! Look at this massive one- again in someone's garden. It's a wonder I haven't been yelled at in French and chased away really, the time I spend photographing other peoples gardens without asking! Maybe I should add that request to the list of phrases I must learn in French.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Well it is a lovely little town where I am currently eating my dinner. Still on the Loir river I think. There is definitely a river, and I have taken pictures. I will post them when I am using my laptop though. I do not have magic powers to move pictures from my camera to my phone without a computer and several cables.
Anyway I have had a glorious afternoon cycling and exploring the French countryside. Really lovely. And I had a picnic on a stone footbridge :-)
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Switzerland for chocolate season- win!!!