ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I decided that it would be nice to have a few days in Bath to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, what I failed to realise was that Bath has a famous Christmas market, and half the population of the south-west of England would be there. Apparently there was barely a hotel room to be had in the entire place, so travelling there for the weekend is a thing. Had I known, I would have arranged the trip for the previous weekend. Oh well. We still had a nice time. Here are some pictures that - unusually for me - are NOT of comical medieval animals.

A few days in Bath )
ladyofastolat: (Greenman)
Sometimes it seems as if half the photos I take are of comical medieval animals...

A gallery of fanciful animals from Bath Abbey )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Never has there been a place more committed to its branding than Venice. There must be more winged lions in the city than there are tourists, and that's saying something. Many of them are sensible, noble-looking proud beasts. Naturally, these I spurned, and instead photographed their more comical cousins.

Many winged lions, plus a few assorted other comical Venetian animals )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We got back yesterday evening from a week's holiday in South Wales, where most of our time was spent in castle or in tea shops, with occasional diversions up tea-less mountains and nostalgia-fuelled trips to random Arthurian themed stones in the middle of nowhere.

Holiday, part one )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Last Tuesday, Bunn expressed the intention of leading me all the way from Cornwall to Devon, where she would abandon me in a mine-riddled forest for me to find my own way home, or die trying. (Or something like that.) Curiously, I was more than happy with this suggestion, so waved a cheery goodbye to a dopey Pellinor - "I'm off to get abandoned in a forest!" - and headed off.

Curious things ensued )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
During a short break from roleplaying last weekend, Pellinor and I went to nearby Cotehele. This is a medieval manor, much altered in the early Tudor period, and mostly left alone since then. Naturally, since it's a National Trust place, we spent a while drinking tea in a courtyard, but we also explored the manor and the grounds, and Pellinor tried to run away with some wraggle-taggle folk dancers-o.

Tapestries, chairs and dancers )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We were away last week, in a strange and bitty week with lots of travelling, much of which was spent with various relatives. Despite frequent reminders to myself ("must charge my camera before I go," followed by, "oh dear. Oh well... Must remember to pack the charger so I can charge it when I'm there") I managed to go away with a camera that claimed to be Very Ill Indeed, and sighed long-sufferingly whenever I asked it to take a picture. I retired it after the first day, and subsisted for the rest of the week (mostly spend in places we may well visit again one day) on a diet of no photos, photos on my phone (rather rubbish, and not helped by the fact that I kept forgetting to charge that, as well), phones on Pellinor's phone (even more rubbish than mine, I think) and Pellinor's Mum's phone, wielded by Pellinor's mum. I pulled it out for one last hurrah when we reached Lincoln, and got a few more pictures out of it before it keeled over limply, and lay there blaming me for my cruelty in driving it to this dire state of affairs.

I'll get around to wrangling all the phone photos one day, but here are some pictures that I managed to persuade my grumpy camera to take for me in Snowshill Manor on the Monday.

This was the day when people first started turning to each other and saying, "Wow, it finally feels almost like spring!" (By Wednesday of this week, we were full in Summer territory, and today we seem to be already hurrying into autumn, judging from the wrapped-up nature of the people walking past the window at work.) My Mum spent most of the day marvelling at their audacity in daring to Go Somewhere on a Bank Holiday Monday, rather than cowering inside in fear of the rampant swarm of humanity expected to descend on the Cotswolds. "It was actually quite nice!" she said, in amazement. "We sat outside! On a Bank Holiday! In a National Trust place! But I did wear a coat," she added, lest she be thought too daring.

Snowshill Manor, plus tadpoles )

Winchester

Feb. 2nd, 2015 06:33 pm
ladyofastolat: (Greenman)
We had a day trip to Winchester on Saturday, where we managed to squeeze a small amount of history and heritage in the small gaps left in between mid-morning tea, lunch-time tapas and mid-afternoon tea, after which we discovered that all the history and heritage closed at 4 in the winter, so we headed back to Southampton to wrestle with shops for a bit, then have yet more food.

Some photos )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We've spent the weekend in Wiltshire, in what felt like a proper holiday, even though we were only away for one night. Pictures follow, rather more of them, it seems, of quirky captions than actual scenery and Stuff. Oh well...

Painted churches, strange topiary, talkative trees, and the like )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
As you could probably guess from all the comical animals I posted yesterday, we returned yesterday from a week exploring the Bay of Naples. Here follows far too many photos, and much rambling.

Roman bits and pieces, entertaining fumaroles, and a goat: rather an epic post, with loads of pictures )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Here is a collection of vaguely comical animals from Roman art, with a few humans and gods thrown in, plus a freaky Renaissance poodle.

Mildly comical Roman art )
ladyofastolat: (Probably ritual)
We've spent the last two days walking on and around the Ridgeway, and the day before that walking around Stonehenge. The weather couldn't have been better; today, especially, felt like a pleasant June day. Well, actually, today's weather couldn't have been better... for people who actually remembered to put on sun cream, rather than walk for 6 hours in the sunshine while carrying it unopened in their rucksack. Rather sunburnt now, but surprisingly unhobbly, given that we walked 57 miles in 3 days.

Photos and write-up of Stonehenge, The Ridgeway and associated sites )
ladyofastolat: (bellowhead)
We've just got back from a weekend on the mainland, first in Southampton, and then in its great enemy, Portsmouth.

More )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We want to visit Pompei, Herculaneum and similar nearby sites next spring. Given that we spent over 8 hours in Ostia and failed to do more than half of it, we will need a LOT of time in each site. I'm thinking we'll need a full week in the area. Does anyone have any tips on where to stay? We want to travel around independently by public transport, so would want a base that has good transport links, but is also nice in itself, and with a varied choice of eating places within walking distance. I'm also in the market for recommendations of places to visit that aren't the obvious ones - and indeed for general recommendations (and anti-recommendations) for holidaying in this area. (EDIT: I'm kind of leaning towards Sorrento as a base, but am willing to be persuaded otherwise.)
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We spent the weekend with my parents in Winchcombe, which is currently resplendent with lots of pretty banners (blatantly copied from Tewkesbury, but hey...). Yesterday we went to Chedworth Roman Villa, which was discovered in Victorian times by a ferret, and was almost immediately opened up as a tourist attraction; the original Victorian museum still remains. It's quite easy to envisage the original layout, since the Victorian ferret rebuilt the walls up to a couple of feet (using Roman material) and topped them with a cute little cap of Roman Cotswold tiles. It has some rather nice mosaics and a nymphaeum - the on-site cafe still draws all its water from that same spring - and two sets of baths, for reasons that nobody knows. It's also alive with flowers and wildlife: we saw three different colours of lizard on the walls.

Pictures of Chedworth, Corinium and tadpoles red in tooth and claw )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
A few years ago, we had a holiday in Scotland in June. Just before leaving, I had to pay an urgent visit to an outdoor shop to buy a thick, warm waterproof coat.

Slightly fewer years ago, we had a holiday in the north of England in June. On the first day of the holiday, we ran dripping into an outdoor shop to buy Pellinor a lightweight waterproof jacket, and both of us waterproof trousers.

Today, in June, we're heading off to the north of England. Just before leaving, having checked the weather forecast, I had to pay an urgent visit to an outdoor shop to buy a lightweight waterproof jacket.

In April of this year, we had a short break in Rome, and in May last year, we had a short break in April (edit: or even Malta.) No urgent last-minute purchases were involved, although both holidays involved the rediscovery of dusty, unused sandals.

I think there's a lesson in this, but I'm not sure what it is.
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We've just had a couple of days in London. Sunday afternoon didn't go quite as planned, since the Golden Hinde was closed for a private function (grr!), Southwark Cathedral was busy holding a service, and London itself was very cold - far colder than we'd envisaged when packing clothes back in the balmy summer sunshine of Friday evening on the island.

On Sunday evening, we went to the Globe to watch The Tempest as groundlings. I've never been to the Globe before, and The Tempest isn't a play I know. (I did Macbeth for 4 years running at school, interpersed with occasional other tragedies.) It was interesting to see how the play used the space and the close proximity of the audience - sometimes in a way that made me glad that I wasn't on the front row! It was all very funny, not just the scenes that were obviously there for comic relief, but also in some scenes that looked to me as if they could easily have been played quite seriously. I feel the need to seek out a DVD of a different production, for comparison.

Yesterday we went to the British Museum to see their Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. Despite the timed, limited entry, it was very crowded, but very interesting. The exhibition space was arranged like a typical Pompeiian house, with exhibits that matched the purpose of each room.

After we'd finished it, we stayed in a broadly Roman idiom, and went to the various Roman sections of the main museum, then added in some Bronze Age and Iron Age for luck. (Annoyingly, the Anglo-Saxons were being redeveloped.) I was surprised by how many exhibits came from hoards found in the last 20 years; I tend to think of Stuff In Museums as being stuff that was found over a hundred years ago. There were so many hoards that I now have a vision of an ancient Britain absolutely littered by bemused people wandering around with maps, saying, "Now, where did I put it?" I was also surprised to see that a mere two things was enough for something to be called a "hoard." I wonder if the same is true of hordes.

Rome

Apr. 1st, 2013 08:20 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Anyone got any recommendations for historical things to see in Rome that aren't immediately obvious - or indeed anti-recommendations for obvious, well-known places that aren't actually worth a visit. Ancient through to medieval things are strongly preferred. I do not like Baroque. I prefer museums that directly relate to the place they're sited in, rather than ones that consist of random art works from hither and yon. We're considering not bothering with the Vatican museums, due to huge crowds, queues, and the afore-mentioned random art work thing, but are open to persuasion otherwise.

Winchester

Feb. 24th, 2013 10:39 am
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
It was another icy cold day yeserday, but we wrapped up warm and headed off to the uncharted wilds of the north island, otherwise known as Winchester.

Photos of Norman and medieval things, mostly vaulting and carving )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We got home from Mitcheldean this afternoon, having returned via Winchcombe and Calleva Atrebatum. This will probably be a short write-up, since sitting hurts (as does standing, lying down and walking, which is rather unfortunate.) There are pics.

Mitcheldean day by day )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Today it seemed like a good idea to head randomly out from Mitcheldean without a map, compass or phone with a working signal. I'd intended to follow big paths, but the big paths soon became boring. I saw a narrow track that headed into the deep woods, and my super advanced ranger skills told me that it had been recently used by a horse. I reasoned that horse riders were trustworthy sensible souls who wouldn't set off on a path unless it led somewhere sensible without lurking Doom happening en route, so followed it.

To cut a long story short, about half an hour of spiralling path and many, many bifurcations later, I had to conclude that, A, I had no idea where I was, and, B, that I couldn't give up and retrace my steps even if I wanted to, since I'd no idea how I'd got here. Just as I was beginning to get rather worried, I emerged on a small road with a cottage on it. I made a decision on which way to go, based on a vague impression of where I thought Mitcheldean might possibly be, and soon reached another junction. Several decisions later, I finally emerged from the trees... and there was the church tower of Mitcheldean down below me, exactly where I'd hoped it would be. I felt like a relieved medieval pilgrim who has finally sighted home. I would like to claim it as a victory for my sense of direction, although I feel that I could just as easily have emerged to find myself in Cinderford, or Wales.

Malta

May. 26th, 2012 05:38 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I'm in Valletta. It's very nice. :-) It has a customisable minibar, and unfortunately I've just drunk something from it, having eaten nothing since an admittedly rather enormous breakfast, so I can make no promises about the coherency of this post. I don't approve of checking regular internet sites while on holiday, but Pellinor's in the shower and has left me with his new toy, a teeny little baby laptop, so I succumbed. We hope to track down a Mediterranean buffet soon (which I, rather worryingly, initially typed as "Mediterranean bugger") but the hotel is a little vague about its location. We've seen lots of knightly sites and lots of over-ornate religious sites and some catacombs (written as "catabombs" on our map) and some mysterious temples of the "no-one knows who they were or what they were doing" variety, but sadly won't get to see the best ancient site of the lot, to which we bought one of the limited tickets many months ago, due to having just found out that we (i.e. I) remembered it as being for tomorrow, when it was actually for today. (Phew! What an awful long sentence! Blame the wine.)

Oh. Pellinor's emerging, so I'd better return to my morally superior "at least I don't play on the internet while on holiday" stance.

EDIT: We found the buffet. It was HUGE. I now feel like (((O)))
ladyofastolat: (Default)
When we first started keeping a Mainland Car, we intended to use it to do lots of sunny day trips to interesting places, but sunny weekends tend to get eaten by dancing commitments, so we've barely done any day trips at all. Today, however, we headed off to Portchester and Portsmouth for a castle, a boat trip, a seaside stroll, and an awful lot of tapas.

Pictures and waffling )

No comment

Jan. 28th, 2012 05:57 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Sorry for not replying to comments on my earlier post. I was at work all day and am now in a hotel in portsmouth. We thought we were getting free wireless, but it turns out it's actually ridiculously expensive wireless, and there's a limit to how much typing I can bear to do on my phone. So no internet... but tapas (which autocorrect initially rendered as rapacious. "Autocorrect itself it rendered as "autocrat") fishless sushi (which it renders as "disgust"), board games, historic ships, and castles.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

ladyofastolat: (Default)
I abseiled off a tree yesterday. I didn't mean to do it, but wine had been flowing freely on the Friday night, when the sign-up list was being passed round. Pellinor signed up for it, and he's afraid of heights, which he claims are the haunts of that notorious trickster, Gravity, who lurks there, desperately trying to entice people to fall to their doom, so I reasoned - as much as one can reason - that if he could do it, so could I. When morning dawned, I saw the height of the tree, and spent the next few hours whimpering and eeking and repeatedly resolving to back out. Nevertheless, I somehow ended up finding myself halfway up a tree. The climbing was definitely the worst part, since the metal staples that were the foot and hand-holds were too far apart for me. Once at the top, leaning backwards over the edge wasn't quite as bad as I feared it would be, since the support given by the rope felt so very strong and stable that it felt almost like sitting on a nice solid chair. Still, I was very relieved to get down again, and have no intention of doing it again. The climbing part, anyway; I suppose it's conceivable that I might consider doing the abseiling part again, if I could have some nice normal stairs to get to the top.

Then, in the evening, flush with sense of achievement and daring firsts, I ate some blue cheese for the first time; the smell and the general ickiness of the concept has always deterred me in the past. In fact, I daringly tried every cheese on the cheeseboard, although I did admit at the end that I was just "meh" about all the others, but actively loved the ordinary "boring" Cheddar. Also the cranberry and caramelised onion chutney. Yum.

We also did archery, where I came about 4th or 5th. I should have done better, but I kept aiming high, since the only other times I've used a bow in the last 20 years have been using LARP-safe arrows, with enormous foam heads which want to go nowhere other than straight down.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We got back yesterday evening from a week of over-indulgence in the Forest of Dean, which was followed by a day falling asleep all over my parents' house and a day struggling to find the energy to dance at a folk festival, after which we decided that we were Too Exhausted Even For Bellowhead (and this is truly exhausted indeed) and came home a day early.

Write-up and photos behind the cut )

Kent

Aug. 5th, 2010 04:29 pm
ladyofastolat: (Bagpuss yawning)
We're in Canterbury at the moment, where we're having a couple of days before heading off to the first few days of Broadstairs Folk Week, where one of our dance sides is dancing.

Yesterday we visited Down House, where Charles Darwin lived and worked. My favourite bit was the list he made about the pros and cons of marriage. Under the "To marry" heading, he included such compelling reasons as having someone to perform music in the evenings. Under the "Not to marry" heading, he put "less money to spend on books," and "less time spent in clubs with clever men." The "To marry" list was deemed the winner, so he proposed to his cousin. Then, when his older children were young, Darwin was busy working on barnacles, a fact that caused his son to assume that this was something all daddies did. "Where does your father do his barnacles?" he asked when visiting a friend.

We then headed to Canterbury, where we're staying in a nice B&B, found thanks to Trip Advisor. Unfortunately, the nice pub that we remembered from our last visit has changed management and got rid of the dishes we'd particularly resolved to have again, so instead we ate at a place whose menu was dominated by pies. My pie was very very nice, but very very garlicky. Luckily I like garlic, but it was still rather annoying on principle, since garlic wasn't mentioned at all in the description.

After dinner, I fell asleep during the Norman Conquest.

Today we wandered around bits of Canterbury wall, climbed a motte, explored some ruins, and then went to the Canterbury Museum, where there are some rather nice Oliver Postgate pictures, one of them depicting the entire history of Canterbury - complete with a monk being hit with a halibut - and one telling the story of Thomas Becket, with angels and dragons and occasional oddities such as a flying hippo watching the events. There is also the original of all the Bagpuss characters, as well as some Clangers and those Pogles of most traumatic memory.

After lunch, we visited a Roman Museum, where the mosaic pavement was apparently guarded by a security guard armed with a mallet; it was only when he invited a passing child to strike a coin that I realised his true role. Then we popped into a few bookshops, checked out a few restaurants for future reference, and quested for parking permits.

Tomorrow we head off to the internetless wilds of a campsite in Broadstairs - probably by way of Dover Castle, since they've done up the keep since we went there last.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Just got back from a short trip away - two days staying with my parents in the north of the Cotswolds, then hopping a mere 11 miles or so into Worcestershire for the Evesham Morris weekend. Although it was so close to where I was brought up, Evesham didn't feel at all like home. Home means rolling hills and Cotswold stone, not flat plains full of asparagus, and red brick houses.

Still, it was all very enjoyable. With my parents, the theme of the trip was apparently historic houses that remain largely as they were in the 16th century, due to having impoverished Catholic owners. We did Chastleton House on Thursday, and Coughton Court on Friday, both of which were pretty and interesting. However, Coughton Court lied to us, since it promised us free strawberries and cream, and then merely gave us a free strawberry mousse.

My parents had been going to give me the old VIC-20, complete with the dazzling array of intricate games that its massive 3K of memory allow it to run, but there wasn't room for it in the car, because of all the camping stuff. We did play a few games while there, though, and will get it one day.

Friday night involved more drink than it ought to have done, so I spent most of yesterday feeling very weary - not ill, just tired. We had a boat trip on the Avon, then a coach tour around various pubs. I perked up a bit in the evening, and enjoyed a ceilidh that was enlivened by some very enthusiastic 10 year old boys, who danced together with more energy than accuracy, and caused havoc wherever they went. Today started with a duck race, but sadly my duck failed to do my proud, even though I was up all night tenderly feeding it oats and grooming its feather. Then there were various processions, dance performances and the like, then home.

Things that amused me:
- The advertising banners for "supernatural ice cream."
- The house that every tour group of Morris dancers had to walk past. Its name? Mock Morris. If it did, though, it was not in a language I could understand.
- The field of sheep with a notice proclaiming "BAA access to river."

A few pics )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Well, we successfully dodged ash clouds and managed to return from our week and a half of internet-free days in only-just-Scotland (and isn't typing hard when you've been away from it?), so here is my tl;dr account of it, mostly for my own record. There will be pics. Many pics.

Adventures in the marches - part one )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Off on holiday later today. Well, unless the volcanic ash does a handbrake turn and comes racing back to Edinburgh airport. We're not flying from Southampton until 8.30 p.m., and I'd planned to go to work today, but booked it off in the end, in case we had to go up by car instead. Since everything seems okay, ash-wise, it will mean a nice leisurely day engaged in that traditional pre-holiday activity: killing zombies.

We're self-catering in Kirk Yetholm for a week from tomorrow, and then spending 3 nights in Edinburgh. We'll have no internet access while away. It was pretty difficult to find a self-catering cottage that was within walking distance of a pub and a village shop, and adding internet access to our list of requirements narrowed our choices down to... well, to about none. I think it could end up being quite a good thing, actually. It feels more holiday-ish when you're removed from the temptation to spend hours surfing the net.

I expect the holiday will consist of an awful lot of castles. Secondhand bookshops, though, are Right Out. Last time we were up north, we spent about six hours in Barter Books in Alnwick, coming out with about six bags of books, but totally failing to enter Alnwick Castle, which had been our destination. Last year, in Derbyshire, we spent about four hours in Scarthin Books, emerging with about four bags of books, and totally failing to enter whatever place we'd aimed to visit that day. I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact that half the books that jump out at me and shout "I'm interesting! Buy me!" and probably ones that would jump out at me in the library, if I took the time to look. But the ban is mostly on practical terms - aircraft baggage limits etc. If only we didn't have to bother taking boring things like clothes, and could just cram the suitcase full of books and games.

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