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)
I've been meaning for a while to walk to Winchester and back along the Itchen Way and/or the Itchen Navigation, but when deciding where to walk on a day, the extra time and expense of the ferry journey has always led me to reject the idea in favour of a more local walk. Although the lack of daylight hours means that the "and back" part of the plan is not feasible at this time of year, I thought it would be nice to combine the "there" part of it with a nice, leisurely pub lunch, and perhaps a bit of sightseeing in Winchester.

Rolling ones along the Itchen Navigation )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We were asked to dance at a firework display last night, down on the seafront in Sandown. I don't think I've been to a Bonfire Night firework display since I was... ooh, 9 or 10 years old, when, armed with bags of Bonfire Toffee (which meant black treacle toffee in my house, although to others it's cinder toffee) we headed out to a Field of Mystery. I say Field of Mystery because, chasing down my vague memories the other day, the only conclusion I could come to was that the display had taken place on a recreation ground not far from my parents' current house, where no such rec exists. I asked my parents, who also had a think, and concluded that it had been on a farmer's field not far from their current house, but they had no idea which field, or how on earth any of the audience got in or out.

More on fireworks, including a whole series of absolutely rubbish photographs )

And a few pictures from a death-defying walk )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
A walk today through the rural heartland of the island - an area I seldom venture to - then along the coast, past some Geology, before heading inland by way of a Norman church full of bishops, up a big Down, and then along the ridge back to the start.

Pictures, and rambling about rambling )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I'd intended to do a full day walk in West Wight, but when the day dawned, I decided that I'd rather spend the morning drinking tea and reading, so instead headed off after an early lunch for a walk that started from the front door.

Things seen )
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: (Vectis)
I started my coastal path walk at 16.10 last Saturday, having managed to leave work a little early. I finished on Monday at 15.06 and 30 seconds. Yes, the 30 seconds is important, since I'd spent the last two miles walking as fast as I could, desperately clock-watching as I aimed the 15.08 bus.

A rather long walk, with pictures )
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: (Vectis)
Pellinor's away LARPing all weekend, so the house held no Morris man who was duty bound to get up before dawn to dance in the summer. I decided to head out and watch the dancing, anyway. The plan was that I would join them for their post-dancing cooked breakfast, then go on a nice long walk out in West Wight, and be home by lunch. Most of this plan went very well. For once, the sun actually put in an appearance, and the sunrise was glorious. Breakfast was lovely. On my walk, the early morning sunshine was so perfect that everyone I met for the first hour, instead of just saying the usual "Good morning," said "What a glorious day!" and passed me, beaming. (Well, except for the man who was busy cleaning up after his dog, who gave me a big rant about whoever it was who hadn't cleaned up after their dog a few hundred yards back, but when he'd finished ranting, even HE said "glorious weather, isn't it?") The sea was dark blue, the cliffs were gleaming, the bluebells were like oceans, and everything was rather wonderful...

Except for the whole "and be home by lunch" part of it. I'd planned my walk in a sort of modular fashion, and although I knew the rough milage of each module, I never bothered to add them up. After I'd walked non-stop for 3 hours, I suddenly thought, "hang on. There's 14 miles of coastal path between here and the car!" I had to buy food on the way home, so didn't get home until 15.30, having left home at 04.15. So much for having a nap in the afternoon.

But the walk itself - and the sunrise - was rather wonderful.

Many pictures of May Day on the Wight )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
I spent rather too many hours reading in bed this morning on my day off, so decided to do a walk that started from the front door, rather than spend an hour driving out to and back from a car park in a more pretty place.

Here be many pictures of a walk dogged by trolls, monsters and many, many warnings of deadly danger. )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
People might remember the baffling case of the Poo In The Milk Bottle. Yesterday morning, I looked out into the back garden and noticed that a cane had appeared in the middle of the lawn. I didn't have time to investigate further, but I popped out this morning, and I see that the cane appears to be marking the location of a dollop of... something. To be honest, it looks rather pale for poo, and I'm not planning to put my nose to it to investigate its smell, but whatever it is, it's an entirely different colour from the soil in our garden and all the other various muddy worm casts, mole hills and muddy bare patches on the lawn. Who put it there? Is it related to the cane, or coincidental? More to the point, why has someone erected a cane in our back garden? Are we supposed to be digging here for pirate gold? Hoisting a flag up it? Did it fall from the sky, plummeting downwards during some terrible airborne horticultural war? Was it placed here, perhaps by some very exhausted core-dwelling mountaineers who have finally clawed their way to the surface? Is it plugging a vent that leads to unimaginable eevill? What will happen to us if we remove it?

cane
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I had to work on Tuesday evening, so emailed Pellinor during the day to tell him that there was a ready meal (stew and dumplings) waiting for him in the fridge. After I got home, he bent to put something in the fridge, then gasped, saying, "Oh! It IS there!" It turned out that, despite the fact that the fridge only had about 8 other things in, he had entirely failed to find the stew and had ended up eating a pasta bake from the freezer, on the grounds that when I'd said "fridge" I must have meant "freezer," and when I'd said "stew and dumplings" I obviously meant "creamy chicken pasta bake."

I went out for dinner last night with people from work, and was due to leave just before Pellinor was due home.

I wasn't taking any chances... )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
This morning, there was a dollop of poo inside an empty milk bottle I put out last night. Inside the milk bottle! There was a small smear inside the rim, but the bulk of it was neatly deposited in the bottom, implying skill and accuracy in the aiming. There is no spillage or smearing on the outside of the bottle, or on the ground around it. The two adjacent milk bottles were undisturbed, implying skill and finesse when it comes to balancing the bottom over the target without jostling any of the surroundings.

I am not wise in the ways of poo, so cannot express an opinion on who the guilty party might be, but it's a fairly sizeable dollop, suggesting something with a an internal storage capacity more like that of a cat than that of a vole. One would imagine that the height of the bottom above the ground is equal or greater to the height of a milk bottle, unless it's someone small enough to slither up the side of a bottle, or the possessor of a trampoline.

Our front doorstep is a dead end, and is sheltered by a large bush, so it's not likely to attract passing trade. Some animal has made a special trip to our doorstep and has gone to considerable effort to supply us with a neat bottled sample. Did it mistake us for a vet? Has it recently been given a lecture on the evils of fouling pavements? Why else would it carefully deposit said dollop inside a milk bottle, despite the challenges involved?
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We've spent the weekend in unexpectedly bright sunshine in Arundel, on the sort of "dancing weekend" that our mixed team favours: i.e. one in which we occasionally fit in a dance or two in between the meals. I've go no time to say much about it, since I've been writing like mad these last few weeks, trying to finish an epic fanfic before going away on Friday. This hasn't been helped by being away for the last 3 weekends. But have some pictures, anyway, and a few bullet points of Stuff Seen.

Pictures of Arundel )
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 )

Missing pic

Aug. 8th, 2014 06:46 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
This picture managed to escape from this morning's post. In real life, the missing letter was completely invisible until you looked closely. Annoyingly, the edit is a lot clearer on the photo. It still amused me, though.

 photo oods_zps5c1a0451.jpg
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: (Vectis)
I had today off in lieu of Saturday, and was determined to do a long walk, even though the weather wasn't anything like as pretty as they were saying a few days ago that it was going to be. The first 7 miles or so were along familiar territory, then I spent a couple of hours exploring downs that I've walked a few times, although not without navigation mishap, and then I plunged into unknown territory for the second half of the walk.

Given how much walking I do on the island, I'm always a bit surprised when I find huge tracts of land that I have never trod. I marvel at quaint, unknown road names (my favourite today was the junction of Beacon Alley and Bagwich Lane) and isolated farms and hidden valleys. I also tend to get lost. A lot. The reason I don't often plunge into the rural midlands of the island is that I always end up following confident, hopeful signs into wild fields, only to find that there's no sign of any walked way at all and no apparent way out of the field. I've even chosen named bridlepaths today (The Worsley Trail, then The Shepherds' Trail) thinking they would be better labelled, but only about a third of the path junctions had useful signs on them. At times, I was reduced to following horse hoofprints, on the assumption that the horse must know best. Other times, with no hoofprints visible, I even found myself going, "cowpat. Cowpat. Cowpat. Cowpat. Horse manure! Yay! I'm on track!"

Anyway... Here are some pictures of random things seen along the way. )
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: (Vectis)
Since we can't do Walk the Wight this year, due to being in Italy, I thought I'd do the route of its second half today, coming back by a more scenic route that took in the coast and lots of bluebells.

Here be far too many pictures )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
We've walked the entire coastal path this weekend: 28.5 miles on Friday (of which 27 were officially on the coastal path, and the rest was getting to and from it), 28.5 on Saturday, and 19 yesterday, in torrential, non-stop rain.

I've walked all of this before, some parts of it many, many times, so I only took my camera with me on day one, when the weather was lovely. Carrying it is a bit awkward, so I didn't bother on the other two days. I wrote a full account of the entire route, with many photos, when I walked it all in 4 days a couple of years ago: here, here, here and here.

Write-up, with a few pictures of Day One )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
We walked to Carisbrooke and back today. This was much the same walk that I did a month ago, although we took a different random meandering route through the forest, and instead of popping into the church, we popped into the castle and had lunch (and, um, bought a bottle of subtly mint-scented mead from the gift shop and consumed it on the green). There's still some squelch around, but everywhere is a lot more summery than a month ago, with tall green grass to wade through, instead of stumpy stalks on brown fields.

A few pictures )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
Yesterday we incorporated a trip to Brading Roman Villa into a day-long walk across the island

Pictures, rude Romans, a vanished manor and a lost lifeboat )
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: (Vectis)
Lovely weather this weekend, so I've spent much of it outside and walking.

Landslips in West Wight )

Changed plans and churches )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
Today I found myself with an hour to kill on the south coast, in between storytimes, so stopped en route to look at some of the changes the recent weather has wrought. I couldn't get to the big things: the big cliff falls, the collapsed sea walls, and, worst of all, the stretch of main road - full of houses - that has half disappeared. But I did get a few pictures of the somewhat less drastic things: )

Mice!

Feb. 7th, 2014 10:13 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
In the past, I think, I've posted pictures of my Morris mice and my Song of Mice and Fire, so I think readers are prepared for the latest manifestation of the mouse-making art.

The Mouse of Sauron )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
We went for a walk today on the Back of the Wight, through deserted Chines and smuggler haunts. It was good walking weather - cold, but not too cold when walking, and very sunny.

Here are some pics )

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