I jetted off to London very early on Saturday morning, as it was the 40th birthday party of a good friend of mine. I caught up with loads of people I’d not seen for years (friends of his who moved away from London, or people that I’ve known through him but who weren’t London-based), bopped, ate, chatted, laughed and generally had a fab time. I also got to see my godson (40-yr-old-friend’s son), he’s such a great kid. When I arrived in Brockley (I was staying there again, unsurprisingly) I had to walk to my friend’s place where I was staying the night through streets that I covered when I was health visiting, so I kept finding myself thinking “oh, such-and-such a kid lives there, he must be 3 by now”. I didn’t bump into any former clients though.
Then yesterday I managed to snatch a few hours with HD who had been visiting his family (near-ish London) for the weekend. The weather turned out to be lovely and warm so we spent most of the time sunbathing in St James’ Park (which is my favourite of the central London parks), apart from a bit of a shoe-shopping diversion (Miss Lisa would have been proud of me) due to my (normally comfy and well-behaved) boots having given me some evil blisters. In St James’ Park we discovered that trying to snuggle isn’t very easy when you’re in deckchairs.
In other news, I’m getting confirmed this coming Sunday!
Thanks for your comment today Ian – I’ve had only minimal internet access this month, and Greenbelt has had so much going on I’ve only just managed to get to the internet cafe. I’ll do a proper entry when I get back to the Stately Pile (very soon – I’ve missed it!), but here’s a flavour of the month:
* I’ve been in sarf London seeing lots of friends (including house-sitting for a week for Mary, see “A Raid on the Inarticulate” link to the left), which has been fantastic but very manic as there were a lot of people to fit into not much time.
* I did some culture (Kandinsky exhibition at Tate Modern – well worth a look, it’s on for another month if anyone’s interested).
* I walked along a bit of the Thames Path that I’d not done before, round the Dome. It was a great walk, although it was a bit smelly.
* I met Cal (of “What’s for Afters”, see link to the left) and we went to Evening Prayer at Southwark Cathedral. We were relegated to a side chapel, as the main cathedral was full of a Bollywood film crew packing up after a day’s filming. Which was slightly surreal.
* I did a monster walk in the North York Moors which was rather fun, if a bit boggy, and I still have the blisters to prove it.
* I’ve had some Hot Dates (with the same person) 😀
* I did a couple of weeks of health visiting in Bermondsey which was a good experience, if a bit bonkers at times as they were so short-staffed so I ended up doing stuff that a bank staff member wouldn’t normally have done (like attending a case conference). I was really glad I hadn’t forgotten what to do, and in fact I rather enjoyed it all.
* I’m at Greenbelt! So far the only worship I’ve managed to go to was … ahem … Rev Gerald. Whoops. The wibmeet was good fun as usual, though it wasn’t the same without Neil or flapjacks (which I ran out of time to make). It’s a bit boggy here it has to be said!
I’ll write something coherent soon, though after the monster drive back UpNorth it might be a while before I’m totally capable of coherence. I’m just about to go to a contemplative worship thingy, as I’m feeling a bit heathenly. See you very soon 🙂
I’ve been in Brockley for the last week – I’m a bit peopled out, as obviously I’ve been catching up with lots and lots of people I’ve not seen since I left 6 months ago (sorry I didn’t have time to meet up with wibbers/SoFers, it’s all been a bit bonkers), and I’m heading back UpNorth tomorrow via my parents’ place (so I’ll be back in the Stately Pile on Friday). While here, amongst other things I’ve attended a trustees meeting (of the charity I’ve been a trustee of for the last few years), gone to Brighton (it was very wet!), made it through a very low-key Mothers’ Day service at church, finally watched “Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (it made me laugh), saw my godson, went to a birthday party, and today I went to a study day on postnatal depression (I still need to do HV/nursing study days for when I reregister) and gave lots of thanks that I’m no longer a London commuter. I’m knackered! I also spent loadsamoney (ouch) getting my car fixed (major guardian angel moment there – will tell you about it when I get back) and popped into my old workplace where it seems everyone is having a baby (so I made sure I was careful which seat I sat on). It’s been great seeing people, but it’s also been really weird being here. It was all so familiar, I could go everywhere pretty much with my eyes shut, but I’m really aware it’s not home any more, and I’m looking forward to getting back to Glasgow.
Oh and I went past my old garden on the train today. I don’t think the new owner has done anything much with it yet so it looked pretty much as I left it, and at least it didn’t look horrifically overgrown or anything. I wish I could take it back with me.
I had been a bit lax and not had anything planned for this month, but as this weekend Glasgow sees an unexpected visit of wiblogger Katie and Spouse on a corporate jolly to see tomorrow’s football final, we met up this afternoon and visited the very interesting Tenement House (here are some pictures of the inside). It was interesting to read up about the history of tenement housing, which is very common throughout Glasgow (the Stately Pile is a tenement flat) and also in Edinburgh as well (Katie lived in an Edinburgh tenement many moons ago). It was full of period features, and was a fascinating glimpse into turn of the (20th) century Glasgow. We visited it late afternoon so really got a good feel of how dingy it could be even with the gas lighting. And I finally got round to joining the National Trust of Scotland so that should make future culture-vulturing a bit cheaper.
Afterwards we headed to the Willow Tea Rooms, but as they were about to close we ended up putting the world to rights over iced buns in M&S instead. Not the same ambience, admittedly, but it was really good to see them.
Earlier today I made a start on tiling the bathroom. I have to say it’s not the most professional looking bit of DIY I’ve ever done, but I think it will look OK as long as I don’t have my contact lenses in :). Anyway it will be an improvement on bare plasterboard, which is what it has been pretty much since I moved in. It’s a good job I went for the economy white tiles though – I really don’t have the hang of tile cutting at all (understatement). Maybe I won’t give up the day job just yet.
Just a quickie to say prayers and all good wishes for the lovely Derf, who made an all-too-brief appearance here UpNorth to be licensed yesterday evening as a Methodist Local Preacher. Fab to see you again, and maybe one day I’ll even catch one of your sermons 🙂 (if you contradict yourself I’m sure *I* won’t notice!).
Well what a fantastic weekend I just had! I had a lovely visitor staying for the weekend, and we headed out yesterday afternoon to the museum described by Bill Bryson in “Notes from a Small Island” as “one of the finest museums in the world”. And it’s literally just down the road from the Stately Pile! I’m talking, of course, about the Burrell Collection, about which Bryson goes on to say that “Among the city’s many treasures, none shines brighter, in my view, than the Burrell Collection.” It’s the private collection of Sir William Burrell, a shipbuilder who left the entire collection to the city of Glasgow in 1944 with the stipulation that it be displayed in a country setting within the city’s boundaries (in order to be accessible to the locals but avoid the damage of the city’s air pollution). No suitable place was found until the present purpose-built building was built (that’s a lot of builts and buildings in one sentence!) in the 1970s, so for a long time the collection was just packed up and sat in warehouses, which is amazing when you think that it includes Rodin sculptures, incredible Chinese pottery, amazing huge tapestries and all sorts of random stuff. It was great. I liked the Islamic art section a lot, and also the Gothic religious stuff (especially the five nuns, who looked like they were about to burst into a bawdy rendition of something rude). I also really liked the current exhibition of paintings by Joseph Crawhall. I’d never heard of him but really loved his paintings – simple, but stunning (the exhibition is on till mid-April, so get in while you still can – and what’s more, amazingly, the whole place including special exhibition is totally free!). It certainly lived up to the hype.
Last night we had a meal out with some Ship of Fools friends at my local Indian restaurant – I was worried I’d never find anywhere as good as the Babur (Brockley’s finest) when I moved, but this place was great, the food was just lovely, not at all expensive and it’s about a minute’s walk away. And they do takeaways 🙂 Yay.
[Forgot to add the quote of the evening: “A fish supper isn’t a proper fish supper without Irn-Bru in a glass bottle” (strathclydezero)]
And according to the scales today I’ve lost about half a stone, so tomorrow I’m going to attempt the jeans that I’ve not been able to do up this year. Very happy about that.
… but uploading photos from my weekend in Belfast is so much more fun!
I’ve just had the best weekend. One of my closest friends from London moved to Belfast a couple of months after I moved to Glasgow, and this is the first time we’ve got together since I moved up here in September. It was also my first ever time in Ireland, and I thought it was just lovely. After a ridiculously short flight (we didn’t have to cruise at altitude, it was just 10 minutes going up and then 10 minutes coming back down again!) we caught our breath, dumped my stuff in her house and then headed off to a local hotel bar to catch up over some wine. Yesterday we took a drive up north along the Antrim coast road, aiming for the wonderful, world famous World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway. It was amazing to me that all along that coast you could see Scotland really close – one thing we were really blessed with all weekend was fantastic weather, not warm but bright and sunny, it was wonderful and meant that we had great views. At its closest point Scotland is only about 20 miles away. The Causeway itself is really impressive, though as it was starting to get a bit late in the afternoon and was so bright my photos haven’t come out as well as they might have done. We clambered all over it, though I have to say that whilst my friend was bounding gazelle-like across the rocks, the animal I most closely resembled was a hippopotamus – this outdoor business really doesn’t come that naturally to me, much as I’d like it to! Afterwards we had a late lunch in Portrush before heading back home and then out again to Nick’s Warehouse to eat, planning on going to a couple of bars afterwards. We were, however, entirely defeated by the copious amounts of alcohol and – particularly in my case – the most humungous and absolutely stunning chocolate pudding ever, and were so full (not to mention very merry) that we decided to get a cab home again at the stunningly late time of 9 o’clock! We really know how to live! Our cab driver (a mad Derby fan who was lamenting his team’s loss to Colchester in the FA Cup earlier in the day but looking forward to meeting some “Derby slappers” in a couple of weeks when he goes over to catch some football) was hilarious and had us crying with laughter all the way home. Once back we got into our PJs, flopped onto the sofas and watched “Friends” (4 episodes!) – perhaps not the most hip and happening way to spend an evening in a city that’s definitely on the up, but it was perfect for us.
This morning we met one of S’s friends for brunch in a seafront cafe before returning having a wander round the Stormont estate (S lives a short walk from Stormont, which is the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly when it meets, although as the Peace Process has somewhat stalled the Assembly members haven’t actually met there for a couple of years now). The grounds were lovely, although the drive up to Stormont is deceptively long – just as well after last night’s pudding, we really needed to do something to work it off! We did manage to get shouted at by a scary loudspeaker when we explored a bit too close to the side of the main building, but other than that it was a leisurely stroll round the estate before returning home again for a late lunch and the rest of the afternoon putting the world to rights again. Just like old times.
Here are some of my pics. The first one is along the Antrim coast road, and you can see Scotland in the background:
This one is further along the coast road, and Scotland is in the background again:
These are a couple of signs which made us laugh (especially the second one) and think “Only in Ireland …”:
This is one of my pics of Giant’s Causeway, which really reminds me of those pictures the satellite sent back from Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) last year:
And finally this is me at Stormont (the sky really was that colour):
When can I go back?
After a relatively (read: Very Very Very) quiet start to the year social-life wise, this week is all of a sudden hotting up. After Sunday’s gig, yesterday evening I had supper at the curate’s place – wonderful evening, I really enjoyed it, and can’t let it go without mentioning that her poor kitty with the surgical collar to stop her scratching herself had an identical expression to Puss in Boots from Shrek 2, so that even a diehard dog person like me couldn’t fail to fall for her. Tonight is free, but tomorrow night I’m meeting up with some friends from England who are staying in Scotland for the week. Tomorrow night has turned into a very popular going-out night – I’ve already had to turn down a ticket for another Celtic Connections gig (Eliza Carthy & the Ratcatchers), and when I got back last night I had a message that another friend from London is working in Glasgow tomorrow, staying tomorrow night and wanted to meet up, I felt so awful saying I was already doing something. Honestly, this social life business is like London buses – nothing for ages then 3 at once. I’m also out Thursday and Friday evenings so all my good intentions to do more PhD studying are going to be sidelined if I’m not careful. Balance. How does that happen? (Answers on a postcard…)
In other totally unrelated news, I am NOT a teenager. So what’s with the spots? Gah. This should have happened 20 years ago.
And in still other unrelated news, today I am working (*cough*) from home on something that had an original deadline of last September. If you hear that Katie has fainted in the next day or so, it’s my fault.
Over at Smudgie’s blog you have a chance to support a much worthier loser-of-weight than me. Please sponsor her and the Smudgelets to Walk the Wight in May – all proceeds to Earl Mountbatten Hospice which is doing so much (though not as much as Smudgie herself!) to look after her dad.
Note to self – 2 pints of beer = 5 weightwatchers points. In other words, a quarter of your daily allowance. Whoops.
It was good to give derf a send-off as she heads back down south though (I’m still very amused that I now refer to Durham as “south”), courtesy of a local pub which, a few years back, was CAMRA’s UK Pub of the Year. It was a not too bad walk from my place, but the walk was definitely worth it, particularly as my local (at the end of the road) looks like a bit of a “local’s local” and has evil karaoke. Conversation ranged from George Galloway (boo, hiss) to what churches I should Mystery Worship, via Canadian youth hostels (and hooray I got to drag out my bear story again – have dined out on that one for years!) and crap essays. Good stuff, and very good for me to get out and about and have a bit of a life. Though of course we will miss derf very much this side of the border.
Thanks for the good wishes – I’m still a bit knackered, but feeling a bit less crappy. I have supervision on Monday, so I think I’m going to try to see if we can set a few more concrete deadlines so that I feel a bit less aimless. I also went to the gym today for the first time since I moved to the Stately Pile (ie over a month), as I know that when I’m in better shape physically I have more energy and more motivation and am less mopey. So I’m feeling very self-righteous, even though all I was basically doing was working off the beer. Oh well.
Tonight I’m off to a seminar with my supervisor (something about concepts of care I think) and – hooray! – tickets have now been bought so on Sunday I am going to see the Michael McGoldrick Band with a couple of my fellow postgrads. Very excited indeed about that.