Friday 30 January 2015

Snowman's eye view of Wollaton Hall

We awoke to snow this morning, so walked to Wollaton Park to see if we could find the deer that live in the grounds.
The Hall was looking magnificent in the brilliant sunshine and I stood with a snowman to enjoy the view. Unfortunately for him, the sun was a little bit too strong and his head looked about to fall off. I callously left him to his fate and went off to look for the deer.
There are two types of deer in the Park and I always think of them as large and small, but I looked them up today and they are actually called red and fallow.
First up was a big herd of red deer relaxing on the golf course. The biggest one, who sported totally crazy antlers kept staring at me, so I carefully kept my distance.
A few minutes later we found the fallow group who were quite dainty in comparison, and they continued eating an early lunch during the photo shoot.
Finally we walked round to the front of the hall where there is a long slope that is ideal for sledging. It was quite empty as today is a school day, but there were a few intrepid tobogganers around.
When I was little we used to visit here to join in the fun, and 40 years later the sledge is still stored in my mum and dad's garage.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Bulwell Bogs

Bulwell is the nearest shopping centre to where my mum and dad live, and they have lived in the same house since before I was born.
It is not an attractive place, but I have tried to find three interesting things to tell you about.
Bulwell Bogs is a little park just next to the Market Place with the river Leen running through it. I remember visiting since I was tiny, but the stocks are a recent reintroduction.  There used to be real stocks in the same place and they were officially last used in 1911, although unofficially after that date, people were still being locked in the stocks.
Just behind the stocks is a little duck slide, and we watched as quite a few mallards enjoyed using it.
Finally, Bulwell Market is the place to buy fruit and veg, cobs and cakes, nighties and onesies, wool and kiddies clothes, fresh fish, sell your gold and eat a jacket potato - amongst other things.
As a family we used to go down there on Fridays to buy knitting wool as my dad used to own a knitting machine. He made jumpers that he sold to bring in a bit of extra money. (He also had an allotment and a full time job in the coal mines.)

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Top notch badminton

We designated 2015 as our year to see as many sporting events as possible. We have started slowly as we are nearing the end of January and we have only just got to our first one.
Our evening started well as we went for a quick pre sports wine at the Playhouse Bar in Nottingham and admired, for the hundredth time, the beautiful Anish Kapoor upside down mirror just outside it.
We are staying in Nottingham for a couple of weeks as my mum has just had a hip operation - it went well - so we went to see Nottingham play Loughborough in the new city badminton league at the Albert Hall.
It was a full house and we had great seats, and watched a fantastic display of fast paced badminton. We sat right at the front and our heads nearly unscrewed as we followed the action and the red hot shuttlecocks. Badminton is supposed to be the fastest racquet sport in the world and I guarantee that is true.
I tried to get some action shots but always miss timed them, so here are some 'waiting to receive serve' pictures, where the players have to stay still until the shuttle is on its way.
We were given free blow up clapper thingys and Darren enthusiastically got in the spirit of waving them about and hitting me with them, which got a bit wearing, but then one sprang a leak and deflated.
Ps, Nottingham won 4 - 1 in a very close fought contest. Also check out Chris Adcock in the third picture. He is the current world number six. Darren and I played against him and his mum in a league match when he was about 10 years old, but unfortunately lost to him - that's how good he is!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

William Morris Gallery

We are currently staying in East London and today we went to the William Morris Gallery to find out more about this famous Victorian.
He was born in 1834 into a very wealthy family in Walthamstow, and spent most of his childhood in a mansion called Water House.
He became a textile designer, poet, translator and social activist. His designs were very modern and avant garde for the time and he became very successful, with his wallpaper and fabrics still popular today.
His behaviour was often erratic, he had a wild temper, but he lived by the ethos - 'have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'.
I know the phrase well and it is a very useful test for us before we buy anything for our tiny campervan, so it was really nice to find out where it originated.
We also walked around the park that surrounds the house. If he was alive today I don't know what Mr Morris would have have made of Darren and his mum working out in what used to be his back garden.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Promenading in Limassol

Today is our last day in Cyprus and just when we didn't think it was possible, the sun came out.
It was a beautiful day and Darren and I revisited the harbour. Last week we could barely stand due to the wind and rain (see umbrella pics), but today we could be in a completely different country.
We took a stroll around the multi million pound yachts and then past the real boats - working fishing boats full of nets, ropes, buckets and a vaguely fishy aroma.
Finally we headed back to the hotel on the lively seafront promenade, along with hundreds of locals and tourists.
Once back at the hotel we made the most of the sunbeds as this was our only chance all week.
We are flying to England tonight and should be tucked up in bed in London by about 3am - weather permitting.

Friday 16 January 2015

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

We went on a bus trip today across the border from the Greek side of Cyprus to the northern Turkish area.
It was a bit exciting as we had to show our passports and drive across no mans land between the two areas. We heard a lot about the history of the island, but I am not going to even attempt an explanation as firstly, it is amazingly long and complicated, and secondly, I didn't really understand it.
We stopped at a beautiful ruined monastery that was high up in the hills behind Kyrenia, and then we visited the town. We wandered around the castle, the lovely harbour and had a quick refreshments stop before returning through Nicosia, the capital of the island.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Follow the never ending path

Today we caught a bus to Limassol, had a good look around and then walked back along the seafront path to our hotel.
Darren and I walked the same route two days ago in a howling gale and rainstorm, so it was very pleasant to do it again without getting soaking wet and wrestling with a very unruly umbrella.
We told Darren's mum that it wasn't far so she happily joined us. Unfortunately, our definition of 'not far' didn't really tally with hers. It also didn't help when Darren said that we just needed to walk until the path ended, and then we would be nearly there.
The path just kept going, stretching on to the horizon, which we didn't notice last time. 
Eventually we had to stop for a quick break when it appeared that the path would truly never end, and I think that Darren's mum is smiling through gritted teeth! 
However, about 100 metres after setting off again it suddenly ended, and we marched across a small beach until we stopped at a riverbed that had been dry on our last journey.
This time the final remains of yesterday's torrent was reaching the sea so we had to balance along a little shingle bank before we made it safely back to the hotel  (the fancy building in the background on pic 3).
Ps, nice to see a little bit of sunshine today.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Water problems in Cyprus

We went on an outing today into the Cypriot countryside. We travelled on a 1947 Bedford bus, together with our tour guide, 17 Finnish tourists and their interpreter.
A huge roll of thunder heralded our departure from Limassol and we headed up through Germasogeia to a reservoir.
The reservoir is very low and Cyprus currently has a big problem as they do not get enough rain to fill it.
The family had two very minor problems in comparison this morning, and both needed dealing with quickly and calmly. 
The first occurred when I pushed open a little window on the bus to try to see the reservoir through the steam and rain. In the distance I was surprised to see a large wasp and within two seconds it was in through the window and buzzing angrily about.
The Finnish interpreter was just starting her spiel while I screamed and jumped about. Fortunately, the man sitting behind me leaned over, quickly bundled the wasp up in a little curtain and ejected it.
I sat in embarrassed silence as the Finnish lady probably deviated from her script and told the whole bus that I was an idiot.
The driver then took us to a car park as we were going for a scenic walk around a village. We all filed off the bus and the road had turned into a roaring river that we somehow had to cross. I took a run and jumped it, but Darren's dad wasn't quite so athletic.
Instead he rolled up his trousers and paddled through as the water went over the top of his shoes and socks. It wasn't quite the holiday paddling that we were expecting.
He then followed behind us looking like the an extra from the film Singing in the Rain.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Limassol seafront

What can I say?  It doesn't get more glamorous than this!
Here we are enjoying a pleasant stroll along the beautiful Limassol seafront.
One of us has just bought a £70 umbrella that is guaranteed never to blow inside out. Can you guess who?

Monday 12 January 2015

Worst weather in 100 years........

....... last week here in Cyprus!

Apparently this is true, or so our hotel manager tells us. It snowed, rained loads and the temperature went down to minus 2.
Things are a lot more normal now, although not bikini temperatures yet. I went for a little walk along the beachside path and there was sand and pebbles piled up all along it, so the sea must have got pretty rough as well.
Fortunately our hotel is fantastic, and we are 'all inclusive'  so we have no incentive to venture far afield yet.
The seafront area is glorious with two scenic outdoor pools, a huge koi carp pond and sunbeds with attractive umbrellas.
All we need is a bit of heat, but in the meantime the bar and restaurant will keep us fully occupied.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Arriving in Cyprus

Quick catch up regarding the lack of blogs for the past week. I apologise but we have been socialising in Nottingham, and went out every night for the past week.
Yesterday we caught a National Express bus to London, and today we caught a flight to Cyprus!
We are here with Darren's mum and dad at an all inclusive hotel in Limassol.
Just checking out the bar and the cocktails are pretty good so far. It is now almost 1am and we are heading back to our room for cheese and biscuits.
Hope we don't have bad dreams tonight and looking forward to tomorrow when we get to see where we are.
Ps, nice hotel cat.

Sunday 4 January 2015

Wilford Suspension Bridge

It's a very frosty day in Nottingham today and we went for a walk along the river Trent. We crossed the Wilford Suspension Bridge in thick fog and then it cleared very prettily, with wispy bits left floating just above the river.
I had hoped to find out an interesting fact about the bridge to brighten up the blog, but all I know is that it also carries a gas pipe across the river.
Sorry that's really, really boring, but it's very nice in real life.