–5– I’ve woken up before the break of day today, a bit perhaps unconsciously planned. Yesterday I spent some time thinking and speaking about how much I need to get back into writing regularly. It is a good, healthy thing for me. And right now I will take anything that will make me healthy! I’ve had a terrible month of sickness in March, which I very much could have done without. And pushing myself back into work/normal life has just ended up with me having a secondary infection (nothing major). I’ve gone to the Doctor now and got myself some antibiotics, so I hopefully should be back to good health in a day or two. But it is a reality check that I need to slow the pace of life down at bit from what it’s been.
I said to Jimbo yesterday that perhaps I’m not writing as much these days because I don’t think I’m doing anything particularly exciting anymore. But actually, I’m doing all the things I’ve wanted to do. When I lived in Oregon, I wanted to move to London, continue to travel, and overall live a good, active life (hopefully with a kickass husband). There was much striving and talking about it on this here blog which some of you may remember. All that ambition to do it has ended up with me getting it. And now that I’ve got it, I don’t want to talk about it as much. It’s a weird thing to consider. It’s kinda like when a band release their debut album, which they have most likely spent years on writing and creating, and everyone loves it. They get some fame and notoriety, spend a couple years on the road touring. Then they make the second album and it’s like a bit of the magic is lost. The passion in the music and lyrics isn’t there as much anymore. They’ve done what they meant to do and it’s hard to come up with something new when you’ve been busy doing what you were trying for so many years to do. God, I hope I’m not really suffering from Sophomore jinx, am I? Let’s hope I have a long successful career of blogging in front of me or else you’ll be sad and incredibly bored.
But enough of that. Let’s write a bit about all the things I have been up to this year. If I remember correctly, I have only been out of the country once so far. That was a trip to Hannover, Deutschland in January for MIL’s birthday. It was a short weekend trip with much driving and darkness. Like literally dark. Northern Germany in the beginning of January doesn’t get much sunlight. From the small bit we got to see in the daylight of Hannover and Hamelin (Where the Pied Piper was from. No, I didn’t know that either.) I really liked it and would be very interested in going to see it in the summer when the Maschsee is loaded with boats and people enjoying the weather. Also Hannover looks to have some fantastic formal gardens. And a newsflash: German wine is really quite tasty. It’s mostly white and some of it is sparkly. The none sparkly one tastes a bit grass like to me, which I like. We stopped for a loo break at a bit of a fancy pants restaurant on Maschsee when we were wandering about and decided to have a glass of wine while we were there. It was the best one we had all weekend, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to find it again! We will just have to go back to Germany and try to find it and I’m totally not against that.
Pied Piper and his gang of merry rats
A church and a very slippery cobblestone road
Jimbo in the schnee!
Maschsee probs more fun in the summer
Trees in the mist
Weeping ash in the mist
The big highlight so far has been the American family invasion of London and then going up to Scotland for the main party with both families for our second, greedy wedding ceremony. A few travellers came over early from America and spent some time in London with us, which we really enjoyed. They got to help celebrate Jimbo’s 30th birthday too at our favourite Sri Lankan restaurant. After a few days of seeing the sites and seeing our favourite pubs, we headed up to Oban for the main event. It was so much fucking fun to have both families trapped at Cologin holiday village on the West Coast of Scotland just outside Oban. I think perhaps the children had the best time as they were allowed to run freely around the grounds, chase sheep and throw stuff at each other. Actually, I wish I did that too. It was great fun and we left the ceremony proceedings and location a bit of a surprise for everyone. We had a full on pagan ceremony at a very old broken down Kirk called Kilbride just down a path from where we were staying. I think it was absolutely perfect for me and Jimbo. I spent the whole ceremony holding back tears as I was enjoying so much the connection with nature the ceremony had. I made it to our tree planting (it was an Apple tree, eating apple) bit of the ceremony before losing it. Trees and love and nature: a step to far for Colleen. The rest of the time we were busy eating masses of cheese and Jambon de Bayonne, hiking and making our way through 5 bottles of single malt, many ciders and many beers. We managed to escape the holiday village for a trip to Mull and Iona on the Monday, which was fun except for the lack of places to eat on Iona. The weather held at the perfect moments that day and I am grateful for seeing Iona and the Scottish Coos in full on sun with my family. We had another little shin dig on the Tuesday night with dinner and a ceilidh (like Scottish square dancing) before most people headed off in the morning. It was probably for the best as Thursday morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow at Cologin. I wasn’t expecting that, but it made for a beautiful hike up in the hills that day.
Drinks at the Queen’s Head
Drinks in St. Pancras Betjeman Arms before going up to Scotland
Me and my Nini
We aren’t being rude, we are asking for blessings from the spirit of the East
We better get this planting depth right.
Snowdrops were out and looking grand at Kilbride
Fam on Iona with cows
Drinks at the pub
A rainbow spotted on a hike
Snowy but wet hike
the end of the Jambon de Bayonne
Since then we have been busy recovering mentally, emotionally and financially from the Scottish adventure. We did manage to sneak up to Malvern last week to see Jimbo’s parents and their new home. The weather was great and we had some excellent ciders and got to play skittles, which is one of my favourite British pastimes to participate in.
Jimbo on the top of North Hill
In London we have been good and working our way through our one new pub and one cultural event each month challenge. So far:
January Culture: Protests!
January Pub: King and Co in Clapham for me and I can’t remember the one for Jimbo
My favourite protest design
February Culture: A talk at Royal Geographic Society by the team creating the Transcaucasian Trail (which we definitely want to do at some point!)
February Pub: pre-drinks for talk at The Queens Arms
March Culture: Andrew Hunter Murray at Soho Theatre
March Pub: The Pepys in the City
For April we are going very high brow, but you’ll have to wait and see what we have for that. I am really enjoying the push to go out and do something new and different every month. It’s easy to slip into a regular routine and forget about all the fantastic things London has to offer.
Besides all that, we are SOOOO looking forward to our trip to Austria at the end of the month. We have three days in Vienna and then 6 days camping on the Danube in Mostviertel, the heart of their perry (called ‘most’) and wine production country. We have a couple of bikes lined up as well, so hopefully the weather is nice for many good long cycle rides. There are also some other trips for the summer booked in, but I will tell you more about that on another post.
Ahhhh, the sun has now risen, the cat is asleep on the couch with me and I have finished my second cup of tea. I think I may just sneak back into bed for a quick kip. Yep, I definitely feel better for writing. Thanks for sticking through it to the end. Let me know how you all are doing out there. Cheers