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Tegernsee

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We spent 5 days in Tegernsee last week, which is on Tegernsee. At 730 meters or so above sea level, it is a snow melt fed lake at the foot of the Alps. The water is insanely clear and hovered in temperature just above freezing.

I find it interesting on holiday when I come to a place like this and end up not spending as much time as I envisaged seeing the bit that interest me. The stay started with a walk from the train station down to the lake. There was a stop for coffee and then a stop on a bench along the shore to take in the view. After that it seemed our visits to the lake were fleeting, walking to get somewhere else. Well, except of course that very fleeting visit INTO the lake when we were at the sauna. A little sign inside said Tegernsee was 1 degree Celsius. We went in three times.

We had a slightly drunken walk along the lake at night after the afternoon sauna and a slow meander in the morning of our departure to burn some minutes. And then, it was all over. That thing I waited so long to see, was slowly disappearing behind the trees as we slowly rolled away in our train back to Munich.

I will try harder to stop take in and appreciate my surroundings. It’s never a waste of time.

 

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Snowflakes falling

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I walked out of the office yesterday with a head full of all the things I didn’t do at work that day. A rainstorm had moved in an hour earlier and a light rain continued as I got on my bike. As I made my way through the hurried, wet streets of central London, I couldn’t shut off the work related thoughts, my mind turning over and over on what I could have done and how I should have done it.

This isn’t unusual.

Recently I began a course on worry management. Its aim is to not stop worrying, but tone down what may be excessive worry (aka anxiety) through different management techniques. It’s not easy. Not when you’ve spent most of your life in this ceaseless cycle.

So as I churned through these thoughts I realized I needed to stop and think of other happy things or, even better, pay attention to everything that is going on around me. And   in London there are no shortage of stimuli to take in especially on a rainy night. Unfortunately, for someone like me who has trodden the same path for many years, I don’t pay nearly as much attention to what is going on around me other than what is going to keep me safe. So I employed a technique (I don’t know what it’s called) where you think about what you are sensing. It’s kind of an eye spy for your five senses. You set out the rules as you see fit. You may want to identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. Whatever best fits the scenario.

At first it was a bit of a battle to fight off the work thoughts, but after a few minutes of perseverance I was deep into a game of description of all the things I was trundling past on my bicycle. The sound of wet tires on the tarmac. The clicking over of  bicycle gears. Various languages being spoken by strangers. Cold rain peppering my face. Neon lights from shop windows. Snot dripping down on my lips. Dank smell from the fish & chip shop.

Before long I was in Tooting Common and looked down to see small flecks of snow on my damp jeans. The snow had begun to mix in with the rain and my pace fell slightly as I took in the moment, quickly thinking back to the last time I’d seen snow falling in the Common. Tonight the Common was almost entirely empty except for a few hardened runners. Quickly the winter mix turned to full snow. By the time I got home, it was big, beautiful lumpy snow. And the thoughts of what had happened during the day had disappeared. All that mattered now was the snow falling now on my hands.

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Sober times are sauber times

We’ve been sober since Thursday night. This is due to a new years resolution in 2019 to be sober one weekend a month. It doesn’t sound hard, two days and three nights without going for a pint. BUT IT IS. We were meant to be sober last weekend, but failed spectacularly by the Saturday night (after 5 days of sobriety).

So in preparation for this weekend, we went out for a couple of pints on Thursday night on our way home. We had one quick one down at the Priory Arms in Stockwell before heading to Mondo Brewing’s tap room in Battersea. It’s run by a couple of Americans and has a friendly bar manager, Diego, slinging pints. It was a nice time. There was a fleeting moment where an Irish pub seemed like a good next step, but it didn’t come to fruition luckily for the sake of both of us.

We spent most of the weekend doing DIY and cleaning our house. Like putting up shelves and varnishing levels of DIY and hoovering under the bed in the spare room type of cleaning. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. It was fine. Boring, but fine. The hardest point was playing a match of Dutch Billiards which house rules stipulate BIH (Beer/beverage in hand). The cup of herbal tea was not cutting it, so I needed to take a technical time out and get to the shop to get non-alcoholic beers. It was worth the TTO as my game improved and I was able to come through with a strong win.

So while we may find these weekends a bit of a bore, they actually do serve an important purpose of slowing us down for a few days every month. Hopefully they won’t all involve DIY. It’s something we struggled to do last year as we were in constant upheaval from getting our tiny business started. It sucked up a lot of time and brain capacity. While it was fun figuring out the logistics of cider, it was like I was constantly processing information. If it wasn’t the day time job, it was the business. I know I’m only 36, but I can totally see how people have mid-life crises. That amount of stressy shit will bring you down if you don’t find some sort of balance quickly. I have to say, although we’re only a couple months into this year’s production, things are a lot smoother and easier, despite a 50% increase in production. Long may this continue in 2019.

Another thing we’ve done to improve our mental states is booking in a chilled out holiday this year. 2018 holidays were really fun, filled with family and good times, but utterly lacked much in the way of down time. Our plan originally was to visit Chile in April for a 16 day whirl wind tour, but after more thinking we thought we should do something more relaxing. So we’ve booked a 16 day, do-nothing-but-look-at-Atlantic-Ocean-and-fjords-and-sheep excursion to the Faroe Islands. Random choice, I know. But seriously, if you haven’t seen photos of the Faroes, they are totes incredible looking. Google it now! They’re very developed, so you can get around on public buses and ferries without too much hassle. Plus, we’re staying in a house with a mother effin’ sod roof! Count me in, folks.

So hopefully these small interventions will make a big difference.

I realize I haven’t posted my 2019 new years resolutions, so here they are:

– one weekend off booze every month
– read 15 books
– write minimum 3 times a month (2 online)
– continue Germany proficiency
– big walk in Tooting Common/month
– 1 London cultural event/month
– bring back disc golf to my life

I’m looking forward to the disc golf. I think both of us are. It’s about 40 minutes to get to the course down in Croydon, so it’s a bit of a trek. If you really want to enjoy it and get half decent, you need to go regularly. We hope we can do this.  I have started doing shoulder exercises the last couple weeks in preparation. We don’t need any partial dislocations this year to ruin the fun.

That’s it from me today. I don’t believe I’ve taken any photos recently, so I have nothing to share on that front. Sozzles. Till next time!

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So about 2018….

I see my last and only post for 2018 was in February. That sounds about right, because that was the last time I remember having much free time in the evenings. But now in the weird lull between Christmas and New Years I seem to have a bit of time and clarity. And I’m forcing myself to sit down a write again. It has not been for lack of want. Throughout this year I have come up with many moments and topics to write about, but haven’t had the will or capacity to execute. I really want to change that in the new year.

This year has been a bit sad for journaling. I was actually doing a fairly good job journalling at the start of the year, doing a few entries, especially good on trips. But back in March my lovely Green journal, detailing the previous 2 years, was left on a train between Köln and Utrecht in the front pocket of my seat along with the book I was reading. It was the start of many things I lost on that trip, some which didn’t end up being lost (1. I didn’t lose my eye/sight in a bungee cord accident at de Molen brewery and 2. I got my wallet back after leaving it on a Alkmaar canal cruise a few weeks later). I’d never lost a journal before and still was checking the Deutsche Bahn lost and found website for reports of it up until a couple months ago. I’m still sad about it. I lost a few months of journaling because sad. So for my birthday this year I got myself a new journal, but misordered  and got the wrong the wrong size. It’s tiny and actually not very fit for purpose. I will continue to use it though until it’s written through regardless. These events have put me off writing a bit and wondering a points whether it was worth it.

But this year I found myself struggling to control anxiety. It seemed like things were ok and then suddenly I’d feel the slow creep of it to my head, finally walloping me into a very bad place. There were a few days off work as I couldn’t actually bear the thought of having to speak to humans (cats were fine). It would have sent me into a full panic attack. I work with a lot of humans I really like every day, so it made it even worse knowing I was missing work with these people. Good old anxiety.

So maybe stopping to breathe, to gather my thoughts and slowing down will make a difference in 2019. Part of that for me is writing. So I’m going to start again in 2019 with blogging (and keep journalling). I’m going to fucking force myself not to go out and not to book things in every weekend or even weekday for us to do. Even tonight when we’ve done so much the past week, there was still a draw to go to the pub or fill the evening with some event after work even though I knew I wanted to come home and write this. It’s going to be hard to slow down, but with frenetic London life naturally losing pace in January I hope I can reset a bit. I will be aiming for 2019 to be back with at least 2 posts right here on this blog every month. It’s a small, but important commitment I am making with myself. I’m imagining some longer posts with some smaller moments that I would like to capture, something similar to the b-rolls of GBH.

Any ways, here’s a shot from the New Forest in August. I stuck my head out of our tent in the morning and this is what I saw. I wanted to get up and take some more photos when some ponies wandered by, but within 10 minutes all the fog had cleared and I missed my opportunity. I’m pleased I got this one photo none the less. Happy new years folks.

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New Year and the Resolutions

2018 is weird. I was contemplating in the shower, thinking about this post, and realized how weird 2018 is. It’s the first winter where I’ve had very little going on in about 5 years. No grad school. No engagements. No weddings to plan. No major holiday. Nothing. The lack of stuff going on is not a normal feeling.  And, truly,  it feels so good.

I’ve set a few resolutions for 2018, but the overriding theme was to take the stress, the rushing around out of my life. Sort of taking the wind out of my sail, so I can stop and and take a good look around to see how good things are. Luckily the circumstances of life have come along to assist with slowing things down. It’s worked. I feel a lot better. Except for that one time a couple weeks ago when I lost my cool and yelled “YOU’RE A DICK FACE!!” into some guy’s car who refused to get off his mobile while driving. Yeah, besides that, I’m pretty darn chilled out.

Resolutions this year:

1. Read 12 books – In the past I’ve set this goal as high as 50 (and done it) but this year, in order to chill, I set it really low. It also means if I want to read a really long novel I can without feeling the pressure.

2. Walk the Capital Ring with Jimbo – The cat bought Jimbo the Capital Ring OS book and told us to walk it in 2 years. We decided to do it in one. So far, we’ve completed 3 segments totalling 20 of the 78 miles. And as a bonus, a few of our friends want to do it with us. The walk always ends at a pub as a reward. The walk is a continuation of the monthly cultural event we did last year and so is the reward pub. We’re looking forward to the rest of the walk.

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When we finished the first segment: Woolwich to Falconwood.

3. 6 weeks of 6 pints – I realize there are more than 6 weeks in the year, but this was to kickstart my year. As you may know, I like going to the pub and having a drink. It’s one of the bestest things in the world (and I’ll be heading there tonight in fact). We also have all of the cider we could ever want to drink in our garden. Unfortunately, it became clear that I was suffering from too many pints, despite a good diet and good exercising. So I decided to only have six pints a week for the first six weeks of the year to see how I feel. To some that is still a lot, but not to me. Did I stick to six pints? No, except the once. It was more like seven or eight a week. It has helped me feel a lot better physically. Six pints meant I could still go to the pub and have a nice time, but it was limited to only a day or two a week instead of three or four. I’m going to continue this for as long as I can. The cap is lifted on holidays.

4. Run once a week, strength train once a week – This was part of the six week plan too. It was done to prepare myself for my skiing holiday next week. Yes, I did say skiing holiday. That’s not a typo. When I set it, I thought I would see if I could keep it up and I did surprisingly. I haven’t run this regularly in a few years and I am happy to have running back in my life. Coupled with less drinking, I’ve lost a couple pounds, which will  definitely pick up once my walking at work picks up next month. Though I have been working out more, I have found solace in Doritos at work. As soon as I’m mostly out of the office, this  Doritos addiction will need to stop!

5. Stop the stress – If you are a reader of this blog in the past, you’ll know I sometimes struggle with depression and anxiety. Last year I had both going on, taking a toll on my ability to work. To help we that, me and the other half started making up relaxing tea mixes in the evenings. Valerian, hemp leaf, catnip, tulsi, mistletoe and a few others. I couldn’t say it is just the teas that have made a difference, because other things changed at the same time to help me. All I know is I haven’t suffered from debilitating anxiety or depression since we began having the tea. We are definitely going to continue taking it. If you are interested in the blends we make let me know. We source all our teas from Indigo Herbs. So besides the tea,  running, exercise and less alcohol are aiding my less stress. Being conscious of when things are starting pile up and knowing when to step back is another way of coping. Walking the capital ring, talking with friends is another way. Petting fluffy cats is pretty good too.

I think that’s it. At least that’s all I can remember at the moment. Anyone have any interesting resolutions or goals for 2018? Let me know. Hope you’re all happy and healthy out there! Cheers.

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Penis art on a tree

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Wassailing! I finally got to use my cowbell.

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Waiting for Sunrise

–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.

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Pied Piper and his gang of merry rats

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A church and a very slippery cobblestone road

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Jimbo in the schnee!

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Maschsee probs more fun in the summer

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Trees in the mist

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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.

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Drinks at the Queen’s Head

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Drinks in St. Pancras Betjeman Arms before going up to Scotland

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Me and my Nini

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We aren’t being rude, we are asking for blessings from the spirit of the East

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We better get this planting depth right.

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Snowdrops were out and looking grand at Kilbride

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Hiking buddies

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Fam on Iona with cows

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Drinks at the pub

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A rainbow spotted on a hike

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Snowy but wet hike

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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.

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Severn Valley

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Jimbo on the top of North Hill

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Ledbury

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Skittles!

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

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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

 

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Make 2017 Great Again

We are only 12 1/2 hours from a new year. I think I can confidently say the majority of people I know are looking forward to this annus horribilis of worldly events to being behind us. The only think saving this year for me are the Cubs winning the World Series and marrying Jimbo. And to be fair, those are two substantially positive things. They almost tipped the year into the positive, but came up a tad bit short. Despite it all, I am happy and healthy at this years end, which bodes well for 2017.

I have come up with a shortlist of resolutions for 2017, which should be achievable. My 2016 goals kind of floundered (mostly the writing one), which doesn’t please me. I think I ended up writing 45 out of the 100 times I was supposed to. I probably failed the other ones if I could remember what they were (likely fitness related). In my brain it felt as though there was not any extra capacity to do such leisurely things. The whole year has been a test of trying to get through everyday, accomplishing everything that needed be done before the next day arrived. The last week and a half have felt pretty decadent with the amount of lounging around the house we have done. And now we have another couple days of it. I would like to title 2017 the Year of Leisurely Pursuit aka Recover from 2016. Ok here are my resolutions:

  1. Read 30 books – I made it through 21 this year, a far cry from the 40-50 I used to get through, but with work and a demanding husband it won’t be possible to read more than 30.
  2. Visit one new pub in London every month – Easily achievable. Hopefully this will get us out on the town either after work or on the weekends.
  3. Go to Culture once a month – We don’t go out and experience the cultural side of London very much at all (it’s primarily pubs). I don’t want to leave London and a have a long list of things I wish I would have done. Every time we go out and do something vaguely cultural (i.e. Catnip Festival) we seem to enjoy our time or at least have a lot to discuss or think about afterwards.
  4. Workout at least once a week – This isn’t very ambitious, but some weeks I easily fail this mission. So we will set the bar low and hope to get two to three workouts in a week in reality.
  5. I can’t think of anything else at this time.

I want to have a writing goal, but maybe if I don’t set one I won’t feel as pressured to do it and may be more inclined to do it.

I have some photos for you of what I’ve been up to (honeymooning). I lost my fucking camera before the wedding and lost a couple months of photos. I’m totally not upset by it. So everything I have is post marriage.

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Coco de mer palms are badass

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They also have a great phallic pollen catkin type things. And I want to touch them.

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I spent a lot of time with a drink in my hand staring into the ocean on honeymoon.

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What we’ve been doing since October.

Let’s hope for a prosperous 2017 for humanity and the environment. If not, carpe diem until the icebergs melt.

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Blogging never felt so good

25/100 Well well well.  I’ve gone ahead and decided to show my face again. Even after all these months.  You see…I’ve been quite busy with stuff.  And like I mentioned in my previous couple posts, my bloody computer is still mostly busted! I did take it to Apple to see if they could fix it, but them being super clever said “oh no, we can’t fix it. It’s too old. By the way, have you seen our new Macbook Pros downstairs?” And once I could escape their over the top Apple employee robots, I took my broken laptop and ran. The “genius” said my video card was dunzo. I didn’t really believe the guy. So a couple months later when I had a chance I hooked my computer up to a TV. And suddenly before my eyes was my computer desktop on the flat screen! So, it wasn’t my video card. It is my screen. But I digress.
So I realised the other day that it’s now July (it was still July when I thought this). And I have gone 2016 without one post and it has weighed heavily on me the last week. So with the other half out on the lash tonight, I figured I would take some time to say hello. Mostly, I have a load of photos to show you because realistically you don’t want to hear a re-cap of the last 7 months of my life. Basically it’s been the busiest, funnest, craziest, emotionally draining 7 months. Jimbo and I managed to go to Spain twice, France twice, Scotland, Bristol, Kent, County Durham, Sussex and probably some other places I can’t remember. I managed to shove in a lot of studying too. Studying and practiced yielded a UK drivers license, municipal arborist specialist certification and a graduate certificate in agroforestry.

Oh also we got engaged, moved in together and have been planning two wedding celebrations.

So yeah, phew. Now that August is here, we don’t have as much traveling to do. So we are both focused on fitness training for the upcoming vow taking ceremony. It’s only a couple of months to go now and I’m adamant I will be in the shape of my life for that day. This week will hopefully be the first week I make it to boot camp twice. I’m shooting for every other day work outs until our wedding day.  I’d settle for 2-3 days a week of weight training. Coupled with this I will try and scale back the drinking binge we seem to have been on this year, especially May, June and July. Every year about this time I typically go on a drinking hiatus. I’m not sure what it is, but it always seems like the right thing to do.

Any who, I will now go into a small photo blog, showing some of the shenanigans we’ve been involved in in 2016.

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On the beach in Barcelona on a beautiful day

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Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

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Jambon festival in Bayonne, FR

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Txotx! Pronounced “chuch” it means your glasses better be empty because it’s catch some cider out of the barrel! At a Cider house in Astigarraga with Mum.

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San Sebastian, Spain.

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Txotxing by myself. I’m comfortable with it.

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Bristol. The cream canal boat is where we stayed that weekend.

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Me and the Clifton Suspension Bridge

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Wood trolley v 2.0 on Islay, SCO

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Camping at Fyne Fest

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Heaven: Fyne Fest Walkers Bar

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I think our last drinks at Fyne Fest 2016

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On the boat to Jura

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Beach cow! In Islay.

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Islay

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Wicked hike on Islay

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A day at Wimbledon Centre Court

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Only Roger Federer in person!

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Clapham Common Plane Avenue looking lovely on a Summers day

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My hops plant with burrs.

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My favorite road sign. It means I’m almost home.

I’m pretty pumped as I purchased a brand new digital camera last week. Who still buys digital cameras? I do because my phone camera sucks and it’s just not the same. My other one was due for an upgrade any ways, then it had an unfortunate accident in Scotland involving falling off a rock onto another rock. It held up for another month, long enough to get me through that trip and to come back. But then it decided to stop working, so I had to upgrade. My new one (on which the last three photos were taken) is a new Sony RX100 II.  I want some nice photos from the weddings and honeymoon, so basically I had no choice but to get one of the best compact cameras out there. So far I am pleased.

I have lots to update, but one can not do it just in one update. Hopefully with living at the same address and no more school I will have more free time as we won’t be rushing between our two separate houses in the evenings. I want to finish the year strong with posts. Hope you’re all well. I’m off to bed.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

100/100 I know you may think I may have made up that 100/100 score, but I haven’t. I’ve been on the journal writing like it’s nobody’s business the last two months to make it happen. I’m pleased to finish my goal a whole day early. Nothing like taking it to the wire.

So I’m on Christmas and New Year’s holiday here in France with James’ parents. We’ve been down here a week now and it seems to have flown by despite us not doing all that much. We’ll be back in London in a few days, but not before a visit to Biarritz and Bordeaux. I’m looking forward to both.

The last month has been like most of the end of the years for me: how many nights of drinking can I fit in each week with out seriously damaging my health and being cognizant and productive at work? I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks catching up with everyone, furiously writing Christmas cards, and fitting in as much activity as possible.

We were in Brussels a few weeks ago a couple days after “the lockdown.” It wasn’t actually too bad when we visit. There were many police and military present, but only in the touristy areas. Other bits were perfectly normal, perhaps with a few less people on the streets.

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Me on the bike in Brussels

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James trying to figure out how to work a bike made after 1980. Lolz

It’s hard to remember all the stuff we’ve been doing since we seem to be doing something or going somewhere nearly every weekend.

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James getting his cuts on.

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Me working hard, laying hedge in a slightly hungover state.

I forgot one weekend we managed to fit in some hedge laying at one of the parks near our house. If I wasn’t feeling a little hungover, it would have been better. But as it was, I really enjoyed it. The trees we were trying to lay into a hedge were completely outsized for a hedge, but we were making the most of it. It was some hard work though.

We went to our friends Jessica and Jonathan’s wedding a few weekends ago which was really good fun. We only had to journey up to Kennington and then onto Brixton, which helped make the fun easier and more accessible. Not that we wouldn’t have gone to the other side of the Earth to see J&J get married, the convenience of being able to get home in under an hour helped. We had an awesome time dancing to mostly 90s R&B. You can’t go wrong with that at all.

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Dancing by myself and I don’t care.

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Me and Jessica busting some moves. Check out my alien arm.

………
I have just taken a 5 hour break from this blog entry. In the interim I finished several glasses of beer, wine and fortified wine. Also, we got beaten by James in Phase 10 (again).  He’s going to fit into the family alright in the long term.

I’ll just post some photos and some talk of our current trip to France. We are down in the southwestern bit of France, which I have never been to before. I can see now why people seem to enjoy the southern bit of France for holidays. I can’t vouch for the eastern bit (towards Marsaille), but this western part is pretty fantastic. We will obvs be down here again, because the Parents are here. And I’m not complaining. All the sunrises and sunsets are pretty amazing. There are hardly any people around too. We are very close to the mountains too. It is like being in Bend, but without any people or any of the breweries around. It’s about on the same level of beauty, for realz.

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James looking like a bad ass over the River Saison.

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New bicycles we will be riding when we visit the france

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I’m up a mountain in the Pyrenees ! In flats!!

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Pyrenees and stuff

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Me in a rampart shooting hole thingy in Navarrenx

Tomorrow we are heading to Biarritz to pick up our food for New Years celebrations (mostly seafood for everyone but me. I will partake in some oysters, but that’s it). I’m looking forward to seeing the coast of France. It will be the first time for me.

I will leave you with some photos from the last few months. I will be back early in the new year with my 2015 best of list. Hopefully I can get my computer fixed, which is still broken. It’s doing my head in to not have a computer.

Happy new year all!!

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Apfelwein is the best!

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Me and the Jimbos at Smith Rock in Oregon. It was a lovely day to be hiking.

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Mckenzie Pass in Oregon!

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Me and Kelly in Chicago!! So happy to see her

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Gnomes at Halloween!!!!

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Smiley Jimbos in Carlisle. Before the whole thing flooded.

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Prettiest cat in the whole entire world.

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Quick!

64/100 I’m writing this as quickly as possible for a very respectable reason; my computer has been mostly broke since August. I say mostly, because the screen only works in spurts. Spurts that seemingly have no pattern. So, that is one big reason I haven’t done any posting on here. Soz. I’m thinking things have reached a breaking point and I’m going to have to take my computer in for fixing in the next couple weeks.

When I get it up and running once again, I will post a nice post and put many lovely pictures up from the last few months.  I will get one photo in for this post if it takes me all night. This one was taken in August in Frankfurt, Germany at Apfelweinfest. (I believe my computer died a couple days before the trip). Apfelwein is what English speaking people call cider. I had to accommodate James’ need to drink cider and join him on the trip. It was a burden, but these are the types of things you have to do when you are in a relationship…..

In the end I ended up loving the German cider and found it much superior to English cider. Since then, we have been schooling ourselves in the different ciders produced from various regions in England and have found Kentish cider to not be too far off the German kind.

That’s it for now. Toodles peeps.

Taking my medicine. Like they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Taking my medicine. Like they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

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