second page Oct 29, '07 12:26 AM
17 January 2007
Went to London to see Spamalot. Great for real devotees of the Pythons and an enjoyable spectacle with a couple of new parts, but a bit thin.
Unfortunately, it now looks unlikely that I will live overseas again in the near future. So I guess my travels will now be limited to holidays. Here's a pic of the corner of our lawn taken today instead of anything else. Is this another effect of global warming?
Wednesday 17 January 2007 - 05:25PM (GMT)
2 January 2007
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!
This year my son and daughter gathered here for a wonderful few days of family Christmas. I enjoyed myself so much chatting (oh, and eating and drinking - I think we might be entitled to an award for our contribution to Petersfield's bottle bank) that I didn't take any pics except of my grandson, who continues to grow and develop delightfully. He is so happy - now reacting to us and smiling. I hope we will leave him a world he will like. Here he is clearly enjoying his Christmas present (new buggy).
Wednesday 17 January 2007 - 05:19PM (GMT)
24 November 2006
Well, I didn't know before I went to France, but it was Beaujolais Nouveau day! So a great lunch with a carafe of Nouveau in old Boulogne.
What a contrast there is on the road between Calais and Boulogne. The first impression always is of ghost towns. Where is everybody before midday? Where can you stop for a coffee? The out of town hypermarkets, the monuments to the Chunnel and the terminus itself contrast starkly with the ancient rural communities, the picturesque dilapidation of the towns, the lack of High Street multiples.
Out of season now, so the main street was bereft of the crowds of British visitors. But the restaurants are still quaint (in a nice way) and serve good food if you pay enough.
Unfortunately it rained all day, so lunch was long and the stroll round the old city walls short (and few photos - see top page). I arrived back at the ferry, boot full of wine and cheese, an hour early and gained a place on the earlier boat. The Beauljolais Nouveau has gone and the cheese is fast disappearing, but the wine store should eke out until the New Year . . .
Friday 24 November 2006 - 03:30PM (GMT) 14 November 2006
Not much to say about this month. Autumn has been taking over. I have managed a couple of delightful walks through the surrounding autumn countryside. Here's a tree from my last walk. As soon as you leave the town, you lose sight of signs of human habitation (apart from the odd fence or fellow hiker!). The views are across vast areas of open countryside, the sounds and smells are rural. Any autumnal intimations of mortality are banished by a sense of the miraculous regeneration of nature. This week I am going to France for a break and to stock up for Christmas. Yes, for those who haven't been to Harrods in the last few months, Christmas is approaching.
Tuesday 14 November 2006 - 10:40AM (GMT)
23 October 2006
Have just returned from a delightful break in Saltzburg. I wanted to catch the Mozart celebrations this year and just about managed it before the ski crowd arrives. Surprisingly it was warm during the day and I spent most of my daytimes sitting out in cafes and restaurants or hiking over the mountains (see my top page pics). It is unusual to find such a self-contained town, leave alone one that has survived its history so well. The old city deserves at least a couple of days just wandering about; most buildings claim to be mediaeval and are very pretty. And the walk along the Salzach is also a delight. Up on the mountain, you have a real sense of the quirk of nature that allowed this town and its important heritage to survive. Even the building materials used for the castle, hewn from the famous Saltzburg cliffs, have historical interest (just consider how, almost uniquely among European castles, it survived). The Hotel Sacher is on the river - it's the only branch of the famous ViennaHotel , home of the Sacher torte - and well worth eating on the terrace (maybe everyday!) with a coffee. But beware - there are so many coffees in Austria they don't allow you to order just 'coffee'. Verlangeter is the nearest to Americano or filter, but the others are well worth trying. But don't bother with coffee or cake if you don't like vast quantities of cream. I recommend vast quantities of cream and then a hike up the mountain . . . I managed 3 concerts which were wonderful as much for the settings as the music - one in a 15th century wine cellar, one in the fortress and one in town in a stately home (schloss). Maybe it's just the harking back to another more peaceful, less hectic, age, but wandering the town, climbing the mountains (?hills), and sitting in mediaeval settings for coffee, wine or meals, watching life pass by, is just so heartwarming. You couldn't leave Saltzburg without feeling benign and uplifted, as well as relaxed.
A one day trip on the train to Vienna threatened to disturb that rest. If Saltzburg was sleepy, it was because everyone had gone to Vienna! Also notable was the mysterious underground station population - more sinister than colourful. Cafe society is alive and well in the pedestrian walkways and parks, but for true relaxation . . . back to Saltzburg.