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2011 in Summary

So here’s 2011 in Summary:

Photos taken: Something in excess of 22,000

New places visited: Deal, Virginia Water, Groomsbridge Place, Broadstairs, Coventry, Lincoln, Durham, Bradford, Leeds and probably several others I’m forgetting…no abroad trips this year :(

Cathedrals added to visited list: Chelmsford, Guildford, Coventry, Lincoln, Durham, Bradford, Leeds

Twitter lovelies met: Many online, quite a few in the flesh (so to speak), and they are my highlight(s) of the year (You know who you are, stop fishing for compliments!)

Roller Derby bouts attended
: Lots!

Cakes eaten: FAR too many

Dates/Relationships: Absolutely none, as sodding usual.

Heath & wealth: Both shite.

Life summary: Fail.

Here’s to 2012. It had better be better than 2011.

Yes, I am a miserable bastard at times.

Shortly To Come…

…is the travelogue from my little trip to Rome and Florence (With an excursion to Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa).

And, as the photos are *still* not sorted, here’s some stats before the pictures are organised:

2,140 Photos taken
Several hundred near misses on road crossings,
Bloody Miles walked,
12 Flavours of ice-cream tried,
9 Fountains visited,
8 Nights stayed,
6 Bottles of wine (shared, I might add, I’m not *that* much of a piss head!)
5 Peronis quaffed (I still don’t like lager much, but coke was too bloody dear)
5 Cathedrals visited,
4 Litres of alcohol bought in duty-free,
3 Towers climbed (stairs!)
2 Domes ascended (and descended, obviously)
2 flights (Heathrow T5< ->Rome),
2 Train trips (Rome< ->Florence),
2 Taxis taken,
2 Two hour waits in queues,
2 Hotels stayed in,
1 Limo ride (from Rome airport),
1 Coach trip (see above),
1 Lunch on a working farm,
1 Severe rain storm

and finally,
1 (If very knackered) Happy bunny.

Italy. It’s wonderful.

What To Do With A Week Off

…Which is what I had the other week. And yes, it rained. Quite a bit, to my great disgust after the recent nice spell. And this week, it’s nice again.
Bah, and bah again.

Anyway, here’s my illustrated calendar of things went to and seen:

Fri 20th Evening

After finishing work, I went to see the Spitfire. Mainly because absolutely nobody fancied a drink with me. Not that that was particularly surprising, but still.
So here’s the pic:

Spitfire

Spitfire


To commemorate the 70th anniversary Battle of Britain hero pilots and crews, as we damned well ought to. They don’t get enough praise, if you ask me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I doff my hat of freedom to you.

Sat 21st
Off to the Horniman Museum down Forest Hill way, for a nose about. I’d never actually been here before, and although it’s hardly the Natural History (my personal favourite of the big museums in London), it’s was still a fun little trip.
Here’s what it looks like inside:

Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum


The one exhibit that utterly fascinated me was the music collection – lots and lots of instruments, old and new(-ish) on display side by side. Loved it. And, quite predictably, here’s the panoramic picture of it. (badly stitched – it was dark and I didn’t have a tripod, is my excuse for making a hash of it)
Music Collection

Music Collection

It also has a rather nice little garden, which I actually spent more time in than the museum, playing with a macro lens (a Nikon 60mm f/2.8, if you must know. Much as I’d like one of the 105mm VR ones, I don’t do enough macro work to justify it. Although I promptly went and used it at Kew the very next day)
Here’s a bee on some Lavander, just for the sheer gratuitousness of it.

A Full Bee. Presumably not called Eric, then.

A Full Bee. Presumably not called Eric, then.

Sun 22nd
I annually organise a Flickr trip to the delightful Kew Gardens once or twice a year, because it’s lovely there. I really must get round to joining sometime. There’s a set of pictures on Flickr, so you can look at them instead of here. See HERE for the set, and HERE for a few more. I like butterflies. And the trip to the pub afterwards, naturally.

I was quite proud of this one (which currently adorns my desktop as a background)

LFM-Kew Gardens 03

butterfly

Mon 23rd
Lazed around, processing photos from last few day’s outings, and spent far too long chattering to various people on Twitter. As you do.

Tues 24th
It’s off to the seaside! The sun’s out, and it’s nice and warm, so it’s off to the coast for a wander. Eastbourne was the train stop, and Beachy Head was the destination. A walk along the Seven Sisters (even if there is eight) was called for.
And what a lovely view. Well, once I’d hiked up the road route from the town, not realising there was a far quicker way from along the beach. Bah. Still, had plenty of time and the hard uphill hike was good for me. *Wheezes quite a lot*
There’s some photos HERE.
Taken at great risk, because it was blowing a BLOODY GALE up there. Good job it was sunny, if you’d needed a tripod it wouldn’t have lasted upright for 2 minutes.
Here’s another picture illustrating the chalk cliffs, and so you can see why it’s a favourite spot for people who feel suicidal.

A Big White Cliff. With Added Lighthouse.

A Big White Cliff. With Added Lighthouse.


I didn’t.

Wed 25th
Cathedral hopping time again, this time to Chester. The Cathedral Photos are HERE, but here’s the usual over the roof shot for you…

Chester Cathedral-03

Chester Cathedral.

It also has Rhinos all over the show at the moment in the Rhino Mania! To quote the website:
“Rhinos are some of the most endangered animals on earth. We have nine of our very own Black Rhinos in Chester Zoo. This event is helping support their relatives by fundraising for the Black Rhino Field Conservation Project in Kenya and Tanzania managed by the Zoo.”

Rhino Mania!

Rhino Mania!


I wish I’d known about this before I’d gone, or I’d have attempted more. Those are the ones I came across while looking at the city in general. There’s 62 stunning rhinos created by the regions artists, along with 116 mini school rhinos dotted all over.
Love them. Although not -quite- as much as the London Elephant parade, who I met an awful lot of very nice people through.
Good job, all those artists and schools.

Thurs 26th
Lunch with a friend, and a lazy wander in the British Museum
Complete with recycled artwork from South Africa.

A Thingy. And a bit of classical sculpture, too.

A Thingy. And a bit of classical sculpture, too.

Fri 27th
Lazy day. Doing chores. And stuff. And nattering on Twitter, yet again.

Sat 28th
A trip to Bexhill-on-Sea to see Antony Gormley’s Critical Mass at The De La Warr Pavillion.
The photos are HERE.
Here’s the inevitable panoramic image, complete with HENIOUS stitch error in the railings, and a load of people who wouldn’t stand still. *swears*

Critical Mass

Antony Gormley's Critical Mass

Sun 29th
Was going to go to Children’s Carnival at Notting Hill, but couldn’t be bothered, and watched the Grand Prix instead.
Mr. Vettel, just what the hell did you think you were doing, eh?

Mon 30th
Ooh, today’s going to be busy it’s the Notting Hill Carnival (pictures are HERE, since you ask and no, no bare boobies this year. Just a great deal of very well built ladies with rather prominent décolletage).
Who-hoo, as they say. Or at least any straight male would, anyway.
Here’s the gratuitous shot of a *cough* rather well built lady

Notting Hill Carnival 2010-01

Gratuitous Cleavage

And finally, the highlight of the season, the Great Summer Frolick!
I was lucky enough to be invited along to take pictures at the rehearsal beforehand too. Go me. This, not incidentaly, also saved me being late due to those lovely people at TfL closing Hampstead just before the start of the concert. (Faulty lifts, apparently)
Anyway, despite a slightly late start, a very good time was had by all, and The Frolick were marvellous.

As they describe themselves, they’re “Top of the Pops of London’s Baroque in modern innovative cabaret style,
with completely authentic sounds of original historical performance.”

For those of you who didn’t see the tweet, you can see a few pictures HERE.
Here’s one of them:

The Frolick

The Frolick


Wonderful stuff, and throughly recommended as an evening out. For a taster of them performing, there’s some videos HERE

Tues 27th
6:15am: alarm goes off. Back to reality, then.

Ho hum…

Race for Life

Yesterday I accompanied the lovely Lesley to the Race for Life. (Only the 5k one, and she was puffing after that!)
And she had to be chivvied along to manage under an hour. By me walking along with her and prodding. There were several brief conversations along the lines of:

“Here, you’re not a lady”…”No, I’m just here for the immoral support!” 😉

Cancer Research UK funds research into many different types of cancer, and as my father died of it, It’s one of the charities I support on a regular basis, so was pleased to go along, and even more pleased to see the vast number of ladies who registered and turned out to raise funds for the cause.

Well done ladies, and thank you all.

Here the walkers are, all lines up at the start. Complete with wigs and silly hats.

All lined up and ready to go

All lined up and ready to go

(Lesley will murder me if I post a picture of her in her pink tutu, so I won’t!)

The diet went to hell yesterday as we went down the pub for lunch, and joined by the also-lovely Anna went to the V&A for tea. With cake (naughty, naughty). And then after some cultural discussions about the exhibits (mainly to do with the, err, mutilated state of the male statues – those of you familliar with the V&A will know what I mean!), we were thrown out at closing time and went and got some tasty but very unhealthy food.

I throughly enjoyed it. And will now have to do pennance on the exercise bike.

Sometime, anyway 😉

A Little Bit Of Culture…

…or as about as cultured as I’m going to get anyway.

Lots of people turned up to see Placido Domingo in the title role of the Royal Opera House’ s production of Simon Boccanegra

Appaantly it’s 25 years since the great tenor was first on a big screen production – I had no idea they’d been running that long.

Oh, and guess what? Yep, it rained. Well, of course it did, I was there!

Here’s a bad pano of the crowd just waiting eagerly

Big Screen 3 @ Trafalgar Square

Big Screen 3 @ Trafalgar Square

The woman handing out anti-BP leaflets got short shrift from the people where I was sitting. She didn’t look too stunned…

Paddy’s day!


Oh come on, what do you expect for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, yellow Ferraris?

(It has to be green for Paddy’s day, unless it’s Guinness, than it’s black, of course)

The Oirish certainly know how to party, a fact which makes this one of the more fun events in London.

Even if Asgeir and I became unintentional paparazzi by following the parade and somehow ending up in the middle of it 😉