Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Not So White Christmas

This is an incredibly late post.
You may have been tipped off to this by the word 'christmas' in the title and the date published being somewhere at the tail end of January.
I've been travelling pretty much constantly since the 19th of December and haven't had a computer so that's the explanation. But better late than never.
My holiday season began with a flight to Birmingham and a bus to Nottingham because it was cheaper than flying direct and I'm a student. I was going to stay with my sister, Lucy, before she took off for Tunisia for the 25th.
During the stay I dragged Lucy an hour down the road to Chatsworth House. This is an English manor house that was the inspiration for Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice.

It was set up for Christmas and crazy busy with children due to a Narnia theme. This didn't gel particularly well with my sister so we took the tour through the house then went for a wander of the extensive grounds.

The chapel

The chapel's ceiling

The White Witch

This was was my favourite in the sculpture gallery. The facial detail under the veil is startling. 

The dining room

Another day trip we took from Nottingham was in the opposite direction, towards the east coast and Norwich (pronounced, as I learned, to rhyme with porridge).

I have a great aunt there so we popped in for some lunch. We also went to see her daughter.
Lucy, Molly, Nina, Harriet
 On the 24th Lucy and Raph dropped me in Biggleswade on their way to the airport. This was where I spent Christmas with my father's cousin, Patricia, and her family. Patricia is originally from NZ so it was nice to see Harae Mai on the door and little kiwi touches around the place. The 'harae mai' was amusingly mounted on wrought iron in proper English style.

My view christmas morning

Christmas lunch

We spent the whole day eating, in the afternoon the dogs were taken for a walk, not by me though, I was in a solid food coma. In the evening we watched the Doctor Who Christmas special. Despite the lack of snow it was a very British Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

NZ vs. Ireland!

Sometime over the summer (July-ish for Southern Hemispherers) E got in touch and asked if I wanted to go to NZ vs. Dublin. In November. No one can say she doesn't like her rugby! She sorted out tickets, I booked a flight, and we were ready! 
Four months early. 
But, November did eventually arrive and we made our merry way to Dublin to watch NZ crush Ireland. Which they didn't really do. We scraped a win in overtime having been losing for the entire game. 

Ignore the possessive apostrophe, we were still excited to be welcomed!

Kenny thankfully lent me a Kiwi shirt, and black and white eyeliner had our cheeks ready too!

Eleanor's cape. Sorry, flag. 

Ireland got way more fireworks than us, but the national anthems were still cool. Ireland seemed to have two which I'm still a little confused by. 

As I said, the game didn't look good for us for about 70 minutes. Eleanor struggled to deal with the stress. 

We founded some kindred spirits behind us who were also feeling the tension. 

P.S. Thanks to Peter for the accommodation once again, Kenny for the shirt, and Eleanor for the idea. Also thanks to the Irish for a brilliant game and a good spirit in the pubs afterwards!

Monday, December 9, 2013

In fair Verona...

I am yet again having computer issues, or rather a continuation of the last issue, so I haven't written anything for a while. I am also in the midst of exams - my first is tomorrow which is possibly why I have abruptly decided to start blogging again now! Procrastination can be surprisingly productive for every other little thing you should do. 

A while back (think Halloween) Peter came to visit. Milan is not my favourite city, so I didn't want to stay here, and I hadn't seen much of Italy, so we grabbed a train to Verona. 

 We checked out the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's house), though didn't venture up to her very crowded balcony. Nerd Nina feels the need to point out that Verona isn't necessarily the home of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare based the play on a story that had been around for a long time, but Verona was his own addition.
So the house is a tourist trap but it's still a nice touch. For anyone who's seen Letters to Juliet, there really is somewhere to post letters to Juliet but you don't put them in a wall. There's a nice little postbox perched handily in the courtyard.

Fabric mounted on the walls of this stairwell is covered with declarations of love. It's then stretched across frames and sold in the gift store. 

As you can see, the line for the balcony was sizable. 

 After Juliet's house we went wandering around Verona, popping up a small hill to see the local castle.

Some kind of tomb. Very ornate anyway. 
 In the main square there was a market so we had a look before visiting the Colosseum of Verona.

We grabbed some dinner (Peter got donkey!) and returned to Milan to next day. So just a quick 'day in Verona' post. Hopefully my computer chooses life and I can tell you about the rugby in Ireland soon!