London to Brighton

Today I cycled 65 miles to Brighton by bike.

<This was the beginning.
This was the end>

In between was a lovely sunny day, an insane tea and cake stop at ‘Fanny’s farm shop’ (see picture on right), some serious pain, and a huge feeling of achievement at the end.

I learnt not to carry half a stone of fairly useless items ‘just in case’; that ‘Bitching Deacon’ is the most horrendously unpleasant hill in the history of humanity; and not to drop through 8 gears at once on the most horrendously unpleasant hill in the history of humanity.

Many thanks to whoever put this sign at the top of the beacon, it made me very happy.

And many thanks to Adrian for arranging it all, and encouraging us along the way.  And knowing the way, for that matter.

Brussels

It has taken me a little while to get round to writing this, but here is a little post about our recent trip to Brussels for Him Indoors‘ birthday. We chose Brussels because they have toast and chips shops, which is pretty exciting.

It is a very friendly city – everyone was kind to us with regard to our dodgy attempts at French. They all seem to speak at least 3 languages anyway so I guess they’re used to it.

The main tourist attraction appears to be this little statue, which you would probably walk straight past were it not for the crowds of tourists queuing up for photographs.

And then the other way you can tell he is Brussels’ biggest tourist attraction is by looking at the names of the surrounding bars, chocolate shops and patisseries.

The Belgians also seem to have a road safety campaign running at the moment, this advert is on loads of billboards all around the city, I thought it was cute.

No idea what it means though, as it’s in Flemish. My Flemish is, needless to say, even worse than my French. I like the way the little family of eggs have a pair of scissors in the back of their car though. As if travelling around in a motorized egg box isn’t hazardous enough!

We went on a trip to the European quarter as well, to see all the shiny glass and steel, and were surprised to see some harsh restrictions in place.

Brussels is a great city to spend a week-end exploring. Not quite as cute as Bruges of course, having the very important work of being a capital city to be getting on with, but you can still spend many happy hours trawling though hundreds of different types of beer. Plus the food was excellent everywhere we went. A particular favourite was La Roue D’Or restaurant, near the central Grand Place, which is definitely worth a visit.

New Year’s Day

I’ve realised that we are living in a unique age. I don’t know how failed to notice this before, but there is only one year left, until the year 3000, when you can make glasses out of the ‘0’s in the year for New Year’s Eve parties. How have I missed this for 8 years?!

So what I’m saying is, live for the moment. Anyway, my sisters, Helbabes and Hanbabes came to stay for New Year, which was great. We don’t see enough of each other, and it was lovely to see them, even though I had to get off to work half way through the evening.

Then on New Year’s Day, I decided to take advantage of my Christmas present from my Mum, a year’s membership to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. This means Him Indoors and I can go to the London Wetland Centre for free, which is very exciting. Consequently, we all went for just under twenty quid. Bargain.

Here we are, having a lovely time.

We also caught up with a white faced whistling duck. I have never met one of these before, but was delighted to make its acquaintance.

And also this chap, who didn’t want to be photographed, and was making a good attempt to camouflage himself, but I spotted him!

It will be a great place to go when the weather improves, but even in the depths of winter, I love the place. Happy New Year everyone.

Marrakech…

…is an amazing, crazy city. I spent the first day fearing for my life as we were pushed aside by countless mopeds and donkey carts, only to wander blindly into the arms of enthusiastic shop keepers herding us into the souqs.

Having said that, once I got over the initial culture shock I really loved the place. It was hardly peak season and yet the medina was buzzing. I couldn’t get over the number of mopeds – everyone seems to have one, and often ride around with most of their families balanced on the back. They all drive around with their wing mirrors cranked right in so as to avoid being entangled with members of the public along as they hurtle through the narrow streets.

 

There are three main options for transport in the city for tourists. Here’s the first, petit taxi. Continue reading “Marrakech…”

The littlest sumos

I keep finding photos on Flickr that I think need digging up again. This was a picture I took at a fair in Budapest last year. The kids battle each other in these bulked up orange boiler suits, the first one to fall over or off the mat loses.

Continue reading “The littlest sumos”

This post belongs to Lionel Richie – Edinburgh Fringe ’07

I’ve just come back from a great week-end up at the Edinburgh fringe festival. We were only really there for one full day, which was a shame. I’m already planning next year’s trip. There’s so much there it’s tricky to know where to start. Kept thinking we’d discovered most of the venues and then stumbled across a load more. I still reckon we hardly saw any of it.

Just as an example of the size of the thing, this is the sign post at the Pleasance. There are loads of different Pleasance venues, with four or five shows going on simultaneously across the day.

With over 2,000 shows taken to the festival every year, how to choose what to go to?! Well, if you’re having problems, there’s always someone within spitting distance who will hand you a flyer for something or other. They’re usually fairly easy to avoid, but then there are a few who are prepared to go that extra step to get your attention.

Then, if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, there are other entertainments, like machete juggling Americans

And even more bizarrely, a man on a bridge with a stall selling two products – bird whistles and gimp masks.

Oh, and a lot of things now belong to Lionel Richie, and have stickers on them to prove it. This has something to do with a sketch group called… wait for it… This Sketch Group Belongs to Lionel Richie. But I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about, if I’m honest.