Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Time in Oz and Japan.

Firstly, I can say without a doubt that we simply didn't have enough time in Oz. Maybe it isn't possible to have enough time in Oz.... We want to move back.

Christmas was great- seeing our family after a 2 year absence was pretty mind-blowing. Our parents hadn't really changed, but more and more we want to get to know who they really are. Our siblings hadn't changed much either, but all had things to show and tell. Most of all the children had changed, and I feel sad about missing that.

After Christmas we had a wedding of two good friends. Great wedding, great day.... Congratulations Jez and Claire....
: )

After the wedding we hit the Snowies and what is becoming known as 'Dugbo'. For the first time since our wedding we managed to get the whole walking group together again... including Master Henry who must be the most delightful 2-year old I've ever had the chance to take tea with. His hot and cold porridge is also recommended. Basically Dugbo was about lazying around, eating, sleeping, walking and talking with our closest friends. Basically we all shared the newly-weds honeymoon.... celebrated Fiona's birthday.....

put on lots of sun-screen, photographed the flowers..... At the same time my sister and her family were staying in Perisher so I spent a day with them. It was fun running around with the kids and seeing them.

Iain and I spent a day together by ourselves in the Snowies.... very chilled. There is no way to describe how good it felt to see and smell the Australian bush. What a great time!

We finally returned to Sydney, after popping on by the National Gallery to see the Sidney Nolans (Ned Kelly series), and to have lunch with the newly married Jez and Claire. We had a great time!

Back in Sydney it was all about seeing people and seeing people. Iain managed to get in a few days of rock-climbing, I managed to visit a few colleagues. Spent a day with Daniela and her lab. Things look good for her- but it is still very stressful when the whole concept of science funding comes up. In general that was pretty sad for me. I still believe in Australian science, but don't understand why it is so poorly funded. Go get 'em Daniela! Somehow Iain and I will make it back to work in Science.

I got to fly my kite one day.... in the sun... on the beach..... I love my kite.

Dinner with more friends, attempts to catch up with more people, brunch with our parents,

a little cleaning and tidying and sorting and shopping, Sushi with Dan and Laura, mussels and beer with Dave and Kate, BBQ with Geoff and Bel, a party without Dave at his place (thanks Dave!), dinner with Greg and Sue, Chloe and Sam....
a tour of the new Kennett establishment and an awesome Rasberry souffle, Lucky's Pizza with Ian and Heidi, markets with the girls. More time, we just needed more time.....

It really took no time for the 13th to come around..... 13th meant flying to Japan.

After some good-byes at the airport we hit our Qantas evening flight with the intension of sleeping to Japan. As always ideas are nice in theory, but in practice a large group of rowdy Australian teenagers ruined our plans. So, sleepless and maddened we arrived at Narita
airport, negotiated the only bank machine that would serve foriegn credit cards and bought Nozumi tickets on the bullet train to Kyoto.
It was a strange sleep-riddled trip- things were surreal. One Bento box of rice and other unusual things our tummys were full and we were tired but ready to hit the sights.

It was a public holiday- Coming of Age Day.... and the first temple we visited, called Fushimi Inari was crawlling with locals in traditional dress. Fushimi Inari has hundreds of huge red
Tori's that run up and down a little mountain. It was cold- very cold, and we were pretty pleased to get back to our hotel room to warm up and get some sleep. By this stage I'd come down with a cold/flu thing from hell and I had the worst fever I've had for a long time. At this point I'd like to thank the people that developed Sudafed, because without it our expensive 5 days in Japan would have been completely wasted. Thanks to Sudafed I was able to solider on regardless.

Day two: Golden Pavillion- got there early and there wasn't a soul there... a such a beautiful day
in Kyoto. Then we went to theIwatayama Monkey Park in Arashiyama in Kyoto (more excellent photo opportunities) and then wandered around Arashiyama (one of the best things we did!). We saw bamboo forests and made it out to a few more unusual temples and shrines including Otagi Nenbutsu-ji (my favorite).Finally, for dinner we wandered into Gion district....

Day Three: The morning was Heian Jingu Shrine
. This is the temple from 'Lost in Translation" where she jumps across the stones in the water. There are just so many places we could have gone in Kyoto- easily. We also spent some time in the Kyoto craft centre choosing a wood-block print to bring home. In the afternoon we took the Nozumi back to Tokyo, checked into our hotel in Ginza (the Washington Ginza), and met up with Chris Lukey who kindly took us out to dinner. The food is Japan is GREAT!!! You might not know what you are eating, but generally everything we had was good (except the slimey fermented bacterial 'Nato' for breakfast, not recommended).

Day Four: Tokyo- out to Harajuku and to Akihabara. Dinner was Sushi, and then we wandered around Ginza. Crazy place- lots of lights and stuff.

Day Five: 5 am start at the Fish Markets (6 min walk from the hotel). Even crazier- so much action so early in the morning....
headed back to the hotel, packed our bags and headed for the airport.... plane delayed 2 hrs, but when we finally got in the air the plane was almost empty- Iain had 4 seats to himself, and I had 3.....

Hit London at around 8 pm.... got back home by about 11 pm. Spent the weekend trying to recover.

And now it is business as usual.

Planning another holiday already – a short trip to Morocco......

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Christmas in Oz

Well, I've copped a far amount of criticism for not blogging more regularly... so I'll try harder starting from now.

It is 5 am Sunday morning. Most of you will know that I am NOT a morning person. So, you might wonder what am I doing up at this crazy hour. Most of you will conclude that I've just not gone to bed yet, or that I'm stuck at work running an experiment and am bored.

If you thought these things then you'd be wrong..... plain and simple.... jet-lag! I've not really experienced it like this before, but that is life. I rolled over this morning to find Iain gone... he has it even worse than I and was up at 4 am.

So, we arrived home in Cambridge at 11 pm on Friday night. It's a long story so I'll start from before Christmas when we left.

Twas the night before Christmas and Iain and Kate,
had their bags all packed, their labels on tight.
Their passports lined their pockets with care,
in the hope that their homeland would soon be there.

They boarded a taxis, followed by a bus
that drove them to Heathrow amoungst all the fuss.
The fog was so thick that the planes were all down,
Excepting for long-hauls, relieving their frown.

They squeezed on the plane and sat in their seats,
Not a single one was vacant, everyone wanted the Ozzie heat.
The plane it took off making a clean get-away,
We were all grateful we did not have to stay.

Movies and food and some disturbed sleep,
I've got very few memories of this I shall keep.
At mid-way house we hit Singapore,
Twas hot and humid and left us wanting more.

In Syndey we landed on Chrismtas Day,
And immediately headed our homeward way.
Throught the warmth and the traffic in Sydney our home,
While listening quietly to the taxi driver moan.

Iain, he said, has an English accent.
I'm not sure he really knew what he meant.
We watched in wonder as Syndey passed by,
Inside we both felt a joyous cry!

And slowly but surely Castlecrag came into sight,
While the sunlight was fading, but still was warm and bright.
Inside everyone was just starting the Christmas meal,
So we joined them and ate, and drank, and talked- twas surreal.

Christmas in Sydney was all about Sun,
And having lots and lots of fun.
We didn't last long after the long flight
And soon we wished all a Happy Chrismtas and all a good night!

Well, that was what the flight was like.... we arrived at aqbout 8.30pm at Castlecrag on Christmas night. It was a beautiful warm evening (most people were complaining it was too cold), but to our damp-soaked UK bones it felt like heaven. We hadn't been back for 2 years!!!!!

An important note to make here: TWO YEARS IS TOO LONG!!!!!!

Anyway, I'm tired again (I've got a really nasty cold from Japan), so I'm going to leave this installment there and try to go back and get some sleep.

I've try to get through the social stuff later today so I can get to Japan which was fun as well and has better pics.



Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What to do?

Sitting here with Harry wondering what we should do in the future.

Harry has concluded that climbing is good, piano is good, and making furniture is good.

And a later remark... Women and beer are good.

From my seat, mmm, sleep is good, wine is good, lavender is good (Harry agrees with this), chess is good (for E)....

Sloe Gin is good....

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Revolving headspace

It's been a strange time. News that E's boss is heading to Oxford has sparked up our desire to gaze into the future and attempt to direct and control probably the uncontrollable.

We've been searching our selves, our relationship and the Internet for answers. Attending career seminars on life out of science, which revealed to both of us, independently that we would rather drop out of the rat-race all together than leave fundamental research science.

So here we are, back where we started trying harder than ever to make this work. At times it seems dark, really unbelievably dark. We both have moments where we are lost in consternation, worrying about it all. It is the only thing I've ever wanted to do- ever! E says it is the only thing he wants to do too. Somehow it just has to work out. We keep fantasizing about it.

Currently it looks like we will be seperated across the UK- him in Oxford, me in Cambridge, paying through the nose to live in horrible little rooms somewhere dreaming of a future where man and wife can live together both working as scientists, hopefully close to our families...... I never thought once we were married that we would be seperated like this. It is sad, but it looks like since we are desperate to do science and we dream of coming home (which looks further and further away than ever), that this is the most likely path to enlightenment.

And every day more and more of our peers leave.... and when we talk to the rest who haven't, most say they hate it and they want to get out. I don't feel this. E doesn't feel this. Why?

It is confusing. We feel pulled in many directions, and pressured to abandon our dreams to adopt a more 'fundable' pathway.

So far we stand true......

Oh, and three good things:
1) E did 6 lovely Westerns yesterday that worked beautifully, making him very happy. Him being very happy makes me very happy. So, we are still feeling happy when we don't think further than next week. Feeling happy is good.
2) It is Saturday and I am planning some ME time to read, do some craft and maybe go and buy a book.... I am looking forward to it.
3) Last weekend I bought a 'moon' light from Habitat's VIP collection for children. It was designed by Buzz Aldrin and is a replica of the moon, with all the correct craters etc. I am currently enjoying very much lying in bed at night watching it..... I love the moon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Keep up the optimisim....

Three great things that happened today.

1. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue. It felt wonderful.

2. Dinner was good. Late though at 10:30 pm, but good none the less!

3. Had an email from one of my friends asking to join a recipe swap. While it's a little like a chain email, I'm kind of keen to recieve mystery recipes in the mail. I enjoy cooking and a new recipe recommended by someone else is normally fun to cook. I hope some people join up the chain (tacky nasty things that they are) and send a few recipes.... I'm also keen to try one of these blogging crafters swaps. They should be fun. Mystery packets and parcels, I love getting things in the post!

Our friends from Sydney arrive tomorrow with baby Chloe. We will be visiting Scotland together which show be fun. I'll post more after the weekend.

Hey out there!

I miss you all friends.... Cambridge can be lonely sometimes.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A baby girl!

One of my friends has just had a baby girl!

It's so exciting!!!!

I'm happy for you Jen, and for Dan, Dante and Atticus.

Meanwhile Cambridge is rainy. And I'm getting over a nasty cold (so is Hubby, and he is a bit grumpy about it!).

This weekend I should finish the book chapter I'm writing, ready for the final proof reading.
Oh, and I'm planning a new quilt... just waiting for the fabric to arrive in the post.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hail to the new year!

So little time, but so little to say as well.....

But, hello!

We've just returned from a quick little jaunt around South Wales. Great little spot it is as well. The event was our first wedding anniversary. People said I was mad planning a trip to Wales in winter, but we had a great time, good accomodation, good food, nice people, sunshine, snow, sea and fossils....

It doesn't get any better for 3 days away! Felt like a week.

i've posted some pics, but i've gotta go now and get some work done.