jacey: (blue eyes)
IMG_20160314_160305245They say third time lucky, so after two aborted attempts to visit Bath for some Georgian book research - one in January when I discovered one of the museums I wanted to see closed for the whole month, and one in February when I fell and damaged my head and leg - I finally made it. Since BB is not into museums I met up with my friend Sarah and we had three nights at the impeccable Francis Hotel, in Queens Square. The Francis is one establishment which has taken up the whole of the Georgian terrace on the square's south side. I got a good deal (3 nights for the price of two) and it was worth every penny. Lovely room on the ground floor with an accessible bathroom, great service, elegant surroundings - and it was only a few yards away from the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus which stopped at all the museums we wanted to see. I would be very happy to stay there again.

We arrived Monday, had two full days doing the main attractions and then departed Thursday afternoon. The tourist bus is expensive but a ticket lasts for a whole 24 hours, which basically means that you get the day you bought it, and also the following day up to 5.00 p.m. Essentially two full days of museum-trotting if you start early. Since Sarah uses a rollator, we took full advantage of the bus's access and disabled space and also discovered that in all the museums we visited, the disabled person pays, but the 'carer' (me) goes free, which saved us a decent amount since the museums are not cheap.

IMG_20160315_122512824_HDROn Monday afternoon we walked up to the Jane Austen Museum on Gay Street, but as it was already late we didn't do the museum itself. Instead we had a cream tea in the Georgian-style cafe which served gluten free scones for Sarah. On Monday night we met up with [livejournal.com profile] carl_allery and [livejournal.com profile] mevennen plus mevennen's partner and mum. The Brasserie Blanc at the hotel served up lovely food. I can recommend the Beef Stroganoff. On Tuesday we did the Fashion Museum (which used to be the Museum of Costume) and since that shared a venue with the Assembly Rooms also managed a quick peek (though one room was closed off as they were preparing for a concert that night) and a trip to the cafe for a late elevenses. Next stop on our bus route - via the very elegant Circus - was 1 Royal Crescent, a restored Georgian house on (yes, you've guessed it) Bath's famous Royal Crescent. Then we still had a few hours so we caught the tour bus to the centre of town because Sarah had heard there was a knitting shop behind Marks and Spencers. Since we were by that time in need of refreshment we stopped off at Sally Lunn's Restaurant - one of the oldest houses in Bath where I had smoked salmon pate on a sally lunn bun. We found the wool shop. I managed to avoid buying more yarn because I didn't want to have to carry it home, but Sarah succumbed. On Wednesday we did the Roman Baths and the Pump Room (another cream tea) plus some shopping. Aaargh... I shopped. I dropped. A miniature kite for my grandson, a model wolf for me (because it was just like Corwen in my Rowankind books), one coat (rather unusual in style) and two tops later we staggered back to the bus. Sarah also bought a coat, a top and two gilets - OK, one was for a friend (she says!). Sarah's rolator was loaded up with so many carrier bags that we looked like a tag-team of bag-ladies. IMG_20160315_110226553Then on Thursday morning we checked out of the hotel, left our luggage for safekeeping (yes I did get all my new purchases in my suitcase) and walked up to the Jane Austen Museum before having tea in the hotel and getting a taxi back to the station.

The Museums:

The Fashion Museum had a lovely array of Georgian and Regency clothing, but sadly most of it was for women.  Next time (and there will be a next time) I need to book a study room and ask to see some of the garments for men. They had nothing on display between 1780 and 1820 and the period my books are set in is firmly between those dates (1800-1801). I had also hoped to get a better idea of how a bib-front 'Empire' line dress was constructed and worn, but everything was behind glass. Yes, I've seen the diagrams, but there's nothing better than seeing the real thing. I'd have settled for an accurate copy. Accessibility was good for Sarah, with a lift to the exhibition area (downstairs) and very helpful staff.

IMG_20160315_125253399_HDR1 Royal Crescent was everything I'd hoped it would be. Not too grand, but well appointed with some nice touches such as a gentleman's banyan laid out on the bed. Sadly not all the rooms are on display, so bedrooms, but no dressing rooms, and you couldn't go and look in the attics where the servants would have slept, though the kitchens and the housekeeper's parlour were on display. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable. Accessibility here was more limited but the lift gave Sarah access to the basement, ground and first floors but not the two upper floors.

Roman Baths. Strictly speaking I didn't need to see these, but with my Georgian head on it was fascinating to see what the baths might have been like in the Georgian era since the Pump Room which is part of the complex, is altogether in the period I'm researching and a lot of the above ground part of the baths was constructed in the seventeenth century. The sacred spring, where hot water bubbles up out of the ground, was not used for bathing in Roman times, but in Georgian times it was flooded to a much higher level and used for immersion therapy.

On my first trip to the Roman Baths, many years ago, the sacred sIMG_20160316_122431561pring was still flooded, but now it's been drained to its Roman level and much more of the stonework has been revealed. (The brown stain is the previous water level.) Not all Roman, of course, since much of what you can see is sixteenth century I believe, but there are still a couple of Roman archways. Access was excellent with lifts to all levels. The floor around the baths themselves, however, is original Roman paving, part cobbles, part uneven slabs, so though we could get to that level Sarah couldn't easily get into all the areas. She was, however, happy to sit and take in the atmosphere where she had a good view of the main bath while I poked into odd corners. TIMG_20160316_113848915he first time I went to the Roman Baths was before it was 'museumised' so you could literally go and poke about - even jump down into the hypercaust if you wanted a closer look. In those days they even opened up the baths for swimming (at a price). However there was a Legionnaire's Disease scare some years ago, the baths were closed, excavated and reopened as a museum. I visited in the 1990s and found it over-museumised. This visit was a pleasant surprise. yes it's still museumised, but I think it's more sympathetic, now. The Pump Room remains unchanged, a lovely Georgian room with a trio (piano, violin, 'cello) playing classical music. The fountain where you can take the waters is still functional (and filtered after the Legionnaire's thing) but you can no longer just go up and help yourself. The waitress, however, was happy to bring us a couple of glasses of 'the waters'. I recall it tasting like bad eggs on my first visit. Now it's much less metallic tasing and pretty much like drinking water from your own hot tap, i.e. not terribly pleasant, but no longer objectionable.

The Jane Austen Museum was slightly disappointing from my point of view because I'd mainly gone to see the clothes on the understanding that you could try them on. I'd hoped for genuine Regency construction (reproduction would have been fine) but they were designed to look OK for photographs but had elastic waists and tie backs. The house itself is interesting, however, as it's a narrow Georgian town house, much less fine than 1 Royal Crescent. The exhibition is in a large, recently constructed, extension downstairs. Access throughout the whole building is not good. Sarah had to leave the rollator on the ground floor and manage a flight of stairs for the introductory talk, and then there was another half flight of stairs down from the ground floor to the exhibition itself. On exiting the exhibition there was a slope up to the ground floor and if the staff had bothered to mention it, going in by the exit would have saved Sarah having to use the stairs. Surely they could have thought of that.#

So, all in all, a great time was had by all. The train journey (Wakefield, via Bristol Temple Meads to Bath Spa) was pretty easy with enough changeover time in Bristol for an easy connection, and plenty of journey time to catch up with a good novel on my kindle. Thank you, Bath, I will be back.
jacey: (Default)
US Airways = Useless Airways, They buggered up the outgoing flight completely, or at least the conncection at Philadelphia. We flew from Manchester, had possibly the worst food I have ever tried and failed to eat on an airplane and then had a planned 6 hour wait at Philly for a Halifax, Nova Scotia, flight.

So customs and immigration take about an hour - yes even though you are only transiting to Canada you have to collect your bags from the transatlantic flight, complete an American ESTA (electronic immigration form) before flying from the UK and do the whole 'Why are you visiting the United States?' thing, even though you're not actually visiting.

Then after exploring Philadelphia Airport from Terminal A to Terminal F - even with food stops (orange chicken and noodles, yum!) it's barely more than a distraction of more than two hand a half hours - we end up sitting at our gate for departure to Halifax for a couple of hours waiting for our 9.15 p.m. flight. (I had a book.) So at about 8.45 p.m. they start to check our passports, ready (we assume) for boarding. Then when they're halfway through the line the word filters out that the flight has been cancelled due to a storm at Halifax. There's no announcement as such, but word flies round fast. Go to the customer services desk in the main concourse, the gate staff tell us. We know there's going to be a huge lineup so we grab our carry-on bags (the checked luggage having gone on to the transit belt after the stop at customs) and we sprint. Even with my gammy foot (plantar fasciitis - ouch) we make it ahead of the crowd.

Yes there's apparently a storm at Halifax, they say, even though Philly itself is hot and dry, though very humid (like breathing soup). There's also another flight queuing up with ours - apparently there's also a storm between Philly and San Francisco.

No, they won't pay for overnight accommodation because they don't do that for bad weather, only for delays due to something they are responsible for, but they'll give us a number of a last-minute hotel service with 'the best rates' so we can get our head down for a few hours and they'll rebook us on the ten a.m. flight... err no they won't... it's already full between the clerk checking once, talking to us, and trying to grab us three seats. The best she can do is a 6.15 a.m. flight out to Boston and a connection from Boston to Halifax with barely 45 minutes to change planes (and terminals) at Logan Airport. We are not optimistic about the connection, we've been to Logan before and it was a building site, but the next available flight after that isn't until 6.00 p.m. and we have a 2.00 p.m. gig at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.

So we take the 6.15 a.m. flight and the number for the hotel booking service and then discover that we need 50 cents now for a local call (it was 25 cents last time we were there). So we scrabble for coinage. Luckily Hilary had a couple of American quarters.

The best we can do is $69 plus tax for each of two rooms and we catch the steamy hotel shuttle without benefit of luggage. Thankfully I have my (diabetic) medication with me and a clean pair of knickers and socks in my hand luggage, but no change of outer clothes and in the choking, sweaty heat they are rapidly getting not nice to be near.

One bright spot. The hotel has free internet and my skype phone credit is topped up, so I try to call Debs, the transport person from Lunenburg Festival, so that her chap who's supposed to collect us at 11.30 p.m. in Halifax doen't set off. I'm thwarted. Because of the hour's time difference, my 10.00 p.m. is Nova Scotia's 11.00 p.m. and her cellphone is already switched off. So pickup guy has a wasted journey, two hours drive each way. He actually set out before the flight was cancelled. I leave a message on Deb's phone and on the festival office phone to tell them what's happened and what time we're getting in and hope that there will be someone else to pick us up in the morning.

We check the TV weather channel in the hotel room and we can see the thunderstorm between Philly and San Francisco, but Halifax looks calm. What storm?

The hotel alarm call comes at 4.00 a.m., barely five hours after we've fallen into bed, drugged with exhaustion. We get downstairs in yesterday's clothing to find that some other bloody arsehole of a passenger has kidnapped our booked 4.30 a.m. airport shuttle and gone off at 4.20 telling the manager he was the one who'd booked it. Bloody charming. May all his future flights be delayed. But we grab the shuttle bus on its return with a family heading for San Francisco and similarly doing an overnight without benefit of checked luggage and get to the airport for 5.00 a.m, which is what we were aiming for anyway.

Joy and Bliss. The 6.15 a.m. flight departs on time. Now the staff are telling us it wasn't a storm at Halifax last night, it was fog. Make up your minds, guys. Get your story straight.

And amazingly we make the connection at Logan even though we have to go through yet another set of security gates and I get singled out for one of the new naked photo booth checks (the ones where they basically x-ray your clothes off you). Nice. I can have the pat down if I prefer. No, go ahead, give the staff a good laugh. I don't have to look them in the face afterwards. i don't even let myself wonder whether they have lady peeping toms on the other end of the machine, or not.

So we get to Halifax, a nice little airport, and it's still only 9.30 a.m. even though our watches have gone forward an hour again. We don't need work permits for Canada because we're 'cultural performers' i.e. not playing bar gigs and taking jobs away from Canadian musicians, but we still have to stop off at the immigration office and present our festival contracts to prove the whole not-playing-bar-gigs thing, and to get a temporary work permit stamp to make us all nice and legal. I have all the paperwork. It isn't a problem.

So at the immigration office there are two men (not together) in front of us and one is taking forever. There's only one girl on duty. The passengers who came in on the same flight - who were all last night's cancellees and with whom we have bonded by now - all try and follow us into the lineup. No guys, go ahead, this is only for people who are working in Canada. Bye. Have a nice trip. Half an hour passes and eventually guy number one leaves and guy number two steps froward. Time passes. We can see the arrivals hall. It's completely empty.

The officer who checked our passports and sent us to this lineup, telling us it wouldn't take long, saunters up the corridor and looks surprised. 'You still here?' We shrug. 'Yep.' 'You sure you're not playing bar gigs?' 'Nope.' We know the rules. We're playing Canadian festivals and unlike English festivals, they're dry. He takes our passports, stamps them and says, 'OK, off you go!' We skip off to the baggage hall grateful for small mercies, knowing that would never happen in the USA, to find all the other passengers have gone and our three bags - together with one that must belong to the guy still at the immigration desk - piled neatly in a corner.

Now all we have to hope for is that there's someone beyond the barrier with a card saying Artisan on it.

Well, she hasn't got a card but she pounces on us as we exit the baggage hall with that perculiarly North American pronunciation of Artisan which sounds like ARdizn. It's Deb herself. No she didn't get the message, but she figured we'd be arriving around tennish so she came anyway - and the office had called her while she was in transit with our message from last night. She'd almost been about to leave since the last passenger off the plane had said there was no one still in there. We explained about the immigration log jam. She might need to know that another year.

She's starving and so are we. We stop off at Tim Hortons just outside the airport. Luckily Hilary has had the foresight to change enough Canadian dollars. I haven't because the festival has arranged to pay us in cash at the beginning of the weekend and I reckon nothing to losing money on changing English to Canadian and then Canadian to English at the end of the tour.

It's about an hour and a half to Lunenburg. We eventually arrive 20 minutes before our 2.00 p.m. gig and have to do it in the clothes we've been travelling in for 48 hours. It's blazing hot, unusually humid for Lunenburg (on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia) and the gig is ooutside at the Fisheries Museum without a PA. I tell you, it doesn't matter how tired we are, we are in no danger of falling over because our clothes can now stand up by themselves.

Luckily the Artisan fans have turned up to welcome us and we're shredded, but not too shredded to deliver the goods.

As a PS to all this, the chap who did turn up to the airport at 11.30 p.m. to meet the original flight that was supposedly cancelled for a storm said: 'What storm?' So we're left wondering if the airline cancelled the plane and just told us it was a storm to save themselves paying for all our accommodations.

And the kicker is that our travel insurance company will not pay out for the accommodation (even though there was an overnight stay involved) because the delay insurance doesn't kick in unless there's a 12 hour delay. The flight we were due to fly out on was 9.15 p.m. and the flight we did fly out on was 6.15 a.m. Bummer.

This post was titled 'Bad Flights, Good Gigs'. The good gigs bit will have to wait until the next post. I'm exhausted just re-living all that vicariously through the keyboard.

Canada was amazing... more soon
jacey: (Default)
US Airways = Useless Airways, They buggered up the outgoing flight completely, or at least the conncection at Philadelphia. We flew from Manchester, had possibly the worst food I have ever tried and failed to eat on an airplane and then had a planned 6 hour wait at Philly for a Halifax, Nova Scotia, flight.

So customs and immigration take about an hour - yes even though you are only transiting to Canada you have to collect your bags from the transatlantic flight, complete an American ESTA (electronic immigration form) before flying from the UK and do the whole 'Why are you visiting the United States?' thing, even though you're not actually visiting.

Then after exploring Philadelphia Airport from Terminal A to Terminal F - even with food stops (orange chicken and noodles, yum!) it's barely more than a distraction of more than two hand a half hours - we end up sitting at our gate for departure to Halifax for a couple of hours waiting for our 9.15 p.m. flight. (I had a book.) So at about 8.45 p.m. they start to check our passports, ready (we assume) for boarding. Then when they're halfway through the line the word filters out that the flight has been cancelled due to a storm at Halifax. There's no announcement as such, but word flies round fast. Go to the customer services desk in the main concourse, the gate staff tell us. We know there's going to be a huge lineup so we grab our carry-on bags (the checked luggage having gone on to the transit belt after the stop at customs) and we sprint. Even with my gammy foot (plantar fasciitis - ouch) we make it ahead of the crowd.

Yes there's apparently a storm at Halifax, they say, even though Philly itself is hot and dry, though very humid (like breathing soup). There's also another flight queuing up with ours - apparently there's also a storm between Philly and San Francisco.

No, they won't pay for overnight accommodation because they don't do that for bad weather, only for delays due to something they are responsible for, but they'll give us a number of a last-minute hotel service with 'the best rates' so we can get our head down for a few hours and they'll rebook us on the ten a.m. flight... err no they won't... it's already full between the clerk checking once, talking to us, and trying to grab us three seats. The best she can do is a 6.15 a.m. flight out to Boston and a connection from Boston to Halifax with barely 45 minutes to change planes (and terminals) at Logan Airport. We are not optimistic about the connection, we've been to Logan before and it was a building site, but the next available flight after that isn't until 6.00 p.m. and we have a 2.00 p.m. gig at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.

So we take the 6.15 a.m. flight and the number for the hotel booking service and then discover that we need 50 cents now for a local call (it was 25 cents last time we were there). So we scrabble for coinage. Luckily Hilary had a couple of American quarters.

The best we can do is $69 plus tax for each of two rooms and we catch the steamy hotel shuttle without benefit of luggage. Thankfully I have my (diabetic) medication with me and a clean pair of knickers and socks in my hand luggage, but no change of outer clothes and in the choking, sweaty heat they are rapidly getting not nice to be near.

One bright spot. The hotel has free internet and my skype phone credit is topped up, so I try to call Debs, the transport person from Lunenburg Festival, so that her chap who's supposed to collect us at 11.30 p.m. in Halifax doen't set off. I'm thwarted. Because of the hour's time difference, my 10.00 p.m. is Nova Scotia's 11.00 p.m. and her cellphone is already switched off. So pickup guy has a wasted journey, two hours drive each way. He actually set out before the flight was cancelled. I leave a message on Deb's phone and on the festival office phone to tell them what's happened and what time we're getting in and hope that there will be someone else to pick us up in the morning.

We check the TV weather channel in the hotel room and we can see the thunderstorm between Philly and San Francisco, but Halifax looks calm. What storm?

The hotel alarm call comes at 4.00 a.m., barely five hours after we've fallen into bed, drugged with exhaustion. We get downstairs in yesterday's clothing to find that some other bloody arsehole of a passenger has kidnapped our booked 4.30 a.m. airport shuttle and gone off at 4.20 telling the manager he was the one who'd booked it. Bloody charming. May all his future flights be delayed. But we grab the shuttle bus on its return with a family heading for San Francisco and similarly doing an overnight without benefit of checked luggage and get to the airport for 5.00 a.m, which is what we were aiming for anyway.

Joy and Bliss. The 6.15 a.m. flight departs on time. Now the staff are telling us it wasn't a storm at Halifax last night, it was fog. Make up your minds, guys. Get your story straight.

And amazingly we make the connection at Logan even though we have to go through yet another set of security gates and I get singled out for one of the new naked photo booth checks (the ones where they basically x-ray your clothes off you). Nice. I can have the pat down if I prefer. No, go ahead, give the staff a good laugh. I don't have to look them in the face afterwards. i don't even let myself wonder whether they have lady peeping toms on the other end of the machine, or not.

So we get to Halifax, a nice little airport, and it's still only 9.30 a.m. even though our watches have gone forward an hour again. We don't need work permits for Canada because we're 'cultural performers' i.e. not playing bar gigs and taking jobs away from Canadian musicians, but we still have to stop off at the immigration office and present our festival contracts to prove the whole not-playing-bar-gigs thing, and to get a temporary work permit stamp to make us all nice and legal. I have all the paperwork. It isn't a problem.

So at the immigration office there are two men (not together) in front of us and one is taking forever. There's only one girl on duty. The passengers who came in on the same flight - who were all last night's cancellees and with whom we have bonded by now - all try and follow us into the lineup. No guys, go ahead, this is only for people who are working in Canada. Bye. Have a nice trip. Half an hour passes and eventually guy number one leaves and guy number two steps froward. Time passes. We can see the arrivals hall. It's completely empty.

The officer who checked our passports and sent us to this lineup, telling us it wouldn't take long, saunters up the corridor and looks surprised. 'You still here?' We shrug. 'Yep.' 'You sure you're not playing bar gigs?' 'Nope.' We know the rules. We're playing Canadian festivals and unlike English festivals, they're dry. He takes our passports, stamps them and says, 'OK, off you go!' We skip off to the baggage hall grateful for small mercies, knowing that would never happen in the USA, to find all the other passengers have gone and our three bags - together with one that must belong to the guy still at the immigration desk - piled neatly in a corner.

Now all we have to hope for is that there's someone beyond the barrier with a card saying Artisan on it.

Well, she hasn't got a card but she pounces on us as we exit the baggage hall with that perculiarly North American pronunciation of Artisan which sounds like ARdizn. It's Deb herself. No she didn't get the message, but she figured we'd be arriving around tennish so she came anyway - and the office had called her while she was in transit with our message from last night. She'd almost been about to leave since the last passenger off the plane had said there was no one still in there. We explained about the immigration log jam. She might need to know that another year.

She's starving and so are we. We stop off at Tim Hortons just outside the airport. Luckily Hilary has had the foresight to change enough Canadian dollars. I haven't because the festival has arranged to pay us in cash at the beginning of the weekend and I reckon nothing to losing money on changing English to Canadian and then Canadian to English at the end of the tour.

It's about an hour and a half to Lunenburg. We eventually arrive 20 minutes before our 2.00 p.m. gig and have to do it in the clothes we've been travelling in for 48 hours. It's blazing hot, unusually humid for Lunenburg (on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia) and the gig is ooutside at the Fisheries Museum without a PA. I tell you, it doesn't matter how tired we are, we are in no danger of falling over because our clothes can now stand up by themselves.

Luckily the Artisan fans have turned up to welcome us and we're shredded, but not too shredded to deliver the goods.

As a PS to all this, the chap who did turn up to the airport at 11.30 p.m. to meet the original flight that was supposedly cancelled for a storm said: 'What storm?' So we're left wondering if the airline cancelled the plane and just told us it was a storm to save themselves paying for all our accommodations.

And the kicker is that our travel insurance company will not pay out for the accommodation (even though there was an overnight stay involved) because the delay insurance doesn't kick in unless there's a 12 hour delay. The flight we were due to fly out on was 9.15 p.m. and the flight we did fly out on was 6.15 a.m. Bummer.

This post was titled 'Bad Flights, Good Gigs'. The good gigs bit will have to wait until the next post. I'm exhausted just re-living all that vicariously through the keyboard.

Canada was amazing... more soon
jacey: (Default)
Milford is an annual, week-long event at which published SF writers get together to workshop and crit short stories, novel beginnings, ongoing work and ideas with each other. It's been held all over the UK, but currently resides in North Wales, at Trigonos, within sight of Mount Snowdon and close to Caernarfon. This year it took place during the last week in October, an unusually mild week for the time of year with Snowdonia decked out in autumn colours.

The maximum number of writers rarely exceeds 14 or 15, but this year, due to a few late dropouts, we ended up being a small but select group of 10. We workshopped 19 pieces of writing between us, something approaching 150,000 words. The standard was enormously high. That's not to say that we didn't have criticisms, but they were all constructive.

I can't say just how much I appreciate Milford as a concept. It's brilliant. There are no face to face crit groups in my area run along serious lines (one in Huddersfield where people read out their own work - my idea of hell) so to spend a week in the company of like-minded SF writers recharges my writing batteries like nothing else can. I get as much out of doing the crits as being critted and once a piece has been through the mill it resurfaces in conversation - sometimes with great ideas bubbling to the surface.

Here are the 2009 Milfordians: Back row L - R [info]lil_shepherd, Nick Moulton, [info]mevennen [livejournal.com profile] birdsedge (me), Heather Lindsley, [info]altariel, Jon Moran
 
Front Row: [info]chrisbutler, Stefan Hogberg, [info]charlieallery



Trigonos is a fabulous place, on the southern edge of Snowdonia with its own lake and a glorious view from our crit room window.



If I have any reservation's about Trigonos it's about food - its (mostly) vegetarian fare which shows up more obviously in their evening meals. The food ethos is great in that it's all organic and much of it is home grown. Breakfasts are fine, lunches are brilliant with a huge pot of home made soup and a variety of breads and salads, but evening meals can be a little lentiltastic and... the smoked mackerel and mushroom pie did cause a few grown men to cry. (Not a happy food combination. If you ever fancy trying it... don't.) When served polenta one evening (following on from quinoa the evening before) someone (and it wasn't me this time) was heard to remark, 'This isn't food; this is what food eats!' Don't get me wrong, I like a fair amount of vegetarian food, even though I don't actually like vegetables in large quantities, but courgettes in runny cheese as a main course doesn't do it for me, and neither does sweet potato Thai curry which looks like orange slush. In all fairness the chef does make an alternative for people with allergies and extreme dislikes, but if there's a glut in the garden you will find the week's menu heavy with it. This year they obviously had millions of courgettes. I would never have actually listed courgettes on my 'dislike' list because usually I eat a few just to be polite, but now I find that after a week of aversion therapy, I can't face them. We didn't even get them in ratatouille (which I do like), instead they were mostly served in hero-sized lumps, boiled or steamed or maybe very lightly oven roasted. [personal profile] maeve_the_red is probably licking her lips right now - committed veggie that she is.

On the other hand everything else about the place is so right. The people are friendly and welcoming, we get our own ensuite rooms, the facilities for meeting and for socialising are marvellous, the setting is perfect. So all in all I can cope with the food given all the other plus points. Maybe next year we'll just ask the chef to tweak the menu a little more in the direction of us omnivores.

We always try to get all the workshopping work finished by Thursday night so that we can go and have a day out on Friday. This year with the weather still fine and mild we picked Caernarfon Castle - a fabulous place to spend a few hours and the guided tour was well worth two quid even though the guide did think the Angevin Kings were English (rather than French)







Despite my gripes about the food I wouldn't want to miss Milford and I'm really looking forward to next year - September 18th - 25th. If anyone fancies coming you only need to have sold one piece of fiction to qualify. You can find out more from www.milfordsf.co.uk

jacey: (Default)
Milford is an annual, week-long event at which published SF writers get together to workshop and crit short stories, novel beginnings, ongoing work and ideas with each other. It's been held all over the UK, but currently resides in North Wales, at Trigonos, within sight of Mount Snowdon and close to Caernarfon. This year it took place during the last week in October, an unusually mild week for the time of year with Snowdonia decked out in autumn colours.

The maximum number of writers rarely exceeds 14 or 15, but this year, due to a few late dropouts, we ended up being a small but select group of 10. We workshopped 19 pieces of writing between us, something approaching 150,000 words. The standard was enormously high. That's not to say that we didn't have criticisms, but they were all constructive.

I can't say just how much I appreciate Milford as a concept. It's brilliant. There are no face to face crit groups in my area run along serious lines (one in Huddersfield where people read out their own work - my idea of hell) so to spend a week in the company of like-minded SF writers recharges my writing batteries like nothing else can. I get as much out of doing the crits as being critted and once a piece has been through the mill it resurfaces in conversation - sometimes with great ideas bubbling to the surface.

Here are the 2009 Milfordians: Back row L - R [info]lil_shepherd, Nick Moulton, [info]mevennen [livejournal.com profile] birdsedge (me), Heather Lindsley, [info]altariel, Jon Moran
 
Front Row: [info]chrisbutler, Stefan Hogberg, [info]charlieallery



Trigonos is a fabulous place, on the southern edge of Snowdonia with its own lake and a glorious view from our crit room window.



If I have any reservation's about Trigonos it's about food - its (mostly) vegetarian fare which shows up more obviously in their evening meals. The food ethos is great in that it's all organic and much of it is home grown. Breakfasts are fine, lunches are brilliant with a huge pot of home made soup and a variety of breads and salads, but evening meals can be a little lentiltastic and... the smoked mackerel and mushroom pie did cause a few grown men to cry. (Not a happy food combination. If you ever fancy trying it... don't.) When served polenta one evening (following on from quinoa the evening before) someone (and it wasn't me this time) was heard to remark, 'This isn't food; this is what food eats!' Don't get me wrong, I like a fair amount of vegetarian food, even though I don't actually like vegetables in large quantities, but courgettes in runny cheese as a main course doesn't do it for me, and neither does sweet potato Thai curry which looks like orange slush. In all fairness the chef does make an alternative for people with allergies and extreme dislikes, but if there's a glut in the garden you will find the week's menu heavy with it. This year they obviously had millions of courgettes. I would never have actually listed courgettes on my 'dislike' list because usually I eat a few just to be polite, but now I find that after a week of aversion therapy, I can't face them. We didn't even get them in ratatouille (which I do like), instead they were mostly served in hero-sized lumps, boiled or steamed or maybe very lightly oven roasted. [personal profile] maeve_the_red is probably licking her lips right now - committed veggie that she is.

On the other hand everything else about the place is so right. The people are friendly and welcoming, we get our own ensuite rooms, the facilities for meeting and for socialising are marvellous, the setting is perfect. So all in all I can cope with the food given all the other plus points. Maybe next year we'll just ask the chef to tweak the menu a little more in the direction of us omnivores.

We always try to get all the workshopping work finished by Thursday night so that we can go and have a day out on Friday. This year with the weather still fine and mild we picked Caernarfon Castle - a fabulous place to spend a few hours and the guided tour was well worth two quid even though the guide did think the Angevin Kings were English (rather than French)







Despite my gripes about the food I wouldn't want to miss Milford and I'm really looking forward to next year - September 18th - 25th. If anyone fancies coming you only need to have sold one piece of fiction to qualify. You can find out more from www.milfordsf.co.uk

jacey: (Default)
Just like it says on the tin, I'm back from Ottawa, I've had a couple of hours sleep, a cup of coffee. a piece of my mum's Bakewell Tart (that she made for BB), I've made a lamb stew and I've managed to post the email that had been piling up while I was away, since, even though I had an excellent WiFi connection in my hotel room in Ottawa, for some reason I could collect mail but not send it. I suspect this is something weird going on with Demon, my ISP for thirteen years, now, and pretty good most of the time, but terrible for international travel.

So... more Heathrow Woes?

Well, yes, but not as bad as on the way out, however I have to say that their system for looking after folks who don't walk so fast, or walk so well is UTTER CRAP. (There are moving walkways, but only on the final strip between gates, not in the rest of the terminal building.) I've never explored this before. I've always just gritted my teeth and hiked, but I've usually had BB to give me a hand with hand-baggage if necessary. I didn't really need assistance this time. I mean, I can walk so it's a borderline thing, but I do have a bad knee (courtesy of a torn ligament some years ago) and a lot of fast (for me) walking tends to aggravate it and I suffer for it for days afterwards. Plus I still have the remains of the underfoot blisters acquired on the outbound journey. So with the time factor added in as well, I thought I'd see what could be done to make my transit through Heathrow a more pleasant and less stressful experience. I only had a two hour turnaround for making my connection, which sounds a lot, but it took every minute of two and a half hours to make my connection outbound with a combination of walking time and queuing time,

So I asked on check-in at Ottawa (delightfully small and easy airport) and was told that they'd arrange a passenger cart to collect me at the landing gate at Heathrow Terminal Three. This happened and it was fine. It saved the long hike from the gate to the transfer bus that was to take me to Terminal One... however... the cart could get no closer than the top of the escalator leading down to the T3 bus station.

Now I can walk so walking down the escalator, wheeling my heavy laptop/briefcase and waiting for the bus wasn't a problem. I never expected the cart to take me door to door, BUT, having requested special assistance I was abandoned completely at that point. They never bothered to ascertain why I needed assistance, so as far as they were concerned I could have been someone with a heart problem or any number of muscular-skeletal conditions.

So I was fine, but out of cussedness and curiosity I decided to follow through and see what else was available for the walking wounded on my transit. As it turns out the answer was: nothing. When I got off the bus at T1 and enquired at the special assistance desk I was told that there were no passenger carts at this terminal. Simply none. Had I been desperately ill, immobile or willing to sit in a wheelchair regardless - which is complete overkill and totally unnecessary for someone with a bad knee and temporary blisters - I could have requested special assistance, but otherwise... Nothing.

Admittedly I was fine. Having saved the longish walk at T3 and also gained some time on the first leg of the transfer, I was still plenty fit enough to manage the longish walk at T1 (no moving walkways in this part of the airport). Also the queues for immigration and for security were much shorter than on the outbound journey (hardly any wait at all as opposed to standing in line for half an hour) so I had plenty of time to amble slowly to the gate.

However there are a lot of people out there who are not wheelchair cases and who would be horrified to be offered a wheelchair, but whose walking speed and comfort zone is not up to transiting Heathrow at the velocity required to make their connections in a pain-free, stress-free manner. Other huge airports have much better transit systems. Newark, New Jersey, has a brilliant little monorail system to transfer passengers between the three terminals, the bus stop and the car rental hubs. Admittedly it's busy, but it's easy to get at and it's regular so that people move through the system quickly and relatively stress free.

So marks out of ten for Heathrow: Outbound 1/10 (and that's being generous because I did actually catch my flight) and inbound 4/10. Come on, Heathrow. I challenge you to make it easy for people, they are, after all, your customers. You're the biggest airport in the world, so figure out how to move people effectively without exhausting them, stressing them out and delivering them to their holiday or business destination tired and sore.

jacey: (Default)
Just like it says on the tin, I'm back from Ottawa, I've had a couple of hours sleep, a cup of coffee. a piece of my mum's Bakewell Tart (that she made for BB), I've made a lamb stew and I've managed to post the email that had been piling up while I was away, since, even though I had an excellent WiFi connection in my hotel room in Ottawa, for some reason I could collect mail but not send it. I suspect this is something weird going on with Demon, my ISP for thirteen years, now, and pretty good most of the time, but terrible for international travel.

So... more Heathrow Woes?

Well, yes, but not as bad as on the way out, however I have to say that their system for looking after folks who don't walk so fast, or walk so well is UTTER CRAP. (There are moving walkways, but only on the final strip between gates, not in the rest of the terminal building.) I've never explored this before. I've always just gritted my teeth and hiked, but I've usually had BB to give me a hand with hand-baggage if necessary. I didn't really need assistance this time. I mean, I can walk so it's a borderline thing, but I do have a bad knee (courtesy of a torn ligament some years ago) and a lot of fast (for me) walking tends to aggravate it and I suffer for it for days afterwards. Plus I still have the remains of the underfoot blisters acquired on the outbound journey. So with the time factor added in as well, I thought I'd see what could be done to make my transit through Heathrow a more pleasant and less stressful experience. I only had a two hour turnaround for making my connection, which sounds a lot, but it took every minute of two and a half hours to make my connection outbound with a combination of walking time and queuing time,

So I asked on check-in at Ottawa (delightfully small and easy airport) and was told that they'd arrange a passenger cart to collect me at the landing gate at Heathrow Terminal Three. This happened and it was fine. It saved the long hike from the gate to the transfer bus that was to take me to Terminal One... however... the cart could get no closer than the top of the escalator leading down to the T3 bus station.

Now I can walk so walking down the escalator, wheeling my heavy laptop/briefcase and waiting for the bus wasn't a problem. I never expected the cart to take me door to door, BUT, having requested special assistance I was abandoned completely at that point. They never bothered to ascertain why I needed assistance, so as far as they were concerned I could have been someone with a heart problem or any number of muscular-skeletal conditions.

So I was fine, but out of cussedness and curiosity I decided to follow through and see what else was available for the walking wounded on my transit. As it turns out the answer was: nothing. When I got off the bus at T1 and enquired at the special assistance desk I was told that there were no passenger carts at this terminal. Simply none. Had I been desperately ill, immobile or willing to sit in a wheelchair regardless - which is complete overkill and totally unnecessary for someone with a bad knee and temporary blisters - I could have requested special assistance, but otherwise... Nothing.

Admittedly I was fine. Having saved the longish walk at T3 and also gained some time on the first leg of the transfer, I was still plenty fit enough to manage the longish walk at T1 (no moving walkways in this part of the airport). Also the queues for immigration and for security were much shorter than on the outbound journey (hardly any wait at all as opposed to standing in line for half an hour) so I had plenty of time to amble slowly to the gate.

However there are a lot of people out there who are not wheelchair cases and who would be horrified to be offered a wheelchair, but whose walking speed and comfort zone is not up to transiting Heathrow at the velocity required to make their connections in a pain-free, stress-free manner. Other huge airports have much better transit systems. Newark, New Jersey, has a brilliant little monorail system to transfer passengers between the three terminals, the bus stop and the car rental hubs. Admittedly it's busy, but it's easy to get at and it's regular so that people move through the system quickly and relatively stress free.

So marks out of ten for Heathrow: Outbound 1/10 (and that's being generous because I did actually catch my flight) and inbound 4/10. Come on, Heathrow. I challenge you to make it easy for people, they are, after all, your customers. You're the biggest airport in the world, so figure out how to move people effectively without exhausting them, stressing them out and delivering them to their holiday or business destination tired and sore.

jacey: (Default)

War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada

I haven't seen the outside of the hotel or breathed fresh air since Thursday morning, but I did manage to grab a few shots of Ottawa on Thursday morning. One of the most strking pieces of art in the city centre is the war memorial.

And last night's sunset over the Ottawa River from my hotel room was pretty spectacular.
Ottawa Sunset

The conference is nearly over. I'm back on the plane for London on Sunday afternoon, tired, but reasonably successful. I've seen and heard lots of music and have a couple of acts in mind for the agency.



jacey: (Default)

War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada

I haven't seen the outside of the hotel or breathed fresh air since Thursday morning, but I did manage to grab a few shots of Ottawa on Thursday morning. One of the most strking pieces of art in the city centre is the war memorial.

And last night's sunset over the Ottawa River from my hotel room was pretty spectacular.
Ottawa Sunset

The conference is nearly over. I'm back on the plane for London on Sunday afternoon, tired, but reasonably successful. I've seen and heard lots of music and have a couple of acts in mind for the agency.



jacey: (Default)
Here I sit on the 22nd floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Ottawa. It's the lull before the storm. The conference begins tomrrow and I flew in today. Up at five. Arrive Manchester airport T3 at 7.00 Depart for Heathrow at 8.55, arriving slightly ahead of schedule at 9.50. Change terminals from T1 to T3 at Heathrow and depart for Ottawa at 1.00 p.m. arriving 3.30 local time at the airport and 5.00 p.m. at the hotel (which is Midnight back at home).

The journey reconfirmed that I hate Geathrow airport. I walked for bloody miles in T1 and then had to queue for a bus to change terminals, stand in yet another (slow) security check queue (just like the one I'd already come through at Manchester), and walk for bloody miles again to the  lounge at T3. Once in T3 they didn't announce our gate until well after the advertised 11.55, but there was a worrying notice that said to allow 10 minutes to get to the nearest gates and 20 minutes for te furthest ones. That's another 20 minute walk just to get to the gate from the lounge. Sheesh, no wonder I've got sore feet. I was watching the board like a hawk. As soon as tey announced the gate I set off and still found the gate lounge already full. Did they all walk faster than me or had they been told the gate number in advance? I'd barely sat down when the plane started to board.

I had a 3 hour stopover at Heathrow on the way out, but on the way back it's only 2 hours. And I also have to collect my luggage and clear customs before changing terminals and connecting for Manchester. If there's another queue at Immigration and another trip through security with  my dangerous laptop having to be taken out of its case yet again and my lethal toothpaste I don't see how I can make the connection in time. I'm seriously thinkiing of telling therm I need transport. Heathrow is just too damn big.

There was a woman doing a survey and one of her questions was: Why did you choose Heathrow to connect through instead of some other arport? I wanted to scream: 'Because I had no sodding choice!'

Ottawa airport is a delight in comparison.
jacey: (Default)
Here I sit on the 22nd floor of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Ottawa. It's the lull before the storm. The conference begins tomrrow and I flew in today. Up at five. Arrive Manchester airport T3 at 7.00 Depart for Heathrow at 8.55, arriving slightly ahead of schedule at 9.50. Change terminals from T1 to T3 at Heathrow and depart for Ottawa at 1.00 p.m. arriving 3.30 local time at the airport and 5.00 p.m. at the hotel (which is Midnight back at home).

The journey reconfirmed that I hate Geathrow airport. I walked for bloody miles in T1 and then had to queue for a bus to change terminals, stand in yet another (slow) security check queue (just like the one I'd already come through at Manchester), and walk for bloody miles again to the  lounge at T3. Once in T3 they didn't announce our gate until well after the advertised 11.55, but there was a worrying notice that said to allow 10 minutes to get to the nearest gates and 20 minutes for te furthest ones. That's another 20 minute walk just to get to the gate from the lounge. Sheesh, no wonder I've got sore feet. I was watching the board like a hawk. As soon as tey announced the gate I set off and still found the gate lounge already full. Did they all walk faster than me or had they been told the gate number in advance? I'd barely sat down when the plane started to board.

I had a 3 hour stopover at Heathrow on the way out, but on the way back it's only 2 hours. And I also have to collect my luggage and clear customs before changing terminals and connecting for Manchester. If there's another queue at Immigration and another trip through security with  my dangerous laptop having to be taken out of its case yet again and my lethal toothpaste I don't see how I can make the connection in time. I'm seriously thinkiing of telling therm I need transport. Heathrow is just too damn big.

There was a woman doing a survey and one of her questions was: Why did you choose Heathrow to connect through instead of some other arport? I wanted to scream: 'Because I had no sodding choice!'

Ottawa airport is a delight in comparison.
jacey: (Default)
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference here I come.

So the plane leaves Manchester at 8.55 to connect in Heathrow to the Ottawa flight departing at 1300, which means I have three hours in LHR, but since there seems to be a change of terminal (which my travel agent specifically said there was NOT) I'm not too worried about having time to kill. I've done the fast-turnaround-running -between-terminals thing at Heathrow before. It's NOT FUN.

It will seem very weird flying alone. I've usually done it as part of Artisan's round the world gigging.

I get back in (again via Heathrow) at 9.25 on Monday 19th - fuddled with jet-lag and with only five days to sort out my Milford stuff...
jacey: (Default)
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference here I come.

So the plane leaves Manchester at 8.55 to connect in Heathrow to the Ottawa flight departing at 1300, which means I have three hours in LHR, but since there seems to be a change of terminal (which my travel agent specifically said there was NOT) I'm not too worried about having time to kill. I've done the fast-turnaround-running -between-terminals thing at Heathrow before. It's NOT FUN.

It will seem very weird flying alone. I've usually done it as part of Artisan's round the world gigging.

I get back in (again via Heathrow) at 9.25 on Monday 19th - fuddled with jet-lag and with only five days to sort out my Milford stuff...
jacey: (Default)
Known locally as 'The Castles,' Kells in Co. Kilkenny is actually an Augustinian Priory dating back to 1193. It was built by Geoffrey FitzRobert - a knight of the historically impressive William Marshall - and established by four Canons Regular (Augustinian 'Black' Canons) brought over from Bodmin in Cornwall. It stands on the King's River.

Kings River, Kells

What's so fascinating about it now is that there are no turnstiles or guidebooks, no barriers (other than safety ones where some restoration is taking place) and no times of opening and closing. You just park up by a derelict Hutchinson's Mill (water wheel still evident), walk for a few hundred yards along the river and cross a bridge and you're there.

Kellsmill

It's a huge site with no complete buildings but solid ruins and a restored perimeter wall which enclosed the Burgess Court, a defensive area for the protection of the locals added in the 15th century when times were turbulent and the original defensive castle at Kells had been ignored for some years by successive authorities.

Burgess Court

All this I later gleaned from the Kells website because all you can see there is an inexplicable ruin - which is kinda nice. (But don't go to this website unless you can stomach irritating pop-up ads and awkwardly repeating chunks of text. You have been warned.)

Edit: Actually - I just found a much better website here by Daniel Tietzsch-Tyler (an illustrator specialising in archaeological reconstruction) with an extensive history, plans of the site and photographs. I thoroughly recommend it. In particular there's a very fine reconstruction drawing and a ground plan.

Kellswindow

And this is my favourite shot.



Just down the road is another mill which is now converted into a museum, tea-shop and offices. It's labelled Kells Priory Mill, but it's the old Mullins Mill. Records say that a mill was established on site in 1204-6 by Geoffrey de Monte Marisco FitzRobert (c.1197-1242), first Baron FitzRobert and the buildings were incorporated into the present complex by the Mullins family in the late eighteenth century. There's yet another amazing waterwheel.

Mullins Mill Waterwheel

And a gorgeous view from the bridge

Mullins Mill



jacey: (Default)
Known locally as 'The Castles,' Kells in Co. Kilkenny is actually an Augustinian Priory dating back to 1193. It was built by Geoffrey FitzRobert - a knight of the historically impressive William Marshall - and established by four Canons Regular (Augustinian 'Black' Canons) brought over from Bodmin in Cornwall. It stands on the King's River.

Kings River, Kells

What's so fascinating about it now is that there are no turnstiles or guidebooks, no barriers (other than safety ones where some restoration is taking place) and no times of opening and closing. You just park up by a derelict Hutchinson's Mill (water wheel still evident), walk for a few hundred yards along the river and cross a bridge and you're there.

Kellsmill

It's a huge site with no complete buildings but solid ruins and a restored perimeter wall which enclosed the Burgess Court, a defensive area for the protection of the locals added in the 15th century when times were turbulent and the original defensive castle at Kells had been ignored for some years by successive authorities.

Burgess Court

All this I later gleaned from the Kells website because all you can see there is an inexplicable ruin - which is kinda nice. (But don't go to this website unless you can stomach irritating pop-up ads and awkwardly repeating chunks of text. You have been warned.)

Edit: Actually - I just found a much better website here by Daniel Tietzsch-Tyler (an illustrator specialising in archaeological reconstruction) with an extensive history, plans of the site and photographs. I thoroughly recommend it. In particular there's a very fine reconstruction drawing and a ground plan.

Kellswindow

And this is my favourite shot.



Just down the road is another mill which is now converted into a museum, tea-shop and offices. It's labelled Kells Priory Mill, but it's the old Mullins Mill. Records say that a mill was established on site in 1204-6 by Geoffrey de Monte Marisco FitzRobert (c.1197-1242), first Baron FitzRobert and the buildings were incorporated into the present complex by the Mullins family in the late eighteenth century. There's yet another amazing waterwheel.

Mullins Mill Waterwheel

And a gorgeous view from the bridge

Mullins Mill



jacey: (Default)
Back home, rested and refreshed, after six days (including travelling). A cheap flight from Manchester to Waterford with the very excellent Aer Arann and my old friend M to collect me from the airport. Easy!

It didn't even rain too badly - at least not on the days when we wanted to do something - which frankly wasn't the main point of the exercise. I really just wanted a few days to rest, read, write and visit. Part of the exercise was to see the house M and [profile] t_op have been doing up for years now that part of it is reaching the habitable stage. I've been telling them for years that I wouldn't visit until they had a real bathroom - and now they have - so there I was. (And a very fine bathroom it is.)

So apart from talking, eating, writing, talking some more, reading and watching DVDs in the evening, we managed a trip to Kilkenny and a tour round the castle which has medieval foundations, but lost one of its four walls to Cromwell (hence the U-shape to the main buildings). There are also much later additions. I like castles. This was certainly more extensive than I expected.
Kilkenny castle

At least part of every day was spent writing - though I can't say I cracked on as fast as I expected to do. I had plenty of distractions - including the view over the top of my laptop screen across the yard (building work in evidence) and into the orchard (fabulous buddleia) and across the valley.



And there were visitors, thankfully not the bats that I had been warned about (I think my snoring kept them away at night) but this little chap came to visit during the day.



We wandered down to Inistioge and this is the 'must click' tourist pic of the many arched bridge from the gardens at Woodstock.



More tomorrow. I haven't downloaded my pics of Kells Abbey yet.

(Edited for feral apostrophe)



jacey: (Default)
Back home, rested and refreshed, after six days (including travelling). A cheap flight from Manchester to Waterford with the very excellent Aer Arann and my old friend M to collect me from the airport. Easy!

It didn't even rain too badly - at least not on the days when we wanted to do something - which frankly wasn't the main point of the exercise. I really just wanted a few days to rest, read, write and visit. Part of the exercise was to see the house M and [profile] t_op have been doing up for years now that part of it is reaching the habitable stage. I've been telling them for years that I wouldn't visit until they had a real bathroom - and now they have - so there I was. (And a very fine bathroom it is.)

So apart from talking, eating, writing, talking some more, reading and watching DVDs in the evening, we managed a trip to Kilkenny and a tour round the castle which has medieval foundations, but lost one of its four walls to Cromwell (hence the U-shape to the main buildings). There are also much later additions. I like castles. This was certainly more extensive than I expected.
Kilkenny castle

At least part of every day was spent writing - though I can't say I cracked on as fast as I expected to do. I had plenty of distractions - including the view over the top of my laptop screen across the yard (building work in evidence) and into the orchard (fabulous buddleia) and across the valley.



And there were visitors, thankfully not the bats that I had been warned about (I think my snoring kept them away at night) but this little chap came to visit during the day.



We wandered down to Inistioge and this is the 'must click' tourist pic of the many arched bridge from the gardens at Woodstock.



More tomorrow. I haven't downloaded my pics of Kells Abbey yet.

(Edited for feral apostrophe)



jacey: (Default)
I'm off to stay with my friend, Mylek, in Kilkenny for a few days. Travelling home on 20th July. Leaving Best Beloved and Number One Son to fend for themselves with occasional visitors - touring musos Cara Luft and Hugh McMillan.

I'm taking my laptop and have requested at least half a day every day to write and I'm hoping to come out of it with at least a short story for Milford later this year or the start of a new novel.

Talk to you all again next week.

jacey: (Default)
I'm off to stay with my friend, Mylek, in Kilkenny for a few days. Travelling home on 20th July. Leaving Best Beloved and Number One Son to fend for themselves with occasional visitors - touring musos Cara Luft and Hugh McMillan.

I'm taking my laptop and have requested at least half a day every day to write and I'm hoping to come out of it with at least a short story for Milford later this year or the start of a new novel.

Talk to you all again next week.

jacey: (Default)
Number One Son is home safe from Rome and here all summer until he heads for the US and Princeton at the beginning of September. So now we are three again. (Actually, if you count Tanglefoot - the Canadian band staying with us, we are - strictly speaking - eight tonight.)

I spent a very frustrating three hours of drive-time (plus an hour wait time for flight delays) trying to negotiate traffic to the Leeds/Bradford airport and back again in the middle of the afternoon. Whichever way you go you just can't avoid nose to tail traffic even before three p.m.. The Leeds ring road was stop-go for half an hour so on the way back I cut off on the M621 to the M62, aiming to wend my way via the Brighouse exit... and then I still crawled bumper to bumper from the motorway sliproad all the way to the outskirts of Huddersfield where a short but necessary trip to the supermarket delayed us until the worst of the traffic had begin to melt away.
jacey: (Default)
Number One Son is home safe from Rome and here all summer until he heads for the US and Princeton at the beginning of September. So now we are three again. (Actually, if you count Tanglefoot - the Canadian band staying with us, we are - strictly speaking - eight tonight.)

I spent a very frustrating three hours of drive-time (plus an hour wait time for flight delays) trying to negotiate traffic to the Leeds/Bradford airport and back again in the middle of the afternoon. Whichever way you go you just can't avoid nose to tail traffic even before three p.m.. The Leeds ring road was stop-go for half an hour so on the way back I cut off on the M621 to the M62, aiming to wend my way via the Brighouse exit... and then I still crawled bumper to bumper from the motorway sliproad all the way to the outskirts of Huddersfield where a short but necessary trip to the supermarket delayed us until the worst of the traffic had begin to melt away.
jacey: (Default)
I've been and gone and done it... booked my ticket for Ireland to go visit my longtime friend, M in Kilkenny in July. I've never been to Ireland before, despite having flown over it several times on much longer journeys. The plan is to visit, see his house (which he's been working on for years together with his wife [profile] t_op ) and also to take my laptop and get some serious writing done. I need to start thinking about a new short for Milford in October. (We generally submit two pieces and I like to take one short and one beginning from the latest work in progress.)

Yeah, well, that's the plan!

:-)

jacey: (Default)
I've been and gone and done it... booked my ticket for Ireland to go visit my longtime friend, M in Kilkenny in July. I've never been to Ireland before, despite having flown over it several times on much longer journeys. The plan is to visit, see his house (which he's been working on for years together with his wife [profile] t_op ) and also to take my laptop and get some serious writing done. I need to start thinking about a new short for Milford in October. (We generally submit two pieces and I like to take one short and one beginning from the latest work in progress.)

Yeah, well, that's the plan!

:-)

Travel Map

Apr. 2nd, 2008 04:37 am
jacey: (Default)
Places I've been.
Also showing how many places i haven't been...

Travel Map

Apr. 2nd, 2008 04:37 am
jacey: (Default)
Places I've been.
Also showing how many places i haven't been...

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