nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
First day of the holiday, no milk, run out of bread. I could throw some clothes on and dash to the supermarket. Or, I could have cake for breakfast. Cake it is!

I am going on holiday on Monday, and as packing inevitably expands to take up all the time available, I am not packing until tomorrow. I am also hoping that the weather will get better, because I am supposed to be going hiking in western Austria and today it is pouring with rain and 9C. Apparently my run of summer holidays with guaranteed good weather is at an end... Naturally last week it was mid-20s temperatures and sunny. But at least I have some new walking trousers as well as a new hat and there will be fresh air and mountains, even if the fresh air might be a bit damp. I shall read books and eat food cooked by other people, and inevitably not do any writing.

But now I had better get up and re-apply the waterproofing to my jacket.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I am in Berlin. It is very hot. It is so hot that today I am joining the ranks of people who wear shorts in a city. Since this appears to be 50% of people I've been seeing, I shouldn't feel too conspicuous in my sartorial crime, and it is a small price to pay for hot weather.

Berlin is great. I can't remember much, and absolutely nothing has looked as I remember, which isn't surprising on any front since I was last here in 1993. There is far more history that is reasonable for one place, I knew I was only going to scratch the surface, but now I feel I won't even so much scratch as gently tickle, but there are worse fates than to have to come back. My feet hate me.

Tanz der Vampire was amazing. My decision to base a holiday around seeing a cheesy musical is one million percent vindicated. I'm going again tonight. I even stage-doored The shame! The shame!, which is probably the most nerdish thing I have ever done in my entire life. I have also found several prospective entrants to the Galactic Cape-Twirling Championships. So far the hot favourite is the dancer who twirled his cape while simultaneously twirling a woman above his head, but there were also strong entries in the dramatic and moody categories.

Naturally the fic I bought to write remains entirely unwritten, as indeed does my diary. Never mind, no doubt I will catch up during tomorrow's 8 1/2 hour train journey.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
I am back from my holiday. It was good. It was very relaxing in that for a week I was too busy or tired to think about anything at home or work, and it was exhausting in that for a week I was too busy or tired to think about anything other than what I was doing. My internal monologue for the skiing part can be basically summed up as follows:

balance balance OK balance left right left right glide glide hill ankles edge edge edge edge edge flex fuck edge OK relax ankles weight weight ankles knees weight weight weight weight slip pole edge down down down knees in IN IN IN shoulders that way lichen poles ooh footprints argh CONCENTRATE turn glide turn turn turn ice turn edge edge weight! edge edgeedgeedgeedgeedgeglide pole glide glide etc etc.

And so on, with occasional singing. 'The Hills Are Alive' is excellent for navigating those downhills that are within ones capacity and will actually go better for relaxing. The beginning of Chesterton's 'Lepanto' can provide momentum up the steeper bits. I have eaten my bodyweight in food, don't need to see porridge for another year, enjoyed the sauna, and, inevitably, had a cold for the second half of the week. I managed relatively little reading, slept well when I wasn't blowing my nose and once I had remembered to turn the radiator not down, but off, spent a week away from the internet, and have started, but not completed, unpacking.

I had a great time.

Photo on LJ...
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Something I hate: Birds singing at 5am and waking me up at a time at which I can't get back to sleep. Shut you, you feathered bastards! See also babies, bells, and muezzins.

Something I love: Books! I am not a book collector, though I like to treat mine gently, but love the contents. Have a second one for contrast, being in beautiful outdoor places. It is amazing to stand someone with a stunning view and look at it.

Somewhere I've been: I won't say "Birmingham" because I promoted its joys recently. More excitingly, therefore, Bukhara. Here is UNESCO on the subject. It is beautiful and fascinating, and as UNESCO put it is notable not simply for individual historic buildings, but for its survival as a townscape that gives a sense of the urban structure. Avicenna was born near there, the Emirate survived until 1920 (though it had been a Russian protectorate for several decades before then), and it has a surprisingly good Italian restaurant. It used to have a substantial Jewish population, but Soviet rule was not kind, and the majority emigrated once this became possible. My boss, who lived in Jerusalem in the late 80s/early 90s, when many people moved to there, told me that they were easily recognisable by their gold-veneered teeth, a widespread Uzbek fashion.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Bolivia. It has volcanoes, the Altiplano, ruins, and I've never been to South America. That's a good start.

Someone I know: my mother and middle sister. It is a good letter!

A film I like: Babette's Feast. How the hell a recent Guardian review could give this only 4/5 stars I can't imagine. This 1987 film directed by Gabriel Axel is cinematic perfection. It was shown on BBC2 and my father taped, and it became a family favourite, to the extent that a couple of years ago we recreated the dinner. It isn't simply charming; it is profound and beautiful.

It is also responsible for a moment of classroom triumph on my part, when we were watching it in the Danish class before Christmas, with Danish subtitles, and during the General's speech the woman next to me whispered "What on earth is he saying?" to which I responded "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace shall kiss one another." I was not, of course, that good after one term - I had realised very early in the film that I had seen it so often that I could remember pretty much all of the English subtitles. I did confess afterwards.

Have the trailer:

If you would like a letter to do this, comment away!
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
It is, however, in only 6 and a half-weeks time, which is terrifyingly close for the end of term and last week of March. I had better get to the gym.* It is skiing, Norway, and I shall be breaking exciting new ground in seeing the E6 road from the train, rather than the railway line from the E6, because I am getting myself to the hotel independently rather than having someone else do all the organising. This feels a lot more adventurous when it is 300km in Norway in winter than continental Europe in the summer even though it isn't in actual fact, despite the fact that I've been to the hotel itself before. I am even being sufficiently grown up that I am paying an extra £25 for the week to have a room with an Amazing View. With a view like this, it seems money worth spending.

(The picture is on LJ again. I must look up how to put them on DW.)

Possibly I should put it on my work computer desktop as an incentive to survive the term.

*I won't get to the gym.


Feb. 13th, 2015 07:25 pm
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Alas, not yet, but in the meantime I get to look forward to it (and do some training). Come the end of March I may be seen skimming* over the fells of the Rondane national park**, the hillier bits of which look like this (photo on LJ...)

Hopefully the weather will be good so that I am able to see them.

This does mean that I really need to do some training over the next month or so, though...
There is a 35km guided trip that I really want to do. Walking it would be no problem, but skiing is another question altogether!

*Well, trying to.

**See icon for a different bit of it.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
One day I will go on a holiday and come back less tired than when I went away*. It is a long time since I have just gone for a day at the beach, which is silly as I enjoy a day at the beach. On the other hand, filling every waking minute does mean that though not a lot of reading gets done, I am thoroughly mentally refreshed by concentrating on doing things outside the daily grind, which is excellent. Likewise excellent is that I now possess grappa, a sort of pistachio version of Nutella, and a silk scarf. The broken/sprained little toe is less excellent. Fortunately after the first bout of sudden agony, a sticky bandage and exchanging sandals for lace-ups reduced it to a nuisance rather than a major inconvenience, and it improved during the week so I am now fairly sure that it is only the tendons. Also less excellent was the Italian air traffic controllers’ strike, something that really makes one appreciate the value of flying with BA who seemed pretty good about making rearranging things their problem.

Anyway, it was good fun. I saw lots of interesting things including impressive art** and beautiful scenery, 8 dead bodies***, and numerous churches, enjoyed some better weather, ate some excellent food**** and ice cream (top marks to the bergamot and marron glaces flavours), drank cocktails, took a plane, train, bus, underground, but not alas tram. It was a bit cloudy for much of the time (except with good timing when I was on the duomo roof) so I am not at all tanned and did not swim, but I hope I have managed to synthesise a bit of vitamin D to see me through until May.

Photos are on LJ.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (sheep)
Holiday (1) draws to a close, and I return to Oxford from a week with my parents’ today. Holiday (2) starts tomorrow, when I’m off to Milan. I return in a week and will probably need holiday (3) to recover from all the dashing about. I have had a lovely week here, but it has been very busy, and next week will doubtless be great fun and also very busy.

Things I have not done this week:

- Read much
- Catch up with my horribly behind diary for August
- Pack all my books
- Get as much sleep as would have been a good idea

Things I have done this week:

- Pack everything except my books to take to Oxford
- Get very dusty in the loft
- Visit Ilkley, upper Wharfedale, the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate, Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth Castle, Conisburgh Castle (the latter three on the same day), go out for dinner, walk on the Chevin
- Spent more time on the M1 than I would have liked, including witnessing up close the grisly demise of a pigeon
- Eat lots of nice food cooked by other people, and drink some very nice drinks
- Stay up too late

And the latest Icelandic volcano has finally erupted just in time for me to see it, while not disrupting aviation across Europe. Perfect.
nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
Less than a fortnight after I sent the old one off. Do people know something I don't about all planes suddenly going to fail mid-air? I even manage to look fairly human in it, although the colour balance is pretty awful, like mid-century colourised film, dark green hair surrounding a pale pink ghost.

Next week - time to book a holiday!
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I am home. I am tireder than a very tired person, but that is largely the journey. I have a headache as a result of this, but it will go overnight, and on Monday I actually woke up without a sinus headache for the first time in 6+ weeks. Do you think that NICE recommends continental rest cures for the NHS? It was very, very hot, impressive scenery, good food, long walks, and Vesuvius didn't erupt, which on balance was good. Photos will follow, after bed.

My neighbour must be out, as the student lodger is playing Teenage Kicks at great volume.
nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
I am off work with a mild dose of plane plague. This gives me the opportunity to catch up with the last three episodes of Doctor Who.

It also gives me the opportunity to introduce you to Thomson charter flights' (who took us to Italy and who, as previously, proved themselves rather good. They have very nice stewards) attempt to get passengers to watch the flight safety demonstration. I always watch flight safety videos because I don't trust anyone else to, and I always read the card about how to open the emergency doors, but this time I was, unusually, accompanied by almost everyone else.

This is because the 2011 Thomson flight safety video appears to be delivered by Amelia Pond.
nineveh_uk: Photograph of a bluebell wood (bluebells)
Work is over! I am now off for a week and a half, back for three days, and then off again for a week. By which point September will be 2/3 over and term fast approaching, which is rather scary but I am not thinking about that just now.

To start with, a four-day weekend. I have moules frites for dinner. I have made the sensible decision not to go to Ikea tomorrow - it's not like I shall be at home to enjoy the benefits anyway. London on Sunday (probably via bus to avoid the people returning from the Reading Festival - one train journey enlivened by the distinctive tang was enough) for a wedding celebration. Then off to Austria next week for some Alpine walking in the company of [personal profile] azdak. It looks like the temperature is dropping a bit - no bad thing, because hiking in 35 degrees C is hard work and the mid-twenties will do me nicely.

Temperatures are dropping in Sicily, too, which is the next stop. I'll be grateful for 35 *C there as opposed to 40*. The summit of Etna is closed at the moment due to volcanic activity, with access limited to c. 2900m. I can live with that... Fingers crossed for a "paroxysm" while I'm there. Meanwhile Stromboli is enjoying an excitingly active phase within normal parameters. Not to mention food, wine, sun, sea, and solfataras.

In short, September looks like it's going to be an enjoyable, if busy, month. Oh, and I've got a friend visiting for the last weekend.
nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
As next month’s holiday involves volcanoes, I could hardly pass by* The Volcano Adventure Guide, which is a what it says on the tin guide for people for whom watching Horizon isn’t enough and who want to visit an active volcano. It looks a very good mix of logistics, including rules for surviving eruptions, travel guide, and science. It's the sort of thing that really ought to have been a Christmas or birthday present, but as I shall be going to some of the volcanoes in question rather sooner than December, it seemed daft not to go for it now. My one niggle is that the twenty volcanoes described in detail (plus shorter descriptions of other local volcanoes and phenomena) appear to be rather USA-centric. To some extent this may reasonably reflect the author’s expertise and experience, as she is based at a US university, and including reasonably accessible among her criteria (which also include geologically active) seems appropriate in a book of this type. But to limit them entirely to North America (including Costa Rica, the West Indies, and Hawaii) and western Europe seems excessive. I agree that Mount Erebus is not really practical, likewise Kamchatka. Africa and Indonesia present challenges to tourism of this type that the developed world doesn’t, though both have volcano tourism. But nothing at all from Japan or New Zealand, or even South America? Of course, it is possible I am biased by a strong disinclination to subject myself to US immigration at the moment, but I feel the book loses something thereby. But at least I can use the rest of the information to plan my own trips one day.

Volume two is The First Teenagers: the lifestyle of young wage-earners in interwar Britain, which was in the window in Oxfam, has a cover photograph of two swimming-costume-clad girls smoking, and, oh bliss, is not about Bright Young Things, but largely working class and lower middle-class boys and girls.

*In fact I didn’t. I read about it online and then went to Blackwells and found a copy.
nineveh_uk: picture of an elk (elk)
I'm back from my holiday, wondering how on earth some people manage to do two weeks of skiing. I had a great time, characterised particularly by natural phenomena. Photos under the cut )


Sep. 16th, 2010 11:55 am
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
I didn't actually see the famous river, although I did manage a tributary and there are little bottles of water in the gift-shops. There was a lot of sand and rock, though. The other people on the trip were good company, as was the guide, although I suspect some of my fellow-travellers hadn't quite realised there might be that much history!

So, some photographs of history. Read more... )


nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)

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