Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The decision

As January draws to a close, the realizations of it being the year we would have to leave the UK dawned upon us. 2013 is no longer "Next year" so it's time to figure out our game plan.

Pip and I (Pip mostly) have been planning our travel route home for some time now and after much discussion and weighing up of our options we have decided to leave Manchester in April. It makes sense as Pip finishes her contract at Comic Relief and with only a handful of months left to legally work, would find getting a job that wasn't terrible quite a challenge. Our lease expires in April, and I don't know whether I could survive at Caffe Nero until August without becoming rather unhappy.

So the decision has been made, and now I must save my pennies from my under paid job in order to not only fly home but see more of the world on our way back. I won't reveal our exact route until we book it but if we can make this happen, we will be in for quite an adventure.

Am I sad to be leaving England? I feel as though our time here is done, apart from my Abbey Road tour in March and the trip to see the house Dad lived as a lad, both Pip and I agree that we will leave here having done pretty much all that we wanted.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Imperial War Museum North

Today, I was in the mood for a bit of 'touristing' and so decided to meet Pip for lunch at Media City and then make a visit to the War museum.

After lunch, I crossed the bridge, and entered the huge silver building which appears as a cross between a modern sculpture and a bomb shelter. Inside is much the same and although a grand exhibition space, I prefer museums to focus more on the pieces inside them than being a place that feels as though it's fighting for your attention.

Not that I'm knocking the place as it did have some very engaging displays. The idea is that you make your way around the building in a timeline fashion where you start from world war one and finish in modern day wars. The old footage of WW1 was the mist striking for me along with the British perspective of the second world war.

Seeing the cannon that fired Britons first shot in WW1 along with sea mines and captured gun torrents I was surely affected. Staring down the barrel of a huge weapon that was the cause of many deaths fills me with much sadness, and it was this emotion which I felt throughout the main exhibitions.

The museum ends with modern war and a huge piece of the former world trade center after the 9/11 attacks. This left me quite in awe at the scale as it's something so familiar yet so foreign thanks to modern news and communication.

The Imperial War Museum was worth a visit but surely reenforced my feeling of resentment for the world leaders who allow these things to happen time and time again. 

A weekend in Windemere: The story

My Christmas gift to Pip was a weekend away in the lake district that fell only a couple of weeks after our big trip to Ireland and Scotland.

Saturday, morning arrived and we were off to the train station completely misjudging the time and having to get a taxi, but we did make it in time. Upon arrival, we explored Windermere town, and ate a fantastic late breakfast at Lazy Daisy's Lakeland Kitchen.

Taking a beautiful stroll down a public walkway to the lake we were blown away by the beauty of the area. The lake is incredible with it's clear calm waters and it far banks rising up through colourful farmland to snow capped mountains. It's fair to say we spend a long time wandering around the jetty's and banks taking more photographs than we'd ever need.

Back up in Windermere we had hot chocolates and jumped on a bus as our hotel was a few minutes north of the town. We were dropped off a mile or two up the road so had to walk back but we did pass a wedding where the bride looked rather frozen, it would be the first of many wedding related sightings of our weekend. The hotel is a gorgeous old victorian style guest house with grand halls filled with period furniture and paintings along with grounds that have pathways and gardens leading down to its own private lake front. We explored the boathouse and took many more photos of the beautiful grounds and views across the lake before retiring to our room.

Our room was lovely, despite the house clearly fighting it's age and a few tacky decorations (The curtains and the shields painted on the ceiling), the room was fantastic with a bed so high and huge that I swear I lost Pip during the night. There was also a nice sitting room and a splendid bathroom. That evening was spent roaming the halls of the hotel and relaxing in the bar for a few red wines, a huge meal and long conversations about the future.

After a sleep-in we checked out and caught a taxi back into town. The taxi driver suggested a nearby town only a mile down the road which had a lot more open on a Sunday so we let him drop us off there. Browness-on-Windermere is bigger than Windermere and did have a lot more shops while still retaining the small town feel with its beautiful stone buildings. We had breakfast in the tearooms just as we emerged from the shop it began to snow, andwith not a breath of wind it just lightly fell as we wandered around the town. We called into the Peter rabbit shop and thought long and hard about not buying things despite the nostalgic temptations.

A quick taxi ride back to Windermere train station where it was now snowing heavily and we realised that we'd booked the wrong return train ticket. So we had to buy them again and after two train changes at Wigan and Presten, we eventually arrived back in Manchester. Pip said that she had had a wonderful and relaxing weekend away which was certainly the idea behind the trip, plus I got to take a few hundred more photos on my new camera.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Photos from Windermere

Windermere is a nice little town.

Pip chills out on a bench in Windermere

It's freezing and this guy is rocking a kilt
Making our way down to the lake

Pip stops for a quick photo on the way down to the lake

Playing with my new camera

Still playing around with my new camera. This came out quite well.

We made it to the lake

A boat house at the lake

At one with nature

The water is very clear

Pip sits at the end of the jetty

But gets cold so runs back

Warming up with a hot chocolate

Pip enjoys her hot chocolate

We walked through a wedding

A swan

Our hotel

Our room

The bed is a bit big for Pip

Heading dow the stairs to the grand entrance room

The grounds of the hotel went right down to the lake

Dinner at the hotel

We don't know this guy

And then it snowed

It was snowing pretty heavy but it was hard to photograph it