28 November 2008
28 October 2008
10 October 2008
25 September 2008
15 September 2008
14 September 2008
5 September 2008
4 August 2008
I couldn't take enough pictures of the pack ice at the glacier. It was one of the things I really wanted to see while on Svalbard. Of course I wanted to see a lot more wildlife than could reasonably be expected but i did see a whole lot of birds that a) you wouldn't see in the uk and more importantly b) my parents haven't seen yet!!
We were really lucky to get to this glacier. It was only because the weather was good and there weren't many people in the boat that we made good time and could fit it into the schedule. It was the best moment of the holiday for both of us.
Huskies are very common in Svalbard and are used as working dogs. We had the opportunity to go sledging with dogs while we were there. As it was summer there wasn't enough ice so the sledging was on wheels but as excellent compensation, there were puppies!! There were five at the place we went to and it was a wrench having to leave them with their owners. Even the tour guide for the day checked the insides of my coat to see that i wasn't stowing any away!
We harnessed up 8-9 dogs at the front of the sledges and took it in turns to drive. I thought initially it was a bit harsh on them pulling us just for the pleasure of it but as soon as we got to the cages where the dogs were kept the racket of them all howling to be allowed out and work was deafening. These guys love working! They jumped at the leashes when we had to put the breaks on.
On another occassion we went for a 3 hour trek with a husky and while we were struggling to cross rivers of melt-water, the dogs just trotted through never noticing the cold (literally glacial!) or current. Awesome beasties!
One night we went to a villmarksgrilling - wilderness BBQ - and learnt more about the dogs there. The guy running the evening presented a slide show of his annual trips out to the arctic wilderness with the dogs. They snuggle down outside at night but he told us not to feel sorry for them because it doesn't affect them at all and that they would often come out in the morning and see no dogs at all because of the snow then gradually ears would appear and then the rest would follow!
31 July 2008
30 July 2008
Here's a picture from a trip I have just come back from in Finland. This was taken at two thirty in the morning, many miles above the arctic circle on the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard. We went on a split site visit of Norway, starting with several days in Oslo. Svalbard was by far the most exciting part of the trip as I hope my entries will show.
This may also a 2:30 am snap (there's really no telling between them!) showing where we stayed during our four days. Svalbard lies approximately 700 miles south of the north pole and is fabulously rich in wildlife. We had some incredible trips out that really made this one of the best trips of my life.
The scenery was stunning and we were really fortunate with weather. It was pretty nippy at times as you'd expect but we had a lot of clear skies and of course the sun never went down!
7 July 2008
All good stuff though....now just checking the temperatures in Svalbard for my holiday later in the month!
Two working days left .... new job starting September 1 .... house nearly complete .... mini-me finished exams ....
17 May 2008
11 May 2008
Have had a fab weekend in London.
Friday night we went to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play. Tres cool. It was called Filmharmonica and they played loads of scores from films. Wore posh frock and crippling heels bought last week for the annual conference. Lots of fun.
Saturday night we went to the National to see Fram - the new play by my hero Tony Harrison. It was pure brain food. Wonderful stuff. Amazing set, very clever script all in rhyming couplets, witty, thought-provoking and complex. It had so much packed in there - debate on Darwinianism, poetry as consolation, art v pragmatism, political and historical commentary. It was a stage drama but also included film, ballet and music. One particular speech blew me away where a woman (playing an actress) is defending art as a means of making the world better informed about a famine that is going on, her critics say art cannot produce results in the way action can. She then starts to play out a starving woman who speaks to the audience about her pain and self-loathing about having turned cannibal from hunger. It was played with pathos and brutality. She used her body in an amazing way to look weak and starved. It was electrifying. We talked for a long while afterwards about what the play was saying.
This afternoon we had a picnic in Crystal Palace park and sun bathing.
8 February 2008
7 February 2008
Had an hour's recreational skiing at Xscape, MK. Dinner with friends this evening and an early night will sandwich together the day after a lie in this morning.
Was woken at 7 with candles, E and mini-me singing happy birthday and then showering me with dozens of balloons and glitter from party poppers! I got a creme brulee torch that i've been wanting for ages and lots of cards and other gifts. Did some more painting, watched an episode of one of my heroes, David Attenborough, on that thingy on the bbc website and generally had a busy-lazy time of it.
If it wasn't for that whole aging thing I could almost wish I didn't have to wait another year!
27 January 2008
26 January 2008
25 January 2008
Weeks ago I noticed a shop with very similar POS to this and went in to ask them if I could have it after their promo was over. I was told I couldn't but on the way back to my car this evening I found that another shop had chucked out one of these amazing Klimt-esque trees by the wheelie bins. It took a bit of negotiating into the bug but I brought it home and have been working on it all this evening. Of course I've noticed a big bit I've missed with the paint now that I've put the photo up! It's pretty tall. I'm on a step in that first picture and it's still towering over my head. I'm going to use gold, red and white on the black to create some wacky designs then mount it on the wall in my hallway. The black paint is like tar (!) and I have it all over my hands now. It's going to take hours to dry but it'll give me something to do in all that copious spare time I never have!