Archive for the ‘I can’t believe I’m here’ Category

PostHeaderIcon A hunting we shall go

When I was a little girl I was attacked by Magpies. If that makes no sense let me explain, Magpies when they’re nesting are very protective of their territory. Proving the best defense is an offence theory; they swoop from the nest at anything that goes by. If you’re caught unaware they will peck you as they swoop! That’s what happened to me – swooped and pecked!

Understandably, I’m not so fond of birds and don’t feel the Hitchcock movie The Birds was so far-fetched!

Knowing this, it may surprise you to read that a couple of weeks ago I spent Sunday at the Forest Falconry Park in Wiltshire; standing still whilst holding pieces of meat so the resident birds of prey would not only swoop toward me but land on me (one at a time)….within inches of my easily pecked out eyes!

Well, I’m always ready for a new adventure, particularly if it means trying things that are a little out of the ordinary and something not everyone you meet will have done. When my friend invited me on her adventure I decided I couldn’t let a little bird-phobia stop me!

The Thatched Cottage

The Thatched Cottage

So, after an eventful car trip from London (we encountered a road-rage maniac; another story in itself!) we arrived in Brockenhurst to stay at The Thatched Cottage. I’d recommend it as a lovely place to stay.

A room for a princess - or a hunter!

A room for a princess - or a hunter!

The rooms were luxurious, service was great and the food was amazing.

When we took a stroll down the main road we spotted at least 3 pubs and a few shops. Based on name-appeal we decided we must go into The Snake Catcher, another culinary find and a little local history; the pub is named after a local historical figure.

If you fancy “hot rocks” dining this is the place to go. Our food cooked itself on the plates set before us and was delicious – the local beer wasn’t bad either.

Sunday morning arrived with plenty of rain and we ate breakfast in hope that it would clear enough for our adventure. Upon arriving at the park things weren’t looking good as we took shelter with the park owner and our guide Ed. However, that time did give us the chance to ask questions and learn about birds of prey and the idiosyncrasies of hand reared birds, they don’t gain a sense of identity as a bird but believe they’re as human as those who raise them. The chupping (mating) stories were a weird but interesting highlight for everyone.

Potter

Potter

After a while the weather cleared enough for our guide Ed to take the birds from their shelter and “fly”

Potter's prey

Potter's prey

them with our first hunter being an English Barn Owl called Potter. A lovely white owl that looked fluffy and sweet until it swooped in to munch on what was clearly some kind of bird leg! Potter was however, very graceful about the whole thing.

Our next hunter was a young Harris Hawk named Pee-Wee, still in training and a little playful with Ed. Pee-Wee is also a chatter-box who barely had a quiet moment during the exercise. Apparently the young hand-reared birds are often like this as they’re used to humans talking so they join in! Pee-Wee’s voice was rather piercing and I wondered how Ed could put up with that “Argh, argh” sound all day.

Before releasing him, Ed had warned us that Pee-Wee likes people and would find a favourite to land on. If that happened, Ed said not to worry but stay still, no waving arms or running away! In a hilariously predictable moment, Pee-Wee looked around then flew directly at our friend Dave and landed neatly on his camera! As I thanked

Pee-Wee

Pee-Wee

heaven it wasn’t me, he took off and came to rest on my head where he decided to stay for a while!

As Ed had done a great job of preparing us, I wasn’t scared but can tell you the talons are sharp! Although it wasn’t painful, the feeling of a hawk standing on your head is like needles sticking into your scalp. I don’t think I’d like to do it for a long time and I don’t want to imagine how it would feel if he wasn’t being friendly.

The speed hawks fly at is amazing and when you see Pee-Wee take off and swoop toward you your expectation is he’s going to land with a thud. I was hoping I wouldn’t fall over so was surprised at how lightly he landed. There really is something beautiful and amazing about the way these birds move.

Mascara

Mascara - lighter than expected

Once Pee-Wee had his fill we met a European Hunting Owl called Mascara. She was much bigger than the others but equally as graceful and although she weighs only 5pound, her talons can exert a pressure similar to a 250pound Rottweiler when gripping her prey.

Although I’m still wary of birds, this was a great experience that I’d do again so if you ever get the chance – have a go.  By the way, no; I didn’t end up with bird-poo in my hair!

 

PostHeaderIcon Here I am…mobile

Hello my lovelies, whoever and wherever you are.

Last Sunday was a sunny and beautiful day in London. The kind of day you can’t let yourself stay inside. Of course on such a day I had so much to do, so much that meant computers and being inside. Or did it?

I decided there was a certain amount of things I’d planned for the day that meant I had to be at home…boring; washing, cleaning, blah! The rest? Have laptop will travel!

Heavens don’t you love the fact we can be so mobile? Maybe not if your mobility means work follows you everywhere but take it from me, be strong, switch THAT mobile or Blackberry off! Unless you’re on call of course, which I am definitely not.

My point is; I love that I can be mobile to suit ME.

Washing done, away I went with my laptop and sought out a place in the sunshine. I made a detour to visit the National Portrait Gallery and see the Glamour of the Gods exhibition; portraits from the Hollywood Golden Eras 20’s – 40’s, exactly my kind of thing.

Having walked to the gallery I had a taste of the sunshine and was very impressed at my plan. I could’ve gone out for a while then forced myself home because I had to but no, I’m equipped to stay out AND I will.

I enjoyed the exhibition then wandered back out into the sunshine. London on a sunny day is wonderful. The Londoners know their sunshine is rare and they make the most of it. Everyone ventures out so the parks are full of people playing sport, picnicking or just taking in the rays.

Summer in the Park, London

Summer in the Park, London

The atmosphere is cheerful and lively, different from the grey feeling that London is known for. There’s always a lot to do in London but in summer the options seem to double – at least!

As I made my way from the gallery toward the Thames, I wandered through a park featuring live music – for free. I’ll come back to that. I will.

Mobile me

Mobile me

I knew where I was going, I’ve been there before. Onto the RS Hispaniola.

Permanently moored  on the Thames Embankment, this ship is now a restaurant and bar. What better place to sit in the sun, on the water (I am a water girl), maybe have a glass of wine and get some writing done.

Blissful; and finally after being too busy to think, there I was, writing again and getting some sunshine. It must be the atmosphere I need because one blog entry, one glass of wine (+ 1 water of course) and an hour later – I decided to head back to the park for the final act.

Working in the park

Working in the park

Here I am again….still mobile, sitting in the park listening to blues and jazz whilst finishing my second blog entry and thinking I should remind you all again that there’s more than one place you can be to get your “stuff” done.

Today the world’s the limit and who knows, tomorrow I may even write to you from space.

Oh, but only if they have wine!

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Has it really been that long?

Happy New Year – how’s it going so far? One month is almost gone and I can hardly believe in one week I’ll have been living in London a year (2nd Feb)! The time has flown So fast in fact that I don’t feel I’ve achieved a lot to show for it however, I’m sure if I look back I have fit quite a bit of activity into that year.

Big Ben - my neighbour

Big Ben - my neighbour

The short story is; I’m happy living here even if the weather isn’t my ideal. I’ve made some friends, go to the theatre every 2-3 weeks (sometimes weekly!) so I LOVE THAT and; I am getting to travel fairly often so overall, everything is good.

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

I was in France for Xmas and New Year – in the North with my famille Francais for Xmas then a week in my beloved Paris for New Year. Although there are many places I love and would return to, I can’t get over Paris for some reason….must be my romantic soul.

The Eiffel Tower at Sunset

The Eiffel Tower at Sunset

Today I finally got around to tidying up all the things that got dumped upon my return from Paris and directly back into work.  As I sorted through Xmas items, things collected in Paris and some other things from before and after that, I re-ran the year through my mind and realised it’s been a little busy…

……Try saying this in one breath……On the 2nd February 2010 I arrived in London, stayed 2 days then went to Montreal for 2 weeks, arrived back and moved into a house with 11 people! The following Saturday I caught-up with my 1st Aussie visitor and hardly felt like I’d left Oz! Monday: commenced the job-hunt.

Dog-sledding, Montreal 2010

Dog-sledding, Montreal 2010

I started work mid-week three and haven’t stopped since (lucky; but damn!). March was over in a flash; found another place to live and moved in with what turned out to be the creepy, drunk, stalker guy! Caught up for dinner and theatre with more Aussie visitors and went to France for the Bal de Carnival.

First Holy Communion group

First Holy Communion group

I went to Brighton for Easter so got to see a new English place. Came back, re-packed and made another trip to France for my sweet Mathilde’s communion. Back in the UK, more Aussie visitors arrived resulting in three nights of pub meals and pints whilst looking for another place to live. Found one which then fell through, one week prior to moving day! My 1st Aussie visitor returned at the worst time; however, he’s a charming friend who actually organised the best “forget your homeless worries” evening out I could have wished for – expensive seafood, Martinis & Champagne always cheer me!

British Grand Prix 2010

British Grand Prix 2010

I survived the frantic, almost homeless week – found another place with two days to spare so on the 3rd July, moved in then went off to Opera In The Park to celebrate. The next week was a trip to Silverstone to see our Aussie guy win the British Grand Prix then returned to London to catch-up with another Aussie visitor. More pints!

Saved the pounds frantically for the parents impending arrival at the end of July. Went to the North of France, Berlin & Belfast with my parents……..WE HAD A GREAT TIME!

The Brandenburg Gate 2010

The Brandenburg Gate 2010

Did some English sight-seeing and general hanging out for the final couple of weeks of their visit and then had to wave bye-bye. That bit wasn’t fun.

Cheered myself up by heading up to Edinburgh to see my best friend (more visitors from WA) and the rellies there. Back to work and saving the pounds again as Xmas and New Year were looming and Paris was calling!

Phew…so that was 2010.

I wonder what 2011 will bring? Oh, I’ve already had one Aussie visitor, two theatre visits and a birthday!

PostHeaderIcon Back in the day to day

Well here I am, a new location but somehow I’m back in what most people see as a normal life – and what I see as “the same old, same old.”

The good news is; I’ve moved into my new place – with only one flat mate. I guess that in itself is almost a move into “normality” after living with TEN others. That experience should make at least one great chapter for my best-seller!

My new room

My new room

The other news; I won’t say good but due to necessity it’s not bad, is – I’m working.

Yes, I’ve succumbed to the need to earn a dollar or in my case right now, to earn a pound. Of course I’d much rather still be roaming the world free as a bird to do whatever I choose whenever I choose but for now – let’s look at this as making the money to do it all again.

On the bright side; my never-ending positive outlook tells me that whilst I may feel I’m back in the day to day, living, working – all on a predictable rotation, I’m actually living in a different country where I know hardly anyone and starting out all over again so in reality – WooHoo…another adventure has just begun!

PostHeaderIcon On the road again…

Hello lovely readers – due to limited internet time I’ll be short and sweet but wanted to let you know the next great IWOM adventure has begun.

I’ve arrived in London where it is not as cold as I’d feared, in fact only as cold as I’d remembered so I’m surviving rather nicely. I’m flying to Montreal tomorrow and will have no access to internet for a couple of weeks but promise to update you all when I return – I’ll even include some lovely snow pics.

Until then – dream your own dreams and decide which one you’re going to make a reality in the first half of this year…I’m waiting to hear all about it.

Au revoir,

IWOM 001

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