Saturday, June 04, 2011

Hello World! England 2011: Day 3

From Wordsworth country, we travel to Haworth, Bronte country. The day is clouded over and blustery cold, quite a contrast from yesterday. The weather is certainly evocative of the Gothic influences over the sisters' writing.

The Brontes' Parsonage, now a museum dedicated to the celebrated family.

Angela, our tour guide, swears by the fish and chips at this shop.

And now, so do we! Fish is lightly battered, not too oily. White meat with a firm bite. Chips are the kind to be eaten in quantity, the best kind.

Haworth is quite picturesque. The storefronts are still very traditional, though it isn't a real village anymore. The market clearly supports the tourist trade now.

A short stop at Haworth Station before proceeding to tonight's pit stop.

Day 3 concludes at Travelodge, Redditch. Dinner is at the attached pub. This here is a beef and white stilton stew. They really are feeding us well here.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Hello World! England 2011: Day 2

Official (and possibly mandatory) banner shot. To be used in our review presentation and other PR material.

A full breakfast of bacon and sausage and eggs with sides.

Think the kids are here on holiday? Not while there's learnin' to be done. Lake Districts National Park guide, Ben, gets the kids measuring footpath erosion to determine the extent of damage tourists like us are causing to the pristine landscape.

I should also mention that it's the hottest day of the year, according to Ben. Unshielded by cloud cover, the sun produces brilliant illumination that makes our surroundings look so picturesque, but we're melting. Burns and tan lines all-round! Nobody thought to bring sun-block. Duh.

On to the pretty little village of Grasmere to sample the local world-famous speciality, gingerbread. Also to view the Wordsworth family churchyard plot and just chill for a bit.

This shop was especially hospitable. The jolly proprietor gave our guide a whole bag full of Kendal mint cakes to share with us and the kids. He also went around with a large tray of jelly babies, and offered free samples to passers by.

Next stop, Rydel Mount, home of W Wordsworth for the rest of his life after upgrading from dove cottage. Who said poetry never amounted to much of a living?

A view of last night's youth hostel from the water. We're moving on to Bowness for dinner...

Dinner being a slice each of gammon, turkey and roast beef; with stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and all the veggies we wanted. The place? Crown Carveries in a row of shophouses called Lakeview.

Day 2 complete, on to the Travelodge, Burton and call it a night.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hello World! England 2011: Day 1

I'm in England! To be precise, at this point I'm in the Lake District and this is a bunch of kids from college who are on tour with me. Their first educational stop off the plane is Dove Cottage, home of W Wordsworth.

Wordsworth's actual cottage, external photos -- as expected -- allowed only. Inside, the cottage is quite cramped, for a two-storey edifice. People were obviously much more sociable and smaller-built then for the cottage to accommodate a family, domestic help, frequent houseguests and a dog. Quite a number of Wordsworth's personal belongings on display, so there's a real sense of connection to the man and his period in history.

All the kids, finally together for a group shot.

Our accommodation for the night: a Youth Hostel facing Lake Windermere.  Quite cosy, though the rooms are meant to be shared three or more to a room. I have a room to myself: a perk of being a chaperone. So it's me with a choice of top or bottom in my bunk bed, or the mattress on the floor. Toilet and shower facilities are communal, so guess who's waking up early to make the best use of them?

Wholesome, hearty, nutritious university style hostel food. Thick tomato basil soup, pasta in beef bolognaise sauce and a sweet apple crumble. Stuff to shovel into mouth and stomach in large quantities. Happy.

A view of the lake from the edge of the bay. Our hostel is the building on the left. We have a grand panoramic view of the lake and the hills on the far bank. My room faces behind -- a glorious vista of the back alley and the neighbour's backyard.

Day 1 settled. Shops close early around here, so there's nothing to do but admire the scenery and turn in for an early night.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Morpheus visits

Time for some pictures of a sleepy kitty

She's been so active all day. Finally, a chance to enjoy a little stillness and silence.

Doesn't this pix make you want to pop off to bed right NOW?

P.S. as I'm typing, Grimm is asleep on my tummy. Shh... don't wake the baby...!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Victim of the puppet-masters

I've been nursing a figurative sore head over what I perceived to be unnecessary intrusions of a certain committee into a certain project I've been supervising. Never before have I encountered such a bunch of controlling, narrow-minded, meddlesome worrywarts looking over my shoulder and telling me how I should run my own business. The level of trust that I once enjoyed from the previous management has now been replaced with a new batch of paranoiacs bent on oversight at every decision I make. It's intolerable!

That was a few days ago. Today, I've calmed down some. Having talked things through with my project members, I guess it's good that the committee did make their recommendations after all. A neutral third party saw some issues that were blind spots for me, being too close to the subject matter, and alerted me to potential hazards in my processes.

Fine. But I'm still going to greet them with a surly, pouty face whenever I see them. I won't give them the satisfaction.