vanessarama: (happy merlin)
And now for something completely different; Things I Like!

1. Opening night of The Tempest fan comments. YAY YAY YAY I AM GOING TO SEE THIS TWICE.

2. 17 Sundays. If you are a lady of curves living in Australia (or even overseas, they ship worldwide) check them out. Their clothes are extremely cool and extremely comfy, and not expensive for what they are. They've also got a range called 17 Sundays Basics, which is cheaper. You can also buy them at The Iconic, which sometimes has a bigger range. It's odd but they have completely revised the way I dress and the way I feel about my body, and how self-conscious I am. Today I am wearing their Snake Eyes wet-look leggings and the Mercy Belt, which is a big three-buckled waist belt, and I feel like a million dollars in them. I can also highly recommend their dresses and I just got this jacket in which I feel like another million dollars.

(This recent shopping frenzy is, unfortunately, mainly due to me thinking every couple of days "I've had such a crappy day, I deserve a present!")

3. Discarded Images - a tumblr full of awesome little images from mediaeval manuscripts. Did you know people were just as obsessed with pictures of cats in mediaeval times as they are now? I particularly love the many cats licking their bottoms which appear in margins of Gospels and the like. Not to mention the plethora of mediaeval fart jokes and surprisingly explicit nudity.
vanessarama: (omg)
Hello you lovely people! Rohan and I are ensconced in a motel in Hall's Gap in the Grampians National Park and a freaking enormous kangaroo just bounded past our back door. It's awesome.

Everything has gone smoothly for us so far. We headed down the Great Ocean Road, to Lorne (which is as far as I've been before) and then on to Apollo Bay where we spent the night, then onwards to see the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge and all the other groovy coastline sights. It was stinking hot - 38 degrees. I got sunburnt in the few short minutes I had my hat off (because the wind at the Twelve Apostles threatened to blow it away!) Then we went on to spend two nights in sweet sleepy Port Fairy, after cooling off in the ocean until we were all prunified. And there was drama! We had to call the ambulance for a poor old gent who tumbled over while crossing the road in Warrnambool - I don't think he was too badly hurt but he bumped his head and his knuckles were all bloody, and better be safe than sorry with a head bump in the elderly.

Also in Warrnambool, I bought a book about the immigrant experience on the voyage to Australia and - unbelievable but true - the book contains a diary kept by an English girl who emigrated on not just the same ship but the exact SAME VOYAGE as Rohan's great-great-grandmother Anastasia. So we now can find out a bit about her journey!

Now we are in Hall's Gap watching cockatoos and kangaroos from our back door. It's awesome. Sadly we are on mobile bandwidth and I can't upload everything yet, but here, have some pics of the first two days. Under the cut are many pretty places )
vanessarama: (merlin: slightly amused)
Back from holiday, only to find the heating system broken. It wouldn't matter so much if we hadn't returned from the tropical North, where it was deliciously warm and I didn't put on a jacket or jumper or even long-sleeved item the entire time we were there! On the plus side, Oliver is very cute and schmoopy, all the more so because it's cold.

so, holiday! We spent time in Cairns and Port Douglas, only 90 minutes drive apart but very different places. We also went out on the Great Barrier Reef and visited the world's oldest rainforest, and drove as far north in Queensland as you can get on a sealed road, through the Daintree Forest and up to Cape Tribulation.

Cairns is a city of about 90,000 people, on the coast, with a very party-town atmosphere. Everywhere you go there is a booking centre for activity - reef cruises, scuba, snorkeling, diving, helicopter rides, bungy, etc. It's also totally full of backpackers. IN fact, in a weird way it reminded me of London, in that there were so many different accents on the street. All the bar staff and waitpersons are clearly backpackers working their way round the world (mostly English and Irish) and there were many European backpackers about.

Sadly there is no proper swimmable beach at Cairns so they have created an artificial one - a large pool on the Esplanade, looking out to sea, with sand and boardwalk surrounds. Excellent place for people watching. I was witness to some extremely homoerotic splashing around between lovely tanned European boys :)

Port Douglas is totally different. It has a population of only 3000 and while it's only a 90-minute drive away from Cairns it has a totally different atmosphere; very laid-back and casual, slow-paced. There are a couple of booking centres for reef trips but nobody's trying to push them at you. The shops are mostly selling bright beach clothes, floaty silk tops, and assorted hippie-crafty stuff (with of course plenty of nice eateries to cater to all the tourists) and there are several gelato or ice-cream stores :)

Also, Port Douglas has the most perfect swimming beach I've ever encountered (and I've seen a few). Perfect now in winter, anyway, when the stingers aren't around.

I think they'd both be pretty unbearably hot and humid in summer, but right now they're perfect; temperature hovers around 28 in the daytime and 20 at night, not too humid, just lovely. I bought a sarong and a flowery tropical dress and a pair of thongs and ate approximately my own weight in gelati (flavours tried include: peanut butter; Tim Tam; white chocolate Tim Tam; Ferrero Rocher; macadamia-coconut). We drove out to the Atherton Tablelands, where most of Australia's tea and coffee are grown; and of course there were bananas and sugarcane everywhere.

Holiday snaps coming. I will do them in a few batches: one for exotic rainforest and scenery and general FNQ stuff, and one for cute Aussie animals!
vanessarama: photo by <lj user="yavannauk"> (boys with cheekbones)
I went to Horsham. Or, as I have renamed it, Locust City.

Yep, that locust plague we city folk keep seeing bits and pieces about on the news is not only real, it's disgusting. They are EVERYWHERE out west - buzzing about or sitting around or squished on roads. Several hit me in the short walk from the bus to my hotel. On the bright side, hotel was brand new and therefore the pillows and mattress hadn't had time to get uncomfortable yet; dinner was good if expensive; and the workshop went well.

And then I came home and Rohan made bacon and eggs for supper. Which is how every chapter in my life should finish.

Now I go to catch up on Merlin fic and knitting patterns which may have been posted in my absence.
vanessarama: (Default)
Hello internets! *squish* I have returned from Alice Springs. My workshop went very well, and I really liked the woman who organised it. I did not like the hotel, which kept me waiting 90 minutes for my room to be ready (I would understand if it was in the morning, but it was 4 PM and rooms should be cleaned by that time of the day). The food was good, however; om nom nom barramundi and I treated myself to a Mojito.

And sadly, there is no water in the Todd. Apparently there was a lot about a week ago but it's all gone now. Alice is surprisingly green at the moment though. They've had a lot of rain. They also have a mouse plague - someone told me their cat is catching 3-4 mice a DAY. Cyclones, floods, locusts, mice - it really is the apocalypse.

Anyway, here's a pretty thing I finished lately:



Pattern: Dover Castle (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Starry by Dream in Color, colourway: Plum Paisley
Model: Lilies in the backyard

and a few more photos, because I can )
vanessarama: (merlin: broken)
Something else I noticed while I was in the UK: RECESSION. It's everywhere.

We didn't notice it so much in London (probably because we stayed in a relatively nice area and also because we were mainly going to tourist spots) but in the provincial towns it was very, very noticeable. Every single town had multiple vacant shops and every local news bulletin was reporting either the closure of some local factory or massive job cuts by local council. In some places we went past industrial estates or business parks, some of which looked pretty new, which were completely deserted.

OK, here we have experienced a bit of a financial crisis, but it is NOTHING like what's going on there. The scale of it is massive. At least I still walk past shops with 'Help Wanted' signs in the window here.
vanessarama: (merlin: team camelot)
We have now been home for almost 36 hours and the ground has stopped swaying. The trip home was about as good as we could expect - I think I'm actually getting better at this 21 hour plane trip thing. The first shower afterwards is always wonderful! Jet lag has not really hit yet although we are waking up way too early. We picked up Oliver yesterday and he has been punishing us by yowling every time there are no humans directly within his line of sight. He's very purry and cuddly and affectionate though :)

While I wait for my 1500+ photos to download to the computer, I will list some of the things about the UK that struck us as very different to home and which either bemused or delighted us. List made by me with help from [livejournal.com profile] vissy and Rohan:

1. Blackberries (and other weeds) aren't sprayed! In fact we saw people out picking blackberries on a Sunday morning! Here in Australia blackberries are a noxious weed and are regularly sprayed with weedkiller by local councils; you wouldn't dare pick them unless you were very familiar with your council's spraying dates.

2. Sheep have tails. I have mentioned before how weird this seems to us; sheep's tails are docked here to avoid painful death by flystrike. I did observe some British sheep with only partial tails, or no tail at all, so they evidently don't keep them universally, but here they're pretty much universally not there. To my eyes British sheep seem to have an extra leg :)

3. Pubs are actually good to talk in! Most pubs here (in the city, anyway) seem to fancy themselves as pseudo-nightclubs and consequently are full of doof-doof music turned up loud. British pubs are far more pleasant and people even take their kids there.

4. We stayed in eight different places and every single one of them had a different shower arrangement. There were dials, knobs, levers and buttons, but never had a simple pair of hot and cold taps.

5. There seems to be an aversion to using £2 coins. If you got £4 change, it would almost always be all in £1 coins. This is heavy. Also the money is all paper, not plastic like here, so the notes can be really tatty!

6. There are dogs everywhere. Even in castles and historic monuments! Even in pubs! People bring dogs into pubs!

7. People take strollers and prams everywhere. Including up spiral staircases and over very rough ground. I fear for the number of kids we saw who may get brain damage from the banging of their strollers over massive cobblestones!

8. England is amazingly set up for walking, with 'Public Footpath' signposts everywhere, even going across private property. I can't imagine how most property owners here would react to people walking across their private land. Also, most country towns are so far away from each other (and most properties out of town are far enough out of town) that you wouldn't walk it.

9. Roads. Oh, the roads. See, with the exception of Sydney and Hobart, Australian towns and cities were (mostly) planned during the era of motorised transport. Roads here tend to be wide and to go in relatively direct lines from A to B. Cities and towns tend to be grids. This is not the case in the UK where roads have occurred more organically. Roads are wee and winding and may loop and double back, and they are all connected by a massive network of roundabouts. Sometimes double roundabouts. There are also about a hundred times more cars on the road then here. Peak hour in a country town like Warwick is as bad as peak hour in the Melbourne CBD.

10. SO MANY PEOPLE. How do you fit so many people into such a tiny country?

11. SO MUCH VARIETY IN PRODUCTS. Even in the Boots near our hotel in London - which is a pretty small Boots - there were at least 15 different varieties of bottled water and a dozen different flavours of chips.

12. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. People are always banging on about how athletic and outdoorsy Australians are. I tell you, British people, and elderly British people, put us to shame. To SHAME! They're always outside. They walk everywhere. THey're tough as boots. Everywhere we went there were elderly people out for a stroll over insanely rocky and treacherous terrain. People with walking sticks! People with wheely-walkers! Clambering over rocks and up steep hills with nary a murmur! I salute them.
vanessarama: (happy merlin)
This is our last day in the UK! Sorry I've been such a crap updater while we've been here; sometimes we didn't have internets, and most of the time we just didn't have the energy to update because we were so exhausted from sightseeing most days. Even my photos need a bit of setting tweaking which I can't really do here; I am planning a few big photo posts when I get back.

There have been many awesome highlights of this trip:
- meeting [livejournal.com profile] loreley_se, [livejournal.com profile] rodneyscat and [livejournal.com profile] ladymoonray, all of whom have been on my flist for years and all of whom are absolutely lovely
- being in the same room as Colin Morgan :)
- seeing the first two Merlin s3 episodes on the big screen with other fans and the cast
- seeing dear old friends [livejournal.com profile] merlinc and Jo again
- finally seeing a red squirrel! (sadly, not in the wild)
- discovering scrumpy in cider country
- being introduced to bellringing at Yaxham, in Norfolk, where we'd gone to check out the ancestral tombs, and being so warmly welcomed by the bellringers
- two of the most mouthwatering Indian meals I've ever had, both in Wales
- wandering around a beautiful ruined abbey in Wales
- watching the sun go down from atop Glastonbury Tor

Tonight we're going to see The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Globe, which will hopefully be a fitting and cheerful end to our holiday. Tomorrow morning we begin the long trek home :)

<3 to you all.
vanessarama: (cat!colin)
I am not dead! I am in Wales!

For most of the past week we've been in Llangollen, in north Wales, where we had no internets. We did, however, see ruined abbeys and castles; we rode on two separate steam trains; we ate at two of the best Indian restaurants it's ever been my pleasure to experience; and we have seen many sheep. Many, many sheep.

Now we are in Abergavenny, the Town Of Cats (we saw 5 in our first evening here) where we have internets (although the B&B seems to have blocked Facebook) and today we have visited three Merlin locations (two of which were also Doctor Who locations) and one Doctor Who location (they were: Raglan Castle; Puzzlewood; Clearwell Caves; and Skenfrith Castle, respectively). I have over 1200 photos to sort and work out, and then I'll post some of the best ones.

Oh yeah; MERLIN. Was awesome.

I'm not going to catch up on LJ, so be sure to tell me if I've missed anything important, ok? <3

BFI report

Sep. 6th, 2010 04:47 am
vanessarama: (merlin: happy merlin)
Oh my word. Oh my. Oh oh oh!!! I have just arrived back in Suffolk from our day trip to London to see the BFI screening of the Merlin premiere. I HAVE SEEN COLIN MORGAN IN THE FLESH. How can he be even more beautiful in real life than on screen?

Anyway. [livejournal.com profile] vissy and I were at the screening courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] loreley_se. We met up with her and [livejournal.com profile] rodneyscat and joined the squeeing mob. It was lovely to meet people I've known on LJ for so long - since the old LOTR days - and it was *so good* to have fellow fangirls to squee with, especially being able to sigh over Colin's lips with [livejournal.com profile] rodneyscat!

Apparently we walked right past Bradley at one point, but I missed him. I did get to see Colin settling into his autograph spot looking absolutely gorgeous; we lined up but alas we didn't manage to get an autograph, although we nabbed a few of the pre-signed cards they were giving away. We got within about 5 people of autographs - so close and yet so far!!! We managed to do some fangirl gossiping whilst waiting. Then it was off to the screening, and the cast were there watching it with us (up the back). I won't spoil here, but I thoroughly enjoyed the (double) episode and will have many things to say about it when it screens. The Q&A session with the cast followed. Katie was her usual spry and cheerful self; Angel was beautiful but very quiet; Tony was awesome and obviously having a ball; Richard was quiet but slyly amusing when he answered a question; Bradley was a bit quiet but looking gorgeous; and Colin was utterly charming and bouncy, laughing and smiling a lot and occasionally grinning and raising eyebrows over at the loudest and most innuendo-laden part of the audience.

Of course, I can barely remember what anybody said. I was too busy basking in it all. The joy of being in an audience with so many other people all there for the same thing; the lovely friends who made it possible for us to be there; and the lovely lovely cast. I am so happy right now.

Oh, photos? I didn't take too many because I was busy just being happy. Here are the best few; sorry they're crap quality, I'll post bigger versions when we get back to Australia. But [livejournal.com profile] loreley_se has much, much better ones anyway :)


Colin and Katie; as close as we could get to them in the autograph queue.


The masculine component of the cast (oh, and Angel).




BOYS!!!
vanessarama: (merlin boys)
1. Holiday update: Eurostar is now booked. All we have left is the car hire. We leave five weeks from Friday. Eeee!

2. EEEE MERLIN TRAILER! I don't know if we will go to the screening at BFI - we'll be in Bury St Edmunds, and it's on a Sunday which means transport will be tricky, and I've vowed never to pin my hopes on a celebrity appearance ever again. But I'm thinking about it.

3. We finally watched all of s2 and 3 of Ashes to Ashes. Quite, quite extraordinary. I was totally hooked, especially trying to work out what was going on in that final series.

4. Last night Rohan watched an episode of Mission: Impossible which featured Leonard Nimoy doing the worst Australian accent in the world. It went something like this:

NIMOY: Oi knoow a borss corck beck in ‘ong Kong…
ME: Boss cock. WHUT.
ROHAN: Do you think he’s actually going to say “Strewth”?
NIMOY: Beaut!
ROHAN: I wonder if he’ll use any actual Australian slang.
ME: Nah. All our real slang is too rude.

5. Maybe it's the post-funeral strangeness talking, but I got back to work yesterday and I honestly do not give a shit about a lot of the work-stuff I used to. It's as if I've suddenly realised that this is not my life, there is more to life, and it's important to bloody well live it and enjoy it and not worry about some member getting their knickers in a twist over trivial matters. It just doesn't matter that much any more.

6. Also post-funeral and post-clean-up: I am determined to clean up my damn house and throw out a lot of the crap I've been hanging on to. One clean-up project per weekend. Yayes?
vanessarama: (merlin: wet)
Dear Aussie dollar,

Please, please, please don't fall any more against the British pound, at least not until October. It would help immensely with my holiday. I'm just getting used to being pleased at the exchange rate and making happy little noises at the cost of B&Bs compared to last time; I don't want to start making sadfaces about it again.

C'mon. I love you, you know I do. I've saved lots of you, and I send lots of you overseas. Give me a break and stay buoyant.

Lots of love,
Vanessa.
vanessarama: (happy merlin)
So, Rohan and I have been in Hobart for the past few days. I had some work, and then we visited Port Arthur historic site as well. I took some snaps and learned some stuff. )

Greetings!

Mar. 26th, 2010 05:09 pm
vanessarama: (merlin: happy)
I have returniated from my mini-trip with Rohan across the seas to Tasmania, where I ate lots of yummy food, froze on top of a mountain and baked at Port Arthur. Pics to come.

In the meantime, I had no internets for three days! Did I miss anything?
vanessarama: (merlin: slightly amused)
1. LONG WEEKEND YAY!!!

2. Rohan took the day off yesterday and [personal profile] true_statement came around and we crawled all over a big map of the UK until we had a travel plan nutted out. WOOT.

3. I went to the doctor to get my prescriptions renewed. It was a new doctor, and he is English. I asked him about getting the flu shot since we're going overseas, he asked me where, and it turns out he grew up on the Welsh border and had lots of suggestions about places to visit. He drew me a little map of Wales on his prescription pad! We spent 5 minutes talking about my health and 15 minutes talking about Wales, and he said I can call him if I have any questions. I think he was so happy to have something to talk about other than work for a bit. DOCTOR FTW!

4. Did I mention it's a long weekend? I have lots of knitting and yarn cataloguing to do.

5. Oh yeah. MERLIN. Silly silly show with pretty pretty people, you make me happy.
vanessarama: (Default)
Hail, flisties!

1. Yesterday I went out and bought an interlocking foam mat, the kind usually used for fitness purposes, for myself to use as a blocking board for knitting. It is HUGE. I got a pack of four which turn into a massive mat about six feet square - I can't imagine ever knitting anything bigger than that. I also got a digital kitchen scale so I can weigh all the various yarn remnants I have.

2. I've found the perfect shawl pattern for 'busy' variegated yarns. It's Matilda (scroll down) by Kate Blackburn. The nice big blocks of stocking stitch show off the colours well and the pattern is very easy.

3. Our Buffy/Angel marathon has just passed the most difficult hump in the road (The Body). It's still entirely devastating even though I've seen it many times before.

4. I'm writing another long long epic WIP on the Merlin kinkmeme and some people like it and I am BURSTING with smugness. BURSTING.

5. It is now less than six months before we go to the UK.

6. Sometimes it makes me happy just to know that Colin Morgan exists.

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