Steve n Jen's UK adventures

UK and European adventures. Read on my pretties, and discover what two stray Aussies can get up to on their travels.......

15 November 2010

Nov 2010 a

Tue 02 Nov 2010
And so from our lovely summery visit in Australia, now we're plunged into the depths of a British Autumn.

Fri 05 Nov 2010
The one thing that makes the wintery weather bearable is all the fun sociable gatherings and festivals in the run up to Xmas. Tonight is Guy Fawkes night, and although there's a scattering of rain about, that doesn't dampen the spirits across the neighbourhood as random locally bought fireworks are let off from backyards and even various levels of council flats and roofs!
Here's Jen's workmate Lucy as we watch from our lounge room. This is a mash-up of two photos since the fireworks are in focus now too.

Sat 06 Nov 2010
Yesterday Ciaran arrived for the final leg of his stay with us. He's definitely had a hard time travelling about so intensely for 3 months and is looking forward to going home to Tasmania. However today the three of us headed off to the V&A museum to see the new Medieval galleries. Here is a photo of Steve and Ciaran as we enjoy a tasty roast lunch in the V&A cafe.

Above: The new medieval galleries are very impressive. They boast at having the only complete Italian Renaissance chapel, outside of Italy (which is beyond this magnificent renaissance choir screen).

Left: The Merode Cup. Approx 1400. This cup's description says: 'Set with tiny inset windows filled with translucent plique-a-jour enamel, this remarkable cup is the only medieval example of a rare technique.' Pretty cool. Other similar cups are described in period accounts, but this is the only one to have survived from the era.

Below: Who knew mosaics came in miniature? Each of these little golden squares seems to be less than a millimeter across!

 And so after seeing many wonderful things, including an entire wooden medieval spiral staircase (4 floors of it), we left the museum. On the way to the tube station home, we briefly enjoyed watching the ice skating outside the Natural History Museum!

Tue 09 Nov 2010 
Ciaran left London, for the other side of the planet today.  

Wed 10 Nov 2010 
Steve went to east London fighter practice and got to fight the new Crown Prince, Vitus. The comment at the end of the night was that Steve's repertiore of well-practiced 'shots/blows' had suddenly seemed to explode. Thanks to the 5 practices in 2 weeks back in Brissie.
Sat 13 Nov 2010
This morning Steve collected our good friend Kiriel from the local train station and the three of us set out towards Coventry. Kiriel is an Aussie living in Geneva, and it's great fun to have her come stay again, even if only for the weekend.
So, near Coventry today is the Original Re-enacotr's Market (TORM). After wandering about for two hours, (often bumping into other people we know) Jen had bought extra glasses to fill out our collection, and after a sufficiency of puppy-dog-eyeing about the Craticula (Pompeii oven), we ordered one, for Steve for Christmas. Steve was like a giddy schoolboy!

Kiriel had fun fawning over the musical instruments, but reserved her buying until tomorrow - the main reason for her visit, the Early Music Festival in Greenwich.

Sun 14 Nov 2010
And so here is Kiriel trying out an early period musical instrument with a massive price tag (at right). Unfortunately for her, the finger-holes were too big for her delicate lady-like fingertips, and she was literally unable to play it. Fortunately for her, there were other wonderful instruments which she did buy.
Below: Here's the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich - one of two rooms with early period (style) instruments for sale.

Below left: Kiriel tries another instrument out. This one doesn't quite make the grade.

RIght: A portative organ, with an astonishing price tag. Jen did give this one a test-drive. Interestingly, not so comfortable for a left hander!

At the end of the day, Kiriel and Jen both bought three musical instruments. Jen's were all percussion, and totalled to £33! Kiriel bought a soprano crumhorn made from beautiful boxwood, which included three interchangeable end attachments for affecting the sound. She also bought this sweet sounding wire-strung lyre.

The glasses and the percussion
Jen acquired over the weekend.

Terry caught up with Jen and Kiriel for a quick drink in a nearby pub, and finally K and J made their way home. Steve whipped up a Tasty beef wellington, to round out the perfect weekend!

Mon 15 Nov 2010
Early this morning Steve drops Kiriel off at the local City Airport, and its back to work for us both.

01 November 2010

Oct 2010 b

Hooray for wide lanes

Tue 26 Oct 2010
This morning we hopped in the car and drove down to Fingal Head, south of Surfer's Paradise.

Here we enjoyed a lunch of fresh fish and chips overlooking pristine Dreamtime Beach.
Come hither, time for lunch....
Steve ventures down to the almost deserted Dreamtime Beach, Fingal Head.
The little pebble and shell shards dotted on the beach were so rich in varying colours.

After lunch and a nice walk along the beach, we headed back northwards and here's a pic of Steve (below) at Burleigh Heads with the Gold Coast skyscrapers in the background.

Late afternoon we arrived at Ashmore's Stakehouse and Seafood Restaurant, Ashmore. It's a family friendly and well priced restaurant, here we caught up with our friend Sharon, her kids Emily and Isaac; and Jen's sister Vicky, Stu and niece Alex.

Oh my, we've been salivating for some Moreton Bay Bugs! They look a bit like something halfway between a crab and a lobster, or an Aliens facehugger without the tail. Taste really wonderful though, and we weren't disappointed! These bugs are cut in half lengthwise.

Wed 27 Oct 2010
So last night we stayed at Vicky and Stu's place in Buccan. This morning after an excellent cooked breakfast (thanks Stu) we headed toward Mount Tamborine. On the way we stopped in to visit Steve's dad's grave, and admired the nearby views.

Atop Mt Tamborine we parked the car and wandered along the Cedar Creek falls walking trail, and saw that the creek was really gushing after all the rain in recent weeks. 

We decided not to go for a swim (Cedar Creek falls) as the water was pretty cold.

In the evening we drove over to the north side of Brisbane to the local fighter practice there and to catch up with various other old friends.

Thu 28 Oct 2010
After another lazy morning (hey we're on holidays) we met up with old friend Finnian in town at the Emporium.

Steve and Finnian
After lunch Finnian had to get back to work, so we headed up to the Mt Coot-tha summit to enjoy views from the lookout there. Unfortunately massive dark clouds and tropical downpour spoiled the views, so we headed home. One thing we've been missing is the brilliant golden hue on everything as the sun sets. There's no twilight in Brisbane - once the sun starts to go down you've got about 15-20 minutes before its pitch black out. 

Here you can see the golden light of the setting sun, wet roads and dramatic storm clouds from this afternoon.

Dinner tonight, with a few friends at the Norman Hotel (pitched as Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant). Significant slabs of award-winning bovines were acquired and devoured!

Fri 29 Oct 2010
This morning we wandered in to South Bank parklands, which includes a series of man made beach / lagoons, alongside the river in the heart of Brisbane. And its all completely free to swim here! Just a short 15 minute walk from the CBD and skyscrapers.
Read more »

Oct 2010 a

Thu 07 Oct 2010
Jen's workmates all pitched in together for the smooth running of the staff conference (approx 500 staff in attendance). Well done team!

Wed 13 Oct 2010
Mentally preparing ourselves for long haul (24 hours) in "cattle-class", for our big 2 week holiday in hometown Brisbane, Australia.

Fri 15 Oct 2010

So after work this afternoon we headed out to Heathrow airport!

Sun 17 Oct 2010
Landed in Brisbane, 6:30am! Don't feel too bad, decide to visit Jen's sister Vicky, her Stu and their daughter Alex, with Jen's mum n dad.

Mon 18 Oct 2010
We headed into town for a late lunch and wander about. After a light dinner we caught up with friends at the local south-side fighter practice. Steve got into armour and had some fun while Jen socialised.

Tue 19 Oct 2010
Suffering jetlag! Time for a long afternoon nap.... Had dinner with Jen's other sister Kathy, and her hubby Malcom. Excellent food and conversation, hard to leave.

Wed 20 Oct 2010
This morning the jetlag seems to be affecting us less. We caught up with Steve's ex-boss Hilary and his wife for morning tea. Late afternoon we visited the dentist, all good. In the evening we had dinner with Steve's mum and brother Shane and his Belinda. Unfortunately didn't bring the camera ooops!

Thu 21 Oct 2010

This afternoon Jen had a sunspot check, nothing cut out thank goodness. We've been really enjoying just taking it easy in the warmth of Spring in the tropics. This afternoon we caught up with our friends Alex and Rachel and stayed overnight.

Fri 22 Oct 2010
Today we visited an online pal of Steve's who lives across the road from Alma Park Zoo, and subsequently we were let in to the Zoo for free. Here are a few pics of the various Aussie wildlife we saw.

These fiercely territorial birds, the cassowary, are about the size of a small ostrich and are known to "zip open" and kill a couple of tourists each year thanks to their missive talons.

OK so peacocks aren't actually Australian birds, but the scrub turkey next to him is. These birds are cheekily gorging themselves from the kangaroo feeding trough. Jen's father has been having loads of trouble trying to discourage a pesky pair of scrub turkeys from his garden for a few weeks now. They scratch up the lawn and mess up the garden something fierce, and once they decide to build a mound (nest) in your yard its almost impossible to move them on. And because they're a protected species you can't just shoot 'em.

Tonight we had a wonderful home cooked dinner with Jen's best friend from High School, Kylie, and her boyfriend Tony and Kylie's mum n dad - who had all recently stayed with us in London. And after watching a soap-opera version of the Day of the Triffids on the telly, we stayed overnight. Thanks guys!

Sat 23 Oct 2010
Sun, sand, surf. Togs, towels, sunscreen. What a stunningly beautiful day in tropical paradise! Here you can see Jen's UK sun-deprived skin is paler than anything else on this Bribie Island beach!

Now to top it all off with a BBQ party with old mates (in Alex and Rachel's back yard). Thanks guys for hosting this for us!  

Sun 24 Oct 2010
Last night we stayed again at Alex and Rach's (thank guys!) This morning we did brunch with mates at the top coffee spot, the Three Monkeys Cafe.

On the way home, enjoyed this sunny vista in the West End.

Genuine tropical thunder storm tonight - great buckets of rain, and magnificent lightning displays! Nearby suburbs experienced blackouts. Enjoyed a traditional family dinner at Jen's parents place.

Mon 25 Oct 2010
This morning Steve headed out early for a round of golf with his ex-boss Hilary, after which he caught up with his mum and went with her to play cards with her friends.
Jen and her mum wandered through a couple of art stores, finishing with Jen spending some time at the local shopping centre.
We caught up with each other mid afternoon, had an early dinner (Sizzlers) and once again attended the south-side fighter practice.

OK, so here are a bunch of typical Aussie photos we took during our two week holiday, not really specific to any particular day or place....

Jacaranda trees give brilliant bursts of purple-blue flowers across the city this time of year. Not a native aussie tree but spectacular all the same.
A typical bitumened country road:
blue skies, puffy clouds and gum trees.
Various colours of dead gum tree leaves.

Read more »