Thursday, June 29, 2006

The day after...'s the day after my birthday. I must be getting on as I had a very civilised celebration with a wonderful dinner, with nice wine and a wonderful man and I am happy to report not a hangover in sight! I don't suppose anyone actually enjoys hangovers but if I get one these days I am really, really ill. Not a pretty sight!

Anyway, I had some great presents including an iPod Nano which I love, far too many choccies, and a book, DVD, CD and a night out (thanks CQ!), so I have been touched by people's generosity and also by those who stopped by my blog and wished me a Happy Birthday. Thanks! I am away for the weekend taking a well deserved break but more when I get back!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

There goes another one!

It's my Birthday - yay! Despite everything I enjoy my birthdays on the whole although it seems to me that Birthdays are like deadlines - they whoosh by leaving you blinking in the after current as they pass! Still, it is nice to get cards and sometimes gifts from people who care about you and growing older doesn't bother me at all (yet). Of course I get the usual smattering of cards with rude jokes about age but I honestly don't care. I think that there is a lot more to age than counting years gone by such as how you feel and your outlook on life! I have noticed the odd grey hair but I got my first at 21 so I am less bothered about those now, and my knees are a bit creakier than before but then I also lead an active life and both my sisters knees went in their teens so I'm not doing too badly.

So what am I up to today? Well, I have taken the day off work but am spending the day on my own so I have showered, opened my cards and put some washing on to do, had my breakfast and done the dishes. Next I am going to wash my car and later I am having my hair done though as I am being taken out tonight which I am really looking forward to. Sometimes you are lucky enough to spend at least some of your birthday with someone special. So, Birthdays: a time for taking stock of your life, another year gone by and seeing how you've grown as a person and what you have achieved? Hmmm, perhaps but also a time for going out and celebrating I reckon! :0)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Not quite Camelot but...

Okay, I know I have been tardy with posting to my blog recently but life has been getting in the way of late. Lots happening in Bobkats world! Anyway, with the weather being so nice lately I have been out and about. Now I have always liked castles and recently visited Goodrich Castle which stands on a wooded hill commanding the passage of the River Wye into the valley of Symonds Yat . The castle was begun in the late 11th century, by the English thegn Godric who gave it his name, and successive generations added to it over the centuries.

The well preserved square keep which still forms the core of the castle was added, probably in the time of Richard 'Strongbow' de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Goodrich 1148-76 and you can still climb to the top and enjoy a spectacular view of the Wye Valley. In fact, English Heritage have done a great job of making as much of the castle accessible to the public to explore as possible, which I applaud.

Back to the history bit... Under King John, Goodrich was granted with the earldom of Pembroke to William Marshal, a great castle-builder who may have initiated work on the inner ward. Each of the Marshal's four sons inherited the fortress in turn, the last dying childless at Goodrich in 1245.

Thereafter the fortress and earldom passed to Henry III's half-brother, William de Valence, who rebuilt its defences and living quarters. Goodrich still has one of the most complete sets of medieval domestic buildings surviving in any English castle (apparently). During the Civil War, Goodrich was held successively by both sides. Sir Henry Lingen's Royalists eventually surrendered in 1646 under threats of undermining and a deadly Parliamentarian mortar.

So there's a bit of history for you. I had a great time visiting it and was impressed by the way it was maintained and presented. I have also visited many castles in Wales. Good ones to visit are Raglan and Pembroke. Raglan is managed by Cadw and in my oppinion they do not do such a good job as English Heritage or the privately owned Pembroke management. The information at Cadw castles is more sparse and the castles themselves tend to be less accessible and I like to explore. I also want to know a bit about the castles history and not just what the buildings were used for! Pembroke on the other hand is a wonderful castle to visit, well kept with plenty to explore and good information - you can even have a tour guide if you like. It is extremely well maintained and impressive to view. I have a few more castles to visit, but cannot seem to find Castle Aaghhh or Castle Anthrax on any maps! Funny that :o)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Czech this out some more

I thought I would share some more pics I took of Prague as it is such a picturesque city. The photo above was taken on Charles bridge. It shows one of the statues of the saints that line either side of it with old Prague in the background.

This pic was taken on the walk to visit Prague castle (pic on the previous post) and shows St Nicholas church at the top of the road.

I thought the Old Town Square was a fantastic place to chill out and this is it in the evening. It was always a bustling and vibrant place and surrounded by fantastic buildings.

This is a view from the old Town Hall Tower and shows some of the ornate architecture. Many buildings have balconys, statures, frescoes and mouldings. Hopefully this gives you an insight into how rich this place is in architecture, history and culture. I recommend it!