Sunday, August 27, 2006

Book Worm

The weather here in the UK has not been so great over August. However, there are still plenty of places to visit that don't involve heading to the nearest shopping mall. The photo above is of a street in another place that I love to visit now and then. It is Hay-on-Wye which is the second hand book capital of the UK. It is literally full of shops selling second hand books on every subject you can imagine! As you can see from the sky in the picture above, the weather was threatening rain but that is what is so nice about Hay, you can walk around it and duck in and out of these very interesting shops and hide from the rain, and it just so happens that I have a love of books.

The photo above was taken inside the 'Cinema Bookshop', so-called because it used to be an old cinema but is now packed with shelves and shelves of books, some of them beautifully bound as you can see from the photo, and some of them are quite rare first editions. The great thing about Hay though is that it is also a lovely place to walk around and has some nice places to stop and recharge with a cool or hot (depending on the weather!) drink and a home baked cake. It is also interesting and the photo below is of Hay castle, part of which has also been turned into a second hand bookshop. If you love books, or simply want to visit somewhere interesting then I can heartily recommend Hay-on-Wye. The drive to it also passes some magnificent countryside with soaring hills where you can often spot Birds of Prey.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Watch out for the pointy end!

As I have been recuperating I haven't been out and about much lately. Also the weather here in the UK has been foul. Lots of rain, thunder and lightning and grey sullen clouds covering the sky. Anyway, I thought I would share one of my other hobbies with you which is historical fencing.

I have been practicing this for nearly six months now but it is something I ahve always wanted to learn having watched films like 'Excaliber' when I was younger. The picture on the right is of my hand and a half sword which I love using. It was a present and has a wire bound leather hilt and has been hand crafted. It has a double fullered blade and a simple cross guard. At the moment it is the only one like it! It is so light to use which is ideal as it means my arms don't tire so easily and I can move more quickly.

The main problem I have is with getting armour. The men (I am the only female in the group) have no problem obtaining gambesons to absorb the blows (steel still hurts even if you pull the blows) but no-one seems to cater for women. I have got a fencing mask though which is handy.

At the moment I am not that great but apparently I am coming along nicely. All I know is that I get beaten most of the time! It is actually a great way to exercise as there is a lot of movement involved so you can get a good cardio workout but you also get to use your mind as well as you try and out wit your opponent which is a lot less boring than pounding away on a treadmill in a gym (although I do that as well). Anyway, I hope to get back to training really soon. So what do you do at the weekend?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Down but not out

Yep, that's right I'm down but not out as I am recuperating after surgery so I'm afraid there won't be new pics of my travels for a short while. I am currently sofa bound as I am finding it difficult to get around and I'm not allowed to drive. I suspect that I will get bored long before I am better though! Anyway, I am getting better every day so I hope to be up and about again soon and you can be sure that I will take my camera with me when I go.

Meanwhile I am indulging another interest of mine which is films. I am involved in a small indepenent film company called Spearhead Films where I am the Production Manager but at the moment I am constrained to watching films. As ever when I am not feeling 100% I like to watch some old favourites and 'Grounhog Day' has recently been viewed. I'm thinking of watching 'Leap of Faith' next and then I might just watch 'Lord of the Rings'. I have a huge collection so sometimes it can be difficult to choose.

Anyway, if you drop by, say hello and let me know you have been by and perhaps let me know what your favourite film is?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Soaking Wet!

A short while ago I visited Plymouth (UK) which is a cityI lived in for some time. I have many happy memories of living there so I always enjoy going back. A kind of calm envelopes me so it is somewhere I really feel relaxed. Plymouth is a very handy city for getting out and about and exploring. On the one side is the sea, on the other side of the Tamar river is Cornwall and to the north of the city is Dartmoor. When I lived in Plymouth I was always spoilt for somewhere lovely to go, even if it was walking down to the Barbican quayside and up onto the Hoe to watch the fishing boats, or driving into Cornwall. I especially liked to go walking on Dartmoor though. The photographs here are of a place called Burrator Reservoir which is in Dartmoor and supplies the water for Plymouth.

The first photograph was taken just before a storm. On this particular visit myself and a friend had decided to walk around the reservoir which takes about 4 hours. It was a lovely sunny day as you can see from the photograph below. This one was taken from on top of the dam and you can see the reservoir shore stretching into the distance and away to the right with a Tor on the horizon. The last photo is of the dam itself.

Anyway, we started to walk but within an hour we heard the distant rumble of thunder. The shore of the reservoir is mostly lined with dense woodland so we thought we would be sheltered from any showers. Wrong! Shortly after the first photograph was taken (note the mean and moody sky) all hell broke loose weather-wise. There was very loud thunder, lighting and torrential rain. I'm not talking about the stuff that makes you wet, but the stuff that trys to drown you while you're standing up.

The trees provided shelter for a short time but then the water made it's way through the canopy and we were soaked! This deluge lasted for nearly 30 minutes before easing off and by this time I was soaked to the skin. We decided to head back and the sun came out and we began to gently steam. I was remarking to my friend that at least our feet were dry as we had proper walking boots on when I disappeared into a puddle up to my thighs! Just to add insult to injury! Now I was squelching too as I walked. Anyway, we had dry clothes in the car so we changed (yes, even underwear) which involved incredible contortionism in such a confined space. At the time I was less than impressed but I can laugh at it now. We fully intend to go back and complete our walk some time and this time we wil try and stay dry!