Monday, July 31, 2006

A Little Walk by a Moat

I really enjoy a walk in the evening after a long day slaving over a hot desk. Have you noticed that all the places I like to go have water? This is Caerphilly Castle in Wales, UK which is a wonderful place to visit. It stands on a central island surrounded by a moat with all sorts of ducks, geese and other wild fowl living there. The castle is one of the largest in the UK (second only to windsor Castle) and was built in 1268-1271 by Gilbert de Clare, the Anglo-Norman Lord. I have been into the castle which is impressive as much of it is fairly intact but even when it is closed a walk around the perimetre shows how formidable this structure is. Just another place I like to visit.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A little walk by the sea

I like to get out and about as much as I can. All week I work in an office where the view from my window is of the offices opposite me so in the evenings and at weekends I like to stretch my legs and go somewhere with some space. These photos are of a place called Southern Down which is on a stretch of coast near Cardiff in Wales. The pic above shows a coastal path which traces it's way around a headland revealing a beach and marvellous cliffs which you can see just coming into view.
The photo above is of the beach which is usually full of people doing beachy stuff. I usually like to walk accross the cliff top and watch them. I am so high up that they all like like ants on vacation but their voices carry up to where I am easily. I am usually after a bit more peace and quiet which is why I walk around the headland and go and sit on the rocks. The view from there is absolutely fantastic as you can see from the photo below. In the pic the tide is out so you can see the wonderful patterns that the striated rocks make. I like to sit there and listen to the waves breaking on the rocks and watch the seagulls soar over the cliffs while the ships pass by and enter the Severn estuary. It is another place I love to go to as I used to live by the sea and now I live more in land I miss it. So, this is a place I like to visit to get the city out of my system for a while.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A little walk by the water

This calm looking lake is at a place called Tredegar House near Newport in the UK which is a 17th Century Charles II mansion set in 90 acres of park. It is a nice place to take a quiet evening stroll and watch the ducks, moorhens and coots paddle around on the water. Occassionally you can also see the large carp that reside in the lake and also catch sight of the squirrels playing in the trees and the rabbits hopping through the grass and hiding in the large rhododendron bushes as you pass by.

The mansion and grounds were once home to one of the great Welsh families, The Morgans, who helped establish Newport as an important trade centre at the time. Although it is a lovely place to visit, urbanisation has meant that the M4 runs alongside one of it's boundaries but it still has a very pleasant woodland walk and is akin to an oasis amongst all the hustle and bustle around it. Sometimes after a hard day at work it is nice to go somewhere to stretch your legs and get some fresh air while you unwind.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Good news!

At last my cold is getting better and I feel human again! I dragged myself off the sofa yesterday to see "Pirates" with CQ and it's amazing how therapeutic a good night out with a friend can be! The cold had been lingering for four whole days and had ruined my weekend so it was good to get out. I have also had some good news...

I found out that I have been awarded a bonus at work and that it has been enhanced for 'exemplary' performance!!!!! I didn't think I was that good though I think the best time to let them know is after I have spent the money! Still, it's nice to know that I must have been doing something right.

I also found out recently that I passed my exams which was great news as now I only have one more module and my dissertation to do until I complete my MBA. Personally I can't wait. I ahve been studying now for three years and want my life back! I have decided to have a break from studying this summer and will resume again in November for the final push. It's nice to have some good news for a change, especially with all the other stuff life throws your way.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cold blues

I have a cold and I feel miserable I'm afraid. My head aches, my nose is sore and runny, my throat hurts and I am sneezing. Yep, it's a cold. I'm not very good at being poorly so I have attempted to carry on as normal which probably hasn't helped me get better quicker but I get bored very quickly if I am made to stay in bed.

All I can say is thank God for those tissues with the balm coating or my poor nose would be positively glowing! If it was Christmas I would be giving Rudolf a run for his money that is for sure. I am trying to think who might have passed this cold onto me as I have lost my weekend feeling ill and someone should pay!!! Trust me to get a cold at the weekend and not on a work day ;-). Anyway, I am pretty sure I can't pass on my cold virtually so no worries if you are dropping by - unless my computer gets it and computer viruses can be passed on. Right, off to get a big mug of hot chocolate and an early night.

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Tintagel

Well, I am currently sat at home with a cold and feeling a bit miserable [sniff], so I have been looking at my pics of Tintagel again to cheer myself up a bit and to choose which ones I would like to print and put in a photo album. I always think it is nice to have prints as well as ones on my computer. The one above shows what a stunningly gorgeous day it was while I was there and shows the coastal path looking towards Boscastle. The one below was taken from the same place and looks back towards Tintagel castle. You can see the wooden bridge you have to cross to get to the castle and the sandy cove.

The photo below was taken while I was sat among the rocks looking out to sea. I turned to look the other way and in the distnace were a group of tourists who were being mugged for their sandwiches by seagulls. I think the seagulls won! Anyway it made me smile.

The next photo shows the caves in Tintagel cove. The right one is called Merlin's cave in line with the legend of King Arthur. There isn't much tangible evidence to link Tintagel to King Arthur but a recent archeological dig on the site did reveal a dark age settlement and uncovered the so-called 'Arthur Stone'. This is inscribed with the name 'Artognov' which is the Latin form of the celtic name 'Arthnou'. Whether this was the legendary King Arthur is still not clear though. To me it doesn't matter though. I love Tintagel and I love the legend of King Arthur and I am happy for it to remain just that: a legend, and enjoy Tintagel as a wonderful tranquil and beautiful place.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Stuff of Legends!

Last weekend I went to Cornwall and had a wonderful time. I visited Tintagel Castle which was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and according to Cornish Legend is the birth place of King Arthur and is the place where the Kings of Cornwall held their courts. When the Norman armies reached Tintagel they heard that this headland had been the seat of the Cornish Kings and so the castle was built more for propaganda purposes than for strategic reasons. The picture above was taken from the mainland looking over to the castle which is on a rocky headland joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of rocks. The castle is reached by a wooden bridge and many steps up the side of the cliff face which was quite tiring on a such a hot and sunny day, but it was well worth the climb.

There is not much left of the castle itself as the Atlantic and the elements have pounded it for centuries but above is a close up of an archway that when passed through, leads you along a windy path to the sea and some magnificent views such as the one below.

I spent hours exploring the rocky headland that the castle stands on and the ruins themselves. I also walked along the opposite headland a bit where you can look back at the castle. It is possible to walk all along the coast to Boscastle (the Cornish fishing village that flooded last year) but it was hot and I was feeling too relaxed so I sat down and looked contentedly at the waves and the scenery before me knowing that I would return and walk the coastal path another time.

From the photo below you can see that Tinatgel has a lovely little cove complete with caves, sandy beach and waterfalls! The site is maintained by English Heritage and as ever they have done a good job and it is a great place to visit. I think those of us that live in the UK sometimes forget that we have some of the best places to vist right on our doorstep! I am currently going through a very stressful time in my life for various reasons and it was so nice to be somewhere that I could just 'be'. Despite the other tourists I did not feel harrassed and it was easy to find your own spot amongst the rocks to just sit and relax which was exactly what I needed.