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Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Ko Tao
Coming home from holiday is always a bit of a shock; especially when it involves startling awake in a congested, droning metal tube, improbably suspended in the night sky 30000 feet above the Siberian tundra and convinced that—at any moment—the spaceship is about to crash to Earth.

But coming back from Thailand is more than that. Awakening is not followed by relief. The colours dancing in my head on the National Express bus home did not settle down to the surrounding vista of grey, followed by a mild pang of regret.
Back home...
It’s not a question of putting some jerk chicken in the oven or going out for a curry and turning the radio to the Asian Network. I’m turning my entire kitchen over because I want to recapture those smells. I can’t let go of them.

Coming back from Thailand is heartbreaking.

Consider this: of the fifty countries I have visited, Thailand is the only one I keep coming back to for reasons unrelated to work, family or the constraints of a package holiday. And that was before I had a better reason to consider it.

John is the same. The proximity of the Red Sea is the only thing that placates him (it looks like I’ll have to take up diving again!)

One thing is for sure: we will be back!

One Last Memento

Writers’ Retreat

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Last week we were on a writers’ retreat in Assynt, deep in the Scottish highlands, and —true to form—I didn’t get anything much written, nor blogged.

But it was glorious, so here are a few photos:

View from Glencanisp Lodge

‘Mount Improbable’, as seen from Glencanisp lodge. It didn’t take long for the members of the writers’ group to come up with the name, but sadly it wasn’t me. I kept thinking ‘Zuckerhut’. Having another German there does it…


The Assynt Foundation is based in Lochinver, which looked unfeasibly idyllic during (one day!) of sunshine. Sadly I didn’t get a better shot because I was to lazy to walk up the pier. Then it started to rain…

forested island

A curious thing about the H ighlands are the miniature forests that grow on islands in the freshwater lochs. This is particularly striking in the Assynt area which has very little forest because the glaciers have scoured the mountain sides down to the bedrock (elsewhere in the highlands, deforestation is to blame). Again, I could have obtained a better shot. This was taken from the car window. (Well, it was half a mile to the lodge…)

Stoerhead, Assynt

Even in the middle of the tourist season, the Assynt coastal route is remote

Village Sheep

…not counting visitors, there are more sheep than people!


Friday, March 21st, 2008

Thanks to my EeePC (and a very slow network), I’m able to blog live from a science fiction convention for the first time ever.

If the batteries hold out, that is 😉

Random entries will find their way to either here or my LJ (which is more writing oriented).

This morning I surprised myself by getting up at seven—yesterday’s drinking session nonwithstanding—and getting to the venue (Edwardian Raddissson, Heathrow) by nine, only to find that the registration doesn’t open until ten.

But I could hardly miss the first panel, could I? ‘Russell T Davies: Best of British or Fan Boy Let Loose?’

For tomorrow I’ve brought a hall costume. Watch out for the Sweeper of Souls. (“Isn’t that Death?” “Death tends to drop things, and Hell needs a street cleaner 😉 “)

Back in Blighty

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Corralejo Beach

We had a great time. The Canaries are Europe’s playground: people come for a stress-free holiday and the islands don’t disappoint. But being part of the tourism-mill, we didn’t get to hear about the irrigation problems, rising property prices, or the fate of the boatpeople arriving constantly from Africa. So there isn’t much to talk about.

We ate, we drank, we snorkelled and we were merry. We had a happy holiday in surprisingly pleasant surroundings. Some of the islands—Fuerteventura among them—have put a stop to ugly high-rise developments, and Corralejo is an attractive, lively resort with the soul of the fishing port it once was still in there somewhere.

Alas, it seems not even a package holiday comes without the requisite near-death experience. I’m not a happy flyer, but I thought I was used to it by now. After all, people take their families on holiday—it’s not a high-risk undertaking.

But I swear the plane did a rabbit-hop upon landing at Gatwick, with all the wheels leaving the tarmac, accompanied by a frightening shudder.

“Turbulence,” John said when I unrolled myself from the crash position (I put my knees and arms up out of sheer reflex). “Pilot had to make a correction. No worries.”

No worries? The pilot had to make a correction?

Why do you think I’m scared of flying in the first place? What if he’d flipped the wrong switch?

That’s all for now. It is rainy and stormy outside and I only venture out of doors to buy milk or go to the pub. Meanwhile, I’ll keep updating the Flickr set (I have to insert a lot of descriptions and write up my holiday recipes, featuring—among others—stewed rabbit and goat).

I’ll see you again at next week’s Santacon!

All set to go

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

I must say the autumn colours are spectacular:

Autumn on the Stud Farm

But it is cold. And in a few days, the leaves will be gone.

So, today I ironed the crinkles out of my viscose dress (so that my butt doesn’t look big in it), fished out the tickets and travel docs, heaped the clothes which have accumulated in a pile on the floor into the backpack (leaving behind what didn’t fit inside), finished my NaNoWriMo quota (>30k words) and aliquoted two dozen different spices in small zip-lock bags ready for use in the kitchen.

Tomorrow morning we’re off. I may or may not blog about this trip, depending on internet access, timing and mood.

In other news: Borth has its own Flickr Pool!