Wednesday, 22 August 2007

missing: one fuzzy glove

When at Sarah's bike shop on Friday evening, I bought a new pair of summer cycling gloves with cut off fingers. They are a lovely light aqua colour and much better for summer cycling. (The colour kind of matches with my Kona bike frame, which is a periwinkle blue.) My other gloves were purchased last year when my fingers started getting numb on the way to work. They are heavy with a fleece lining, and then kept my fingers toasty all winter long. With my Belgium trip looming I picked up my new gloves and wore them home from the bike shop.

When I got home I threw my winter gloves and Ant's cycling gloves into the wash (after a hard week or two of cycling they can pong a bit). But only one winter glove came back out of the wash. How could my washing machine eat a fuzzy glove?

Back at Sarah's bike shop today, the employee said that I had left a glove behind last week. And there was my winter glove, with a note taped to it, identifying me as its owner. Yay!

Unpacking my cycling bag today with the inner tubes I picked up at the shop, I realised I can't find that fuzzy glove anywhere. I think I may have dropped it at the shop (again), or maybe as I was kitting up just outside. If found, please return my fuzzy glove.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

cycling holiday and more exercise

Well, my colleague Sarah and I have sorted out our trip to Belgium. Next Wednesday we are going to take our bikes on the early train down to Dover and take the ferry across to Calais. Then we will cycle from there to Veurne in Belgium, a mere 70 km. (Some readers may find the comparison of Halifax to Stewiacke helpful.) We've booked our bed and breakfast there and we'll be staying for three nights. Then on Saturday we return by bike and ferry and train. We are both so excited! We planned the route to travel along a canal that goes from Calais all the way to Veurne, which means we will not be on main roads and the journey will not involve any hills.

Before we go I need to degrease and grease my bike and change my back inner tube. I picked up a pair of summer gloves last week, which has made a big improvement in my comfort as I ride. (My winter gloves were too fuzzy inside and too hot to wear.)

In the meantime Ant and I are heading up to Liverpool to celebrate his Mum's birthday and visit with his family.

I have had a very active last couple of days. Sarah and I have been cycling around loads. After Sarah came over on Saturday and we sorted out our holiday, we headed over to Tooting Bec to sign up for three free days at Fitness First for this Monday to Wednesday. Yesterday we headed over to the gym for a yoga session in the morning. It was really hard work! Today my arms and shoulders are aching. Some of the stretches were incredibly hard to do but still relaxing by the end of the session. Afterwards we started following cycle path signs and eventually reached the Tate Britain art gallery. Sarah really wanted to see Francis Bacon, a modern British painter whose works I found a bit bizarre. We had some lunch there before heading home again.

Today we met up half way along our respective cycles to work and I spent some profitable time there. I cycled home and then to the gym to sit in the sauna as a reward for all the exercise I've been doing! After a nice shower and a stretch I pedalled home again. Tomorrow's plan is to go to yoga and then maybe back to work... or maybe not. At any rate, I have been cycling everywhere these past few days and really liking it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

lashing down

Well, it's raining hard outside and Ant has gone off to work. Usually I have a bit of breakfast, do some reading, checking online, and then off I go to my sightseeing or to work. But today I think I will stay curled up at home with numerous cups of tea, a good book, a film, and my laptop. There are sheets of rain coming down and it's very blustery and today I will stay inside.

I'll start a list of things that I do today.

Welcome home to Sonya, Kevin, and Claire. I am catching up on their holiday news.

Chatting with Jayme about documentation and classroom fix-ups.

Eating leftovers for lunch--oh yes, I am doing my duty to cleaning out the fridge.

Thinking about doing the washing up. :)

Thursday, 9 August 2007

city walk #45: richmond

I cycled my bike over to Richmond yesterday (twelve miles including a section through the lovely Richmond Park). Then I embarked on a two hour walk up and down the Thames. It started on the high street and passed around the village green. Due to the nice weather (which has been a long time coming in London) there were hoards of people lazing about on the grass. I walked along the edge of the park, under a canopy of branches.

I reached the river near Richmond Bridge and started walking south along the Thames. Here's the Richmond Bridge behind me.

The Thames was serene and the sun was beating down as I walked down as far as Ham House.

At one point I passed a meadow full of cows--how bizarre, since you can see that I had not left the city.

After about an hour of ambling along I reached the crossing point. Here's the picture I took myself--I always think that taking my own picture makes me look like a numpty*. But here it is anyway! I was concentrating so hard I forgot to smile.

Then I spent £1 on the passenger ferry across to Twickenham. (How cheap is that!) On the other side I got lost briefly in the Marble House park.

Then back to Richmond to refill my water bottle and cycle home again to collapse from exhaustion!

* numpty: Ant's current favourite insult; "a stupid or ineffectual person"

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

city walk #26: edgeware road

After a morning full of errands, I headed on the bus to Edgeware Road to follow one of my city walks cards. Edgeware Road is a vibrant Middle Eastern area. I saw loads of very tasty looking restaurants. I even saw a hookah smoker outside one cafe. (I didn't think taking a picture would be very polite.)

I saw this very quaint little mews street a bit further on.

This house's ivy impressed me. I love any building with ivy. (One of my first loves was the Chemistry building at Dal.)

My walk ended at Oxford Street and I headed into John Lewis (a big department store). Ant gave me a voucher that he won at work and so I was browsing. The item I most wanted to buy was this gorgeous trench--although its price was somewhat over the £25 voucher I had to spend.

I left before I had a chance to spend my voucher, but my guess is that I will end up buying us a new duvet cover with it.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Tower of London

Yesterday morning I met Dave and Katherine and family at the Tower of London. I have been there once before and it was a memorable visit for me. Mum and Dad took us when we lived in Scotland; I think I was thirteen at the time. I still remember a picture Mum took of Paul with his head on Anne Boleyn's chopping block.

The Tower is built on a little mound alongside the River Thames. The Traitor's Gate is an entrance from the river, through which a barge could be rowed, carrying prisoners accused of treason, for example. Only noblemen and women were imprisoned in the Tower, lower class prisoners were held elsewhere in the city in less luxurious accommodations.

The oldest part of the Tower of London (which is actually made up of quite a few buildings with 21 towers in total) is the White Tower, on which construction was begun in 1078. It housed the royal accommodations on its top floor, and included this darling little Chapel Royal where the royal family would worship.

The second-to-top floor of the White Tower was for the commander in charge of the fortress and his family, while the lower floors were meeting rooms and the kitchens and store rooms. After several hundred years, the royals had other places to live and so the building was used as an armoury, the royal mint, the home of the menagerie, and as the records office. We saw loads of weapons on display there. Here Christeen and Andrew are learning about how different weapons were used.

Andrew tried on a Tudor helmet and Christeen tried on a Norman helmet. Dave and James look on, amused.

Dave got his chance later to try on some arm protection.

We saw the Crown Jewels--very sparkly as you may imagine. No pictures are allowed there, so you will have to imagine the huge diamonds and other gemstones set in gold crowns backed with purple velvet. There was a gold, highly decorated wine tureen there which had a basin the size of a paddling pool. We saw numerous gold platters, goblets, trumpets, and coronation items like maces.

I especially enjoyed the accommodation of Edward I, which included this very handsome bedroom with a tiled floor and painted and curtained walls.

A small chapel in a nearby room had these stained glass windows, my favourite part of the trip. There was no signage to let me know when they were added to the Tower, and I have to say, they don't look particularly old. The geometric designs are made with small portions of what looked to be glass taken from other windows.

After all this sightseeing we were exhausted. Here's the whole family leaning out over the walls, watching the Thames and other tourists flowing by.