Sunday, 16 May 2010

Oh my......

....where has that time gone!I've even had Richard reminding me that I need to blog again. I guess even he likes to read my take on life here in the UK. I have been so, so busy with school work and trying to keep my head above water in recent weeks. At school I have had IEPs to write, behaviour management plans to review and write, and reporting to do (still haven't finished the last two!) as well as the normal weekly planning. On top of that we have been to Illfracombe for a weekend and fitted in visits to the Spittlefields Markets, Petticoat Lane Markets, the National Portrait Gallery and the London Zoo. When said like that no wonder I am exhausted!

This week Richard and I have decided to start a running program that will hopefully have us running about 5km within about 9 weeks. I am contemplating entering myself in one of the charity runs for breast cancer as an added incentive to keep going. My gorgeous niece, Angela has just done one on the Gold Coast on mother's Day so I am using her success as my inspiration.

With all the other stuff I have been doing I have managed to get the paints and collage materials out and to start to create feels so good! Whydo I put these things off when I love them so much?

OK so back to where I left off so long ago. After Cornwall we came home to London for a couple of days and then went to Paris in the hope of seeing Richard's two eldest sons in the Paris marathon (yes watching that helped to motivate me too!). We did not manage to spot either of them, but Jon finished the 42km in just over 3 and a half hours and Tim in 4 hours and 1 minute! When you see the photos below it is no wonder we did not manage to spot them!

While we were in Paris we took the opportunity to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the first time and had a lovely photo taken of us and took some more for prosperity! It was freezing cold and as windy as hell even on the first level, but worth the effort!
A complete stranger took this for us at the top of the Tower....I love it!

Richard pointing to the distance back to Sydney.

Sacre Coeur from the top of the Tower

Richard took this photo of is not often that I say 'I like this photo of me!' I think I look very relaxed.

Then we were off to Amsterdam. I have to say that it is wonderful! We walked for miles and miles. Around town we visited Anne Frank's House which was incredibly moving. I found myself crying as I watched some of the short films and read some of the information. I hope I never have to truly understand the lives those people lived. We also went to the Resistance Museum. Again the stories were devastating. I don't think this was done as well as Anne Frank House, but it was still fascinating. In Amsterdam we also visited the flower market (frustrating because I would have loved to have been able to buy, buy, buy!) and the red light district (eeww! don't know how those women can put themselves on display in the windows like that!). We didn't do the 'coffee' shops, but did do the coffee shops for pancakes for breakfast every morning.

Within Amsterdam itself the highlight for me was the Van Gogh Museum. I guess I have not had a lot of education with respect to art (studied maths and science at school and then did a science degree) and knew Van Gogh's work, but had not paid a lot of attention to it. In real life you really see why this man is seen as one of the masters. The paintings are breathtakingly stunning. You look at them closely and think how can those marks on the canvas amount to step back and wow!!! Up close many of the paintings are a confusion of stripes and blotches (sorry Coralie I know I am not well trained here) but the way they come together is phenomenal. No photos of the museum but here are some of around Amsterdam.
Bikes and barges...I think my strongest memory of Amsterdam!

Just a very small section of the flower markets.

The statue of Rembrandt - a visit to the Rijksmuseum to see many of his works was planned for our last day, but we had to leave early and didn't get there.

The canals throughout Amsterdam are stunning and were especially so with the new spring growth.

Out of Amsterdam we did a couple of day trips. The first was to the Keukenhof Gardens. They are the main tulip gardens and spring flower displays in the area. Winter here has hung around so things were not in full swing, but even so the gardens were simply stunning. I spent the whole day thinking of the visit my Mum, Dad and I made to Tesslaars Garden in Victoria a few years back, and really felt quite emotional at times. Mum and Dad would have loved it!! I had to send my Mum a postcard to share at least that much of the experience with her.
One of the tupil fields- all this colour and not yet in full bloom!
One small part of one of the indoor displays.

Chess in the gardens.

One of the gorgeous sculptures on display.

Harvey chilling out in a clog at Keukenhof.

OK it's after 11:00 so I'll post this and try to add more very soon. Lots of love to you all. XXXX