This chap appears to be happy, and why not, its not raining. That's all really. It appears to be a strange state of affairs in Lake Maggiore that is has to be raining. When we landed there was thunder and lightening and we have had a spot of rain and seen a rainbox but to be honest we've not really seen that much rain, though this afternoon's trip back from Isola Bella did end with grey clouds and it remains to be overcast. Still given the option between here and work, there's no contest.
Today has been a three Island Tour, which was weird because with my hangover I was barely up for one island let alone full kahoona, not that there are only three islands, I know of at least 4 which probably means there are at least 8, still the idea of bobbing around on the lake to try and get to an island to see a garden seemed like and OK thing to do at the best of times, but when I was feeling like I was bobbing around on a lake to start with meant that I didn't really fancy adding the feeling of bobbing around on a lake to that original feeling (of bobbing around on a lake). Still we only made it to two islands which was a bonus, I was worried that my wife's ever present need to complete the set would take over from sense and we would end up dashing to the last island hard up against the last ferry leaving.
Anyway we (I) survived and we are no back in the hotel to mash that hangover or create another one. Just so you know, this is of at the top of the gardens in Isola Bella, I just liked the way the arch framed the statue as well as the air punch.
I don't think you'll find that stone guard dogs are that effective, something about them being stone, however athletically and from a maintenance point of view they are better than real dogs as far as I am concerned. None of that barkey nonsense with these chaps they just obediently sit there asking for nothing. These can be found at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster.A loing way to go for a trip out but it looked interesting and we hadn't been there despite my Wife constantly saying that we had.
It's an interesting hall and probably better when the weather is warm and there would have been more to see if we has turned up on Sunday because we would be able to look at the chapel. Still looking at the huge hall set out as it would have been around the First World War is impressive though very cold even inside so if you do go when it's cold, make sure you take a good thick coat and as you can see by the picture it was cold. I think the snow gives it away.
If you like fish and canned fish for that matter then this is for you, canned salmon is this place's business. The whole 100 year history of the cannery is detailed with a guided tour. We even had a workshop where we learnt to make leather medicine pouches as the natives would have done. Of course if you don't like fish then tough, it's all they did. I say did because it closed in the 70's and reopened later as a museum which of course it is today.
The surroundings are pretty and full of small interesting shops. On one street there was a film crew set up and ut became apparent that some of the "public" were actors for the background, obviously they weren't filming when we were passing but it was obvious there was something going on that they were a part of.
It's been a sort of busy weekend really. Packed lots of dull stiff into it that really I won't bother you about... oh if you insist... washing clothes, cycling 20 miles, washing more clothes, eating too much, walking round Manchester during the Manchester International Festival... yeah I told you it was boring but you insisted. The festival looked more like a night festival really, or we were in the wrong place so we messed about a bit, bought books and ended up in Salford via Blackfriars. Walking along towards the bridge that links Salford to Bridge Street my Wife spotted a statue looking over the Irwell, interested to see what it was about we walked back into Manchester and onto Bridge Street and there's a small relatively hidden set of steps down to nothing in particular that overlooks the Irwell. When you step down to this place there is nowhere to go but what you might call seats but nothing else apart from this statue. Very weird really almost like it was all some sort of hidden statue never to be discovered. Not sure what Joseph Brotherton would make of it being Salford's first MP. To the right of him looks horribly like a tomb with his name and the usual details you would expect on such a stone because the statue has nothing on it at all. It's also weird because I suspect the statue is actually in Manchester if you assume that Salford's boundary is the Irwell... so perhaps not strange because he's looking out over Salford.
Either way it's a weird place to put a statue more or less hidden out of the way where I'm assuming Manchester's less that healthy night life like to spend their time by the looks of it.
Again Zippy is back out in the guise of Father Christmas, this year he's not lit, perhaps it's too early in the day, perhaps they are saving energy or money in these austere times. Either way here he is. I did see hime getting lifted into place and there's nothing stranger than seeing a brightly lit Zippy swinging over Albert Square.
So after a sausage in Albert Square it was time to head down to Spinningfields for a quick skate. Well I say quick but it took an hour to get onto the rink and then an hour for me to get even close enough to look like I was just unstable, at the start I was bordering on the dangerous so some massive improvements there then and despite the cold it's a great way to get warm, nearly falling on your arse for an hour really keeps the blood pumping to such an extent I did get a little bit of a sweat on whether that will be the exercise or the constant fear of falling on your arse I don't know still a good hours fun.
Turning up today I wondered why I chose a Travelodge other than it was half the price of the last three days for the next three days. Slap bang right on a huge junction with TGI Fridays, a KFC, a Frankie and Bennies and all sort of other stuff just off the A1 I had to wonder. I was firing up my Bluetooth connection to get the hellishly slow Bluetooth PAN going when I thought. I wonder if there's free wireless anywhere. Travelodge must have one. Wrong. I was scanning the local networks to find KFC just 20 yards away has one for customers. What joy. Not the fastest thing on the planet and as secure as an unlocked barn but there nonetheless and it's not as if I'll be passing anything secret over it. Oh no someone's hacked into my connection and no knows what I'm going to publish on Zamyatin just before it goes online. Well if anyone does that they'll be after me for me wasting their time with trivial data. Anyway back to the pic.
It's the Angel of the North. Nearly as big as a Jumbo Jet apparently (in what way they don't say) and an Anthony Gormley art piece based on... Anthony Gormley I think... in fact is there piece of his work that isn't based on him? Despite the lateness of our trip due to travelling from Hull to here and the lack of great weather I thought that we might have been one of the few here, but not so. There were quite a few people but then again it is quite impressive even though I have been this up close and personal with it before.
I'm so stupid that I didn't put two and two together here. This is a sculpture called Diving Belle and at the time it didn't occur to me at all what the play on words was. It was only when I got home and started typing it into Google that I realised that there was a play on words and please believe me it was the fact that I was typing Diving Belle and not the results that helped me out.
This is one of two sculptures in Scarborough that if you do enter into Google then you'll have to add Scarborough as well to get any sense as it looks to be a local thig that Google just doesn't care about, in fact it really still wants it to make sense as it suggests you really mean Diving Bell.
Anyway, with a weekend away in the first UK seaside resort (apparently) we saw this. Aimed at boosting civic pride this was the first of two. How plonking this on the end of the quay just next to the lighthouse just does that I have no idea. I did have to find out where number two was deposited but it took me until I came home to find out as it was erected a year or two later and was a Bather Belle outside the ill-fated Woolworths. Anyway I like the sculpture but I'm not sure I liked the picture of the Bathing Belle but I suspect that's personal taste.
For those observant of you, well you don't have to be that observant, this isn't New York it's New York New York in Vegas where you can visit many mock countries in just one day so long as your feet hold out. Lots of walking and lot of heat make Zamyatin a tired boy and it's only 5pm a time when Las Vegas is just getting into the swing of things. As someone who likes to buck the trend we've gone for a rest in the hotel as it has been a long day. We might pop out later to see the lion enclosure at MGM or see the lifts that apparently go sideways at Luxor (I think someone was pulling my wife's leg or at least mixing Las Vegas up with Charlie and the Chocolate factory) but who knows.
Today was Dover Castle just thirty minutes away unless you believe the GPS then it one and a half hours away just off the coast from Ipswich. We would have to get a ferry from Harwich and drive overboard some time into the trip to Holland. Guess what? Today no-one got wet.
So to the real Dover Castle instead of badly input point somewhere in the sea. It's huge and similar to Pendennis Castle as it was a castle used right up to and including World War II. The difference is Dover Castle is huge but in some ways less interesting but a full day out anyway as there's lots to do. The medieval tunnels are OK with a tour of the larger medieval tunnels that were extended and reused for WWII which was pretty impressive if not a little rushed (at 50 minutes mind you). The Great Tower is good too with an impressive view of Dover from the top.
The picture is a statue of Admiral Ramsay at Dover who organised Operation Dynamo an operation to rescue troops from occupied France. He also organised the Normandy landings.
No this isn't a vision of Crosby beach if the humans had died out and the green green grass of home had encroached on the beach despite the fact that the opposite usually happens, no this is another scan mistake from the ION Negative scanner. Looks good though.
We went off to Crorby beach last month. This time it was the wrong time. The day before it was nice and sunny with reports of the next day being awful, and low as the weathermen said it happened. Yes they were right for once. Then when we were cold and ready to go back to the car, my daughter fell over... well I though she fell over. It looked like she was on her knees until it was pointed out to me her legs were not bent. So a rescue mission was started to extricate her from the mud. Once she was free the next mission was to free the wellies.