Edinburgh

January 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Travel, UK | 1 Comment
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In 2012 I went back to Edinburgh most of it was spent catching up with my parents but we did do some touristy things.

Royal Yacht Britannia – do you like boats or monarchies? If you answer yes to either of those then come and check out the Queen’s former royal yacht. If you don’t have a car getting here from central Edinburgh is a bit tricky but we used one of the bus tours to get there. The Yacht was definitely interesting to walk around and to see how the very, very other half live and travel. There are a number of anecdotes that help to give colour to the literal nuts and bolts of the ship.

Gladstone’s Land – built during the 1600s and located in the centre of the city it gives an idea of the living conditions in Edinburgh throughout the 17th century

Majestic bus tour – as mentioned we used a bus tour to get to and from the Britannia, as well as the logistical benefits it did offer a reasonable way of seeing hearing more about the city but not essential

Some photos on Flickr.

 

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Bournemouth

January 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Travel, UK | 1 Comment
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In 2013 I visited the sea side town Bournemouth briefly.

Take a walk around town, particularly through the park and along the pier. Definitely go to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. The interior is excellent with exhibits covering the tastes of the turn of the 20th century Russell-Cotes and also modern themes.

During summer I imagine the beach front would be great to walk along but I wasn’t in season for this.

We also had lunch by the entrance to Poole Harbour at the Haven Hotel, while it was grey outside it was very nice to look out over the water.

Some photos at Flickr. There were more I’m sure but uploader seems to have failed.

Assorted: Brighton Equality walk and London Pride

December 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Posted in London, Out and About, UK | 1 Comment
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More assortments:

Brighton Equality Walk – participated in the equality walk to raise money and awareness for anti-lgbt bullying. Other than one unfortunate random yelling out “bender” our group made our way along the route until we reached the end at the beach. It was a good day with nice weather and pleasant company. Not one I’ll do again but glad I did it. Photos.

London Pride – Through work got the chance to walk in the march for London’s LGBT pride march. It was interesting and cool to be in amongst it but not necessarily something I need to do again. Photos.

Assorted: AFL, Rugby, Jewel Tower and Oktoberfest

December 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Posted in London, Tourism, UK | 1 Comment
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Assorted bits and pieces:

AFL – By random chance I was walking near Oval and saw a bunch of Australians sporting AFL team colours. A quick google later and and it turned out there was an exhibition game. Called a mate who knew about AFL, we bought tickets and I went to see my first AFL match. It wasn’t a great first time, even my mate who’s a fan thought it was lack lustre. According to wikipedia there were 10,000 people but it definitely feel like it. Pretty sparse. Still wouldn’t mind seeing another match sometime, maybe back in Australia one day.

Rugby – Continuing the sporting them I went to see another first, my first live rugby game at Twickenham on 29/12/12. The Quinns vs the London Irish. It seemed like everyone was still suffering from post-Christmas sluggishness and my rugby mates were less then impressed so my own lack of attention was well placed. Happy with the company though! Would like to get the chance to see another match too.

Jewel Tower – An English Heritage property opposite Parliament. It doesn’t take too long to walk around and gives a quick snap shot of the democratic process in the UK.

Oktoberfest – Another 2012 item. Went to the Oktoberfest in Kennington with some friends and it was random but good fun.

Photos at flickr.

Pompeii at the British Museum

December 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Posted in London, Out and About, UK, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Managed to get to the acclaimed Pompeii exhibit at the British Museum earlier this year. It was pretty good though some of the exhibits (or similar ones) could have been found at the museum already. The power of the exhibit is seeing a snap shot of the world from almost 2,000 years ago and where the similarities and differences with our own world exist. The casts of the bodies and the artefacts that have survived for so long is remarkable. Having some knowledge of the period already meant I wasn’t amazed (though I didn’t buy the audio guide so that was a limiting factor) but it was still worth it.

New Year’s Day Parade 2012(?)

December 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Posted in London, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | 1 Comment
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As 2013 draws to a close it’s time to remember the new year’s day parade from 1 Jan 2012 (at least I think that’s the one). Yes it’s been a while.

So was getting up and heading into central London on a public holiday worth it to see the parade (and limiting the new year’s eve frivolity)? No.

For starters it rained. Which is not the parade’s fault but didn’t help matters. The parade was a combination of small London floats (or people on bikes/walking etc) and American marching bands. The latter were great and even with the rain and dwindling crowds kept their energy up.

Sadly the London one’s just didn’t have anything to keep the attention but the biggest problem was the timing. There were large portions where the group in front of us had finished and gone past and the next one was no where in sight. Not really a parade in my humble opinion.

Thanks to the random who let me shelter under his umbrella too.

As I didn’t go last year it may have improved and 2014 might be super so if you’re free give it a go and let me know but I doubt I’ll be back any time soon.

Sadly it seems a change of phone and a bit of a delay in writing this has meant I can’t find the photos. Guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much…

Play: Big and Small

July 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Posted in General, London, Theatre, UK | 1 Comment
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Last year at the Barbican, Cate Blanchett performed in the Sydney Theatre Company’s “Big and Small“.

Much of the time spent is with the audience and a solo Blanchett, occasionally other actors break up the monologues. The story follows Lotte (Blanchett) as she seeks out true relationships with those around her.

Personally I didn’t find the character of Lotte as redeeming as perhaps I should, nor was the overall play something that would be work in less skilled hands. However Cate Blanchett’s skill and presence on stage is so strong that you easily get caught up in the experience and it was a joy to watch her be Lotte and perform. I have to wonder if it had it been another actress I don’t think Big and Small would have been as successful.

Definitely worth seeing or trying to watch Blanchett in her next performance.

Play: The 39 Steps

July 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Posted in General, London, Out and About, UK | 1 Comment
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A play with four actors and many, many parts is the conceit of The 39 Steps, while the plot is one of a guy, a girl, as murderer and espionage. The novelty of the four actors quickly transitioning between roles (both human and prop) seems like it might get a little dull that doesn’t happen. The main plot continues to drive the story forward while allowing the comedy to flow through. It’s a charming a fun production that is definitely entertaining and worth a watch.

Musical: Legally Blonde

July 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Posted in General, UK | 1 Comment
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If you’re a successful movie you’re bound to be made into a musical. Legally Blonde is no exception. Did they do a good job? Definitely. It’s a fun musical that has an almost never ending slew of upbeat peppy songs to keep the momentum going. I’ve even downloaded a couple afterwards. At the end of the day it’s the story of a plucky sorority girl who tries to prove herself as a lawyer (as fabulously as possible) and if you enjoyed the movie then you’ll like the musical. Similarly if you can’t stand the film then the musical probably isn’t for you. Although the energetic dance routine may help.

Musical: Matilda

July 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Posted in General, London, UK | 1 Comment
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About a year ago I went and saw the smash hit musical Matilda. Was it worth the money and did it live up to the hype? Short answer yes. The energy of the performances, both the young cast and the male lead in heavy Trunchbull attire deserve praise. The set design is well crafted making excellent use of space while bringing us into Matilda’s world of learning and childhood. Even if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie you’ll quickly get to grips with the story. Definitely try and see it.

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