Sunday, 31 October 2010

Busy Busy Busy...Fun Fun Fun!

Well...what a busy little week it has been, but in the same breath what fun we have had!
First of all on Wednesday, we attended Jason's graduation ceremony where he is now officially a 1st class honours graduate of BA Graphic Design. All of the hard work and sacrifice was worth it in the end and Jason achieved his goal. Jason was the subject of photographs for a change rather than being behind the camera taking photo's...and chief photographer (yours truly) made sure he stayed on the right side of the lens and SMILED rather than posed....well...this was achieved in SOME shots...but that is all I asked for :o)

During the ceremony, one of the lecturers who was announcing the students to receive their awards was incredible. I have never heard so many foreign (and ridiculously difficult) names in once place before. Any normal person would have stumbled their way through as best they could...not this guy...I don't know if he is multi lingual in all languages or just very very well rehearsed, but he said every name with ease and somehow managed to have the correct (as best I could tell) accent and pronunciation! I guess you had to be there to appreciate this amazing feat, but trust me when I say he was incredible. I wanted to stand and applaud him when he had finished!

After the ceremony Jason's parents treated us all out for a lovely family meal in a lovely restaurant, where we all struggled to choose from the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful food options. For once I wasn't the only one who struggled choosing what to eat! Yummm yummmm!
The next day, Jason and I set off for Hull where we were to meet with my parents and catch a mini overnight cruise to Amsterdam. It was on this night that Jason was introduced to the game "Pass the Pigs". For those of you who have not yet played this game, I urge you to; we will gladly welcome you any time to join us in the happy world of "pass the Pigs" and help you in that process! Jason was sceptical at first, however Dad and I persuaded Jason to open his mind and try...It didn't take long for the fever to hit and take hold of Jason too!
What followed was one of the worst nights sleep known to man. Several times I thought the ship was going to capsize or sink and the shudders, loud sudden noises and rockings of the ship didn't help put my mind at rest, however we DID make it to Rotterdam port safely. (Phew!)

With sat nav in tow, we headed to Amsterdam to explore with Dad as driver and myself as navigator/co pilot. After some time of driving around the city trying to find the elected park and ride, sat nav proudly announced we had arrived at our destination...we were in the middle of a housing estate. It was a lovely quaint little estate with a neighbouring canal...nevertheless it was a housing estate and NOT the anticipated park and ride. I checked the sat nav for the street name of or destination compared to where we were...there were THREE letters missing in the middle if the word...oooops! However, we did get to see some beautiful architecture whilst on our slight detour! I liked to think of it as a diversion of cultural discovery :D

Eventually we arrived at the intended place (don't ask me what it was looked like an anagram!). We hopped onto the tram (very efficient) and made our way into the city centre, Anne Frank's Annexe as our destination. When we arrived the queue was huuuuuuge! We stuck at it anyway and waited. I'm so pleased we did. What an amazing little place and what an amazing story or people's courage and resolve to do what is right. Walking around the annexe, walking through that famous bookcase made us appreciate the difficulties that the Frank family and their friends endured just to survive. Rather than it being a sombre sad place it was actually inspiring. There was a focus more of what must be done to not let such things happen again, in whatever form, and it is sad to know that people are still persecuted today for their beliefs and for simply who they are. Anne Frank's actual diary was on display and some of the excerpts were on display too...what a mature mind she had with wonderful inspiring thoughts. We are truly all on this earth for a purpose and a life's mission to fulfil, and who are we not to fulfil our full potential in whatever circumstances we find ourselves! Serious head off now; one lifetime ambition fulfilled.
We then headed over to the oldest building/church in Amsterdam. On the way we discovered a fair in Dam. In that fair was a ride called "Around the World". It was a fairground swing ride...only 60 meters high!!! One look at it and the same thought went through 3 of our minds....that needs to be experienced! 1 mind looked at it and thought...not for me.... and so my Mam became the bag lady whilst Jason, Dad and I rushed over to it like kids. It was amazing. It was higher than any buildings around us and you could see for miles! Fascinating! although, it was ridiculously cold and windy up there...but the sights were worth it. Another good thing... we spotted the old church whilst up there and so knew what direction to head in once on ground. Jobs a good 'un!
Now one thing has to be said of Amsterdam...I have never seen so many bikes in all my life! They had their own lanes and traffic lights and everything! They seemed to own the roads and paths. I wasn't concerned about being knocked over by a tram or car...but rather a bike...many of which were speeding around at the speed of light! There were bikes with little baskets, bikes with wheelbarrow type boxes at the front where children sat in, people perched on the back, kids perched on was crazy! It is another world entirely!

We found the people to be amazingly friendly and helpful too...right across the age groups...I personally think we as a country/civilisation have a lot to learn from them! Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit there and would gladly return for a deeper immersion in the culture. Although I don't think I would dare jump on a bike over there! lol We also found that they were expecting us and had painted dad's portrait ready for our arrival!
We arrived back on the Saturday morning, sleepy but glad of our experiences. In the evening we went to Jason's parents for a Halloween get together. I went as a witch and Jason as a Manga cartoon character. We are always looking for excuses to get dressed up...we are small kids inside still! We had a lot of fun which was the perfect end to a fabulous week of fun. What a blessing it was to have the clocks go back on the Saturday night to have an extra hours sleep....It was much needed!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

We're Back!!

Sorry for abandoning the blogging world for some time now. Life has a habit of suddenly taking control of every minute that is available until you have none spare, unless you put your foot down. The foot has firmly been put down and I'm back to blog!

Here in Kinouchiville, since we last graced the blog, we have been on some adventures!
We took our Summer Holiday up North in Northumbria/ North East and had some wonderful days out exploring. We had a trip to the Farne Islands (some little islands out to sea off the Northumbrian coast where thousands of birds congregate). Jason fulfilled one of his life long goals as we saw a few puffins flying around. They were much smaller than I expected to be
honest, but very cute. Apparently we were very lucky to see them as 90% of the puffins had flown away now for the year. The BEST thing about the boat trip though was being surrounded by hundreds of wild seals. Picture the scene....a chilly misty morning with nothing around you but the open sea...through the mist all you can see are these hundred of pairs of eyes watching you. It was hard to determine whether we were seal watching or they were people watching! It was amazing yet eerie! If you can handle being on a rocky boat (which I was very close to throwing up in!) then I would most definitely recommend a visit!

We also had a visit to Holy Island (Lindisfarne), which is one of my favourite places to visit on the North East Coast, Bamburgh and Sea Houses. Another place where I enlightened Jason to the beauty of the North East was High Force, which is England's highest waterfall. We thought it looked like coca cola coming down the gorge...although we decided not to see if it tasted like it...good decision I think!

We ventured to many other places whilst up North, and Jason came out of the two weeks educated about the North.

For my birthday we fulfilled a dream of mine and visited Mr.Darcy's house in Derbyshire. It was amazing weekend and to say we were lucky is an understatement. We ended up getting free entry into a big country fair at Chatsworth House (Mr.Darcy's pad) where the Red Arrows performed, army parachute regiment dropped in (literally), hot air balloons...all sorts!! Sorted!
We also visited the manor house where the recent film The Duchess was filmed (can't remember the house name now lol) with Keira Knightly. It was beautiful too! And the dresses worn by Keira Knightly were there on display.....soooooo purdy!!!!!

We went to our first prom in the park this year, where they have a live orchestra playing on the last night of the proms in a few parks across the country, and they connect live with the Albert Hall in the evening too. it was an amazing night and we have decided to make it an annual event :D John Barrowman was our special guest who performed some songs...I've got to say, I don't think I've giggled so much at a concert type event in all my life. He was outrageously camp and loving it in his glitzy suits and shaking his booty to the audience. Hilarious!

In the meantime, with Jason receiving a new calling as Elders Quorum President, I'm still on our ward YW Presidency and a busy work schedule since my promotion, life is busy!!!

So there we have whizzed through the past few months and missed plenty out but there's our summer covered in the blink of an eye...most importantly...we are back!!!