Norfolk

Apr. 16th, 2016 04:13 pm
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Last week I went on a short walking holiday up to the Norfolk coast with my friend and fabulously talented animator/teacher/graphic novelist Sydney Padua, who had declared it a sketching holiday. I've been hearing from people for years that the Norfolk coast is a lovely place but had never managed to get there myself, so this was a good excuse to make the trip at last.

Sketches and photos together in the photo album below:


NORFOLK


As I say, the Norfolk coast had come highly recommended, but what people mentioned was the wide sweeping seascapes, the dramatic weather, the bird life, the light and air ... what they completely failed to mention, and what might have got me there a lot sooner, is that's where Britain is hiding all its seafood – omigosh, so much amazing seafood, so many tasty pink sea bugs; I got so full on that trip I hardly ate for days afterwards.
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One of the unexpected side-effects of moving to Europe is the opportunity to guest-teach at animation schools in interesting places. I've developed a cozy if slightly standoffish relationship with the lovely town of Viborg, but this past week I was welcomed to the Hochschule Luzern Design & Kunst (Lucerne College, art and design division). Most of the days I was there I was occupied with teaching and getting to know the students and staff, but I did manage to do a little bit of exploring, so for the first time in a long time, here is a photo album for you to peruse:



Luzern, Switzerland


I learned many interesting things on the trip, scratched together a meagre German vocabulary, just missed a very punctual train, bought a lot of cheese, was immersed briefly in an evocation of the Franco-Prussian war, hardly used any French at all (so much for my efforts), and was reacquainted with all the things altitude and low humidity do to my body. It feels like I've been gone about three weeks, and it's encouraged me to make other small educational trips, but for now it's good to be home. It's still a novelty to like the return as much as the trip itself, so to celebrate before it wears off I'm heading out for a REAL ENGLISH ALE – because one of the other things I learned is that I'm still not a fan of lager.
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I follow a fair number of Antarctic feeds on Twitter, so it shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did to find an explosion of penguins on Wednesday morning. Apparently it was Penguin Awareness Day. SPRI also tweeted that it was Museum Selfie Day, and invited those visiting to post a tagged picture of themselves doing so. Well, I had work to do, but I couldn't pass up the double encouragement, not when I have gone to such trouble to live walking distance from the Happiest Place on Earth ...

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It came as a bit of a surprise to me to realise I miss Dia de los Muertos – it certainly wasn't part of my upbringing and was only on the periphery of my life in LA, but the absence of it here in the UK just feels a little off.

Then I realised I never posted the photos I took at the Autry Museum's fiesta in 2010. If it's still on this year, and you're in LA, do go, it's excellent.



See the Album Here
Probably, I don't know how Google Plus's album options work; if you can't see it let me know.


... Well, I say there's no Dia de los Muertos in the UK; the funny thing is, Mexican restaurants have become very hip recently and it seems half of them are themed after this holiday, which is a bit weird to walk into in August. Oddly enough, Wahaca, a chain ostensibly named after Oaxaca, the province most famous for its Dia de los Muertos traditions, is not decorated so. Go figure!

Looking forward to seeing a ritual burning of a religiously-motivated terrorist in effigy, though. Ah, local flavour.
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There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It's like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction—every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it's really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.

– Sylvia Plath


As I recently visited Paris, I had the opportunity to test this in the interest of SCIENCE. While I had to compromise experimental integrity by watching from a side window rather than a caboose, as the train didn't have a caboose, preliminary results indicate that watching Paris recede from a high-speed train is nowhere near as devastating as watching friends fall in love.

On the other hand, I got some good photos while I was there!

Bienvenue à Paris )

My first visit to London was about the same length of time as this one to Paris, and I hardly count it as a visit now I've got to know the city better, because what can you see of London in two and a half days, especially when one of them is spent entirely within the British Museum? But I felt like I got a lot more out of this trip, in large part because I was visiting an artist who'd lived there for a while and so had the sort of perspective on the city that resonated with mine.

It was unrelentingly beautiful, and unrelentingly Paris, and that I definitely appreciated, but there was something about it that seemed wanting, somehow. It's entirely possible it's just a permutation of my inherent suspicion of beauty as artifice, something ground into me as a goose amongst swans in high school – being immersed in such perfection made me feel a bit of a troll. It's also possible that a lifetime's exposure to British history, literature, and culture makes London's charms easier to unlock and more thick on the ground, and Paris has just as much to offer those who come prepared. But for me, myself, I couldn't help feeling there was something hollow about it, in the same undefinable way as San Francisco – gorgeous, and intellectual, but ... superficial somehow. It made me wonder about the sort of people who fall in love with Paris. Is it just the beauty? There is an awful lot of that to go around, and to Americans especially it's like living in the ideal which some American cities tried for a while to emulate – I got a lot of 'Oh, so this is what they were trying to go for,' walking around. But in the end, while I enjoyed it a lot, I was so happy to get back to London, where the eccentric Victorian façdes and ugly 60s buildings jostle together and make room for people who don't fit the plan. I hadn't realised how affectionate I'd grown towards the muddy mean proletarian Thames, but it's a working river and not Disneyland green, and when I saw it again I wanted to pat it fondly.

So maybe the reason my heart didn't break while watching Paris diminish from the retreating train was because I was heading back to the one I loved, flawed and ugly and falling apart but whose character and soul shone through. There's a comfort for all us trolls.

Epilogue )
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Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I visited some friends in Wales who had been kind enough to invite me. It was the wettest and chilliest weekend of the summer, and I was overcome by a stealth cold in the time it took the train to go from Cardiff to Swansea, but the holiday glows so brightly I hardly remember any of that.



Come with me, to Deepest Darkest Pembrokeshire / Yn dod gyda mi i dyfnaf Sir Benfro tywyllaf ... )

THINGS I LEARNED IN WALES / PETHAU FF DDYSGWYD YNG NGHYMRU

1. Ginger-lemon-honey tea is probably magic
2. Beets grow poorly in acidic soil
3. Bluestones are aptly named
4. Spring honey is definitely magic
5. Ash wood will burn very shortly after being cut down
6. Cwm Gwaum
7. If you want to bust a cold, go on a rigorous walk in fresh sea air with good friends who also happen to be amazing cooks
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Wa-hey internet, it's time for more photos!

Whilst an unemployed bum, I figured it was best to make the most of my lack of contribution to society, and so took to the rural byways of England with another no-good layabout who happened to be a friend of mine. And though those feet in ancient time walked not on England's mountain green, had there been a reasonable travel package from Jerusalem at the time, they might have enjoyed a ramble in this green and pleasant land.


First up was a leisurely stroll over the South Downs from Lewes to Brighton, Inclusive )

Next was a trip through Wind in the Willows country, with a brief side trip to Sleepy Hollow.


Ignore the digger.

Henley-on-Thames to Hambleden circular )

Next time: anturiaethau yng nghymru! (... which the internet assures me is 'adventures in Wales', in Welsh. Welsh-speakers, please feel free to point and laugh.)
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I spent a couple weeks pinging about the Home Counties before settling into London ...

Photos! )
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My final destination was London, but when looking up YVR-LHR flights I found there was one that connected through Reykjavik.

REYKJAVIK. How could I not? I mean, Reykjavik. Iceland is one of those places that, even though I know they are real, I can't believe are really real. The one time I saw it from a plane crossing the North Atlantic was a thrill, so putting my feet on actual Iceland? Yes!



All the Other Pictures )
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What did I tell you about being gorgeous, BC ...?



Wow have I ever got a lot of photos to post. Grab a snack and dive in, now my last Island picture has been posted we're going on a tour of the G.V.R.D.!

This Post is Not Brought To You by Tourism BC, but You Would be Forgiven for Thinking Otherwise )


Last direct contact with Turtle Island for a while, because ... ADVENTURE!

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We're having adventures, here, people, no time to slow down.

Miracle Beach, Funny Birds, and a Burger )

Victoria

Jun. 14th, 2014 04:30 pm
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Victoria ...

Victoria ...

VICTORIAAAAAA.

I didn't have much time to make the most of the city because I was spending most of it with this guy:


But if it weren't for him I may not have stopped there at all, so that's fair. I did do a little wandering, and took some photos to prove it.

VICTORIA. )
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And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer, the patient is no longer here.
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals, and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left the station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
And on the deck of the drumming liner
Watching the furrow that widens behind you
You shall not think 'the past is finished'
Or 'the future is before us'.

– T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages III




As of last Saturday, I am unemployed and homeless.

What a great excuse for an Adventure! (and more photos!) )
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I've been listening to Blackadder Goes Forth at work. At one point I looked over and saw this:
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Shortly after I got back from Thanksgiving, work went whhhOOOMP and covered me completely, so there have been far fewer adventures in December. Nevertheless ...

ADVENTURES IN DECEMBER
Or, Adcembers

Fog-Free Flying - Art with a Message - Heil Holidays with Dr Pinch - Stereotypical NorCal Coast - Workaday Sunset )
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I promised to post about my adventures now I've rejoined the land of the living, but for most of November and December I was too busy either having adventures or working (mostly working, to be honest) to sort, choose, upload, and post my photos. Here in this tiny gap of slightly freer time, I'm trying to catch up, so:

ADVENTURES IN NOVEMBER
Or, Novemberventures

San Francisco - Elliot, Cat in the City - Half Moon Bay - Gingko Resplendent - Frozen/Not Frozen - West & More West - Mystery Paintings )
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Read more... )
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Let the adventures commence!


Things are alive and people are appreciating them! The air is clean, the people soft-spoken, the crows smart, and the sushi amazing.

Pherry Photos )
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Did someone around here mention baby hummingbirds?



Not quite so baby anymore ...

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