31 March 2010


Ooh, what an ominous title! We're getting over jetlag at the moment - yesterday was very hard! We both had naps during the day, but didn't let ourselves sleep for longer than an hour-ish, wanting to spend as much of the night as possible in bed. We went to bed at the nearly respectable time of 8:30-9pm and I got up at 3:30 while D slept until just after 7. So, we're doing OK. We're watching a lot of Poirot to keep us awake and because it is about as complex as we are able to cope with. It is lovely to hear the kookaburras outside, and the magpies warbling as we walked through Brunswick today. I always forget how much I miss Australian birdsong when we're away.

Anyway, thanks again to D for writing this up!

24th March, Wednesday.

Breakfast of champions this morning - |eft over curry. My nephews Y & T came over, and as neither of us have much in the way of energy for children (they are so tiring!), we decided to walk over to M's place, who was making us lunch. However, J's foot was playing up, so we ended up driving. Lunch was pleasant, and was followed by laid back chilling on M's couch.

After lunch, we drove home, bussed to Golders, tubed to Hampstead and had a peek in the local op shop, before taking a seat in the King William IV pub - London's oldest gay pub, apparently. J ordered a Swedish elderberry and lime cider, which was intensely sweet, while we waited for M to meet us. When she arrived, we did the compulsory crepes - however, we deviated from the norm by trying out their sweet crepes. They were incredibly messy, and we would have had pictures of us (especially D) with hilariously chocolate-coverd faces, but J realised that the camera had disappeared! OH NO! We retraced our steps back to the pub, and heaved a sigh of relief when they handed it over. To counterbalance the uber sweetness of cider and crepes, we popped into the Hampstead landmark The Coffee Cup for tea. We were all pretty exhausted and enjoyed sitting down, and headed home satisfied with another day of friends and food.

We also finally managed to catch a glimpse of the never-finished North End Road tube station from the train, after weeks of trying!

25th March, Thursday

LAZY DAY! Hooray! We did very little during the day, and loved it! We have been so busy on this holiday, that we haven't had any time to relax, so a bit of time off was nice.

We drove to A and L for dinner, out in the country, taking a very circuitous route - via Watling Road (an old Roman road), and through St Albans, out to their little village on the outskirts of the outskirts of Milton Keynes. It was so dark when we arrived, and the street lighting non-existent, and the house numbers so impossible to see from the road, that we totally missed their plae, and had to call to get A to come out a meet us on the road. We met their very smily baby R, who had just celebrated her 1st birthday! Dinner was delicious, the conversation was excellently random and inappropriate, and the drive home was slow - partly because the entrance to the motorway was hidden behind a load of road works, so we missed it and had to drive along dark country roads to the next junction, and partly because when we finally got onto the motorway, there was hideous traffic. At 11.45 on a Thursday night. WTF, M1???!!!

26th March, Friday

We spent an hour or so in the V&A today, just because we could. We were going to stop off in the glorious tea rooms for a cuppa, but they were hideously packed. Instead, we checked out the museum's new acquisitions, walked past lots of sculptures of muscled naked men wrestling or standing between each other's legs, and enjoyed the Britain 1500-1760 section - especially the Great Bed of Ware (covered in centuries worth of graffiti!), the recreation of a 14th Century oak-panelled hall, and the hand-illustrated anatomy book from around 1550.

the great bed of ware

tapestry depicting the story of queen esther

one of four kings

Heading over to the other side of the city, we navigated the labyrinthine Bank Station, walked up Poultry and Cheapside (yes, these are the names of the roads), and met R, down from Manchester for the weekend, at Mary-le-Bow church - home not only to the famous Bow Bells (heart of Cockney London), but also to the rather nice little (and aptly named) Cafe Below, housed in its crypt.

cafe below, london

Next it was time for a visit to our other London art regular, the Tate Modern. The three of us explored for a couple of hours, enjoying the landscape art (Richard Long! Hamish Fulton!) and talking critical drivel loudly behind the people filming some kind of tate documentary.


r and the giant dinner table

before heading for a coffee near St Paul's Cathedral (J surprisingly declared it to be the best coffee he'd had in the UK - a flat white from Costa Coffee!). J and D then headed over to Bank station, braving the insane rush hour crush - there was a queue for the queue to get onto the platform!


rush hour @ bank station

We made it home in one piece, had dinner with the folks, then all settled down to watch A Serious Man. Then retired for A Serious Sleep.

27th March, Saturday

We decided to walk over to Muswell Hill, following the Capital Ring trail, and also discovering a new path for us to explore more fully next time: the Parkland Walk - London's longest Local Nature Reserve. Spring was definitely in full spring - we noticed a few trees covered in a light smattering of new leaves during our last week in London.

spring willow, hampstead garden suburb


not a violet

We had a thoroughly pleasant brunch with D and G at one of our favourite London eateries - Sable D'Or. The two of us walked on through Ally Pally and checked out the foyer of the Model Railway exhibition (J quickly became a Model Rail Enthusiast enthusiast!), then went back up to Muswell Hill through the rain, and home on the bus.


d & d 2

daffodils in the rain

In the afternoon, we headed over to D's grandparent's place for L's 88th birthday afternoon tea. Sandwiches, cakes, tarts and tea = good times. Check out the colour of the sky when we got back!

pink clouds over london

purple clouds over london

Back home for an evening of final farewells, joined by E & L, M, L, M and J & S (these initials are getting confusing!) M gave us all a treat by previewing his costume for the fancy dress party he was heading off to afterwards - he made a glorious Austin Powers!

m as austin powers

28th March, Sunday

[NB: I will upload the rest of the photos soon! - J]

One final return visit to Hampstead in the morning, meeting up with R again with the plan of eating crepes for breakfast. Unfortunately, the Hampstead Creperie was closed, so we settled for an average breakfast at The Coffee Cup. While walking down to the Heath, R threw out all his socialist principles and decided that he wants to live in Hampstead (he was relieved when I told him that he didn't have to abandon all his principles, as Hampstead is actually the heart of Champagne Socialism. We paid a brief visit to Kenwood for more tea, before taking a stroll down The Bishops Avenue, ogling mansions, deciding which ones we'd live in, and whether or not they came with helipads (and if not, why not!). We said our good byes on the bus, then returned home for some frantic last minute packing, with family popping in and out around us to say good bye.

The next few days are a bit of a blur - we drove to the airport, checked in, bought and sent postcards, got on the plane. For a few glorious moments, we thought we'd have an empty seat next to us, but literally the last person on the plane came and sat next to us. Bah.

29th March, Monday.

On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. Off a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane.

We spent our 4 hours at Incheon airport refreshing our selves as best we could, and napping as best we could, and spent as much of the final leg of our journey asleep as we could manage (which wasn't all that much, unfortunately).

30th March, Tuesday.

On a plane. On a plane. Home sweet home. Had a number of naps. The only thing we could cope with doing was watching old episodes of Poirot, and eating pizza. So that's what we did. So there.

30 March 2010


After those weird flights during which time seemed to move at a difference rate to usual, we were greeted by a glorious sunrise, the moon low over the plane wing, and then gold-lined clouds in the east and billowing pink and purple clouds in the west as we drove down the freeway. Big skies and space, the familiar shapes of eucalyptus trees and verandahs. A hot shower and our own bed . . . but only for a little nap! We're trying to get back into Melbourne time ASAP!

Next, tea!

28 March 2010


HULLO! We are packing up and getting ready to hop on the plane this evening! So this will be our last blog post until we return (only a week behind)! Thanks again to D for writing this up.

22nd March 2010, a Monday, as luck would have it.

Today was a driving day. Packed and loaded, we set off around 10 in the a.m., and headed off to our first stop of the day – the rather well-to-do town of Ilkley, near Leeds. We stopped in on the lovely (and swanky) Bettys Tea Rooms, a famous Yorkshire establishment. The loose leaf tea was delicious, the food was good (J was the only one of us who was disappointed with our order – his hot buttered pikelets were not particularly hot, and more like flat round crumpets than mini-pancakes - CLEARLY SOME KIND OF ENGLISH DEVILRY), and the selection of cakes was too good to pass up.

Bettys Breakfast Tea Bettys, Ilkley
Flowers, Bettys

Back into the car, and after a bit of driving around to see if we could spot D’s uncle’s old home (we could), we drove off to our second destination of the day – Salts Mills, in Shipley, Bradford. The building has been converted into a gallery space, and hosts a permanent exhibition of the works of David Hockney (‘a local artist’, as one of his pictures proclaimed), as well as a large book shop, restaurant, a history of the mills exhibition, and several other shops and services. We had lunch in the restaurant (menu designed by Hockney, of course), and then headed down to give closer inspection to a very interesting little shop we had passed on our way in – The Early Music Shop, “the world's largest source of early and historical musical instruments” – with a special emphasis on recorders - they had a whole wall covered in recorders of various shapes, sizes, colours, keys, styles… J felt, as a recorder player (recorderist?), thoroughly vindicated! It was an awesome shop.

D at Salts Mill

Salts Diner

Recorders at the early music shop

After this, there is not a huge amount to tell. M took over the driving from D, and we headed onto the motorway, and arrived home around 6:45. After a delicious but simple soup for dinner, we spent the evening catching up on e-mails and other internety type things. It was, all in all, a grand weekend, by gum!


I'll start this with a quick apology - these entries were a bit rushed, in order to get them done before the holiday is over!

23rd March, a Tuesday

Another day, another blog about walking and food! Now with bonus added friends!

We had a bit of a lazy morning, before heading off to Paddington to meet our friends I and J, who were over from Bristol for a gig. We met for Yum Cha at Pearl Liang, and managed to get there before the lunch-time rush. Despite the deliciousness of the food, our experience was somewhat marred by the fact that of the 3 apparently 'vegetarian' dishes that J ordered, 1 contained pork, and the other was made in chicken stock. Also, when the staff cleaned our table, they also managed to clean away my London A-Z, which I only noticed as we were getting ready to leave. I eventually got it back.

chrysanthemum custard bun, pearl liang

'family': sculpture at sheldon square

four go on the tube

We crossed London to visit Abney Park cemetery - recommended as one of Britain's 500 best wild places! We walked through rain along a canal, until a detour due to construction work took us in a big circle back to Manor House tube - where we had started!


D: 10m

Low Profile House

Passing a large castle containing an indoor wall climbing centre, we crossed Clissold Park, past the deer enclosure, and sat for a cup of tea/hot chocolate as the rain lightened, and eventually stopped. It was here that J overheard a discussion of childbirth alikening it to "doing a 6lb poo". It was enlightening.

j and the giant icecream

winter trees, clissold park

Turning into Stoke Newington Church Street - the swank end of Stoke Newington, obviously, we found the cemetery, and lo, it was awesome. I don't have time to write about it now, so here, have a bunch of photos.


rush hour gravestones

abney park cemetery chapel

abney park cemetery


!!!  THUMBS UP !!!

We PTed home, and ended the day with a delicious curry, ordered online! Its the future!

j on the bus 2


Speak to you when we're back in Australia!

26 March 2010


Sunday 21st March

We awoke to a clear, frosty morning, but unfortunately the clarity it didn’t last. The mist crept down the mountains and into the dales, and by the time we left, visibility was severely restricted.

frost on the grass, hawkswick


It leant a mysterious air to the countryside as we drove through ever-worsening visibility. We had intended to walk up Pen-y-Ghent – the highest peak in the Dales, but as we drove the road past the mountain we couldn’t even see it. Here's a photo of it.

view of pen-y-ghent from the road to stainforth

We decided to check out the Ribbleshead Viaduct instead. We parked the car and set off – it wasn’t a long walk, but because of the mist, we could see no sign of it. We started to be able to make out the vague shape of it, like a ghostly apparition looming out of the grey nothingness. The closer we got, the more the viaduct revealed itself – not only because we were closer, but also because the mist was beginning to lift.

ribblehead viaduct: first glimpse

ribblehead viaduct: appearing act

d and the viaduct

As we stood under the bridge, we caught sight of the nearby fell in the background, with blue sky above it! But even as we looked, the mist came rolling back over us, and our visibility petered away once more.

whernside from the viaduct

i ship it

drain ice

ribblehead viaduct: disappearing act

bright fog and ribblehead viaduct

We walked back to the car in the cold fog, observing the ice sheets on the top of all the puddles in the pot holes.

d in the puddle

potholes and people

Since writing off Pen-y-Ghent, we had no solid plans for the day, so we looked a the map and picked out a likely looking spot to do a bit of walking. We drove over to the little village of Selside and set off through several fields and past many, many sheep.

j & d, cold and sunny!

i don't know if i've ever noticed a signpost marking eighths of miles before

now is not the time to talk about the film "black sheep"

noses to the wind*

d in the dales

As we walked, the sky cleared, and Pen-Y-Ghent came out of hiding, mocking our failure to climb it.

pen-y-ghent, late morning

But the sun was shining, and we were enjoying our much less densely populated stroll – we only passed one other pair of walkers, not counting a farmer and a couple of horse riders (the trouble with ‘proper’, defined and well known walks is that they get incredibly crowded, even on a cold and misty spring morning out of tourist season).

curves: stone wall and farm track

three hills, yorkshire dales

straight lane, yorkshire

three winter trees

cattle grid and ancient land

We bought some Kendal Mint Cake on the way back after having a cup of tea out of the boot of the car. FUN!

the tea at the end of the walk

everyone feels a bit sick after their first time

Heading back to the cottage to meet up with M & A for lunch (they had stayed and done a local walk while we were out gallivanting), we drove back along the same road by which we had come, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking. It was a totally different drive. On the way out, we had driven under the mist, through the mist and over the mist – several times we had been convinced that we were about to drive over the edge of the world. But now! We could see for miles, the sun was shining – it was a whole new world!

pen-y-ghent, completely clear

horse drawn animals?

j cooking pasta

After lunch, while M & A had themselves a little afternoon snooze, we set off on another walk, up across Hawkswick Moor – right on our doorstep! The first 10 minutes or so was quite hard going – a steep climb which had us panting and sweating despite the chilly winds.

j & d on the climb up

j clutching the laminated os map

After that, though, it was fairly easy walking, and included several stop offs to admire the snow at the bottom of the dips in the ground.

shake holes with snow

it's all sweet and innocent, i swear... GONNA GETCHA!

The moor seemed to be strewn with rabbit corpses, and we amused ourselves by making increasingly poor moor-based puns about how they had died (‘They were moor-tified’ and ‘They were tasty moor-sels for the birds’ and ‘They’re not im-moor-tal’ . . . and then D said he was rabbitly running out of moor puns, so we stopped).

rabbit skull

We followed stone walls and quad-bike tyre tracks (it was open access land – we cold go where we pleased!) and found plenty more little pockets of snow to stomp on!

looking back up to old cote moor

looking down the ridge between wharfedale and littondale

this one's for dad

We also saw lots and lots of bell holes. Or were they shake holes? Or both? (Answer: both! Shake holes are the larger depressions caused by collapses of underground caverns, etc. Bell pits are the residue of old-old-old lead mines in the Dales) Anyway, there were lots of holes in the ground, and many of them were in straight lines. A strange sight indeed.

line of bell pits

We wandered over to the triangulation point, and took in the views of the surrounding moors, the sun straining through the clouds – we were even treated to a rainbow! How perfect is that?! Amazing!

trig point: OSBM S5295

thumbs up: J with OSBM S5295

thumbs up: D with OSBM S5295

dappled light

conistone moor (?)

We sat for a bit on the hillside, and despite the wind and cold and drizzle, it was exceptionally pleasant – the sun’s crepuscular rays escaping spectacularly above the clouds over us. Then down, down, down we went, back to the cottage, for a lazy evening of bathing, eating, drinking, talking, reading and relaxing. Nice.

blast of light

hello again

d & j in the dales

We fell a bit in love with Yorkshire.