Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ramblings and rants on a cold January morning

I realize I haven't posted since Christmas Day...what can I say....laziness I guess..  And a case of writer's block.  I have lots to write about but the words aren't coming out.

Life has been fairly busy.  I had a wonderful few days at the end of December with my family in Lethbridge, Alberta  celebrating my cousin's 40th wedding anniversary.  From Calgary I flew to Lethbridge in a tiny in about twenty people max.   I was seated in the front row both ways with no window and I got to be in charge of opening the main door in the case of an emergency. (I made sure the person opposite knew the score as I'd be useless in an emergency.  I have no illusions on this.) This was the view from my seat...

I haven't been on such a small plane since I was a kid I don't think (and then it was a very small one as in the pilot, my dad and me...)...not even to go up north.  I am not afraid of flying in the slightest so it was rather fun although I did miss having a window. Also the vibration of the airplane was something else - luckily it was just take off and landing as my butt did not like that one little bit.

I now have a brand spanking new cousin who arrived two days after I got home..I will get to meet HER (yay, a girl) later this year hopefully when I do a road trip to Alberta.  I come from a very small family - in fact the last baby to be born in my family was the baby's mom 28 years ago!

Besides binge watching episodes of Luther on Netflix, watching all the James Bond films in order (I'm up to "The Spy Who Loved Me" in case anyone is interested), and a one week very hairy (in more ways than one) dog sitting gig I have been sitting with my nose in a book most of the time.  My social life has been rather dead lately which it tends to be in January. Ah well.

In other exciting news...and this is exciting...I had my DNA tested and...I am 22% Norwegian which means I am 22% Viking.    This is from my Scottish side that comes from the east coast of Scotland which was heavily invaded by Vikings.  I have always had a huge fascination for Vikings and as a child I wanted to be a Norwegian...I mean what kid wants to be a Norwegian of all things?

In less than nine weeks now  I leave on my next big adventure.  It just occurred to me "shit, I had better start losing weight".  9 weeks equals ten pounds right?  At least..... Every time I fly and make my usual trek to the bathroom and my hips hit the seats I pass I think "damn I should have lost weight".   It doesn't help that I received nearly my own weight in chocolate as Christmas gifts.  Best get on that then - like it's SO easy....

I've been starting to plan my adventure too of course....after six days at my favourite B and B in North London I will fly off to Slovenia for Easter weekend.  I will spend five nights in Ljubljana which looks to be such a beautiful city - I can't wait to explore it and also visit nearby Lake Bled.  Of course will be back in London for the half price Easter chocolate worries on that.  I do have my priorities!!!

Then in April I am off for ten days on the island of Malta - a place I have been wanting to visit for quite a while now.  Four nights on the nearby tiny island of Gozo then back to the mainland for the remaining six nights - booked through Airbnb of course.  These places are more like bed and breakfasts however...I am so looking forward to getting to know these two islands.  Malta has a rich history and many things to explore.

For May I have booked six nights in a bed and breakfast up in Sutherland, a county in the North East of Scotland which is where my great great grandfather came from.  (Vikings!) I haven't been there since 1994 so I am anxious to revisit.  I have NO family there that I am aware of as they immigrated to Canada during the Highland Clearances in the early 1800's.  However I felt such an affinity with the place and it is calling me "home". The rest of the time in the UK..who knows...lots of time in London of course as I never grow tired of that place and in fact love it more each time I visit it.

I am planning to walk more of the Thames Path....I left off at Hampton Court last May so I hope to make it to at least Windsor if not further.  The dilemma....  do I take my hiking boots?  They are bulky and I get tired of wearing them on every plane, trip and automobile to save space in my suitcase.  What to do...what to do.....Speaking of my suitcase I am planning on taking a smaller one this time...the same one I took for a month in Cambodia and Singapore three years ago. Not carry on but just a bit bigger; it is a duffel bag style which means you can cram lots in  I find as I get older I just don't want to haul and it is especially difficult with my arthritic knees.  I can't do the carry on thing; I just can't.  Please don't get me started on people who haul their crap into the overhead bin pushing my things to the back  and force me to climb up on the seat to retrieve my day pack and jacket.  (unless I look helpless enough or pissed off enough that someone gets it for me)

A new camera will be accompanying me on this adventure as well...a Nikon P530.  Due to the dire weather here (after all I don't want to break the poor thing before I click the shutter for the first time) I haven't been able to test it outside yet but I look forward to getting outside and playing with it very soon.   For the first time in nearly 40 years an SLR won't be my main travel camera.  I say main camera because any serious photographer has at least two (and they don't use a smart phone as their main camera but don't get me started on that) ...please don't ask me how many I have....but what the heck do you do with old non digital SLR's?  Of course it doesn't help that I am sentimentally attached to each and every's Mr. Nikon 1 - he went with me to Africa and oh here's Mr. Pentax Spotmatic...he accompanied me on my five week trip around Australia and the Orient (as it was called then) back in 1977.

Work will be taking more of my time in the next two months as I am putting in extra hours to cover someone who has been seconded elsewhere for a while.  Part of me is saying  "bummer, there goes my free time" but the greedy guts in me thinks "yay, more money for my travels"!!!  In eight and a half weeks I will be FREE as in retired. It's still hard to believe.  When I retired from the telephone company over thirteen years ago I knew I would work elsewhere as I was much too young to simply give up work.  I fell into my current job and it has evolved over the years.  I have been so lucky to have it and it's provided me with the financial resources to pay for all of my adventures since then. However it's time to move on...

There is lots to look forward to!   Stay tuned!!

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