My long London walk

I have just had an amazing couple of days in London. Got back home on Saturday night and felt like my feet might actually drop off. I thought that when I plotted my route on the map that it may have stretched to 25 miles, okay perhaps a little optimistic, but it really did feel like the marathon walk.

London is just the perfect city for discovering something new, something amazing… Around every corner there are things to see. I can honestly say that my trek through London helped me rediscover the brilliant Buckingham Palace, secrets of Soho and the towering heights of the Shard.

I must head back down to London soon.screenshot-2017-01-30-17-57-53

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The doors of Brick Lane: London

I enjoyed a weekend in London recently and decided to take a trip to Brick Lane in East London. I’d seen a television programme that week that was all about the history of the East End. I wanted to see it for myself – so went along to explore.

There was street art everywhere I looked. I went snap-happy with my camera and loved every moment. Here are some of the amazing doors I found!

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How do you measure up?

Discovered in Antwerp in Belgium.

I was just minding my own business and taking a little visit to the toilet when I walked in and saw this.

Okay – it made me laugh – out loud. It was quite tricky to concentrate while standing there.

Which one to stand at?

January: Drama. Blues. Booze.

I thought it would be a good idea to summarise my months throughout 2012. It is set to be a cracker of a year (a great year, to all my non-English readers, or should I say readers from outside of northern England).

January started most dramatically. Bas, my husband-to-be (I love saying that), and I travelled back to The Netherlands after enjoying Christmas in the UK. The drive from England to the Channel Tunnel was horrendous. When I say horrendous I mean utterly vile. Scary. At-my-wits-end-scary. I thought my life would end at some point on that journey. The rain was torrential and never-ending. Once through the Channel Tunnel (and after a welcome 30-minute break on the train), we continued our hell-raising journey into France where the bloody rain continued. How could so much water fall from the sky? Belgium proved to be no better – The rain poured from the sky and our car barely managed to stay on the road. Driving through a swimming pool is never recommended and as the car shook, swerved and vibrated its way along, the thought went through my head on more than one occasion that skis may have been a better option than wheels. I lived to tell the tale though, so all’s well that ends well.

It was so much worse than this...

January also brings with it the worst time of year, the post-Christmas-blues. Apartments and houses look so bland and bare without the joyful Christmas decorations. Is it just me, or am I the only one who never ceases to be shocked at how bare a home can look without the decorations hanging? It never seems that bare in November…

I was back at work, greeted by a class full of happy little three-year olds all eager to see their friends again – and their teacher, of course. One little boy saw me on the first morning back and said my name with such enthusiasm. It was as though he’d not seen me for months, years – or as though he thought he may never have seen me again…. Bless.

In order to brighten the mood, we had friends over for a games evening. I love games. Bas does not. Therefore, we played games. And Bas loved them. I won’t hear a word against them. That is the basis of our relationship. I am right. 🙂 We played some great games – word games where one team had to name 10 things related to a category. The highlight of the night being when my team was asked to name 10 deserts… We looked puzzled and skipped the category. I don’t know deserts other than Gobi, Sahara… I’m struggling. We asked to hear the answers – clearly out of interest. Answer #1: Pavlova. I have to hold my hand up and admit that after a few glasses of wine I sat and pondered where this Pavlova desert may be. Possible Eastern Europe…? The penny did not take long to drop. DESSERTS! My wonderful other-half avoided reading the next answer – trifle. We would have been laughing into the early hours. I love games.

A fab game. You must play it.

Throughout the rest of January, we visited family in The Netherlands, caught up with friends, helped our wonderful friend-and-bride-to-be choose her wedding dress. Yay! We had a decorator in to plaster the kitchen (our kitchen shall be finished this year – finally); we watched Carnage and The Iron Lady (Streep must win Best Actress at the Oscars) at the cinema; and we had meals out. Good fun all round.

Oh, but then there was the party Sunday. The Sunday we shall not forget. It started with a neighbourhood borrel (drinks and nibbles) at the pub along the street from our apartment. All our Dutch neighbours were there – although we didn’t recognise a soul. Normally I know one or two – but the absence of everyone from our actual street made the stress-levels rise. I was using all my Dutch skills. Speak Dutch and survive. I survived – almost. We were labelled on entry with a post-it note from the very official looking ‘organiser’, power-dressed in red. After spelling my name repeatedly (in Dutch), I changed from Jamey to Jami to Jame where I finally gave in. I’d be Jame for the evening – for the quiet life. Jamie isn’t difficult to spell. What panicked me next was seeing the organisers hand out coloured flower stickers. There was a game to be played. Panic stations. I know, I know – I like games. But not in Dutch and not when I know that my Dutch partner is clearly not going to be in my team. We ended up separated. I must not panic. I must keep calm. Drink. Hours later, and after meeting some lovely neighbours we made our way, on bikes, to another party. You can see where this is going. We drank. We chatted. We drank and had a fantastic evening – until home time. That was when the wall of reality hit. Cycling home was an experience. 🙂

Oh – and January officially became my busiest month for hits on WordPress. Thanks guys!

What a month. January – you have been memorable.

Bring it on February!

Jumping off a mountain. Simples.

What better way to remember a birthday than by jumping off a mountain. That was how I celebrated my 32nd birthday.

It could have been my last.

I said that to the guy…

…He laughed.

I survived – clearly.

Paragliding is a must. I am now converted the wonders of the jump.

I’ve just got back from a two-week camping holiday in France. It was amazing. Lac d’Annecy is a stunning location for a holiday for all tastes. Relaxing if you like. Sporty if you want. Adventurous if you dare.

We dared.

Our paragliding experience was well organised. A team of instructors picked us up (me, Bas and A.N.Other). We headed up a windy and very steep death trap mountain road. The madman driver clearly hadn’t taken his tablets knew the route and we whizzed around bends on two wheels. Oh the joy. We reached the summit and grabbed the gear from the back of the minibus.

What was the gear being strapped to my back. I asked no questions.

I didn’t really want to know.

We walked a couple of metres up a pathway and then on to a steep slope of astro-turf (fake grass) which led over the edge to nothingness….. Long grass could be seen poking up, but beyond that…nothing. The lake, hundreds of metres below, was shimmering in the mid-day sun. Stunning. Terrifying, but stunning.

My instructor lay the wing (or canopy) out across the grass, while I looked at at the view and contemplated the drop.

Gulp.

There were loads of ropes called lines (yes, I’ve read up on it now that I’ve done it and survived). He untangled the whole lot and prepared it, then attached his harness to mine. Once secured he said “Right, now we just run”.

What!!??

That’s the extend of my pre-flight briefing?….”Now we just run!????” (I thought this part – I didn’t want to sound panicky).

We ran…Off the edge of the mountain.

I was expecting a sudden drop. It never came. Unbelievably, we glided off the mountain and into the air. It was the most gentle take-off I’ve ever experienced. The view was amazing! I was silent. In total awe of the view. The lake below looked incredible.

The instructor was busy controlling the wing (fiddling with the lines). I just grinned and enjoyed the view. I looked across and watched Bas and his instructor floating ahead of us. I didn’t hear any screams. All was good. For thirty minutes we floated down above the lake, the trees and roads below.

Sheer bliss.

There had been no wind at the top of the mountain. It was eerily still. Once we were a few hundred metres from landing we hit a rush of wind. With a jolt we were carried higher and higher. It made landing quite a challenge. Our landing field was too far to reach and the wind was too strong. Plan B – land closer. We ended up in a field nearby.

The landing was smoothe. Until a gust of wind caught the wing and whipped us backwards across the field. What a sight. The instructor was laying on his back trying to regain control and there was me, on top of him, wondering when we’d stop. I couldn’t help but giggle some more.

I survived. I loved it!

Enjoy my slideshow…

 

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Want to read more? Some links you may enjoy.

Happy Camping

Camping is great! Fresh air, back to nature, living life freely… What more could you ask for? (Okay, so some of you probably said ‘a hotel’……. I agree that hotels and cozy holidays are nice some of the time, but camping is fab – especially when you find the right spot.

I’m hoping that our camping trip to France this summer goes without any problems. I want a chilled time. Total relaxation and time to complete many of the things on My List for 2011. Reading the Harry Potter series in on my list as well as dancing in the rain and writing a poem. I’ll have time to tick off those things…. Wish me luck.

If you’ve ever been camping then I am sure you can relate to the next bit.

Here are some great camping one-liners:

“I thought you packed the toilet paper”.

“Shhhhhh….. Did you hear that noise?”

“Just one more hill to climb, it’s all flat from here”.

Of course I packed the tent poles”.

 “I love camping. You haven’t lived until you’ve cut your way out of a sleeping bag with a Swiss army knife”.

Searching the internet for things about camping has been fun. Here are some good blogs about camping:

Love in a Tent

Kyla40’s Travel Blog

I have the answer to everything. Well, sort of…

I’m so glad that I asked for some questions on my blog last week. I’ve had some great responses. I widened my question-search a little wider with the use of Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all those who helped. Your questions and responses are below. Don’t expect anything profound. It’s light hearted reading. Here goes…

This was me. Deep in thought. 🙂

Kiwidutch was first to respond with the ice-breaker question:

If you had total freedom of opportunity to really follow one of your passions and leave a lasting legacy behind you that benefited the city/country/world, what would you do and what would your legacy be?

Okay – I need to draw a deep breath before answering this one. Talk about starting with a toughie! If I had total freedom of opportunity to follow a passion it would involve children. I’ve always wanted to work with children, so that part is already coming true. I’d like to be involved in developing schools (I used to think that I could only do this in the UK, but since working overseas I realise it can be done anywhere). With enough money and support I’d like to develop education and opportunities for children all over the world. The Jamie Foundation: providing hope for the future….. I’d hope that the children would be the lasting legacy.

Image from Wikipedia

Ashley with her cheeky 2-in-1 questions:

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? Why? Oops…… Looks like there’s 2 questions here. Don’t mind the why then. It could be anything, of yourself or the world history.

Cheeky Ashley indeed sneaking in two questions. Time travel: A dangerous tool to have, but one I would love. On a personal level it’s tricky to choose. All the things that have happened in my life, both positive and negative have helped to make me the person I am today. I would possibly choose that my grandparents had not died when I was a baby. I never knew them and I would have loved to know them.  In world history: I would choose that Adolf Hitler had never been born.

Picture from Google.

Terri (pushing it with three questions, but because it’s Terri I’ll allow it….)

My questions for you:
1. When are you coming to Vegas? Would love to meet you!
2. Do you have any pets?
3. If you have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?

Ah Terri, three questions (naughty).  So, Q1 includes an invite to Las Vegas? Wow, you never asked me….. Haha. I would love to come over to USA and see more of the sights. Would love to meet my first blog friend too.
Q2 Pets: I do indeed. I, well I should say we….have two cats. Fudge and Cooper. They are adorable. I miss Eddie terribly, he was Fudge’s brother but was knocked down by a car outside our house when he was 18 months old.
Q3 Dinner: I would throw all sensible invites out of the window and invite……Alex Pettyfer. Of course it would be for the high-brow conversation…..

"Hello Mister Dinner Date!"

Sarsm (my happy WordPress friend):

My question is: If you could visit 5 countries in the remainder of your lifetime – which countries would you choose and why? (can be somewhere you’ve been or somewhere new)

The travel question (yay!).I’ll choose 5 countries that I have never visited.
Japan: I have always wanted to go there. I’d love to discover more about the country as I really don’t know that much about it. I had friends who lived there, but never managed to go.
China: The future super power of the world. China has so many wonderful things to see. How could it not be on my list?
Brazil: I want to visit Rio de Janeiro. Oh to stand at the foot of the Jesus Christ statue and look out at the coastline. Immense!
South Africa: I’d choose any African country to visit (having not been there). I want to travel through Africa by train, do the safari and experience something entirely new.
…..and the last one……. This isn’t easy…..
Australia: I want to see the Great Barrier Reef. That means diving, which I’ve also never done. But I would find it so exciting and invigorating.

Who doesn't want to go here?

Helen C (Work colleague and Twitter friend).

If you were to make your favourite three course meal, what would the courses be?

Food question – Yum!
Starter: An set of amuses to begin with. 3 shot size glasses each with different tiny soups. I always love that for starters.
Main Course: Duck. It’s my favourite meal. Not the crispy duck, although I adore that. It would be roast duck with a fruit sauce. Carrots (mashed with orange and brown sugar) and potato gratin.
Dessert: Warm chocolate and fudge cake, drizzled with extra hot chocolate sauce.

Okay, now my mouth is watering.

Lekker!

Chris S (Fellow Actor, world traveller and blogger).

How do I make my blog as good as yours?

8 months of practise and watching ‘what’ people are reading. The blog I set out to create has continued to evolve since Day 1. People don’t always read the blog posts that have taken the most time and effort. It’s all about keeping with the readers I suppose. ‘Know your audience’.

WordPress - the place to be.

Liz J(Work colleague, friend and IT whizz).

How do you see the handheld device in five years?

Seamless technology that has replaced PCs, mobiles and other technology. Used in schools, homes and in the wider community. Will it work by finger? Will the mind be controlling it by then? Will they indeed be ‘handheld’ at all?

Using handheld devices.

Louise G: (Work friend and glamous puss).

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? X

Living: see above answer. Dead: Diana (just because).

Diana, Princess of Wales.

Liz J: Back for more…..

If you could invent something really handy what would it be for?

I would invent a fool-proof system for ensuring the fairest possible outcome in the Eurovision Song Contest.  That would be really handy eh?

Ah, yes ESC. Who could forget it?

I hope you enjoyed reading the questions. Did I get all the answers you wanted? Feel free to share or to ask me more questions in the comments section below.