Kefalonia sunset

Today is my blog’s 3rd birthday! And even though I’ve been neglecting it a bit recently, I felt it was only right to mark the occasion. So – not that I want to be predictable or anything – here are some photos of a sunset.

A Kefalonian sunset, to be precise, because I just got back from a week there to celebrate my friend’s lovely wedding. (I know, I know, the things I do for my friends…) I took many photos during the week, because it’s a ridiculously beautiful place, and there will be more posts on the way, so brace yourselves.

But here for now are a few of my favourite shots, taken on an evening stroll along the beach next to my hotel. I was the only person there, so I could have fun pretending to be a real photographer and taking loads of photos, each of them very slightly different as the sun crept closer to the horizon.

Happy Monday 🙂

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In search of bluebells

In a week that had snow, rain, sleet and thunder, it was a bit of a surprise to wake up yesterday to blue skies and sunshine (on a Bank Holiday weekend – what?!). And just as well, because my friends and I had planned to head out for a walk and find some bluebells, after an aborted attempt a few weeks ago when we were still in the depths of winter.

We started in Chilham, a village between Ashford and Canterbury, with a pub lunch in the sun at the Woolpack Inn (no, not that Woolpack). Then we headed off on a six-mile walk inspired by Jane Austen, who apparently used to visit the neighbouring village of Godmersham and dined regularly at Chilham Castle. In fact I think the route was even called Mr Darcy’s Chilham Walk, although unfortunately we didn’t run into him.

It all started well; we set out from Chilham Castle, admiring the beautiful houses we could never afford, and into the woods where we finally found some bluebells. We crossed a pretty river, disturbed a flock of sheep and climbed over some very wobbly stiles. Despite a few wrong turns, we were well on track to make it back in the estimated three hours… and then we went quite spectacularly wrong. After climbing the world’s steepest hill* and continuing for quite a long way at the top in the stubborn belief that if we kept going long enough we’d eventually find a right turn to get us back on track, we realised that what we’d identified as a fence might actually have been a gate. (It was a gate.)

So what was supposed to be a six-mile walk ended up closer to nine, we ended up power walking the last mile (the last bit of which was also uphill), and my legs hate me today… but hey, at least we worked off the pub lunch.

*possibly an exaggeration

Photo Sunday: a windy walk on the Saxon Shore Way

It’s been a few weeks since I blogged here (although there’s still plenty going on over at The Blog of Theatre Things if you fancy a visit!) but I thought I’d pop in to share a few photos from a couple of weeks ago, when a friend and I spontaneously decided to join a local walking group for a Sunday hike.

We started at Newington, a village in Swale, Kent, then headed across to Upchurch and along the Saxon Shore Way to Lower Halstow. After a very welcome pub stop for lunch (it was a freezing cold day and we’d been completely blown to bits walking along the estuary), we made our way back to Newington to head home.

It was great to meet some new people and be out in the fresh air – even if was a bit too fresh at times – after a busy week. And I couldn’t resist taking a few photos, particularly along the estuary, where the skies seemed to change by the second. I do love a dramatic cloud 😉

I hope everyone’s having a great International Day of Happiness, by the way! What made you happy today?

Happy Sunday: free brownies and excited pandas

It’s been quite a week. With a big work event and lots of theatre-ing (more in fact than I’d intended at the start of the week), there’s not been a lot of time for anything else, including sleep. But there’s always time for a bit of good news, so here are a few of the nice things that have happened this week, for me and the world in general.

This week:

I got to go to my first ever award ceremony, when my company was shortlisted for an education award. And even though we didn’t win (fortunately we’d all been practising our ‘gracious loser’ faces), we did get Highly Commended in our category, which was rather exciting – and gives us something to aim for next year 🙂

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My sister Caz shared this story on Facebook about a professional photographer who was inspired to see things differently by his daughter Kaja, who has Down Syndrome and is a natural with a camera. The two embarked on a photographic duel, each taking pictures of the same person or place, and the results from both are really beautiful.

There’s nothing quite like making someone smile, and this week I got that warm fuzzy feeling when I arranged a little surprise for a friend who hadn’t been well. Although it was nothing big or special, the delighted message I got from her yesterday totally made my day.

The snow in North America may not be great for everyone, but these Syrian children, recently arrived in Canada, have never seen it before, and their reaction is a joy to watch, as is the way the family have been accepted into their new community in Ontario.

And while we’re talking about snow, check out the excitement of Tian Tian the panda in Washington. Adorable 🙂

This Monday was Blue Monday (or so the papers would have us believe) – supposedly the most depressing day of the year. So cake shop Konditor and Cook decided to spread a little joy by offering free chocolate brownies, and my friend and I made a special trip on the way to work to get them. So it turns out that literally the only thing in the world that will get me out of bed early… is a free brownie. Good to know.

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A teenager from Dublin has invented a life-saving sleeping bag for homeless people, lined with fireproof bubble wrap to keep the user dry and with reflective markings to give them high visibility. Now the bags are being made by people who used to be homeless as a way to get them back into work and help those still on the streets.

I really wasn’t looking forward to this week at work, which we knew was going to be busy and stressful… but we got through it by working as a team, there were no major disasters and – most importantly – it’s all over now 🙂

Tennis player Jo Wilfried Tsonga went to the aid of a ball girl during his Australian Open match on Wednesday, pausing the game to go and ask her if she was okay, and then personally escorting her off the court. And then he won, which seemed only fair after being such a gentleman.

I bought a cosy new dressing gown last weekend, and even though I somehow messed up and picked up the wrong size (still no idea how I did that), it turns out having a dressing gown that’s several sizes too big actually just means there’s more to wrap yourself up in!

How was your week?

Photo Sunday: a grey day in Gravesend

First, a confession: I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging lately. This is partly because work’s been busy, but mostly because I’ve been focusing most of my attention on developing my other blog, The Blog of Theatre Things (see what I did there?). So for a bit while I concentrate on that, I probably won’t be blogging here as much, although I’ll still try and post at least once a week. In the meantime, if you’re interested in theatre, it would be great to see you over at The Blog of Theatre Things 🙂

Right. Self-promotion over, and on with Photo Sunday. Today I met up with a couple of friends with a vague plan to go for a walk and get some exercise. But because it’s been very wet lately and we didn’t want to end up knee-deep in mud, we ended up exploring Gravesend instead. (And then accidentally stopping at Costa on the way back to buy cake. Oops.)

Gravesend isn’t the most attractive place at the best of times, but particularly on a grey day like today. But it does have some interesting sights, not least the huge Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara. And when we arrived at the river, we found more swans than I’ve ever seen in one place, trying to decide whether to wade through the mud into the river or turn around and make their way over to the lady throwing out bread. Considering the number of birds swooping in her direction, it’s safe to say that lady was a lot braver than I am (I, being a bit of a wuss where birds are concerned, beat a hasty retreat…).