Tag Archives: Days Out

When not Writing I…

…spend a lot of my time writing!

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My work means that I spend a lot of time on a keyboard, whether it’s in answering emails, writing documentation, reviewing someone else’s documents or other things like that.  I’m not a full time Writer, and what I do on this blog is entirely for my pleasure. I find it a way of managing my thoughts, of making order out of the myriad of things going on in my head, and in some cases even making sense of the world around me.  I don’t believe I’ll ever be a published author (because I don’t think I’ll ever try), and I’m never sure how many people actually read my blog anyway.

So, when I’m not writing for work, or Writing for pleasure, how do I fill the time and why?  Family takes up a lot of time, and I love spending my days and nights with them.  We like to go on day trips, road trips, afternoons out, to all sorts of places and for a number of different activities.  Dee and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in bookshops, and are continually seeking out interesting volumes on a wide range of topics, though rarely fiction.  That’s because one of our other favourite pastimes is reading: we’ve always got several books on the go at once.

Other than those, my main distraction is generally music, whether listening to it or playing bass. That and walking I find helps clear my mind, to simply be, and they help me to return to every day life refreshed and full of new ideas.

If I had extra time, would I write more?  I don’t think so.  I enjoy the time I spend writing my blog articles, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs, but I think if I had more time I’d find other ways of spending it.  My diverse ideas are finite and I wouldn’t want to get to the end of them too soon!  I’d like to spend that extra time becoming more adept at mindful meditation, and practicing mindfulness.  I’d like to be more thoughtful – or at least, less thoughtless. I’d probably try to complete a Tai Chi course we’ve been signed up for for ages, and I’d like to try yoga, though as a tall 50 year old slightly overweight bloke with very little flexibility, I think it would take me years even to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees!

Roamin’ round a Roman Villa – Image #50

In my quest to post an image a day every day this year, day 50 of 366 has been pretty special.  As it’s half term here in England, and the schools are on holiday, Dee and I took H to Chedworth Roman Villa. He’s been learning about the Romans in class, so we thought this might be an interesting trip: it didn’t disappoint us.

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Chedworth is run by the National Trust, and comes complete with museum, cafe and gift shop.  The museum is just in front of the inner gateway at the top of the picture, in a (slightly incongruous) Victorian house.  The cafe and gift shop, along with an activity area for youngsters where they can make jewellery, mosaics etc is off to the top left of the model above.

Obviously the roofs no longer exist, and for two weeks every year a bit more of the site it excavated, but it’s a fascinating place.  The small building at the top right is the nyphaeum, which was a water shrine.

The building at the top of the picture had a dining room and baths: the picture below is from the dining room.  The hole in the floor exposes the channels for underfloor heating, and the mosaic is exquisite, depicting myths associated with Bacchus – I guess that’s apposite.

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Many of the rooms had mosaic flooring, and it’s staggering to think how much time and effort would have gone in to creating them.  Given that these were built around 2000 years ago, it’s remarkable.  It was a really interesting couple of hours, well worth a visit.  I suspect we’ll be there again soon!

As it’s Friday, I thought I’d share some Roman humour with you…

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Enjoying flights of fancy in Image #38

Today saw a return to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.  I think that the chill wind discouraged a lot of visitors, and to be fair we only looked at the first two hangars (there are 8 in total), but that still took nearly 3 hours.  It’s the fourth time we’ve been in 8 months, but there’s always something new to see and to experience.

Taking today’s image I felt like I was being hauled into the depths of an Imperial Star Destroyer in Star Wars.  In actual fact, it’s the bomb bay of an Avro Vulcan.  One of my favourite planes, it’s just awe inspiring getting so close.

Not a Star Destroyer...
Not a Star Destroyer…

One of the most fantastic things about the museum is that you can get up close and personal to all manner of iconic aircraft.  They’ve got fabric from the lower wing of the Wright Flyer, the first aircraft ever to take to the air. They’ve got the fastest Concorde ever – and you get to walk through the cabin – which reached 1450 mph during testing.  There are Spitfires, Lightnings, Mosquitos, Tiger Moths, Mustangs, Fairey Swordfish, F-111s, B29s and B52s (to name but a few) and a whole host of commercial aircraft. And for the most part you at least get within touching distance, if not underneath or inside them.

Hangar 2 is home to a number of privately owned aircraft which are undergoing restoration. It’s fascinating to see so many planes in various stages of assembly: for example, the Flying Fortress was undergoing maintenance today, and we’d seen it flying last year. Most of the work is done by volunteers and it’s a true labour of love.

At the far end of the airfield (which saw active service during WWII there’s a Land Army exhibit, with tanks and other vehicles from that period.  I need to have a proper look at that so maybe next visit…

Stonehenge visit – Image #11

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Today’s post speaks for itself I think. 3500 years old, still standing, and magnificent – that’s Stonehenge.

There’s a relatively new visitor centre which is really impressive, and a short bus ride to see the stones themselves. It was awesome, very magical.

We followed this up with a visit to Avebury, for lunch in the only pub inside a stone circle. Just a mystical, evocative day – I’d recommend it to anyone!

Image #9

I think I’m getting the hang of this image a day thing! This is #9 of 366 this year, and was taken on today’s trip to London. The Imperial War Museum is a fascinating place to visit, and needs more than one visit I think as there’s so much to see. Today we walked round the Secret War (spies, SAS, codes and stuff) and the Holocaust exhibitions. Both incredible and moving, but in different ways obviously.

Imperial War Museum, London
Imperial War Museum, London