Sunday, 29 June 2008

Changes

I found myself back in Worcester this weekend, a small transition place before I head, hopefully for Scotland. It all sounded positive, and I'll know soon. But in the mean time I've been taking in some of Worcester. This time around, after walking for at least 20 minutes in the wrong direction on vomit filled streets, I found my destination, the Fort Royal Park (which was actually just 2 minutes from Kerrys). I sat on a park bench with my chicken and mushroom slice and Ribena and a lovely view of Worcester cathedral. After an hour or so of contemplation, I headed towards the Cathedral and found that the choir had started singing. I sat outside and listened.

This is where I sat whilst listening to the evening choir sing.


Worcester Cathedral from a park bench at the Fort Royal Park.




Faye and Kerry at Bushwackers.


Kerrys friends left to right: Stacey, Laura, Sophia, Kitty and Faye.

The people I've met in Worcester are truly wonderful, welcoming and just lovely.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A Stella in Caerleon

We went to the Hanbury Alehouse in Caerleon last night for a drink. The first time I went there was to meet Andrews friend Dave...this time it was just Andrew and me. We sat outside right next to the river Usk where it is very very pretty. The Hanbury is an old Roman look out post, which you can see on the left side of the picture.

The River Usk at Caerleon.
Bridge over Usk.
Andrew and his pineapple juice. What a triathlete.

Mmmh, beer.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Up the Bracket

I spent most of Friday in Newport city centre again...this time I took a more leisurely approach to the day and I strolled along getting my bearings right and taking note of my surroundings. As usual I wandered into HMV and to my delight I found The Libertines ‘Up the Bracket’ on sale for £7 instead of the usual £16…so I grabbed it. I found the Newport Museum and Gallery and spent ages just looking around. There was a display on the Newport Ship, the Chartist Uprising, some old bones and clay jugs and some very friendly helpful people milling about. I got lost trying to find the way back out of the centre and ended up walking for an extra half an hour trying to figure out which way was back home.

It was a quieter weekend, this one that has just past. On Saturday Andrew had Iron Mountain cycle race in Abergavenny with his brother Simon. I slept in late and spent the morning lazing about and lying on the couch with the dogs. We drove through to Cardiff in the evening and after having a beer at Ha Ha's we went to Cineworld and watched Mongol...an excellent film about Genghis Khans life, in Russian with English subtitles. I'm not sure if the movie was intentionally funny, but there were parts of it where we couldn't stop giggling. Genghis Khan was a real doer. What an awesome guy...hahaha.

Yesterday was another seriously lazy day spent sleeping. We broke our sleep briefly to go to the Chepstow Sunday Market and get some fresh hot Welsh tea cakes for brunch. I also bought a grey jacket (for chilly spring days) and some more foundation...for £1.50 it doesn't matter much if it is crap. It was fun going around the market and laughing at Andrews mothers yoda impersonation.

I am enjoying Wales, but then I knew that I would.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Cardiff, Leicestershire and Ash.

Friday was spent in Cardiff. Andrew took me through in the morning, we had some Starbucks and then he left me in that big busy city. I busied myself with walking along St Marys Street and looking into shops and ducking into alleyways to consult with my trusty map. I had my first interview at Reed Recruitment and it was over pretty quickly leaving me with 2 hours until my next appointment. I had some MacD’s and watched Cardiff go by outside the window. I found an awesome store that sells black clothing, spikes and just loads of cool stuff, badges, pins etc. Walked out of there wishing I could be at least 20 so that I could pull it all off. My second Interview at Kelly Services was very successful and positive and I was there for an hour. When it was over I made my way to Central Station and managed to find my way to the entrance on my second attempt. The train ride from Cardiff to Newport is only around 20 minutes and was just £3. I was seriously impressed with myself. I celebrated my small victory later when Andrew and I went to the Spanish Tapas Bar / resturaunt with his South African friends Jackie and Leon and finished a jug of champaigne sangria. The food there is amazing and was so much I couldn't finish it all.


Yesterday Andrew drove us to Leicestershire to the Loughborough University Student Union to watch Ash play. We had some beer before the concert and sat amongst the students who were having their Uni end of year ball and were all dressed up in pretty frocks and the boys in suits and ties...Andrew and I were sat there in out jeans and black jumpers, me with my military bag and sipping on beer. The doors opened at 19h00 and the first band only started at 20h00 and were shit whoever they were. The second support band (I wish I knew who they were) were really excellent, fronted by a young boy with big curly hair and glasses. Ash finally started playing and were good and we both agreed that Tim Wheeler seems to be a lovely down to earth bloke with a guitar and not very rock 'n roll at all. Still, we had a laugh...good wholesome sing a long type songs :) We got back home at 02h00 this morning exhausted. No more bands on a week night...we're far too elderly.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Karen does Newport

I made it yesterday to Newport city centre and back with no problems. I got past Hand Post, followed the signs to the City Centre and found my way over the bridge that goes over the railway line, and into the middle of the city. It has become customary for me to get an ice cream these days (hopefully short lived) so I bought my ice cream and proceeded to wander around the streets and the shops. I found Newport Castle but it was on the other side of a very busy road, and I didn’t feel brave enough to venture across it. I looked in a small Welsh crafts and gifts shop, and then went on to visit the local Top Shop, New Look, Boots, WH Smith and various shoe stores. I bought some black cotton shorts, some tights, a pair of shoes, some eye makeup and a diary. I found a t-shirt which I almost bought, but common sense prevailed and I put it back on the rack. It was a white t-shirt with an enormous black cat taking up the whole of the front. I’m not even a cat person.

Shopping done and I felt confident enough to not look for a taxi back home, so I took a walk to find the way back. It was then that the general harassment began. First it was an Indian man with such a strong accent that I couldn’t understand a word he was saying trying to sell me something medical related, a black man from Pretoria trying to get me involved in some Oxfam thing or other, we shook hands and made comments about it been a small world and fancy meeting you here… after him, another Oxfam person stopped me, then a man wanting to sign me up for kick boxing and self defence classes and lastly a young bloke wanting to know if I was interested in paint ball. An old man was sitting beside the statues by the Starbucks playing ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ on an accordion, a homeless looking man approached me for 60p so that he could get a bus and some filthy sweaty construction men repulsed me by the way that they looked at me as they walked past.

In all, I'd say a very successful first walk into Newport City Centre. Yay me indeed.


The castle has a road going through it. Nice.
You can get your baquettes here if you were inclined to.
The bridge I crossed to get to and from the city.
The road on the way back home.


Tomorow...Cardiff and the frightening prospect of trains and buses all alone.




Wednesday, 11 June 2008

To Newport!

Last night was the first early night I’ve had in a month, and by early I mean 11 o’clock or there abouts. So today, with my new found energy I’m going to venture out and look for Newport city centre…I believe it is just 20 minutes walk and I’m hoping I know in which direction I should be walking. I made it all the way to Hand Post yesterday but I’m hoping that today I can be a little braver, and hopefully it wont be quite so hot!

By all accounts, Newport is a bit of a hole and I’m hoping that the cynicism will prove unfounded. There is a charming castle where the local addicts come together, a Starbucks with some statues in the street outside, and a whole host of other delights to be explored.

I’m all dosed up on antihistamines, tea and muesli and am ready.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Blenheim Palace

Yesterday I went out in support of Andrews second triathlon held at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock – Oxfordshire. It was hot and I suffered terribly with hay-fever the whole day. Andrew completed the lake swim, cycle and run in one hour and 33 minutes which is pretty darn good (especially when you consider it took me and Noleen 30 minutes to run just 4 kms) and this was a whole lot more than that.

While he was been an over-achiever, I took myself off on a walk in the palace gardens and book shop. I found some lovely history and etiquette books which I was much tempted to buy, but managed to restrain myself at the last moment. I instead got myself a double chocolate ice-cream and ate that in the beautiful gardens with hedges, fountains and statues…and one or two tourists.



At the start of the event - the lake.

It was hot, and I felt sickly.



Andrew, before getting into his wet suit
Blenheim Palace and garden


Triathlon finished and packing up the car.
Things are going well at the moment. This morning I have had a few more calls from agencies interested in my cv. If the whole admin thing doesn't work out, maybe I'll become a cook, it has been brought to my attention that I'd do rather well in that line. I do love a compliment :)
Every now and then I forget where I am and I think that I'll just go into my room and get a photo album, an item of clothing or a cd or something else I left at home. Or I'll think of someone I'd like to see or invite out for a boozy night. I do miss my family and friends and my Nushka, but it wont make me forget all of the reasons to why I left to begin with. I keep finding things in the shops that I think someone would like and I want to buy it and send it to them...but alas, I am unemployed and can't do that right now. The little metal knights, the High School Musical shirt, the book on British Wit and insults...ok, I wanted one for me too.
Still, how long did I dream of seeing this place and walking in its hills?


Saturday, 7 June 2008

Raglan Castle

Another crazy week finished and I’m hoping that some sort of routine can be established next week. I still haven’t committed enough time to getting a job, I’m still living out of a suitcase, and the late nights are seriously catching up with me, but despite it all I am in high spirits. I bought a pair of amazing jeans with my birthday money along with two t-shirts, and I have enough left to get some flat sensible shoes for nights out in Cardiff. Last night was the decider; flat shoes are a must…another night of running around the city in heels will be end of me.

I have calmed a little on taking photos, I did, however, take a whole load at Raglan castle at the beginning of the week. Birmingham and Luton didn’t inspire me to snap shots in any way.


The Welsh flag flying on top of the tower at Raglan castle...lots of scary stairs all the way up to the top.




Some dark and damp room...it was awesome, I loved it.
Some fine and creepy stairs leading to and from the dark and damp room that I loved.


The grand entrance to Raglan Castle.




Tomorrow, it's Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire where I get to witness my first triathalon event and have a wander around the gorgeous palace while Andrew is swimming in an open lake, running and cycling around the grounds. Awesome-ness.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

My birthday

My 27th birthday, and the first one spent away from home. An awesome day which started by been dragged from the warmth of bed at a ridiculously early and unheard of hour...just before 8 o'clock...

The day was spent first at Swansea (to see what goes on around there). Nothing happens in Swansea except for some building sites, some rehab centres (you haven't lived in Swansea until you have visited rehab) and men preaching in the streets about the coming destruction of the Earth. According to my tour guide, the people from Swansea are a of a different tribe to that of the rest of South Wales. They are scum. Har har. It was funny. Swansea has a very good university...you can start university with a minor in marijuana and leave with your masters in heroin. We didn't spend a lot of time in Swansea and moved on to Ogmore-on-Sea and had some ice cream at the seaside :)



For supper, we were going to go to a nice Spanish resturaunt in Cardiff, my attention, however, was diverted by the Hard Rock Cafe just across the way, and so we went there instead.

The walls are full of original posters, albums, and stage outfits. Tom Jones, Marilyn Manson, The Clash, Pearl Jam, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix...it was very cool indeed. We ate supper whilst listening to The Hard Rock Cafes selection of music, accompanied by some pink wine and a margarita and I managed to get some woman to sing with me whilst bopping and signing to 'Come on Eileen'. Hehe, it was fun to walk back to the car in the rain, tipsy and happy and singing 'Piano Man' in a very theatrical and dramatic sort of way, whilst weilding an umbrella and trying not to slip in the street.




Sunday, 1 June 2008

London

Leanne, her John and I spent a day in London this past weekend. I do like London, though it may be little daunting due to it's size, busy streets and admission prices of attractions. Nevertheless, the Tower had to be visited and so, there we went.



The Thames and general view from a railing under Tower Bridge.
Typically touristy picture - me, Leanne and a tree at the Tower of London.

The Tower of London - we did the tour and our 'beefeater' was frightfully witty. Took a looksee at the crown jewels, some lovely torture devices, guns, cannons, suits of armor and the like. What fun for £16.50!



A bus was driving by - I rather like the effect.

London skyline and Saint Pauls Cathedral.
Tower bridge and the customary pose by Tower bridge.
We did a lot of walking along the Thames and I was very well behaved in not buying any t-shirts, beanies, fridge magnets or anything I didn't need. We had a pasta supper and after we wandered along the Thames some more and found a boat / bar and had some Coronas on the boat sitting by the railing and looking at the London lights. The underground is still scary, as is every other mode of public transport.
Next blog - my birthday, Ogmore-on Sea and the Hard Rock Cafe.