Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lazy Cat on My Bed

Most of you know that I have 2 cats, Abby and Cleo, who I miss sooo much. I really miss having them sleep on the bed with me, particularly in winter. Cleo used to sleep on my stomach, or back, or side, depending on what way I was sleeping. I miss having little 'hot-water bottle' and constant companions :( My client and her family have 2 cats as well, but they are a lot more independent then mine, as they are 'outside' cats. Plus they aren't allowed to sleep on the beds at night - they are locked in the kitchen... But with the colder weather, Sanker (nicknames the Tank) had been sleeping on my bed and keeping me company quite a lot during the day. Here are some pics of him, so cute! Since we've had warmer weather the last few days though I have hardly seen him.

He also likes to sleep on my lap

and my computer

and in between my legs...

Monday, 28 May 2012

Snow and Seasons in Storrington

Cheeky fox at the train station
After 54 days of ‘being on holiday’ it was finally time to go back to work, on Monday 30th January. I returned to a pervious client, M, who I had started working with pretty much exactly a year ago. Things in Storrington looked pretty much the same as they did a year ago, except this time I got to see at least the backyard with a covering of snow and, as I have stayed a month and a half longer then I did last time, the place is certainly more green and leafy then I have ever seen it. On the 5th and 10th of February there was finally some snow for winter – Although it was only a light covering, which pretty much melted by the time we left the house at 9am..

Compare to the 'summer' pic at the end :)

After the snow in February, March turned out to be one of the warmest on record! In fact, even the last week of Feb was warm – at 18C. Then it was back to cold for April – complete with snow in some parts of the UK. I have definitely aclimatised to the cooler weather. In Australia, as soon as the temperature got below 20C I would put on a jumper and be freezing. Here, the temp reaches 13C, and I start taking layers off. 18C is shorts and singlet weather now! How on earth am I going to survive summer when I get back home?!
Although, still fairly cool at Brighton

As much as I am looking forward to coming home (lets face it Aus is awesome :p), one thing I appreciate a lot more over here is the seasons. They are so destinctive – something I think I will miss. Winter is cold, mainly wet (but sometime snowy!), and dark. Then comes spring. This is when colour comes back to the UK. The first flowers to pop up are the bluebells, followed by daffodils, and then tulips (and lots more of course!) Towards the end of spring is when the trees/bushes finally start shooting new growth, and it really gets green, within a few weeks. And the cutest part of spring? All the baby animals :) I have also seen hedgehogs come out for the first time… although it’s a bit sad that they have all been roadkill hedgehogs :(

Taken just the other day: Summer is on it way :D
Summer can be warm (it can also be cold!), and the UK often has ‘mini heat waves’ with temperatures up to 30C, if only for a few days… In summer the crops start to ripen, and the fields start to take on a golden hue, like they where when I first arrived here). The evenings are also really long – with it not getting completely dark until around 10.30/11pm. I will definitely miss the long evenings of summer, but not the short hours of daylight of winter!

And that brings us to autumn, when days start to get shorter again (sob), and the trees start to lose their leaves, but not before displaying wonderful colours of reds, oranges, and yellows :)

Now to leave you with some cute stuff:

See the dark patches in the middle? That's a group of 6 ducklings
sitting in a row :)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Skiing in Austria

First things first, there are definitely no kangaroos in Australia :P

The church at Hopfgarten

Adam left England on Tuesday, 17th January. That day I went to the Victoria and Albert museum, which I was quite impressed with. I then had lunch with Claire, who I had met in a hostel while I was doing my photography course. On the 18th I visited my previous client, J, and picked up some of my stuff that I had left there. On the 19th I had lunch with Vicki, who I went to Egypt with. As I still had time before work started again and some left over money, I decided to spend it all (literally, I left £30 in my bank account after buying the train ticket back to work...). Like I said before I <3 skiing, and I really wanted to do more then the 2 slopes I did in Slovakia, so I went on another ski trip. This time I went with Contiki. It was my first Contiki experience, and I was a bit worried, as they have a bit of a reputation for doing more drinking then anything else, but I enjoyed every minute of it :) (Even if there was quite a bit of drinking, mainly by my room mates though...).


Well, I enjoyed almost every minute of the trip. The 22 hour bus drive there was so great :/ We left London at about 7pm on Friday 20th January, arriving in Hopfgarten, Austria the next evening. Due to bad traffic we ended up being on the road too long, so we had to wait for another driver to come from Hopfgarten (only about 30 minutes away) as the current one had ran out of driving hours. As soon as we arrived we collected out ski gear and then it was time for the welcome meeting and dinner. Contiki have their own hostel, called Haus Schoeneck, which is really nice, and ran mostly by Aussies and Kiwis. No surprises there really :P

The next morning we had breakfast and I found someone to go skiing with. We went up the ski lifts and it was time to go skiing again!! Remember that I felt confident in Slovakia... Well when I go to the top of the slope in Austria, I'm sure it was pretty much vertically straight down :S. You know in cartoons when they look down a cliff to the bottom, and it suddenly gets visibly further away? That's what it felt like on the Austrian slopes. They are long, steep and bumpy... turns out I'm not such a confident skier after all. I had the 'brakes' on the whole time I was going down those slopes. In hindsight I could really have done with ski lessons in Austria and not Slovakia, as I barely used the instructor I paid for there. Lessons in Austria would have helped with my inability to stop without falling over... In fact I fell over more times in the 1st hour of Austrian skiing then I did the whole time I was in Slovakia :S At one stage I managed to spread my skis, poles and self equally over a distance of about 10m in this pattern: ski, pole, ski, pole, me -it was actually quite funny!

That slope just keeps goingggg...

It didn't help that I was skiing with someone who's skill level was much higher then mind. We were going on blue and red (medium) runs, although to be honest I couldn't tell the difference between the too. As far as I was concerned they were all too steep and bumpy! But I didn't give up until the very end of the day. After a FULL day of skiing with the brakes on my legs were soooo sore, and I was so exhausted I just couldn't ski anymore. I had to ditch the skis (my highly skilled ski-mate carried them for  me, while skiing down on hers) and walk/slide on my bum to the bottom of the slope.

The disc

The next day I went out again, but not for nearly as long - only half the day, and I went skiing with some a snowboarder, who was still faster then me!). In fact I didn't actually do much more skiing at all... I only did half days from then on, if any at all, mainly because I was still sooo sore from the first day. I tell you what though, it did good things to my biceps (who knew you used them so much skiing?!). They are still bigger and more defined then they ever have been! On the second last day I was sick, so didn't go skiing at all. I stayed in bed until the afternoon, but did manage to find the energy to participate in 'snow games'. They were so much fun, especially sliding down the snow on my stomach on a plastic disc - although the bruise I got from whacking into a pole was not so much fun!

So fun!


On the Tuesday (I think) night we had the opportunity to go tobogganing. It was a load of fun, but would have been even more fun if there were less people and we didn't keep stopping all the time! The slope was only gentle, but you did manage to build up a little bit of speed, only to have to stop (or crash into the person in front you you) because someone ahead had hit the sides of the slope or run into someone else... The final day I still wasn't felling 100%, so gave up on skiing and went on a day trip to Salzburg. Even thought I had already been to Salzburg, it is a nice city, and it was over EIGHT years since the last time I went. We had lunch in a nice little restaurant where we had Gulash Soup (yum) and we shared a Salzburger Nockerl, which is a dessert I had remembere over all those years. The rest of the group I was with agreed it was yum!

Salzburger Nockerl :)
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Other food I had on the Austrian food tour was spaetzel ( a type of small egg noodle with cheese sauce), and PORK KNUCKLE. O.M.G. That right there is the reason I could never be vegetarian... It was divine. The pork was so tender, the crackling crispy, and the gravy thick and flavourful. YUM YUM YUM!! We had that on the last night before we were due to go back to London. You had to order it 24 hrs in advance, and I am soo glad we did :)

Anyway, so that was my time in Austria. I met some great people and had a great time - even if I didn't do that much skiing. And the fact that Austria provides 'scary skiing' hasn't put me off. I would love to do some more skiing, back in Australia, which is where I learnt all the way back in grade 12! Some good news is that the bus ride back to London didn't take nearly as long as getting there. We left early (4am-ish) in the morning, and arrived back about 7pm that evening. Thank goodness. And some more good news? I have FINALLY finished writing up my Christmas/New years holiday blogs!! YAY. Now onto what's happened between the end of January and now...

At the top of a slope
Snowman! Complete with mullet
At the 'Silver Bullet' celebrating Aus Day