I’ve been collecting Breyer horse models (possessions have become a consolation) and decided to go to the Breyerfest collectors’ event in Lexington, Kentucky, in July this year.
It was a great success, a sensible sort of thing to do alone. I attended the event for three days running at the Kentucky Horse Park, did a ‘horse farm’ minibus tour, visited Mary Lincoln’s house, and generally enjoyed the hot weather and excitement of being back in America.
I also – since there was no public transport and I didn’t want to hire a car – learnt how to use Uber taxis, and have now tried them back home as well. Very useful.
And I must not neglect to mention that (despite being extremely anxious about the risks involved) I managed to go horseriding as well, so have now ridden three different horses in three countries:
– Titan in Menorca
– Alfie in England
– Hank in the USA
Quiz: How many Breyer horse models did I manage to carry home with me from America in my case and hand luggage?
- Two (Would have been sensible)
- Five (Would have been quite a few)
- Eight! (Well, that was the whole point of going out with a large, half empty suitcase!)
Went on a short cruise from London Tilbury, just before Christmas 2016. Amsterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp (Netherlands, Germany and Belgium), featuring Christmas markets. Was shocked of course hearing about the Berlin incident, when I’d just been on a similar market in Hamburg.
I went on my own with the intention of being sociable, but it was difficult, it was mainly all couples or groups of friends and I felt rather awkward chatting to strangers and very much feeling the loss of my life partner, who would so much have loved to have been on the ship and seen all the things I saw.
There was a stunning sunset as we set off, and I bought lots of nice things including some clothes, and ate the most wonderful Belgian waffle I’ve ever tasted. I discovered a lovely little zoo in the middle of Antwerp which had a wonderful exhibition of chinese (japanese?) lanterns in the shapes of different animals. What I chose as my favourite photo on return, was one of these – the elephants below – which seems to have captured a nice variety of ‘texture’.
(I stopped doing this photo blog a while ago because I don’t believe many people are looking at it and it just seemed too sad to continue writing stuff no-one’s reading. Nevertheless, with the new year, I thought I’d do a couple of posts with photos I liked.)
I went to Krakow in late summer 2016, and stayed on my own in an apartment in the old town for a week. It was very noisy all night with people talking, drinking, and laughing – particularly on the Friday and Saturday when the noise really didn’t die down until about 6am. Difficult when it’s hot and you want the window open.
There are horses and carts giving rides to tourists in the main square, and I would keep hearing the sound of horses hooves from my room as they passed along the street below, all day and until late at night, and I would go and look out of the window at what colour the horses were. I’m a bit obsessed with horse colours for some reason, and I liked the way they were so nicely paired up – two white, two dapple grey, two brown, two skewbald etc. I particularly liked this unusual appaloosa colour on the photo – big brown spots. I’ve never seen a horse that colour in England.
I do recommend Krakow as an introduction to Poland – it’s a lovely old city with lots of historical stuff to see, plus wonderful shops and loads of cafes and restaurants to try. Right at the end of the week I discovered the more modern side of the city – a huge three storey shopping centre near the railway station that I thought was more impressive than any I can think of in London!
The trumpet call that is played from the main church every hour is so interesting and impressive – to think that it has sounded every single hour for something like 700 or 800 years to commemorate the death by arrow of the person sounding an alarm call. Very profound to think that the poor man himself could never have guessed that that would happen for so very long after his death.
All my life in England I’ve seen dandelions as a weed. Most people do. Like they’re not ‘proper’ flowers, just something to be uprooted from a lawn or between the cracks of a patio, and dumped. Daisies and buttercups enjoy a slightly better status – but only slightly.
Well look what I found growing in the mountain pastures above Interlaken in June. Masses and masses, swathes and swathes, of flowering dandelions. Talk about context! Here, in presumably their rightful place, they look wonderful. Glorious wild flowers, nothing weed-like about them.
So I have a newfound respect for dandelions.
(Moral: a weed is in the eye of the beholder.)