This gallery contains 41 photos.
Everywhere I look the last 12 months are being reviewed – news, sports, politics – the best of, the worst of – clearly this is the time of year for reflection. Never being one to miss a trend, here’s our year in review. It started in a cold UK and ended in a warm and […]
I started writing this post as an endorsement of a fantastic service for turning your blog posts into a book – Feedfabrik.com. But I’ve just learnt that, due to problems between the partners, they have stopped taking orders, their website is offline, and it is unlikely to return anytime soon.
I first used Feedfabrik last year to produce a simple black and white book of the first 100 toscanakiwi posts which we had delivered to our cottage in Tuscany. We carefully carried it around Europe on our travels and it’s sitting, slightly battered and beaten up, in the bookcase next to me.
A month ago I ordered two volumes of blog posts (about 200 posts in all) hard bound on high quality paper and in full colour because they produce the pictures that go with blog posts as well as the writing. The books arrived last week and they look absolutely stunning.
It is a real shame that others won’t be able to make use of this excellent service in the foreseeable future.
Our thanks to the team at Feedfabrik.com. We love your work and hope that you’ll be back soon.
This gallery contains 3 photos.
This afternoon we took the dogs for a walk in the country. For dogs as small as ours that means a quick circuit around the park at the end of the road. They both loved it. We loved it when we got home and had to clean two sets of muddy paws. Right now both […]
This gallery contains 4 photos.
We spent Tuesday in London. We’ve been there a few times over the last two months for various reasons but the reason for this trip was simple – act like tourists. For us that meant a visit to Harrods and a wander around Knightsbridge which included a trip to the Louis Vuitton store on Sloane […]
It’s Thursday evening and it has started snowing again. Already there is an inch of snow on the ground. If this keeps up overnight who knows what we’ll wake up too. Pictures in the morning.
This gallery contains 18 photos.
We were warned for the best part of a week, it was from Russia and it was going to hit Saturday night. Road gritters started gritting the roads mid week and Heathrow cancelled one third of their flights in advance. It was the arrival of ‘the big freeze’. In the last couple of years the […]
The last week has seen the team from Aspley Guise pack up and move to Bromham. That’s a distance of about 30 kilometres but the move involved serious logistics and planning as well as a decent dollop of muscle over the weekend just past.
Adding interest to the move was the impending “big freeze” that was due to hit the UK on Saturday. Thankfully it held off until the move was finished – just. The lads were enjoying a couple of beers just as the first snow started to drift down.
Next morning our new neighbourhood was under 3 inches of snow – what a lovely welcome to Bromham.
This gallery contains 12 photos.
There are two villages close to Aspley Guise. One is Woburn Sands which boasts a population of around 2,000 people. The other is the much smaller village of Woburn which has, as its close neigbour, the Duke of Bedford’s estate and home, Woburn Abbey. Of the two villages Woburn seems the more historically significant. According […]
Last weekend we went to Ipswich. It meant a drive of about an hour and a half across England to the eastern coast – well almost the coast as Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell.
Friends Sue and Ali are kiwis living and working in Ipswich. They came and stayed at Aspley Guise over Christmas and invited all the Aspley Guisers over for dinner and to stay the night.
They have a penthouse apartment on the Ipswich waterfront. Like many towns located on the water, the area around the port has undergone a rebirth in the last few years with new apartment blocks being built and the original waterfront buildings being renovated. There is a feeling of Auckland when you walk along the Ipswich waterfront. Leisure craft are moored alongside and a plethora of cafes and bars exist near the water.
On Saturday night Sue cooked a fine meal which, accompanied by
a couple, a few, some, quite a lot of wine and beer, meant Sunday morning was a slow start. A walk along the waterfront was the ideal way to blow away the lingering hangovers.
The past week has seen two celebrations at Aspley Guise. Gill had a birthday and, quite rightly, became queen for a day, and dear old Daisy the dog had a birthday – her 15th.
Gill’s birthday involved champagne, a fantastic meal out at The Birch restaurant, presents from all over the world and a good old-fashioned hangover the next day.
Daisy’s birthday involved a cake with candles, doggie treats, presents from all the doggie shops we know of and a hangover the next day due to a late night when the whole team were visiting friends in Ispwich.
Daisy received a new winter coat from Jean and I which, unlike her current one, doesn’t need to removed by it pulling over her head (she bites anyone who tries to take off her current coat) and a new basket for her to sleep in from Gill, Andre, Josh and Jordan.
In dog years Daisy is, depending on the formula used, either 90 and 105. Not a bad effort for an old lady and she continues to battle on despite her heart condition, poor vision and lack of hearing. The heart specialist in Italy described her as “il cane di miracolo” and she continues to defy the odds and lead a happy and relatively healthy life. The difference between now and a couple of years ago is that her pace of life is much slower.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This gallery contains 2 photos.
One thing that constantly fascinates me about an English winter are the deciduous trees. In New Zealand the vast majority of trees retain their leaves through the winter. So the sight of great swathes of naked trees is a novelty. And that means they get photographed a bit.
On Tuesday we travelled to London to meet with recruitment consultants to gain an incite into the English employment market. We took the fast train from Milton Keynes to London Euston – 30 minutes non-stop.
When we arrived at Milton Keynes Central to catch the train we discovered that services were delayed due to a train breaking down earlier in the morning (half a world away but things don’t change) but even given the delay we still arrived in London with time to spare. Before the trip back to Milton Keynes I snapped a shot of the train – something for the rail boys (and girls) back in New Zealand.
Virgin introduced the Pendlino trains in 2002 and now operates 50 sets. The trains currently have a top speed of 125mph.
This is our 200th toscanakiwi post. When we started the blog it was to keep friends and family informed about our little adventure in Italy. But reading back over some of the last 200 entries I now realise it is also a collection of memories for Jean and I. It might be old age or just the passing of time but little things get forgotten and one adventure gets confused with another in our minds – but the blog is always there with the real story.
In September 2011, post number 100 was sent from our cottage in Tuscany. At that stage around 4,800 visitors had read the blog since it’s launch. As of today that figure has increased to 11,541.
A huge thank you to all our lovely readers. Your feedback is always welcome and knowing that our adventures are providing a little interest and entertainment is all that we can ask for.
Graeme and Jean
This gallery contains 18 photos.
England has an extensive network of canals. They were built in the 19th and early 20th century to carry freight around the country but are now the playground of a legion of narrowboat owners who spend the summer travelling through the English countryside at a stately 4mph. To climb and descend hills the canals are […]