Archive for July, 2013

Monday, July 29th, 2013
Whistlefield Inn and Loch Eck

Today I met a fascinating woman. She’s spent years in Hollywood and traveled around the world. She’s worked in publishing and has several non-fiction hardbacks to her credit. Have you ever met someone and instantly taken a shine to them? Well that’s how I felt with her. I felt as if we’d been friends for years. I could’ve listened to her talk for hours and hours. I’m genuinely mad about her. I only wish we would’ve met sooner.

After leaving her, we went to have lunch at the Whistlefield Inn. It’s a place we’ve been going to for years that’s a few miles away from where we’re staying. Apparently, they recently changed chefs. I’m not sure who they had before, but the new chef is FABULOUS! We had smoked haddock with black pudding, bacon, and mash. It was covered in a hollandaise sauce. Sounds odd. Tastes yummy! Trust me. Afterwards, we stopped by my favorite lake. Yes, there are a lot of lakes in Scotland. And I mean A LOT! I’ve seen many that I’ve thought were very pretty, but there is something about Loch Eck that’s special. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.

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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Benmore Gardens

If magic exists in the real world, it can be found in Benmore Gardens. No place looks quite so enchanting or feels so mystical as this extensive garden. I could wander around it for hours. In fact, I did the other day. There’s something about the smell of the pine and the trails running through the garden that brings out the kid in you. There are so many places to hide, explore, to investigate that your imagination starts to run wild. You find yourself hearing ‘footsteps’ behind you, when no one is there. The trees seem to whisper, but never quite reveal all their secrets. It’s magical, wonderful, and utterly irresistible.

This is what you see when you first enter the gardens:



As you journey deeper into Benmore, the place takes on a magical feel:



I have a ton more pictures, but I won’t bore you with them. 😉 If you find yourself in Argyll, Scotland definitely check Benmore Gardens out.

Monday, July 15th, 2013
Doctor Who Proms Part 1 & Part 2

On Saturday, we walked through Hyde Park to go see the Doctor Who Proms.

Summer 2013 Hyde Park

Victoria and Albert Hall

We’d watched it on television, when it aired a couple of years ago, so we knew what to expect. This was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, so we anticipated them to pull out all the stops. They had a few special guests, which was lovely, but over all they kept to the same program. (Yes, I was hoping for possible Who spoilers and maybe a few more special guests **cough*Tennant*cough**.)

That said, it was a great show, especially the music. I took several pictures. Most of which came out blurry. (Note to self: Set camera to ‘sport mode’ when trying to catch moving figures.) When we first walked in, this is what we saw:

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And yes, I wanted to run over there and look inside the Tardis, but I restrained myself. LOL!

The show opened with a soloist singing, then the orchestra joined in. Once the first song ended, there was a short skit, and then the Doctor and Clara came out.

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The Doctor proceeded to ‘direct’ the Welsh orchestra:

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He called it his ‘house band’. *ggg

Once the Doctor and Clara left, Madam Vastra and Strax came out. They were quite funny, especially Strax, which is really no surprise. He was great.

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They introduced the little girl, Kerry Ingram, who sang in the first episode of Doctor Who where Clara officially starts traveling with him as a companion. She was terrific. Of course, that’s no surprise since she starred in Matilda.

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There were several other special guests, including the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, whose real life daughter is married to the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant.

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And Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan Foreman, the Doctor’s granddaughter in the very first Doctor Who series.

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They did a montage of the companions, which always brings a lump to my throat because you watch so many people say goodbye. Then they brought out all the Doctor’s enemies. It was fun seeing the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Ice Warrior, Silurian Warriors, and the Venice Vampires. (I didn’t get a clear picture of the vampires because everyone knows it’s hard to catch vampires on film. 😉

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I have to admit that when they brought out the Silence, the Whispermen, and the Weeping Angels, I got a little creeped out and so did a lot of the audience members. They are truly scary in person. (And no, I didn’t BLINK.)

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As you can see from the photos, it was a heck of a show. The evening performance was a lot more fun than the morning show. I’d expected it to be just the opposite, since so many kids come to the morning show. The adults dressed up for the evening show. There were a lot of ‘Doctors’ in the audience, along with Daleks and various characters. I don’t think the kids knew quite what to make of it. They enjoyed it, but they weren’t sure how to react. Both were fun, but if you’re an adult, I’d go with the evening performance if possible.

I did have a squee moment when we left Albert Hall. There was a cab waiting with a sign in the window that said, reserved for Steven Moffat. You have no idea how hard it was to walk away and not wait to meet him. I so wanted to meet him, but Dh talked me into leaving. He said it’s better to meet someone as a peer than to meet them as a fan. Very true, but it didn’t make the decision to leave any easier.

Dh found something to cheer me up this morning. While he was out wandering the streets of London, he dropped into the bookstore/cultural megastore, Forbidden Planet. While he was perusing the aisles, this is what he found:

A Nice Surprise in Forbidden Planet

Yep, that’s RED, SCARLET, and CRIMSON! I was very excited to see the whole series. We’re going back tomorrow, so I can see them for myself…and buy Doctor Who t-shirts. *ggg

I can’t believe we only have two days left in London. 🙁 The time has flown by.

Saturday, July 13th, 2013
Globe Theatre, Where I had a Midsummer Night’s Dream

Last night at midnight, Dh and I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It doesn’t play at that time every night. It only does a midnight production a few times a year, so it was quite special.

This was what we saw as we were approaching via a water taxi. It’s quite captivating as you can see.


As we drew closer, the theatre and surrounding restaurant truly came into view.

Globe Theatre Close

Several people had already lined up to be let in, while others were milling about enjoying a cocktail or two. It was quite a festive atmosphere. It didn’t take long for the doors to open to reveal the stage and seating area. (Sorry that the seating area photo is slightly blurry. I tried to take my time and get the shot, but my hands were not cooperating. Sigh.)


Slightly Blurry Seating Inside Globe

Since the theatre dates back to Shakespeare’s time, the seats are wooden bench style. (ie hard on the tushy). They do rent you cushions and blankets, since this particular production went until 3:00am. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone attending a performance at the Globe to invest in a cushion. Those benches are HARD. The man in front of me was having a difficult time hanging throughout the production due to booty discomfort.

Several people stood during the production. I learned from Dh that it’s tradition to do so. It was actually kind of fun to see, though I wouldn’t have wanted to do it. There were picnics held in the audience with bottles of wine being passed around and period musical instruments were played throughout the production. It really was a lovely way to spend a night.

We’d watched the movie version of Midsummer Night’s Dream before we left for London. We wanted to make sure that we understood the story. It wasn’t necessary, but it did add to our enjoyment. This particular production starred JOHN LIGHT. He played Oberon and Theseus, the man with the beard. His performance was amazingly physical. At one point, he picked Puck up with one arm. He went on to climb ropes, do yoga poses, and jump around with ease. It was genuinely mesmerizing to watch. Pearce Quigley played his character, Bottom with sly delight and had everyone rolling in the aisles with laughter.

The whole cast was fabulous and kept everyone’s attention as the wee hours of the morning crept in. I’d been worried that I might fall asleep given the odd hours, but there was no way you could stop watching. The cast kept the energy up and made sure the audience stayed with them.

I believe the Guardian gave the show a three out of five stars, but perhaps the critic came on an off night. The absolute lowest rating I would give this production is a four, and I’d have to think hard why I would do that because for me the performance last night was easily five out of five stars. If you happen to be in London and can snag some tickets before the production ends, do so. You will not regret it. 🙂

Friday, July 12th, 2013
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In a few hours, I’ll be off to get my hair cut and colored. I’m thinking green might be a good idea. If only it didn’t clash with my skin tone. *ggg Actually, this is the first time I’ve had my hair cut by a different stylist in SEVEN years. I’ve gone from long hair to extremely short in that time period, so I’m a little scared. Fortunately, short hair grows fast, so if they make a mistake I don’t have to live with it for long. 😉

The rest of the day will be spent working on RED’s structure and creating goal lists. I’ve been very bad about setting goals. How can you accomplish anything, if you don’t know what you want? The answer is: You can’t! So I intend to remedy that situation.

Tonight, we’re off to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s playing smartly enough at midnight at the Globe Theatre. It should be a good time, especially if we manage to stay awake. LOL! It’s been a while since I purposely pulled an all-nighter. Hopefully we’ll manage to get some sleep sometime tonight/in the morning because tomorrow night is the Doctor Who Proms. And you know how much I’m looking forward to seeing that…even if I had to leave my sonic screwdriver at home. 🙂

Our time in London is quickly drawing to a close. I readily admit that it’ll be sad to say goodbye to this wonderful city. I’ve grown quite fond of it these past few weeks. So if I sound mopey, you’ll understand why.

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Bristol and Bath

This weekend we went to see friends in Bristol, England. I’ve never been anywhere in England but London. It was interesting to see a little bit of the ‘west country’ as it’s called here. When we arrived in Bristol, we were greeted by the sight of this:

Lincoln Grommit

I call him Lincoln Gromit, though I doubt that was the intention. I believe he represented a famous English industrialist.

Apparently, decorated Gromit statues have been created for a charity event (The Grand Appeal). They were set up all over Bristol because that’s where the animation company is based. Each one was different and wildly cute. I loved them all, but these two were my favorites.

Space Grommit

Space Gromit.

On Saturday, we went to Bath, which is a city I’ve wanted to visit for YEARS. I’d seen all kinds of pictures of Bath and watched several travel shows, but they really didn’t capture the beauty of the city. It is enchanting…and incredibly busy. The weather was fabulous so I’m pretty sure the entire country of England decided to visit Bath on the day we went. (Picture Disneyworld on a holiday weekend, then add a few thousand more people. Blink.) Because of the crowds, I didn’t get to visit the Jane Austen area, but I did get to see the Roman baths and a good amount of the city. It was great.

This is the entrance to the royal baths.

Kings and Queens Baths

This is the biggest and the main bath in the complex. As hot as it was, it was incredibly tempting to jump in, but the threat of toxic levels of lead in the water kept me dry. *g

Main Bathing Pool Less People

This is the pool that’s still bubbling with hot water. (If you look close, you can see the bubbles.)

Secondary Heated Pool Bath

I called this pool, the secret pool, since it seemed to be more private and sparkled with all the coins that people had tossed into it.

Bathing Pool Interior Bath

This altar was kind of gruesome given a human could easily fit on top of it. The sign said it was used in animal sacrifices. Yep, not much better. 🙁

Sacrificial Altar

I have no idea what this was, but it was creepy, so you know I had to take a picture of it. *ggg 🙂

Roman Water Tunnel Bath

Our visit to Bath ended at the river. As you can see, it was lovely. We strolled along the bank and watched kayakers try to traverse the falls. Pretty sure they all made it. 😉
Waterfall Bath

I’m having a wonderful time here in England. More fun than I thought I would have. My crush on London has grown to epic proportions. Not sure how I’m going to part with the place next week.

Friday, July 5th, 2013
Soft Release

RIDE EM’ COWBOY is officially out…but only on SMASHWORDS and AMAZON. I haven’t sent out my first newsletter yet because I’ve been waiting until the book shows up on Kobo and Nook. The latter is going to take a while. Nook seems to be exceedingly messed up right now. It doesn’t matter whether I try to publish it on Nook Press or Pubit. Neither is working. I’ve contacted ‘customer service’, but other authors have warned me to not expect much from them. I am sorry for the delay. I’d really hoped that things would go smoothly, but what are you going to do?

Today, I’m off to Bristol to visit friends. I’ve never been to Bristol, England, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. The weather today is gorgeous and is supposed to remain that way until Tuesday. YAY! Have a great weekend. I’ll post pictures as soon as I get back. 🙂