Thursday, 31 December 2009

Looking back on 2009

That 2009 would be an eventful year was already obvious in January, when Jen became the youngest ever recipient of the T. S. Eliot prize

5 days later, I turned my own life upside down, by taking in 3 cats - Rupert, Zephyr and Rasha-Ba.  The house hasn't been quite the same since.

At the start of the year I joined a new choir in Amsterdam.  12 months later, I'm still happy with my choice, though missing the contact with my friends from my old choirs in The Hague and Bowdon, neither of which I've been in touch often enough with.

I also finally got round do something I've been thinking about for a few years - starting the RSCM Voice for Life program.  I'm still very proud of my little bronze medal!

With the encouragement of friends Emmy and Emily, I took up running again.  I managed to clock up 124km and completed two 5K events, a 6K, a 10K and, biggest achievement of all, the 16K Damloop. 

On the studying front, I kept myself more than busy (too busy, in all honesty) with two Open University courses, in Human Biology and Biological Psychology.  The Human Biology course finished with an exam, the Biological Psychology course with a rather bizarre experiment involving chocolate digestive biscuits.

In terms of milestones, I was shocked to realise that 2009 marked 15 years since I left school and 10 since I graduated from university with my Masters degree.  (This also rather alarmingly means almost 10 years in gainful employment.  I think this means I'm supposed to be grown up now.  But I'm not entirely convinced!) 

It was also my first full year of house ownership, and I've traveled less this year than any other year recently.  By my reckoning I made:
  • 4 trips to the UK (London for the TS Eliot, two birthday visits, and a week long trip to York with the choir)
  • a trip to Slovakia, for a landscape photography course
  • a trip to Canada, to see family and to photograph wolves
  • a trip to Prague with Auntie Janet
  • and of course, the biggie, the trip to The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, with a (very) brief stop in Argentina

    Wednesday, 16 December 2009

    Cape Petrels

    Accompanied by albatrosses and giant petrels, the cape petrels were to be found flying alongside the ship for most of our travels.

    Friday, 11 December 2009

    Back Home

    So, we disembarked from the boat at 8 yesterday morning, and 3 flights later, I've made it back home, where the cats are very pleased to see me!  I still have plenty of photo editing work to go, but here are a few photographs that I put in our trip slideshow as a taster:

    Falklands Thrush, Falkland Islands

    Stone on Beach, Falkland Islands

    Adelie Penguin, Antarctic Peninsula

    Gentoo Penguin, Antarctic Peninsula

    Chinstrap Penguin Chase, Antarctic Peninsula

    King Penguin, South Georgia

    Friday, 4 December 2009


    So, after a couple days trying to find a way through the pack ice, we
    arrived at the Antarctic Peninsula around midday, and made our first
    landing this afternoon, at a place called Brown Bluff, on the tip of the

    We've seen so many beautiful things today - giant icebergs, Adelie and
    Gentoo penguins porpoising and cruising on icebergs, and we were blessed
    with fantastic weather. My first experiences of the continent of
    Antarctica have truly lived up to my expectations. Tonight we are going
    to sail back around the tip of the Peninsula and down the west side, and
    we hope to make two landings tomorrow, weather and ice permitting.