Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Antarctica Photos - Sneak Preview

So, I've got a long way to go before I make a proper selection of the best photos of the trip.  But, since a number of people wanted to see something, I've made a very quick, very rough selection and put them up on my website.  They're not necessarily either my favourites or the best photos from the trip, but I thought I'd share them now anyway, just to give a better idea of the different things we saw.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Choral Evensong - 16th January 2010

So, our first choral evensong of 2010, and my one year anniversary with the Nicholas Chorale.

As is becoming a pattern, I read one of the lessons... and managed to completely mispronounce the word "saith" about 5 times.  Which wouldn't be so embarrassing if it hadn't been for the fact that I sung it any number of times when practising the anthem.  I also lost my place for one heartstopping fraction of a section.  Reading lessons remains ridiculously scary!

  • Introit: O Almighty and everlasting God, Barcrofte
  • Responses: Statham
  • Office Hymn: Hostes Herodius impie
  • Psalms: 8 and 20
  • Canticles: Sumsion in G (and I've been singing them in my head ever since!)
  • Anthem: From the rising of the sun, Ouseley (which has also occasionally been popping into my head to give Sumsion a break)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Upcoming travel plans

One of the most important things you should do when you get back from holiday, is start planning the next trip...  So, here are my travel plans so far for 2010.

At the end of March, I'm going to Bavaria with a couple friends, for a photo workshop focusing on bears, wolves and lynx.

Then I have my next big trip - to India, in search of birds, tigers and the Taj Mahal.  And, of course, curry.

After that, I'm off to Canada to celebrate my Grandmother's 103rd birthday with her.  Once I return, I think I'll just lay low for a little while and recover... or maybe not!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Taking the plunge

Probably the craziest thing I've done in a long while was taking the plunge, and going for a dip in the ocean at Deception Island, on the Antarctica Pensinsula.  There is actually a precedent for this, as parts of the beach are heated by volcanic activity.  That said, it only really works if a) the tide is right, or b) you dig a pit in the sand where it's hot.  Seeing as we met neither of these conditions, it was absolutely freezing.

6 of us dared to take the plunge in the end.  We undressed on a patch of snow (to keep our clothes clean... in retrospect, I wonder why we bothered), and then ran done the beach and into the water, where we stayed just long enough to prove the point, before hobbling out again on our poor frozen feet. 

Seen through the fisheye

Arie very kindly lend me his fisheye lens for my trip.  Here are some of the results.








Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Antarctica Trip Log

For anyone interested, here are a couple links (with photos) to the trip log of Joe McDonald, one of the trip leaders:

Antarctic Landscapes

Half Moon Island

Erera Channel

 Neko Harbour

Friday, 1 January 2010

Looking forward to 2010

So, now the question is, what do I have planned for 2010?  Well, amongst other things:

  • Taking the RSCM Silver Award
  • Trying to run a half marathon, and/or trying to run a sub-30 minute 5K.  Actually, from where I'm standing right now, just getting running again would be a good start!
  • Completing the Nijmegen Vierdaagse (4 x 40km march)
  • My first Level 3 Open University course, in Infectious Diseases
And, of course, somewhere within all of this, I need to fit in some travelling, to destinations as yet unknown!

    Oud en Nieuw

    People always told me that the Dutch set off fireworks at New Year's.  Until last year, when I spent my first New Year's here, I didn't really appreciate what they meant.

    You see, in England, when people let off fireworks at New Year's there's maybe one or two fireworks set off somewhere in the distance, and that's it.  On Bonfire Night, there are organized displays, or people set off fireworks in their garden.  But the whole process is surrounded by caution, has a build up of graphic TV adverts showing what can go wrong, and, well, everyone keeps their distance.

    Here, it's a totally different experience.  First of all, there's the pre-New Year's build up.  Everyday, a few more bangs during the day.  By New Year's Eve, there's someone letting off bangs all through the day.  And then at midnight.  Well, the world goes crackers.

    Setting off fireworks here means people standing in the middle of the street, lighting 2000 euros worth of fireworks, and standing about a foot away from them.  It's loud.  Like Concorde flying overhead, loud.  And, it's pretty spectacular!