Sunday, April 20, 2008


I've been advised not to jump up and down from excitement too much, or they might not let me on the plane.

or into the country.

I guess I'd also best not bring the guinea pig with me.
As for the monkey and the rat, well, lets just hope they keep quiet.

Off in ...just checking....6 hours 43 mins.
Back in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4 days 8hrs 34 mins

I've just been amending flight details, Asian vegetarian seems a good option for my meal, don't you think?

Virgin Atlantic tells me it is 4 days, 8 hours and 34 minutes to my flight.

Before then I have essays to mark, library book orders to fill out, emails to send, bits and piece of work admin to do, organic veg. delivery to cancel, US train info. to check, camera memory cards to clear, bills to pay, cheque books to balance, niece's birthday gift to get ready for posting in my absence, confirm proxy vote for london mayoral elections while i'm away....
No more teaching (yay!) but one particularly tedious (but important) meeting to attend.

Work is shitty at the moment.
But, on the other hand, 4 days, 8 hrs, 26 mins.

Which should allow some time for last minute shopping.

Oh, and time for packing?

I've only had one NYC dream, which i hope wont be repeated as it involved a last minute (as in, seriously last minute only-one-hour-before-departure) panic about having left everything, including washing, packing etc., far too late.

I have, however, finally got around to spending some time with the NYC Guide I bought months and months ago... and I had a great planning session last night with L, with whom I will be in NYC.

We want to allow plenty of time for simply wandering the streets, following our noses. But we do hope/plan to fit in the following sights and activities (in no particular order):

Walking in Central Park
Visiting Brooklyn - the museum and a general wander...and food
Cultural/Food tour of Greenwich Village (already booked!)
Empire State Building
A broadway show (courtesy of Gary)
Chinatown and Vietnamese food (as recommended by Kimy)
Time Square
Guided street tour (with graffiti?) courtesy of Steve.
(other museums poss. depending on time and weather)

L has a shopping list from her daughter. I have no shopping list, but will be happy to see Bloomingdales, or Macys - I'd really enjoy visiting some thrift stores, maybe East Village? (see, i have been doing some homework)

How does that sound, for a 4 day 5 night trip?

If any of you know NYC, and would like to leave a comment with your 2 top recommendations of experiences not to be missed, sights we shouldn't go without seeing, food which simply HAS to be eaten - we will be very pleased to take them under advisement.

4 days, 8 hrs, 4 mins.

After 4 days, 5 nights in NYC I will be catching a train to Harrisburg, Pa, where I'll be staying for nearly a week with some long-standing friends who I've not seen for far too long.

My trip concludes with 3-3 1/2 days in Washington DC, where my priorities are:
-spending time with Reya [oh, and Jake :-) ]
-meeting other bloggers
-seeing a bit of the city

Now, if I'd not spent time writing this post, I could have got some of those chores done.
But on the other hand, if I'd not started blogging, I'm not sure I'd be taking this trip. Really.

And, as I might as well upload some pictures while I go and get another cup of tea - here are some more pictures of Jersey (Channel Islands):

Gorey Castle:


St. Catherine's bay:

St. Catherine's bay:

4 days, 7 hrs. 41 mins.
but who's counting?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Our house is full of Very Large boots and trainers at the moment.

Endless cups of tea are being made (some of them are also being drunk, some are being left half-drunk in mugs secreted in unexpected places around the house).

Cousins are being introduced to school friends and vice versa.

The curtains in the spare room have not been opened for a week.

There is a certain teenager sweatiness in the air.

There is much hilarity and watching of DVDs.

Coming from such a small (and rather cloistered) island the boys are very impressed with the number of Starbucks in London, and the size of our HMVs.

They went to Camden Market yesterday and I think their heads nearly exploded.

and thats a picture of our home this week.

Here are a few pictures taken on the beach right by the boys' home in Jersey.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I had a good laugh earlier this week when I read a student essay which was talking about "pillow saints".

I'm fairly certain she meant "pillar saints" - early christian ascetics who tried to overcome the temptations of the flesh, and separate themselves from the world for spiritual devotion, by living on little platforms high atop very tall pillars.

A bit like that stunt David Blaine did in NYC.

Like my students, I'd like to know what they did for a toilet. Or maybe I wouldn't like it... or maybe (quite likely) they ate so little that they had not much need for a toilet...

Having just googled David Blaine, I see that he describes himself as a Magician and an Endurance Artist. Which, I suppose, is what the pillar saints were too, though (possibly) for rather different reasons. His website talks about his "INSANE 2008 event". Hmmm.

In any case, I very much prefer the notion of pillow saints. That sounds much more appealing. And feasible. In fact, that might become one of my new aims in life.

This is quite an old photo, but LG's ideas about one of The Best Ways to spend the day haven't changed hugely since then.

Good pillows are extremely important.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

children and animals

Rosie is the year-old golden retriever we stayed with in Jersey (along with her humans). The house was regularly littered with the disembowled remains of the soft toys she loves to play with and she has the eyes and expression to make you feel like an utter scumbag should you think of going out without her. Her ears are beautiful.

She loves other dogs and soft toys and humans and tug-of-war and television. Especially the animal planet.

This is our new nephew - how could you not nuzzle and sniff such a little head?

My mother-in-law is originally from Malta and most of M's family - including my own LG - were born with a riot of silky black hair like this. When LG was a baby people used to almost delight in telling me it would all fall out or rub off. It didn't much. So nyah nyah nyah.

My own hair is entirely different and much less delightful but i have recently succumbed to LG's make-over nagging and i too now have short newly-black hair, but its way less cute and nuzzlesome than this.

Our other (2) nephews in Jersey have transmogrified, over the nearly 3 years since we visited, into teenagers. The deep voices, height (they're probably both approaching 6' or more), teenage humour, large feet, disreputable topics of conversation etc.... were all predictable. Less expected was the mass of curly hair which they both now have.

Nobody in the family seems to know where it has come from. It must be some recessive gene. Last time I saw the boys they both had very straight hair (as they always have had) which was also kept pretty short because of the perennial peskiness of head-lice at school. Now - curliness abounds.

LG and the boys have always got on like the proverbial incendiary dwelling-place. Even after nearly 3 years, and with puberty in the interim (and all that that entails) there was scarcely a whisper of hesitation before they were back to their old hilarious loquacious riotous easy familiarity. Thick as thieves.

They hatched a plot.

We didn't expect it would come to fruition, given all the variables.

It has.

So, two teenage boys will be on a plane, London-bound, on Monday, to stay here for 10 days while they are all on their Easter/spring school break.

Wish me luck.