A real scrapping blog, living, loving life and scrapping it along the way with ratty adventures thrown in too. Come into the Zone with me and see what the Twins and I are up to today!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Stroopwafles (travelogue part two)

Welcome back to part two of my day trip to Amsterdam.

There were only two places that I really wanted to visit whilst there, one was Anne Frank's house and the other the Van Gogh exhibition - I am a fan of his work so to see it in real life in his home country was quite something to me.............I had no real plans for the rest of my trip - I just wanted to explore and see what there was to see. Not far into my wandering I came across this chap and we had a little chat about what to see and do........
he explained where Anne Frank's house was and I took a slow meander there, marvelling at the sights on the way. I took lots of photos but you would be here all day if I uploaded everything........for example this HUGE three storey bike rack...................
......so I just walked and snapped away......... and soon I found it.
Well, this was it - Anne Franks house! It has a museum attached which documents her life, diary and persecution...............unfortunately the queue to get in was enormous and as I only had one day I decided not to join it but went for a coffee and continental breakfast next door instead!
This is only half the queue, it stretches back further than you can see..........!!!
Once refreshed I set off again, snapping things that caught my eye, lots and lots of bicycles...
and then this cutie lying in the pavement begging to be tickled.

Interesting graffitti on odd corners and walls.....
and beautiful canal side streets, lined with houseboats and trees....
more bicycles........everywhere you looked bicycles...........
and then on to the famous flower market.
I was looking forward to seeing some famous tulips in Amsterdam, but alas it was not to be...
lots of stunning flowers  and lillies in a variety of colours

but the only tulips I saw were these....................!!!
As I walked further around the city the architecture and adornments were everywhere and the buildings, mostly converted warehouse were stunning and beautifully furnished.
If there weren't bikes in racks or locked to posts they were being ridden, by families, couples, with dogs in baskets and by tourists. I did think about hiring one , but bikes and cameras and busy roads are not a good mix and anyway, I cycle all the time at home!!
Beautiful canal side homes..............
and finally after a few hours, my second on the list. 
Obviously there were no photos allowed inside but to sit and absorb the Sunflowers in real life and see the use of brush and colour  by the master himself - magical!!

After a good hour in the museum I headed to a nearby park for a change of scene....
and met more friends along the way............
Another hour passed interrupted only by a few short heavy rainfalls, which happened on and off all day and then back into the city where I stumbled across a garden filled with stone lizards and this outsized outdoor chess game in full swing.

As the heavens opened again I headed into a pancake house for some stroopwafles and a coffee. I needed the sugar rush as I was beginning to flag and still had a few more hours to fill.....
Of course as much as I wanted to avoid it, (busmans holiday and all that)  you cannot visit Amsterdam without going to the famous red light district.
I have to say that it was a lot more tame than I expected and the groups of men/boys giggling amongst themselves began to get on my nerves. Have they never seen an ugly-ish woman in her undies in a shop window before???
The Moulin Rouge wasn't even a windmill for heaven's sake - at least they got that right in Paris!!
looking at it from the bridge here you would never guess what was going on behind those closed, sometimes open doors.....................

With an hour and half to go before making my way back to the coach I mooched round the shops, but have to say I didnt stop to buy very much! By now I had a real headache from all the cannabis that was being smoked throughout the city and was also pretty tired.
I stopped for a quick beer and just wished I was at home already!

Aside from the awful journey to get there and back, I am glad I went to Amsterdam. As a city it is an awesome mix of architecture and styles, and an artists delight, but the hype that goes along with it is far over rated and really not my cup of tea!! I think that for this adventure it is a case of been there, done that, don't really need to go back!!!
It didn't cost much to go thankfully and I would have spent far more if I'd gone to Ally Pally instead, just wouldn't have such great photos!!
Right, off to surf the web to see where to go next................??

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

All good things come to an end!

Well, today is the last day of my holiday and I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself!!
There has been just the right amount of adventure balanced with equal amounts of loafing at home, bonding with the babies and completing chores and settling down for the coming Winter months!

Last night I discovered my local picture house - what a joy, and I kept my date with Julia and watched her in Eat Pray Love. I know there have been mixed reviews about this film, but I have to say that I loved loved loved it! I laughed and cried all the way through!!
 I found it to be really relevant to me this year, and although my adventures aren't quite on the same scale as Liz's, (I sadly can't afford to pack up and take time out for a whole year!!) they have taught me the same sort of things that she learnt on her journey. There is nothing wrong with being a little self indulgence to learn to balance yourself and become a better person for it!!

I have had my haircut this morning in preparation for going back to work tomorrow and I am feeling calm and ready to face whatever crap they throw at me when I get there!!

Sadly the only area to suffer in all this balancing is my scrapping! I was determined to produce loads of works of art and as previously mentioned only managed two! I did however find a fab little journal book in TKMAX, which might possibly mean that the Venice album might finally take shape?? If not it will become home to several mini adventures in one book.
The LO above is it - not entirely happy with it and it hasn't photographed at all well, but it does include real life shells from the beach that I happily beach -combed in the rain that day!

Ok I promise the next post will be part two of Amsterdam, am off now to pack my schoolbag!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Remember the Loreal advert !!!! (travelogue part one)

I have always been able to sleep on a washing line, or a sixpence or whatever the saying is.  I am a doormouse, and usually, if I'm not driving will be found asleep ten minutes into any journey longer than an hour!!

It is with nearly forty years of this knowledge that I booked by lastest mini adventure, and it will be the last similar styley mistake I ever make!!!!

In an effort to go as far as possible for as little as possible, and avoid the grey weather we have had the last few days I booked a coach trip to visit................................Amsterdam! ( I was going to go to Paris but they had the same crap weather forecast that we did, and I've already been there!!)
It involved travelling overnight, to wake up (having slept the whole way as per usual) refreshed and ready to explore the city for the day, then sleep again on the return journey home.
Perfect! And all for less than it would cost to fill up my car!

Oh boy! Did I say sleep? I didn't get a wink!!!
From the uncomfortable seats, ( I even took a blanket and travel pillow) to the noisy fellow passengers who clearly thought it was 'cool' to try to big up their experiences with drugs, or were shipping their whole family abroad for the cost of a tank of petrol. Some of the type of people who travel this way are not the usual types I would ever associate with, unless in the line of duty if you catch my drift?? And ok, maybe I'm a snob but - I will never do this again. Whatever the cost for a flight and/or overnight hotel - IT IS WORTH IT!! (co's of course  - I am worth it!!)

Tired, stiff and ever so slightly crabby we arrived in...............the middle of nowhere. No map, no guidebook (remember this was a lastminute trip), and any attempt to converse with the locals proved fairly tricky. Eventually though I managed to purchase  a travel card and made my way by metro (tube) to the centre of the city.
Aaaahhhh! This was more like it...........
I tried to banish any preconceived ideas about the place, and as usual wanted to explore the city thru the eye of my lens, which for me, means lots of walking and not really doing the tourist thing. The weather was perfect, sunny with a slight chill but not too cold and I started out with a canal boat ride to get my bearings and see what the city had in store for me...................................
For a water lover like me (Aquarius!!) it was paradise. Bridges and locks over  and under the freshwater canals.
 Abandoned bicycles and typical Dutch warehouse style houses, so far so good......................

The boat trip only lasted an hour and I couldn't wait to see more on foot, but you'll have to come back another day to see those photos and hear what I really thought of Amsterdam!
Am now off to relax with a glass of wine and my little squeekers!

Friday, 24 September 2010

In the meantime.....

You can tell these pictures weren't taken today because of the state of the weather - yuk - its rather wet outside at the moment! Hope you are all snuggled up indoors crafting merrily??

On the last day of sunshine the other afternoon, I decided to visit Hampstead Heath, a place I have been meaning to go to for years, but as it's on my doorstep, somehow I have never quite managed it!!!
(In case you are wondering  - that's not my doorstep sadly!!)

I enjoyed several hours mooching about with my camera and spent the time with a very nice lady, Maggie, and her dog Zoe, who took it upon themselves to show me virtually the entire heath in one afternoon!
From secluded spooky woods with trees shaped like gnarled old men to delightful open spaces depicting beautiful English countryside, ponds where birds and people can swim and even one where the dogs enjoy a paddle and a play!

Maggie was unstoppable and very knowledgeable. She pointed out all the different trees and birds to me. You would never have guessed she was 66 and suffering from MS. She was a delight to walk with and the second inspirational woman I have spent time with in as many weeks!
(And that's not Maggie by the way either).

We meandered for hours watching dogs and people, stopping to chat and admire the view. She didn't  even seem to mind me stopping to fiddle about with my camera every few steps.
This was really food for the soul, and in as much abundance as I had found it the previous week in Wales! And right here, only 45 mins from home!!!
This is my new found favourite (local) place, and you can be guaranteed that I will be returning here when the leaves have turned for some truly stunning picture opportunities! The fresh air and open space was just what I was craving after a few days on the road and in the flat.
Julia Roberts new film is out today, 'Eat Pray Love'. It seems to be on something of a theme that I am experiencing myself at the moment, in my own little way. I will definitely be going to see it after my next little adventure which starts in about 3 hours time.....................but maybe I will call my version 'Breathe Photograph Live'?!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Settling down nicely!

By which I am referring to me - in the Zone - a place I haven't been in for quite a while now! The old mojo was a bit rusty and slow to flow but we're getting there and I have produced two LO's so far.
 ( I know I know, that's not very many really!!)
Of course me being me, it has dawned on me that the end of my hols is approaching fast, and I have got itchy feet again. After having spent the last few days cleaning and doing chores and general rat whispering duties I am off for another mini adventure tomorrow - will tell you all about it when I get back, but it should certainly provide some more scrapping pics for now and the Getaway next month!
In the meantime,  here's a completed page from my little adventure at the beginning of my hols. Beautiful, patient Favour who put up with me riding her whilst in the Gower and was very kissy and snuggly so couldn't have minded too much!!

Speaking of kissy, little Fred and Barney are settling in very well - at least with me anyway. They are both adorable and kissy little piglets, very inquisitive and quite different to Harry and Wills when they were small! Harry seems to have got over his initial excitement however and seems rather indifferent to them, so none of the snuggling up in the tent that I had imagined, at least not yet anyway.
I am pleased to say that there is not much fighting going on, and Barney at least seems to give as good as he gets - I think Harry is a bit put out that he might not be top rat for too long and he knows it!! Makes a change as he did used to bully little Willy!
 Poor old Harry, I wonder what he is thinking? I only got the piglets so he wouldn't be lonely. I hope he starts to like them a bit better soon?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

When 2 became 4!!!

I am pleased to finally introduce you to Fred....

and Barney

Harry's new chums are here and proving to be most entertaining!

Harry was like a child with a pressie when we got home on Monday night, he didn't know whether to play with the toy or the box it came in (which happened to be his holiday house ) - it was very funny to watch and he kept running up to me to see if it was really true and there were other ratties for him to play with!
After a while though he exhausted himself so had to stop for a snooze and gave the babies a chance to investigate him!!!

Look how tiny there are compared to fat old Harry!!

We are all settling in slowly as we've had a few scuffles, but so far so good!

The babies are far too wriggly to photograph and I am not blessed with three hands to both hold them and capture a picture, so please excuse my poor attempts at home movies.....

I am pleased to say that they are both very kissy and seem to love Mummy and Cheerios as much as Harry does!!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Quick Update!

As dismal as this place is - I didn't expect this extravaganza when I ordered toffee cheesecake for pud!!

It's a gastro-scrapping delight and tastes even better then it looks!

If for no other reason , come to St Helens for this!!!!


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Ratty road trip

That's what I am on today!!
The adventure mobile is stuffed full of cages that will be filled with wriggly furry squeakers by about 1130am tomorrow morning!!
(2 for me and 2 for Fliss who bred them)

I am staying here, in a comfy but very old fashioned room in a hotel in St Helens! It's not the most exciting place but near the ratties foster home and obviously too far to travel up and back in one day!

Am currently sat in the restaurant with a nice cold peroni waiting a rump of lamb cooked in mint jus. This will be followed by Merlin and Casualty by which time I will be asleep!

In the morning I plan on a leisurely swim and sauna before travelling the last leg of the journey to ratville - I think it's a bit like mouseville but without the circus??

Can't wait to meet them!
Harry won't know what's hit him tomorrow night!!

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