shewhomust: (watchmen)
  • Intrigued by remarks on my friends' page, and elsewhere, we tracked down Jeremy Corbyn's appearance on The One Show. Which was fine, but not as interesting as a short film from the European Stone Stacking Championship (don't miss the picture gallery).



  • We spent last Saturday at Wonderlands, a perfect mini comics / graphic novels con. Went to several panels, wandered round the hall, talked to lots of people, had a great time - there ought to be more to say about it, but no. Take the title of this post as an indication of my esteem. And have a quote from Martin Rowson, on the primacy of drawing: "Writing is just a by-product of accountancy."


  • It was at Wonderlands that Mel Gibson told us about her late father, Jeff Johnson: I hadn't heard of him, or seen his work, but I rather like the painting reproduced in that obituary.


  • On Saturday evening we went to The Dragon and the Bone Queen, half performance, half illustrated lecture based on the work of Records of Early English Drama North-East: there was a procession led by the Boy Bishop (Durham always has to be different, and marked Whitsuntide with not one but two Boy Bishops, one for Durham itself and one for Elvet), there was music, both singing and instrumental, there was a dragon, there was the Dance of Death, as represented by the Bone Queen and her attendants:

    The Bone Queen and her attendants


  • It was a beautiful evening, as you can see from the light flooding in through the window and fogging the photo. We walked home from the Music School by the scenic route, and admired the evening light on the Cathedral, not to mention the moon...

    Moon and stone
shewhomust: (Default)
[personal profile] durham_rambler and I have postal votes, so we have already voted - oh, weeks ago. We had a choice of seven candidates, but it wasn't a hard choice: I voted Labour, for Roberta Blackman-Woods, the retiring MP. She has done good work on behalf of the constituency , and there is much in the party manifesto that I really like. (I could wish that these two things were more connected, and hope that this vote helps to bring that about.) The Lib Dem candidate is a local councillor, but I voted Lib Dem once, and they went into coalition with the Tories, so I'm not making that mistake again; I might have been tempted to vote Green, but the local candidate - well, let's just say I'm not impressed; the Tory is a Tory, and works for the University; UKIP apparently couldn't find a local candidate (hooray!) and had to bus someone in from Hampshire. This we knew when we cast our votes. Since then we have also received leaflets from the Young People's Party candidate, who stood as an Independent last time round, but has now found a party he likes, making him one of the country's three YPP candidates: they have some interesting ideas, which his election flyer undermined with a page of pointless snark; and an Independent who appears to be saying, if I have disentangled this correctly, that all politicians break their election promises, and he will avoid this by not making any promises.

So that's that. Now we wait and see. We will sit up for as much of the result as we can bear, which will probably be more in [personal profile] durham_rambler's case than in mine! It's going to be a long day. I shall do my best to fill it with useful tasks, and have already started a loaf of bread, and set the fridge to defrost (long overdue). [personal profile] durham_rambler has unblocked the sink in the bathroom. Time to strip the bed and wash some sheets, perhaps?

But first, we have a date to take our friend F. out for a birthday lunch; and [personal profile] durham_rambler has just told me that we need to set off in half an hour. Time to knock back the bread and find something more festive to wear!
shewhomust: (bibendum)
Ten days ago, the Guardian submitted supermarket croissants to a taste test. The highest scoring (8/10) were from Waitrose, which surprised me, as I had bought a pack of croissants from Waitrose and been very disappointed: light and flaky is good, but so flaky and insubstantial that you end up with a plateful of crumbs and nothing else. I'd preferred Lidl. Then I realised that my Waitrose croissants had been a pack of four, I forget the exact brand but something indicating 'Waitrose superior'; the Guardian's were 'Waitrose 1' brand, and a pack of two cost £1.50, which the Guardian thought was pricey.

That sent me off on a happy wild goose chase across the internet. I'm sure that when I spent a year in France, the price of croissants, like the price of the baguette, was regulated. Evidently that's no longer the case, and what's more, people seem more interested in the price of a pain au chocolat than of a croissant (pause in which I reflect on the depravity of modern tastes). The best I can do is this piece in Le Figaro about the popular entertainment of quizzing politicians about the price of everyday items. Last October, Jean-François Copé (of whom I have never heard) was asked how much a pain au chocolat cost, and guessed "Aux alentours de 10 ou 15 centimes d'euros, non?" The correct answer, says Le Figaro, is that you'd pay about ten times that much at the baker's. Which makes Waitrose's £1.50 for two croissants look about right. One of the comments below the article points out that in the local supermarket, a pack of right costs €1.89 € (24 cents each), but in the bakery section of the same shop they are 95 cents each - and in the café across the road, &euro4 each. From all of which I conclude that you make your choice and you get what you pay for, and, to come back to that 'taste test', which supermarket you buy from matters less than where in the supermarket. Despite which, I have a highest opinion of Lidl's bakery.

However.

This had set me thinking about croissants, and the obvious next move was to have another go at baking my own. I took down Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery - no, I know this isn't exactly English cookery, but that wasn't the problem. First, Mrs David says, "I have only limited tolerance towards all the rolling and folding and turning involved in puff pastry..." and since for croissants you submit a yeasted dough to exactly the same process, she doesn't often bother. Secondly, she says, on those rare occasions when she does bake croissants, she uses Julia Child's recipe, and instructs the reader to do likewise. She relents only to the extent of giving what is evidently a professional's recipe for baking industrial quantities of croissants, with some hints about how to modify it for home use. Well, that's OK - she doesn't give an exact recipe, but since I adapt for my sourdough bread, an exact recipe would be wasted on me. What's more, I added a further random factor by carefully measuring out and adding too much water to my dough (no, I don't know what I was thinking either; these things happen). So the usefulness of this post as a reminder of what I did is as much awful warning as model to follow. Well, that's useful, too.

I used all wheat flour, in order to get the highest possible gluten content, but I couldn't bring myself to use all white flour, because that's not a thing I do. So I used five oz wholemeal flour, and since I had inadvertently added too much water, I had to keep adding white flour until I could handle it. Which was so much higher a proportion than usual that it might be worth nerving myself to use all white next time, just to see what happens. Made the dough, knocked it back, adding more flour rather than oil - and again. Next time, I added butter. The recipe says 450g butter to a kilo of flour, so I aimed for half a pound to my (notional, actually substantially more) of flour; the recipe says spread butter on half the dough and fold in half, but I sliced butter from the fridge over two thirds of the dough, then folded in thirds (the unbuttered third over, and then the unfolded third over that). Leave in a cool place, and repeat twice more. Then rolls out, cut into triangles and shape the croissants. Brush with beaten egg, leave to prove again, brush with more egg (this took one whole egg altogether) and bake, in the top of the over, mark 6 for 20 minutes.

Here's the thing I need to remember: it was not actually all that hard work. And the results were - well, I have had worse. They were chewy rather than flaky, and quite dense, and the layers were - vestigial. But worth it, I think. Certainly all the folding is just another thing to find time for, and I think the results would be better if I'd found more time, not for the process but for letting the dough rest between rounds. Start earlier, and steal time from the initial proving, maybe? It might actually be worth buying salted butter, which I don't usually do, and not salting the dough. And that two-stage egg wash is certainly worth the fuss.
shewhomust: (galleon)
Bolting together two posts which have been simmering for a little while, because they seem to fit together: in reverse chronological order, first one of a series of lectures organised by Durham's World Heritage Site management, then a two-part television series following the salt roads from Morocco to Timbuktu.

Syria and other disaster areas )

The road to Timbuktu )
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
There is something evocative about sherds - the detritus of the past. Crucial archaeological evidence, of course, and, if you are not an archaeologist, this vivid, tangible reminder of people who have been here before, making things and using them and discarding them. The past seems to echo with the sound of breaking crockery.

Penelope Lively, Ammonites and Leaping Fish
shewhomust: (puffin)
It was 2013 when we first visited the Amble Puffin Festival: time to return. The Festival stays much the same from year to year, but Amble has seen some changes: the town itself is still slightly down-at-heel, scruffier than its smart neighbour Alnmouth, but there is gentrification afoot at the harbour:

Coble Quay


This smart new development is Coble Quay (25 apartments, the Fat Mermaid deli and bistro and a "Private - Residents Only" sign): I wonder if it will still look as smart when it is no longer new? There's a shed which is a seafood centre, which is in the process of setting up a lobster hatchery, and in its shade a little cluster of shops in what look like a row of bathing huts, selling the sort of things people buy at the seaside - no, not buckets and spades, not these days, now is is all handmade cosmetics and seaglass jewellery, and some rather nice prints, drawings of seabirds printed on old maps. When we had checked out these bijou boutiques, we crossed to the other side of the harbour, and spent the rest of the morning at the car boot sale, which is unchanged, all glittering beads and odds and ends of china, cheap DVDs and discarded toys. We bought a book each, and enjoyed the view of the harbour at low tide:

Low tide


Note the heron, which seemed to be coexisting amicably with some eider ducks. Note also how hazy it is. It's even clearer if you look across the river to Warkworth Castle:

Castle in the mist


This wasn't entirely unexpected - in fact it was part of my plan: if the weather is too hot, head for the coast, where a sea fret is quite likely to cool things down. Which worked very well for us in the morning, enough sunshine, but not too much. Towards the end of lunch (we started out at the Fat Mermaid, which was pleasant enough, but felt the pull of Spurreli's, and headed there for ice cream) the sky began to cloud over, and as soon as we set off to explore the town, it started to rain on us, quite heavily. So we didn't stay for the naming of the new lifeboat, but headed for home. The rain stopped as we reached the car, of course, and the drive home was even quite bright, at times, but just as we turned off the main road there was a loud crash, and then another, and hailstones the size of sugar lumps started bouncing off the car. A couple of hundred yards further on, it turned to torrential rain, and the thunderstorm which had been forecast - and the rain has been stopping and starting ever since.

Bonus seaside poem: I'm not a big dan of John Cooper Clarke, but the collaborative process seems to suit him. I think this came out rather well.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
Apologies for radio silence, lately. My desk is in the attic, and it gets very warm up here in the summer. Most years this creeps up on me, gradually getting harder to stay focused into the afternoon, but this year the sudden heat* has hit me like a brick, and I crawled away in search of cooler parts of the house where I might sleep until the summer weather has passed.

I grabbed a book from the heap to help me though this time of trial, and it turned out to be Laurie R. King's Dreaming Spies. Such a great title for what is, in part at least, an Oxford novel (and sufficiently loosely a tale of spies that I wonder whether she found the title first, and then had to write a book to fit it). You may deduce from this that nature of my relationship with Mary Russell: two parts suspicion to three parts 'I'm not going to put this book aside until I've finished it'.

*For values of heat as it understood in the northeast of England, obviously. Californians (and others who live with serious summer climates) feel free to laugh.
shewhomust: (Default)
Well, no, I probably won't go all the way to London to patronise Passport Photo Service, as described in the Guardian.

I could do worse, though. It was founded in 1953, and thanks to its speedy service and central location had many famous clients, often referred by the US Embassy. "The first famous person through the door was Errol Flynn. He stood with his hands on his hips and said: 'Yep! It's me!'" Mohammed Ali saw the gallery of passport photos, and told the firm that now they could replace them with a single big picture of him; Uri Geller bent their only spoon.

But their "most important" visitor? Too nice a story to spoil: go, read for yourself.
shewhomust: (Default)
The builders have gone, and the downstairs bathroom is ours, all ours. The final stage was completed on Friday morning, when the boss came to photograph the finished job, and the cleaner came to clean up. I don't know what the point of this was, as she only cleaned the bathroom, and given the amount of dust the builders had generated, and their commendable ability to clear as they went, the bathroom was probably the cleanest room in the house. The boss took his pictures before she cleaned, so that wasn't the purpose... But there's no point arguing with builders, so we left her to it, and once she'd finished we went out for the day.

It looks very smart - too smart, in fact, to belong to us, it feels like stepping through a spacewarp into a hotel bathroom somewhere. We have both tried out the shower, and [personal profile] durham_rambler pronounces himself satisfied, which is the important thing, as he is the primary showerer. I'm a little disappointed: I think I'm still hankering after that overhead power shower, which we couldn't have without rewiring and replumbing the entire house. It's fine, and it's certainly better than it was before, and if it doesn't make me prefer a shower to a bath, that was never really on the cards.

And while grey tiles would still not be my first choice, it is nowhere near as dreary as I feared.
shewhomust: (bibendum)
Belsay Hall


Belsay Hall is an English Heritage property in Northumberland: its most interesting feature is a Quarry Garden (a rock garden on an altogether grander scale), but the house itself is square and rather dull. Last time we visited there I described it as: "the shell of a stately home which uses the building and gardens as a setting in which to display contemporary art around a different theme each year." This memory gave me inflated expectations of the quilting exhibition which has been occupying the hall for the last couple of weeks - which was a perfectly pleasant exhibition of an awful lot of quilts, some of which I likd better than others, but none of which were particularly memorable.

So that was a bit of an anticlimax, but it was outweighed by this being a brilliant time to visit the gardens. Everything was in bloom, there were bluebells in the woods:

The path through the bluebell woods


That door at the far end of the path looks as if it ought to be the way out of the gardens: on the contrary, it leads back into the formal gardens. Have an iris (because I do love irises):

Iris


The route home leads through Ponteland, so we stopped at Waitrose and did the weekend shopping there.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
On Thursday I found a copy of Ben Aaronovitch's The Hanging Tree in a charity shop. I've been waiting for the paperback, and here was a copy of the hardback, missing its dust jacket but only slightly bent, at a fraction of the price and a couple of months early. I carried it home in triumph, and with an amazing effort of will managed not to start reading it for almost a day and a half. Then I caved in, and read it at every opportunity over the next couple of days. I love the 'Rivers of London' series, novels and comics both, and I enjoyed this sixth book as much as any of them.

So it wasn't until very early this morning, inexplicably wakeful and listening to the dawn chorus, that I started to think "Hang on, what happened to the plot?"

Contains spoilers, but of a very non-specific nature. ) But. The Hanging Tree has a sort of coda in which Peter reflects on what has happened, and draws some conclusions, and it felt like a promise: this is not just recycling the same characters, there is an overarching story going on here.

Aaronovitch goes to a lot of trouble to remind us of past volumes in the series. Characters, themes, locations, all reappear and are remarked on (it's a great candidate for a re-read). I feel he's earned my trust that the future is as solid as the past. If The Hanging Tree doesn't feel quite complete in itself, it's because it's one section of a single novel in multiple installments. "Oh," I thought, "it's a roman fleuve!"

Then I realised what I'd done, and was so pleased with myself that I fell asleep again.
shewhomust: (guitars)
We watched the Eurovision final on Saturday. If I were taking this seriously, I suppose we'd have watched both semi-finals, and then lived-blogged our way through the final. But to take Eurovision seriously is to miss the point.

I did consider live-blogging the final, but couldn't bring myself to do it. If I had, it might have kept me awake, at least until the end of the competition. As it was, I nodded off somewhere in the last few songs: looking at the running order, I don't remember anything after Belgium, so that must be when I fell asleep (sorry, Belgium) and woke up as we launched into the mid-way entertainment, wondering "When do we get to France?"

Since we are living in the future, I hadn't missed my chance forever, and caught up not only with France's entry as performed during the show, with spectacular lighting but also with the official video, a stronger performance of the song but with the distraction of a couple dancing - or appearing to dance - all over various Parisian landmarks. Usually you can count on France singing in French (or at a pinch, Breton, but in any case, not English) which always wins points from me. Requiem was half-French, half-English, despite which I rather liked the song; I could still remember phrases of it ten minutes later, and that's unusual for Eurovision. I don't know why it didn't score higher. Was it too blatant a bid for the sympathy vote, with the lyric:
On pleure mais on survit quand même
C'est la beauté du requiem
and the visuals playing on the idea of Paris, city of lights?

Another deep and meaningful entry was Italy's Occidentalis Karma - it seems there was a reason for the man in the gorilla suit. Only in Eurovision would you decide - quite late in the proceedings, apparently - to underline the serious message of your song by bringing on a man in a (not very good) gorilla suit. So perhaps there was a reason for Azerbaijan's staging: the blackboard with key words I sort of understand, because you'd need help to remember the lyrics, which seem to have been rendered from the Azeri by Google translate. But why is the man with the horse's head standing on a stepladder? Or, if you prefer, why is the man on the stepladder wearing a horse's head? You might as well ask why Belarus's duo, channeling the young Sonny and Cher (or perhaps Esther and Abi Ofarim) were in a small boat? Still, they sang in Belorussian, which is a first, so top marks for that!

The slogan of Eurovision 2017 was "Celebrate Diversity". This was achieved by having three presenters, all white men - all youngish, able-bodied white men - wearing dinner jackets each of which had a different design of sparkly decoration. You think I'm just being snarky? Here's the official video explanation of the brand: the image is based on a traditional Ukrainian necklace, a string of beads of different sizes. The European nations are like the beads of that necklace, all different but alike enough to make a harmonious whole - no, that's my interpretation.

And, to be fair, the winning entry was the one which was most unlike any of the others. By which I don't mean Hungary's operatic blend of Gypsy drama and rap (one man and his milkchurn, a woman in white to express adoration in dance and a woman in black to play the fiddle) though politically this was a remarkable piece of ethnic diversity. I don't mean Romania's blend of rap and yodelling, though musically that's pretty WTF even by Eurovision standards. No, I'm talking about Portugal's decision not to play the Eurovision game of bigger means better, more staging, more lights, more dancers and special effects, and to present instead what BBC commentator Graham Norton described as "just a boy in his bedroom singing a song written by his sister". Which, allowing for the lights which have transformed that bedroom into a magic forest, happens to be true, but it is a very pretty song - none of this is my kind of music, and this particular kind of 'LaLa Land' nostalgia less than most, but it was the bookies' favourite and it won, giving Portugal its first ever Eurovision victory.

It has happened before that the winning song has been a rejection of the razzmatazz and hype. I'm thinking of 1994, when Ireland won with Rock 'n' Roll Kids, a male fuo, two older-than-the-average-contestants singing about being middle aged, without a big band, accompanying themselves on piano and guitar. It was Ireland's third consecutive win, and there was a rumour (though Wikipedia denies it) that it was deliberately designed not to win, not to incur the expense of hosting the contest yet again. I'll end with a reminder of what Eurovision used to be like, back in a quieter age, with Terry Wogan in the commentary box:

shewhomust: (Default)
Yesterday I believed in summer. I walked into town without a jacket, and I took my camera with me to photograph the bluebells down the road:

Bluebells


The first cherries had arrived at the greengrocer's, and there is still asparagus. And the long evenings seem to have arrived while I wasn't paying attention.

Today is cooler, grey and overcast. The radio warns me of heavy showers, thunderstorms, and Theresa May visiting the northeast.
shewhomust: (Default)
- or at least, I'm hoping it is. [personal profile] durham_rambler and I, looking at the piles of materials the builders are stacking all over the house (and I mean materials - cladding, tiles, bags of plaster - not including their collection of buckets, toolboxes and other paraphernalia) estimate that if you stacked it all in the bathroom, it would cover the entire floor to a depth of more than a metre.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
Because one of the pleasures of being on holiday is packing a big pile of books (yes, even though I have a Kindle; now I pack a big pile of books and my Kindle) and feeling justified in spending lots of time reading them. Our recent trip was a four-book holiday - and there's a hidden theme: when is a historical novel not a historical novel?

  1. Started before we set off: Ren and the Blue Hands )


  2. A novel for adults by Noel Streatfeild )


  3. Flashman )


  4. Wives and Daughters ) It's a long, steady read, and I was still deep in it when I returned home (and once I'd finished it, I was ready for more Mrs Gaskell, so that's not a bad thing).
shewhomust: (guitars)
It was the Folk Degree students' concert at the Sage last night. There are always worthwhile, even if some years are more to my taste than others, and I sometimes feel we're the only people in the audience who aren't the parents of one of the performers. Last night was a good one - some promising performers, some good material, and we were sharing a table (they call it 'cabaret style' seating, and it disguises the comparative emptiness of the hall) with a couple who spotted [personal profile] durham_rambler's Fair Isle Bird Observatory sweatshirt, and told us they were from Shetland: their daughter was one of the students, and they lived across the road from Steven Robertson - and no, they hadn't been to Fair Isle...

The show opened with the whole of years one and two singing Leon Rosselson's song for William Morris, Bringing the News from Nowhere, which I am disappointed not to find on the internet. A trio already performing together as Hareshaw Linn (it's the name of a waterfall) did three songs: one of their own composing, Terry Conway's Fareweel Regality. and Hares on the Mountain - a bit pretty, perhaps, but very promising. I would not have expected to enjoy Katie McCleod's two songs - dramatic delivery, jazzy cool, not my style at all, but against the odds, it worked. There should be more videos in this post, and I've been looking for them, and not finding them - worse than that, in fact, I've discovered that embedded videos don't seem to have transferred from LiveJournal, leaving holes in a number of posts.

Meanwhile, our bathroom fitters were texting us to say that they now knew how they planned to fix the underfloor damp problem, and could they come at eight o' clock this morning? That's the good news, but it's also the bad news. We settled for nine o' clock, they arrived, opened doors and windows, and turned off the water; I gave up any idea of baking bread, and we went out to lunch. It's all progress...

ETA: Even in an edited highlights post, I should have mentioned The Big Band With No Name, because although this may sound like an ad hoc arrangement to emsure that every student, however unconfident, does something of their own, it actually included at least two individuals who played with great personality, despite not appearing elsewhere. Also the young woman in the checked shirt who sang Willie o' Winsbury (performing in a trio which also, if I am remembering this right, included the ubiquitous Bertie Armstrong) - good voice, interesting if slightly over-arranged accompaniment, brilliantly confident introduction. "She'll go far," says [personal profile] durham_rambler.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
  • As agreed, the bathroom fitters arrived on Tuesday morning to start work on the downstairs bathroom. They ripped out all the fittings, and took up the floor. They discovered, what we had already told them, that there was damp underneath the floor (this, indeed, more than a desire for a shiny modern wet room, is the reason why the downstairs bathroom heads the list of home improvements). "I thought there would be joists under the flooring," said the boss, and we made sympathetic noises, and refrained from saying that we had told him the floor was solid (and he had confirmed explicitly that he felt competent to take on a job which was likely to involve remedial building work). The work will take longer and cost more than the original estimate, but this hasn't come as a total surprise. The most unnerving thing is hearing the excited Polish conversations and not knowing what they are about.


  • To the cinema, to see Their Finest. It is based on a novel called Their Finest Hour and a Half, which strikes me as a clever and witty title: I wonder why they changed it for one which people are forever getting wrong? But the film was enjoyable, if you didn't think about it too hard. Apparently it is still inevitable, if a man and a woman are on friendly terms, that romance will ensue (and I don't think that can be regarded as a spoiler since it is, as I say, inevitable). It also has to balance - or perhaps juggle - a humorous depiction of the making of a film which will boost morale during the Blitz, with the depiction of the Blitz itself, which isn't in the least funny. This dissonance was amplified by the fact that the film within a film is a sentimental account of Dunkirk, and one of the trailers preceding the main feature was for a particularly bloodthirsty account of the same event.


  • We walked home over Milburngate Bridge, which we haven't done for some time, as parts of the route (not always the bridge itself) have been closed for various reasons. We had a fine view of the pile of rubble where the Passport Office used to be - literally, in that the plan is to use the debris of the old building as a platform on which to build the new, so raising it above the main flood risk. The heron was strolling along the weir, admiring his reflection in the still water above it.


  • Yes, election day. We, like many other parts of the country, have county council elections. You are forgiven for not noticing. The news media have occasionally mentioned the elections for the new powerhouse mayors (thankfully, we have escaped this one so far), but county councils are beneath their notice: London doesn't have one, so it can't be anything important. Finally, today they had to notice. The Today programme this morning kept announcing that 'we aren't reporting on politics today' in what I thought was a very passive-aggressive manner.


  • For what it's worth, I'm not convinced that reporting on the issues - such as they are - of the General Election would have had much influence in this ward. We have been showered with leaflets by both Greens and Lib Dems, who have good grounds for claiming that neither Labour nor Tories have a hope. I'm quite insulted that the Labour Party haven't felt it worth making an effort: they control the County Council, and seem to resent that the City is an enclave of dissent, but they haven't tried to win us over. The other contender was an independent - a semi-detached Green, and I wonder what the story is behind that? Anyway, the polls have just closed - the count is tomorrow.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
I was feeling that I had not completed as much work, both work work and domestic, as I should have, until I realised that it's only a week since we returned from holiday - precisely this time last week we were in the process of disembarking at North Shields. I feel better about it now.

We had been delayed by head winds overnight, and the captain apologised for our late arrival in three languages. I was delighted to spot that in English we were to arrive at "eleven o' clock, ship's time." In German this became "Central European Time." Only in Dutch was it "Netherlands time."
shewhomust: (bibendum)
I've already posted the condensed version of our day in Bruges: here's the longer version, with illustrations. As I said, we parked in the car park next to the station, which gave us free bus travel into town - and this is what we saw when we got off the bus:

Two towers">
.

There's more, under the cut: )
shewhomust: (Default)
Or, more accurately, five hotels in Northern Europe. But this is going to be a dull enough post (unless you're actually contemplating a trip to one or more of these locations) so indulge me in my immodest header. Five hotels, booked through Booking.com, which I find reliable and transparently easy to use: I didn't actually set out to pick five completely different hotels, but if I had, I couldn't have done it better.

NH Gent Belfort )

Hotel de la Poste - Relais Napoleon III )

Zum Christophel, Trier )

Pallazzo Alfonso, Aachen )

Star Lodge Hotel )

tl;dr version: no disasters, one disappointment, two perfectly OK, two strong recommendations (Trier and Utrecht).

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