Sunday, 2 February 2020

Wanderings Lately :: January 2020

This month has very much dragged along, I don't always agree that January feels like the longest month but for this year it seems to have gone on for ages. Christmas seems such a long, long time ago!

Thankfully the days are definitely getting longer, and although the mornings are still dark I've enjoyed a couple of cycles home in the twilight. Spring might be a way-off yet but some signs are showing. I noticed today that the tree in front of the church opposite has blossom already appearing on it's branches. It's been interesting to watch the transition of those trees from bountiful summer to sparse winter. Nice to see life forming once more.

January has been a hectic one at work, as I straddle two roles and things jumped forward a few steps in the yearly application cycle. Looking ahead, I am hoping for a few work trips in the spring, although nothing is ever guaranteed.

Quite glad to get January out of the way, the start of the year always has such promise but January also has such grey, miserable weather and sits in a shadow of Christmas. What does it really have going for it? Bring on February - the best month!

New Year's Day walk. It was nice to get out in the new year for some fresh air and a muddy wander through a local nature reserve before heading back to work and routine.

Making use of a Christmas present from my Nan. Shortbread made using an old fashioned mould. I've made a couple of other batches since this one too!

After new year, our Christmas tree just about made it to the 6th January. 

It wasn't fun trying to get it out of the living room though...

We were finally able to cash in Victor's Christmas present from 2018. A trip down the slide at the Olympic Park. It was fun, but I wouldn't rush back.

Celebrating Burn's Night with some Cullen Skink. A traditional smoked haddock chowder. The recipe wasn't great, but the soup was still delicious!

A visit at the end of the month to the Chelmsford Museum was very enjoyable. Lots of info on local well known people, who had made an impact in different areas. One I had not heard of before was Edward Bawden a "storytelling artist'. He'd illustrated for lot of famous novels, poems and short stories, plus designed things like wallpaper and tiles. He had a very distinctive and pleasing artistic style.

Randomly there's a bee hive in the museum. They looked a bit slow and had quite a few dead bees inside - I suppose because of the time of year - but it was fascinating and quite relaxing to watch them all buzzing around inside. The local honey on sale was £6 a jar though, so I decided to pass on buying that to try!

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Wanderings Lately :: October, November, December 2019

Bumper three months of wanderings in this post, closely followed today by a couple of retrospectives... as always, I'm not very consistent with my blog. I'm going to partly blame the puzzle I'm currently stuck trying to complete - as I would usually have spent more of this Crimbo Limbo time writing blog posts!

Here are the last three months of this year, and this decade.


Short work trip back to Albania. I was not ill this time, and was staying in a much better hotel. The weather was amazing - very unusual for the time of year.

I posted a montage of all of the electricity boxes on facebook, but Scrooge McDuck here is my favourite. I'm assuming that the artwork on these is officially organised since all of the electricity boxes in the city are decorated with this kind of street art, rather than tagging or hastily scribbled grafitti. It's quite cool, and interesting to wander around to see all the different designs.

Victor and I explored Wandsworth a little more and found Wandsworth Park. We played a round of crazy golf, and enjoyed a walk around the small, riverside park before heading back home. Nice to find more nice places on your doorstep.

Chevening orientation came round again. Scholars that I'd interviewed didn't remember me, and the journey home was a lot more epic than last year! Victor and I ordered our first five guys take away in the evening which was very much appreciated!

I made an attempt at Rosół, Polish chicken soup as a cure for Victor's cold. Needs improvement!

I took Victor for Moules Frites for his birthday. Not the best version, and certain not the nicest restaurant ambience. This next time we have this dish it should be in Belgium! 


Work trip back in Moldova. Lovely weather once again and a really interesting conference topic. This trip also included a visit to Milestii Mici Winery - holder of the Guinness world record for largest wine cellar (by number of bottles). My suitcase was bursting on the way back!

Becoming a pro at blood doning - in and out of the chair in around 8 minutes!

Christmas wreath making with Mary. We were disappointed that this was a fake wreath as we had both thought it would be with real foliage. Nevertheless it was fun to make, and I was pretty pleased with how mine turned out.

Started Christmas at the end of November with my Christmas pudding on stir-up Sunday and local Christmas markets with mum!


Our Christmas tree was delivered on the 1st December. Our bumper Christmas bauble haul was put to good use. The tree is just about still going strong!

Work Christmas party kicked off December. It took a while to organise but was a fantastic success. The cheese table the shining glory - just came out a little bit late on in the evening!

A Christmassy trip to Edinburgh - and a rainy return meant I was able to get a great shot of the airport sign!

Candlelight carols with Carola. We turned up at the wrong church initially - where the bottom photo was taken. Thank goodness there was another carol service in process otherwise we'd have been waiting around for ours to start when it was all getting underway at the correct church 5 minutes away!

Another general election. Another slightly worse result.

More friend catch-ups with epic table spread!

Finally got my China map framed and hung. Forgot that I still had the pinyin written at the bottom from where I was trying to learn Chinese. I really love this map and the memories it holds.

A christmassy trip to the London Transport Museum. Ongar got a little shout out, which was nice. There was also a lamp from Blake Hall on display. This 'ticket map' was really clever although difficult to get a decent picture. They'd re-created the tube map but with tickets for each station. Even Ongar and North Weald were on there!

Finally Christmas back at home and a really relaxing end of the year in Wandsworth.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Wanderings Lately :: September 2019

The beginning of October has been a bit rubbish weather wise and autumn is well and truly here. September as always was back to school month, where the area around where I work was full of students starting their university journeys (although this also carries over into October so we get 2 months of it!).

At the beginning of the month I went to the CSSC games again to play netball, as I did two years ago. Our team didn't get past the group stages but our first team won the entire tournament which was exciting. It's also a treat to play indoors and get a feel for how it's played at a higher level. Staying overnight in Loughborough is also a reminder of what a student dorm room is like and how I'm glad to not have to live in a small, lifeless box any longer!

It's also two years since I had my interview for my current job - I went for my interview the Monday after the games in 2017. It didn't all happen straight away but a few months later I started at the role I am still currently in and was a nice reminder of that journey.

Bake off started this month, so my Tuesday evenings are full of cakes and biscuits. This year's programme is a bit disappointing as it seems to have lost its way a little bit with much less of a warm, supportive feel and more about getting the bakers to try and produce weird creations that no one has ever heard of. Bit of a shame and hopefully next year they will go back to the normal format.

We've also continued to add bits to our house, now having a second sofa in the living room and having hung a few photos and mirrors etc. It's definitely got more of a homely feeling now which is great! I love this time of year when its just transitioning, my nosy side comes out as I walk past other people in their home with the lights on. It's also the time when you're walking home early evening (but it's dark) and all I'm thinking about is getting into my warm, cosy house and having a cup of tea. Victor thinks it's just an excuse for me to have more tea, but there's just something comforting about a cup of tea and I never need an excuse for one (or three!)

CSSC two years on...

Beamers Wasps (top picture), Beamers Bees and Wasps (middle picture) and my arty attempt after one of the winners slipped off her trainers after the final whistle.

House love

Hung up our Scotland maps. Absolutely love having a fireplace! I'm also really enjoying the butcher's block we bought. It's so handy in the kitchen as we don't have a lot of counter space and it's the perfect baking pal!

Autumn walks

Another walk along the Parkline. Such a great autumn walk, even if it did rain a bit on this occasion!


Got victor to come for an autumn sunshine walk in Battersea park which was lovely and incredibly busy. Also took a sneaky photo when he was last playing football in Clapham.