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We were invited by SF fans James and Fionna to come visit Dublin and Drogheda. It was so lovely to be invited and they looked after us so well.

I bought some plum and vanilla flavour gin liqueur to go with the handmade boomerang and Australian made Womat. On arrival we went with James to a giant Tescos! OMG! There I snaffled a bottle of aromatic gin, which tasted quite good. Beans bought some French red wine. It was a bit of a treat seeing the local produce and prices. I find supermarkets are really cultural that way. Maybe it’s the economics and accounting background.

Then we picked up some Indian takeaway for a late dinner. It was so yummy and be bought too much but that was fine because left overs. Fionna had found a recipe for vegan bread. It was delicious and had chopped hazelnuts in it. Tea and toast is an excellent breakfast for me! We used the last of our vegemite there.

We also met the best fannish dog, Leia, as in General Leia Organa. There was also Lego! Lego daleks!

 

On our first full day we went into Dublin for the day. It was sunny and lovely and mild. A fantastic day. We visited the Glass…cemetery which had a museum attached. Visiting Dublin you can’t help to discover the political history and the 1916 uprising. In the cemetery a number of the 1916 martyrs were buried. The museum also contained illustrations of different religions approaches to death and burial.

We had lunch at the Brazen Head pub for lunch. The photos above were from the Brazen Head. It was meant to be the oldest pub in Dublin. It was pretty touristy but we had no trouble getting a table and fed. OMG! I tried boiled bacon and cabbage. So good.

We also visited the Leprechaun museum. That was more about curiosity and it was fun but again a bit touristy. Here are some silly shots from the Leprechaun Museum.

Here is a few shots from walking around Dublin.

We ended up at the British…pub and that was a lovely place. Classy and quiet. SF fans who were coming pulled out but we had a nice drink. Then we headed back to Drogheda, a bit tired after a long day.

Sunday was going to be a our big sightseeing day, but Fionna had this cool idea to break it up as we were leaving late on Monday. She had booked us into the Kilmeianhan Gaol for a tour there at 4 pm on the Sunday. This is also linked to the 2016 uprisings as the guys that surrendered were executed in the days after for treason. It was really sad and moving. Before that she invited for a walk in the Wicklow Ranges, up the Sugarloaf Mountain to be exact. Unlike Saturday the weather turned typically Irish, light misty rain, grey clouds and not too cold.

The walk.

I did not complain! Well I don’t think anyone heard me. I did berate myself for not bringing a change of clothes. The first part involved walking through waist high ferns, which were wet from the overnight rain. The drizzle wasn’t bad at all. There were blackberries everywhere so I kept snacking. From the beginning of the walk I had no idea where we were walking. Beans said she was worried about me because I’m not a walker. I did buy hiking boots in Bergen so I can now say they have had two serious outings.

It was so beautiful there. The ferns and the mist and the view. We walked and walked. Leia came with us and the dog had so much fun, really so much fun. We did have a few worries finding the right path. I seriously earned whatever bad food I was going to eat that night. I saw the way to the summit and thought I wasn’t going to make it. After a few hours my feet were protesting. I sat down as a cloud rolled in and the others went up. I’m glad I sat the last bit out because it involved a bit of climbing. Not bad on the way up but a bit scary coming down. I took a great panoramic shot of the view when we got off the track. It shows Fionna and James and Leia while they checked the map.

The Kilmainham gaol photos. This was a very moving place where people who surrendered after the 1916 rising were executed. Here us a link to the gaol’s website. http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/kilmainhamgaol/

 

Monday

Monday was for Knowth and Newgrange, these chamber tombs. I’ve been in a chamber tomb before in Okney, but I really didn’t understand it. The guides here gave some good insights and I felt that I understood more. I think doing both together is a nice fit because there are different aspects to them. One you can look in the central chamber. We had lunch in the museum café and then it was time to collect our bags for the trip to the airport. Fionna took us up in her little, zippy Skoda and it was time to stay goodbye to Ireland.

Man these places were awesome!

Some thoughts

I will definitely come back to Ireland. I’m mostly Irish so it was good to go there for that reason. I’m glad James and Fionna invited us because it showed me how convenient it is to go there. For some reason it always seemed too hard.

Also, Ireland got me thinking about how British Australia is and how my perspective is shaped by that. We have “Give Way” signs where Ireland (and the USA) have “Yield” and in Ireland the postal boxes are green and so are the postal vans and ours a red like the UK. It got me thinking about how the victor writes the history books. While I have very Irish ancestors, their nationalism didn’t get passed on to me, the Catholicism did, although I am so lapsed, I consider myself not any religion. So Ireland got me thinking that I need to learn more about it and also come again and learn about the history, the myths and the politics.

Also, our hosts were so cute. They made me homesick for Matthew. They are as Dweebie as we are but I consider they had more books and we don’t have Lego so maybe they have way more geek cred than we do. I heart Fionna and James!

For the next few days I’m taking a break. We are staying in the Manchester region in a cute little cottage. Tomorrow we head to York for the day. I’ve been there about four times but it will be Beans’ first. Thursday I’m heading to London for the monthly SF fan meet up, the Ton. I’ll probably blog again soon. Today was meant to be a rest day, but Bean’s got restless so we decided to walk to a nearby town. On the way, besides being distracted by all the ripe blackberries, we saw a sign for a public access walkway and decided to try it. It was hilarious. We didn’t know where to go. Nothing was marked. We started fighting over which way to go and whether to reverse our steps. So our trip to Sandbach took twice as long as it should have. This is not a tourist town. They do have Heritage listed buildings and Saxon crosses and a good bar/pub for lunch.

 

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As a follow on from my Loncon 3 report, I thought I’d do a post on London. We arrived Tuesday 12

September. We were sharing an apartment in Limehouse with Kim and Shauna. It was a lovely place and close to the DLR, which we needed to get on the metro and to the Excel where Loncon 3 was being held.

I thought a self catering apartment would have advantages. We could could meals, wash clothes and hang in the sitting room. This was a good plan except Kim and Shauna discovered the cafe on the corner and once I went there I wasn’t keen on cereal for breakfast. We think it might have been Polish but we don’t really know. We went there everyday and when we left popped in to say goodbye. Limehouse is in the East end of London, closer in to the river from Whitechapel (Jack the Ripper fame). I wanted to walk to Whitechapel, but as it was Matthew and I walked into Gracechurch Street and cheapside on day.

The walk in was interesting because of the ethnic mix of people and the sort of poorer area. We went to a market and had a look around. Along Commercial Road there were numerous direct to public clothing warehouses. I was sorely tempted but I had a goal to walk into the city. We could see the Gerkin for most of our walk.

Gracechurch street is where Lizzie’s uncle lives in P&P. It’s in Cheapside. We also found a patch of river and I picked up some pieces of pottery, which satisfied the archeologist in me. On the way back we got some fab shots of the Tower of London.

Tower of London, exterior, taken August 2014

Tower of London, exterior, taken August 2014




Banks of the river Thames with bits of the past washing up

Banks of the river Thames with bits of the past washing up

Under London Bridge

Under London Bridge

Gracechurch Street, Cheapside, London, August 2014

Gracechurch Street, Cheapside, London, August 2014

 

During our time in London we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and we have some lovely photos. We went to the Wedding Dresses exhibition but no photos were allowed. I really enjoyed just walking the streets and soaking up the feel of the place.

You will see from the photos that I concentrated on the Regency and Victorian fashions. Be prepared for a photo fest.

Victoria and Albert Museum taken from the quadrangle

Victoria and Albert Museum taken from the quadrangle

Bonnet

Bonnet

Focus on bodice, Regency gown V&A

Focus on bodice, Regency gown V&A

Catalogue for fashions Victorian era

Catalogue for fashions Victorian era

Victoria era dress showing rear view of draping V&A

Victoria era dress showing rear view of draping V&A

Crinoline petticoat V&A

Crinoline petticoat V&A

Top and fabric for dress, Victorian era V&A

Top and fabric for dress, Victorian era V&A

Male dress, Regency era, V&A

Male dress, Regency era, V&A

More historic male clothing

More historic male clothing

Bodice close up of black and white Victorian dress V&A

Bodice close up of black and white Victorian dress V&A

IMG_2668

Regency dress coat

Regency dress coat

We ate in the V&A cafe, which was very Victorian.

image

V&A ceiling of the tea room

V&A ceiling of the tea room

Shauna O'Meara, V&A tea rooms, August 2014

Shauna O’Meara, V&A tea rooms, August 2014

Kimberley Gaal, V&A tea room, August 2014

Kimberley Gaal, V&A tea room, August 2014

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I’m sadly behind in the blogging. Sorry but it’s been a bit of a whirlwind during this trip to the UK with not much internet. The few windows of access I’ve had I’ve peppered Twitter and Facebook with photos and stuff.

I’d thought I’d back track to talk about Loncon3, my fifth worldcon. Wow. Loncon 3 was huge. That has good sides and bad sides. To accommodate so many people meant the venue was big. But it was a convention centre after all. Despite having edits I did get to a few things.

We stayed in this fab apartment in Limehouse with Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O’Meara, fellow Canberrans and CSFG people. It gave us a bit more freedom than a hotel as we had a sitting room and a washing machine and two bathrooms. Loncon 3 was about catching up with people and about getting to see famous people in panels.

I managed to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Glenda Larke, Karen Miller, Cat Sparks, Robert Hood, Amanda Bridgeman, Abigail Nathan, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alisa Krasnostein, Russell B Farr, Liz Grzyb, Ben Peek, Jenny Blackford and Janeen Webb, Justin Ackroyd and a wave or two to Jonathan Strahan. The new acquaintances were entirely international Alistair Rennie (Scotland), Fabrizio Luzzatti (Italy), Teador Relijc (Malta), Gert (Netherlands) and Isabelle Varange (France). These guys were fab.

 

Robert Hood, Ben Peek, Cat Sparks and Firenze?

Robert Hood, Ben Peek, Cat Sparks and Firenze?

Me and Glenda Larke

Me and Glenda Larke

Alistair, Fabuzzio and Teodor, with Matthew

Alistair, Fabuzzio and Teodor, with Matthew

I went to a few things. Not as many as I would have liked because it was a big con and the rooms were full. I sat on the floor with Glenda Larke to hear an interview by Paul Cornell with George RR Martin and Connie Willis and that was fab. My first taste of the convention really. We went to a panel on full time writing, which was one of the best we saw. It had Scott Lynch and Juliet E McKenna, who we chatted with later. Actually Kim hijacked Juliet and took her to dinner with us. Alas, her meal didn’t arrive in time and she had to leave for a panel. The service was pretty bad at the Fox@Excel that day. Lots of people. Scott Lynch was really interesting too. The interview with Robin Hobb was very interesting. Her childhood was so interesting. In Alaska!

Scott Lynch and Matthew Farrer, Loncon3

Scott Lynch and Matthew Farrer, Loncon3

Here is one of Matthew and Juliet E McKenna and then Kimberley Gaal doing the high five.

Matthew Farrer and Juliet E McKenna

Matthew Farrer and Juliet E McKenna

Juliet E McKenna and Kimberley Gaal

Juliet E McKenna and Kimberley Gaal

I also met up with the lovely Tsana Dolichva too. She very kindly name-checked me in a panel.

There are other photos but they are on my iPad and as I’m travelling I’m not sure how to get them off. Ahah! secret missing to swap to iPAD accomplished.

I’ve now switched back to the laptop because I can’t control where the photos are going from the iPad. But here are a few more.

 

Here is Shauna on the Throne of Swords (Yes there was one in the fan lounge)

Shauna O'Meara, mother of vets, Queen of everything

Shauna O’Meara, mother of vets, Queen of everything

 

I have to put up a picture of the lovely girls, who are so good to room with and hang with.

The lovely girls, Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O'Meara

The lovely girls, Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O’Meara

 

Did I mention this thing where Kim takes her little Russell Bird and poses him with people. Well here is Russell B Farr with Russell Bird.

Russell B Farr with Russell Bird

Russell B Farr with Russell Bird

And to round things off, this is Matthew and me being very relaxed at Kensington Gardens in the Orangery.

Matthew Farrer and me

Matthew Farrer and me

So overall we love travelling around Britain and the food and the people and the accents so there will be more blogs to come. I also want to congratulate the London3 team for a brilliant job of organising the convention. The program was varied and interesting and events were well organised.

And finally from me. A photo that says everything.

Me, mother of swords, Queen of food

Me, mother of swords, Queen of food

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