Visiting Hobbiton via Newbridge

Ridley: The Newbridge silverware shop in, of course, Newbridge is holding a Lord of the Rings exhibition. It has loads of the costumes and props from the movies on display. I wandered over on Sunday to take a gander, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful. Latimer and I have often watched the ‘making of’ videos on the Lord of the Rings dvds, I’m pretty certain we’ve both had starry-eyed dreams of one day working with Weta workshop. Well maybe it was more of a case that we wanted to wander in and out of the different workshops and visit different people and basically see what everyone was making and just make a nuisance of ourselves, rather than actually doing any hard graft. The detail and the designs gone into some of the weapons is absolutely awe inspiring. The pure craftsmanship and love of their art shines through in each of the pieces. Even for different parts, whether it’s the handle, or the blade, or the inside of the helmet, areas that will probably never be seen in the actual movie, they’ve still gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure every inch was designed, etched into, and craved to the best of their ability.

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Ringwraiths always freaked me out, especially when they made that weird screeching noise!!

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This is a Ringwraiths sword. Really fits with their image and rather creepy it was too.

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He was so tall, and scary!! I really wouldn’t have liked a whole troupe of Uruk-hai after me. Oh bloody hell!! Run!

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There was so much to see, I let my inner fangirl out with a massive smile. If you’re in Ireland and you get a chance, do get to Newbridge, it’s a completely free exhibition, and while you’re there you can check out some of Marylin Monroe’s dresses (she was tiny!!) and some iconic Michael Jackson suits too over in the other sections.Marilyn-Monroe-Icon

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Manga and Me

I'm a manga nut and I'm okay!!
I’m a manga nut and I’m okay!!

Latimer: I’m a bit of a manga nut.

I really adore them. They are also the means through which I’ve developed, rightly or wrongly, my view of Japanese, and to some degree Korean, culture!

I’m a fangirl, so I love shoujo – the girly manga! I love the ones set in schools; the drama between the school president and the yankee, or the shy girl and the cool guy.

In Korean ‘shoujo’ manhwa there’s always (ALWAYS) a jjang (leader of the gang), in the story. Sometimes it’s the girl, and sometimes it’s the boy. So again, I know I’m misguided, but I just assume in every Korean high-school there are warring factions of gangs, and everyone can fight and kick-ass! And everyone is angry… so angry!

I wouldn’t be able to hide my disappointment if I turned up (very randomly) at a Korean high-school and I wasn’t caught in a show-down between two rival gangs from opposing schools. Even though I don’t speak the language, I’d know… I’d just know what was going on. I’d know the first jjang had kissed the other jjang’s sister, or belittled her… and I’d stand there fists waving in the air screaming.

“Oh it’s on! FIGHTING”

Then if I ended up at a Japanese high-school, I’d be looking for the yankee (the bad boy, delinquent) and the bookish girl – or the tsundere (initially cold character who shows their good side in time – a staple of the shoujo!) school president and the silly, but kind-hearted girl… and I’d be chuckling to myself thinking; “Oh how is this going to turn out!”

It's Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!
It’s Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!

Ah, manga (and manhwa), you really distort reality for me (but in a way that makes me so happy)! Reading them is a roller-coaster ride of emotions!

Pandora Hearts, confuses me, makes me gasp in awe, then confuses me again…

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Naruto always makes me emotional – it’s the best manga for making you empathize with the baddies, because they were good once… or they have these tear-inducing back-stories…

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Kamisama Hajimemashita makes my fangirl squee – such a lovely romance story! 

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Tomoe is a Kitsune (fox) demon – not a vampire (though it looks that way here!) …. Anyway, I’m off on Cloud Squee!

Anything by Minami Maki will make me laugh and wait desperately for the next chapter; her stories and artwork are sweet and cute and hilarious…

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Then, recently (and as it’s a week for pets!), I came across this webcomic (they seem to be v.popular in Korean – at least to my untrained eye). It’s called My Young Cat and My Old Dog (by Cho) and it is… wonderful…

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If you have a pet, it will make you cry.

At times the issue/episode/chapter is about the young playful pet and all the silly things they do. Then at times it’s about the old pet, who isn’t quite as fast as they used to be, or sleeps more than they used to. It’s those one’s that grab your heart and squeeze the feels out, leaving you gasping and in tears (I am an emotional being!).

I'm 16 years old 1 im 16 I'm 16 years old 2I have an old, old dog, and those episodes make me pause and think of him 😦

Well, but there’s lots of joy to be had in the series too, things that make you remember how wonderful your pet is. How selfless and how they love you unconditionally; they love you for you, no other reason and we love them too..

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Ah, manga and manhwa, you give me so many different feelings – and I love you for it 🙂

Quite Interesting

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Latimer: Lately I’ve been trying to get my ‘reading groove’ back on. Yup, it was gone for a while.

For me, the serious ‘groove’ comes on a little randomly – the urge to read more and more and MORE books!

My problem is, I buy too many books, then don’t get around to reading them. I have a serious backlog of books.

There are more.... there's always more; like Highlander
There are more…. there’s always more; like Highlander

Like you would not believe – and yes, I have since ordered more! I don’t learn, but I have decided that I will stop buying and clear the backlog in the lead up to Christmas.

(she says, but this turned up on her doorstep today!)

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His name is Clod Iremonger, and he is an Iremonger… HOW CAN I NOT READ THIS? I’m so intrigued…. I have a problem!

Ridley, I know, has a similar reading backlog, which I aim to make worse for her, because I have a bag of seven books for her (that she must read)! Ha 🙂

Now though, I am accountable, because I’ve put this in writing – ‘I will clear my reading backlog!’ – I will succeed! If you have a backlog, join me in my crusade of reading-before-buying-more! How is this going to end for me? Not well I don’t think.

But seriously, I have started to make an… effort.

Like I finally finished Qi: The Book of the Dead by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (and it was brilliant)

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and I’m going to finish Bill Bryson’s At Home, which I have been reading on and off again for too long! (Bill Bryson’s books are fantastic really, but take forever to read!)

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I vow to finish this one before the end of October (oh, what have I done!).

When I finished The Book of the Dead a dam broke inside me and I felt inspired to get out and read all my poor abandoned books, because they’re all full of interesting things 🙂

The Book of the Dead is a book filled with brief stories about lots of different people, people you know like Thomas Edison and Casanova, to people you don’t like, Moll Cutpurse, a bear-baiting cross-dressing pickpocket and James Barry, a famous doctor in the early 1800s, who gave Florence Nightingale the worst dressing-down of her life, and … oh yea and he was actually a woman (though no one found out until she died!).

It has to be one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while.

I got emotionally caught up in peoples stories; like Nikola Tesla.

“If-you-wish-to-understand-the-Universe-think-of-energy-frequency-and-vibration.”-Nikola-Tesla

He invented the radio (although Marconi was awarded the honour and won a Nobel Prize for it).

Tesla was known as the ‘Father of the 20th Century’ and the master of electricity (more so than Edison). He was inventing things that were light-years ahead of his time; he even foresaw/wanted to make the internet – the man was a genius.

And he died in debt with no money, living with crippling OCD, though he should have been a millionaire.

But I came to realise that for some people, it isn’t about what their knowledge can give them, what monetary rewards, some people are just driven to answer questions and solve problems, because that’s where they get their joy.

Tesla’s business partner George Westinghouse was in financial ruin after a stock market crash, so Tesla dissolved the contract between them that was costing Westinghouse so much. He said;

‘You have been my friend, you believed in me when others had no faith; you were brave enough to go ahead… when others lacked courage; you supported me when even your own engineers lacked vision… you have stood by me as a friend… Here is your contract, and here is my contract. I will tear both of them to pieces, and you will no longer have any troubles from my royalties. Is that sufficient?’

It’s pretty special, and wonderful, that a person, who stood to gain 12 million dollars from those royalties, which would have made him one of the richest men in the world at that time, would do something so noble as to brush it all aside to help a friend.

Imagine that. It makes me feel pretty good about the world; we can be so good to one another sometimes.  

The book also taught me that real genius is a rare and beautiful thing; and if you haven’t shown a spark by the age of 10, kiss the notion goodbye! Ha. Reading the stories, I’d have to pause and stare into the distance thinking; ‘yup, that ship’s sailed!’

Dr John Dee, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted advisors, would spend 18 hours studying everyday; 4 hours sleeping and 2 hours were set aside for meals. I can’t do that!

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He was the original 007 too. He used to sign his letters to the queen ‘007’; it was a symbol that meant he was the Queen’s eyes, or that the letter was for her eyes only.

That's Dee, Mr Dee... Mystery? Ha.
That’s Dee, Mr Dee… Mystery? Ha.

Dee was known for his mysticism but actually he was a man of science too (though the word ‘science’ didn’t exist at the time and was essentially known as witchcraft). He used geometry to successfully map the globe and was the greatest book-collector of his day (with books on mathematics, earthquakes, dreams, women, Islam, games, botany, pharmacology and veterinary science, to name a few).

By the end of his life, plague had stolen almost all of his family away from him and he lived in desperate poverty (he fell out of favour with the Queen), with his daughter Katherine, having to sell his books one at a time so he could eat (he was 82 years old).

Now that really breaks my heart.

But the beautiful thing is, a girl who lived in the area described him as…

‘He was a great peacemaker; if any of the neighbours fell out, he would never let them alone till he had made them friends. A mighty good man he was.’

Again the survival of a few kind words about a good person, from a good person, it makes you feel pretty good again.

There’s something really up-lifting about this book. It does make you feel like you haven’t had much of an adventure yet, or you’re not very smart and never will be, but it also makes you feel like isn’t it great how many weird and wonderful people there have been in the world?

We’re silly and vain, stupid and clever, wacky and weird, and we always have been, and that’s pretty great 🙂

Game Watchers

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt... ho-yah!
Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt… ho-yah!

Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.

I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!

I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.

We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.

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It was a clunky, beautiful beast.

Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.

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Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!

I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!

I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.

A Sega Mega Drive?

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NO!

A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?

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NO!

A Playstation –

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No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!

Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.

My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.

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That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.

Sssss... POW evil tree!
Sssss… POW evil tree!

This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!

We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!

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When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.

I'm a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!
I’m a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!

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If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.

So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.

That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.

That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.

Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!

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The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.

Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.

My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

Damn it's hot out in the desert...
Damn it’s hot out in the desert…

Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!

I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.

We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂

Take to the Streets

Down by the Luas Lines in Dublin
Down by the Luas Lines in Dublin

Latimer: Recently I’ve been taking a lot of notice of street art. To the point where, as I walk down the street and come face-to-face with an empty wall, I start to daydream about what maybe I could put there…

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I imagine images weaving across the concrete. And I start to think, leaning back and getting some perspective on the wall – ‘That would be fun!’

My daydream then takes me to the street at night-time, wearing dark clothes and carrying a bag of spray-paint cans. I’m going to unfold my masterpiece image. I’m going to fix it to the wall, by climbing a steep rickety old ladder that stretches up six floors to the roof. And I’m not afraid to do it (this would never happen, I’d be crying if I had to climb a ladder).

I spray-paint the stencil. I scramble down the ladder and race across the road.

Girl in an egg, Barcelona
Girl in an egg, Barcelona

No police catch me.

I admire my mural, and then, I fade into the darkness like a thief in the night. A wispy shadowy creature of the witching hour; in the morning people will pass the image, wondering – who did that? How’d they do that? And I’ll pass by, smile a secret smile, and walk on.

Then my daydream ends with the harsh whack from the reality stick. I don’t go down that street at night-time, because it’s too dark and could be full of people baying for my blood; like gangs of New York.

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I don’t dress in all black, because if I remember correctly I don’t have a black hat and I threw out those black jeans the other day. Where would I find the stencil? That’s a big wall, the perspective would be too much; I mean drawing on an A3 page is the most I’ve ever done. And I’ve never made a stencil…

No. I’d get caught! Definitely; if anyone would I would. The police would catch me. I’d get in trouble.

It's too risky!!
It’s too risky!!

Where do you get the spray paint anyway… is it expensive… etc. etc.

Yup, the dream fades pretty fast.

So, I’m left as a voyeur on the street art of others. I like the secret pictures and I like the mysterious people that flit in the night, spicing up the streets with quirky images. Their work waves at me as I pass the streets, from time-to-time, and I smile thinking, “Well, hello there piece of art!” Like it’s a secret discovery, belonging to just me and the street.

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After you see one, as with all things, a door opens and suddenly they’re everywhere. It used to be a Dublin thing, now it’s a world thing. The images from people I’ll never know, waving across countries at me, a little Latimer they’ll never know.

Here are some I found in Barcelona.

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Keep an eye out on whatever streets you’re walking! There are cool secret artists out there! Thank you for sharing your art!

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I’m not sure who the artists are, so if anyone knows, drop us a message and we’ll tag the photos etc!

Chillin’ at Court

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Latimer: For as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to Hampton Court.

But, I kept forgetting/never knew, what it was called, so I’d get really frustrated trying to explain to people where it was I wanted to go.

“I’d love to go to Henry VIII’s Palace… you know with the,” cue my distant expression, “with the red-brick gatehouse.”

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I would stare expectantly at the person and they would stare back rightly confused. I would get frustrated, thinking everyone should know what I meant and give me the name of said building (so I could forever remember it and not look like a fool every time I said I wanted to visit it!).

This has been the way it’s been for me for years. But finally I realised it was Hampton Court I wanted to visit.

It’s in London, so when Ridley and I went there, I just had to go!

Hampton Court is epic and after being stuck in a queue for every which-way-thing in London, it was surprisingly low on visitors, which probably made the experience all the better. We had an ice-cream on the lawn, enjoyed the sun and stared in wonderment at the gorgeousness that is the Court.

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While there, Ridley got real bohemian. She headed over to a tree, sat down, pulled out a notebook and pen, and with a big smile said –

“Let’s do book-work!”

I shuffled over to the tree, thinking this was a very quaint idea; we’d be like Jane Austen or something. A minute later I leaped up. “There’re ants crawling all over the tree! I hate nature -!”

Ridley jumped up, screaming, her dream of book-work in the park destroyed by nature. Deflated we gave up and headed into the Palace, letting the magic of Hampton Court wash over us.

If anyone watches/reads Game of Thrones, Robert Baratheon reminds me of Henry VIII. I think that might be intentional – George R. R. Martin draws from history right? Well, the banquet hall has Baratheon stamped all over it – it’s so cool!

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In my head I was saying, ‘ours is the fury’! over and over again, until I annoyed myself!

Ours is the Fury!... or something.. ha!
Ours is the Fury!… or something.. ha!

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Apparently the tapestries that hang in the hall are made of gold and silver thread.

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Rich people back then got tapestries as a show of wealth, because of the cost involved in making them and the materials used. Henry VIII amassed tapestries like celebrities today buy diamond encrusted iPhones and fancy cars. Tapestries were the flash accessory of the day, and Henry VIII had the largest collection. The tapestries aren’t as bright now as they were in his day, but they are still impressive!

Throughout our holiday we were asking each other the question of – ‘what would you do if you fell back in time?’ Our hypothesis started out with the notion that we’d be gods! We’d know everything.

But, Dara O’Briain sums up the truth of what would happen…

Ridley struggled to read the tiny script writing on a massive charter in Hampton Court. Waving her hand she moaned; “And I wouldn’t even be able to read!”

Even if we could read it wouldn’t be written in the same English as it is today – we would probably not even understand what people were saying to us. That old adage by Wittgenstein that; “If a lion could talk, we would not understand him,” because his frame of reference would be so different to ours.

So, the portal that opens sucking me and Ridley into the past becomes more and more dangerous! I think our science backgrounds would also lead to us being burnt as witches!

We did conclude, on our travels, that it would not be good to get sucked back in time and end up in Edinburgh. It was hit by ‘plague’ (we never learned which plague) 11 times. We also would not have survived the closes, with people tossing buckets of waste down the narrow streets… or having to drink beer because the water was so dangerously full of bacteria (from the waste flowing down into the lake and therefore the drinking water).

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Walking around the Court is almost like walking through time (the safer version of it). You half expect to turn a corner and see a man in tights, a grey curly wig, heels and a fancy velvet jacket…

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Funnily enough, that did actually happen at one point. He was sitting talking to a 1700’s era woman.

We (the tourists) all walked past them, listening in on the conversation, confused as to whether they were in-character or not and nobody talking to them to find out.

We all kept a safe distance; blinking and straining inward to listen to them, but glancing to each other and giving a nervous laugh, like we were all thinking, ‘is this a mass hallucination?! Can you see them too?!’

We left the palace, happier for having been there! If you’re in need of an oasis of calm in London, head to Court!

God’s Architect

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Latimer: I got to go to Barcelona last week.

My stupidity started when I neglected to pack sunscreen. Oh yes, I brought sunscreen to England and Scotland… but to Spain? No. Why? I don’t know! “Latimer you fool! You complete fool!”

It was so hot over there. I touched down, stepped off the plane and my insides began to melt! I didn’t actually burn like I thought I would – nope. I boiled, from the inside out!

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My second lot of stupidity was my continued disregard for one Antoni Gaudí. Yup; I was more or less content to let my exploration of the man’s work end at a fly-by visit to Sagrada Família and a hellish, blistering walk around Parc Güell .

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WOW!! @_@

I flew by Sagrada Família for two reasons; 1) I thought I didn’t like it (but actually I was in awe like everyone else when I saw it) and, 2) the queue to get inside stretched around the entire building, in the harsh glare of the sun.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t queue (not after a summer of queuing in London, and the heat of the Barcelona supernova sky @_@).

Parc Güell was a-trip-and-a-half.

A view of Barcelona from the climb!
A view of Barcelona from the climb!

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It was the height of the midday heat, a harsh, steep upward climb to the top of the park, and 30 minutes spent traipsing around looking for the damn Gaudí lizard fountain! I didn’t come into the park through the entrance, but rather the end; so I really faded fast walking around in the heat.

I don’t know what feeling Gaudí was looking to create, but to me, it was like I was in hell; walking through the dried out skeletal carcasses of vast beasts that had perished in the desert sands of Güell/Hell.

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Whoooh, are those two peeps snogging? I think so!! HA!

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I nearly gave up looking for the entrance, but I steeled myself and plodded on, thinking of Bear Grylls and how I must have learned something that could save me, should the moment arise (which on a few occasions I thought, yup, it’s time to go Grylls!).

All I could think was; “Drink my own wee? Güell no…”

I found it in the end, and the lizard was being held hostage by the mob. I couldn’t get to see him much.

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Back away from the lizard… pluz-leezz? No? Damnit…

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I was feeling nauseous at this point, so I fled almost straightaway for a lie down in the hotel.

After that I thought, no more Gaudí.

BUT! An accidental walk over to Palau Güell changed that.

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It was the mansion of the Güell family, the patrons of Gaudí, who commissioned Parc Güell . This family was super-rich, by today’s standards they’d be on the Forbes list and worth 70 billion euro. Their mansion was, actually very small, but the Gaudí -ness of it was astounding. I came to appreciate that he was in fact a genius architect and his mind was a wave of pure inspiration.

No one built like Gaudí before or afterward. The buildings are wacky and over the top; but its more how he built, his attention to ventilation or the way natural light could be brought into buildings. He put so much thought into the building itself, how it should and would function.

Palau Güell doesn’t have doors as such. It has two massive ornate wrought-iron gates, with curling metal.

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When you stand in the entrance hall you can see right out onto the street, but the metal is deceptively thinner and thicker in parts that means the people on the outside can’t see in. That’s all Gaudí.

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The halls curve and arch like waves; it’s like stepping onto a movie set, something from the imagination of a fantasy, or sci-fi writer.

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Shakespeare-inspired stained glass! The Bard is everywhere!!
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That is a Gaudi designed toilet!

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When Gaudí was awarded his degree one of his teachers remarked that; “We have given this degree to a madman or a genius, only time will tell.”

The most famous of the Gaudí buildings is probably Casa Batlló.

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The interior is inspired by the sea, the ceilings are like ripples of water and there are whorls and eddies all over the house.  

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People have lots of thoughts of what the façade looks like. Some say it looks like bones (the spine of a fish); so they call it the House of Bones. They also say that Gaudí was inspired by Monet’s lilies painting and that the façade looks like that; or the balconies look like the masks worn in the parades that used to walk down the street outside the house. And the roof is supposed to look like a dragon resting.

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Many people in Gaudí’s life died in the first decade of the 1900s – including his close collaborator and his patron Eusebi Güell. He took refuge in his work on Sagrada Família. By this point Gaudí didn’t have much money and confessed:

My good friends are dead; I have no family and no clients, no fortune nor anything. Now I can dedicate myself entirely to the Church.”

He had to take alms to continue his work on the church.

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One day, aged 73, Gaudí walked away from Sagrada Família and was knocked over by a tram. He was dressed in tatty clothes so people thought he was a beggar. He did not receive immediate aid and by the time he got to hospital, and was recognised, his condition was critical.

He died of his injuries and was buried in his Sagrada Família.

His story ended on a sad note. But we can look at it like this; his work survives to inspire people in big ways and little ways, and even though he passed away in poverty, the inspirational wealth he left behind will always be far greater than the money he might have had 🙂

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Ridley also went to Barcelona a year ago! Check out her thoughts here!

Also, just a quick note: if you want to see any more of our photos we’re up and running on instagram, pretty regularly now 🙂

If you are on it too, drop us a line! Or if you haven’t joined yet, do!, it’s a great fun way to share your photos!

Ridley’s Grilling-Part 1

Time for Questions!
Time for Questions!

Latimer: This week Ridley gets grilled with questions with too many caveats!

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Ridley: My grilling…do I smell something burning!? Well here goes…!

1.Let’s break the ice (because it will get so involved later!)

A favourite book  – why? Pride and Prejudice, just because no matter how many books come and go, and how many I’ve become obsessed over and loved, nothing really every reaches P&P’s pedestal to knock it off. Though Persuasion has always been a close second.
imagesA favourite movie – why? Technically I have two favourite movies, Hot Fuzz and Zoolander, no matter how many times I’ve watched them, and it’s been a lot, I still laugh at all the same jokes. If you quote anything from either of these movies, or you get my random mutterings of things like ‘Mer-man,*cough* Mer-man’, then I’m pretty certain we could instantly become great friends. 😀 
Zoolander-Quote-zoolander-17583454-350-250Surely I’m not the only person who absolutely loves these? Also, I (am ashamed to admit) have not seen The World’s End yet, I’ve heard it’s good, so it could possibly become another top contender. Stay tuned!
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Comfort food that you love:  Chocolate, particularly Cadbury’s and anything with caramel, oh and I adore Reese’s peanut butter cups. I will readily say I’m probably addicted to the sugary goodness, add in a hot cup of tea and it’s heaven! Though, the last few weeks, I’ve banned myself from eating anything sugary (or basically fun), which includes Cadbury’s. Sad times. 😀 

cadbury2Currently what are you’re listening to: Hmm, right at this moment? Phantom radio on the television, it has a good oldie playing! Anyone remember this one? Loved this song when I was younger.

After that, this song has really caught my attention.I think it’s more the video, I sit there trying to work it out. I know it’s based on Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, but the ending confusts me something awful. Explanations are most welcome (though I suppose I could google it!).

Current/recent obsession: Not so much an obsession, but my new show is (or was) Orange is the New Black, I watched the whole series, I finished it Friday night with mixed thoughts. An interesting take on prison, really loved seeing why and how each of the characters ended up in jail.
2521756For some of them, it was really purely just wrong place and wrong time, or just one small wrong decision, other times it was wandering down a dark road from where there was really no return. I did start to really not like the main character, Piper, by the end of it though. Despite starting out looking like she was angelic and good and just didn’t belong in prison compared to the hardened criminals in there, the character developments were so fantastic we ended up seeing that a lot of the other inmates had far more good in them, were less selfish and more caring than she turned out to be. Looks can be deceiving! But that’s just my take! I look forward to season two to see what happens. (Netflix really has revolutionised my life, how could you ever be bored with it? (or get any work done with it!))

2. What was the very first profession you wanted to be when you were a wee nipper?

Ridley: Like you Lat, I wanted to be an archaeologist for the longest time, but I think when Jurassic Park came out it switched to ‘dinosaur digging up’ (a palaeontologist). Then I become obsessed with Egypt and I settled on becoming an Egyptologist. After a time I realised though if I did become one there’d be a lot crawling around in dirty spaces, hot sand, hot sun, sunburn, blistering, dust, dry throat, scorpions, beetles…and very low likelihood of ever finding anything, so one or two of those things might have turned me off the idea. Now I just feed the small Egyptologist-wannabe in me by watching the Discovery channel, with this guy, Zahi Hawass presenting

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(he turns up in everything and anything to do with Egypt…it could have been me you know, he obviously just had less of a fear of bugs…*sigh*)
3. You are shipped to a desert island with no internet – you must stay  for 2 months – you have food and clothes and all the necessaries, but you can only take two items to really pass the time – what do you take?

Ridley: A notepad and a pencil.ID-10048428 I was going to say a pen, but could you imagine how frustrating that would be running out of ink half way through the first month!? I’d have to go fishing for a squid and try and steal some of its ink or something. But with a notepad and pencil, you can draw, you can write (imagine all the work you’d get done), you can start a little diary, with the paper you could make origami friends to keep you company and then play little paper games (of some type, I’m sure before I go to the island, I’ll have looked up all the games there are to play with a piece of paper). Though…do I have a little knife to sharpen my pencil if it breaks? O_O ….I’m sure I do, she does say ‘all necessaries’, that leaves a lot of things open, maybe I can bring my phone as well, though somehow I don’t think there’d be any sockets for charging it in the palm trees. 😦

4. I can tell you for 100% that one of the following is real, which one do you want to be real (and why)?

  • Ghosts (Ridley: NO! We’ve already discussed this…*shiver*)
  • Werewolves and shapeshifters (Ridley: I’m thinking this one is my choice, mainly (and being selfish here) as all the rest, even if they’re real, I can’t really become part of the world-unless that’s part of it becoming real, can i suddenly be one of these things??- anyway assuming that’s not the case, at least if shapeshifters and werewolves were real, I could join them- werewolf love bite anyone? Haha…)
  • Hogwarts and magic (Ridley: ah…if only, but if it was real, I still wouldn’t be apart of it, I’m too old for my letter. I’m possibly a Squib though! 😀 )
  • The Doctor and all that world (Ridley: Be so hard to pin him down, it would become a very unhealthy search for him on my part. So probably best not…)
  • Angels and Demons, and demon and angel hunters (Ridley: So cool. I imagine they’d wear cool boots and leather jackets. And moody striking frowns. They’d never want me tagging along asking questions and grinning like a fool.)
  • Superheroes, mutants, X-men and Batman etc. (Ridley: All special people in groups of which I would not be a member, see option B for further explanations. Though if I thought I could become a superhero if this world was real…then possibly this one…god this question is too hard, and now I’m not playing the game right, changing and adding rules, Latimer is going to rap me on my knuckles. RUN! :D)

5. Well, it’s ghosts that are real for this question. Now, you have a choice… hehe…(Ridley: I dread seeing that ‘hehe’ it sends shivers of horror and unease through me…)

  • Spend 1.5 months in a one bed, really filthy hotel, with no internet access and a shared toilet that has never been cleaned and will never be cleaned. The location of the hotel is nowhere exciting, and you have to stay there too. You can’t get internet anywhere in the town
  • Spend 1 week in Mary King’s Close and 1 week in the Vaults. The alleged ghosts are definitely real (but they can’t physically hurt you). You will have blankets and you can choose where to sleep – but it must be in both places, you can’t hang around the visitor stairwells or anything!

You can leave both places at 9AM everyday but must return at 7PM.

ID-10061531Ridley: I think it would have to be ‘B’, you know me too well, that last line in ‘A’ got me. It was a hard choice, don’t like the idea of not sleep for a week due to all the bumps in the night I’d end up hearing. I was actually verging on picking ‘A’ but then no internet anywhere in town either? So cruel, that was the final straw – oh no, not the horrible bathroom, no no, it was limiting of my computers ability to check facebook, email and google…good to know I’ve my priorities right!! 😀

That was part 1, part 2 will come along….eventually!! By the by, join in if you want, we’d love to hear your answers!!

Latimer: Hope you guys liked Ridley’s grilling – hehe 🙂

Worrisome Wasps

'I'll get you Latimer!!'
– ‘I’ll get you Latimer!!’

Latimer: As summer draws to an end (NOO :(!), I’m plagued by the last remaining wasps. And I hate wasps!

I mean I really hate them.

But my hate is based on fear, pure fear. If a wasp is in the area I warn people with; ‘Listen, listen guys, there’s a wasp over there, now I might jump up and run away screaming and kicking at the air, but don’t mind me!’ This warning more often than not becomes reality.

I run based on what might happen to me, because, I have never in my life been stung. Well, up until last weekend that is…

I was moving bags of clothes from downstairs to upstairs and I got a sudden pain in my foot and thought initially – ‘argh a splinter’ but then the pain got worse and I lifted my foot and screamed…

- 'Oh JAYSUS!'
– ‘Oh JAYSUS!’

There was a wasp stuck to my foot! Still I am screaming, because now one part of me is thinking, ‘oh no I have to touch it to get it off! NO! I don’t want to touch it!’ and the other part is just shrieking.

Now, my hatred-fear of wasps is complete. It is warranted. I don’t want to be stung. But wasps are angry, vicious creatures (hence the term ‘waspish’). I don’t bat at them, I just run away, because batting them makes them angrier and they come at you!

Sharing my experience resulted in people telling me all sorts of stories about their experiences of wasps.

First there was the boy…

He told me a story about when he was a young carefree lad, he used to play in the bushes at the back of his house – where randomly, mid-way through this wasp story he drops; ‘the bushes were Ian Paisley told me off for being one time’ ha.

The bushes had been cut and piles of leaves had been left on the ground. The young boy got excited and raced over to the piles and started playing. Then a swarm of wasps crawled up his chest out of the pile of leaves (he’d stood on a hive).

- Poor Boy!!
– Poor Boy!!

Naturally he ran shrieking to his mother (covered in wasps). His clothes were ripped off, and a wasp flew out of his underpants. Yep, the wasps got him everywhere.

- ...everywhere...
– …everywhere…

The boy  then tells us how he was staying with a friend once and one morning the friend decides, ‘today will be the one day of the year I will be a real man and cut the hedges’. The friend was then confronted by…

- 'I'm gonna get you bub!'
– ‘I’m gonna get you bub!’

 

- 'And I got ALOT of friends!!'
– ‘And I got ALOT of friends!!’

And he runs into the house screaming; ‘get me vinegar!’ And in front of everyone in the house, the friend starts ripping off his clothes, getting naked and running into the bathroom, still screaming for vinegar. He got stung a lot.

We then hear how the boy and his friends were outside one day, enjoying the sun and having some drinks, when the sky went black as a swarm of bees descended on them; ‘hundreds of thousands, they eclipsed the sun briefly’ he said. They all ran into the house, screaming; ‘CLOSE THE WINDOWS! CLOSE THE WINDOWS!’

- 'Close the window, the boy's getting flashbacks!!'
– ‘Close the window, the boy’s getting flashbacks!!’

Now my story of being stung is so boring! But give me time, I feel like another story is on the horizon for me! The last few weeks I’ve been plagued by wasps; now I’m even more afraid – I’m under-siege!

Summer is a time of joy… and wasps 😦