Friday, December 29, 2006

Celtic Spirit

Originally uploaded by agypsy.
10.00pm and on our way to dinner on an absolutely amazing yacht, it's the larger of the blue ones behind us. Round the world wanderer and heading to the Antarctic for several months.
Do these guys know how to party???/ Unfortunately absolutely all the evening's activities begin at the earliest at 10.00pm and that's when I am on the way into dreamland. We had all been invited to dinner on the boat by one of the students - and as usual it was a loooong night for some. I think I got home at a reasonable hour, but I'm not to sure about that! There was a bit of red wine around.
To see the photos click on the photo on the page

Sunday, December 24, 2006

La Ciudad Del Fin Del Mundo: Ushuaia

Well, I'm back in Ushuaia, and after a month I am still wondering just what I had in mind. I seem to fluctuate between the very confident "she'll be right mate" to "oh xxxx what am I doing here?", but I'm here, my ticket is open until September sometime next year and I can always hop a plane a head back to the safety of my Casa Pequeña - or converted garage and be SAFE and most probably extremely bored.
It's mid summer here, as it is in Oz, but where they are sweltering and suffering extreme conditions, here we got very excited and broke out the skimpy clothes, well the locals did anyway, when the thermometer actually crept up to an almost record of 21 degrees. It was the topic of conversation everywhere that day, but then the weather always is wherever you are. Most days don't make it anywhere near that and we go though all the seasons in the one day.One has to head out with the layers and rain gear and I always seem to choose the wrong layers, but then that's normal for me. I have just spent a profitable half hour or so attempting to block some of the draughts that invade through my windows when the gale blows in from Chile in the West, as it does almost daily. The windows rattle and the cold wind roars through all the gaps around and in the frame. When it rains, as it does most days, the lower frame also fills with water! Anyway, thank goodness for my Primary Teacher training and plasticine - the thought hit in those early morning hours when I have nothing better to do than sleep, and off I rushed this morning, Christmas Eve and a Sunday to buy my plasticine, and yes the shops were open and yes some of the holes are blocked. I shall get down to some serious hole blocking in the next few days. Then we will probably suffer a heat wave (I wish) and I won't be able to open any windows.

Broadband and Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Only in South America can you get Dulce De Leche Ice Cream, and why am I sitting here eating it straight from the tub? I don't even like Dulche De Leche ( an horrendously sweet conconction of condensed milk, that everyone spreads on everything here) - I bet you like it Catherine. Anyway I have just been catching up on my favourite reading - as finally I am on line FULL TIME again! and the ice cream is keeping me awake and helping me survive the hours until the Christmas celebrations, but here dinner isn't even thought of before 10.00pm and tonight's the big Chrissy eve dinner.
The reason I'm a little tired is that the installation of the cable for my connection took until about 4.00am this morning, and then naturally I couldn't resist a little reading. I asked my dueno's (landlord) children - so far I have met 3, all charming and extremely helpful ?, about the installation of a cable for easy internet access, as after all, the flat is over their Internet shop - sounded easy, I should have known better. Sure they said, no probs. That was just over 1 1/2 weeks ago, and I know nothing moves fast here, but the promises and the smiles were there, it was just getting down to the actual process that took the time. Part of it could also have been my Spanish and their English ,I thought we understood each other, but my Spanish seems to be deteriorating rapidly. Finally the cable was purchased a mere 2 days ago and last night before I went out, the promise was that all would be ready to go after an early visit from Papa Noel. When I came home the cable would be in through the window and bingo - I could start talking to the world again.
Well Papa Noel did visit, but through a different window, which has meant a complete furniture re shuffle, and to begin with, with a faulty cable connection. Mind you I didn't make it home till after 12.00 so we sort of got started late, but the lovely Leo ( son no ??? of dueno) got working. After quite a few hours with the cable coming and going up and down the outside of the building, on a rather brisk evening, testing re-wiring and finally hours of trying to get my Mac to believe the settings we both had a big cheer and a hug when Firefox burst into action. S0 I am up and running and now I have caught up on a lot of my favourite reading the Dulce De Leche has gone back into the freezer and I am going to shower and get ready to say Feliz Navidad to some great friends. So have a good one everyone.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Valparaiso Chile

Local housing Valparaiso
Originally uploaded by agypsy.
What a wonderful,colourful vibrant city, just a pity I didn't allow myself enough time to see it all. Certainly on the list for the return journey - I haven't ridden all the Ascensors yet, or taken the trolley bus somewhere or visited the house of Pablo Neruda - all things certainly worth doing. Hasta pronto For more photos visit

Saturday, November 04, 2006

On Becoming Invisible

I think it's old age! It seems that unless I am driving a car in an unknown place(and getting lost), I seem to be invisible most of the time, and the older I get the less confidence I have to actually go out there and do things. Why is it I wonder?
There are days when I have to push myself out the door - to drive someone else's car, to navigate unknown Motorways and roads, to travel solo to an unknown city, to wander around as a tourist and yet I cannot sit around watching the box or just grow old indoors.
But honestly, some days I just wonder!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trusted Out

Bodiam Castle
Originally uploaded by agypsy.
Just spent a week frantically checking out National Trust properties here in the "old country" and still find it hard to get my head around the ages of these buildings. Some of them have been around since the 1300s and what's more are still standing. Admittedly - there has been lots of renovations over the years, but they are still standing.
Thank goodness my house owners - Kathy and Mike are good citizens and have paid their annual family subs for membership of the Trust - otherwise - forget it - there's no way I could have visited the 10 or so properties. Things here in the UK certainly don't come in at the cheap end of the spending scale!

Anyway the reason I did it all in a week is that the end of October signals the end of the season and the properties close for the winter months. Here daylight saving also began last weekend, but it works the opposite way and means a little daylight at get up time in the morning, but dark at 4.30 in the pm - a little SAD to say the least. So I am completely "Trusted" out and need time to catch up with just sitting around, reading and generally chilling for a day or so before I head out on the next leg. I have loaded up some photos and they can be found on Flickr at

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Meerkat Magic

A 3.00am start in Buffalo Bay, on a rather brisk morning,followed by a 2 hour drive over the mountain range to the town of Oudtshorn, central South Africa was worth every moment when that first little head popped out of the burrow and surveyed his surroundings. Grant Mc Illrath - the Meerkat Man promises a magical experience and that it certainly is. We were to meet him at 5.50 exactly - which we did, can't say the same for the tour operator and his group of 4,(he is that happy smiling face -not- in the centre of the group,) but finally we all got going out to the Meerkat's home turf. Grant never stops talking, LITERALLY to both his human audience, and in a language known only to him and these furry creatures, as he reassures them the whole time we are with them that we are just more objects in their territory and not likely to be a danger to them.
It was a cold morning, with ice on the chairs as we set up to watch these magical creatures, the Ungulungu Wild Meerkat at home. A very passionate Grant explains everything about the subjects of his 12 year research as we all wait patiently for the first to emerge from the burrow. As it is a cold morning, this takes a little longer and there are moments when I am sure we all doubt the possibility, but then suddenly there is Impi - the first out of bed. We had been asked to remain perfectly still as the first one emerges, but Grant continues to move around the burrow, making his "re-assuring" noises and hand gestures and talking all the time, and sure enough Impi seems to look straight through us as he checks the area for dangers. Once this is done and he has warmed himself 3 more of these wonderful animals emerge, warm themselves and then groom themselves ready for the day, then it's off foraging for breakfast and we get to go too!
Off they go, heads down and tails up at quite a pace and we follow along behind. That particular morning they did the rounds of the outer "bolt holes", safe havens from the predators and old burrows to check them out and scent mark everything as their are several other troups in the area. Impi was also on the lookout for other females and actually left the group that morning, don't know if he came back! We spent quite a few hours out there watching, and I really can't describe what a magical experience it was.

You can check out Grant's website at these are his photos and there are lots more and so much information on the site. Sheer Magic!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Pics of the new home

La Casa Pequeña

For all those who thought it would be too small for living - well cop this!!! looks fantastic and with lots of room to spare. I guess when you have lived in a 4WD for 10 years anything is spacious.

More photos to come - but now I have water and power and will even get to sleep in my new "home when I'm home" tonight. I leave for my years wandering early Sunday morning.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Land of the Long White Cloud

Nelson, New Zealand,the city with the most sun in all the country, and although it is winter I have enjoyed the sunshine on the verandah with my companions - purebred British Short Hair Mr Black and Mr Grey, and their moggie friend Kitti - the house owners. Their companions,Jo & David, with whom they graciously share the house and caterers to all their needs are travelling in Oz, so naturally we need another to take on that task - thus the house sitter! So here I am again.
Another most enjoyable month, catering to the needs of the "boys", spending on the beautiful Merino/Possum/Silk products - I can hear all those Aussie shudders at the use of Possum fur - but it is the 2nd warmest fur available and is so light and warm and when combined with the Merino makes superb products. Added to that the Possum is a pest here, and is destroying the native bush and wildlife, so I think they are making the best of it all - or at least that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!. I have also enjoyed the hospitality of the locals, wonderful folk who made sure I wasn't too bored or lonely. It's always the people you meet along the way that make the journey so wonderful!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I am finding this unbelievably frustrating and have wasted almost a whole day in attempting change. Why are these machines so very frustrating at times? All was working so well before - now!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Next Step

Looks a little small doesn’t it? I wonder if there will be any room for me in there when everything goes in, but at least we are started now and as I write the frame is going in over an already completed concrete slab.

To Be Or Not To Be My New Home?

These is the view from what may or may not be my new home - when I am in Melbourne that is - until recently my sister’s garage which as you can see couldn’t have possibly house a car, but did house everything else that she, her family, our parents and I have ever owned - not even a tram ticket would have fitted in there prior to the empty out. My sister is a true Bower Bird. I am only sorry that we didn’t take photos before we started the clean out - but many black bags hit the dumper and a 6 meter skip came and went in just a few hours and there is still a lot to go! All I now have to do is get the works happening and that is proving interesting to say the least. I am beginning to wonder if it is meant to be, but we shall see on that one.
First one has to get the permits, cost involved naturally, then there are the contractors/tradesmen - just getting them to answer the phone, return the calls, come and give a quote etc is proving to be an exercise in patience. Then there are all those decisions I am going to have to make, and everything naturally involves a cost - it’s much easier to just take off on the next adventure or house sit - which is what is just about to happen. So wish me luck with the “house” or whatever comes next. My next entry should be from “The Alice”