Have been chatting with the Scots in my circle of friends, and it looks like they’re going to go with Independence. This has been building for a while…apparently the whole ‘We’d rather govern ourselves‘ thing isn’t a new concept up north.
The curious thing is that not so long ago I agreed with the pundits who seemed to believe that at the last minute those more inclined to tradition would scurry back over to the side of staying in the UK. It seemed only practical.
What happened exactly? Between then and now?
Well, it seems the folk responsible for convincing the Scottish to vote to stay in the UK have chosen a rather curious tactic. The Better Together campaign are employing a mix of scare tactics and condescending rhetoric that’s supposed to freak out Scottish voters.
Just in the last few days, the news has been a mix of:
Well, if you vote for Independence, you can’t continue using the Pound Sterling as your currency.
Oh, and joining the EU isn’t going to be as easy as you think.
And anyway, hasn’t it always been better when we’ve all stayed together.
Behave now and vote for the security that we’ve been providing you all along.
With just the right amount of fear mongering and condescension, it seems the people who wanted to keep Scotland in the fold have instead ushered them out the door.
Our favourite Tottenham Riviera blogger elaine4queen has been threatening to move to Scotland, so I happened upon the perfect place for her. Her own café. Where we can all go and be sweary and inappropriate. As we are wont to do.
This isn’t easy – all this blogging. To be honest, I’ve never been a daily blogger. Well, there was a time I wrote a post everyday on my teablog, and that was enjoyable. Was even travelling a lot at the time, and wrote about tea drinking in Vienna and Hamburg and whatnot. I’m not against daily blogging in theory, but it’s really difficult to be out there living and documenting it simultaneously.
Lately, when faced with the choice, I’ve gone with the ‘focus on the life swirling round you‘ approach, and have taken sporadic notes along the way. At some point, I’ll get round to actually making those into blogposts.
There’s a great place where we stayed right outside of Durham, and I’d like to finally write a bit about the Lambton Hounds Inn, which is in the curiously named neighbourhood of ‘Pity Me‘. I mentioned in my last blogpost, and I assure you I’ve not forgotten it.
And then Fafa, which is my mother’s childhood nickname, and I went on to Lindisfarne in Northumbria. That’s worthy of at least three blogposts right there. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And if you know me even a little, you know I’ve been a lot of places.
Here’s a taste of what’s ahead:
Then we went to another castle that someone told us was involved in the filming of all of that Harry Potter nonsense, but when we got there, they were having a wedding and the place was closed off to visitors.
Turns out Bamburgh Castle has no connection whatsoever to the filming of those books that I’ve not yet read, but I suppose I will at some point. *sigh*
So, that’s a taste of what’s to come…aren’t you excited? Here’s your not-quite-humble-enough blogger at the same castle:
Here’s Durham Catherdral, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Norman (Romanesque) architecture in the world.
1093? Really? Goodness me, that’s old.
Durham Cathedral was famous across England for being an official place of sanctuary for fugitives, such as myself. What a relief to know I could show up, knock on the door with this gargantuan knocker, and be granted 37 days in order to decide whether I wanted to stand trial or get the hell out of Dodge.
If you decided not to stand trial, you had to leave the country immediately from the nearest port, in this case normally Newcastle.
The Washington family came from near Durham. I like the way this plaque is worded.
‘…whose family has won an everlasting name in lands to him unknown.’
You know who they’re talking about, right? One of the American presidents (the first one) had the same name, which is convenient because it happened to be his family. This is where George Washington comes from.
Took so many photos of this, and I’m not really happy with any shot I got. This is the least bad one of many quite dreadful ones. You’re welcome.
If this reminds you at all of Notre Dame in Paris, it’s the same style of architecture. It’s quite an engineeering marvel, but let me let Wikipedia explain that part:
The building is notable for the ribbed vault of the nave roof, with pointed transverse arches supported on relatively slender composite piers alternated with massive drum columns, and flying buttresses or lateral abutments concealed within the triforiumover the aisles. These features appear to be precursors of the Gothic architecture of Northern France a few decades later, doubtless due to the Norman stonemasons responsible, although the building is considered Romanesque overall. The skilled use of the pointed arch and ribbed vault made it possible to cover far more elaborate and complicated ground plans than before. Buttressing made it possible to build taller buildings and open up the intervening wall spaces to create larger windows.
I’m fascinated with how light streams into a room. Perhaps I’m a bit feline in this way, but even as a young child I could sit for long stretches of time watching sunbeams. I’m reminded of Sunday mornings before everyone was herded into the car to go to church, when sometimes I was ready early and could just sit and daydream. Many people light a candle when they meditate. Although I’m not against that, a beam of sunlight does the trick for the likes of me.
This is the sort of photo that I’m sure would be dramatically better had I a better camera and had spent some time actually learning how to use it.
Here’s what it looks like from up there…or did the other day when I was there.
Lots of construction…good on them for biting the bullet in times of financial insecurity.
It’s taken me a few days to publish this post. Not because I did a tonne of research or anything. It’s just that each new day, Fafa (my mother) and I get back on the trail and see new things.
What do you have to look forward to in the coming days? Well, the neighbourhood we stayed in in Durham is called ‘Pity Me‘, which sounded curious to me. I did a bit of proper research, and I’m rather certain you’ll enjoy what I found.
Then we went to Lindisfarne, which quite honestly is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. There’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? I’ll get to that soon enough. This is enough for one day, don’t you think?
Good news! Fafa has arrived in Engaland. She’s sitting here with me now. Here is mi madre:
I took an overnight coach from Victoria Station to Manchester Airport and fetched her. They were working on the tracks, so rather than a train, we had to take a bus to Huddersfield and only then could we continue on with the train to York and then onto Durham.
We’ll be here the next few days & then we’re off to Lindisfarne. This is going to be the right sort of Bon Vivantery.
Well, this is exactly what I was afraid of. ‘MIGRANTS RUSH TO GET OUR JOBS’, indeed.
Had a very odd experience on the train from York to Durham yesterday, and it’s had me thinking ever since. There was a young man sat opposite my mother and me, and he had a series of long conversations with both his girlfriend and his mother on his mobile telephone.
To the latter he insisted that he hadn’t broken up with his love interest, but that she had decided that they needed to ‘…take a small break‘ from the relationship. When he spoke with the former, he pleaded with her that although he’d been a scoundrel, she was the best thing that ever happened to him and really ending things would be a setback he couldn’t fully accept.
His answer to the whole predicament was that they take that little break from the relationship that he’d mentioned to his mother. At least that’d buy him a bit of time until he figured out what might come next. To his way of thinking, this was the only rational solution.
Despite the fact that we could only hear half of the conversation, my mother and I decided afterwards that the young lady was having none of it and had finally wised up. He wasn’t handling defeat well, at all.
What does any of this have to do with those MIGRANTS taking our jobs? Well, at some point in the conversation, we indicated that we might be going to Scotland. He insisted that he loved it there, and that he’d always thought he might move to Scotland when he retires.
Afterwards, my mother was perplexed at what he thought retirement was going to look like. He was in his early 30s and quite freely admitted that he hadn’t been able to hold a job for more than a decade.
I suppose he’d be angry about those pesky MIGRANTS and their job stealing, but I guess he might need a job first before he can get bent out of shape about it having been stolen from him.
Let’s start with some guilt, eh? Guilt-orama, actually. This clock has some script under it, and you think, ‘Well, there’s as good a place as any to go for wisdom.‘ So? Here’s what it says (in case you can’t find your spectacles):
No minute gone comes ever back again Take heed and see ye nothing do in vain
Enough of that. Let’s go where we call a spade a spade. Down at the Lazy Oaf, we can get our idling on.
I’ll give you a hint where this is…no I won’t. You bleedin’ cheater.
Come here for all your Architectural Blogging needs. They won’t be met, but at least you was entertained, like.
This is where I got an overpriced but very funny tea towel. Want to know what it says? Another time, my little onion rolls.
If you think Waxy’s a bit like a crayon, don’t even think about her sister.
Quakers are pacifists. Go fight for what you believe in you lilly-livered bastards.
More wisdom, eh? We should make whoever hung this go look at the script under the clock.
Here’s something that made me smile. Ok, enough smiling. Gotta go…
You all know @elaine4queen, right? If you don’t, you should. She’s like the very best thing bout the Tottenham Riviera. She and her dog Poppet are the best hosts in the entire history of hosting.
There was even a statue of a goat in our journey. And, as you well know, you can’t always expect goats.
What’s so great about Elaine, you ask? Well, she can draw and she can take the train into the city and she can throw Poppet’s ball when we’re playing in the park. I’m making her sound like she’s an imbecile, but she’s not developmentally challenged, at all. In fact, she seems to be above-average in intelligence and she happens to know lots of things. Things that it seems you’d have to read books to learn. Books with really big words.
Here’s where Elaine asked a passerby for directions. We were clearly well informed, because the lovely young lady on the right got us safely to our destination. And somehow Elaine was able to refrain from making any offensive jokes of a racial nature. Not our Elaine.
Then we were in Elaine’s friend Lisel’s house, and I was playing the guitar…the photo’s crappe, but that’s just how it is. It’s the only photo we have that proves I was even here in town that day. Here I am playing the guitar in a swirl of coulours:
And finally? Here’s documentation that Elaine, Poppet and I were at some point all in the same place.
So, there you have it. Out on the Tottenham Riviera and in Hackney we smell different. And differently, as well. More bon vivantery soon enough.
The trip to London is like a huge chunk of molten ore from which I’ll be mining blogposts for a long time to come. Were I to show you my itinerary, you’d be astounded at how much I packed into such a short trip. Big ups to @elaine4queen for meditation-related help and conversations of the highest order.
I got some business taken care of, and there’s big news on that front when it’s more concrete. Don’t count chickens before they’re scratched, or whatever. And I met Robert Godden, who’s also known as The Devotea in teablogging circles. That was an event. To say the least. Here’s a document of that auspicious occasion:
If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Robert either online or in person, you know that he’s passionate and just the other side of sane. It’s one of the myriad of reasons we get along. I also met the infamous Lady Devotea, but was sworn to not publish the photos I took of her. Perhaps once she sees the way I respectfully portrayed her gent, she’ll relent. But until then, I must respect her wishes.
Then, I was introduced to Bloom Tea, which I’ve already mentioned over on the teablog, but bears repeating here. They have five different blends for different times of the day. It’s a clever way to sell tea, so I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this brand in the near future. Here’s a photo of the sample I was given:
The mornings in London were exactly like they are back here in Germany for me. I get up relatively early, so I can plan my day properly. It means that when others get out of bed, I’ve already been at it for several hours. It’s all rather disconcerting if you think about it. Because I know my level of energy can be a bit off-putting, I attempt to tone it down as best I can – with varying results.
Finally, I’d like to share one of the best photos of last weekend. It’s got some wonderful characters in it, innit? I’ll not bother listing them all, although I should at least make a passing reference to a certain Vic Darkwood, who you’ll see on the far right of the shot. Purportedly, he’s an artist of some renown.
I’m just glad to say we now know each other on twitter. I hope when he gains international fame and glory, that he remembers us little people.
Like I’ve said, I’m sure this isn’t my last London-themed blogpost. There’s tonnes more to tell.
In Notting Hill in London, there’s a shop, that’s been written about here before called the The Idler Academy of Philosophy Husbandry and Merriment, and I made the voyage to its doors. Upon arrival, I sat amongst the tomes and looked across the room to see the above.
A man wearing a shirt that said ‘Texas is for Lovers‘. A bit innocuous, you say? Well, that’s not quite how I see it.
There certainly are plenty of lovers in Texas, if you want to include all the baby daddies and ne’er-do-well deadbeat fathers that the place is littered with. I can already hear the protests from both Texans and friends of Texans saying things like, ‘But lahikmajoe, what’re you talking about? There are good fathers there in the Land of Lovers, as well.‘
Well, I suppose I’ll give you that.
However, this marketing campaign that the authorities in Texas have devised to make themselves appear more amorous than they really are is not only false advertising, but it’s rather unbecoming. What if a poor, unsuspecting soul were to read the message on that t-shirt and actually make his way to Texas in search of All the Lovers.
Those Texas Lovers of the infamy decreed on the Shirt in Notting Hill.