20 April, 2010

Day 13 ~18 Wrap up thanks to travelling and NO Internet!

Man, it seems ages since I did a post... But it was not my fault, HONSET!!!

Fitrstly our last day in Paris consisted of a bus tour of central paris and a trip Up the Eiffel Tour and the a trip up the Sein in a ferry (both were great!).

Champs Elysees, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Arc de Triomphe, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Eiffel Tour, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Paris Sein, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
River Cruise Sein Paris, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

After this, we then caught the metro back to a station near the hotel, and guess what, there was an Antique Market... Both Michael and Julie were in heaven (me too, just quietly...). but it was all stuff I/we could not get back home very easily!

We ended up with a few small things, and headed back to the hotel to collect the bags and head to the train station, Paris Bercy. MAN, am I glad we had everything pre-booked, it was chaos! People everywhere, and trains running late... AND, to top it all off, the train (special) to Rome was running late which meant when ours came, all of the Rome people were blocking our passage and it was a HUGE crush! We got through in the end, but we left around 15 mins late...

It was an interesting trip, dinner in the coach car had the waiter balancing meals and serving, whilst we travelled through at a very brisk rate. We headed back to our cabin and adjusted the beds. I think I had the best nights sleep out of all of us! I must try and find what route we took, but when it was daylight (and an hour or so out of Venice) there was vinyards as far as the eye could see!

We quickly found our hotel and had showers etc and hit the city, although we were all very tired...

Now today, we were given a free trip across to the Murano factory... A water taxi arrived for us and it was a most enjoyable trip. And once across, we were taken into the blowing room, the showroom, both were amazing! I could not take any photos of the showroom, but rest assured, it was great!

Venice Water Taxi, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Venice Murano, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Venice Murano Purchases, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Michael and Julie made some purchases, and when I got to the last showroom area, I found what I wanted, and made mine. So much for the 'free' trip hey!

Rialto Bridge, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Venice rand Canal, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Venice Canal, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Venice Canal, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Anyways, we are now up to date (sort of). Tomorrow we enter dangerous territory, when I pick up the car!!!! Driving on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car... Wish us luck!

Florence, here we come!


15 April, 2010

Louise 11 Dec 1969 ~ 15 April 2009

Today, is the first anniversary, I would like to repost the tribute I did for Louise...

I do not know where I would be, had it not been for my family and friends.

Of particular note, Alex and Sam (Max & Will), I am endebted to your love and support... I really DO appreciate it! Camille and Paddy (Riley & Jamie) & Olivia and Ian (Rosie & Jack), knowing that I have you all there (and the offers of dinner...) thanks guys!

Michael and Julie... I so wish I could simply turn back time, and give you your daughter and friend back... I know that you're hurting, and I love you both dearly...

Mum, for you have given me the strength, love and support, thank you. Helen and Kieran (Jayden and Cameron) and David... I thank you for supporting me through te last year as well.

Maribeth and Jack, my dear friends, I so do not know how I would have coped, for you have been so supportive... Thank you also for your Skype calls and for just being there... Love to you all...

My 'EB Girls' to whom we were suppose to share the wonders of childbirth... Thanks for just being there as well, and for your continued support and friendship.

And all of my friends and family, I say thank you!


14 April, 2010

Days 11 & 12: - Conference Angers

Apologies for not doing a post last night, but after the Conference dinner, it was 1 am and I had an early start for the Technical Trip (Day 1)! So here is a wrap up the last couple of days...

Firstly, the 'Grey Brigade' have been busy touring the city, so I can not really update you to much on them. I last saw them all properly on Sunday night as I had an early morning start for the conference. Here is the Conference Venue (see the banner they had done!)

Conference Venue, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
2nd ETS Conference, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

The presentations were all excellent, some were in French, and as my year 9/10 French is a bit rusty, I got an interprator's headset and listened to them! Lunch was AMAZING to say the least...

The afternoon sessions were also very good, and apart from technical difficulties with the laptop they were using, all was done by late afternoon.

For the Conference Dinner, I had to race back to the Hotel to get changed, and then race back up (20min walk each way) to get the bus out to the Chateaux de Brissac. This was a very grand Chateaux, and a stunning place to have a dinner!

Chateaux de Brissac, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
2nd ETS Chateaux de Brissac, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Dinner Chateaux de Brissac, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Today, the morning started with the technical tours, and mine went to the Geves, which is a seed testing facility, before heading out to the CTPS Turf Trials.

CTPS Turf Trials, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Turf Trials, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Upon returning to the Conference venue, we were once again treated to a bounty supply of food and wines... YUMM!!!

Lunch Canapes Cured Leg Ham, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Lunch Canapes, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Lunch Canapes, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Lunch Canapes, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

So that is where I am at today. I am, as with Julie I suspect, very low at the moment, and finding it hard to concentrate at the conference. However, keeping busy is keeping my mind active and not dwelling on what is to come... I will be reposting a tribute slideshow I did for Louise tomorrow, and we will also be travelling to Paris...


12 April, 2010

Day 10: - London to Angers

WOW, we finally made it...

After a bus, and then 6 trains we are finally checked into our hotel in Angers France. It took a bit (thanks to engineering works on the London Underground) though to get here! We awoke at 5.30am to get ready (pre-packed the night before) and head down to breakfast at 6am. After breakfast, it was the bus into Heathrow for the Heathrow Express to Paddington. We did this as the Piccadilly line had the works. BUT, in Heathrow, we just missed the train and had to wait some 10 mins. Once in Paddington, it was onto the Circle Line to Oxford Circus, (change) to the Bakerloo Line to Kings Cross St Pancras. Now, as our train had long gone, I went to the ticket office expecting to have to buy new tickets. But, Frederique was such a lovely lady and must have seen my angst, reissued the tickets and waived the fee! By this stage though, we were all very SICK AND TIRED of the stairs and escalators! We boarded the train and were on our way...

Buffet Car Eurostar, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Eurostar Coach, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Once in Paris Nord, this is where the 'fun' began... As we had (again) missed the connecting train, again I stood on the ticket office where again, tickets were reissued. And we were directed to the 'Metro' for the train to Gare Montparnasse. When we got to the platform, the train came in and it was full and the platform was fuller! We ended up literally pushing our way onto the train! Soon though, we arrived (more of those blasted stairs...) and we found our train on platform 1 & 2. Our car, though, was No. 20 and the cars started at 1 so we had a LONG walk to ours!We got in, a couple followed and there was a loud beep (twice about a second apart) and the doors closed. The couple, the guy was seeing his girlfriend off, was stuck! But the ticket inspector understood the dilema and was not issued an ingringement notice NOR did he have to pay for the ride! Nice!! We managed to fill a section of the carriage of about 12 or so seats with our luggage and us, and was excellent!

We arrive some 90 mins later, the Hotel is opposite the station, with a full belly of a fantastic dinner. Beef casserol in a red wine sauce for me, YUMM! I am now about to go to bed as I am totally exhausted and the coference is tomorrow! I need a clear head!

Hotel De France, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Michael 1664, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
French Dinner and tired souls, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

11 April, 2010

Day 9: - Portobello Road Markets and shopping!

WOW, today was our last day in London, and we had a day a the Markets... Portobello Markets!

Sewing Machines, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Mum Portobello Rd Markets, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Cherry Blossom Portobello Rd, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

After the markets, we headed into Central London for some last minute shopping in Marks and Spencer. I got a lovely jumper, light weight cotton, and 3 shirts (1 dress and 2 casual). Both mum and Julie also shopped as well, so I was not alone!

Getting about on the Tubes today, was difficult. From Hatton Cross, we had to catch a train to Boston Manor, bus to Ealing Broadway and then a train to Notting Hill Gate for the Markets. Afterwards, it was back on the Central Line and down to Oxford Circus to, well, Oxford Street to shop! After a couple more hours shopping, we then caught the tube back to Queensway as mums bag needed to be replaced. My brothers bag, had a flat wheel (not tyre, but a worn flat spot) which made it more than a little difficult to pull along! So we got a new one, and had dinner, steak, chips and veges. Whilst we were in Queensway/Bayswater, I came across this lovely little girl, isn't she just the cutest thing!!!

For Maribeth, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
For Maribeth 1, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

It was also our warmest day (so far) in the UK, and guess what, it all goes down hill from here!!! Cold here in England, and when we arrive in France tomorrow afternoon, the evening temperature will be only 2 degrees C!

So, tomorrow starts at 5.15am, to get ready, breakfast at 6am and out of the hotel by 6.30am. Though, we will have a different journey to travel! The Hotel Hoppa into Heathrow, then the Heathrow Express to ?? and then onto Kings Cross St Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris. So when next we speak, it will be 'Bonjour mesdames et messieurs'!


10 April, 2010

Day 8: - Greenwich and the London Tower

Today, after an early start to finish off the tour from yesterday, we had an early start... AGAIN! We had a ferry trip up the Thames to Greenwich to do, AND we had to be on the ferry by 10.45am! You see, it is a 24 hour ticket, and that was the times up mark! We ended up arriving 45 mins early so we took a stroll across past Westminster and 'Big Ben' to Westminster Abby.

MJS Westminster Abby, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

But, as it was closed and 15 GBP to get in, we turned around and waited for the first ferry to arrive. After we boarded, obligatory safety massage was given, and off we went; past the Eye, under all of the bridges, Tate Modern and so on... We docked at the London Tower Pier before the penultimate, going under the Tower Bridge!

London Eye, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
BSMJ Thames Ferry, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Sun Eye, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Tower of London Traitors Gate, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
MJSB Tower Bridge, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

After nearly an hour, we finally made it to Greenwich and we headed up the street into Green Park, which holds the Museum that is 'Greenwich Mean Time'.

Mum and Bern Green Park Gates, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Greenwich Mean Time 1pm, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Somehow, we got separated and after some 20 mins or so, we managed to find each other ok! As it was now after 1pm (when the ball drops) we headed into Greenwich for lunch and then onto the Docklands Light Railway to Tower Hill for the Tower of London. This was a fantastic attraction and we got to see the 'Crown Jewels' (although I do wonder if these are simply VERY good copies...).

Entrance to the Crown Jewles, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Mum with a Knight, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Helmet Head Stella, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

So, whilst we didn't do much really today, we got a lot done and were busy all day. This is a good thing, for me and I suspect Julie, as I am really struggling as the days come closer to the first anniversary of Lou's death. It really is a struggle for me to get going of a morning, but I so do NOT want to either upset anyone or spoil the trip for them...

Tomorrow, we are off to the Portebello Road Markets, and as it is getting warmer now (shorts tomorrow I suspect), it is bound to be busy!


09 April, 2010

Day 7: - Central London

Today, we took to the tube and to the (Double Decker) buses! After a tube ride into central London, we quickly found our way to the 'Hop on Hop off bus' to tour around London. It really is a great way to get about! However, I didn't get that many photos today, for some reason, but when we got to the stop for the London Eye, I got the camera out!

Michael Julie Big Ben, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Bern Mum Big Ben, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Mum had been a little apprehensive about going on this, in fact, she did say NO a few weeks back! But, after I sent her some links to photos and so on, she thought it would be ok! Even walking under it, she went sort of quiet... But by the end of it, she had the BIGGEST smile and was grateful she went on! Michael and Julie on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it as well!

Mum London Eye, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Michael Julie Mum London Eye, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Top of the EYE, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

We then headed into a restaurant for lunch, Wagamama. I have been to this chain before, and knew exactly what I was going to get (Katsu Curry). I also knew both Michael and Julie would be ok, but Mum on the other hand is a little more fussy! BUT, I found something for her and when it arrived, she just about scoffed it all down it was that nice! (AS PROMISED, photos of lunch...)

Michael lunch, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.
Mums Lunch, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

So, another super full on day, now in bed and heading to sleep!!!!