Angelic Paranoia

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What I did on my holidays
Saturday 29th October 2016 2:16 pm

Let's not talk about how I've now had this cold for a week and a half (it's going away, but yesterday I got out of breath walking to the car and opening the garage and it wasn't that cold). Let's instead talk about the interesting, fun things I did when I wasn't ill.

We spent one day at Windsor Castle. The station had a huge Patisserie Valerie, where I had a very nice gluten free chocolate muffin. And at lunch we went to a burger place that have a gluten free menu. I had to get the chips off the ordinary menu, but the bun was definitely gluten free: it was very dry and fell apart. But still, it was quite exciting to have a burger in a bun when out.

On the non-food front... It was quite expensive, but you could get your ticket stamped and use it to come back again within a year. We found they do tours of other bits in the summer, so we'll try and do that (and get our money's worth!). We weren't allowed to take photos indoors, so spent quite a bit of money in the shop on postcards instead. The state rooms were pretty typical really. They were interesting, but I've seen quite a few. The best room was one that was filled with weapons. There was an amazing sword in one cabinet. The sword itself was wavy and the handle was white and completely impossible to hold. It depicted a small scene with a person and a horse and there were no straight bits. They did say on the multimedia tour (which was free at least) that those weapons were just for display. I wish I could have taken a photo of it - and of course it isn't on a postcard because most people wouldn't be that interested.

There was a doll's house that was amazing. It was never designed to be played with and it was a replica of a posh house of the time. You could walk round all four sides. The front had a garden and the back had the cars parked underneath.

And then there was the chapel, which had an amazing ceiling. They put an angled mirror on a table, so you could look at it without having to crane your neck. So that was a good day.

We had another day in Oxford. We did a Bodleian Library tour, which was really interesting. I didn't know that the copyright law means that every book printed goes to the Bodleian (or Swindon, since they've run out of space). I had an idea that they had every book, but I didn't know that mean every book. And magazine. Even digital books (which at least don't take up so much space). And they burnt a lot of books when Henry VIII decided not to be Catholic any more. The best part was finally finding out why the Radcliffe Camera is called a camera, when it's a (round) building. Turns out camera is Latin for room. So there you go.

After that we went to the Castle. Which is less castley than Windsor and also a jail until really recently. I want to say that I wouldn't want to be in jail in an old castle (nice to visit, but a bit cold) but then I wouldn't want to be in jail to start with. The shop was a bit disappointing, but the tour was very good. And I hadn't considered before that spiral staircases go round the direction they do because invading armies going upstairs don't have space for their swords (since they were all (forced to be) right handed).

Although it was warmer this week, at least it didn't rain, which was something.


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Holiday
Sunday 18th October 2015 11:34 am

I have been on holiday! It's partly been a holiday from work and partly an actual going away holiday.

I went to London. Which is more expensive than going for the day (involving hotels and Oyster cards) but means getting to places earlier in the day and being able to go out at night without having to wait ages for a train and then getting home really late.

The best thing was that I finally looked into the 2 for 1 thing the train leaflets are always going on about. There turns out to be loads of things you can get in to for (effectively) half price for two people. So we did things that would normally be overpriced, but ended up reasonably priced.

I have lots of ordinary photos of the London skyline from the London Eye and a boat trip we took from Westminster to Greenwich. I was mostly ok on those, but once I got off my head wasn't too sure about that movement. We did freeze on the boat, but sitting inside made my head feel funny.

We went to Westminster Abbey. It was mostly graves, some grander than others. It was quite sad that some you couldn't read because they were on the floor and lots of people have walked over them over the years. The most interesting bits were all the scientists in one area. Isaac Newton had a big ornate thing, but Paul Dirac had an equation on his. Then there was Poet's Corner with lots of poets and authors. Some of these poets, authors and scientists were buried there, but most (I think) were just commemorated there.

We also went to Kensington Palace. It was a bit of an odd place, because there was a lot there, but not really much indication of what much of it was. If you got lucky then you managed to be in the right place at the right time for a talk, but otherwise you were on your own or asking a guide.

Amusingly, at Westminster Abbey we saw the graves of Elizabeth I and Mary I. I was confused at Mary I because I didn't remember another Queen Mary. Until I went to Kensington Palace and they talked about William III and Mary II. Which explained it, but I've only ever seen them referred to as William and Mary without the numbers.

One evening we went to see Phantom of the Opera - partly because we're signing a medley of it this term and we'd never seen it. The theatre was designed a bit oddly because there was nowhere where you could sit and see the whole stage. But aside from that I enjoyed it - the songs in the medley are definitely the best songs (and with some extra alto bits!).

Another evening we went to see the wheelchair rugby. This was a special thing they put on to complement the rugby world cup. Not that it was well advertised at all. It was in the Copper Box at the Olympic Park and really empty. It was really good to see live, though (much better than on TV). I like wheelchair rugby because the rules are simple and it's fun to watch. We saw GB vs Australia. Australia were narrowly ahead the whole time and ended up winning, but it was still a good match. Then there was South Africa vs USA, which was very one-sided. It was obvious which side the crowd were on, as when USA scored there was silence, but when South Africa scored the crowd went wild!


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Doctor Who anniversary aka Australia
Thursday 26th March 2015 6:12 pm

Today is the 10th anniversary of New Who. Or for me, it tells me it was ten years ago that I went to Australia (where did the time go?). The fact that there's been no way I could get on a plane for the past six years that makes it more poignant.

I left on Maundy Thursday and arrived early on Easter Saturday, after travelling for about 24 hours. I spent Saturday trying to stay awake, playing with my aunt's dog and marvelling at how quiet the city centre was on a Saturday (Adelaide is a small city). So I was asleep (just about - the unfamiliar dawn chorus was hard to sleep through) on Sunday morning when Doctor Who was on, on the other side of the world. When I spoke to my parents in the evening they told me it was funny and they'd keep watching.

I was in Australia for three weeks, so I had four episodes to watch by the time I got home.

I want to go back one day, but I get travel sick on planes at the best of times, so I don't know. However, some investigation of the Eurostar website tells me that I can get to most of Western Europe in the same time I can get to Scotland by train. From here, Paris and Brussels are only about three hours away, and Munich (where I have two friends living) involves changing twice (not including London) and only takes about seven hours. Which ok, is a long time to be travelling, but if you have to change trains, you might as well stop off.

The Eurostar website gives you train times to France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. They included non-Eurostar trains, so even from there you could change and go somewhere else. Plus being able to get on a train and get off in another country is a novelty when you live on an island.

My passport runs out this year, having not been used for nearly six and a half years. But it turns out there are reasons to renew it.


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Holiday
Thursday 16th October 2014 6:19 pm

I have really needed this holiday, as I thought I would. I have discovered that it is actually possible to sleep past 6.30am. Even in a hotel room in an uncomfortable bed (it dipped massively in the middle and getting up to one edge was like mountaineering, only on your side).

I have also seen a lot of Bath in the rain. Although that's mostly because it's done a lot of raining.

I haven't actually done any writing, but I did get my SGA Santa assignment. I'm more used to Yuletide-style prompts, so this is vague in comparison, but exactly the sort of thing I write. So it'll be perfect, just as soon as I can work out what to write.


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Digital Revolution
Sunday 31st August 2014 6:14 pm

Yesterday I went to London to the Digital Revolution, which is an interactive exhibition. I'd seen it on TV, where they'd gone through the cool bits. What I found when I got there is that they had shown all the cool bits. It was still cool to see in person, though. Read more...


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Blue post box
Tuesday 27th May 2014 8:38 pm

Blue post box

Outside the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is this postbox. It's interesting for two reasons:

  1. it's blue (they're usually red)
  2. it's from George V's reign (they're usually from Elizabeth II)

A search around tells me that it's blue either because blue was for air mail (although they also had a thing on the top to say air mail) or it was painted blue to commemorate the Post Office's association with the British aviation.

What is amusing are the number of pictures of this post box in the rain!


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Manchester
Sunday 25th May 2014 6:41 pm

I've just been up to Manchester for two-thirds of the weekend. I got up early on Saturday to beat the bank holiday/start of half term rush, spent the morning on trains, went round Manchester in the rain in the afternoon, then spent this afternoon on trains, to return to lovely sunshine. And this morning I woke up after not much more than six hours sleep and couldn't get back to sleep, so now I am tired.

I went there to see a friend from uni and his 'new' house - he moved in about two and a half years ago and I hadn't seen it. So now I have. And discovered that I really need new walking shoes because they are letting in the rain and the waterproofing spray doesn't help. I suspect that the parts that are coming away are worse than they first look. They're also not as comfortable as they used to be. So I need new walking shoes. It was when I went to Manchester the first time that I realised I needed some, because all the walking around set off my housemaid's knee...


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Manor Farm
Sunday 11th May 2014 7:54 pm

Another weekend, another trip out, this time to Manor Farm, which was the farm they filmed Wartime Farm at. It had a whole load of animals, including some noisy sheep and two ugly turkeys displaying at one of the females, who didn't pay either of the males any attention at all. I got to stroke a bunny, and also a chick, duckling and a one day old baby turkey (who looked quite sweet).

There were also a lot of lambs. Read more...


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Day out
Sunday 4th May 2014 6:32 pm

Since it's a bank holiday weekend, I have nothing planned and it's actually been sunny for a change, I had a day out yesterday. After some time trying to decide where to go I picked Oxford. My legs still ache from walking around and my face is slightly sunburnt (it's red, but isn't hot and doesn't hurt).

Despite being a nice day, it wasn't really quite warm enough to sit on the top deck of an open top bus. Not that this stopped me. it was nice when we were stationary, but when we were moving it was a bit chilly. It took me a while to warm up after that.

I went to look round Christ Church, which mostly involved queueing. I queued to get in, then once there queued up the stairs to see the Hall, then queued round it. It wasn't much to write home about, but it is famous for having some Hogwart's Great Hall scenes filmed there. And it's where Lewis Carroll studied maths, hence the Alice bits in the stained glass window.

The Cathedral didn't require queueing, but it was pretty much just a bog standard cathedral - once you've seen one you've seen them all. But it did have two pianos!

No day out is complete without a trip to a bookshop - so I did two: Waterstones and Blackwells.


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Torquay
Saturday 29th March 2014 7:48 pm

The reason I haven't posted much lately is that I spent last weekend in Torquay at the Rotary Conference. We went for a longer long weekend, so we could have some time in Torquay, as well as conferencing. Of course it was the one weekend this month when it was cold and windy and rainy...

The hotel we stayed at had gluten free bread and Lactofree butter. One of the places we went to eat had three different sorbet flavours for dessert, none of which were on the menu, but they told me about them because I'd asked them what I could eat. Although one restaurant where I asked whether the sauce had milk in came back and told me I couldn't have it because it had flour in, but I could have another that had garlic butter in... I discovered Booja Booja chocolate ice cream was really nice, even though it was too cold for ice cream.

I also didn't go to bed until 11.30pm most nights and woke up at 6am most mornings even though I didn't have to be up that early. So it's taken until now for me to catch up on my sleep.

And my legs have just about recovered from all the hills and the stairs and me making them worse at ballet on Wednesday...


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London
Sunday 15th December 2013 8:21 pm

On Friday night I decided to go to London, as I had nothing on this weekend and knew that otherwise I'd just sit around not really getting anything done (whereas today I had an excuse).

In the morning I went to the Large Hadron Collider exhibition at The Science Museum. It was in the basement and designed to look as if you were there - the info text were on white boards and screens and radios of people talking. There was even a mock-up office. It was interesting, but of course it has to appeal to everyone, so quite a bit of it I knew. Quite a bit of it I'd forgotten, particle physics not being my forte - too chemistry for me.

It started off with a video of various people telling you various stuff. Towards the end it was mocked up to be the control room with people working at computers. There were four people in there, three of whom had three monitors. One of them only had one monitor and it was blank. Which didn't stop her from working at it...

There was one bit I couldn't do. It was a about 270 degree video room (with no seats) showing you the tunnel to start with. It moved in such a way that I couldn't tell if I was moving or it was, so I had to leave.

I had a wonder around some of the rest of the museum. The small 3D printing exhibit was disappointing as it mostly consisted of showing you things that had been 3D printed and there was one brief piece of information on how they worked. In the shop you could buy one for £1700! Or some (quite flat) Christmas ornaments that had been 3D printed for £2.

I liked The Secret Life of the Home, though. I saw early hoovers that had to be pumped by someone else. And a video and microwave that were massive and older than I was. Obviously they were too expensive for people to own back then.

In the afternoon I went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament (where you weren't allowed to take photos). I've been to the equivalents in Australia and Canada, but not here. It was really interesting - and the House of Lords and House of Commons were much smaller than they look on screen.

One of the Lords side rooms hosts foreign heads of state when they come and talk to both Houses and on either side it has big paintings of great British victories. One is Nelson's, one is Napoloen's defeat. When Sarcozy came they warned him about them in advance!

When the Commons have a vote there's a bell that rings to tell them they have to get there to vote. It rings throughout the building and in the offices over the road. And also in some of the local pubs and restaurants...


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Sophie Aldred and London
Sunday 8th September 2013 5:21 pm

Yesterday I went to London because there was an exhibition of photos of Sophie Aldred (Ace in Doctor Who) recently discovered and she was signing them yesterday. Since I didn't have anything else on this weekend I wandered down to London. I was half-wondering if there would be long queues, but as it turned out there was never more than about three people in the queue and the only reason it was so long was because she was chatting to everyone. I managed to speak to her and only vaguely sound like a bit of an idiot. But we did agree that we both wanted to be Ace when we grew up.

After that I decided to go to Buckingham Palace as I'd only seen it once and I didn't have a camera at the time. Trafalgar Square was a really short walk away. It was packed with people and also had a giant blue cock in it. When I walked round it I found the plague that said it was a sculpture. In the Square and by St James's Park there were a couple of people and board giving directions and helping tourists etc. It said it was a London Mayor thing and seemed like a good idea to me. I went with my usual method of finding my way from Trafalgar Square of walking round it until I found the right exit.

The Mall turns out to be long. Really long. I didn't look at my watch but it must have taken 15 minutes to walk down it. And then at the end was Buckingham Palace. Which I found quite underwhelming. But the statue was good for sitting on for a rest.

After that I went in search of the Walkie Talkie building. This is a stupidly shaped building to begin with, but it's even worse because it's concave on one side, covered with nice reflective glass windows and so works like putting a magnifying glass in the sun. Hence it has been melting things (like cars). Apparently it is actually possible to fry an egg in the sun beneath it. I found that building a bit underwhelming too, but then it was raining at the time.

On the whole it was a nice day out. It was nice not to go for the whole day and not to be meeting anyone for anything specific so I could just mooch about and do whatever I liked. Mostly I managed to make my legs ache. It's annoying because in the grand scheme of things I didn't walk that far - when I go on holiday I walk further than that for three days in a row. But I haven't been on holiday for five years, so I think my legs have got out of practise. The most walking I do these days is up the road to the shops and back again, which only takes an hour or two.


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Achievements
Sunday 31st July 2011 8:00 pm

I'm feeling like I've achieved things this weekend.

Yesterday I went to London. As the train pulled into Paddington they announced that the only tube line running was the Bakerloo. Which isn't a particularly pleasant line at the best of times, certainly not when it's hot and it's only line stopping at Paddington. So, having established that it was an easy walk, I walked to Oxford Circus. I didn't get lost (although I did consult my map twice). The bit in Hyde Park was quite pleasant, walking through the crowds on Oxford was less so, but I did stop off in a few shops to have a look around, but not buy anything.

Then today I cleaned my bookshelves. I didn't get rid of much because I can't decide, for quite a few books, whether I'm likely to read them or not. But once I've moved I'll have space to buy more bookcases, so then everything will get moved around anyway and I can make decisions. I still have all my other furniture to clean and everything to go through to get rid of stuff I don't want, but at least I've made a start.


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Fun and games
Saturday 30th July 2011 12:19 pm

I am trying to be back in the real world after a long weekend at the windmill. It was fun, apart from the earwigs in the windmill, the ticks on the walks and the stinging nettles (I got stung, but no ticks - after seeing them on the cat I think I prefer the stinging nettles).

I ended up reactivating my Facebook account (I never completely deleted it because I didn't trust them to delete my data). After the end of Rotaract dinner with people I hadn't seen for years I thought I really ought to keep up with them. And then at the windmill there were people I hadn't seen for a year, so I knew nothing of what had happened to them during that time, but they all knew about each other.

So I ended up going back on Facebook. It looks like I can see all status updates on TweetDeck and post from TweetDeck and I am assured that these days emails to say you have a message tell you what the message is. So I shouldn't have to actually go to Facebook itself. But it is purely a real life thing - I only have Rotaractors and people I knew at uni on there (plus Emma who is the only person from school I still talk to).

And then after that I got curious about Google+. So I used my netbook, where I'm trying out Firefox 4.0. I found that it's much easier to change the privacy settings on Google+ than Facebook. And that's the only thing I've done on either of them really. I don't intend to use Google+ for anything, not least because it seems to have chosen one of my Gmail accounts to associate with my Googld+ account. Which isn't a bad choice, but I wish it had warned me in advance.

On the topic of old friends, I'm off to London this afternoon to meet [info]livii - and [info]shinyjenni and [info]sillycleo too. It's been very handy having people come here, when I can't go anywhere. This year I've also seen [info]selenay936, [info]hhertzof, [info]just_ann_now and [info]munditia and I've only had to go as far as Coventry and London.


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SJA preview: Death of the Doctor (spoiler free)
Wednesday 13th October 2010 12:00 pm

Yesterday I went to London to see a preview of the third SJA story, Death of the Doctor. Without spoilers for any of series 4, with the exception of the two people in this episode. Even though I'm avoiding spoilers this one is impossible to avoid - and will be even more so in a week's time when doubtless it'll be all over all the TV guides.
Read more...


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Home
Tuesday 4th November 2008 7:54 pm

I am home and tired, although not jet lagged as I'm too tired and the travel sickness pills are still wearing off (the latter are better than sleeping pills at putting you to sleep). All my photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paranoidangel/tags/canada/, although flickr has helpfully put them in a silly order - the three numbers at the end of the filenames of each are in the order I took them.

So far I've watched four episodes of Spooks and other things too, but that was my first priority. Although I had to do them in bits because they're so emotional. Tomorrow I have off work, so I'll catch up with everything then.c


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Last day in Canada
Sunday 2nd November 2008 11:26 am

First of all, what is definitely morbid curiosity:

THE ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK MEME

They changed the clocks in Canada this weekend, so I'm five hours behind home again. But no one told my body clock that, so I woke up at 6am. And being Sunday the World's Biggest Bookstore doesn't open until 11am.

I uploaded loads of photos of Niagara Falls yesterday. So many that I had to delete kittens to make space on my card. It turns out the hotel by the airport tomorrow night does have free wireless internet, so I will upload the last of my photos - which will be lots of views of Canada from up the CN Tower. And hopefully me on the glass floor. Watch this space... (or rather, watch my flickr space because I haven't been posting to here everytime I upload photos)c


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Toronto
Friday 31st October 2008 1:39 am

I'm now in Toronto, where the snow has gone and it's warmed up a lot. I'm ready to go home now, though, because I'm just museumed out. My right leg hurt this morning to the point where I had to take a pill so I could still do stairs. Apart from that I'm definitely getting used to walking because I walked for an hour this morning and thought it was only about ten minutes.

I am looking forward to going to Niagara Falls on Saturday because that'll be so different from everything else. And I haven't allowed myself to buy souvenirs because I'd have to carry them, so I can buy tat there. And I'm looking forward to seeing Hilary and what we have planned for Sunday.

I'm just ready for my life to go back to normal now.


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Snow
Tuesday 28th October 2008 11:48 pm

I've gone off Canada now. For the past couple of days it's been quite warm, but today the temperature dropped over 10 degrees overnight. This morning it was cold, windy and raining. This afternoon it was cold and windy. This evening it's cold, windy and snowing diagonally. And settling on cars, although not the roads or pavements or car parks. The bright side is that tomorrow I only have to go out to get money, then go to Toronto. According to the weather forecast it'll get warmer again. *crosses fingers*

Although, of course now I've got used to my way around this city and getting buses, I have to get used to a new one. Although Toronto has trams, which are quite exciting in themselves, so I intend to get trams a lot, instead of walking. The soles of my feet might drop off otherwise, and that's through expensive walking boots too.

I do have some interesting photos. First of all, a nightclub called Zaphod Beeblebrox. It's interesting that the signs above it talk about hot and cold buffet in English, but hot or cold buffet in French. Also, there's The Brig Pub. They're next door to each other as well!


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Tired
Monday 27th October 2008 2:09 am

I'm very glad I have my laptop with me, it's been very useful, not just for paying my phone and electric bill (even if the website didn't work for the latter and I had to borrow Sel's computer). Although it still has the time in BST, so I wonder if it gets a signal from somewhere that tells it the clocks have changed. I don't know, I've never taken a computer out of the country before.

However, I had planned to answer emails & lj comments etc (and I have stuff marked as read in Thunderbird and my RSS Reader). But the trouble is that after walking around and learning things all day I'm too tired in the evenings to do anything much. I am looking forward to having Wednesday off, as I'll be spending the morning lazing around in Ottawa, the afternoon on a train and the evening lazing around in Toronto. Or at least that's the plan. I planned to laze around in Montreal a bit too and that never really happened.

So far I like Ottawa, it's much smaller to walk in, it has impressive buildings and people indicate (it's weird how the French in Canada are exactly like the French in France in that respect - except that here people don't try to run you over). And it has a 🙂 And some gluten free bread that tastes quite nice. And I do mean nice, rather than "not disgusting". But so far I haven't tried to take it anywhere, and I've been taking good care of it, so it hasn't fallen apart yet. It will when I get to Toronto, I'm sure. Otherwise I'll be buying it in bulk and shipping it home.

I have finally got over my jet lag and can now sleep till 8am. Usually I'm complaining about waking up that early, but it's a big improvement on 6.30am... And since I end up falling asleep about 11am, that's a reasonable amount of sleep anyway. I just dread to think how tired I'll be in the mornings when I get home. The good thing is that they don't change the clocks in Canada till next weekend, and as I have to get up early the Monday after it basically won't affect me and means I'll end up being 4 hours out at home. She says hopefully...


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