Captured!

Finally! My own little birdie 🙂 After all the drooling I did at all your blog posts with bird pictures!

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Venice – A Bird’s Eye View

So this is for all of you who wanted pictures -first installment 🙂 More about where we clicked all this – in the next post.

St Mark’s Clock Tower

Check out the Bell and the two figures on the top. The winged lion with the book is considered the symbol of the City of Venice.

The Doges Palace

The top of St Mark’s Basilica

The Grand Canal

Isola San Giorgio Maggiore

Piazza San Marco. There was a concert going on there.

Look at the restaurants dotting the square.

More to come in the next few days 🙂

Wordless Wednesday – 17

Edited to add : It is ice on the conservatory walls. Completely natural 🙂 I think moisture solidified into ice because the conservatory heating was turned off. It is wonderful isn’t it, that it formed snowflake patterns? Especially because it did not snow on the night that they formed!

We have been waiting..

.. for snow..

Yesterday, the forecast said ‘Light snow showers at 3:00’, and we had our eyes peeled at 3, waiting. The wait went on until 4. Daughter gave up before me. I logged in to check if the weather forecast had changed, only to realize that it said very clearly, ’03:00 am (Thu). Silly me, not to read it properly.

The first thing, I did this morning was to check if the forecast held true. Well, it most certainly did  – but it must have been a very very light shower, the only thing left was a thin layer of ice on the top of cars. How disappointing. This morning was slightly better. We have had light showers of snow, which disappears as soon as it hits the ground, but it is better than, nothing, don’t you think?

Here is how it was last year. And here’s one from last year for today’s Thursday Challenge- “WEATHER” (Snow, Sun, Cloudy, Rain, Lightening, Rainbow, Tornado,…).

Snow-clad splendour

Last night was supposed to be the coldest night in the UK. Some parts of UK were expected to be as cold as -20 degrees – almost as cold as the South Pole. They are calling it the ‘white-out’ of Britain. Pics of UK from the sky looks all white. Snow does make everything look much prettier.

Never having experienced snow before, I was all excited about it during the move to London, only to know that it hardly snows in London. True to the word, it hardly snowed all the time we were there. A maximum of one or two days of snow which disappeared soon enough too. Snow remained that romantic, exciting event (thanks to the movies, I guess) which never really happened to me.

It all changed when we moved here to Leeds. Snow was proper heavy snow here. Last year we had some decent amount of snow. This year, however, I think, all my craving for snow, has been satisfied. It has snowed like never before.  It snowed 2 days before we left for our vacation and it was fascinating to watch. Huge, giant snowflakes coming down and covering everything. I spent ages looking out at the snow, instead of packing. Thankfully it stopped the day we were travelling or we  might have never gone on holiday.

We came back to gloriously sunny Britain after 10 days and a small part of me was disappointed by the fact that the snow seemed to have gone for good. But not for long, we drove into heavy snow on the way, which thankfully lasted only around 20 minutes. To make up for the snow we missed during the Christmas week,  last one week, it has snowed and snowed and snowed. I had the fortune/misfortune of getting to trek 3 miles in snow – which was rather fun, quite unexpectedly. Making snowmen in the garden and having fun snow fights 🙂 Of course, not everybody is happy with the snow. Daughter is heart-broken that her school is closed due to snow. Even making snowmen, does not entirely compensate for not being able to go to school. Cars lie abandoned all over the place. We came across a car abandoned right in the middle of a small roundabout. Scraping the snow off the car everyday is one painful thing as we have recently learnt.

As they say, difficult times bring out the best or worst in people. We hear of heroic stories about people going out of their way to help others in difficulty, we also hear of clever thieves who used the opportunity to take off with cars which the owners had left unattended with the engines running for defrosting. Guess it takes all kinds!

Leaving you with a few pics from around here – all cold and frosty!

The streets and the sidewalks all merged into one.

It almost looks like a black and white pic, doesn’t it?

The solitary bench all piled up with snow.

And it gets whiter as the snow fall increases.

On the way back from school – all disappointed at having to go home earlier than usual.

Making snowmen in the garden, kind of, made up for no school.

So how has the weather been at your end? Hope you all are having a less white winter.

Fish, Anybody?

Before you guys think that I am cooking/serving fish here.. it is just a few pics from our vacation.

We had been to a seaside place near here and everywhere we looked we could see fish. Be it, fish and chips or people fishing or the fish at the Sea life centre.. Here’s a few from the Sealife Centre. I am assuming that not many of you would be interested in Fish and Chips 🙂

P1020272A Ray fish – which Poohi insists on calling Raymond!

P1020273These fish were almost transparent – not clear in the photograph, sadly.

P1020281Penguins! I love the way they waddle 🙂

P1020292Look at that naughty seal peaking out 🙂 They were a treat to watch!

P1020302A spider crab which freaked out Poohi – she is terrified of spiders.

P1020309A snake headed turtle – it’s head did look a lot like a snake.

P1020310A bunch of little turtles – they looked incredibly cute as they swam around.

P1020318And finally a sea horse.

Am sure I would have bored you all thoroughly with these, but I don’t know what it is about aquariums.. There is something incredibly peaceful about them.. Must be the green and blue all around. And the fact that nature has such beautiful and diverse treasures. Some so tiny, some huge, all lovely and beautiful in their own way and doing their bit in maintaining the ecological balance. Surely, mankind must the only species which, by its actions does more harm than good….

On a different note, its festivals everywhere! Happy Eid to every one.  Happy Durga Puja and Navaratri! Hope all of you have a lovely festive season!

Celebrating summer..

Or the few days of sunshine that we get in the name of summer 🙂

We check the weather the first thing every weekend. Checking the night before is no good, it sometimes changes even within that span 😦

If it is sunny, we set off, and get to see others enjoying the weather like this 🙂 See the clear blue skies? Such a treat to see that.

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Only to realise that a lot of others have the same idea.  So we sit in a traffic jam , crawling, coering 4 miles in 45 minutes. There was also an office space sort  situation, with the traffic, video below for more information 🙂 After a point, we decided to relax and enjoy the weather.

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Or drive through country roads where the speed limit is 60 mph, but we could never dream of driving at that 😦

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Driving through country roads that looked( see that puddle in the side of the road?) and smelt (of cowdung) like Indian roads 🙂

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Driving aimlessly through the yorkshire dales and ending up in a quaint little town, with a square like this..

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And a church like this…

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And wrapping up the trip outside with some park side fun 🙂

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And it’s all going to come to an end soon :(I am going to miss these summer days so much!

PS: Have not yet reached the comments on the previous posts – had a busy weekend. Will get there  – I promise. (Disclaimer especially for Hitchy’s notice 😉

Our Lake District experience

Alert :Long and possibly boring post!

The place which was the inspiration behind William Wordsworth’s poetry and Beatrix Potter’s lovely stories – Lake District. England’s Lake district also boasts of  Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, Wastwater – its deepest lake apart from one of the most scenic locales in the country. Lake District is also the birth place of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy and it has the only Laurel and Hardy Museum in the world!

We had been planning to visit the Lake District since May 2005 but for one reason or the other – it just never worked out. So one day before the last long weekend in May, when we were deciding on where to go, Lake District was easily the first choice 🙂 Husband was keen on taking a risk, driving up there and finding a B&B or a hotel there or just driving back in case we could not find one. Though extremely tempting  – it was far too risky a strategy especially with a 3 yr old 🙂

So to cut a long story short, we were really lucky to find a B&B which thankfully had a cancellation and packed our bags and started off at around 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. A friend had recommended that we take a scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, instead of the shortest route. Given what they say about the journey being as important as the destination, we decided to have fun on the journey as well, instead of going through the boring  motorways 🙂 Needless to say, it took us 5 hours to reach our destination – a journey which should have taken not more than a couple of hours on the regular route 🙂

Yorkshire Dales is a designated National Park , which is now a favourite destination for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders alike and for those who want to explore the lovely villages. There are lots of farm shows and duck races happenning.. We did not see any – but saw lots of hand painted signs with directions:)

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We drove on roads like these – much narrower in some places, passing people walking, cycling and even fishing 🙂 Notice the fence – almost all the fences we saw in the Dales and Lake Distirct was made of stones – and from what I could make out – it did not have any binding element like cement …

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The roads start narrowing to the point where if another car came by, it was near impossible to get by.. But we hardly saw many cars as this route was primarily used by the residents and not by tourists.

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We travelled up hills and down again – almost like a roller coaster ride 🙂 And here are some tired cyclists pushing their bikes up the hill..

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We stopped on the way, to see some sheep 🙂 or rather so that daughter could see some sheep, and as you can see it was extremely windy 🙂

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And finally, our first glimpse of Lake Windermere. We had arrived at our destination announced our Sat Nav 🙂 Apparently ‘mere’ is the name given to lakes

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We went straight to Bowness on Windermere, which is quaint little town with some very cute, very English buildings.. There were lots of swans near the lake and they were so extremely friendly – they would actually reach into people’s pockets 🙂

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And we then loitered around the lake soaking in the feel of the place..

 

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We ended the day with a bunch of brochures to read up and decide what to do the next day 🙂

The next morning was bright and beautiful. Sunny and totally welcoming 🙂 We decided to do the Cross Lakes Tour. We were just in the nick of time before the cruise took off. So we ran to the boat and jumped in. The cruise was wonderful, across the Windermere to Ferryside – only we were mistaken – we actually got on the wrong boat and it took us to Lakeside instead 😦 Thankfully, the boat was going right back to Bowness so we hopped back on and had another cruise – which was totally worth it – even though we lost 2 precious hours.. But as the weather was gorgeous and daughter was having the time of her life – we enjoyed it too 🙂

As soon as we reached Bowness, we realised that we had just about 15 mins before the boat to Ferryside took off and this time, we wanted to make no mistakes! So we grabbed sandwiches and ice-creams in record time and reached the pier – totally in time 🙂 I felt a little like something out of an Enid Blyton book – sunny weather, sandwiches, ice creams and all set for an ‘adventure’  🙂

 

 

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The Cross lakes tour that we took.

 

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This time thankfully, we set off in the correct boat to Ferryside. The Cross Lakes tour was supposed to take us by boat to Ferry Side, and then we had the option to walk or take a Mountain Goat(name of a bus 🙂  ) to Hill Top. Hill Top is where Beattrix Potter had a farm and where she is supposed to have written a lot of her stories, including some of her best loved works. I wish I could post some of the pics from here – but all of them have us in them 😦 What was I thinking????

We went from Hill Top to Hawkshead where again there is a Beattrix Potter Gallery. It was again a quaint little village. Again no pics 😦 The one thing I wanted to do was do the walking trail – but with my daughter and the time constraint- it just was not a feasible option, so we decided to use the bus transport instead – which was a wee bit embarrassing as everybody else on the bus was old and frail 😦 But we had our excuse of a daughter 🙂

Off from Hawkshead, we went toConiston , which is another village and lake by the same name. By that point in time, daughter was all sleepy dopey and tired. And we decided to head back to Bowness.

Then we entered the magical world of Beatrix Potter!! The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction has all the 23 stories by Beatrix Potter re-created! Its absolutely a magical experience. You could see Peter Rabbit being chased by Mr McGregor, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, being obedient little rabbits – doing what their mother told them to.

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And here’s Jemima Puddle-Duck 🙂

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It was such a magical experience seeing all the characters brought to life(almost)!  My daughter loved it and both of us loved it just as much! We cane off with souvenier photographs and a Peter Rabbit Book for daughter – which I have to admit I enjoy just as much 🙂

We spent the rest of the evening, exploring the little lanes of Bowness.. with it’s quaint old fashioned tearooms and pubs full of people enjoying the gloriously sunny day and ended the day watching the sunset and eating more ice creams 🙂 Next time, I want to go there for 5 days – at the least, do some walking trails and if possible stay in a caravan 🙂

The next day, we went to a Wild Animal Park..and returned home after that. But I am too bored of uploading pics(and I am sure you must be too – with this post).. so will do that another time – when I feel less lazy 🙂

If only I could…

live in an idyllic village like this.. and spend time gazing out of the window….

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or this….

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Isn’t there something about the water that has a totally calming feel to it?

 

And one more – with a sea  – as the others don’t work for Winnie the Poohi 🙂

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Edited to add : The first two pics are from Switzerland. Taken from the train journey between Interlaken and Luzern. The last one is from Wales.