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Entries by tag: holidays

Au coeur du Lyon?

We are all, I suppose, getting older. But I, as you may know, am an ageing baggage whose skirts are occasionally Too Short and who will insist on dyeing her hair. (Right now I'm brunette. I felt like a change.) It seems that while I get older in body, I remain frivolous at core (well, at part of my core, anyway).
And in oh-help-just-over-a-week, I have a landmark birthday. A birthday, indeed, that my PhD supervisor once informed me was the beginning of old age. I seem to remember saying 'Bah humbug' to that at the time, and I still think it. But all the same...
The marquis, who as we know is wonderful in almost every possible respect, decided that I should have some kind of special celebration. So he's taking me to Lyon for a long weekend with flowers and champagne and traboules.
Being me, I am particularly excited about the traboules. I've spent the night in Lyon twice, but on neither occasion was there time or opportunity to see the city. I've wanted to see it for many years, since that first visit when I was 14 or 15. And now I'm getting to go. (Eurostar permitting. Those of you who know me well will know I'm a claustrophobe and I'm particularly antsy about tunnels. They catch fire. I know this. I told them so in advance.) We're off tomorrow morning and back late on Sunday. I am taking my posh dress and high heels and, yes, the laptop, because I have a deadline.
I am so looking forward to this. Because, you know, traboules. (And Roman remains and architecture ranging from the 12th to the 19th c. and silk weaving and, well, traboules. Yes, I am a bit fixated on those traboules. I've seen them elsewhere, but these are the really famous ones.)

This means that this year we are not having our usual summer party. (Various people have asked.) We are hoping to have one in the autumn, work permitting.

Skirt of the day: long burgundy silky.
I seem to have been rather lax about posting lately -- writing, mainly, and doing things that are useful, like ironing, but of little blogging interest. But all is well and the cats are flourishing (if unimpressed by the weather).
And tomorrow we are heading off for a week in Extremadura, in South Western Spain, to look at Roman remains, and castles and Visigoths, with two of the usual Cambridge suspects (anef and doubtingmichael) plus a visiting suricattus. There will be WiFi, so I will try and make updates (though you will have to rely on Laura Anne for photographs, as I forget to take them, and the marquis mostly photographs bits of castles, and neither of us ever remember to take the right cables for uploading pictures. She will be blogging the trip on the Bookview Cafe website).
I have packed skirts and books and my parasol, plus walking boots and waterproof clothing. I think I might be organised.

Skirt of the day: long green with gold trim.

Rubies at the castle.

We had a splendid long weekend away -- started with a visit to my parents, which is always good, then headed on to explore the handful of south Welsh castles that the marquis has not yet seen. We also managed to fit in a visit to St Dogmaels for research purposes (for The Drowning Kings). I didn't go to the abbey -- it's a twelfth century foundation, and my version is thus author's license -- but I did need to check out the mouth of the estuary at Poppit Sands for various reasons. (Low very sharp rocks, and dunes. Which was hard to see clearly on google maps and is very useful).
We managed to get to most of the castles -- the marquis is deeply underwhelmed by the creeping tendency for castles and other monuments to be closed from late Sept until May. As he observes, not everyone is tied to the school holidays and some of us actively choose to visit outside them. Plus, apparently, all castles should be open at all times. He feels very strongly about this. There is ranting.
Saturday was his birthday, and he decided he wanted to spend it seeing more castles (all open, thankfully), and then staying overnight
here. This was our second visit -- I finished the first draft of Grass King there two years ago -- and it was every bit as lovely as we remembered. I am, as we know, a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, but there is nevertheless a peculiar delight to spending a night in lovely surroundings, drinking a very good wine and wearing rubies. (Well, rubies of a fairly inferior kind, more pink than red, and cloudy, in a necklace that is mostly onyx. But all the same... It's a very pretty necklace.) And then on Sunday we headed back via the National Arboretum, which was lovely with autumn colour, and a couple more castles and the Hook Norton Brewery tap.

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Blur, blur, dassh dash blur...

It's been a busy week, and it's still only Wednesday. Writing, regrettably, has gone out the window, because I have had so much else to do. But I have now done 90% of the latter, which is good. Tomorrow, klwilliams and desperance turn up. On Friday, we all go first to see the Fitzwilliam Museum here, and then on to Nottingham, to see the castle, do dinner stuff, and deposit Chaz safely at FantasyCon. On Saturday, Karen and I will be driving from Nottingham to Snowdonia for the Milford UK writers' workshop, where we get to see mevennen, birdsedge, purplecthulhu and other good people for critiques and gossip and walks and such things. And be rained on, if I know Wales in September (the year I worked in Bangor, about 15 miles from where we'll be, there were only 4 entire days with no rain at all).
Then back to Cambridge from Milford on Friday, to do last minute stuff before heading off to Provence for a week with the marquis, Chaz, anef and Michael WINOLJ. I'm out of breath just thinking about all this.
But we are beforehand and organised. I have packed for both trips, I have done nearly all my Milford reading, I have sorted out my tax return (with much help from the lovely ms_cataclysm), I've done mending and hemming and hair-dyeing (it's a rather alarming shade of orange that I may re-dye in the morning to something a bit more muted) and leg-waxing and cleaning and printing and bank-sorting and cat-wrangling and what seems like 1001 other small jobs. All that's left is a small bit of reading, a bit more cleaning and baking a cake.
I may not be around here much for a while -- there's no internet connection at the Milford venue, so I'm definitely out of reach for all of next week. The place we're staying in France has wifi, however, and I'll be taking the laptop, so I should be around then.

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