Monday, 26 March 2012

"Is it so small a thing To have enjoy'd the sun, To have lived light in the spring, To have loved, to have thought, to have done..."-- Matthew Arnold

I'm still here! After a  slight change of plan I'm still in the part of the world where I was born - Yorkshire!

I will be leaving for Italy this weekend....

But for the last few days, I#ve had chance to spend time with family and truly reaquaint myself with the place I grew up and where my family still live. I'm lucky enough to be very close to where all my favourite books have been made into great movies. So just  a short drive away I visited Chatsworth House and Estate (setting of Pemberley in the most recent version of Pride and Prejudice and also I took a wander through the woodlands of the Haddon Estate (set of all the great versions of Jane Eyre)... It's amazing how beautiful it is at this time of year with the land coming to life.

Next time I blog I'll have left all this landscape behind and back in beautiful Sicily for the summer....


Friday, 16 March 2012

'Every day some new fact comes to light - some new obstacle which threatens the gravest obstruction. I suppose this is the reason which makes the game so well worth playing.' (Robert Falcon Scott)

2012 marks the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's team from the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition reaching the South Pole. This weekend I am at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge to meet some of the polar scientists of today. Really looking forward to what they have to say and seeing some of the exhibits from Scott's expeditions.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." (Samuel Johnson)

  I never used to be a huge fan of London, certainly not to live. It's no  secret to anyone that I like the countryside and the idea of being in a big city like London always gives me the feeling of being completely faceless and insignificant.

But, yesterday I had a great day exploring the Tate Modern and then having a nice lunch and catch up with a dear friend. Later on, I called another good friend and we met up for drinks in a bustling pub near St Pancras Station.
                                                                                                                                    Litchenstein at the Tate Modern
 I am happy to admit these days that, although I do love the peace and quiet, there's something very infectious about London. Whatever you want to do, you can find it there! Each building and street tells a story, has a connection to a famous fact or character from history. This week has been all about fitting in lots of fun things, before I leave, and appreciating the things that I often take for granted. British life, history, landscape, culture - it's something I never used to appreciate but I will definately miss - as I head back overseas shortly....   not forgetting, of course, my very, very good friends!

Monday, 12 March 2012

“Unto this wood I came As to a nest; Dreaming that sylvan peace Offered the harrowed ease- Nature a soft release From men's unrest” (Thomas Hardy)

'This hill, though high, I covet to ascend.......'

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

Sunday, 4 March 2012

'There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune...

....Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.'
William Shakespeare

Saturday, 3 March 2012

'Wan February with weeping cheer....

Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year's.'
- Algernon Charles Swinburne, A Year's Carols: February

February has been an amazing month. It got off to great start with a few birthday celebrations with close friends and family. Followed by my unforgettable trip to Nordland. In February I've seen the Aurora Borealis, finally stayed in Svolvaer, seen lots of snow (my favourite type of weather), spent time with family and dear friends, seen a beautiful herd of deer and done lots of walking in the English countryside. Joined lots of social groups, made new friends and got back in touch with old friends. Had a productive time at work with projects and plans. Been introduced to some great new songs and singers.

March should be an equally busy and productive time for me; the next two weeks are packed with plans for meeting up with and saying farewell to some close friends, new and old. Finishing my secondment in Luton, packing up and moving back up to my home town of Sheffield for a few days, seeing other friends and family members. Then packing up for a summer back in Sicily. Exciting times! Wishing you all a magical March!