One day in Bangkok

I’d never visited anywhere in Asia before, so we took advantage of the journey from NZ back to the UK and stayed in Bangkok for a day.

We arrived late at night. It was very dark, very humid, very hot and lightning filled the air.

The next day was our full day in Bangkok; we wanted to see a bit of the city and take full advantage of the authentic thai food!

Our first rather exciting adventure was the Lumphini Park; an inner city park with lakes and grassy areas. Even though this park is surrounded by the city, it holds an extraordinary range of ‘wild’life….

First we saw lizards that were the size of alligators, called monitors:

A monitor at Lumphini Park

then turtles…

Turtles at Lumphini Park

Some very pretty white herons ….

A white heron at Lumphini Park

and some rather scary centipedes that were 1 cm in diameter!

Following our park adventure, we joined a ‘Bangkok Food Tours’ walking tour to get the opportunity to sample the best local food. We visited 5 restaurants in total and enjoyed a wide range of Thai food:

First, delicious roast duck

Lunch number 1; Roast duck on rice at Chareon Wieng Pochana

then egg curry (one of my favourites)

Lunch number 2; Curry lava on egg at Muslim Restaurant

then Tom yum noodle soup (Richard’s favourite)

Lunch number 3; Tom yum noodle soup

then pork buns and custard buns (delicious), with thai iced milk tea (which is delicious; it’s thai tea, with condensed milk + ice)

Lunch number 4; thai bbq pork buns and thai style green custard buns, plus thai iced tea, at PanLee Bakery

then finally, we finished with thai chicken curry, which was very tasty. This was followed by coconut sorbet (yum).

Lunch number 5; Thai curry served on roti at Kallaprapruek

We were quite full and needed a sit down after all the food, so we hired a man and his long-tailed boat to take us on a tour of the Bangkok canals. It was quite amazing seeing where many of Bangkok’s poorer residents live. Houses were built on stilts on the edges of the canals and many were at bizarre angles, having sank into the mud beneath.

Long-tailed boat on a Bangkok canal

The long-tailed boats are so-named because the propellers are mounted on the end of a long pole at the back of the boat. It seems that the size of the engine is of key importance!

The size of your engine appeared to be important!

After the tour, we spent time walking around the streets and visiting some amazing temples. This was fun and interesting. The journey back to the centre of town in a tuk tuk was far too adventurous for my liking and I don’t think I’ll be repeating that form of transport – the roads are absolutely manic here! The driver was on the wrong side of the road a number of times, eeeek.

Later we came across a shopping area and spent a while walking around the huge and varied foodcourts. We found this array of wonderful cakes 🙂

Amazing cakes in the Siam Paragon Food Court

I think we made the most of our day in Bangkok. It is an amazing city and is certainly worth a stopover if you’re passing through.

Christmas and New Year on the Ice

With the weeks seeming to flash by here at Halley, even Christmas was over fairly quickly. Not the long drawn out process of back at home with it dragging on for weeks… We finished early on Christmas Eve (1pm), had Christmas day off and were back at work at 7.15am on Boxing Day. It was almost like it had never happened, but then, on Boxing Day the best Christmas present of all arrived: the ship!!!

Food delivery!!!

We ate like kings…

Fresh fruit, vegetables and chocolate…

A variety of soft drinks…

Restocking the cupboard

And best of all, as I was emptying a container of build equipment, I came across a box with my name on it!! Presents from home and more choc and malt whisky. Things are a lot rosier…

Most of the work on site is moving ahead on schedule, its only the electrical side that seems to be holding things up. Most of the problem is the mess they constantly work in; they never clean up after themselves and are often working on top of weeks of debris. Their excuse is that they are too short of time to be cleaning up, and try as I might, they don’t believe me when I tell them they would work quicker and more efficiently on a clean site. Usually, some mug (i.e. me
or Les, the other painter) gets sick of the mess and sweeps up. On New years Eve I spents 2 hours moving 8 bags of rubbish from the undercroft of 1 module (Rant over!!!)…

Cleaning out rubbish
The interior moves on
Work over New Year

This has a knock on effect on everything else, and 2 more sparkys are flying in in 2 weeks time to help catch up. D-day for the project is Friday 13th January when BAS have to be confident they will be able to winter in the Base and the main services will be functional. If not they will have work to do on the Halley 5 building for the winter. The mood though is optimistic.

No more news yet on the Windy Bay penguins, although we are hoping to catch up with them next weekend. The sea hasn’t been very rough, so we are hoping the sea ice has hung on over the festive period. I’ll keep you posted on them. Here are a few other wildlife shots to keep you going…

Snow petrel
Wildlife from the ship
(Click the picture for a bigger image, 1.7Mb, it'll take a mo' to download, be patient)

Anyway, Happy New Year from here!!!

Sron a’ Choire Ghairbh

Spending a weekend with Andy and Sabiene at Arthur’s, I was motivated up a mountain by the knowledge that when we got back champagne and chocolate cake were on the menu. (These were to celebrate Sabiene’s last day at work – though sadly she will be starting a new job very soon.)

Typical Scottish weather, damp and cloudy, providing only tantalising glimpses of what was to come.

Typical Scottish mountain weather

Once we reached the snowline it all became a bit more cheerful and with the bealach in sight we knew we had done the hard bit.

Blue sky over the pass

The steep bit is made easy by an excellent stalker’s path, then Sabiene broke trail to the summit.

Sabiene breaks trail to the summit

We waited on the summit for glimpses of the views which were fleeting but worthwhile.

Sabiene and Anna on the summit

Andy’s attempt to bumslide back down was foiled by the softness of the snow which caused him to flounder in powder – sorry I missed that photo. By way of contrast, the forest track back to the car was bathed in warm evening sunlight:

And later on: it’s a while since I’ve done a cake blog so here goes:

Cake, champagne and chocolate biscuits; yum

And a couple of hours after that at the Lochleven Seafood Cafe:

Sabiene meets a langoustine

Check out their website photos, even more appetising:
www.lochlevenseafoodcafe.co.uk

A really good day; thanks to Arthur for hospitality and Andy for driving.

White Lakeland Christmas

It was a glorious day, dinner could wait, so we went for a walk.

As we were heading out into the wintry snow, we packed supplies…

  • Champagne – check
  • Nibbles – check
  • Extra Christmas presents – check

We ventured out from the door and made our way to the highest point – Brunt Knott

On the way I couldn’t resist a Snow Angel.

Just for Jon, some professional snow angels

A perfect Snow Angel, but who ate all the pies...
Surely not me.

At the top of the hill we found a triangulation post. A perfect table for our supplies.

We had the whole place to ourselves.

Lovely bubbly...
Time for presents.
Christmas cheer.

Suitably refreshed, we had a giggly descent, through a few snow drifts and back to base camp. Time to cook dinner, and maybe a little snooze.

:star: Happy Christmas everyone! :star:

2009 Great Langdale Pudding Race

The curse was finally lifted (just!!) as Anna claimed her pudding on a cold morning in Langdale. For 3 years, Anna had been thwarted by injury and illness. It was freezing at the Stickle Barn, with fantastic ice crystal growths on the tables:

Ice!!
Ice!!

Throughout the preceding week or so, Anna’s training had been interupted by sciatica, a fall down the stairs and finally a bad cold. Things weren’t looking good with an hour to go, but the girls fed up on some huge bananas and were nearly ready. (despite this, there was no appearance, as promised, from bananaman)

Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit
Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit

First though was the junior race, (U16), and with the traffic in Langdale still up the creek, it looked like Martha and Charlie would miss the start. In fact they did, and as the field set off, Sean kicked them out of the car in the queue, and they set offa good 300yards behind the rest. Well done Charlie who set off like a demon and came in 12th and Martha who didn’t have time to change into her trainers and did the 3kms in her school shoes!!

Charlie storms through the finish
Charlie storms through the finish
Martha
Martha

At last the clock ticked around to high noon and the runners gathered at the start. Apprehension was soon overtaken by adreneline and as the field swept away Anna looked like she might even enjoy herself!!

Anna in high siprits at the start
Anna in high siprits at the start

There was nothing left for the spectators to do except hope………. (oh, and go to the bar for chips, hot toddys and free mince pies)

The Hudsons:  post race.... pre chips
The Hudsons: post race.... pre chips

After barely time for a drink, thefield were back (33 minutes), first zac, closely followed by Sarah and then Anna. Despite all the ailments Anna posted a respctable time (easily sub 55 mins) and later that evening was heard to say that her legs didn’t hurt at all… (as she finished her first bottle of wine!)

Anna finishes
Anna finishes

To the victors, the spoils!!!
To the victors, the spoils!!!

That evening Sarah held her usual post race party…. Thanks Sarah, great as usual!! it was also good to see loads of people, even though the roads were really icy and getting there was a problem. One of the locals managed to roll their car not 50yds from Sarah’s house…. a bit worrying as our cars were parked on the road.

Doh!
Doh!

And, after a heavy night the night before, that stopped him running, even Bananaman showed up!!!

pudding Race 09 025

Sloe Sunday

When we woke up this morning it wasn’t raining. We stayed in bed for a bit , watched Andrew Marr, a cartoon or two, and it still wasn’t raining. In fact, by midday, there was blue sky and sunshine.

There was only one thing we could do – go out!

We decided on a local walk up through the fields and around Craggy Wood.

_PWS6987

We had armed ourselves with plastic bags because we knew we’d be passing a backthorn bush. We thought we were probably too late, but we found the bush still full of big fat juicy sloes.

Lots of sloes...
Lots of sloes...

Not wanting to be greedy, but I just had to get the ones higher up.

... but the best ones are always just out of reach.
... but the best ones are always just out of reach.

The sloes are now in the freezer, waiting until I get a spare hour or two when I can add the all important ingredients of gin and sugar.

All open at Cairngorm

Dave and myself headed for Cairngorm on Friday evening ready for a weekend on the piste.

After a couple of beers we headed back to the B&B. Up early and off to Cairngorm.

The conditions were amazing (for Scotland) with ALL runs and lifts open.

Kitting up
Kitting up

After a few runs (I skied and Dave Boarded) we stopped for a healthy lunch…

Mmmmm, nice
Mmmmm, nice

Even though it was half term, the pistes were not that busy. In fact, I managed to find a lovely run that was nice and quiet, while Dave found some good off piste snow.

The 'busy' M2 run
The 'busy' M2 run

We finished our last run before heading back to the car park to be disappointed that some B**stard had backed into my drivers door, denting the metalwork and smashing my wing mirror (and of course they’d driven off without leaving a note).

A pint or two in Mambos we met with Vickie (from work) and her friend Claire and decided we should meet tomorrow on the mountain……..

Staying low on Lowfell

After too much whisky the night before (on my part), Andy, Sabiene, Anna and I headed west for a short round of a couple of Wainwrights that Sabiene wanted to tick off.

Sabiene, Andy and Anna
Sabiene, Andy and Anna

It was pretty chilly, but despite this we all managed to get a bit of a sweat up on the initial incline. Its quite a pull up from the road, and as we got nearer the tops, the wind picked up and we had to add to our layers. The girls warmed up by tucking into profiteroles (what else??), while Andy and I had to make do with the anticipation of a pint at the Kirkstile.

Sabiene with her 28th profiterole
Sabiene with her 28th profiterole

As ever, a great day out, and the Fells didn’t disappoint with the views.

Vale of Loweswater from Darling fell
Vale of Loweswater from Darling fell
looking east from Fellbarrow
looking east from Fellbarrow