The London Eye and other things

This weekend has been good. On Saturday we started nice and early and took a ride on the London Eye. I’d noticed earlier in the week that the weekends weather forecast was good and thought that it might be a good time to do one of the ‘London touristy things’ so booked ahead for a flight (as they call it) at 9.30am on Saturday morning.

The London Eye.
The London Eye

We got there early and joined the queue with our tickets in hand. Previously when we’ve gone past the Eye the queue has been long so we haven’t bothered. This time it was short and after a few minutes we were ready to board our capsule. The next available capsule spun around, the doors opened and we were in.

Looking at Westminster.
Looking at Westminster

Taking photos proved to be a bit of a challenge, the curved glass of the capsule adding a lot of distortion and reflection to many angles. A bit of adverstity isn’t going to stop me however.

Charing Cross Station.
Charing Cross Station

London always looks different from up high, and everything always looks so close together. Here we have photos looking across at Westminster and further east across the Thames towards Charing Cross Station.

Looking at the capsule above us.
Looking at the capsule above us

The complete round trip took about 30 minutes and was pleasant and interesting, the nice weather helping in that we could see clearly in all directions. Looking at the Eye itself was interesting as well. In the store afterwards we looked at a few books that detailed the Eye and it’s construction, I would have liked to have seen them put it together and raise it into position.

Looking at the Eye.
Looking at the Eye

Afterwards we took our leave and headed back to Charing Cross Station to take the Bakerloo line up to Regents Park. The week before I played the Golf competition I had gone to a driving range on the edge of Regents Park with Paul from work (a fellow Helpdesker). The hurried walk to meet Paul had, at the time, seemed very nice and I had mentioned so to Keryn afterwards. We haven’t really done any London Park walks other than when we first arrived and walked through Green Park with Karyn and Brian, so it seemed well past time that we started doing so. The weather was also making it an opportunity far to good to miss.

An inquisitive Regents Park Squirrel.
An inquisitive Regents Park Squirrel

So we walked in the park and had an enjoyable afternoon seeing the sights, having lunch and relaxing. There was much wildlife around, though we didn’t see any squirrels till well after lunch. They were strange squirrels as well, we’re used to seeing them jumping around at speed always on edge. These squirrels seemed to be moving in slow motion, slowly pacing around like they had all the time in the world. There were also many different kinds of birds, especially around the lakes and canals. According to one sign we saw there was even a native New Zealand duck, though we never identified any actual specimens outside of a picture.

Sunday dinner.
Sunday dinner

So that was Saturday. Sunday was even more relaxed, a bit of a sleep in and then a relaxed day. We got some washing done and went for a walk into town to do some shopping at the supermarket but that was about the most strenuous it got. It was another cracker of a day so Keryn took the opportunity to put togther out pot belly charcoal BBQ we bought a few weeks back and we set about having a dinner of chicken and lamb kebabs.<

Keryn waiting for dinner.
Keryn waiting for dinner

It was all a little tentaive with getting the BBQ going, neither of us being charcoal BBQ experts. We got there in the end however and had a nice hot layer of charcoal and some bursting kebab skewers on the go.

It tasted as nice as it looks.
It tasted as nice as it looks

Keryn is now a big fan of the BBQ so I think this summer there’ll be more than a few meals had out back. It can get a bit noisy when a train goes past but we’ve already got used to the noise inside so putting up with it outside isn’t much more of a step. The back yard is completely paved and has a collapsable washing line (which is good as clothes don’t dry as well inside as the last place). The shed you can see is chocker full of our stuff plus some furniture that came with the place that we don’t have any use for.

Looking up from the back of the house.
Looking up from the back of the house

The house itself is small, the basement floor of a three story place. Keryn wasn’t too keen at the start as the house is cramped and generally not as nice as the house in Friern Barnet was. I think the place is growing on us both now we’ve made it more our own and have our paintings on the walls and bookcases around with all our stuff on them. We’ll see how small it feels once next winter comes along.

My mask from Venice.
My mask from Venice

Also today I hung one of the masks I bought in Venice. There is a movie coming out called ‘Mirrormask‘ which was written by Neil Gaiman and is being directed by Dave McKean. I’d seen a few preview pictures and one of them had a woman in a mask that was made out of metal. At some point Neil mentioned on his site that Dave had been to Venice to buy masks for the movie, so while we were in Venice I kept an eye out for maks in a similar style to the one from the picture. Turns out the one I got is in the movie (looking closely at a bigger version of the picture I had found earlier), though I think the movie one is a different colour.

Mask detail.
Mask detail

Anyway, this is the mask and it was bought from a store called ‘Atelier di Lago & Molin’ (my Italian is non extistant but that seems to translate to ‘the Workshop of Lago and Molin’). I’ve liked masks for a long time, though the first time I really started liking masks was when I read ‘Lavondyss’ by Robert Holdstock. The whole mythology side of masks is facinating. To have this mask makes me happy, especially to have it from the original source and by artisians who have a real history behind them.

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