Posted by: Ian Briggs on 22nd August 2012 at 6:21 pm
Just time for a quick blog as we’re spending a couple of days over in Enniskillen and today we visited the Marble Arch Caves. Very busy and slightly disappointing that the usual boat tour wasn’t running but still it is an incredible place to visit…probably up there with the Giant’s Causeway in terms of tourist attractions to see.
After this, we went to the National Trust property at Castle Coole to see an Anthony Gormley art installation dedicated to Samuel Beckett. Tree for Waiting for Godot was a stainless steel tree created in cooperation with an Australian piece to celebrate Beckett.
I thought it was great and it is part of a whole series of Beckett-themed events around Fermanagh, and in the basement of Castle Coole the rooms had been transformed into a walking storybook, with each room filled with stories, sounds and recitals taken from Beckett’s works Company and Molloy.
Particularly atmospheric was the music room filled with a mixture of a Gilbert and Sullivan recital told by Beckett with Schubert melodies playing over it. Slightly surreal but the whole event set the senses on alert.
More to come tomorrow with the hope of some water sports thrown in too.
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 15th July 2011 at 4:44 pm
So we are almost two thirds of the way through our holidays and having not written anything on here for a while, I have some time to update on what we have done so far…
We started with four days camping in the Lake District and found a beautiful campsite right on the banks of Lake Ullswater. Great views of the distant hills and the relaxing hum of the steamer boats chuffing up and down the lake made this a nice relaxing start to the holiday.
We also did some good walking here including an 8-mile trek across the hills alongside the lake. However this was followed by a cream-tea so the health benefits were maybe wasted!
We then headed across to Norfolk and spent our wedding anniversary in Norwich – a city we really miss since moving away from England. On our way back to our hotel there was a fantastic firework display to celebrate the lord mayor’s show.
This was followed by some camping up on the north Norfolk coast and another mammoth 7-mile walk along Blakeley point to sea the seals. This was a great experience and although the walk was tough (having to walk on a single beach because the tide came in) it was well worth it. We were also treated to a surprise concert in Cromer of The New Squadronaires Orchestra which is an RAF Big Band. They were stunning and the lead clarinettist was particularly amazing!
So now we are in our old haunting ground in and around Cambridge and have been visiting places we never managed to go when we did live here…the botanic gardens and the wonderful Fitzwilliam Museum.
A week left of our holidays before heading on the big drive back up to Scotland to catch the boat…some more camping and meeting old friends is in store so we’re just hoping the weather stays good and that my hayfever goes away!
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 27th September 2010 at 8:05 am
This weekend we have been over in Cambridge, primarily for the final weekend of the Cambridge film festival.
From the glimpse we got it seems to have been a huge success and proved as popular as ever. It is a shame that the festival organisers have lost funding from the principal sponsor but thankfully it didn’t change this year’s festival and hopefully won’t affect next year’s either.
We saw three films this weekend: ‘The Butcher’s Son’ which was set in the Dominician Republic and was an interesting story told in a nice way with some lovely visual shots. Some moments were a bit clichéed including the ending which felt like it was there just to round things off nicely, but overall it was a solid film.
‘Chico and Rita’ was the surprise screening and although I wouldn’t say I am a fan of animated films, this one was fantastic. It didn’t take long before the strength of the story made you forget it was animated at all (even though visually it looked stunning), and a phenomenally good jazz/Cuban score kept the pace up throughout. It seemed to be well received and it was worth us travelling over just to see it!
‘Made in Dagenham’ was the closing film and although expectations were low, it proved to be a fun film with a few good laugh-out-loud moments. It had all the things you would expect in a feel-good, rousing British film but benefitted from some great performances from Bob Hoskins and Sally Hawkins. There was also an interesting Q&A with the producer and screenwriter at the end.
So now we have our final day in Cambridge before heading back to the airport to fly home. We did manage to head round the city for a bit on Sunday morning to try to take some pictures. We managed to get an hour or two in before the weather defeated us, so I’ll update the photos section of my blog when I get them uploaded.
Until next time…
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Posted by: Ian Briggs on 13th August 2010 at 8:55 am
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 19th July 2010 at 3:06 pm
We’re on the train to Boston as I write this. Turns out the train has Wi-Fi so I may as well fill the three hour journey from New York with something creative.
We had four nights in New York City and had a great time. The whole city has this mad feeling – it is just so busy and full of tourists that it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Times Square gave us the best and worst of what New York is all about – brilliant sights and atmosphere but a bit dirty and full to overflowing with people!
Away from the biggest sights we did find some nice areas – lots of small parks in amongst the high rise buildings which have a surreal atmosphere with people playing fusball with the backdrop of skyscrapers, and lots of interesting cafes and bars to explore – including some that did gluten free food and beer for Ellen!
We saw all the main sights: Empire State, Rockefeller Centre, Chrysler Building and Central Park. But the area I liked the most was around the south of Manhattan: the financial district and Battery Park were great for strolling around and Battery Park in particular was a nice open space with great views of Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.
We also ventured over to the World Trade Center site which was a really quiet area – everyone seemed to be feeling the same sense of sadness at walking around the building site. There were lots of memorials and plaques remembering those firefighters and police officers who were killed there.
While we were down in this area we also walked over the Brooklyn Bridge which gave great views of the city skyline.
Needless to say I have taken hundreds of photographs and filled up a couple of memory cards! We visited B&h photo in New York yesterday and it was amazing: the biggest store I have ever seen devoted solely to photography…it was huge but I had to restrain myself from buying things I couldn’t afford!
So now we are looking forward to a couple of nights in Boston and then we are picking up a hire car and heading to Cape Cod and then up into Maine for a few days by the sea…looking forward to it.
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Posted by: Ian Briggs on 12th July 2010 at 10:10 pm
So we have had our first full day in Washington, DC. It really is a great city. Not too hard to get about in (the Metro system is pretty easy to use and the train ‘operators’ give a running commentary of the journey which livens it up a bit).
Today has involved a mammoth walk taking in all the major government sites like the Capitol, The White House, Lincoln memorial and Washington monument. They are all stunning buildings but the Lincoln memorial was particularly stunning – a huge 20ft sculpture of Lincoln sitting on a chair with his famous Gettysburg address inscribed on the wall – such a peaceful place despite the crowds of people.
We are off to the Smithsonian at some point before we go and to do some shopping in Georgetown – so should get to see the universities and the Air and Space museum which is one of the main reasons I wanted to come here (obviously-for anyone who knows me).
Overall impressions of DC so far are that it is an incredibly clean, safe, quiet city with enough to keep us busy but plenty of nice places to just sit and relax. The hardest thing to adjust to is the heat and humidity – it is around 35 degrees today with about 65% humidity (which feels like a lot!) but thankfully everywhere is air-conditioned so we can cool off pretty regularly.
We are certainly looking forward to exploring a bit more tomorrow before we head to New York on Thursday.
I’ll try and update my blog later in the trip (usually when Ellen is asleep…)
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Location:H St NW,Washington,United States
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 21st June 2010 at 3:57 pm
Well I returned from Glasgow on Friday night and spent the rest of the weekend trying to recover! Lots of sleep, good food and a walk along the coast seem to have done the trick, although the blisters and sore feet might take more time.
We stayed local on Saturday, with a trip to my parents to give dad his fathers’ day card, followed by a trip to the library to get some books for Ellen. I then spent the rest of the day reading my MOJO magazine! Not something I would usually buy but Tom Waits was the guest editor so it had lots of features about him, and it had a free CD of music he had chosen as his inspirations – an interesting read and a good listen.
Sunday then saw us cheering on my brother-in-law as he did a 60-mile cycle ride around the Ards’ Peninsula – crazy, but I might be tempted to give it a go next year! Might be a good excuse to get a new bike. I managed to get some decent photos of cyclists and it was a good way to practice taking some fast shots. I really want to get some more practice in with the camera before we go to America.
We then had lunch with my sister and my nephew who spent the afternoon charming all the other people in the cafe with his toothy smiles! I then spent the rest of the day cooking some nice food for a BBQ in the evening with some good weissebeir to go with it!
So this week is surprisingly free. We have one of our last dance sessions before the wedding and that is it for activities…might actually get a chance to fit some clarinet practice in.
Plus Wimbledon has started so summer is really here and we can watch the highlights in the evening…the perfect accompaniment to the final stages of the wedding planning!
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 12th June 2010 at 9:03 pm
Felt it was time to update my blog again and as I write this I am sitting in my tenth floor hotel room in Glasgow looking out over the city, trying to avoid the World Cup.
Edinburgh has the romantic, artistic qualities with an abundance of attractions and fascinating things to see, that have been written about by many, but Glasgow seemed curiously empty. Amongst the prevalence of high rise buildings there are a few gems though – the classical architecture of the many banks and townhouses, and the independent film theatre located in the listed art deco building is a favourite. Disappointingly, another former cinema from the same era is now a Tesco Express.
We spent a weekend here in May and felt we didn’t see that much, but having spent a further couple of days here I have begun to find a bit more interest in Glasgow. I met up with a friend of mine who went to university here and needless to say he knew a few more points of interest than I did. Some great bars and some lovely parts of the town up by the university and some quieter bits of the city centre really had lots of great atmosphere.
I am here for a turbomachinery conference to be held here next week for which I, and a few PhD students from Queen’s Uni are session assistants.
We have to shepherd the delegates around and help with any technical issues. Dull stuff, but we get to hear some interesting technical papers and presentations, as well as talk to some companies related to what I am doing.
It’s a shame the day starts at 6am though – I’ll be glad to get home for a sleep! I had better take advantage of a free day tomorrow – there’s a grand prix on, oh and there is that cinema I was talking about!
Until next time…
IB — Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 2nd April 2010 at 8:53 am
Easter is here, and it is almost holiday time again. A few days off will be nice and we’re hoping to explore some of the Northern Ireland countryside.
Speaking of which, we were up at the North Coast last weekend with a friend of ours who was over from England. It doesn’t matter how many times we go there, it always impresses me. The Giant’s Causeway is a treat (even when the weather is as ferocious as it was when we were there), and the coastal drive back home is brilliant, winding its way through valleys, over hills and alongside cliffs.
We also had a sneaky stop off at Bushmills distillery, where, needless to say, a bottle of ‘medicine’ was purchased…it was on offer! The tour there is still good, and the guide was more informative than most – especially when he got asked stupid questions from some girls on the tour!
My surround sound system is now up and running – watched a film on it last night. As is typical, it turned out not to be filmed in 5.1 surround sound so we had to make do with 2.1…but watched a few minutes of another film that is in 5.1 and the sound was incredible…glad we don’t have neighbours too close!
The Belfast Film Festival is looming too – we have got our festival passes, so we can go to as many films as we like. Saves me narrowing down my list of films – there really is so much going on, it’ll be nice to head down after work and sit and watch something different each night.
So for this weekend, Ellen’s dad is over for Easter. In store for us is a trip to the brilliant St George’s market to buy some food for a Sunday lunch, enjoy some music and maybe a bacon bap. Then a lazy day in Belfast before heading to the airport. I’m even getting a haircut!
Then I am off next week, and I have my birthday in the middle of it, so lots of fun. In the meantime, back to work…