End Of 2008 Update

posted by: Justin

From my last post I mentioned that we were looking into moving house and that is partly why posting has been delayed. It took me two months to get an internet connection in new house due to the incompetence of Tiscali. Made me realise how dependent on broadband I am. Anyways new house is lovely with some friendly housemates. We have just spend a wonderful christmas day in our new flat with Turkey, Ham, wine, cider and my awesome red Xmas jumper as shown in pics. I got and gave some awesome presents including a Joe Blow standing pump for extra awesome bike tyre pumping action, a print of london life for Emma, some nice music by Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes and an adult sized space hopper.

November saw Emma writing a novel as part of National Novel writing month. Kind of strange to have a girlfriend so consumed by a single activity needing to write around 1500 words every day. Im massively proud of Em though and hopefully she will let me read the finished product…just as soon as she completed National novel editing month in the new year.

Going back a few months before xmas to September we did a cycling trip around Normandy over a week covering about 400km or so. This was our first major trip cycling and camping with all our gear on our bikes. Emma is in the process of writing this trip up so rather than repeat everything I will link to her blog when its done. A few highlights of the trip however were:

  • Cycling so much the first day I almost fainted (about 80km with no sleep into a headwind) and then eating a hot cheese filled croissant to restore strength
  • Camping in a massive rain storm and not getting wet at all. Praise the Macpac tent!
  • Cycling past boulangerie after boulangerie snacking at each one
  • Drinking cider beside the Seine in the sun watching freighters from Hong Kong steam past
  • Cycling through acres of apple orchards smelling blossoms and shouting bonjour to friendly farmers and dogs
  • Watching kites at the Dieppe kite festival. Nothing like a massive flying penguin to cheer you up after a day of rainy cycling
  • Finding a quiet spot on the ferry back to england to sleep the night through and waking to a glorious sunny morning over white cliffs of dover

So overall a very successful trip and something we will do a lot more of in future. Heres a map of where we went.

View Larger Map

Towards the end of August we took a bank holiday weekend holiday in the Lake district with a night in Liverpool along the way. In Liverpool we played the tourist bit as having less than 24 hours we decided doing a Beatles tour was the only way to go. Besides the obvious Beatles nostalgia Liverpool is a very vibrant city lots of interesting arts and cultural events along with music around almost every corner you turn.

After leaving Liverpool we travelled north to the Lake District home to Beatrix Potter and met up with some friends at a cottage we had rented for a few days. We had a lovely day of cycling along quiet country lanes with views across hills, valleys and lakes. Em and I took a slightly unplanned off road route at one point emerging in a disused quarry to be met by some rock climbers cooking sausages on a BBQ. We eagerly ate a few sausages and bread and chatted about NZ before heading down one of the longest downhill descents Ive done it seemed endless and was welcome reward for our off road climb. The remainder of our time in the Lake District the weather was fairly wet but thst didnt stop us enjoying the log fire at our cottage and the hospitality of a few local pubs and cafes.

Well thats a short summary of the last few months. Tomorrow we head off to Eyemouth in the Scottish borders where we have rented a cottage for a week. We plan to have a road trip up there then a bit of walking and a lot of relaxing. If Im making any resolutions on New Years eve I will try and remember my blog and maybe rashly promise to update more frequently. So expect some further notes on events during 2009.

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