30 October 2011

Warwick

For Marilyn's birthday, we meet up with Paul and Nic in Warwick. We decided that we didn't want to explore the castle so settled for exploring the Leycester Hospital and town centre.

The hospital is named because it was operated as a place where hospitality is offered and not as a medical hospital. What impressed us is the way that is a small land space, they had buildings and nice gardens.

The town centre was spacious but also had a number of interesting buildings.

27 August 2011

Photography Courses

Errol completed two further photography courses. The first in late June was at Bolsover Castle. This was an opportunity to explore architectural photography although the sun and clouds didn't co-operate for some of the desired shots. Errol attempted a circular shot using his panoramic head. It doesn't quite have the impact he had hoped. He also got to experiment with a shift lens.

The second course in mid-July was taking photos of birds of prey. This time, Errol attempted to capture the character of the birds and the interaction between the birds and the falconer, He was reasonably pleased with the results.

He is now working on photobooks for each of the courses.


A knight's day out: Kenilworth

English Heritage organised a jousting day at Kenilworth Castle. Conveniently, it was on Errol's birthday. We have been to Kenilworth a couple of times. Once to explore the castle and the other exploring the centre of town. Paul came up from Milton Keynes and a number of the Peacechurch families also came along so it was a great day out.

During the day, we watched a woman falconer, observed the knights do some training exercises, and of course observed the jousting. The knights were in full armour. The parts of the armour were explained to anyone interested as they dressed for the joust.

As usual, Errol got out the camera and tried to capture some of the better moments. Having done some photography courses, he tried to capture the atmosphere of the event and not just a record of the event.

16 June 2011

Settling Down?

Really, it isn’t that we have not done anything over the nine months that there has been no blog. On the contrary, we have done some rather interesting things.

Marilyn went back for three weeks in New Zealand to see her dad late in September. We had to get the local MP involved to get her passport and even then the border agency claimed it was processed three weeks before they sent it out. She had been back in UK a week and he died (17 Oct 2010) so it was both back to New Zealand for the funeral. Paul had already decided to head back to see whether he could see granddad before he died but was waiting for his flight when we told him. We were only in New Zealand a week and it was back to the UK and into work.

With another white Christmas, doing much over winter wasn’t looking promising but Errol started his exploration of the National Cycle Network with a ride to Redditch and then to Stratford-upon-Avon. Both of these rides occurred in January as the snow melted. Since then, he has completed three other big rides (Birmingham to Lichfield, Newbury via Reading to Oxford, and Nottingham to Lichfield). More are planned. He is looking at purchasing a recliner trike to make these trips easier.

We have made trips to Oxford, Stowe, Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Llandudno (North Wales), Kinver Edge, and Caenarfon (North Wales). Throw in a photography course for Errol at Papplewick Pumping Station near Nottingham and you can see we have been out doing some exploring. The trip to Caenarfon was done with Sue Crooks, one of Marilyn’s friends from Ministry of Education days in New Zealand.

Marilyn has joined the local embroidery guild which, although much smaller than the Wellington guild, is still quite active. She has attended a guild day school on fabric box making, as well as continuing to work on her own stitching. This has included completing a gingerbread house completed with needlebook, pincushion, scissor holder & fob which was different to her usual work.

With all of this happening, we have managed to complete the purchase of a house in Birmingham and we moved in over last week. Still a lot of sorting out to do but we do feel as though we have more space.

On the job front, things are also beginning to look like they will be more settled. Marilyn’s job was made permanent once her residency issues had been sorted. Errol was asked in for an interview at Aston University almost on the same day as the University of Birmingham said that they would only offer a six month extension of his contract with little prospect of renewal beyond that. The result of the Aston interviews is a job offer for a Teaching Fellow position which Errol has accepted. Aston University is based in the centre of Birmingham.