Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Joys of Job Hunting

I am, as are a lot of other people at the moment, job hunting.  I actually quite enjoy the process of looking for the perfect role, the one you know you could do, and the one you would find interesting and satisfying, and then thinking about all the details, and how the job would fit in to your life.  I even quite like the application process, picking out the relevant details, and trying to prove yourself, it is a little like an exam and I quite enjoyed those!  However, once it has been submitted the doubts set in.  I then wonder if I could have written a sentence differently, or better.  I wonder about the people reading my application, whether they will like me or not, whether I have given them enough information to invite me to interview.  I then remember that there are a lot of people unemployed at the moment, that I had heard of a job recently with over a thousand applicants, and although I know that I am not alone it doesn't make the feeling any better.
I am finding it even more frustrating perhaps because after having been away I so desperately want to build a home, to have a job, real work I can get stuck into, a project to be working on.  Colleagues to get to know, plans to be made, and targets to be achieved. In many ways this year has been very hard for me simply because I haven't been working, and I haven't been building up to anything, I haven't had long term goals to work towards.  
This is pretty much my life at the moment, so I hope that my next update will be good news for you all, and then, perhaps I will stop blogging!

Some more pictures for you, this time, I am afraid they are not up to date, but some nice ones of my favourite bits of Britain!

Crock o Lune near Lancaster

Forest of Bowland, even after seeing all the amazing places I have in the world, this road is still in the top ten roads ever!

Peak District

Sussex Downs

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Looking at Photographs...

Christof is out, and I have been looking through his photographs, and I really had to share some of them with you...

On the Golden Gate Bridge San Fransico

An old shipwreck, near the Columbia River

America's West Coast


Together in New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand




Wednesday, 29 August 2012


What can I tell you all about Austria? Seeing Christof again was super marvellous, and totally brilliant, and certainly made up for a lot of my hesitancy about returning.  The countryside here is really lovely, everything has faded to a golden colour, the maize is browning and the wheat and barley harvested and the sunflowers look a little sorry for themselves too.  We went for a super bike ride up a hill with the most amazing views; we went for a paddle in the river (some kind of side arm or tributary to the Danube), and the forest is shady and cool and very pretty, I hope to go there again on my bicycle this evening.
My bicycle!  I have a new one!! Well I am very excited about it.  As my proper bike is a rather nice one and can't really handle dirt paths and didn't have any real desire to be left at the railway station, so I left it in England; but I have now been loaned Christof's Grandmother's bike, which is lovely and charming and very sweet.  It has lights which go on when you pedal, and the only brakes are reverse pedal ones!  I think it needs a name like Doris or Irene or Vera or perhaps Polly, except of course more Austrian sounding. (Any nominations welcome.)  I did however get told that Austrians don't name their bikes, which I thought was very sad. 

The mountain bike I have also been loaned is, I think, very cool too - but at the moment it is a bit too high tech for me, it has buttons to change the height of the seat, and all sorts of other buttons.  It is pretty good though at stress free off road riding, but it can't really be described as cute!
Vienna is a fabulous city, but swarming with tourists - so much so I refuse to take any photos, as there are too many people from all over the world pointing cameras at statues and their friends with scenic view behind.  I wandered around town early one morning to take these for you, before most of the tourists were up!  I really like how small it feels, I love the Stadt park, the way the Cathedral can be seen from everywhere, and the way all the streets lead to the Cathedral and town feels so medieval in its layout.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Home again!!!!

I have been back in the UK now for nearly a month, and I am so sorry for the silence on my part!  I have been really relishing being home, spending time with my family, and relaxing. 

I have absolutely adored being back in the UK again.  I think Britain is seriously underrated!  I am really enjoying seeing everywhere with new eyes.  All of our buildings are beautiful and full of character - even the ones I would have deemed unattractive before leaving, I now realise are unique and quite quaint, when compared to domestic buildings on a global scale.  The countryside we have is truly superb, and can compete, easily, with anywhere else in the world, with only a very few exceptions.  And, the biggest relief, Britons are not rude!  I worried that we were when I was travelling in America, but I am pleased to say that on the whole we are a friendly and considerate group, and our customer service is pretty good.

I absolutely love being able to chat to everyone and anyone, they all speak my language!  I also know all the rules, so have been striking up conversations with strangers at every opportunity, which has been really nice.

Anyway I could go on at some length, about how much I love Britain, but will not do so.  I fear that it will undermine what a truly wonderful journey I have had.  And I also don't wish to alienate anyone!

Tonight I have spent several enjoyable hours trying to sort out my many many photographs - and you will be very glad to hear that you have already seen most of the best! So I won't have to bore you with many more.

I am doing my best to visit people, and catch up, but feel free to email me, as I won't get to see everyone before I return to Austria at the end of August.

Any suggestions of what to do with five volumes of handwritten journal and about a million photographs, gratefully received!

Saturday, 2 June 2012


I have been in Stockerau, Christof's home for four days now, and what a relief it is to be in an EU country (we sailed through passport control) and to be able to read and understand the basics of the language, to find people's behaviour fairly normal!  I have spent the last few days sleeping, and feeling terribly stupid about my ignorance of the German language!  I can't follow most conversations and I understand so little.  I find myself appalled that I did six years of German in school, and can't remember most of it.  When I am not feeling frustrated and stupid, I am finding it much nicer than I anticipated.  The town is beautiful, lovely old buildings, lots of trees and plants and bird song.  The town is also small enough to get out to the countryside easily, and I have started running again which is wonderful. Christof's family have been very welcoming, and Christof's flat is nice and sunny.  This afternoon I am baking a cake (I have missed cooking) and you can't buy vanilla essence, only vanilla sugar! Eggs obviously come in tens - it's all metric here! And it seems you can't just buy bread - there are so many speciality breads, it's wonderful.

My running track, just five minutes away!

The top windows on the right of the yellow house are where I am now!

Time Flies

After arriving in Moscow at the railway station, instead of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by a week on the train, I felt exhausted by the prospect of more travelling and moving on every couple of days.  Finding a place to stay, finding food, not speaking the language, not being able to read the language, and travelling itself has become hard work.  However we had a lovely hostel in Moscow and we spent two days sightseeing. 

The churches especially were amazing! I felt as though I could see links between the interior decoration of the churches in Moscow and the churches of Venice.  The style of figures and gold background was reminiscent to me not only of St Marks, but also medieval European religious paintings; the narrative sequence of scenes reminded me of work by Giotto: I found it very exciting!  (Sorry no pictures, we weren't allowed).
Seeing Lenin was also good, although I was told off by a guard for looking, I ought to have walked by respectfully apparently!  Being in Moscow was just super exciting, mostly because I have studied the history and so being in the places described in books is always fun.  I also went on a tour of underground train stations, some of which were superb.  One is filled with life size sculptures of people everywhere! Another has mosaics all over, and all of them have beautiful lighting and decoration, and all of them are set up a little like a church. The escalators lead down into the 'nave' and the platforms are off the 'aisles', apologies for the comparison, but the stations had a similar sense of space and uplifting architecture, and the columns between the central space and the platforms, I felt were reminiscent of churches.

After two days in Moscow we flew to Odessa, on the Black Sea, in the Ukraine.  Odessa has been for me one of the more interesting towns because it seemed to have such great contrasts within a small space. South of our hostel (which was wonderful, a huge apartment, all the rooms in excess of 6m² and 3m high, and very friendly and clean) were elegant streets, beautiful architecture and shops, bars and restaurants.  It was just another European town, with an abundance of lovely buildings, shady boulevards, and at the end the sea. 

 North of the hostel the buildings were shabbier, and suddenly within two blocks there was the most enormous market.  I have been to several markets around the world now, and this was the hugest, most varied, and comprehensive market yet. Not only could you buy anything from fruit vegetables, spices, dried food, pet food, household items, fresh made cheese and bread, and tools, bicycles, and the odd bit of machinery; but it was super cheap.  We bought a kilo of pasta maybe two kilos of ripe cherries, fresh made sheep's cheese (a block with maybe a volume of just under a litre) tomatoes, garlic (the lady didn't want to sell me one head of garlic they were so cheap) freshly baked bread, two loaves fresh from the oven, all for about five pounds!

From Odessa, our exhaustion caught up with us so we curtailed our plans and now we are in Stockerau, near Vienna Austria, Christof's home.