tvordlj: (Suitcase wings)
You know what I'm like trying to pick a hotel... it's overwhelming and stressful, trying to decide on a hotel, location, what are the rooms like, reading between the lines of the reviews, will it be ok? Graham is quite happy for me to do all the booking and deciding and he's always liked where we've stayed. He knows I do like to do the organizing and I do send him links to check out and get his opinion just the same. Anyway, on Saturday after i got my hair cut I went to the travel agent.

Yes, I know the world wide web is out there and there are no end of booking websites. That's the problem. There are too many. Sometimes I get lucky and find something good, in the location we want and the budget we want without too much trouble and I'll book it myself. But travel agents can also get good or better rates than even on the lowest sites like Expedia or etc. They have their own booking agents that they deal with though the drawback is that those agents aren't going to have access to all the hotels that are out there. It doesn't hurt to check with them though. I generally do lots of web searching and make a short list of about 6 - 10 hotels then try to narrow it down. So I suggest those to the travel agent and see if there are any she can access. This time at least one was at her fingertips and she found another that I had seen but hadn't noted. She's put through for availability on those two. Both with wifi, both with breakfast included, one seems to have smaller rooms than the other though neither is a palace. We aren't too bothered but don't want a closet either if possible.

She also booked the Eurostar and found us a nice hotel in London for a lot cheaper than I would have found it because i looked after I got home. That hotel website had their cheapest rate at nearly $80 more than what we paid and the cheapest elsewhere was still about 25 or 30 dollars more. It's a Radisson Blu Edwardian and it's near Euston Station/top of Tottenham Court Road, a four star hotel and they call themselves luxury though to me Luxury is something like the Ritz or Claridges or Four Seasons. Anyway it'll be nice. It's got wifi and full breakfast as well and cancellation though still charging first night $$. I've already got cancellation for the plane tickets but I may see what else i can add on to it once everything is booked. Eurostar for sure and anything that will cost if it has to get cancelled.

Once all the hotels are booked, we can look at getting a car for a week in Manchester, and then when we figure out what we're doing for sure, see what we can book online. I think we're going to go to the Tower of London and there are 2 for 1 vouchers you can get with a rail ticket. Graham will have one of those for getting back to Manchester so we might be able to take advantage of that one. As long as you don't both need to have a ticket or we could get transport day passes at the train station and that would work. I do have two Oyster cards for London transport that we usually top up but i'll get the paper cards if necessary. We'll have half of Saturday and all Sunday so maybe we'll go on the Sunday though it's Easter weekend and both days will probably be insane at tourist attractions like that. Maybe aim to get there when it first opens. Note to self.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Into my third week back to work. Seem to be doing ok, though still feeling twinges of scar tissue pulling. I had a flu shot through work this morning and as nobody was waiting behind me, chatted to the nurse a few minutes about the op etc. She did say that scar tissue shrinks over time so it might pull and massage might indeed help. I'm getting a bit of pulling at the bottom of the incision too, and I figured the scar tissue was healing and doing this shrinking thing so I've been putting vitamin E oil on it every night. That should help. Never mind, it's all part of the process and it's not that painful, just a bit of discomfort or twinge and I know it takes quite some time to go away. I am going to start having massage in the area soon.

I don't find i get overly tired by night, but i do find i'm yawning a bit more so maybe i'm more tired than i think. I never think i'm that tired unless my eyes are crossing and closing or are burning and tired but i suppose the yawning should tell me otherwise. I"m back to the gym 2 - 3 times a week and that's going fine as well.

Looking forward to my next holiday. Yes, I know, I just got finished many weeks off for the sick leave and with Graham's visit but this next one will be a proper holiday with travel. We're going to go to Paris, basing ourselves there and doing some day trips. That means we probably won't see as much of Paris as we'd like but I will try to make sure we have at least 2 days. We are going to go to Giverny to Monet's home and gardens, to Rouen and to Bayeux as they are all short train journeys from the city, no more than an hour and a half. Giverny can be done as a half day and maybe i'll compare whether we might do an organized tour with transportation or do it on our own. Sometimes it's worth the extra to have the bus and the guide. I've also seen Giverny combined with Versailles for a full day out. More expensive but we'll see.

On the way back, we'll Eurostar to London and have a couple of nights there. I'll put the call out to see if anyone wants or is able to meet up. It will be over the Easter weekend, that much I do know. Now I just have to decide how to get to Paris. I'll have my large suitcase as i will be leaving for home straight out of London so I don't want to haul that around too much. Do we fly to CDG, get the train into Gare du Nord and a taxi to the hotel? (because schlepping the suitcase on the Metro or further trains will be a pain in the ass) or do we take the train to London, probably Euston, probably taxi to the Eurostar nearby, and take that into Paris, Gare du Nord and taxi to the hotel. I don't suppose there's going to be much difference cost wise either way and time wise, due to having to get to the airport early, and then later, customs, and waiting for luggage and taking the train, there might not be all that much difference either way. Both involve a lot of messing around. There's plenty of time to figure it all out at this point.
tvordlj: (Tea?)
3 weeks ago i had landed in Manchester and was looking forward to Paris. Then it was over. As [ profile] gramie_dee said to me the other day "did it really happen?". It does seem a bit unreal sometimes but the memories are very vivid and i keep looking at my photos. I've already ordered prints so i will sort them into a proper photo album over the holidays. I know this is the digital world but prints in an album are still the way to go for sitting and looking. I don't print nearly as many photos from the digital camera as i take but i do still like to have prints for trips. I'll probably also have a calendar done up with Paris photos too. That's always a nice thing to have, something to remind me all year.
It sparkles!
Today i went out and got a few groceries. I also mailed three parcels and am hoping like heck they get to their destinations by Christmas. I think the two for Canada will.. just. I was told 9 business days so that puts it just before Christmas. The one to the UK? Hope hope hope. Well it's on it's way so it'll get there eventually. Sending them all air mail, of course, costs stupid amounts. it was 14 dollars to send a calendar to the UK but it was less than that to send two parcels out to Edmonton. I also bought 3 dozen stamps for my cards. I could have sworn i had more than 30 cards but i only used up 2 dozen of them. I bought one packet of stamps for nothing! And at the price of them these days, that's noticeable. I don't mail that many things otherwise so i guess the other 12 are going to last me awhile. There's no price on the stamps though so if Canada post puts the price of stamps up, i can still use them without getting 1 or 2 cent stamps i think.

It's actually quite nice out, really. Cool and a little windy but it's not bone chilling. I wouldn't mind winter staying like this all season. I think i'll get my Christmas tree out of the storage room and put that up tomorrow.

And lastly, sometimes, you know how all the stars and planets line up fortuitously and you end up the *the* perfect cup of tea? perfect temperature, just the right amount of milk, steeped just the exact right amount of time. Bliss!
tvordlj: (Paris)
One good thing about being off work is that i have had the time to write up the travelogue and get it posted. There's also a couple of links there to two short video clips i took, one of the Eiffel tower all sparkly and one from the Seine cruise. However, the tower one is side ways and i can't figure out how to rotate it though i've tried one or two downloaded editing programs. I'll remember that in future, don't take the video in a vertical position. Any hints gladly accepted. Also have decided that Youtube is pants for these videos as it resizes them and since my camera takes smaller sized videos, it makes them all pixelly. However i also tried photo bucket and it does the same thing though it looked as though it had a setting that would work right. If anyone knows how to make Youtube use and keep the original size, please tell me because i couldn't find it in their help system either.

Oh what the heck, sparkly youtube behind the cut

Read more... )
tvordlj: (Paris)
One thing i love to do is window shop, looking at all the displays and interesting items that catch my eye. Here's a few things that we saw in Paris storefront windows.
photos )
tvordlj: (Paris)
Collection of Paris photos here. There are 6 sets, mostly in themes such as the Louvre, Montmartre, etc plus a general one. That at least will allow you to view small bites at a time. I haven't put the highlights album on because it's for the whole trip and that's not done yet. There are more photos online, some from Manchester and London though there are more to be uploaded in that yet. It's mainly just a few from London and the pubmeet photos as well and British Museum photos are there as well. Forgive any spelling and punctuation mistakes (corrections in a reply here with my thanks and appreciation) because i've been rushing through this a bit.

3 small photos behind here )
tvordlj: (Paris)
How was the trip to Paris? I have four blisters and very sore feet so yeah, a smashing success!!! :)) The strikes in Paris weren't toooo bad, there were still busses and metro trains running, some on quite reduced schedules but mostly they didn't get in our way and we walked a lot. A. Lot. It was cloudy and spitty rainy the first two days but Wednesday was lovely. still cool but at least sunny. we didn't do all the things i had thought about but looking back, what i had had in my mind would have been *very* ambitious even with a fully functional transport system. If the transport or general strike put up a roadblock we just did something else.

more details will be forth coming and i have to offload my pics onto graham's computer this weekend. Highlights were Notre dame, Montmartre, the Dali exhibition, the Louvre (sort of, i was completely knackered and walking on burning feet so we only saw a few things but it was still neat to be there) and the nighttime boat ride on the seine was pretty great too. oh and seeing the Eiffel tower all lit up and throwing off sparklies for 10 minutes every hour too was pretty impressive. we also dropped into the british museum for an hour of so before meeting up with London locals last night. (oh, and the eurostar in semi-first class was FAB and even the Virgin train from London today was nice).

Thanks to everyone that came out last night, excellent night and so great to see you all! [ profile] stevek, [ profile] silverfiligree, [ profile] sparklielizard, [ profile] zoo_music_girl, [ profile] childeric, [ profile] naturalbornkaos, [ profile] sarahofthedead, [ profile] ladymoonray, [ profile] swisstone, [ profile] kekhmet, Glenda and Barry (WANOLJ), and apologies to those I didn't get a chance to talk much to.

Back to Manchester today. the sun is shining (as it wasx in London yesterday and i have to say, in all my visits, i don't think i've ever seen it so blue in either city while i'd been before) and it's cold but it is almost december after all. Weekend will be somewhat low key while my feet recover. Dinner out with the Manchester area mob tomorrow night and dinner with G's dad on Sunday night. Then we're going to do a couple of day trips next week and i want to fit a shopping day in. We've got a nifty little hire car to zip around in and ooooh we bought each other new mobile phones for Christmas so we've got new toys to play with!
tvordlj: (Default)
The Alzheimer's Society of NS is having a rubber duck race on September 22 at Bishop's Landing on the waterfront. There isn't a lot of detail on the website but i assume they're putting the ducks in the harbour. Unfortunately i have something else on in the afternoon at the same time the race is on or i'd go over and have a look.

Well, that gives "over the shoulder boulder holder" a whole new meaning doesn't it? this bra gets turned into this purse.

[ profile] medusa's Paris pics make me want to go now!

Apparently the mother of the little girl that has gone missing in Portugal is now considered a suspect by the Portugese police. I'm only surprised it's taken this long but i doubt the parents were involved other than making the bad decision to leave the children alone in a hotel room.

I had to get a request for change number for something i'm doing at work and the number i was given was 1066. That always reminds me of Dad. It's the one date in history he never forgot from school. 1066BattleofHastings he'd rattle off! As a result, it's one i never forgot either even before i discovered that i really liked the history of England and the U.K. Dates don't always stick in my mind though a few year-dates do such as (not all of them related to England/Britain) 1746, 1815, 1547, 1588, 1215, 1789, 1776, 1867, 44BCE, 1603, 1533, 1536, 1917, just to name a few.
tvordlj: (Paris)
Happy Birthday, [ profile] aditi_!!!!!!!

I booked our hotel in Paris this morning! Seemed to go pretty smoothly online. [ profile] lola_is_naughty, I shall be conferring with you on some nice but reasonable restaurants that you might remember! Any suggestion is appreciated muchly! We've got such a list of things we want to see that i know we just won't have time for some of them but we're going to get to as much as we can!
tvordlj: (Paris)
There's an article in today's paper that says diet pop is just as bad for you as regular full of sugar soft drinks. Says that it can induce this "metabolic" syndrome and people that drink more than one can of it a day are at higher risk for being overweight. Ah. But if you read the article carefully, they're basically saying that people's diet and lifestyle are the main factors. That they *think* people get cravings for sugar because the sugar substitute in the pop is sweet, too. Bah. That's the old "i'll have a pizza and a diet coke" syndrome, where you don't feel guilty having the pizza because you've got the diet pop too. Ya don't think the extra weight comes from the pizza? I'll admit i rarely drink pop that isn't the diet version, but only because i've got used to the taste. So yeah, it's a bit strange to have a cheeseburger and diet coke but i just prefer the taste. It still all comes back to everything else you put in your mouth. Having said that, it's also suspect that too much aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are not good for you and they add extra sodium to diet drinks to make up the taste so if you've got high blood pressure, or retain fluid easily, it's probably not a good idea to drink a lot of it anyway. I don't have it that much, nor do i buy it for home often, only Once in awhile, and then i will usually drink it all fairly quickly mainly because i find if i have the large 2 litre bottle, it goes flat within a couple of days.

We're going to investigate donating a park bench in the large natural park, Shubie Park in Carole's memory. I'm getting some information from Parks and Grounds sent through the inter-office post. She lived right across the road from the park entrances and used to walk her dogs in there all the time so we all think it would mean more to her to have the bench there.

Have nearly got most of the transportation arrangements sorted. The travel agent is finalizing the Eurostar tickets today. Once all that is done i'll see about the hotel in Paris. I've got the one in London booked through Aeroplan using my points. It's the Best Western Corona down near Victoria Station since we'll be traveling back to Manchester by bus. Oh, the travel agent mentioned that as of November 14th, the Eurostar will be terminating in St. Pancras instead of Waterloo. Anyone heard anything about that? New terminus? It's no big deal, we just have to go back across London to Victoria for the hotel. Because of the time difference, we arrive in London with the clock only an hour and a bit later than the Paris departure time so we will get in before Noon.
tvordlj: (Default)
Even though it's early days, it's getting closer to the journey in November to Manchester. We've been talking about plans and things to do and places to stay. I had an idea last night. I have a bucketload of Aeroplan points saved up and you can book hotels and other things with them, not just cars. I had previously thought that it would take a major chunk out of the points i'd saved to book a night at a hotel in London but i had a look anyway and while some are indeed points-expensive, some are very reasonable and the hotel that seems the best is the Best Western Mostyn which is at Marble Arch. I was thinking of one near Victoria Station but this one is a little nicer, more central and still easy enough to get to Victoria for the bus home. Always good to get something for free. Well, ok, considering the flying and purchasing i've done to rack up the points, it's not exactly free but it's more like a little refund, isn't it?

At this point, it looks like the Welcome Hotel in St. Germain in Paris as recommended by [ profile] blueberrymoon. We're going to hire a car for a week back in Manchester and do some day tripping, tentative ideas include but not restricted to the Chester Zoo and Chester, Castle Howard and the Lake District though it's November so weather will be a factor. Well it is anyway! I've only ever driven through Ambleside and would love to go back and have a better look and i would love to get to Grasmere to get some of the fabulous gingerbread you can get there. It's more like what we call a date square only the filling is a spicy ginger mix rather than dates. They've been making it in Grasmere for about 150 years in this little building that used to be a school house.
tvordlj: (Roadtrip Cat)
I'm taking an extra day off at the May long weekend and Mom and I decided to take a road trip up to New Brunswick to see a few relatives. I might actually get to see the city of Saint John, the one i missed in March when my back was bad. I'd like to go in even if for a couple of hours to check out the market. We'll drive up Friday and come back on Sunday, at least that's what the plan is now. Cross bits that the weather will at least be decent. Here in Halifax, the long weekend isn't always a nice, warm and sunny one but as long as it doesn't rain the whole time, we're ok. Now i've said that, i've probably jinxed it!

Saturday afternoon is a party for my aunt and uncle celebrating their 50th anniversary which is actually later in May. Lots of family, lots of pics. I bid on a couple of camera batteries on ebay, proper Panasonic brand ones, not just generic replacement batteries. Still only 7.99 US each with a shipping cost ending up more than that, about 8 or 9 dollars each but when you consider the cost of buying them in the stores here is 80 CAD plus 14% tax, it's worth it. Am getting one for me and one on my coworker's behalf. Am thinking about the trip this fall, and though i have two 1gig memory cards, i have a feeling i might get another one because even three days in Paris means i'll probably be taking a lot of photos and at 5 megapixels on "fine" quality, I will probably put a serious dent in 2 cards. I wouldn't normally need more than one card but for trips? Never have too many, the way i take pics.
tvordlj: (Gonzo)
Finally got my first payment for that writing gig i'm doing at Corrieblog. They were disgracefully late in paying for the articles i wrote in Feb. which should have been paid near the end of March. With any luck, by the start of May i should get March's payment. I plan to use this to help fund our trip to Paris! It was described to me as "not great pay, just a couple of quid per article". Well, £3 for a blog post that doesn't even have to be more than a paragraph or two adds up when you're talking Canadian money. I had £78 worth for February and will for March as well, that translates, after paypal takes off a fee, into about $160. Not small potatoes for the effort involved. I figure if i can average 15 posts a month, that's about $100 CAD and if i do better than that, great.

Work is going well, should be starting in on a larger project soon, converting an old legacy system into Java. We've had a consultant in to start the first phase and he'll be leaving us with some very usable stuff so that's a good basis to go forward.

Anxious to get out and play with my new camera. Weather is going to improve over the weekend. Also want to go out to Michael's craft store on, maybe Sunday. Interested, Mom? Oh, and Hot Fuzz is opening on the weekend and i want to see that too. [ profile] gramie_dee gave me Series 1 of Spaced for my birthday and i really liked it. The writer of Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg, wrote and acted in Spaced and also Sean of the Dead.
tvordlj: (Fabulous Dahling)
Well, i bought a tv! I bought a tube tv for $199 at Future Shop, plus a 4 year extended warantee so if it dies in that time frame, they will replace it and most likely with an lcd since they probably won't be making tube tv's much longer. It's a Toshiba with a flat screen and it's still sitting in the box balanced on a grocery cart in the hallway. My cousin is going to come over tomorrow and help me put it up, because it's heavy and awkward for me to do on my own plus get the old one out of the stand. I opted for a 20 inch screen so that it would fit in my stand which only measures 27 inches across. A 27 inch screen tv is wider than that by a few inches when you take the frame and speakers into consideration. Mom was going to let me have the big tv in her bedroom but then i'd have to buy a stand for it anyway because it wouldn't fit in mine and i have a lot of components (digital tuner, vcr, dvd) This is better overall, and i would hope it would last me the 4 years of the extended waranty at least :) By that time i'll probably be ready to go hdtv flat screen.

We spent a lot of money today, between Mom and me. She splurged out on new makeup and a few more things for her bedroom plus books in chapters. I had a chapters card so my shopping didn't cost me anything there and then we both got some groceries as well. Next week i should be getting the digital camera, fingers crossed.

On the travel front, i have narrowed the hotel choices down to two. I did have a final decision made but then i found another one. Hotel Welcome, on the left bank or Hotel Victoria Chatelet on the right bank but *right* across from Ile de la Cite and behind the Louvre. Excellent location there too. Both have decent reviews on Tripadvisor and both are very central.

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