Sunday, 26 May 2013

When the Moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie....

That's Amore!

Good afternoon everyone - hope you are all well and having a great weekend.

Last night I was absolutely Moonstruck - in London with my DH.  It was all part of our Silver Wedding Anniversary celebrations.  The actual day was in February, we were in Granada in Spain, all organised by the lovely DH.

My gift to him was a day in London yesterday - all organised back in January. 

I will share more photos soon, as I saw a view of London usually reserved for folks on route in or out of Heathrow on a plane....

But last night, standing on the Millenium Bridge over the Thames I was indeed Moonstruck

What a view!

Back soon hopefully with more photos of a wonderful day out with a wonderful man.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

This made me smile....

....well actually it made me collapse in fits of hysterics!!!!!

For those cat lovers out there, enjoy!


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Into the Valley....

...betrothed and divine...oh for the heady days of 1977!!  I'm sure those of you of a "certain age" will remember a band called The Skids who came up with those lines.

But the Valley I went into on my holidays was the Jordan Valley.  I had never been there before and was amazed to see how wonderfully green it all was

After driving on for a little while we came upon the ruins of the Roman city of Pella.  It was one of the 10 Cities of the Decapolis.  Such a stunning location, tucked into the hillside...

Just had to take a photo of this sign, it made me smile.... reminds me of my days as a graphic design student when, after hours of painting 8pt lettering by hand a spelling mistake was spotted....

I loved these gates, they marked the entrance to an ancient mosque and graveyard

And just as we were about to bid farewell and head off back to base we were treated to this wonderful sunset

I so loved my time in Jordan, and just can't wait to visit again.  One of my relatives flew out there this week, wish I could have hitched a ride!!

Have a great weekend. Helenxx

Friday, 10 May 2013

A country of many contrasts

Hi everyone, Friday at last!

My last two posts have probably done quite a lot to promote Jordan as a desert kingdom - and indeed, it is.  Over 3/4 of the country is desert or desert-type steppe.  BUT it is a country of many contrasts, many colours, many terrains.  All of them beautiful.

The day after the Khamsin the morning dawned bright and clear.  Beautiful skies, a light breeze and bright sunshine.  Everything felt refreshed.  So we headed north up to Ajloun, where this amazing sight greeted us:

This is Ajloun Castle, another fortress built during the Crusades, but this time by a relative of Saladin.  I have visited this castle twice before, it is very impressive.  On this particular day we sat outside and had a picnic, but didn't go inside as the place was awash with school kids on trips - you may be able to spot on of their buses in the photo.  And as a teacher I didn't really relish the idea of 1,000 young girls on a school jolly sharing my relaxing holiday time!  All the young visitors were school girls.  The air rang out with the teachers shouting "Banat!!  Yalla!!"  ("Girls!  Lets Go!").  It was rather nice not to be the teacher on duty that day!  And anyway, we had set our heart on visiting the Ajloun Nature reserve.  The countryside around Ajloun is green and lush during the spring.  The north of Jordan gets the most rain and even snow in the winter.

This cheeky fellow greeted us as we drew up in the car park

I had never been to the nature reserve before, it was beautiful

This is one of the trails we followed

And this tree fascinated me, I don't know the species though

And just to round things off I found these flowers - stunning:

After we got back to the car we read a sign that said there are actually wolves and hyenas wild in the reserve - fortunately we didn't come across any!!

Back soon with photos of our visit to the Jordan Valley and a Roman City.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Journey to the Lowest Place on Earth

After our visit to Kerak, we travelled onwards to the lowest place on Earth - The Dead Sea.

The road is worthy of a Top Gear Special - I'm certain Jeremy, Richard and James would wax lyrical about it!

In the middle photo you might be able to spot some hand-woven rugs that were being sold by some of the local Bedouin folks. 

As the road dropped, so did the visibility.  We were in the middle of a Khamsin, a hot, dry wind that blows sand all the way from the Sahara.  We actually found out that some of the roads that day had to be closed to traffic, and the airport was closed for a while as well.  But we had good fortune on our side and were able to continue, albeit carefully.

As we dropped way, way below sea level our ears began to pop.  The weather closed in even more, which made the views seem very mysterious and melancholy...

...hardly surprising as we had arrived at the place which is said to be the historical setting of Sodom and Gemorrah.  The shining disc in the sky is the sun, not the moon:

Whatever beliefs one may hold, it is certain that the place has a real atmosphere to it that is very difficult to explain or describe. 

By the time we arrived at the Dead Sea the Khamsin was really doing its work, visibility had dropped even further -

 so we decided we had better head off back to base.

Hope to be back soon with some more photos of my trip!


Monday, 6 May 2013

A journey back in time... the days of the Crusades.

Hello everyone, hope all is well with you and yours.  Sun is shining again this morning, which is such a bonus.

A few weeks ago, while I was on a bit of a break from blogging, I was lucky enough to return to what I think is one of the most amazing places on earth - the beautiful Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  I just love it so, so much.  The people are so welcoming, the hospitality offered to visitors is humbling.  And the places you can visit - it is like being in a history book!!  As a child I loved to read stories about the Crusades, Knights, etc and when in Jordan this time I insisted upon visiting this place:

The Crusader Castle of Kerak.

It is AWESOME - the sheer size of the place is staggering.  Have any of you seen the film Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom?  Well, this is the real castle where a lot of the film is set. 

A few glimpses of the sheer majesty of the place:

I love this view through the archway.

So amazing to think that the people I have read about in history books would have looked through the same archway.  Imagine all the things that would have run through their a little girl I used to hear the stories about this part of the world and dreamed that one day I would be able to visit.

There are three layers of underground passages to explore, it is staggering how these were built over a thousand years ago.  And even more staggering that the building has survived so well.

Of course, all this adventuring makes for a healthy appetite, here is a little something I cooked up for us when we got back to base:

This is a dish called Maqloubeh, it is rice, chicken, aubergines and potatoes with loads of spices (I made my self a meat free version as I'm a vegetarian).  There were no leftovers so it must have been OK!

Hope to be back again soon with some more photos of my trip.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Springtime Potholder

Good morning...and isn't it wonderful to have a Bank Holiday Weekend!!!  Such a treat, and so, so needed.

I thought I would share a photo of a crochet potholder that I made a few weeks ago for one of my sisters-in-law. 

The pattern was from Simply Crochet Magazine.  The yarn is 100% acrylic so nice and easy to wash.  But my sister-in-law says that it is too pretty to use and she is going to hang it up in her kitchen as a decoration!!

It is in fact really functional in that the crochet "fabric" is nice and thick and would really protect your hands when lifting hot pots off the stove.  I loved making it as it was a great portable project to have nearby for those spare 5 minutes here and there.

I'm hoping to make some more soon when time permits...

In the meantime I'm hoping for a bit of decent weather later so that I can potter about in the garden!

Have a lovely weekend, Helenxx