A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


After my wobble last week I've managed to get myself steadier again this week, although I'm still having great trouble sleeping and I'm only managing to sleep about every other night. This is a perfect way to get absolutely knackered, but despite the exhaustion I'm generally more together than I was, and I'm even managing to do some study. In fact I've caught up on one of the courses, so I'm rather pleased with myself :o)

I think I have to credit my friends for much of my recovery from my wobble - they've been a great support and have kept me doing things. On Wednesday my friend CR came over and we went down to Peppy's for dinner, which was a lovely spur of the moment thing to do, especially as C lives about 45 minutes drive away. Because of the distance we don't manage to get together all that often, so it was great to spend some quality time with her and have a really good natter.

Somehow I managed to while away the back end of last week without doing a huge amount of anything, but on Saturday I went up to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland with my friend K. (Alnwick Castle is used for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, just in case you didn't know).

It was a beautiful day - warm, bright and sunny a fair amount of the time. I was tired as I'd had only 2 1/2 hours sleep, but we had a leisurely wander around and arrived shortly before a birds of prey show. There was a chance to have a closer look at some of the birds before we saw them fly, and amongst these was a tiny grey owl, which can only have been about 6-8" high and was incredibly soft. Here's a close up photo of it
Unfortunately I've already forgotten what kind of owl it is, but I have a vague memory of it being from South America ... though that could be completely wrong. They didn't actually fly this bird in the show, but they did fly a barn owl, a harrier, and a falcon. I didn't get a brilliant photo of the harrier, but here's a slightly blurred one one
The falcon was so incredibly fast that it was difficult to get a decent shot, though I did get one where you can just about see it against the castle.

Just before the flaconer let this one fly he told us to keep relatively still, because the speed that these birds fly at is potentially dangerous, and they head towards movement. Sure enough, after soaring high in the air, it dived in a rush, down towards the arena on the grass, in absolute silence, but then just skimmed past my head with a powerful 'phwoosh' before rising up again towards the castle. It was amazing.

The other bird the falconers flew was a barn owl, which I managed to get a few decent photos of. Here are a couple

So then we continued our wander around the castle and its grounds and generally had an interesting and relaxing time together. The day as a whole helped to restore something in me, despite my tiredness ... I think it's getting out into the countryside and being surrounded by nature that does it.

We had considered going to Barter Books (also in Alnwick) after the castle, but we both needed to get home and have a rest so we didn't make it this time. Barter Books is the most amazing place though, and most definitely a must for anybody who likes books and reading. It's one of the biggest second hand bookshops in Britain and takes up practically all of what had once been Alnwick railway station. It's enormous. It's a warren. It has every kind of book you could ever imagine. It has places to sit and curl up for hours as you peruse the plethera of shelves. It has tea and coffee with an honesty box. It has expensive, rare and antique books. It has multiple copies of previous best-sellers. It has sheet music. It has records and CDS. It has videos and DVDs. It has a computerised catalogue of all that it has. I'm going up to Edinburgh next week, which means driving past Alnwick along the A1. I can already feel the magnetism of Barter Books drawing me towards it on my way.

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