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Ahh, the Yorkshire dales

Having just come back from a good six weeks holiday in Europe, I thought it time to update my blog with another overseas instalment. Having had this business for almost a decade, I thought we were entitled to long service leave like anyone else – hence a full six weeks to allow the brain to wind down fully. Fortunately for me, Amy was there to hold the fort and so I could (almost) ignore the email traffic while travelling (its remarkable how much wireless access is available out there!).

So – the trip! We started with a couple of days in Singapore to re-set the brain – a spin around the Flier (like the London Eye!); dinner at the zoo; and a walk around the botanical garden – oh, and a drink at Raffles…as you do!

Then, on to The Netherlands – the old stamping grounds where we lived while I did my postgraduate studies at Wageningen. Apart from visiting great friends and revisiting special places, a highlight was dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant in Wageningen – the mystery 5 course dinner! Exquisite. Not that life is (only) about culinary experiences!

Next Russia…. so different to what I expected! The nice open cities, green spaces, architecture, onion churches – fantastic Moscow underground galleries – and of course the Kremlin (actually means a fortified city apparently) and Red Square (‘beautiful’ – rather than colour red!). We did a river cruise up to St Petersberg, then by train to Helsinki before flying on to Manchester in the UK.

As much the trip to date had been great with many new and pleasant experiences, touching down in Britain is always special! My mother’s family came from around the Lake District and my father’s came from Scotland – so I am convinced that Northern England and Scotland is in my blood. And hence my sense of place and well being while being amongst stone walls and green fields and stone villages and churches and ruined abbeys …… and sheep!

So, during visits to the Isle of Mull, Iona, walks in the Lake District, Hadrian’s wall and the Yorkshire dales – I had my sketch book and just drank in the smells, sites and sounds. My aim is to take the peace I felt on into this next year – and be even better in my work for it!

I could try and draw some nice deep lessons from all this – and relate it to my work (evaluation and extension) – but, I think I will just lie back and think about the Yorkshire dales and let it take me forward.