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.