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Electric Eel lights up Xmas tree.

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And in a shocking 'C&M have another holiday manoeuvre', we went to Paris in September. This one wasn’t our fault, honest. My (Mitch’s) mum got her BA (Hons) last year and we were all very proud of her. She insisted that the whole family go to her graduation. She had the choice of graduating at the Barbican or Versailles, so we all chose Versailles and she made Dad pay for us to go.

We went out a couple of days early to do touristy stuff. Paris would be a completely brilliant city if it wasn’t full of tourists. It has more Japanese restaurants than Tokyo for one thing. Although we had to rename the Pompidou Centre the Grumpidou Centre on account of the information lady shouting at us when we politely enquired which films were showing that evening - "NONE - the cinema is being rennovated". That told us.

We had been to Paris before but had never gone up the Eiffel Tower or visited the Louvre as we feel that queuing is a bit of a waste of precious time. Oh, and we hate queuing. Last time we went we would have had to queue for everything for ages, and anyway, it was more fun to explore some of the hidden parts of Paris. This time our visit was slightly out of season so the queue for the Louvre was manageable.



Please can I go to the Louvre? )As ever, more photos here
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C developed a website for my bro earlier in the year and, although he was happy to do the work for free, my bro insisted on saying thanks so bought us tickets to see Gorillaz at the National Indoor Arena. We're not fans of big venues (will never, ever go to the NEC again) but we figured it would be fun. And it was. The NIA is huge (described by Albarn as a shed) but it wasn't full (not surprising, given the cost of the tickets). We were in the standing area and we felt we got a reasonable view without getting anywhere near crushed.

And the gig was so worth it. What we both love about Gorillaz is the eclectic nature of the music. You never know what you are going to hear next and if you don't particularly like the current song, you can be pretty sure the next one will be great.

This gig had a cast of thousands - a brass band, a string orchestra, a Syrian orchestra and many, many guest appearances including our favourite, a particularly miserable Mark E Smith-a from the Fall-a who came onstage, moaned into a mic for a song and buggered off in a huff.

It was clear that Albarn just loves making and performing music.
So we'd hear the Syrian orchestra play traditional music followed by them accompanying a bunch of rappers in a bizarre blend of styles. It kinda worked. All this was accompanied by a splendid visual display with animations from Jamie Hewlett. It was amazing how Albarn managed to sync the lyrics to the animations. They played some new stuff (the new album definitely seems worth checking out) and some faves. Good gig. Especially Mark E Smith-aaaa.

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I've been signed off for a week and, although I'm probably too much of a (horribly busy) girlie swot to take the lot, I am damn well taking time off today. Have never done a meme thing before and we are probably the last people on LJ to do this one, but this is about food and food is great. If we’ve eaten it, we bold it and if we would never consider trying it we strike it through.

One thing that has struck us is how lucky we have been to have tried so many different dishes and to have travelled to so many places.  And then realise how much of it we’ve photographed. 


Cut for deliciousness... )
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Santiago is the capital of Chile and lies in probably one of the most beautiful settings in the world nestled, as it is, in the foothills of the Andes.

Lots of fish and Neptune Rock God fountain )
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The El Tatio geysers in the Atacama Desert are the world’s highest geysers. That’s the world’s highest altitude (4300m) not the world's most spurty geysers. We had to get up at 4am and go on a 3 hour bumpy minibus ride to visit them. It was –9ºC when we arrived; even Captain Cold was wearing a fleece and coat (he soon discarded them – the temp went above 30ºC by mid-morning). It was absolutely worth the effort. We arrived at sunrise to see the geysers at golden hour. They were spectacular.


Geysers... )

As ever, there are more photos here

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After Argentina we visited the Atacama Desert in Chile. It’s the world’s driest desert, lying just to the west of the Andes and has some amazing landscapes. You stay in the small oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, which is totally geared towards tourism. It’s at 2500m, and we didn’t feel as though we needed to acclimatise to the altitude (although some of the excursions go to quite high altitudes). Apols that the photos are bigger. The Argentina ones weren't particularly amazing, but the desert was so stark and beautiful, we felt it really deserved the larger sizing.

Some of the landscapes are really spectacular. We watched the sunset and the moon rise behind the Licancabur volcano, the colours changing every minute.


Beautiful Landscapes under the cut... )


As ever, there are billions more photos (with even bigger sizes) here:

Being in BA

Oct. 8th, 2010 05:35 pm
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Can’t believe I’m only just posting this. In August we went to Argentina ostensibly to visit my (Mitch’s) bro, who is now living out there with his lovely girlfriend, but we thought that as it was such a long journey we should do something else as well, so we hopped over to Chile and visited the Atacama Desert. We organised the trip ourselves and I took a Spanish course, learning the language to and from my way to work (the Michel Thomas method – highly recommended) - it was definitely enough to get by. We absolutely needed every word of the language, but we were understood most of the time and didn’t make complete idiots of ourselves. We even managed a political conversation with a taxi driver, even if he did have to resort to drawing a picture of a demonstration at a red traffic light!

We started off in Buenos Aires. It’s a huge city with loads of interesting things to see. We weren’t there for too long (we foresee more visits to South America in our future and will almost certainly fly in to BA) so this time we headed out to Recoleta and visited the necropolis and the Japanese Garden.

The necropolis is huge and serene. We like wandering round graveyards. Eva Peron is interred here. It’s really easy to find her – just follow the crowds. The sun was just hazy enough for us to take some interesting shots.



More photos under the cut... )

We liked BA. It's a vibrant city with lots going on and the people are really friendly. No, we didn't tango, but we ate lots of steak. More photos here.

 * Apologies for the gratuitous Supper's Ready reference.

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Obviously this isn't me. I'm not 40 yet. Nor do I have a nephew. But it made me laugh. Particularly because I'm about to buy the manga box set with my birthday money ^_^
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We have always known that peas are THE DEVIL'S VEGETABLE
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Have been meaning to post about the fab time we had at Icarus Falconry weekend before last but things all got a bit hectic last week then we were in a car crash over the weekend and well, what with one thing and another, just haven't got round to it. Waiting for the insurance company to call this evening (C told them to phone between 5pm and 5:05pm) so might as well start a-postin'.

We spent an entire day meeting and flying birds of prey. We flew several owls and a harris hawk and saw a black kite catch chicken feet mid-air. We also got to hold a tawny eagle and a peregrine falcon and watched a falcon chase a lure.

We met 4 different owls.Their bodies are really small but are fluffed out by masses of feathers which enables them to fly virtually silently. Many of the feathers are serrated for additional silence. They eat rodents and swoop low, flying just above ground level, to pick up their prey mid-flight. For this reason when you are flying owls you don't hold the meat lure in your glove othewise they would just fly off with it, you reward them when they've landed on your hand. Apparently the "wise old owl" is a myth. They're not very clever and haven't got very good eyesight either. But each one we met had a terrific personality.

Owltastic... )
More piccies here.


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On Saturday we went to Holdenby House in Northants with lamentables and abrinsky for a Falconry Experience Day. It was terrific and far exceeded our expectations. We weren't expecting to have so much interaction with the birds but we flew several owls, a harris hawk and threw chicks' feet to a black kite who caught them mid-air. We saw a demonstration of a saker falcon chase a lure and held a peregrine falcon and a tawny eagle. We have squillions of photos most of which are still being uploaded. In the meantime, here's a couple of vids: C with Maya the Bengal Eagle Owl and M with Saira (sp?) the Harris Hawk. Check out the speed of the hawk!

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It's not often you have a recipe dedicated to you on the radio, so when Doc DW and Queasy Joe from The Brave Sons of Elijah Perry found a recipe for Georgian Cheese Pie for us on 50 Miles of Elbow Room last week we had to give it a go. We felt that our arteries had recovered enough from our trip  to Georgia  to eat cheese again. We didn't try any pastry based cheese pies on our trip, so it was fantastic to be able to add this to our cheese pie experiences. Imeruli cheese is impossible to buy over here (although we are planning to have a go at making it) so the recipe called for a combination of Mozarella and Feta which had the 'melty' and 'salty' qualities needed for khachapuri. Anyway, without further ado, we proudly present:

It's worth noting that in line with everything Georgian you end up making far more than is humanly possible to eat. This cheese pie was enough to feed 5,000 so we will be eating cold cheese pie for the rest of the week. Yummy ^_^
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Er, we did. As well as wine, the Georgia trip also involved unbelievable quantities of cheese. It felt like our arteries had the consistency of Primula by the end of the hols. We tried so many varieties including Meskh cheese which was like cheese strings, but not made of nasty chemicals, Imeruli cheese, a mild, tasty and very holey number from the Imereti region which can then be made into Sulguni which is most popular in the Samegrelo Region. We visted a family who demonstrated how to make Sulguni and then offered us lots of it and an unexpected feast for lunch. A quick google has found a recipe for Imeruli and Sulguni.

Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese... )

More photos here.
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A quick trip to Cov's lovely and still relatively new Herbert Art Gallery today revealed a couple of exhibitions worth checking out if you are in the area.

An Inland Voyage
A photographic exhibition by local photographer Robert Longden who took pictures of life on the narrowboats in the 1940s and 1950s, largely on the Coventry Canal around Hawkesbury Junction. On until the end of August. (Thanks, Lamentables for the heads up)

From Here to There
An eclectic exhibition from the Arts Council Collection and we're pretty impressed by some of the work that has made it up to dear old Cov. Like most modern art exhibitions half of it is fantastic and the other half nonsense. We loved Gilbert & George's Gordon's Makes Us Drunk video (probably because we are huge G&G fans) and it was nice to contemplate The Great Bear at leisure but we have yet to find any work by Tracy Emin that we actually like. The exhibition also made us realise that we have been doing our filmmaking all Wrong. We try to make films that are at least different but what we should be doing is making the same pretentious tosh that everybody else makes. The exhibition is on until the 18th July.
Plus a couple of photos )
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Georgians possibly invented wine. At the Uplistsikhe cave town 6,000 year old grape pips and fermentation vessels have been found, which gives Georgia the claim for earliest wine production until someone can prove that it all started somewhere else.

On Georgian Wine... )
More photos here
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Recent reports about the loss of hay meadows with their diverse plant species - particularly the wild flowers - reminded me of one of my favourite holiday snaps.

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Before Boston there was Georgia. After a cancelled Easter hols courtesy of an evil consul who withheld our passports for no readily apparent reason until it was impossible to travel, we booked a holiday to Georgia (the one that's always on my-my-my-my-my-my-my-my-my mind, not the place where midnight trains go). It was a cheese and wine tour which did exactly what it said on the tin.

The hols basically involved driving (or, more accurately, being driven because we were tipsy for much of the time) across Georgia, which is a really beautiful country, visiting vineyards and winerys, eating vast quantities of splendid food as well as doing the odd city tour and stopping off at a number of cultural sights along the way.

There is a legend that when God was handing out land to the nations of the world, the Georgians were so busy feasting that they lost their place in the queue and there was no land left for them. But when they invited God to join the party, he enjoyed himself so much that he gave them the best bits of land that he had been saving for himself.

Feasting... )

Photos gradually going up. There's a bunch of them here.
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Grow your own Rice Bra. It allows the wearer to "cultivate rice anytime, anywhere".
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