A year in two posts — Part 1

Since I haven’t blogged properly in forever, I’m going to do a summary of events (or non-events) in the last year or so, just to keep the blog up to date, in a manner of speaking.

It’s going to be mostly photos, so brace yourself for a storm of randomness.

 

March 2012 — Oxford

I first visited Oxford University (where Harry Potter was filmed) in July 2011 and was awed by the sight of this.

 

Oxford in summer

 

Then, I went back again in March 2012 and it looked like this.

 

Oxford in spring

 

The colour tone is a bit different because the first photo was taken by a Lumix and the second, an iPhone 4. But I was delighted to note the differences in the sky and the foliage.

I love how things and places can look very different with the changing of the seasons.

And Oxford, by the way, is enchanting.

 

April 2012 — Montessori

Four months into our course, we each had to prepare a group lesson based on the theme “Spring” and present it to our classmates (who pretended to be little children).

I decided to do an interactive lesson on how the change from winter to spring affects an apple tree.

I drew a bare tree on an A2 (four times the size of A4) mounting board, then drew and cut out paper leaves, blossoms, birds, insects and a nest and eggs.

During the lesson, as I explained how leaves and blossoms grew, attracting birds and insects, I allowed my “children” to stick each individual element on the canvas with Blu-Tack.

 

An apple tree in spring

 

It was very educational for me also because I had no clue as to the growth cycle of trees.

In Singapore, trees never do anything but drop worms on your head. I had to spend quite a lot of time Googling and reading just to make sure I knew the subject well because I had to expect children to ask precocious questions. (“Can I have the eggs for lunch?”)

 

May 2012 — Cute Children

I did my first teaching placement and fell in love with all the children, who say and do the most precious things. Well, not all the time. Sometimes they make you want to cry and other times they give you diseases.

During my year of training at the nursery, I picked up chicken pox and impetigo, and got the flu nearly every month.

Here’s one of a bunch of cartoons I drew for my teaching journal. This conversation really happened.

 

The precious things children say.

 

June 2012 — Garden Party

Piers’ parents hosted their annual themed garden party and the theme was the Queen’s Jubilee (the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne last year).

It was a really good party with extravagant costumes, food, wine and laughter.

 

Jubilee Party.

 

Jubilee Party.

 

Not really a costume.

 

I was too stressed with school at that time to prepare a costume so I just wore what I thought looked like a 50s-style dress.

 

July 2012 — My birthday

Piers took me to a nice restaurant at Poole Harbour (one of the world’s largest natural harbours) and then to Christchurch for a bit of romantic boating. It was a bright, sunny day, the favourite weather of the English, but not really for me, which explains the umbrella.

 

Piers the boatman.

 

Being a wimp.

 

August 2012 — Farm

We visited Longdown Activity Farm in New Forest. It’s kind of a children’s thing but what the heck, why can’t adults enjoy children’s activities?

On the way to the farm, we encountered horses blocking the road. That’s a common occurence in New Forest, which “includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England” (Wikipedia).

We had to stop and create a car pile up behind us, and then a woman came out from one of the cars and gently led the horses off the road one by one.

 

 

 

Then we got to the farm and I had such a great time, but Piers was very self-conscious because we were the only adults there without children in tow.

They have the usual farm animals to look at but the attraction is really all the activities you can do with animals, such as feeding and playing with them.

 

Cute!

 

Hungry!

 

More hungry!

 

September 2012 — Wedding

Piers’ sister got married. It was a lovely wedding, first at the church, then to her parents’ for a garden reception, dinner and dance.

 

Church wedding

 

Church wedding

 

Church wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

Garden wedding

 

And that concludes Part 1.

My life was relatively uneventful in 2012 because of college. I was stressed out most of the time trying to complete assignments that never stopped coming. They only told us after we graduated that it was originally a two-year course that they crammed into a year to make it more attractive to foreign students.

O_o

Really.

Alright then, more photos and randomness coming up in Part 2!

Nice photos of nice hotel :)

I’ve been wanting to blog about Oxford because it’s such a beautiful, awe-inspiring city. But I have too many photos of it and it’s tiresome looking through hundreds of photos to pick the best for the blog.

So I thought I’d start off with just some photos of our hotel because it’s a smaller, more manageable task.

All the hotels in the city of Oxford were fully booked (thanks to our last-minute habit as usual) so we had to stay in this peaceful countryside hotel about 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre.

 

The Holt Hotel

 

It was a viable option only because we had a car, so we could drive anywhere quite easily.

I’m glad we had to “settle” for the Holt Hotel. It turned out to be really lovely and I wish we’d had more time to spend around that area, have a picnic or something, but then we didn’t have enough time for Oxford city as it was.

 

The Holt Hotel carpark
The Holt Hotel carpark

 

Hotel lobby
The lobby

 

Hotel room
Our room

 

Dusk
Dusk at the Holt Hotel

 

View from balcony
View from our balcony

 

View from balcony
View of the hotel on the main street.

 

It’s a decent-sized hotel (86 rooms) and is fairly cheap (£82 a night incl. VAT). The price included breakfast but we didn’t wake up in time for it so missed a good English country breakfast.

Oh, well. In the mornings, my brain always tells me that sleep is more important than food. You can always eat when you’re awake, but you can’t always sleep when you’re awake.

That’s insomniac-speak, in case you’re not following.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the smiley in the title, well, I’m just in a mellow, smiley kind of mood today. :)

Okay, last photo before I wrap up.

 

Polite sign

 

Not really polite, is it?