Book Review – The Hidden Princess by Georgina Makalani

Hello folks,

I had the pleasure of reviewing this contemporary fantasy book recently!

It’s by fellow Tasmanian Author Georgina Makalani. Check out this and her other work here.

The Hidden Princess

Book Review – The Hidden Princess by Georgina Makalani

Click the link above if you’d like to read my review. I hope you do, and I hope you get the book, I quite enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading.

Pete

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Travel Blog – England – London day three and the trip home

15 June 2019

Last day!

Today we packed our bags, and found somewhere to stash them. Fortunately there is such a place called ‘Stasher’, which was helpful.

So, what to do when we have a plane to catch later in the day?

I’m glad you asked.

British Museum seemed a good last day’ thing to do.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/

All museums in Britain are free entry, which I think is a marvellous thing.

Can I start by saying… this place is amazing. If you want a brief history of the Earth, come here.

The building itself is incredible.

Foyer

I found the position of the major displays to be well done. In the Louvre, for example, you walk for miles to find the Mona Lisa. (Not a bad thing generally, and not a criticism of the Louvre). Here, the major displays are just off the main foyer and inside the door.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone again

Back of Rosetta Stone. “This page intentionally left blank…”

more Rosetta Stone

For fans of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, that’s Socrates on the left…

We found Boxgrove Priory a few weeks back, here is some stuff on display from there…!

Awe-inspiring. Of course with only a few hours, we didn’t see everything.

Afterwards, we caught the train back to the bag stash area, and hopped on another train to Heathrow.

The journey home from Paddington started at 4pm (London time), Friday 15 June; about 1am Saturday, Hobart time.

The direct trains leave from Paddington and only take 15 minutes.

A few important things to keep in mind:

  1. if you need to use the loo, don’t assume every public space will have one.
  2. if you need to use the loo, don’t assume every public space will have one that’s free. Some you need to pay for.
  3. the ones you need to pay for, you need correct change. If you don’t have 30p, you can’t pee.

Eventually I found a free toilet at Heathrow. I’m glad I made it.

So near, and yet so far away…

But anyways..

It turns out our bags were under the weight limits, which is amazingly good.

A few things about Heathrow…

  1. Apparently its a busy airport. It does appear a little busier than Hobart’s one.
  2. Waiting in line is not fun, especially when there are not enough counters open. Yes, I should have checked in online, but we needed to ask a few questions. at the counter
  3. Airport Security is always a bit rushed, but those people do an awesome job.
  4. Claiming back the VAT on purchases is a long and arduous process that seems a bit of a waste for small buys.

The Etihad flights and staff are really good. Small issue with the first leg of the flight was twofold, the in-flight entertainment was not working, and a guy behind us snored loudly for the whole seven hours.

Ah well…

Abu Dhabi was again an experience. I thought we were a bit rushed, and set off in a hurry to find gate 8, thinking we only had half hour. Turns out were gate 50-something and had a couple of hours. I was looking at the wrong boarding pass.

Ah well…

Gate 50-something is miles away. It felt like we were closer to Melbourne than Abu Dhabi. Once there, the airport people made us all get up and re-enter the lounge, after we’d redone the security check and had our bags searched.

I did feel a little suspicious of gate 50-something, as there were buses outside, not planes.

Turns out my suspicions were well-founded. Outside into the desert heat, into buses and ferried off to our plane, after we drove past the cargo planes, the police station, what looked like a prison and a few other unidentified spots.

Ah well…

Out into the desert heat and onto our plane, finally on the way to Melbourne. Thirteen long hours later we landed, and then hopped on our last flight a few hours later to Hobart.

Sunday 16 June at about 10.30am Hobart time we arrived home.

I hope you have enjoyed my first try at a travel blog!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Travel Blog – England – London Day two

14 June 2019

Today was another day of sightseeing, helped by an old school friend Paul, who has lived in London this past 20 years.

We started Green Park, near Buckingham Palace and walked about a bit. There we found a Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial that commemorates the bomber pilots of the Second World War.

The next spot was Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or (originally) as the Green Park Arch. Drove past this one on the hop-on hop-off bus the day before, but didn’t get a good look at it. Its sits between Green Park and Hyde Park.

Next stop was a browse through Harrods…!

And then not too far from there is the Victoria and Albert Museum.

https://www.vam.ac.uk/

Lots of fascinating things.

Many sculptures are copies. But they are amazing in their own right. Copies by the Romans of the original Greek sculptures that are themselves nearly 2,000 years old, given as gifts to Queen Victoria… you get my drift.

We found a Tardis at a train station.

Visited Freddie Mercury’s former home.

And went into the city, where…

We watched a show at the West End…!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Travel Blog – England – London

 

12 June 2019

London

Well, merry old London town got to show us its more renowned sights today. Lucky London!

Felt compelled to do it the ‘easy’ way, and get on one of those ‘Hop On Hop Off’ busses. It generally worked pretty well. There are so many, and they run fairly regularly. Downstairs can be a bit crowded when its wet weather though. Like, it always seems to be at the moment 😊

We hopped on outside Madam Tussauds and set off toward the centre of town.

Big Ben, all bandaged up…

Hopped off at the Marble Arch to poke around for a while.

Then back on again. By now it started raining again…

One thought occurred to me as we went around – it was surprising that London, with so long a history, had so few really old buildings. Then it occurred to me that nearly all of it burned down back in the 1600’s…

London Fire

Tower of London

Then stopped at the Tower of London. Grabbed some lunch at a nearby pub, then stormed the tower…

These guys were quite firm about no photos around the crown jewels.

Yes, that’s a real automatic rifle…

So, here’s the Queen playing with them…

A couple of replica’s I could photograph

Back on the bus, to another local landmark.

Buckingham Palace

And then back to the accommodation!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Travel Blog – Wales and England – Cardiff to London

11 June 2019

Cardiff to London

Luckily, I was awake at 5.40 so the hotel fire alarm didn’t wake me up. Unlike the majority of house guests. Made if half dressed halfway down the stairs when we were advised it was a false alarm.

London, in case you’ve never heard of it.

Drove to London and dropped off the rental car. 169 more miles (272km), it brings the total miles we’ve travelled to 2,342, or 3,769km in our drive around Mainland Great Britain. Not bad in two weeks, and in an Astra. Got a transfer to our apartment and checked in.

On the way to our accommodation, we drove past the Grenfell Tower. It doesn’t seem like two years ago since the catastrophic fire?

London

Before we go sort out the dreadful mess they’ve made of the Brexit thingy, we wandered around the streets nearby for a look. When I booked this accommodation, I knew it was near a few interesting spots.

Statue of St George Slaying the Dragon

Same statue, same result St George 1 – Dragon nil

221B Baker Street

The home of cricket

Madam Tussauds

Then we went and had a look around Madam Tussauds.

Well worth the overpriced admission.

Sherlock, not far from 221B

   

Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillows tight…

Hanging with the cool kids…

M, 007 and… that guy

One of these is a really famous author. The other is a dummy…

He shot first…

These are the droids you’re looking for

I’m sure docking bay 94 is this way…

I don’t know, fly casual…

Tomorrow hoping to go see some of the other major attractions, like someone not walking along the street staring at their phone. It will be a challenge. Also on the lookout for Dragon Glass and Valerian Steel. Might bump into Paddington Bear?

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Travel Blog – Wales – Cardiff and surrounds

 

10 June 2019

Pentre

Drove out to a village called Pentre this morning, where Julie’s Nanna was born. We checked out where her house was, and I took a couple of pictures of the church.

Pentre location

Cardiff

Then drove back to Cardiff for some sightseeing.

Driving in Cardiff is pretty relaxed. It does not seem to have the traffic issues other cities have. The car parking lots (like all in the UK) seem to be designed for small hatchback-sized cars… Luckily that’s what we have.

Lots of sights, what to choose?

Looked at the Castle (as always).

Found a dragon, slew it. The army folks looked a little displeased, so we did a runner and lost them in the city’s shopping malls.

Dragon may have been harmed in the production of this blog

Lots of shopping malls; in fact the CBD seems to be one big mall.

Did find a few sights that fans of the TV Shows Dr Who, Torchwood and Sherlock would recognise.

Museum was closed, which was a bit odd for a Monday.

These images are probably copyrighted and I’ve used them without permission.

Including a few where we revisited Cardiff Bay.

Our hotel in the background

Some of these are definitely someone else’s work, but I haven’t a clue who’s.

Back to the accommodation and we’re resting up for the final leg of our visit, a few days in London.

Thanks for reading!

Pete

Travel Blog – England and Wales – Travel to Cardiff via Tewksbury

9 June 2019

Today we travelled 210 miles (334 km) to Cardiff. It was a nice comfortable drive along the motorways.

Tewkesbury

Along the way, we stopped at the town of Tewkesbury and had lunch at the Bell Inn.

The Bell Inn, as well as having great food and service, is opposite The Tewkesbury Abbey.

More info on the abbey can be found here: http://www.tewkesburyabbey.org.uk/

I couldn’t resist popping over to take a few photo’s before lunch.

After lunch, we discovered the pub car park was a popular place for local cats to sleep.

Best let sleeping cats lie.

After checking under the car for sleeping (or otherwise) cats, we resumed our journey to Cardiff.

Cardiff

We crossed the Prince of Wales Bridge and arrived in Wales.

The bridge is about 5km long, and quite impressive.

The national beast of Wales is the dragon; hoping to see a few while here.

After checking into the hotel (Voco St Davids – lovely place, highly recommended) I went for a trudge around Cardiff Bay.

Hotel from afar

Hotel Lobby

https://stdavids.vocohotels.com/

Cardiff really does remind me of home.

The view from our room:

 

And a bit later in the evening:

Around Cardiff Bay:

Fans of the Dr Who and Torchwood TV shows will recognise a few of these spots:

Had a lovely dinner at the hotel restaurant (The Admiral) and now… I’m writing this blog.

Thanks for reading!

Pete