We Are Adventuring. We Are Adventurers

“Adventure – Be Your Own Pet”

December ended up being a pretty hectic month for me one way and another, I didn’t get to blog as often as I would have liked even though I got up to some cool stuff I have really wanted to share. Now this stinky cold/virus, that is still hanging around, has been severely impairing my brain function and ability to do most things.
So, I thought I’d break myself back into blogging and try to do a bit of a mini review of the more interesting things I did in the build up to Christmas (mostly around Winchester). In line with my 2011, and now 2012, Resolutions, I’m still trying to make much more effort to get out and do things as part of my plan to improve my mood and enjoy life more, and these are some of the mini-adventures I’ve been on in an attempt to do that 🙂

Ice Skating in Winchester

While Pete was away over the summer, we decided that, in order to make sure we spent more quality time together when he returned, every Tuesday would be Date Tuesday; a day/evening to do something other than sitting on the sofa all evening. So, as soon as I remembered that it was December and that the ice rink was back in Winchester, I booked us in for some Tuesday afternoon skating 🙂
The setting was lovely, with the ice rink set up right next to the Cathedral and surrounded by the little sheds that constitute German markets in this country. We were booked in to skate from 4.15, and so the sun had set and all the lovely Christmas lights were on by the time we took to the ice. Neither of us are experienced skaters, but Pete was much more confident than me and spent most of the time with me firmly attached to his arm.

Winchester Cathedral and Ice Rink
Pete and I (wrapped up warm in my awesome River Island Leopard Print Trapper Hat!)
Warming Up afterwards in the cafe, with tea and cake 🙂
Wearing: Hat, River Island. Top and Cardigan, Dorothy Perkins
Christmas lights near the Cathedral

It actually wasn’t too cold and I managed to not fall over once! Despite being quite scared, I had a really lovely time, especially the yummy lemon drizzle cake afterwards. I ached like nobodies business the next day though (from the skating, not the cake).
We definitely caught it at the right time though, as apparently peak times (mostly weekends) were ridiculously busy, which wouldn’t have been so much fun.

Star Gazing on St Catherine’s Hill

The following Date Tuesday, Pete decided to take charge and took us out to sit on the top of St Catherine’s Hill (near Winchester) in the hope of seeing a meteor shower.Unfortunately, the weather didn’t work in our favour and it was too cloudy to see the sky and too cold for me to wait too long. It was still nice and peaceful to be sat up there, just the two of us and the dog, in the dark, under a blanket, with a thermos of tea. Goodness knows what anyone would have thought if they’d come across us!
I got to take some interesting low light pictures though.

Lights of Winchester from St Catherine’s Hill
The Moon behind some spooky looking trees
More spooky looking trees

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Pete and I have wanted to go to a summer or winter solstice at Stonehenge for ages now. While you can usually only go and walk on a set path around the outside of the stones, at the summer/winter solstice (longest/shortest days of the year) and at the two equinoxes (when day and night are of equal length) the site is opened up, primarily for Druid/Pagan worshippers, and you are allowed to get right up to the stones.
This year we decided to take the opportunity, and took Pete’s brother, who lives in New York, and his New Yorker girlfriend along for the experience (as great as NY is, you definitely cannot do this there!).
The biggest downside was the 5am wake up call, to get up and get ready in time to drive across to Stonehenge for 7.30am, when the site opened, and get in position for the 8.09am sunrise. In fairness, I could have got up later, but I wanted to put my make-up on :/
The road alongside Stonehenge was crazy busy, as were the lanes where people were parking. It was clear some of the more ‘hardcore’ visitors had been there at least overnight and had set up camp in their vans, with fires, chairs and cooking stoves. We found a reasonable parking space not too far from the site, hopped the fence (actually I slipped and got a massive bruise on my shin) and headed through the sheep towards the stones.
There were quite a lot of people there, but nowhere near the numbers you see at the summer solstice. While there were a lot of people clearly there for religious reasons, floating around in awesome cloaks with big wooden staffs, there were also a lot of people just there for the experience. There was a ceremony being conducted in the centre of the circle (not that I could really see that through the crowd), music and drums, a fair amount of drinking, and just a generally jovial and good natured atmosphere. We even got offered lavender shortbread by a passing lady in a cloak!

Me and Pete touching the stones
Sunrise through the eastern stones
The Stones

If you ever get the chance, I would totally recommend you head to one of these celebrations at Stonehenge. While the summer solstice might seem the obvious choice due to weather, you will have less chance of actually seeing anything due to the high numbers of people and, also, sunrise is much earlier in the summer than the winter!

Doing the Tourist thing in Winchester

After the sunrise we had a whole day to kill, and, even though my primary instinct was to head straight back to bed, it was decided we would head into Winchester to show Pete’s brother and his girlfriend the sights. Although we’d only been in the city a few weeks earlier, we didn’t actually do anything other than the ice skating.
We managed to fit quite a lot into the day and I was very impressed with myself for managing to keep going and not get shirty with anyone through tiredness. We made a brief round of the Cathedral grounds, saw the statue of King Alfred, visited The Great Hall and saw The Round Table and went round the City Museum.
The statue of King Alfred wasn’t the easiest of attractions to see, being situated in the middle of a road, right next to some rather popular parking spaces, but we got a few good pictures. The Great Hall and Round Table were interesting too, but the City Museum was by far my favourite part of the day. The exhibits were fun and there were lots of things (for kids) to get involved with, including dressing up clothes for each of the different eras!!

Statue of King Alfred
The Round Table in The Great Hall
Pete and I dressed up in cloaks in the Roman section of the City Museum
Playing shop in the Victorian Pharmacy in the City Museum
Trying on a selection of hats in the Victorian section of the City Museum

It was all really good fun, which, given how tired I was, must mean it was a really, really good time. An added bonus, all the attractions we saw were free (statue) or only had donation boxes (The Great Hall and City Museum). FYI, we did make donations! Beware the giftshop attached to The Great Hall though, you could easily spend a lot of money in there!!

That ended up being a pretty long post. Hope you didn’t get too bored!
I’m unlikely to be that busy again for quite a while, due to work load, so you probably won’t get another post this long again for a while.

Hope you’re all well,
Betty
x

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