The most northerly county in England, this sparsely populated swathe of wild moorland, deserted beaches and vast forests sits adjacent to the Scottish border and was once plagued by attacks from Border Rievers – raiders of both nationalities that pillaged their wealth from local homesteads.
But now, protected by the Angel of the North, all is peaceful throughout the landscape.
And believe me…it is SO quiet!
The southernmost region of continental Portugal, the Algarve has been popular with British tourists for years and we are lucky enough to have (through family) the use of a villa there in a small town called Olhos de Agua.
Very close to the resort of Albufeira, this sleepier area is within a few minutes walk of some beautiful beaches which are relatively empty, even in peak season, where you can watch fishermen bring in their catch.
‘So sick, so sick of being tired and oh so tired of being sick…’
2017 has not got off to the greatest start from a health point of view, in fact we didn’t even manage to see the New Year arrive! Stricken down with ‘flu over Christmas, it is still refusing to let go of the family and has even put one of us temporarily in hospital. Sigh.
But, despite being the living embodiment of a line from a Taking Back Sunday song, there are far too many exciting things going on in our neck of the woods at the moment, so I’m forcing myself out of bed!
You may remember last year when I wrote this post, Would you…Go ‘blude’? about a mass naked artwork being created for my home town in preparation for it becoming UK City of Culture 2017.
Blude: (adj) A hybrid term to describe one that is both blue and in their birthday suit. Like a naughty smurf.
But why on earth would anyone need to use such a word? Well, it would be the perfect description for over three thousand people who, this weekend, filled the streets of the city I grew up in: Hull.
Chosen as the UK City of Culture 2017, Hull has many events taking place, as part of the celebrations in the run-up to next year. For instance, last weekend saw the city centre filled with a carpet of feathers, as acrobats took to ropes in a surreal aerial pillow fight, called Place des Anges.
And a week later the feathers were replaced by naked smurfs…
Some twelve years ago, my friend and I were heading off on holiday together and wanted a destination that was completely different to anywhere we’d gone before.
After tossing around ideas, we made up our minds and when other friends asked what we’d be doing whilst they got smashed in Magaluf, we arched a disapproving eyebrow above our monocles and replied that we would be, “…soaking up the culture in Cairo, darling…“
(Side note: I probably threw up more than they did… don’t drink even a drop of the water.)
I’ve had an interest in Egyptology since childhood. Part of it stems from the adventurer inside me, wanting to emulate fictional characters such as Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. Much of it comes down to my fascination with their ancient gods and goddesses, the associated myths and inevitable superstitions. And if you’ve ever worked in the British education system, you can pretty much guarantee that every child will study the pharaohs at some point before the age of ten!
So, with a couple of days in the capital for pyramid spotting and then a week floating down the Nile, we set off on our North African Adventure!