it's about life, my life, quilts, midwifery, and whatever else occurs to me.

29 May 2010

The Aussie alphabet: E is for Ekka

It's only the end of May now, but August will be here before we know it. And August is the time for the Ekka. Proper name: Royal Queensland Show. Shortened to Exhibition, which being Australia gets shortened to Ekka. A Queensland tradition since 1876, it's got everything. A midway with carnival rides, livestock judging, performances, food, music, and showbags, collections of (usually) candy and toys offered in themed bags (Batman, Barbie, that sort of thing) for some amount of money. All this goes on for nine days in August; this year's dates are 5-14. And the Wednesday of Ekka week is a public holiday, the last official one before Christmas, so everyone can go! They put special trains on that go to the showgrounds where the station is only operational for these 9 days a year.

This photo, no doubt taken from the ferris wheel, is from Ekka 2009.

11 May 2010

English bluebells

We visited the U of Birmingham's botanic gardens yesterday. Here are 2 shots of the gorgeous bluebells that are blooming all over now.

Ludlow Castle

Today was my solo excursion to Ludlow, recommended by my maven of all things olde and English, Anne. The castle remains are pretty impressive although I think they could do a better job of labelling the spaces. The oldest parts date to the Norman period -- like the keep pictured here. More on the castle here.

04 May 2010

UQ turns 100...

...and that's pretty old for an Australian university. There was a big community celebration on Sunday, 18 April. Phil and I spent the day at the "eDiscovery Quest" tent sending people off on a sort of scavenger hunt all over campus; participants had to solve a series of riddles and those who got them all right had a chance at the big prize, an iPod Touch. But that has nothing to do with this photo. I noticed a couple of days after the big event that someone had spray-painted the grass below the student union with the 100th anniversary logo.

Roman ruins in Caerleon

The amphitheatre. Site of legionaries' drilling, as well as who knows what horrible spectacles the Romans enjoyed so much. Also, thought to be (one of) the site(s) of King Arthur's Round Table. Yeah, that Round Table.

Can I buy a vowel?

We're in Caerleon, Wales, the first stop on Phil's speaking tour of the UK, 1-14 May. We're staying at the Priory Hotel, a former Cistercian monastery. Caerleon was the site of a Roman fortress that was the home of the second Augustan legion from 75 CE until about 290 CE. The Welsh language is inscrutable to someone whose second language is Spanish. This is a great example of its inscrutability.