Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cardiff in Pictures - January 2009

Cardiff visit - Friday 23 January 2009 to Sunday 25 January 2009

Helen and I decided some time ago that it was rather ridiculous we hadn't visited Cardiff recently (or in my case, at all). It is after all the capital of Wales so we figured it deserved a visit.

We also just wanted a girls' weekend away for peaceful gossip.

Anyway, we were blessed with a beautiful journey down by train (passing through Chepstow and along the river). We stayed at the Barcelo Cardiff Angel Hotel

Photo by Rullsenberg: Barcelo Cardiff Angel Hotel
... and thanks to H's superb skills in hotel booking we got a great deal that gave us dinner as well for 50p extra each -- that's 25p per two course meal. It was yummy.

Here are some shots of the visit:

Cardiff Memorial - we started Saturday by taking a good walk from the hotel past Cardiff Castle and up to the University and old Assembly Building district.

Photo by Rullsenberg: Cardiff Memorial
Deciding that a walk to Cardiff Bay from the city centre was a bit much (especially as we expected to be on our feet all day) we hopped on a bus down to the bay. And Glorious Sun came out!

Rullsenberg at the Millenium Centre Cardiff

Photo by Rullsenberg: Millenium Centre, Cardiff
It's hard not to think of this area AS Torchwood, especially as the buildings are so iconic...

Photograph by Rullsenberg: Torchwood Tower
As you can tell, I can't resist an arty photograph:

Photograph by Rullsenberg: Millenium Centre
The closer you get to the edge of the bay, the more odd the juxtapositions: for example, this is the old Pier Building, a surviving relic of the area's former life...

Photo by Rullsenberg: Pierhead Building
And this is the new Welsh Assembly building.

Being a bit dippy, I was convinced we wouldn't be allowed in the building, but Helen persisted in her belief there were people inside and approached the doors. It is an incredible building and I will hopefully add some pics from H later on (she took some crackers of the inner chamber).

Photo by Rullsenberg: Welsh Assembly building by Richard Rogers

Photo by Rullsenberg: Inside the new Welsh Assembly
We really enjoyed being out and about and the weather was fabulous (even if cold).

Photo by Rullsenberg: Cardiff bay buildings

Rullsenberg by the Torchwood Tower
And as we killed a couple of hours in the area, we were able to come out and catch the view of the Roald Dahl Plass by night...

Photo by Rullsenberg: Torchwood by night
Next day, we dreaded rain but thankfully it was bright if clouding over gradually as we left. We strolled round the corner from the hotel and walked down past the Riverside Market (did I see Julie Gardner there? Not sure...) and past the Millenium Stadium. Of course, as the stadium commemorates all manner of sporting nations, I could not resist photographing New Zealand:

Photo by Rullsenberg: Millemium Stadium New Zealand plaque
We ended our visit with a walk past Cardiff Castle: it's a real jumble of gothic styles with a Victorian vision.

Photo by Rullsenberg: Cardiff Castle

And so endeth the visit!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My purchase from Cardiff

Helen and I ran away to Cardiff last weekend (pictures to come hopefully*) and I succumbed to buying a small item from the craft shop.

It's made by Kara [argh, cannot remember surname! need to add link!] and I just couldn't resist. Apparently her work has been worn by Rhys Ifans - she does fabric roses and bows and neckwear and they're all gorgeous.

Anyway, here I am modelling said item...

Rullsenberg Jan 2009

*Yes, I know I owe a lot of pics from NZ etc. I'm getting there!

Now with added pictures - visiting London to see Hamlet Dec 2008

Ah, it all seems so long ago since Helen and I went to see Hamlet starring Ed Bennett.

But we had such a great time, staying in the Waldorf.

And, by the time Neil and I returned on the Monday (to travel on to New Zealand), they had even updated the posters to show EB in the lead role.*

Anyway, here's some pics!

Rullsenberg in London at the Waldorf hotel Dec 13 2008

Ed Bennett as Hamlet poster at Novello Theatre Dec 15 2008

*Wonder what happened come January when Tennant returned but on a day-by-day basis???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whatever happens next...

... Today will be a great day. Here in the UK (in Nottingham at least) there is strong winter sunlight. In the USA, light will shone from the expectation greeting Barack Obama's inauguration as 44th President of the United States.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Once the gloom of January has stopped overwhelming me...

... I will get around to posting some sunny pics of New Zealand from last month's vacation. *Sigh* that feels a very long time ago now.

In the meantime, can anyone help me find a link to the lovely current trailer for CBeebies? The one where all the kids are dancing about yelling 'THREE!' with three fingers waving? I only really love it for the last milli-seconds featuring the girl who enthusiastically yells 'THREE' and then, realising she only has two fingers waving, rather mournfully adds 'oh' as she looks at her hand in a state of "I know there's something wrong with what I did then..."

It is WELL sweet. And NO, I am not broody.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tales of Robin Hood to close

Wow. I mean 'wow' - finally one of the shoddiest pieces of bad tourism in Nottingham (aka The Tales of Robin Hood) is to close its doors. A victim of the credit crunch? I'd like to think a 'victim' of visitors - and locals - realising this was a rubbish way of portraying the relationship, history and fascination still held for Robin Hood.

I'm not sad to see it go.

It may have bought in £2m a year to Nottingham ('only that much?', or 'that much?' It's hard to know how to put that in context) but really, surely Nottingham should always have been able to do better than this half-baked Jorvik rip-off with 'medieval themed banqueting' attached...?


Friday, January 09, 2009

Heritage Photograph

See if you can spot anyone you recognise on page 14 of the Oamaru Photo Shoppe's heritage photograph website...

How about that fine couple with the woman in the white dress, with the gent sat with a cane between his legs?

UPDATE 1 Feb 2009 - you may need to scroll through a bit to relocate Neil and I as new additions may move us from the above location! Thanks Rob!

The ASA, Christian Voice and atheist bus posters

Swiss Toni offers wise and articulate argument about the Christian Voice challenging the legitimacy of the 'There is probably no God...' bus campaign. I'm not sure I'd have expended as much energy in this fruitless argument - Christian Voice seem to represent more the Bigoted Shout - so I'm rather inclined to adopt the end of the atheist ad: "Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life".

Still, bloody excellent post though.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sitting Tennant - 2008

*happy skipping!* I won the photo submission aspect of Medium Rob's Sitting Tennant feature for 2008! Okay, so this wasn't the more prestigious and more hilarious caption competition, but still! It may have initially baffled some 12 year olds, but it was definitely fun.

In truth I only went for a last gasp of grabbing pictures because I knew I would be in NZ avoiding plot spoilers and generally having a net-break so I knew I wouldn't be able to go for broke there (also it is rude to visit and spend all day on the net). To all the other submitting people, thank you for much hilarity and especially a thank you to the sites providing pictures (chiefly the DavidTennant fan site). It was a blast. Let's hope for more pics and hunting this year!

ZZZZZZ - post-vacation sleeping, Doctor Who reviewing and a smidgeon of jealousy.

Well, we finally hit our doorstep around 5.30pm last night (Tuesday 6 January 2009) and given that we were completely knackered after yet more hours of overnight flying, we only just managed to unpack and get down a pizza before we hit the duvet with the central heating on full blast.

So, no, I didn't see Doctor Who last night.

Instead, heaven bless a functioning iPlayer on Virgin's Catch Up service, I indulged in a mammoth run this morning of Doctor Who, followed by the Confidential and the 11th Doctor Confidential special.



The Next Doctor: dark, lots of deaths, David Morrissey and Jarvis specs from David Tennant as the tenth Doctor. I really can't ask for more. I may offer some more coherent ramblings after reading some of the reviews, to either pick holes or agree with them as fit. But right now, in jet lag exhaustion mode and still rampantly jealous of Helen Lisette*, I am happily contented by this most recent DW Xmas Special.

DW Xmas Special Confidential: the full length Confidentials are always something of a treat - missing from the box sets as they do all the glorious excess of history. It's a shame because although I love the behind-the-scenes stuff you get of the production for the new show, it's the setting it in context stuff that I really adore. All the old clips - ooh! I remember that! - and the lines and the... I'll get my coat. Anyway, with an extra David this was delightful, though I did wonder why Dirvla K got interviewed in her dressing gown. Oh, and did anyone else wince when David Tennant mentioned his back hurting doing the wire work? (Let's gloss over the innuendo of him discussing the protection he needed or the unflattering locations of clips).

DW Confidential - The Eleventh Doctor: Unless you have had your head in a bucket (also known as 'not spending most waking hours looking up Doctor Who related material on the internet' or alternatively you are one of those people inexplicably unconcerned by the career moves of one David Tennant) you will be aware that after the forthcoming special episodes, David Tennant is leaving the role of the Doctor.

Hush your tears now. Yes, I know that for some it will be the end of their temporary interest (obsession) with all matters DW, but that won't be the case for everyone. (Some will even be pleased at him leaving. Some may just be pleased that, back injuries permitting, he will do more stage work. Live, on a stage. Mmmmmm. Sorry, my mind wandered slightly then).

Anyway. Yes, undeniably Ten has been a Doctor who has stolen many hearts (greedy, really, given he already has two) but the role has coped with changes before.

This is the point to get anyone who doesn't know/want to know who the new Doctor is to look away NOW (skip to the bottom to read instead my * remark about Helen Lisette instead).

So, Matt Smith. Well, I'm actually rather hopeful. SM pointed out he had the eyes, the hands, the hair. Tick and treble tick (certainly the hair as seen in the Confidential interview was a winner for me). He has a certain surety and manic quality to his expression which will work well for the role and simultaneously that youthfulness of his will bring a tension to this role as the young minded but ancient Timelord.

Sure, my heart will break a little when David regnerates - if we have an onscreen regeneration, and we are pretty likely to, aren't we? I will miss the greedy excitement of 13 weekly 45 mins worth of him on screen, not just because he's a pretty boy but because he's a fabulous actor who has really brought an extra dimension to the role. In his portrayal, the Doctor has been spending so much time around humans, and lost his own people, that he has gained emotions but can't really get them to function in the same way as humans. He feels empathy and loss and love, but somehow cannot quite operate these emotions in a way that feels human. It's perhaps because of his age and experience - they can't live alongside him as long as he could around them - but it's also because he wants to try and do the right thing in their eyes, but keeps falling back on his own alien way of seeing the universe. Which makes him a temperamental mix of human and alien (though not in the way that the TV movie tried to make it). Anyway, what I'm trying to say, badly, is that Tennant is great at all the mixtures of emotions and unemotions. From subtle to gigantic, he can do it all, often in a flicker of a eye, a twitch of his lips, a tensing of his shoulders. And I'll miss him bringing all that to the role.

And instead I will look forward to him bringing his talents to other roles.

* Yes, Helen Lisette, I mean you and your spectacular lucky, lucky BITCA state of being. Helen was booked to see Hamlet the Saturday I was away still in New Zealand. 3rd January 2009. Pre-Xmas she contacted me to say 'bad news' - the RSC had contacted ticket holders saying David Tennant was still expected to be out of action until the final week of production, with no promise that he would return then either. (Their initial announcement of withdrawal had said he would be out until the New Year). Boo-hoo's all around for friends who had got tickets to be at the January 2nd performance and Helen for January 3rd.

That was until I turned my mobile on Sunday morning, New Zealand time (Saturday evening, UK time).


I think my response was "You have to be F'ING kidding me... what pact with Satan did you make?"

And yes, she made an effort to look and the verdict from the upper circle was ...

... no pants....

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Yes, I know who the new Doctor is going to be...

Cloud was never not going to tell me was he, especially after he copped sight of the Guardian article (pre-announcement) saying someone had been naughty on BetFair about it...

I'm still spoiler-free on the Xmas special though, so let me get back to the UK with that one.

Cheers folks - it's our last sunny day in New Zealand today - back towards the northern hemisphere today and then on to lovely England!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year! 2009

I'll be back soon - promise.

In the meantime, here are some pictures.

Lisa Rullsenberg in Oxford, New Zealand
At rest in Rata Street, Oxford, New Zealand

Lisa Rullsenberg on Pilots Beach, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand
Near the albatross centre on the Otago Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand

Sunset over Mosgiel, near Dunedin, New Zealand
Sunset over the Highland Peaks (bed and breakfast extraordinaire), near Dunedin.

There will be more on our return proper. In the meantime, remember: