Photos from Gunby Hall

Taking advantage of the bank holiday, Ashwina and I took a trip to Gunby Hall which is a National Trust property in Skegness.

The Orchard Cottage located in the property grounds is the former gardeners cottage and is a quaint little house. This turned out to be a great way to enjoy a quiet weekend reading, eating and drinking.

We had access to the grounds after hours and so ventured out to take in the beauty.

Here are some select photos from our walk.

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Cornwall – Boscastle and Tintagel

Our last holiday was in February when Ashwina and I visited Dunwich Heath to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Since we haven’t taken a vacation since then, we planned a week in Cornwall in the first week of September. This was much needed for us to recharge our batteries. And as usual Ashwina made the necessary arrangements for our trip.

We booked a cab to Paddington station in London where we caught the Great Western train to Bodmin Parkway, which is the closest station to where we were staying in Boscastle.

The journey is nearly 4 hours with views of the countryside that would be be familiar to anyone who leaves the hustle and bustle of the city. The route passes through Plymouth and a few miles before reaching Plymouth you get a glimpse of the sea which is simply breathtaking. And,  this wouldn’t be the first time on this trip that I got the same feeling!

We alighted at Bodmin Parkway. Bodmin Parkway shares its name with Bodmin which is famous for the Bodmin and Wenford steam railway. However, Bodmin Parkway is a relatively smaller railway station and does serve as one of the stopping points for the Bodmin and Wenford railway.

We had booked a self catering cottage called The Lugger which was located in Boscastle Harbour. This was a scene of a terrible flash flood back in 2004 which pretty much washed the village away. The place has since been restored and there is little evidence of the destruction that was caused back then.

We hailed a local cab to take us to Boscastle, which is a good 45 minutes drive from Bodmin Parkway. And just before we descended into the village,  I had my breath taken away for the second time because the view was simply spectacular!

The Lugger turned out to be a cozy cottage with a separate entrance which was located in the first floor of the National Trust Visitor Centre. This would be our home for the week. We unpacked, had some tea and then took a walk around the village, which has a few pubs, a post office, a car park and a tiny Spar.

Dinner would be a quiet one in our cottage before we set out to explore the area the next day.

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Kew Gardens and Kew Palace

Kew Palace

The bank holiday weekends in May are always welcome since it means an extra Monday of holidays and a relatively shorter week, even for an investment banker! Ashwina and I decided to visit Kew Gardens and Kew Palace early May. This was one of the many places we had in mind given our Historic Royal Palaces membership. We were joined by Vincent and Indrita.

Kew Gardens is located about a short walk from Kew Gardens Underground station which is the second last station on the District Line and good hours journey from where I stay in London. There are four gates where you can enter from and the Victoria Gate is the closest to the station. However, given the size of the line, we decided to enter via the Lion Gate which is around 5 minutes away.

Kew Palace is located within the gardens. However, since the gardens and the palace are managed by different entities, our membership does not cover entry into the palace. However, it doesn’t cover the entry to Kew Gardens, which means that you still need to pay to enter. There are several attractions in Kew Gardens and we decided we would try to cover as many as possible.

Kew Gardens map
Kew Gardens map

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Tales from the Countryside

Welcome to Dunwich Heath

I grew up reading Enid Blyton‘s series of books especially Famous Five and Secret Seven. And, one thing that is common to them all was the country side.

During my trip to Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye, I got a taste of the Scottish countryside and it was befitting that we visited the English countryside as well. A few of my regular readers might recall that I married Ashwina last February and to celebrate our anniversary, I took the week off from work.

Ashwina came up with the brilliant suggestion of taking a trip to Dunwich Heath which is located in Saxmundham which lies on the east coast of England. So, we made our way on Monday of this week via train from London to Darsham via Ipswich.

Darsham was the closest train station to Dunwich and when we reached there we were a bit surprised to see a very deserted station. The big taxi signs painted on the cafe in front of us were hard to resist and we ended up booking a taxi to take us to the Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath.

We were at the cottages in around 15 minutes and the drive there was a teaser for the splendid view that was to come as we reached.

Welcome to Dunwich Heath The Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath

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Scotland Calling: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

This post is already 2 months late, because soon after my trip to Scotland, I was immersed deep into work. Better late than never, so here is a brief summary of my holiday in Scotland.

It was a good 6 months after my trip to Mumbai for my wedding and a holiday was a necessity. While the I did make a trip to Hampton Court Palace which is outside the M25, the trip to Scotland would be my first trip outside London.

Ashwina and I decided to do a 7 day visit to Scotland spread out between Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye.

So on a Sunday in mid-September, we sent out on a 4+ hour journey from London to Edinburgh. The trip was short and sweet. We had our reservations at the Edinburgh Jurys Inn. Just off the Royal Mile and a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Waverly station, Jurys Inn was a good choice for us with price and comfort in focus.

View of Edinburgh Waverly station from our hotel room  Waverly station from our hotel room

Soon after checking in, Ashwina and I set out on foot to explore the city. Edinburgh is a relatively small city and you can walk right across the Old Town and New Town. You can find the Royal Mile in the Old Town and several shops and stores in the New Town.

Edinburgh map  The Origin of the Rock

We covered most of old town and new town in a few hours. Most of Edinburgh had shut by Sunday evening. So we stuck to visiting the Princes Street Gardens and an evening walk down the Royal Mile.

Princes Street Garden  The floral clock

If you’re in Edinburgh, then you have to make a trip to Edinburgh Castle. Located at one end of the Royal Mile, the site of the castle dates back to 9the century BC, with early reports of a castle dating back to 12th century BC.

Edinburgh Castle is huge and stands above the city. From the top of the castle, you can see most of Edinburgh and the view is simply breathtaking!

Edinburgh Castle  View from Edinburgh Castle

And, you if you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Edinburgh Castle 12-year scotch 🙂

Edinburgh Castle lower level  Edinburgh Castle 12-year scotch

We spent the whole afternoon at the castle and would have probably spent some more if they hadn’t chased us out at closing time!

We spent the next day on a tour to Northumberland including the famous Alnwick Castle. But, that story is for a new post. Until then, you can check out my photos at Edinburgh.

 

Life Last Two Months

Have I been busy or have I been bored, considering my last post was two months back!

Well, busy is more like it.

WebComm Team

This team was instituted after Ravi and I joined / founded it. And work was hectic the last week of August and the first week of September.

While we did get the SCMHRD site up and running, as you can see it is painfully slow. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to speed it up except redesign the entire site.

I’ve been working on a layout and speeded up the entire thing. A test site has worked decently, but I guess I will have to move away from tables totally as I do with all my other sites.

As part of the team, I spent a lot of time in the Admissions room and so was asked to join it officially…
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I’m off to Goa

By the time most of you read this post, I will be in the Volvo on my way to Goa. Crispin and I set out on Friday hunting for tickets. We decided to try getting them in the area, but were a little taken aback by the price (Rs. 900).

So we headed towards Teli Galli in Andheri where a multitude of these booking offices exist, only to find that the rate there was just the same for the sleeper. We decided to go ahead and book the tickets anyway, since we had to go. The sleeper is air conditioned, so the journey should be pleasant. I can confirm this when I land there.

Have dragged along my camera for the journey, so I’m going to be trigger happy as much as possible. Am also grabbing my laptop with an internet connection to give possible regular updates during the stay there.

Stay tuned for the amazing adventures of Ajay D’Souza.

Life this past week

If there is one thing a geek needs, then it is a good internet connection. Now, that is one thing that has always eluded me and there is no chance of it changing in the near future!

That is one of the reason this blog has seen absolutely no updates for a long long time.

The past week and more can be summed up as follows:

Choir

Practice has been on in full force for Good Friday. We’ve had practice four times in the last week and things are shaping up.

Le Marche

Had to sing for a funeral mass on Thursday at the Oshiwara Cemetery. Few of us from the choir decided to drop in at the “Mega Mall” just across the road. The place is still coming up and the only thing there was the super market. We weren’t out shopping so just moved on to Inorbit food court.

Headed home and back again to choir practice.

Yesterday was Passion Sunday and we were singing for the 6pm mass. Father dropped the bombshell that we had to do the part of the crowd in the liturgy. With no prior practice, I think we carried it out well 😀

Computers

My internet connection sucks. I’ve been calling Exatt up every single day for the past two weeks to ask them to come fix the connection. I dropped in at the office today and waiting for the folks in charge to come. The problem is they have no clue how to fix the frequent switch hanging.

I’ve been considering the MTNL Triband, but my mom is too terrified about “incorrect” billing on their part. I’ve decided to chuck the idea. If my net is down, a cyber cafe shall have to serve as my resort.

On the computer front, my Dad was down last week and he brought me a Kingston U3 DataTraveler.

I am very impressed by the drive. Besides functioning as a normal 2GB memory drive, the U3 Software adds autorun capabilities with easy installation of portable software to run directly from my drive. I’ve got my browser and other software installed on the drive, so no privacy issues at cafes 😀

Dad also got me a 120GB external hard drive. It’s small and portable and a real life saver. This will all be part of my baggage to SCMHRD in June.

College

On the college front, I received the results for XIMB. I’m 101 on the waitlist which is definitely not converting. Besides, I don’t think I will be taking it up anyway. SCMHRD seems a better option after weighing in a lot of factors.

The SCMHRD Foundation course which was supposed to start on April 1 has temporarily been postponed. I’ve received the confirmation letter and receipt for the payment.

Also metup with the several SCMHRD folks from Mumbai on Saturday. Will save that for a small post later.

Personal

Accompanied a pal to town on Friday. Have been digging up some stuff about studies in Australia. Maybe in the future. Then again, maybe not.

Have also made plans for a holiday in April. Things are shaping out well. I’m not much of the holiday person with hardly any trips at all.

But, the holiday always makes for some good blog tales…

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Fly away Ajay
Actually a Boeing 737.

Woke up by 3.30am (not that I got much sleep earlier) and quickly got ready to leave.

Mom insisted on coming with me to the airport (love you Mom) as I wasn’t too well. Spent a good half and hour standing in the checkin counter in a long line.
Got through immigration easily and spent the rest of the time in the final waiting area. Thankfully the flight was on time.

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