Adventure

Reflections

A few years ago, I spent a fabulous day tramping around Dovedale in the Peak District of England. Along the 3 km route, we passed caves known as the Dove Holes, used the stepping stones to cross the river and meandered along the path until we reached Milldale, a village of beautiful stone cottages with gardens full of brighly-coloured flowers. It would be so lovely to live there! From there, we turned around and retraced our route and ended the day, back at one of my friend’s houses, with a BBQ and beers. It was such a great day out, not only for the green and glorious countryside, but I spent the day with some very good friends.

Things to do around the world
Dovedale, UK

In Cyprus, my friend and I and my mum and dad visited the Paphos Archaeological Park. I love these kind of places, I’m fascinated with the history and this one didn’t disappoint. There were ruins galore, remains of beautiful mosaics, and an ancent amphitheatre. I was in my element. I remember it being so hot that day, but it was nice to get out into the countryside with three of my favourite people.

Things to do around the world
Paphos Archaeological Park, Paphos, Cyprus

I arranged to meet my friend in Adu Dhabi and, one day, we took a trip to Dubai. We went up the Burj Khalifa, a real treat with phenomenal views for miles around. We stayed up there for a couple of hours and we were glad we did because the views became even more spectacular when the sun went down and the neon lights of the city came on. It was a trip to remember.

Things to do around the world
Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Wat Po in Bangkok reminds me how much I love exploring my city. I love just going out, with my camera, and visiting my favourite places and there are plenty of new places that I find all the time. There is a never ending source of things to see.

Things to do around the world
Wat Po, Bangkok, Thailand

I spent seven weeks in New Zealand and at first I really didn’t want to be there. I had just come from Thailand and I missed everything about it, but thank God I got over that because I ended up having the best time there. I did so much and saw some wonderful things in that short space of time, including these Mirror Lakes. The water is so clear and still, it created some gorgeous reflections.

Things to do around the world
Mirror Lakes, New Zealand

Whenever I used to go home, I always made the trip to Scotland to see my Nana, who is, sadly, no longer with us. This day, my mum and I had taken a trip to Edinburgh and we had lunch in the Halfway House. I spent the first 12 years of my life in Scotland, so I never really got to enjoy the city as an adult. It’s a beautiful place, and, although I wouldn’t choose to live there again, it’s nice to go back to my roots.

Things to do around the world
Edinburgh’s Smallest Pub, Edinburgh, UK

New Zealand again, this time in Bluff. I’d rented a car, from Dunedin, and taken a road trip down to the south coast. It was New Zealand’s winter time, so I had the place, almost, to myself. I took the Bluff Heritage Trail, through wind-worn forests with brilliant views out to sea. I was also treated to a couple of seals playing in the surf. On the way back to Dunedin, I spent a very cold night in a little cottage in Owaka, so cold that I had to wear five layers, all under a blanket. Brrr! I can still feel the cold. It was in New Zealand that I acquired a love of walking and sightseeing.

Things to do around the world
Bluff Heritage Trail, Bluff, New Zealand

In 2013, I graduated from The Open University with a Bachelor of Science with honours. I can’t tell you how proud I was! I wasn’t even going to go to the graduation ceremony, but a friend suggested I go, otherwise he thought I would regret it. I was glad I did. It was in Manchester and my mum came with me. The ceremony was a little nerve-wracking, but everyone there had all done something that was really worth this grand occasion. Afterwards, my mum and I took to the town and enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks in a Thai restaurant.

Things to do around the world
Manchester, UK

Another day out in New Zealand and this day took me on a jaunt along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. It was on a day when I was supposed to be going whale watching, but it was cancelled due to bad weather. So I wrapped up and went off in exploration of the local area, through farmland and forests, until I reached the black-pebbled beach, and sea. I did loads of other stuff in Kaikoura, like horse-riding, wine tasting, cave exploring and having a Thai meal in a restaurant that didn’t have a liquour license, but not to worry, I had two lovely bottles of wine in my hand that I had bought from the winery. How’s that for good luck?

Things to do around the world
Kaikoura Peninsula, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Whenever I’ve visited my rellys in Adelaide, they’ve taken me out and about to see stuff and we’ve gone to Granite Island a couple of times. It’s a small island next to Victor Harbour, small enough so you can walk around passed huge boulders, plants dancing in the sea breeze, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the cute fairy penguins which live there. It’s even better when you’ve got Ernie by your side telling you about all the different plants and animals there.

Things to do around the world
Granite Island, Adelaide, Australia

I love going to Adelaide and the last time I went was for Christmas in 2014. I wanted to do some exercise, so my cousin suggested we hike up Mount Lofty. So, at 6.00am we started our day, along with my other cousin and his daughter, Amy. When we arrived at Mount Lofty, we stopped at this map which showed the different routes available to the top. I asked “Where are we?” Amy burst out laughing. She pointed at the map to show me a large, red “YOU ARE HERE” sign. She giggled “We are here!” I didn’t live that down for the next thirty minutes, she couldn’t stop laughing! It was a fabulous morning out in the sunshine, followed by a well deserved coffee afterwards.

Things to do around the world
Mount Lofty, Adelaide, Australia

A few years back, I spent a month on Koh Tao with friends. One day, I said I was going to visit a resort called Mango Bay. The best and easiest way to get there is by boat, but I wanted to walk across the island and my friends jumped at the chance to come with me. It was such an arduous journey, slowly going up some very steep hills with nothing on our feet but flip-flops. When we finally made it to the top, dripping in sweat, we took a well deserved break at the Mountain Bar. The views from our vantage point made us forget how hard it was getting there.

Things to do around the world
Views of Koh Tao, Thailand

Another day out in Adelaide with my two cousins, Scott and Craig. We walked along the Torrens River before heading back to the city through the botanical gardens. I love trees and this Eucalyptus camaldulensis, or river red gum, was worthy of a photo. It was thought to be living between 1,500 and 2000 years ago and it died when it was 500 years old! Imagine the things it has seen in its lifetime. We finished our walk at my favourite bar in Adelaide, The Austral, somewhere I try to visit whenever I’m in town.

Things to do around the world
Ancient Tree, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Australia

Vachiratharn Waterfall is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, near to Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand and I went there when I first came to Thailand in 2008. Throughout the day, I did bamboo rafting and stood on the highest point in Thailand. In the evening, the tour guide asked me out for a few drinks with him and his friends. We didn’t go anywhere fancy, just a little roadside bar, but we had such a fun night and it made me realise that, as a solo traveller, there may be times when you feel lost or lonely sometimes, and I certainly felt that throughout my travels, but things happen that always have a way of making you feel good again.

Things to do around the world
Vachiratharn Waterfall, Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand

I like to be reminded of some of the things that I’ve done. I wish I had a photographic memory and remembered everything I have ever done, which is why I love to take so many photographs! 🙂

What makes you remember some of the things you’ve done? 🙂

The Changing Seasons-April 2018

The Changing Seasons post, inspired by the lovely Sarah at Secret Art Expedition and hosted by Su at Zimmerbitch. I must say, I am loving writing these posts, it reminds me of everything I’ve done during the month, from the big things right down to the small. So, without further ado, here’s what I got up to in April.

I started the month with a visit to one of my favourite drinking dens, Le Cafe des Stagiaires, with my little partner in crime, Chris! It’s a lovely little bar in Sathorn, with happy hour deals, always good in my book, and a nice atmosphere with seats on the pavement, canopied by the trees that line Soi 12. You can really imagine that you’re in Europe somewhere! 🙂

Things to do in Bangok
Le Cafe des Stagiaires
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton

I work really unsociable hours and my hours don’t match Chris’s, so when he’s off, I’m not, and vice versa. But, Sundays are a good day for both of us, even if Chris is meant to be working, he gives in sometimes and we enjoy our “Sunday Sessions,” as we’ve fondly named them.

Things to do in freetime
Sunday Sessions
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton
Things to do in freetime
So uncouth!!! It was a non-alcoholic drink that we put to good use in our Mojitos! Actually not bad!!
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton

There is an abundance of different colours and many different species of flowers and plants at my local park, so I always stop mid-run to photograph a few.

The best thing I did in April was to visit Italy to celebrate my birthday (35 AGAIN!!!) I met my mum and dad there and what a wonderful week we had together. Honestly, I took SO many photos and I plan to write about my visit there, but these are just a few of my favourite places.

Things to do in Rome
St Peter’s Basilica
Things to do in Rome
Ponte Sant’Angelo
Things to do in Rome
The Colosseum
Things to do in Rome
The Roman Forum
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Navonna
Things to do in Rome
The Duomo, Florence
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Del Popolo
Things to do in Rome
The Pantheon
Things to do in Rome
The Spanish Steps

When I got back to Bangkok, I still had a few days holiday, so me and Chris when to Escape, a new roof top bar located, strangely, on the fifth floor of one of the monstrous shopping malls here in the city. It was glitzy and glamourous and the drinks were fairly pricey, but we were making the most of a rare weekend off, for me at least.

Places to go in Bangkok
Creativity in wine!!
Places to go in Bangkok
Decorated bar

Good old Facebook 😉 reminded me of one of my all time favourite tunes; Tiesto’s Adagio for Strings. It stirred up a good few memories from the past and it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it!

I was introduced to the Mark Steel lectures by a friend earlier this year, and I finally got round to watching one of them. He takes famous people from the past, like Freud, Aristole, and Napoleon and tells their story in a way that is informative yet hilarious!

And finally, it was my 50th birthday! God knows how I got to be 50, I am still 18 in my heart and head! (Not so in body- it takes me days to get over a night out!) Still, they say life begins at 30/40/50/60/70…!! After a few months of actually freaking out about it, I have accepted this fact, after all, it’s only a number !!! I stopped counting at 35 anyway!!! 😉

If you would like to join me and the others in this challenge, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

A Treasure Trove of Roman Memories

One of my dreams came true last month, I went to Italy. I studied mythology in the Greek and Roman worlds as part of my degree and ever since then I have been fascinated by the history of these two places and have really wanted to visit Rome. So, not only did I get there to celebrate my birthday, but I got to spend a wonderful week with my mum and dad. I took so many photographs and I can’t wait to share them with you, but, for now, here are some memories we made as we enjoyed our week together.

Things to do in Rome
St Peter’s Basilica
Things to do in Rome
Mum with St Peter’s Basilica in the background
Things to do in Rome
Castel Sant’Angelo
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Navonna
Things to do in Rome
The Colosseum
Things to do in Rome
In Florence
Things to do in Rome
Using the Metro
Things to do in Rome
Walking from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza di Spagna
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Di Spagna
Things to do in Rome
In front of Santa Maria Maggiore
Things to do in Rome
Having a rest on Via Nazionale
Things to do in Rome
Ristorante Taberna Patrizi e Plebei
Ponte Palatino
Things to do in Rome
Walking from Isola Tiberina to Piazza Campo di Fiori
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Rotunda
Things to do in Rome
Mum and Dad
Things to do in Rome
Off to our local

We really had such a fabulous and fun time together and this was a trip I will never forget. My mum and dad have been to Rome a couple of times before, but they said they saw so much more this time. I’m not surprised, we must have walked a good 5-7 km most days and my poor mum didn’t give up, even though she was in pain from walking so far. I can’t thank mum and dad enough for making my birthday so very special.

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons – March 2018

The Changing Seasons post, inspired by the lovely Sarah at Secret Art Expedition and hosted by Su at Zimmerbitch. Here is my round up of things I got up to during March.

As I hadn’t been out exploring much since I got back from Sri Lanka, I took myself off to Chulachomklao Fort in Phra Samut Chedi District, around 29 km south of Bangkok. Getting there was fun, I only knew that I had to take the 145 bus to Pak Nam Market, then take a boat across the river, and, finally, a truck to the fort. It always seems a bit of an adventure when you don’t really know the way. I had to ask a couple of people to find the market and once I had located the truck, it dropped me off, right at the fort.

First up, the gun park which tells you the history of the guns, although the information was all in Thai, so I just had to wander around and imagine.

Things to do in Bangkok
The Gun Park

This proud statue of King Rama V stands at the front of the fort.

Things to do in Bangkok
King Rama V Statue

The disappearing guns were used only once in 1893 when the fort protected the sovereignty of Thailand from French invasion. They were designed to be hauled up by their hydro-pneumatic system for firing and lowered again afterwards.

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

H.T.M.S Maeklong was in service for 60 years and deployed during WWII. It was fun to scamper about on her decks!

Things to do in Bangkok
H.T.M.S Maeklong

There’s a mangrove forest there too.

Things to do in Bangkok

 

Things to do in Bangkok
Mangrove Forest

I forgot that I had heard about the resident monkeys that live there until this one started walking towards me! I was a little nervous!

Things to do in Bangkok
Just strolling!

But, thankfully, they didn’t pay me any attention and continued to play or groom each other, oblivious to my presence.

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

It was a great day out and, although the sea looked far from the usual images that you see in Thailand, it was good to get out and about.

Things to do in Bangkok
The Gulf of Thailand

I made a video of all the beautiful birds that I saw in Sri Lanka, and, the best bit, I didn’t even have to leave the confines of my friend’s garden to see them. They greeted us with their song in the morning and it was just fabulous to hear them and see all the different species that visited throughout the day.

 

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Nilla at Image Earth Travel for the work I do here on Talkingthailand. It’s always a joy to receive these nominations and it makes me feel happy and honoured that someone takes time out of their day to acknowledge me. Thank you again Nilla, it was very much appreciated.

At last, I picked up my sketch pad and drew something. Whenever I do this, I mean to do it more regularly, but I never get round to it. I should do it more because I love sitting down and creating something. This drawing is a copy of a painting I saw in an art gallery, but it has my own twist on it! It’s a combination of pencil, charcoal, and pastel crayons.

Things to do in free time
My Art

As well as showcasing my photographs on morrisophotography, I also upload my best shots to Viewbug, and I sometimes enter their free photo challenges. In March, I found out that 2 of my photos had been ranked in the top 50 and 1 in the top 80! When you consider the amount of people that enter these challenges, I was thrilled with this result!

Photography challenges
Artistic Wildlife Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 50
Photography challenges
Animal Families Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 50
Photography challenges
Legs Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 80

I started watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson. His passion and knowledge of the universe, evolution, science and much more just oozes through his silky voice. Everytime I watch it, it (he) makes me want to learn all that he knows. It really is a fantastic and mind-blowing show. I thoroughly recommend watching it, if you haven’t already!

TV Recomendations
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Photo Credit: http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/tv/cosmos-a-spacetime-odyssey/

So, that’s my March done and dusted. I’m already having an awesome April, I hope you are too 🙂

If you would like to join me and the others in this challenge, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

 

 

The Wilderness of Mount Tongariro

Back in 2008, I toured the north and south islands of New Zealand and one of the most amazing things I did was to hike across an active volcano, otherwise known as Mount Tongariro. Feeling a little hungover, as was the norm back then, I started on the hike across Mount Tongariro National Park. I had five layers of clothing on, it really was that cold, and it took about eight hours to cross from Whakapapa Village to Ketetahi. The scenery was dramatic with snow-covered mountains rearing up into the sky all around our little hiking party.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

At ground level, there were mountain springs flowing with cold clear water, and the greens and browns of plants growing up out of the melted snow.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mountain spring, Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

About halfway through the hike, we passed Mount Ngauruhoe, otherwise known as Mount Doom, which, for me, was a real highlight. I’m a die-hard fan of The Lord of the Rings, and I couldn’t stop myself from climbing just a little way up and getting the guide to take my photo.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Doom, New Zealand

We hiked on through dove-white valleys, the wilderness that lay ahead unseen, concealed by the brilliant white all around. It was blissfully quiet, but I could hear my fellow hikers chatting in the distance. In fact, it was a good job they were there because I could easily have gone missing, never to be heard from again.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand
Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

I trundled on and started to make my way upwards. It was such a struggle, the snow made it very slippy, so I had to wear crampons. It was incredibly cold and the higher I got, the windier it got. Eventually, I found myself at the summit of the mountain. The effort is always worth it!

Things to do in New Zealand
The summit of Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

At the top of Mount Tongariro, I got three hundred and sixty-degree views and it felt like I was on top of the world. The clouds were lower than the summit and it seemed otherworldly. It was peaceful, even though I wasn’t alone, and I took a moment to stand there, looking at that perfect scene in front of me and thought of all the things I had done up to that point.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand
Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

On top of that mountain, I felt elated and overjoyed I was there. It was one of those moments that made me realise all the decisions I had made about my life were the right ones and I was definitely living my life to the fullest.

After a while, it was time to continue on my hike. The way down was bloody difficult because the slope was so steep and, instead of snow, I had hot rocks to contend with. Not just hot rocks but slippery hot rocks. The easiest way to do it was to inch my way down, much like when you’re on skis. I tried that, but any small movement would send a cascade of rocks down the mountain taking me with them. The next tactic was to slide down on my backside, but before I could even manage to get in a position to do this, I slid, fell on my arse, and ended up in a heap with five other people.

Things to do in New Zealand
The way down, Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

We started to laugh, every little movement sending a few more rocks downwards, and us another inch from where we sat. Eventually, we managed to pull ourselves together and made it to the bottom unscathed.

The whole hike was amazing, and the last part of the journey to Ketetahi Road was through a small forest which, compared to the strenuous hiking I had just tackled, was easy. But, I was so intoxicated with joy that I skipped and ran through that forest until I reached the end.

Things to do in New Zealand
Mount Tongariro, New Zealand

The hike had taken around eight hours through a wilderness which had stirred my heart at every turn. Mind you, my body was singing a different tune over the next few days because I ached all over, but it was one of the best days out I’ve ever had.

This is one of my tales from my new book which is on the way to being published 😉

The Paths in Life

 

Paths in Life
One of my favourite quotes by Khalil Gibran

“The one moment that changed my life and sent me on a path that would end up living in Thailand came twelve years ago in 2005.”

“Throughout life, everyone travels down certain paths and sometimes things happen that set you on a different path and although you may feel scared or unhappy, just know that you’ll be stronger for it. What doesn’t kill you…, right? Don’t think of the negatives, think positive and be excited at not knowing where your new path will lead you to.”

“I often think in life we all start to travel down one road, be that marriage or kids, and that’s our life. We get on with things and we make the most of what we have, and we’re happy, but then something happens, like divorce, which causes us to travel down a new path, an uncharted course that filled me with anxiety.”

“A path that seems so uncertain, very much the opposite of what we’ve experienced before.”

“….my life was taking a new path and I wasn’t anything but happy about that.”

“….the next trip I took was one that set me down a path that would eventually lead me to a life in Thailand.”

“Don’t be scared to go your own path…”

Above, are excerpts from my new book and I seem to mention paths quite a lot.

I am a great believer in going your own way, maybe that’s something that comes with getting older, but I believe that it’s the only way for people to really life their own lives.

I am not saying this is right for everyone, certainly not, I know everyone is different, but I remember when I was younger I would follow the crowd and it was great. But I have changed, I’m not like that anymore, I do what pleases me and go where I want to go and that’s great too.

Paths in Life
London

If I hadn’t done that I would probably still be living in my hometown. So instead, I branched out and began following a new path and I am so much happier for it.

Was it scary? Hell yes!

Am I stronger? Yes, I am!

Have a learned more about myself? Yes definitely!

Paths in Life
Paphos, Cyprus

These are all positive things that have happened, even the scary part, but I had to start with that one step along my new path.

And my path may yet change again in the not too distant future. Not because I am unhappy now, far from it, but I want some new challenges in my life and I want to start planning for my future (something I would never have said 3 years ago!) I guess it comes to us all.

So, who knows where this new road will lead me. It’s scary and uncertain, but it’s also challenging and exciting. And, for me,  that’s the beauty of following paths!

Paths in Life
Koh Tao

Visit morrisophotography for more photographs of The Paths of Life 🙂

Beachcombing

I recently read a post about beachcombing by Global Housesitter X2 and it reminded me how much I love it. When I went travelling in 2008, wherever I went I would take time to stroll up and down the beach in search of things that had been washed ashore. Beautiful shells, interesting pieces of driftwood or coral, anything that would catch my eye. The only thing was I had to be careful how many things I collected as it was so easy to get carried away and have at least 1kg or more added to my already full case. Even before this, many years ago, I would beachcomb when I was on holiday and I collected hundreds of shells and small stones, all from different countries, all different colours and shapes, which were taken home and placed in a large glass jar.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I remember once, my girlfriends and I took a trip to Puerto Banus in Spain and we had spent the day on the beach where I went in search of more treasure, so I could add to my collection at home. I found this pebble, it was big, I’d say about 7-10 inches across, but it was so beautiful, smooth and black, I couldn’t resist it, so in my bag it went. At the end of the holiday we got ready to fly back to the UK and I put the pebble in my hand luggage, not really thinking about it. When my bags were scanned to board the plane, the woman at security asked me to unpack my bag and I remembered my lovely pebble was in there. She wanted me to hand it over. I looked at her, as if to say, “please can I keep it?” but, not saying anything, she gave me a look that said “really?!” Not wanting to be the person that got arrested for having a large, potentially deadly weapon (pebble) in my bag, I, sheepishly, parted with it.

So that particular find never made it home and, when I moved to Thailand, the glass jar, by this time brimming with my beach finds, was handed over to my parents who kept it in their conservatory. I thought it was still there until a few weeks ago when I casually asked my mum if they still had it. “Oh no,” she said, “we had to throw them away because the shells had started to smell.”  I couldn’t expect my parents to continuously wash the contents of the jar for me.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I know there are more important things in life, but, I have to say, I was a little disappointed. But, not to worry I have the beginnings of a new collection right here in Thailand. And, back home, even my mum and dad have indulged in my treasure finding hobby for themselves, but their little stash never leaves the garden.

Things to find on a beach
My mum and dad’s beach treasure

Cecil the Horse

I have written about this day out horseriding in my previous post, Nelson to Queenstown, but I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to Cecil the horse.

I have loved horses since I was a little girl, so this was the perfect way to spend a day in Glenorchy and I was looking forward to it immensely. I arrived and was paired up with a horse named Cecil, who was a magnificent bay stallion. My horse and I spent three hours riding through the Rees Valley surrounded by a landscape of rocks, glacial fed rivers and magnificent mountains. It was an incredible experience as we rode our way passed the Misty Mountains which were made famous by The Lord of The Rings. We spent the whole morning riding and after a break for lunch we rode out again.

Cecil was very well behaved in the morning, I think he was a little sleepy, but it was another story when we got together again. When we left the stables for the second time that day, everything was calm and we rode in silence without any problems. On the way back, I think Cecil got a little excited at the thought of ending his day with a bale of hay and a nice comfy stable because he started to buck his hind legs, jumping for joy it seemed. He didn’t let me know he was about to do that, being a horse all conversation is lacking, and it took me completely by surprise. I nearly came off a couple of times but he didn’t manage to throw me, I gripped as much as my knees would allow me too. Maybe he was just fed up with me on his back for a whole five hours, who knows what goes through a horse’s head!

Back at the stables, Cecil posed with me for a photograph as a memento of our day together and we said our goodbyes.

Activities in Glenorchy
Cecil and I

Afterwards, I wondered how I could spend the day walking over a volcano and another hiking a glacier and not ache in the slightest, but five hours on a horse and it was a very different story. I couldn’t move for the next few days, my muscles had packed up and I struggled to move even a few inches. Now I think about it, it was probably Cecil’s revenge and he was back in his comfy stable sniggering with his horsey pals.

Activities in Glenorchy

Activities in Glenorchy

This story is an excerpt from my soon to be published book.

Rangitoto Island, Auckland

I travelled around New Zealand in 2008, and ended up in Auckland as part of my trip. One day I took a trip over to the nearby island of Rangitoto.

I took a boat from Auckland and the volcanic cone, which rises up to 850 feet, can be seen for miles around, it’s a sight to see from afar. The name, Rangitoto, is Maori for “Bloody Sky” and the name comes from Tama-te-Kapua, a captain of the Arawa Waka, who was badly wounded there during a battle.

Day Trips from Auckland
Volcanic Cone of Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto island was created over 6,000 years ago by a series of volcanic eruptions and evidence of the eruptions can be seen across the island in the form of fields of black lava stones. And it’s these black lava stones that were quarried between 1898 and 1930 and used as building material for Auckland. It’s a very unique landscape.

On the island, there are paths, that were created between 1898 and 1930 by prisoners, that lead right up to the summit.

It was a fabulous day out, tramping the old dirt tracks up to the summit and seeing the wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and out to sea. I love exploring new places and being reminded of old ones.