(no subject)

Ive been in Brazil a week now.

Before that, I spent a week at a festival called Tribe of Doris, where we had a stall fixing and selling drums. I also had tonsillitis for five days and then came down with a fully blown cold complete with temperature for two days. I was terrified Id have to travel like that but luckily got better just in time to put my back out really badly, so badly that I couldnt stand for long periods of time.

However, the aforementioned woes were forgotten for a while when I discovered that Id got AHRC funding for my PhD the day before I left. Im over the moon but also apprehensive about the amount of work I will have to do and my relationship with my supervisor. I get the impression he hasnt been happy with me recently and Im not sure if this is fair or not. Still, the AHRC must think Im OK.

Luckily we broke the journey by staying overnight in Lisbon. We had a great time there and R took lots of photos of an old district called Alfama.

The next day was the ten hour plane journey to Rio which I managed with two heatpacks for my back. It wasnt too bad. We stayed in Rio for three nights with some of my relatives. We went up the Sugar loaf and up to the Christ Redemptor as well as seeing Copacabana and Ipanema etc. It was good, but Rio is a big city with lots of crime so we didnt always feel one hundred percent at ease in the street.

Our next stop was Foz Iguacu, where we saw the gigantic waterfalls from the Argentinian side on the first day. This was incredible and you can get close enough in several different places to be wet by the spray. It is absolutely stunning.

The next day we were intending to go to the Brazilian side of the waterfalls but decided to go to a birdpark first. W saw loads of parrots, toucand and goodness knows what there which was great, but when we came out, we didnt have time to see the falls because it was a Brazilian national holiday and the queues were a km long. That was a disappointment.

We had limited time that day bcause we had to catch a bus to Bonito. The bus itself was state of the art, but the journey was 16 hours and it was hard to sleep. There was a two hout wait to change buses in the middle of nowhere too, at 4am, which was unpleasant. Not so bad for me, aided as I was by good old Dramil, which you can get over the counter here. It knocked me out cold for most of the journey.

Bonito has been great. Yesterday we did horse riding and swimming in the river and today we swam in a different part of the river that was full of fish. Big fish. One of them bit my finger when I tried to feed it.

Tomorrow were visiting a cave with a blue lagoon and then going swimming again before heading to the Pantanal.

Byw for now,

J.

London, Buddhafield, Tuebingen and Oblivion!

After having a bit of a shit time for a few weeks dong loads of work an hardly leaving the house, the last few weeks have been awesome.

First I went to London for a few days to see my cousins from Brazil, who were visiting England for the fist time. I took them to all the usual tourist sights and Camden Town. The visit culminated in a talk I gave at a conference, which went well. My dad come to watch, it was the first time he'd seen me give a paper and it was great to have him there.

When I got back it was Rs birthday. Amongst other things, I got him his first computer game: Oblivion. This had been thoroughly recommended and not without reason: it's amazing. Unfortunately I am starting to question the wisdom of giving him this: he's on it for hours every day!

A couple of days later we went to Buddhafield, where we played two gigs and taught workshops every day. Despite the rain and having to schlep huge quantities of heavy stuff around a muddy campsite we had fun and the gigs went well. It rained very heavily on the Saturday, so we decided to stay for the Sunday in the hope that our tent would dry by Monday.

Sunday was an absolute mud bath. There was plenty of naked mud-surfing, some of it by some quite fit guys....there was also loads of partying and drumming. Good old British spirit. I think we partied harder because of the mud, not inspite of it! In many ways it was the best day, and out tent did dry by Monday. We were very lucky.

Soon after that, I went to Tuebingen in Germany for five days, to give a paper at the conference for the academic study of esotericism. I had an absolutely fantastic time. Tuebingen was beautiful and I met loads of interesting people and had interesting conversations.

Well, that;s it, a rather abridged account. Now its back to work.

Warning: moan.

I don't like to moan too much on LJ coz I fugure "who wants to hear about all the bad bits?" but today I'm thinking "what the hell." Today LJ can be my invisible counsellor to whom I can let off steam.

I got up this morning and pulled my intercostal muscles. I feel like a butterfly that's had its wings pulled off. I've had back problems for days due to sitting at the computer. This happens from time to time. It gives me a splitting headache. I've had a pretty much continuous headache for weeks but I don't like taking pain killers because they upset my stomach. Regadless of taking painkillers or not, I've had indigestion several times a week now for months.

I seem to always be tired. I get up in the morning and I'm tired. I'm tired in the afternoon, I'm tired in the evening. I'm always effing tired and I do nothing except sit at the computer all day. Maybe that's why eh. I know I should go to the gym, but at the moment it feels like I can't afford to take the time off.

I've just realised  I have to rewrite an entire paper. I made a mistake about the content, spent ages on it, and now may as well scrap it.

I'm sick of this house. Its small, dark and claustrophobic. Both of us are here, all day, everyday, which is claustrophobic in itself. Its freezing in the winter and boiling and stuffy in the summer (like now). There's too much stuff in here (little stuff by most people's standards, just too little space to put it in) and it's an enormous effort to keep the place tidy. Half my day seems to vanish tring to kep the house in an acceptble state. Endless cooking, wasing up, clothes washing ect. Just keeping these things in order eems to involve so much effort.

I'm starting to feel like the walls are closing in around me. Going away  only seems to make it worse as I become unused to it. It so nice and sunny, I want to be out there. I'm hoping we can go to Avebury later but it looks like the weather's going to be shit.

Glasgow and gothic tea party

I got back from Glasgow yesterday. I'ts the first time I've been to Scotland and I've always wanted to go. I stayed with a uni friend of mine who is is also doing a PhD and her partner, who is a lecturer.

On Friday, I met up with another frind in the morning and we did a speedy tour of Glasgow, taking in the botanical garden, the oldest house in Glasgow, a gorgeous cemetary called the necropolis on a hill overlooking the city, a cathedral and a museum of religions. After lunch we checked out another rather eclectic museum which included stuffed animals, Egyptian mummies and a flashing Elvis. You've got to have a flashing Elvis. We also had a look around the university cloisters, which are stunning, like an Oxbridge college.

On Friday night we went to the reform synagogue. It was a small congregation and a great building. I must admit I was a little bit jealous, their builoding was better than ours in Bristol!

After synagogue we went to a restaurant called Stravaigin 2 and I had some yummy vegetarian haggis and we shared three puddings.

Glasgow is a very nice city. I didn't really expect it. Leafy avenues, lots of museums and all of them free. I was impressed.

But I was really interested in the hills and on Saturday we drove to Loch Lomond. The weather wasn't too bad, it was grey but not raining, and we saw plenty of lochs and mountains, as well as a small castle. It was very peaceful and the scenery was stunning.

In the evening we had a dinner party. There were eight of us, lots of interesting things to talk about (most of us were involved in academia in some way) and plenty of wine.

I got back early on Sunday morning (shattered) and in the afternoon I went to the gothic tea party in Bristol. I thought it went very well, with just the right number of people for the room and more than enough chocolate cake. A very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. I finished off the day with  friend, having the perfect chips in cafe Kino, the little vegan place near Jamaica street in Stokes Croft. Recommended.

Brazil

I'm going to Brazil! Yay! It took me all day to book the flight. I've still go to get the airpasses, and we plan to visit quite a few places. We'll be away fro the whole of September. I can't wait, but I am nervous, as it is a rather dangerous place, as well as being beautiful.

Sunrise Celebration

I'm worried I may be on the verge ofpsychosis and need to start taking it a little easier on my body. I went to a banging preogressive-psy-trance/ UV birthday party in Trowbridge the Saturday before last and was barely recovered frm the exesses of that befre I had to get up at half six to make my way down to Exeter to give a paper at a conference. I was shitting myself and feeling terribl but I managed it. I then came home the same day, packed the car up and went to the Sunrise celebration festival. We got there on Tuesday, and it didn't start till Thursday, but since we'd hear it was going to piss down, we thought we'd better go early and put the tent up while it was dry.  It was a good move. By Thursday the weather had cleared up and it was a cracking festival. Loads of crazy people, some of them my friends (!) great drumnming and even more excesses. We saw the Ozric Tentacles, a goth band from Bath called Karma Deva who are very good and my mates band, Emunah, who are also very good. Emunah do Kletzmer/Russian/hip-hop drum and bass rap. Can you evn imagine how that sounds and how that works? I can only assure you that it does and that it sounds great.

We got home yesterday. I feel like a zombie. I'm so thankful for the shower and the (non festival) loo.

I've got so much to do it scares me, but I feel that I must live life to the full and not waste a second. Unfrtunately my physical body doesn't always agree with my attitude. I think it needs some rest and relaxation. I have an eye infection. Its nasty.

Recently, to chill out, I've been watching the frst series of Thundercats on DVD. I absoluteloy love nostalgia cartoons. Thundercats was particularly good. Cities of Gold was another favourite I haven't sourced yet. And Around the World with Willie Fogg. Those were the good old days. I met someone who knew the grand-daughterof the guy who invented Bagpuss at the festival. Small world eh?

Egypt

My holiday in Egypt was fantastic and I'm quite depressed to be back! The only good thing about it is seeing R.

My friend has a flat in Sharm el Sheik, which is a bog standard touristy kind of place, where ninety percent of the population appears to be Russian. Egypt is mostly desert. I've never seen so much dust and sand in my life. Its also mountainous desert, which is quite interesting.

The best things about the holiday were the food and the snorkeling. I believe we ended up going snorkelling four times. The Red Sea is the bluest sea I have ever seen and it is easily the best snorkelling I have ever done, even better than Thailand. Its just like being in a tropical aquarium.

We went to Cairo for a day and saw the pyramids. It was worth the visit but one day was enough. cairo was like hell. Forty degree dry heat and there had been sand storms the previous day. The architecture is drab to say the least, consisting mostly of half-built brown box shaped flats which look like they've emerged from the surrounding sand. We did see one old fashioned house, which was beautiful, but most of these have been buldozed to make way for more "practical" dwellings.

We also had dinner with the bedouin in the desert. They had a powerful telescope through which I saw Saturn with its rings, and a variety of other heavenly objects. As well as being perfectly dark in the desert, it is also perfectly silent. When we all agreed to be quiet for a minute, it was the most silent experience I have ever had. Its amazing how rarely we experience true silence.

Another highlight was when out bedouin friend and another friend took us to the mangroves. We had a whole beach to ourselves in the middle of nowhere. It was so peaceful. When the tide went out there were thousands of black starfish left in the shallows.

(no subject)

The Bath Goth Meetup last week was awesome. We had eighteen people, and took over the downstairs room of the Hob. This is the most we've ever had.

Before the meet I had dinner with janinemarriottand she gave me a banana holder! This is one of the most useful things I've ever been given. It looks like a sex toy but actually is a yellow, banana shaped plastic box that fits most bananas and stops them going all mushy in your bag. Genius!

On Friday night I went to the synagogue for the first time in ages. It was a small congregation but I really enjoyed it.

On Saturday we went to a fairy themed birthday party and I wore my purple fairy outfit. I've wanted an excuse to wear that for two years. Its fab and includes a purple halo that looks a bit like an afro.

Tonight we're off to see The Curse of the Golden Flower. Then I'm in Exeter for the weekend and after that I'm off to Egypt. Yay!!

(no subject)

We had a fab day yesterday. We drove down to Dartmoor and walked in some very pretty countryside, including some very strange rock formations. R got me a purple rose made of feathers!

Later, we went to As birthday party, which was the usual psychedelic mayhem. There's another party next week. Does this crew ever stop partying?!

(no subject)

The Easter break has been pretty good really, despite my cold. On Saturday we had a short band rehersal followed by a trip to Glastonbury.

I love Glastonbury. We browsed all the hippy crystal and pagan shops for a pressie for my friend and found a very nice green lady wall plaque. It was a glorious sunny day and we went for a walk in the ruined Abbey. R took some photos. Its been almost seven years since we last went there. It was one of the first things we did as a couple.

We had dinner at my new favourite Thai place in Bath: Java. They serve my favourite Thai salad, som tum, made with green papaya and lots of chilli. It was lush.

After that we popped down to the funfair. I love the look of funfairs. We didn't go on any rides as R doesn't like them and I don't want ot go on my own. You need someone to scream with! It's there until the fourteenth. Maybe someone else is interested?

On Sunday we drove to Crook peak near Cheddar, which is a splendid walk. I've lived here all these years and didn't know it was there. Its the only pointed peak in the Mendips. You could almost be in Wales. Again it was quite sunny and we even got a bit burnt.

In the evening is was vortex and I spend most of the evening chatting to lady_of_the_dea, M and E. I was too tired and still slightly too ill to dance. R wasn't. He danced all night.

On Tuesday I saw an old school teacher of mine that I haven't seen for almost ten years. I met him a while ago purely by chance and he happened to be in Bath with his very cute little daughter so he got in touch. It was very entertaining talking about old times.

Today I met up with malabar and we had some more Thai food (I can never get enough) then had a tea at a very smart Alsatian cafe in Bath. We had a really good chat.

R is such a sweetheart. He recorded Desperate Housewives for me while I was out! I'm off to watch it now!