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Troll in the Dungeon

troll LOL, well, look at that. My first troll. I’m so pleased. Since the poster deleted their comment after they posted it (so it showed up in my email but not on the video), I didn’t get the chance to reply so I thought I would do so here:

Thank you. I really do value the feedback of my viewers, so let me take the chance to give you some feedback of your own: On the bottom of the video there’s a little slider you can slide back and forth to adjust the volume of the videos that you are watching which will help with the “loudness” you are experiencing. As for my voice being “annoying”, you’ll find at the top of your screen in the right side corner a button that has an X on it. If you click on that X, it will close out of what you are looking at and eliminate you having to listen to my “annoying voice”. Problem solved. You’re welcome.


Regular posts hopefully will resume soon. I’ve not felt like editing much video lately, but I do want to get through the Austria videos and I now have some packing videos I made 5 months ago that should go up too!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Travel] Behind the (former) Iron Curtain

Iron_Curtain_map.svg I had never been to Eastern Europe before this trip. The closest I had ever been geographically was Vienna (as in, the border with Hungary was nearby). I think I looked at Eastern Europe as kind of scary, and I was possibly a little Xenophobic about it because “they use a different alphabet” (though not all of Eastern Europe does….some just use a heavily accented Latin alphabet!). It probably didn’t help that I grew up in the 80s, when the Cold War was winding down, but I was still young enough that I really had no idea what was going on outside of New Jersey, let alone the world, and even in 1990 my German classroom still had maps of East and West Germany, both flags, etc. And even when we started studying European history, my class didn’t go into the present, focusing more on the Holy Roman Empire than anything else. My HS had a requirement to take two years of US history, but only one of world, so I never took a modern European history class and if I’m honest, I wasn’t even interested in learning anything until within the past 10-15 years.

When we started planning this trip, I was still really nervous about travelling to the Czech Republic. Mostly because neither Tim or I spoke Czech and they use a different currency from the Euro (They are in the EU, but not the Eurozone) and maybe there was still a lingering fear of the unknown in general. I had only ever travelled in countries that either spoke English or German or I knew enough of the native language to be polite (ie – French and Spanish speaking countries where I can manage to say things like hello, please, thank you, and do you speak English). But Czech? Totally foreign. Even looking in the phrasebook I bought left me with a puzzled look on my face.

I soon learned that because we were on the border with Austria, a lot of the people we would interact with spoke German, and many knew English, too. The few places where no one spoke anything other than Czech, we made do with pointing and trying to pronounce things in the phrase book!

After we griced (chased!) a Waldviertelbahn train to Gmünd, we noticed that we were very close to the Czech border and were in fat parked in an area where they probably used to have people pull over for inspection. So we decided to go on a short walk across the border just so I could say I had been in the Czech Republic, even though we would be returning in a few days to ride a train on the JHMD.

ceska

When we were getting close to our apartment, we also noticed how close we were to the border on the map. When we mentioned it to our landlord, he told us that when he was a child, if you got too close to the border you could hear the border agents cocking their guns, and they would occasionally hear gunfire. You didn’t want to kick your football too close to the border, that’s for sure!!

We’re also pretty sure that when we went on a walk in the woods behind our apartment, we must have crossed the border at least once. After we visited the JHMD (I’ll blog on that later), we needed to get rid of some Czech Kroner because neither of us had realised how cheap things are in the Czech Republic. I had exchanged £50 before we left and was given something like 1600 Kroner. We had intended on buying our tickets with the cash, but then we decided to book them online instead to make sure we got seats so we really had quite a bit to spend. We then assumed Lunch would use most of it, but Lunch only came to around 300Kr. We decided to wander into a grocery store (Lidl), but we still only spent the equivalent of £13. But at least I have some Kroner for our next trip. I’m totally ready to visit Prague now!

There will be more about our visit to the JHMD in a few days!

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

***
Iron Curtain Map from Wikipedia

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Austria] Road Tripping Days .5, 1, and 2

roadtrip Yep. That does say 20 hours of driving!

I know I mentioned it before, but I’m pretty sure we were crazy when we organised our trip. 20+ hours of driving?

But it wouldn’t be the first time Tim and I have done a long trip – our trip right after our wedding was driving from my home in PA to my cousin in FL, which takes about 21 hours and when we went on our belated honeymoon in Autumn 2010 we drove to Austria. Still though, it is a lot!

We decided to break it down into several days of driving, and even started our trip around 7PM on the Sunday right after Tim had worked a 12 hour day shift. No, I’m not kidding. He got home around 6, and we loaded up the car and headed to Ashford where we had booked into a single room at the Travelodge for the night. We have booked into these family rooms before and have always found them to be spacious, but this time we had a very small room and there was only about 6 inches between our double bed and Mom’s single! Fortunately, it was the only night we were all staying in one room. We showered that night and went to bed around midnight with the alarm set for 6AM. Our channel crossing had a check in time of 0720, and we were 20 minutes away.

Checking into the Eurotunnel was easy and quick, and so was getting through French immigration……in fact, that nearly didn’t stamp my mom’s US passport (Tim and I travelled on UK passports)! Tim had to tell the I/O that we had an American in the car. He soon stamped her passport and we were on our way into the queue, where we sat for about 20 minutes before being directed onto the train.

The train was a lot faster than I had thought it would be. Probably because the last time I went by rail, I was on the Eurostar and travelled between London and Paris. It hadn’t dawned on me that we would only be on the train to go through the tunnel under the channel and the trip only took about 30 minutes. The rest of the time was mostly loading and unloading!

I also was surprised that you stayed sitting in your car and there were no snack bar facilities, but I also think that was du to my confusion on the length of the journey. Also, if they had to have coaches for passengers as well as the carriages for the cars it would have to be a VERY long train, or only take half the number of cars.

The rest of the drive on our first day was long and uneventful…..until we got diverted off the main road due to it being closed and could’t seem to find a way back (this clip wound up missing when I was doing the video, so I might do a separate one later) onto the autobahn! Our original hotel booked was called Schlossblick and was located in Schwangau. The check in deadline was a FIRM 2000. I kept watching the ETA on the sat nav (really, Google maps) and started to panic the closer the ETA got to to 8PM. I had read the reviews on Booking.com and saw that the owner does not give you any leeway, even if you ring ahead to tell her you will be late. As much as I was looking forward to having a balcony overlooking my favourite castle, we decided to cancel the booking around 4PM, as you could only cancel for free until 5. Fortunately, the booking.com app on my phone (I swear, I don’t work for them, I just really like their site!) helped me to find us a new hotel – this one with a 24 hour front desk. It was a SmartHotel, and we booked it about 2 hours before we arrived.

Of course, this couldn’t go off without some kind of hitch. The receptionist spoke perfect English, and I can speak German, but we still semed to hit some kind of language barrier and it took me nearly a half an hour just to check in. First, he said I didn’t have a reservation, then he tried to put the three of us all in the same room (at the rate for two rooms!). Finally, we sorted it out and we had rooms located next door to each other. Then, when we got to the room, I discovered someone had left their clothing in the wardrobe! After taking the clothing back to the front desk, I returned to the room and crashed for the night. I don’t know what Mom did, but Tim and I did not stay up very long!

In the morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and got on the road to Schwangau and Neuschwanstein!

Credit goes to Tim for this shot #neuschwanstein

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

Ultimately, we decided against doing the castle tours – The Maria bridge was closed, so no opportunity for those amazing photos, but you still got dropped off at the bridge. We remembered it being a 20 minute uphill walk to get to the castle, plus walking around the castle and up the stairs and decided with Mom’s knees to skip it, and instead we wandered around Schwangau for the morning and early afternoon. Tim and I wandered down to the Alpsee for some gorgeous photos of that “toothpaste green water” as Tim calls the Alpine water.

Never leaving!! #bavaria #alpsee

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

We still had about 5 hours of driving to do, as once we were in Austria we still had to drive through most of the country to get to our first official stop! We encountered more road works, closed roads, and temporary roads. Fortunately, I was in contact with our landlord and was able to give him updates on when to expect us. We finally arrived around 7PM, long after the shops were shut for the night, so the landlords offered to feed us and we were treated to a smorgasbord accompanied by local beer. They spoke English, and I was slowly getting my German back….but Tim did much better than me!

After a pleasant few hours with our landlords, we retreated back to our apartment where once again, we fell into bed.

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

***

Map image at the top screenshot from Google.

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Page in the Park – 13 August 2016

IMG_0252 I know I have tons of blog posts and videos to get up from our holiday, but this happened yesterday so I wanted to post about it and get the video up ASAP.

I have had a strong love for the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies since I was in High School thanks to my boyfriend at the time. And me and BNL, well, we’ve been through a lot. I’ve been a fan of the band through their keyboardist, Kevin Hearn, getting diagnosed and ultimately beating Leukaemia, and I was a fan when the band had a bit of a line up change and longtime co-frontman Steven Page left the band in was it 2010? 2009? I can’t quite remember. And I won’t go into the details over the break (you can google for it if you really need to know), but in the end, it left me being very angry and upset with Steve. For a while, I wouldn’t even listen to any song that Steve sang lead on (which at the time was over 50% of the repertoire!). The split hurt the fanbase, and people really were divided over it. But over the past 5+ years, Iv’e gotten over my anger and I’ve understood that the break-up was something that had to happen. The band is still going strong, and I still love them to pieces, and Steve has been able to explore being an independent musician on his own without a band behind him. Sure, he still is “former Barenaked Ladies co-frontman”, but he’s definitely carved out a niche of his own, touring mostly around the area he lives in (NE USA and Canada).

This week, Steven has been on holiday in the UK with his family and started getting tweets from UK fans “wouldn’t it be nice if you played here?” So he decided to do a pop up concert. It was announced vaguely on Twitter at first. Just “would anyone be interested in coming to see me at a park on Saturday?” The response on his twitter poll was overwhelmingly YES.

Regent’s Park is Huge! And the pinned place on his tweet goes to a private garden….so….now what? I headed into the park and posted a photo of the map of the park on the BNL UK group on facebook and one person found me….then two more….then two more…and soon we were a small group of people wandering around!

so we all headed to the SE corner where we ran into more peopl and we soon increased our numbers and Liam sent a tweet to Steve to tell him where we were, and I had one more idea. Someone had brought along a Canadian flag and we managed between tying it to their push chair and my selfie stick to have it on display and I tweeted this pic out to Steve so he could find us:

20160813_123700

We soon gathered a sizeable crowd (maybe 40-50?) and then Steve arrived, borrowed a guitar, and started off with a BNL classic – It’s All Been Done. At one point, he went into the opening strains of Jane.

I think I'm dead. @stevenpage @getbarenaked @bnlfans

A video posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

In case you ever wondered where the URL for my blog came from, it’s from this song. ‘The girl works at the store sweet Jane St Clair’. My middle name is Jane, so using Becca Jane St Clair was perfect and so this song has always had incredible meaning to me and every time I hear it live I get goosebumps.

We were soon treated to nearly 2 hours of old favourite BNL hits and songs off his own albums. He even was joined randomly by a passing busker on his accordion, though we did have to chase him off after he tried to demand Steve play other songs and then tried to get us to give him money. Err….No. Just get out. And Steve played the opening strains to “Thanks That Was Fun” as the guy was walking away. I don’t think he even realised who he was playing with or that Steve wasn’t a busker with a crowd.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to be in such an intimate setting with one of my favourite musicians. A lot of us who had been on one of the Ships & Dip shows likened it to being on S&D in one of the smaller on-board venues. After, Steve stuck around to talk, sign autographs, and take photos with his fans, including Hamish!

20160813_143101

Thank for an amazing day, Steve. Hope you come back for a proper tour soon, and don’t forget to come to Lincoln!

Watch the video I took including It’s All in Done, What A Good Boy, Upside Down, Break Your Heart, Call & Answer, and Brian Wilson.

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The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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A Tour of my A5 Filofax Finsbury


*warning, this was really long!*

I always use A5 sized notebooks for keeping notes, writing lists, keeping track of things, etc. etc. And when I would run out of space I’d buy a new notebook and then staple or re-write the things I wanted to keep OR I’d leave them in the old notebook, then lose the notebook by the time I needed the note! So I asked Tim for an A5 Filofax for Christmas and I’ve spent the past few months customising it. Am I done? No. I think customising it and rearranging it is something I’ll probably constantly do as my needs change.

I made the tour video above, and promised a blog post with links to the freebies I grabbed and printed. I also made a lot of my own inserts and the debate is out over offering them on Etsy for a few quid or just giving them away for free. Opinions? I wont be selling the tabs though because I don’t own the laminator. If we ever buy our own laminator, I might.

The Simon Cat’s pages came from a Simon’s Cat A5 diary I got for Christmas. I took it out of the spiral, covered the spiral with washi tape, and repunched holes. Of course, I wound up not using all the pages so I wasted a bit of time, but it might still come in handy.

TIP: To print A4 sized documents as A5, you have two options. If it is a PDF, you just set the print settings to booklet, and then if you want it to be left or right and if you want it to print front and back. If your document is a word doc, you can just set the printer settings to print 2 per page.

As I said, I designed my Daily Task, To-Do, Weekly Task, Monthly Task, and Quarterly Task pages myself. If there’s any interest in them, I might list them on Etsy or stick them on dropbox. IF I sell them on Etsy, I’d only sell them as printables and charge maybe £2 for the set.

The monthly calendars came from The Handmade Home. She released her 2016 freebies in June last year, so I’m going to make sure I check out her website around June for 2017! On that same page, you can find the emergency contact list I used (but didn’t show) and lots of other great printables.

My weekly pages are just the Filofax ones that came with my planner. I didn’t see any reason to look for other inserts, but I might seek different vertical pages for 2017. But I wouldn’t want to print my own, since I’m lazy and don’t want to have to cut and hole punch that many pages!

For meal planning, I printed out the monthly calendars offered on Philofaxy (They don’t want people to link to their stuff on Pinterest, and I’m not sure if they allow links, so you can google for them). Philofaxy offers lots of plain and simple inserts for a no-frills look. I originally was going to use them for my regular month, but I liked the pretty colours on the other ones better and decided to use these for my meal plan instead. The weekly meal plan pages I designed myself. I also had designed some Slimming World style weekly tracker pages, but I gave them up as I didn’t really like them and preferred the stickers from Dook Plook.

I followed this tutorial for making the folders. I had to modify the directions slightly to make the pocket A5 sized, but it generally worked. Really, you just fold and trim paper and use tape or glue to keep the end closed.

The Christmas planning pages I designed myself. If anyone wants them, I’ll toss them on Dropbox as it’s not worth charging for these!

Stickers:

My two favourite Etsy shops are Dook Plook Designs and The Geeky Planner. I also bought some stickers from Anna’s Planner Bubble. There are loads of other shops on Etsy, but I prefer buying stickers from a few shops to take advantage of bulk discounts and single postage rates. Some of my other stickers came from Paperchase or my stash of scrapbook stickers from the US. Basically, use what you like or what’s functional.

Any questions? Let me know!

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Happy Campers

Happiness is travel*

Tour our caravan here:

(just in case it hasn’t embedded, you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/cgqVuxAFtrg. I can’t see the video when I preview my blog post, so I have no idea if it’s me or wordpress or youtube that’s having the problem….)

My husband and I are about to be the proud owners of a 1995 touring caravan! Last Summer, we borrowed a caravan from Tim’s parents and over the weekend they offered to sell it to us as they don’t feel they will use it again, and they know we really liked using it. So as soon as we can find storage for it and take possession of it (and erm, pay them!) it’s ours!! This isn’t to say that we don’t like tent camping….I LOVED our holiday in Austria in our tent. Our two weeks in Wales in a tent? Not so much thanks to the rain. But last year having the caravan was fantastic. It was so nice to have a place that was dry to sit in/eat in/read in/sleep in, and a place where you could turn on HEAT when you were soaked through! It was also nice to have dedicated electricity for things like a kettle and fridge and oh yeah, we had a stove. The caravan even has a toilet with a shower, but neither one of us needed to use it (we were pitched up close enough to the toilet blocks we just walked over to those even in the middle of the night).

So, now that we have a caravan, I thought I would start looking at photos of caravans online to get some ideas for better ways to organize things (permanently) as well as give it a little personalization. Pinterest is full of great ideas and woah are there some amazing caravans out there! Check out this one**:

purplefuzzymittensonflickr

Now, that’s a little too busy for me. I also liked this one***:

cornbread-and-beans-blog-0271

But that one is probably a little too pink for Tim!

I think it will take awhile to actually do anything to the caravan, but if I can organize myself and get it done, it could become quite nice. A few things I think we need to consider for the future include painting the interior walls, making or getting new curtains made, and re-covering the cushions. I don’t have any ideas on what colours we’ll use yet, but I’m sure we will pick something we both like. I’m sort of leaning towards red, but the kitchen area is green and I wouldn’t want it to look like Christmas year-round! I can’t see us doing any of it until it’s absolutely needed, but there’s no reason we can’t do a little decorating in it now.

One thing I learned from all my browsing, is that a caravan needs cushions:

myvintagecaravan^

cathinspiredcaravan^^

Doesn’t that one look like it belongs in a Cath Kidston catalogue?

Cushions, I can do. We already (of course) have our pillows in the caravan, but it might be nice to be able to put the pillows away in the wardrobe during the day and have a few throw cushions on the two sofas. I know how to sew, so I could make my own out of fabric scraps, or I could buy pre-made covers or even whole cushions. I’m going to have to think about this and pick something neutral for now and then jazz things up later. Maybe I’ll buy some cheap cushions for now that can be recovered later.

I did, however, get some great ideas for what to do with the (very small) amount of wall space. Most of the caravan is made up of windows or cabinets, but there’s bits of wall here and there.

7d30412ff4d5935fb05f418cd458cfd1^^^

I think maybe a few framed postcards from where we travel would look cute on the wall. I read on an RV site that you can use sticky backed velcro to keep things attached to the walls while travelling, so I’ll have to do that with the pictures.

I also want to take a cookie sheet and make a backsplash for the wall between the cabinet and fridge, and then paint it with chalkboard paint. We collected a few magnets while we were away last year and I kept sticking them to the tea tin so we wouldn’t lose them. And having a little board where we could stick up important things (like tickets) or make notes on would be helpful.

I plan on purchasing a bunch of command hooks as well and will have a play to see where the hooks can go. I already purchased some over the caravan door hooks (ages ago!) so we can at least have some hooks on the inside of the bathroom door instead of tossing the towels on the toilet and the bathrobes in the bottom of the wardrobe.

And the outside! Some people go all out on the exteriors as well!

dotty+

purple++

But something tells me Tim would not let me paint our caravan purple OR polka dots. So I’d settle for some decals. We could get a train, or some tracks, or even some music notes. But we need to do something to personalize it.

We have lots to do before we start thinking about that. We have to take possession of the caravan and clean out anything Tim’s parents want back/we don’t want and add in some of our own camping gear that will live in the caravan, plus make a list of things it needs. We need to practice hooking it up to the car, too. We’ve only hooked it up a handful of times, and we had help from Tim’s dad a few of those times! There’s loads of instructions for what to do when we get to a site from setting the brake, hooking up the electrics, getting the water pump working, hooking up the waste water receptacle, turning on the gas…..

Ah, I can’t wait. Time to research local storage facilities….and try to plan a weekend away!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated below and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

*Credit unknown, found it on Pinterest. If this is yours, let me know so I can credit you!
**Photo credit: PurpleFuzzyMittens
***Photo credit: Cornbread and Beans Quilting Co
^Photo credit: My Vintage Caravan
^^Credit unknown, found it on Pinterest. If this is yours, let me know so I can credit you!
^^^Credit unknown, found it on Pinterest. If this is yours, let me know so I can credit you!
+Photo credit: Shannon Christensen
++Credit unknown, found it on Pinterest. If this is yours, let me know so I can credit you!

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Another Old Vlog

From a visit to the NRM in July 2011:

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Edinburgh, November 2011

I finally cleared off the video camera this morning and discovered videos taken LAST March. Oh my.

Here’s a vlog I made while we were visiting Edinburgh in November 2011.

As it turns out, I never actually blogged about the trip, either. Probably because I was waiting to edit the vlog! Whoopsie. So, let’s get back in our TARDIS and go to November 2011 when Tim and I travelled (finally!) to Edinburgh for a few days. I booked us into the Travelodge near Haymarket station for £20/night thanks to a room sale and we decided to go for two days over Tim’s autumn break, which also happened to be a few days after our wedding anniversary.

The train ride was long, and we didn’t arrive in Edinburgh until the early evening. After checking into the hotel, we decided to go on a wander to take some photos and wound up near the castle. We trudged back to the hotel and went to bed, for we had lots of plans for the following day!

We got up bright and early and after breakfast headed out to re-trace our steps from the previous night to visit the castle. After we toured all the buildings there, we headed towards the Royal Mile and walked down it as far as the St Giles Cathedral, which just happens to be the church of John Knox, the man who founded Presbyterianism, my family’s religion. I spent loads of time walking around the church and we were given permission to take photos, so I took plenty for my family back in PA.

The light was fading, so we made our way back to the hotel,had some dinner, and went to bed. The following morning we headed back to Haymarket station and the long trip back to Lincoln.

We had a fantastic time, and I look forward to spending more time in Edinburgh!


[Please click on the images to view them larger]

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog.]

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Royal Wedding Fever, Part II

Apparently my Olympus Mμ 3000 takes video in Mp4 mode (aka Apple format) and though Windows Movie Maker let me drag the Mp4s in and let me edit things, it wouldn’t publish the final video. This was frustrating me to no end yesterday as I tried about three times to edit the footage together, only to have it stall all three times at 20%, 46%, and 24%. I gave up and decided I would try again tomorrow, not realizing the video format issue.

I discovered the issue today, when I was looking at the files and noticed they had the Quicktime symbol on them….ooops. I converted the Mp4s down to wmv files thanks to a free program called Prism, and finally got it edited and up on YouTube*. So, here it is. My video from Friday!

Link if the embedded video doesn’t show up: http://youtu.be/F1TDnVX42B8

*I’m sure there are easier ways to do this, but what can I say? I like doing things the hard way!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

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Vlog – Sneak Peek at Day Two

Post about Neuschwanstein tomorrow!

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A Trio of Vlogs

Well, this was going to be a video post. I spent three hours on Tuesday morning editing video from the Wales trip to upload to YouTube, and then spent about the same amount of time dealing with a slow internet connection while the files were uploaded to YouTube.

Twice now YouTube has “failed to upload” my first video. When I go to the video page, all it says is “upload aborted”, which it wasn’t. YouTube gives no further information, other than telling you to make sure the file us smaller than 100MB (the file it keeps rejecting is 97MB) and to run it through video editing software to convert it from raw video (which I had. I was trying to upload wmv files).

YouTube gave me the same error for my second video which was 95MB. My third video of 90MB also failed. I finally managed to compress the first video down to 45MB, and got that one uploaded, but the quality is so bad I don’t want to share it.

I don’t know if this is a YouTube problem or if there is a problem with my files. I suppose the only thing to do is to try to upload again, but it took so long on Tuesday trying to upload things multiple times that I don’t know if I have the patience to try again.

Google Video no longer allows uploads, so as far as I know, I’m out of options. I tried sharing the video on facebook, but the upload just hangs.

*edit* On a whim, I tried YouTube again. And it posted the first video, finally.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ucUJ5yMEfY

The other two still aren’t uploading, but at least I got one up!

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First Videos

I’m starting to edit the videos together from our trip, and I have the first one up on YouTube.

We compiled this during an afternoon of steam train chasing — basically, we followed the route of the train and met it at different places on the line to take pics/vid. I was the videographer.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNpTjIu5QVk

This one was compiled at Amstetten while waiting for our train to Vienna – some freight and even a brand new passenger train being delivered!

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya-dDbQ1lyA

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A Trip ‘Round the Garden

We had a steam-up a few weeks back, and a friend had a video camera mount on one of his wagons and he was nice enough to film a trip around our garden for us – as if you were a passenger on the 16mm railway! This is especially special as this was the first steam-up where people could go the entire way around the garden!

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK6XpZGet2o

Our next steam-up is on the 29th to celebrate our birthdays! Hope to see you there!

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Vlog: Garden Tour

Here’s the vlog I promised in my earlier entry:

Link, for those of you who can’t watch embedded video: http://www.youtube.com/v/vuuLwoL3MnY

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Jamie Oliver is my Hero

On our first trip to the library when I got my library card, I borrowed Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food. I had watched his Christmas cooking specials this past December and loved his recipes and his style of cooking, so I thought his cookbook(s) would be worth checking out. I decided to borrow this one from the library that way if I decided I didn’t like it, I wasn’t out any money.

And I love it.

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I learned how to make poached eggs!

A few weeks ago, Tim asked me if I could make poached eggs for breakfast. I did a bit of umming and ahhinng, because the only way I knew how to make poached eggs involved a three-piece special pan. But as I was leafing through Jamie’s cookbook, he had a whole section devoted to cooking eggs, and I learned that poaching was pretty easy –

Bring water to a boil, and gently drop the egg into the water (Jamie recommends putting the egg in a cup first). Boil for 2 minutes for a runny yolk, 4 for solid. Remove with a slotted spoon and boom – you have your poached eggs.

Jamie also taught me how to make a British staple – Yorkshire Pudding.

Again, this was one of those recipes that to read it, you’d have thought the author was insane and you’d write it off as something a bit too complicated, but it really wasn’t bad at all. See?

Jamie’s recipe:

Set oven to it’s hottest temperature possible and pre-heat your muffin tray in the oven. Whisk together: 285ml milk, 115g flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Spoon vegetable oil (his original recipe called for 1tbs/cup, but I plan on reducing it in the future to 1/2 tbs) into the hot muffin tray and place it back in the oven for 10 minutes to heat the oil. Quickly spoon batter into hot oiled cups (best to do this while the tray is still in the oven). Bake 15 minutes. Don’t open the oven door to check on them or they won’t get puffy. I then removed the puddings from the trays and placed them on a wire cooling rack with a paper towel underneath to drain off some of the oil (since I really think I used too much!). I even checked other recipes online to see if I really had to do the pre-heating thing, and you do. The only difference between this recipe and others out there are the amounts of flour/eggs/milk.

I also learned how to make roasted potatoes that are crispy. This is something that is a staple for Tim’s family instead of serving potatoes mashed, so I wanted to learn how to do them (though I probably can’t do them with a roast until I get a double oven or bigger oven) – boil potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and shake colander. Bake in a roasting pan drizzled with olive oil for 1 hour. Pretty straight forward and the potatoes were good. Not as crunchy as I had hoped to make them, but it was still good for my first try!

And of course, my recipe last week for cranberry muffins also came from Jamie Oliver.

My beloved Betty Crocker might have to share some limelight with Jamie Oliver.

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YouTube & Vlogs Change

YouTube has apparently joined up with Google. I don’t have a problem with this as I use Google for most thing anyway, but what I DID have a problem with was YouTube/Google deciding to link my YouTube account to my Google account I had listed as my email when I signed up for YouTube. Unfortunately, this was under my old e-mail address I am no longer using. For those of you unfamiliar with Google’s empire, if you’re logged in as one name on gmail, you’re logged in as that name across all of Google. Logging into a service with a different Google account will log you OUT of the other services because Goggle has issues with you being logged in as two at once (unles you have 2 browsers).

I decided to switch my YouTube account to a new one, since I didn’t want to mess with the whole logging in/logging out of every Google service just to upload a video. My new YouTube is beccajanestclair. All NEW vlogs will go on the new account. All OLD vlogs will still be under annaonthemoon79, but I’ve also created a playlist of all of them here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1D39B56344B3ECD1, which will have a link on the sidebar of the blog, too. All old Vlogs embedded will still exist. This is ust the account for all NEW vlogs. If you were subscribed to me on YouTube, you will need to subscribe to the new account.

Confusing, I know. But at least now my YouTube account matches the blog!

I probably won’t have many new vlogs right now, as most of vlogs I took recently are on the video camera Tim took back to the UK with him. I will have a backlog of video (including the wedding!) to upload after I move!

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Cheating a little

There might still be an update for today, but for now I wanted to share a YouTube video Tim sent me. For those who don’t know, Walt Disney was a HUGE train fanatic, and even had a narrow gauge ride-on model railway in his back yard (which inspired the railways at Disneyland/Disney World, but more about that in a later post). Tim said this cartoon is proof that Walt truly was “one of us”:


Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH7vb71oy_M

Ladies and Gentlemen….this is about to become my life 😉

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Touring Dublin by Bus

[This is a recap of a trip taken in September 2009. A post had bot been previously written on the subject]

On a recommendation from Tim’s mum, my mom and I decided to take the Dublin Bus Tour on our first full day. There is more than one bus tour company in Dublin. All stop at mostly the same places, but the tour we took was operated by the Dublin city bus company, and our driver explained to us that they rotate drivers – a driver will be a regular route driver for 2 weeks, then he’ll go and drive the tour bus for 2. Our driver explained this was mostly because they’d lose their voices if they were tour bus drivers constantly, but also told us that all the drivers absolutely LOVE being the tour bus driver.

The bus is “hop on/hop off”, which means that as long as you hang onto your ticket, you can ride the tour bus as many times as you want from 9 in the morning until around 5PM in the evening. The busses go in a continual loop, reaching stops every 10-15 minutes, so if you get off, chances are you’ll have a different bus driver on the next bus. The full length tour is about an hour and a half, not counting stops.

We boarded one of the first buses of the morning and decided to ride it the full loop before making any decisions on where to stop. We rode up on the upper deck so we could see better and it was fantastic. We saw loads of things we had passed on the airport shuttle, but hadn’t paid attention to. On our second loop around Dublin, we got off at the Guinness Storehouse. I purchased a ticket online before we left the US, but Mom wasn’t interested in seeing the brewery. She had a book tucked into her bag though, and planned on finding a bench to sit on while I did the tour. Fortunately, there was a really nice person working at the entrance, and he let Mom through so she could go up to the cafe to sit and wait for me. As it turns out, the cafe was on the third floor of the exhibit, and if we had been dishonest, Mom could have toured the facility for free!

The Guinness Storehouse was incredible and well worth the trip if you’re a fan of the beer! You even get free beer at several stops throughout the tour as you go through a tasting room (where you can have as many as you want), learn how to pull the perfect pint, and finally up at the top where you get a complimentary pint of Guinness and are treated to a 360 degree view of Dublin and the surrounding countryside.

After the Storehouse, we boarded the bus again, and decided to get off at the Writer’s Museum. Our plans didn’t quite go as we thought, however, when our bus driver received a message that there had been a major bus/train accident along the main shopping street in Dublin…which also happened to be the street many of the attractions were on, and where the bus needed to go to get to the rest of the stops! Our bus driver was incredible, and told us that we could all get off at the next stop and do whichever attraction it was and hope the mess was over by the time we were done OR we could stay on the bus and he would do his best to get us around Dublin and promised to show us “areas of Dublin not included on a typical tour”. Mom and I decided to stick it out and see where the driver would take us.


Direct Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOshnFiUbWo

True to his word, he took us through the more residential areas of Dublin and told us stories about the city and buildings (and about himself!) that we would not have heard otherwise. He finally reached a point where he needed to discharge us, and we were directed to find the next bus that would (hopefully) resume the route and get us back. Unfortunately, we got a little mixed up, but did finally find a tour bus stop in the end.

We never did make it to the Writer’s Museum, but I think our adventure was well worth it. We certainly got our money’s worth out of the tickets!

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For more pictures, please see: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/index.php?album=Dublin+Bus+Tour

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Video from Black Country Museum

Tim walking the boat:

Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFYNl5MnksI

It *does* get brighter at the end, I promise!

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Frog!

There’s a frog in the living room!

I don’t want to take a picture of it and scare it with the flash, so I tried taking a video. I can see him if I look where he is, but I’m not sure if he’s visible on the video or not.

I texted both Tim and his sister, S, because I wasn’t sure what to do and sometimes Tim can’t reply to me from work. S told me how to catch it, but the darn thing crawled behind stuff and I don’t want to scare it if I move the bag he’s hiding behind.

Tim told me he’d take care of it when he gets home from work….unless Prudence (the cat) “gets to it first”…so I’ve been keeping an eye on the kitty and chasing her out of the living room. I’ve been trying to get her to go outside, but she won’t so far.

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