Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Wales

Category: Leisure (page 1 of 2)

Floreat Salopia

Floreat Salopia meaning May Shropshire flourish a fitting start of this blog post dedicated to my  latest locum job that has taken me to Shrewsbury, the capital of Shropshire. I have never been to Shropshire before and it really was something I needed to amend as it  hides some really amazing gems. The most charming, in my opinion, is the before-mentioned medieval capital, about the size of Maribor, that has hundreds of grade listed buildings and lovely narrow streets. A lot of streets are cobbled and most of the medieval houses have not one straight line on them. Some look more like they will fall down any minute. Probably all due to the fact that the modern spirit level wasn’t invented until the 1920s.

I love the fact that the city centre shops seem to be thriving, most of them lovely individual private shops, not part of any large corporations. I can’t even remember seeing any empty shop window.

One weekend day I drove round the area and stumbled upon the small village of Ironbridge, home of the first arch bridge made out of cast iron built in the 1770s. This village, like, Shrewsbury has a lot of inviting individual shops, one of them especially caught my eye called Bear on the Square. It boast over 3000 items on sale and I can tell you for sure that most of them are teddy bears 😉 I did see an almost life size chicken, though 😀

I was reading up on the Shrewsbury Wikipedia page and found out it used to have a nuclear fallout warning station. It turns out it now houses a veterinary practice – in fact the veterinary practice I was working at as a locum. They made the walls extra thick and reinforced so no wonder I was not able to get a damn signal on my mobile phone all the time I was working there. They did have a branch surgery in a village called Shawbury and luckily that place wasn’t built to withstand a nuclear bombs so no problem with updating my Facebook status. Probably because there was a large RAF helicopter base next door the mobile signal was excellent. Thanks MOD 🙂

Shrewsbury and Shawbury photos

Ironbridge photos

Some more Snowdonia trekking

Next to the Watkin path

Not to repeat myself to many times but I went on a great hiking trip round Snowdonia. Got up way to early and still by the time I came to Nant Gwynant I was still very much in need of sleep. Besides that it was still pouring with rain but there were prospects of sunshine later. So I I did something I haven’t so far: crawled in the back of my car, got myself comfortable, opened the windows a little bit and went to sleep. It certainly did the trick as when I woke up I felt great and the sun was up as well 😀

So my trek started just west of lake Gwynant and the YHA hostel. At the campsite I turned left to continue on the old road and then onto a path to Pen-y-pas. There I took the Pyg track to Snowdon and then the Watkins path on the other side back to the valley. took me about 6 hours to complete.

Rediscovering the Glyders

Standing on the famous Cantilever on Glyder Fach in Snowdonia

Standing on the famous Cantilever on Glyder Fach in Snowdonia

A couple of years ago I trekked these hills with and came away with a lovely sunburn, sore legs and a great experience. Not unlike this time although I cannot fathom how those UV lights beams were able to penetrate all those clouds yesterday in order to give my skin a damn good uv-light trashing.

The Glyders horseshoe as its also known usually means walking the 4 mountains in one go and this time I did them in this order: Tryfan, Glyer Fach, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn.

I have heard of the cantilever stone but I seemed to have missed it at my last trek so I asked a fellow walker who pointed me in the right direction. As you can see from the above photo I did find it and was able to ask someone to take a photo of me on it. The least interesting was my last summit, the peak of Y Garn which has a monotonous path leading to it from Llyn y Cwm and a gruelling descent towards Llyn Idwal. Gruelling as my feet at this poit were killing me and I couldn’t wait to get to my car. More as an indulgence in comfort I soaked my feet in the murky cold waters of Llyn Ogwen.

Job done, can’t wait to do it again 🙂

Haverfordwest drivers beware! Well, sort of :-)

This is supposed to be a joke but it does depend on how you look at it. It is because on Monday, April 16th, I did my CBT – Compulsory Basic Training for driving a motorcycle and at the end of the training – about 4pm I was set loose on the streets of Haverfordwest.

I would like to apologize to everyone as I kept driving a little to slow or left you waiting because it took me longer than normal to clear a roundabout. This sensation is new to me as I passed my driving exam in 1991 in Portsmouth and have driven a car ever since. Having L plates stuck to my vehicle and being able to repeatedly stall the engine when trying to drive off a junction are completely new experiences to me. Believe me 🙂

Will be getting some more lessons ASAP so unfortunately so you will have to endure with me qiute some more but hopefully you should see less and less cock-ups on my part 🙂

Take care now 🙂

 

Update April 24th, 2012

Passed my motorcycle theory test in Haverfordwest 🙂 On to the practical ones 🙂

Update May 9th, 2012

Have been having quite a few lessons in Haverfordwest and Swansea as I seem to suck a little at riding a motorcycle but I can see some signs of improvement lately so there is still hope yet.

Me at Motorcycle Training Wales

Update June 21st, 2012

Successfully completed the first part of the practical exam called Module 1 🙂 Did it on the same make and model of the Honda bike seen behind me on the photo above. I did the exam in the Swansea test centre which is just over an hours drive from Haverfordwest and still the closest test centre to me. Now I have start to get ready for Module 2 which is the bit of the practical exam you do on the ‘real’ roads. Module 1 is just in an enclosed circuit but its very technical.

Update September, 2012

Successfully completed module 2 so now I have the full licence.

Woody Pines in Cardigan

Woody Pines (woodypines.com)

What a great night. Never though I would like country & western music. Funny thing to hear it in the heart of Wales.

The guys played great and made a great atmosphere despite the hall not being completely full.

As a fellow guitarist I was impressed and did appreciate how quickly the vocalist and guitarist Woody recovered from a broken guitar string.

By the way, I thought the name of the band “Woody Pines” came from an association with the local North Carolina forests. In fact that is the name of the apparent leader of the group Woody (last name Pines, of course).

They are currently touring Scotland and they come very warmly recommended!

http://woodypines.com/

http://www.myspace.com/woodypines

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Dedek Mraz inkognito

Secret santa je božična navada, ki sem jo opazil v Veliki Britaniji, kjer podariš poljubno izžrebani osebi darilo omejene vrednosti za Dedka mraza. Seveda ta oseba ne ve od koga je dobila darilo, vrednost pa je ponavadi omejena – v našem podjetju smo omejili na 5 funtov.

Za ta Božič sem se odločil, da se pridružim tej navadi in dodal svoj ime na spisek skrivnih božičkov. Slučaj je nanesel, da sem imel zadnji dan službe pred potovanjem v Slovenijo še neke službene obveznosti, moral sem se še dokončno spakirati in se pripraviti na pot. Tisti dan je namreč [intlink id=”1458″ type=”post”]nekaj malce snežilo v Angliji[/intlink] in po stari navadi je nastala nepopisljiva panika katere žrtev bi lahko kaj kmalu postal tudi sam. Skratka uspel sem na hitro zagrabit darilo, ki sem ga dobil od svojega skrivnega božička, se vsedel v avto in šibal domov. Doma sem darilo odložil na pult in se šel pakirat. Tik pred odhodom me je premamila radovednost in sem zato precej hitro strgal ovitek z darila da bi videl kaj je notri – bila ja škatla z električnimi avtomobilskimi kabli (mislim, da se jim reče kabli za vžiganje oz. vžigalni kabli). V škatlo nisem niti ne pogledal, sem pa imel idejo, da bi dal v avto saj je bila pred mano 5 ur in pol dolga vožnja do letališča London Stansted in prav lahko bi mi prišli prav. Sicer sem pa itak član avtokluba in bi me morali itak oni reševati na avtocesti. Tu ti na avtocesti ne bo nihče ustavil. Kable sem verjetno zato potem pustil doma, čisto verjetno pa je, da sem na vse skupaj pozabil. kasneje se je izkazalo, da mi ne bi ravno prišli prav. Beri dalje.

OK, grem v Slovenijo za Božič, pridem nazaj, v službi gužva, skratka, kljub temu da sem imel darilo na pultu v kuhinji, sem nanj čisto pozabil. Slučajno pa sem zadnji dan leta kolegico v službi vprašal kaj je ona dobila, nato pa ona mene vpraša, kaj sem jaz dobil. Malo je čudno pogledala, ko sem ji dajela, da vžigalne kable saj je skrivomaj vedela, kaj mi je bilo dejansko dano. Zraven je stala še druga kolegica za katero se izkaže, da je bila moj skrvni božiček. Ta je še bolj debelo pogledala in me prav jezno vpraša, ali sem sploh odprl škatlo, ki sem jo dobil. Ne, sem ji odgovoril, saj vendar vem kako vžigalni kabli izgledajo saj niso znani po kaki estetksih lastnostih in imajo precej dolgočasno funkcijsko vrednost. Res da so bili malo težji amapak nisem se nikoli ukvarjal s tem, koliko vžigalni kabli tehtajo. Raje mislim na lasnki sneg 😉

No, in ta skrvni božičej me je skoraj nagnal domov, naj si grem pogledat, kaj sem dobil. Ker sem imel v službi še večjo gužvo (bil sem povrhu še dežuren) sem uspel končno odpreti škatlo tik pred polnočjo. Ja, res bi mi darilo pomagalo, če bi mi crknil akumulator – dobil sem namreč set vložene zelenjave. Zakaj vložena zelenjava je sicer zaradi privatnega štosa med mojim skrivnim božičkom in mano o kateri ne bom razlagal – že itak nakladam preveč.

Snemanje Robina Hooda – malce bližje

Slika z BBC strani, avtorja Scotty

Slika z BBC strani, avtorja Scotty

Včeraj sem šel spet malo na ogled do lokacije snemanja novega filma o Robinu Hoodu na obali Freshwater West in zadeve so se precej spremenile od prejšnjega tedna, ko sem bil nazadnje tam. Varnostnikov ni bilo veliko in tokrat so me vsaj spustili na plažo, kljub temu, da je na tam potekalo snemanje. Povsod sami statisti, večinoma v horizontali. Če se nisem spotaknil ob statista, sem se pa skoraj ob kako sulico. Mnogi so bili pokonci že od 4. ure zjutraj, da so jih ustrezno pripravili na snemanje in ko sem bil tam so morali biti pokonci okoli 10 ur, povrh vsega pa je še sonce žgalo. Ti res, spet so se mi zasmilili. Vsi so bili obleženi v obleke iz tistih časov (vsaj upam, da so bili iz tistih časov, kakšnih ustreznih prič nimam na voljo), na severnem delu plaže so bili, tako kot teden prej, statisti na konjih. One glavne zvezde me niso zanimale in opazovanje snemanja od blizu mi je bilo precej bolj cool.

Najprej sem se sprehodil gor in dol po plaži – svetovali so mi, naj hodim bolj vkraj pa se mi zdi da to ni bila najboljša ideja saj so ves čas po tem delu drveli avtomobili in štirikolesniki raznih vrst. Eden se je celo ustavil in mi ponudil prevoz do produkcijskega tabora na južnem delu. One hute, ki sem jih videl prejšnji teden, so že podrli. Od varnostnika sem izvedel, da trenutno poteka druga faza snemanja, in sicer snemanje podrobnosti, kjer glavni zvedniki niso vpleteni. Prav tako je bilo zaključeno snemanje večjih scen, kjer so bili vklopljeni številni statisti in konji.

Danes so se v lokalnem časopisu tudi razpisali o gospodu Crowe-u – kaj sočnih podatkov niso razkrili, so pa potrdili, da je njegov plan, da bi se vsak dan prevažal na snemanje s helikopterjem iz prijateljeve posesti v Buckinghamshire-ju, ni bil izvedljiv, tako da je snemanje preživel v produkcijskem taboru ob snemališču. Verjetno je malo precenil oddaljenost Walesa od Londona. Matr sam smo res daleč od prestolnice, mi noben ne verjame !!!

So pa v zgoraj omenjenem lokalnem časopisu tudi objavili, kako je šel na večerjo s soigralci in čisto lepo se je obnašal in popolnoma nič zvezdniško. Gostilna se imenuje Carew Inn in je v neposredni bližini srednjeveškega gradu Carew. Še celo toliko se je sprostil, da je pobral kitaro in zapel par pesmi – ena od teh naj bi bila “Leaving on a jet plane” Johna Denverja. Za hvaležnost je uslužbencev dal 350 britanskih funtov vredno napitnino. Imam tudi nekaj fotografij s tega gradu, ki jih je posnela moja mama.

Ajd, dost je, sem dal danes ven modrostni zob in se mi ne piše več. Mi je zobozdravnik dal navodila in me ddrugim tudi piše, da se moram izogibat alkoholu. Ja, pa še to!!??

Nekaj super fotk z BBC-jeve strani…

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Snemanje Robina Hooda – od daleč

P6230013V mesecu juniju 2009 so pričeli nedaleč od tod s snemanjem naslednje filmske upodobitve princa tatov – Robina Hooda.

Lokacija, kjer poteka snemanje, se imenuje Freshwater West in gre za eno lepših plaž v Pembrokeshire-ju in Wales-u nasploh. Tu so pejšnji mesec celo snemali naslednji film o Harryu Potterju. Produkcija za Robina Hooda pa je precej večja in vključuje veliko več ljudi in opreme. Pred tedni so imeli v bližnji dvorani avdicijo za statiste in prijaviti se jih je hotelo veliko več, kolikor je bilo mest na voljo.

Ker je produkcija tega filma tako velika, so uspeli pri občini (izraz občina upoorabljam kot nadomestilo za county council, v tem konkretnem primeru Pembrokeshire County Council) dobiti dovoljenje za dvotedensko zaprtje lokalne ceste, ki poteka mimo plaže, kjer se bo snemalo največ prizorov. Očitno prihaja do manjših zamud, saj so morali zaprositi za podaljšanje tega dovoljenja za nekaj dni.

Sam sem bil priča snemanju prejšnji torek. Čeprav so govorili, da bo plaža odprta za javnost, to skoraj ni bilo mogoče realizirati, saj je med snemanjem tam ogromno opreme in statistov, tako da do plaže sploh nisi mogel, je bila pa odprta pot ob plaži in ima tudi posebno ime – Pembrokeshire coastal path. Na njej je bilo kar nekaj opazovalcev in fotografov, ki so opazovali dogajanje med snemanjem. Očitno so se pripravljali na snemanje spopadom med nekakšno srednjeveško pehoto s sulicami in konjenico. Stal sem ravno nad severnim delom plaže, kjer so ravno takrat počivali konji z jezdeci. Na sliki se prav dobro vidi, da so precej izmučeni in da se jim kaj dosti ne da. Ko jih je šef začel klicati naj grejo na konje, jih je moral včkrat nadreti naj že spravijo riti na sedla in odsmrdijo do snemališča.

Sredi zaliva pred Freshwater West plažo je bilo kar nekaj plovil, nekateri v stilu robinhoodovskih časov (baje) in nekateri malo bolj današnji. No, iz enega iz slednje skupine se je vsake toliko časa izpustil gost oblak dima – verjetno je šlo za posebno meglo, ki jo uporabljajo za snemanje. Ta megla se je najprej razprostrla preko zaliva in potem še naprej na celino in prav čudno je smrdela.

P6230029Tik pred snemanjem se je potem pojavil še helikopter za katerega sem najprej sumil, da je pripeljal glavne zvezde – najverjetneje pa je bil uporabljen samo za snemanje – na nosu je imel namreč namontirano ogromno okroglo belo ohišje s kamero v njej. Ko snemanja ni bilo, je šel začasno “parkirat” na bližnji hrib. Takoj, ko se je snemanje nadaljevalo, je zopet zaštartal motorje in nadaljeval delo. Meni je bilo vse skupaj precej zanimivo, ker še nikoli nisem bil na prizorišču snemanja filma, kaj šele za snemanje tako velikega holivudskega filma. Bi bilo kar kul, če bi me spustili na plažo, da bi si zadevo bolje ogledal in kaj poslikal – avtogram Russel-a Crowe-a me namreč niti malo ne interesira.

P6230015

Na trenutke je bilo dogajanje na plaži kar gledljivo, prav kamlu pa se mi je začelo dolgočasit. Prav hecno pa je bilo gledati eno prvih vaj pri spopadu prej omenjene pehote in konjenice. Ko se je režiser zadrl “Action” in ko so planili eni proti drugim, se je režiser kmalu zadrl “Cut”. Statisti so bili očitno toliko zagreti ali pa so začasno oglušeli, da so nadaljevali z bitko, tako da se je moral režiser še večkrat zadreti Rez …  rez, da so končno prenehali s klofanjem. Fotograf, ki je spremljaj dogajanje mi je povedal, da gre za igralce rugbija, ki so bili precej zagreti za dober “fajt”.

Na koncu sem si še mimogrede ogledal prizorišče snemanja, ki naj bi še prišlo na vrsto – ob plaži, nad plitvimi pečinami, so postavili nekakšne manjše enostavne koče.

Na dan pa že curljajo novice iz samega snemanja. Čisto slučajno se je kolegičina mama uspela slikati z glavnim igralcem Russelom Crowom. Sem pa iz zanesljivih virov izvedel, da je nek statist, ki je bil zaposlen kot veslač v filmu, stopil do Russel-a in ga poprosil za fotografiranje ali avtogram. Russel mu je obljubil, da ni problema in se lahko zmenita, ko pride nazaj. No, nazaj je prišel le nek asistent , ki je tipu (veslaču) zabičal, naj ne nadleguje glavnega igralca in naj se pod nosom obriše za fotografijo in avtogram. Pijar, da mu ni para.

View towards the south. You can see a tractor "combing" the sand next to the wood stacks

View towards the south. You can see a tractor “combing” the sand next to the wood stacks

Slišal sem tudi za novico, da se je pri snemanju prevrnila barka na kateri so bili konji z jezdeci. Kar nekaj jih je bilo pripeljano v lokalno urgenco. Konjem, po poročilih, ni bilo nič hudega. So pa imeli še eno težavo, ko so spet druge barke pri snemanju, nasedle na mivko. Pri tem je prišlo do hujših težav s posebnimi motorji Mercury Verado saj so se ti, kljub mehki mivki, poškodovali. Poklicati so morali neko lokalno podjetje, ki je zastopnik za te motorje, da so zadevo rešili.

Snemanje bo potekalo še kar nekaj dni in na dan bo, prav gotovo, prišlo še kar nekaj zanimivosti.

Ogled galerije.

Trekking the hills of Snowdon

snowdon_01

Ever since I moved to Wales 2 years ago I had a quiet wish to climb the highest peak in this country – Snowdon. Last weekend was showing to be a perfect opportunity to fulfil that wish. I was working only till 12 pm and the forecast was for sunshine and high temperatures stretching way into the following week. Getting some good literature, so you know what your are doing, is very advisable.

View from Garnedd Ugain: to the right is Snowdon and to the left is Y Lliwedd with its three peaks ) from left Lliwedd Bach, East peak and West peak. Any similarities with Triglav are strictly coincidental :-)

View from Garnedd Ugain: to the right is Snowdon and to the left is Y Lliwedd with its three peaks ) from left Lliwedd Bach, East peak and West peak. Any similarities with Triglav are strictly coincidental 🙂

If you are based in southwest Wales it is a good idea to head up there on the day before you are climbing as the road trip takes you over three hours. There are no motorways or even dual carriageways between the south and north parts of Wales! Instead of going for a more expensive option of a hotel or B&B (the decision to go to Snowdon was make pretty late and the hotel accommodations were either not available or very pricey) I opted for a campsite. The last camping I did was for a skydiving tournament that was held in my “home” DZ in Prečna near Novo mesto a few years back and I was a bit worried I might forget to bring along something essential. Hold that thought.

See the full photo gallery here.

There was a slight snag with camping in this part of Wales. I looked at the weather forecast and the low day temperatures were very, very close to freezing – and I mean 0° or 1°C. This was the forecast for Llanberris. So instead I went for campsites a bit closer to the sea and, of course, the warmth. I found one close to the town of Penrhyndeudraeth called Barcdy. Would recomend it, but it is a bit more pricey then others: it cost £10/person/night for a tent – other campsites were around £6 or £7. The additional problem you might have to contend with is kids – there was a family that came to the camp after me and they put up their tent right next to mine and, you guessed it, had a bunch of very noisy kids with them. Don’t seem to be a big fan of them, but would maybe feel different, if they were mine – and I stress – MAYBE ;-).

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Is the Ryanair website really so bad

RuinairAccording to my experience, yes. I tell all Ryanair visitors in advance that this here is my personal opinion and will not allow the publication of rude comments from anyone.

I had the misfortune of booking my flight today only to be confronted with an error just at the point you would least like it – after purchase.

A while ago I found a blog post about a session problem with the Ryanair website here. OK, some bad responses from some Ryanair employees who basically did not apologize or acknowledge the problem. However here I am today using their website on this computer for the first time and just after confirming my credit card details get the message »Ryanair Session locked«. What does this mean? It did remind me of the problem mentioned on Jason’s blog as it involved problems with the sessions on the website transaction system.

I did get a confirmation by e-mail but I cannot verify my booking through the Ryanair website. OK, the natural thing would be to ask Ryanair about it. All they have for the UK is a hugely overpriced phone number 0905 566 0000 at £1.00 per minute!!! Why would I pay for Ryanair’s mistakes. So that made me a bit ticked off, hence this post.

Oh, yes, if Ryanair would like to contact me they can do so after paying me £5.00 for my troubles. And that goes for any possible comments for this post.

Related links:

I found the below joke very fitting for this post. I don’t know where it originated from but I found it on Vetsugeon.org

airline_2d00_charge

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