Friday, 26 November 2010

Lost in Paris

Hi all,

I’m currently writing this from Dijon as excitingly I’m at the Dijon International Adventure Film Festival where my film has been entered. It was screened yesterday afternoon and wow was it amazing to see the film blown up on a huge cinema screen. I’m talking IMAX size! The film is the French version which has been slightly shortened and dubbed. I didn’t know I spoke such good French!

I took an early flight out of Southampton on Wednesday morning as this was the only one available and so I had all day to spend in Paris exploring before I caught my train to Dijon later in the evening. I took a train into the city from the airport and I changed onto another line to try and work my way to the river. However, typical me, I boarded the completely wrong train and it took me in a completely different direction on a different line to the one I thought I was boarding. I promptly jumped off at the next station, sneakily worked my way back to the other side of the station and headed back to the previous station and tried to figure out once again how on earth to get to where I wanted to go.

I eventually ended up at Gare du Lyon (one of the major station's in France) and boarded another train to head off to the Louvre as I really wanted to visit the place. The last few times I’ve been in Paris I haven’t been able to due to lack of time, so this time I made sure I’d get to see what’s inside.

I was amazed, firstly by the architecture of the whole place. Truly astounding! The artwork was pretty amazing too. I just wish I knew what half of it was or what it represented. I also spent a good chunk of time sitting on a seriously comfortable sofa reading another adventure novel (a little addiction I have) looking over this grand room that was being refurbished by the look of it.

I later jumped on the train to Dijon, fell promptly asleep and woke up, firstly thanks to the ticket inspector and secondly thanks to the train slowing down for the station. That was handy!

I’m really enjoying myself here, and I’m also remembering a lot of the French language that I had forgotten since I was last here. Thank you to all the guys at the festival for looking after me during my stay here!


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A little bumpy

Hi all,

I had a couple of flying lessons booked for Thursday and Friday, and well, seeing as Thursday brought gales across the UK that lesson was somewhat written off. Friday brought a little bit of sunshine and that was good enough for me. I drove down to Elstree Friday morning and Liam and I ummed and ahhed over the weather. It was safe to fly in, it would just be a little interesting..

We jumped into the plane, glanced over at the windsock a few more times and concluded that it would be fine to fly, and it would be a whole new experience for me flying in such bumpy condition.

Taking off was no problem but I was pretty surprised with just how bumpy it actually was flying over the trees just after the runway. We were up to do a local flight and practice some more manoeuvres and emergency procedures which went fine, albeit a little bumpy!

Lining up for final, I was expecting it to certainly be a not so smooth landing, but surprisingly it wasn’t too hard and we touched down with barely a bump which I was dead chuffed about. Flying in such ‘interesting’ conditions is certainly more wearing on the body and mind and I was surprised how tired I felt after just an hour in the air.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Live and Deadly

Hi all,

Sorry it’s been a little quiet on this radar recently, but I can assure you, it’s not as if nothing is going on. My life is one continuous washing machine, I sometimes think!

Excitingly, my book won an award. That’s right, an award! I was invited to the Maritime Media Awards a little over a week ago and I was really chuffed to be presented by Countess Mountbatten with ‘The Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution Certificate of Merit for the most inspirational book’. It was a really fun evening and it was great to chat with loads of other authors and other sea faring chaps. I even had a good chat with the First Sea Lord!

On Friday I was due to be getting my first flying solo in, but the weather was…. let’s just say, a little naff. I turned up to my lesson anyway in hope of the fog clearing but as we couldn’t even see the tops of the electrical pylons, we deemed it unsafe to fly. It was still good to rock up to the lesson though as I was able to sit down with Liam and go over the plan for the next couple of weeks and also start on revision for my meteorology exam. I have an advantage in that my weather knowledge is already pretty vast, but still it’s a lot different up at 10,000ft rather than at sea level that’s for sure.

I drove back down to Southampton on Friday night as I had an extremely early start on Saturday… 4am, ouch! This was because I was the guest on BBC2’s wildlife children’s show ‘Live and Deadly’ I had to arrive so early as we had two complete rehearsals to do before the actual live show. It was so much fun filming the show and the presenters were a great laugh to be with. Thank you to the whole crew for making me feel so welcome! ‘Live and Deadly’ is a roadshow and they have toured around the whole country doing wacky and crazy stuff.

Sunday brought a day out on the water which I was really chuffed about. I was out sailing with a writer who is looking to write a book about solitude so wanted to know about my experiences of sailing around the world and particularly focus on the mental side and so to give him a good insight into what it really is like on the water.  I took him out for a day which was great fun. My dad came along to help with the sailing side and it was great to sail with him also. Despite us both doing loads of stuff on the water, we haven’t actually sailed together for almost a year now. How crazy is that.

It’s back into the fun of university now for the time being, but I’ve got flying lessons booked for Thursday and Friday so hopefully I can get up solo then….fingers crossed!