2

Sep

2017

Village Life, Village Drama

2nd September 2017

Living in the village I call my own can sometimes be a little dull, but every now and then a lovely moment arises which makes me appreciate it a little more. The other night we headed out for a stroll over the hills behind my house and stumbled upon a lovely sunset and a group of sheep which decided that I was to be their leader and so began to follow me…

I do love a good sky

I do love a good sky

My new crew

My new crew

Another day I got all Mary Berry and decided to make some buns, but 50 buns later I decided it was time to use the spare cake mix on something else, and so found a couple of small tart tins and made a mini victoria sponge – we even drove out to get some fresh cream for it.

What's this, a cake for ants?!

What is this, a cake for ants?!

It hasn’t all been quite so plain sailing in the village though, as my mother managed to cause chaos by managing to pop one of our car’s tyres on the way home from the shops. This meant that the entire neighbourhood had to listen to the drama unfolding on the street as my mum and sister arrived atop a recovery lorry…

Ellie's having a great time

Ellie’s having a great time

Home in one piece

Home in one piece

Amongst all this I’ve been working hard to get my new website built, and I’m pleased to report that it’s coming along nicely. It’s been a bit of a drag though, there’s papers all over my room full of numbers and calculations and the week has been filled with a lot of swearing at my laptop as CSS declines to behave as predicted…

Calculations for days

Calculations for days

I’ll soon be bringing you some previews of the design, so watch this space! This weekend however is time for a bit of relaxation and maybe a trip to Blackpool to check out the new illuminations. What a childhood throwback!


30

Aug

2017

Burnley Canal Festival

30th August 2017

This weekend me and my dad faced a bit of a conundrum, as the Colne R&B Festival, the Burnley Canal Festival, and the Higham Scarecrow Festival were all happening at the same time. After some very intense discussions, we decided to head down to the Leeds-Liverpool canal which winds through Burnley and check out the festivities there.

Heading down the straight mile

Heading down the straight mile

Flags show us the way

Flags show us the way

A road to nowhere

A road to nowhere

After a wander down the longest piece of straight bearing canal in the world, we turned a corner and began to approach the hub of the Canal Festival, a newly regenerated ex-industrial site called Sandygate.

Looking skyward

Looking skyward

Passing the wharf

Passing the wharf

Approaching the area we came across more and more beautifully made up canal boats, starting as we passed The Inn on the Wharf, a pub by an old loading station along the waterfront.

Dad snaps a photo

Dad snaps a photo

Bunting galore

Bunting galore

A nice little pot

A nice little pot

Unfortunately this was Saturday night, and we’d to be back home before 6:30pm in order to wake my mum up and take her to work for the night, and so we soon made an about turn and wandered back along the banks.

Old mill aesthetic

Old mill aesthetic

A hole in the wall

A hole in the wall

Walking back down the waterside

Walking back down the waterside

On the Sunday we headed back down once again though, as we never really made it to the square where the event was actually taking place. Parking up in an area nearby, we wandered down the hill and over the canal and found ourselves in the heart of the action!

Looking over Burnley

Looking over Burnley

A collapsed roof

A collapsed roof

On our way down we wandered amongst the abandoned buildings and mills of Burnely’s bygone industrial age, but I found beauty in the decay and stopped a while to take some photos.

A window no more

A window no more

Green on green

Green on green

Drunk door

Drunk door

Once I’d bought a bottle of water ready for a day cooking in the sun, I found my dad in his usefully yellow t-shirt and we began to explore the festivities. I enjoyed a spot of line dancing, watched an array of artists make an array of cool crafts things, and even stopped for a while to watch the awesome Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band – their music was infectious!

A cheeky dance

A cheeky dance

Looking over the tents

Looking over the tents

After wandering down to the water and watching people have fun going out for a quick canoe in the canal, me and my dad reconvened and grabbed some bao – Chinese steamed buns filled with fried chicken and succulent pork. Heaven!

Artwork on the water

Artwork on the water

A pop up solar cinema

A pop up solar cinema

After eating the weather was getting decidedly English and a raft of grey clouds seemed to be blowing over, so we headed back to the car and I spent the rest of the evening having a lovely relaxing bath – a rather blissful weekend if ever there was one!

In other news I am progressing quickly with the coding of my new website design, and I’ll be asking people to test it out pretty soon! Get in touch if you’re interested – I am particularly interested in people with non-Android and non-Apple phones. More updates on this soon…


22

Aug

2017

Dad’s Birthday Travels

22nd August 2017

Just this weekend was my dad’s birthday (age withheld), and so we decided to head off out to do a few bits and bobs between my mum having to sleep and work night shifts. First up was a visit to our favourite local chippy for a good old fashioned fish and chips, Grandma Pollard’s in Todmorden.

But wait, a bus?

But wait, a bus?

Just in case having fish and chips couldn’t get any more twee, this chippy has an old bus parked up around the back that you can enjoy your meal on, and so we scrambled aboard and perched on one of the tiny little pews to enjoy the greasy goodness.

The only place to have a chippy

The only place to have a chippy

After this we jumped back in the car and drove up to a spot I haven’t been to for many years, Hollingworth Lake, just over the border in Greater Manchester. We arrived in what felt like the downpour of the century, and so didn’t have the chance to grab an ice cream, opting rather to have a quick nosey before heading back to Burnley. Our trip back was interrupted though by quite an impressive sight – a huge bright double rainbow!

Part of the rainbow

Part of the rainbow

I seem to have managed to miss out the second and slightly more faded rainbow, but if you look in the top left corner of the image below you should be able to just make it out!

Reflected rainbows

Reflected rainbows

After dropping my mum off at work for the night, me and my dad shot over to Yorkshire and enjoyed a lovely evening of tapas and sangría at The Tapas Bar in Todmorden. The quaint little bar served us a variety of delicious food – we both slept well after having filled ourselves up with seafood, chorizo and pinchos!

On Sunday my mum was once again busy sleeping after working through the night, so it was up to me and my dad to get out of the house and do a little something to celebrate. We decided to head for Lytham on the east coast of Lancashire, taking our cameras along to see what we could see and hopefully have an ice cream (I really wanted an ice cream this weekend).

But what's this on the coast?

But what’s this on the coast?

After parking up and wandering to the seafront, we stumbled on a collection of rusty old machinery and boats which had seemingly been abandoned along the banks of the Ribble Estuary. I climbed over the railing along the promenade and headed in to investigate…

Rusting away

Rusting away

An upturned boat

An upturned boat

Sloping into the estuary

Sloping into the estuary

The line of rusty wrecks seemed to span on forever, so I began to wander towards a couple of beached boats closer to the water’s edge. I was soon however slipping all over the shop on the wet mud, and at one point nearly ended up falling on a stranded jellyfish – disaster averted.

This boat has legs

This boat has legs

Another tractor has had its day

Another tractor has had its day

A blue and red tortoise shell

A blue and red tortoise shell

As the rusty collection came to an end, I passed by a good few stricken boats which had long been forgotten about. Ever inquisitive, I stuck my camera in some of the windows and got a little shutter happy.

Through the jaws

Through the jaws

What happened here?

What happened here?

Shortly thereafter I heard some strange engine noises coming from dry land, and so I headed back up the slope to return to the footpath. I found myself suddenly walking through a makeshift car park on a large patch of usually empty grass, and it soon become obvious that we’d stumbled upon some kind of event.

The British bunting was our first clue

The British bunting was our first clue

It soon became apparent that we’d unwittingly come along on the weekend when they were celebrating the Lytham 1940s Wartime festival! The attendees wandering around in period costume gave the game away, but I soon came across a couple of Spitfires which I thought was pretty cool – I recently watched the film Dunkirk and it was quite breathtaking.

 

Spitfires in Lytham

Spitfires in Lytham

After a quick snack by a recreation Soviet army camp, we stuck our noses in the Lifeboat Museum for a quick look around and then headed into the town centre to grab a bite to eat and do a little window shopping.

Nice typography here

Nice typography here

An old lifeboat

An old lifeboat

Full of dried apricots and Pringles, we eventually headed back to the car and I drove us home – 43 miles and I didn’t hit the curb once. Success.

Oh yeah, and because of the long queues due to the big event in Lytham, I didn’t even get my ice cream. Gutted.


16

Aug

2017

Another Day of Summer

16th August 2017

As most of the world knows, Britain’s summer comes in dribs and drabs, and we enjoy sporadic hours of sunlight instead of any solid days or weeks of sun. Rather kindly though, mother nature recently blessed us with a nice warm day and so I took the chance to get out ambling in the countryside which surrounds where I live.

A nice good tree

A nice good tree

We wound up in Hurstwood, a tiny nearby village where one of the buildings dates back to the 1500s. From there we took a hidden path down behind some houses and down to a place where two streams meet, and headed back up towards the road to Yorkshire.

A building from the 1500s

A building from 1579

Butterflies are out in force

Butterflies are out in force

A recovering tree

A recovering tree

Wandering over a hill, we headed back down one of my favourite words to walk down but least favourite to drive down. The winding single-track road connects my village to the linking road between Yorkshire and Lancashire, and it’s pretty much a death trap if you even attempt to navigate it at anything above 15mph! Winding blind corners and a perilously narrow crossing point mean that it’s not one for the faint of heart – but it is pretty.

Somewhere beyond those trees lies Yorkshire

Somewhere beyond those trees lies Yorkshire

Looking down said danger road

Looking down said danger road

This has a Windows XP feel about it

This has a Windows XP feel about it

Just before we arrived back home we came across as a field of horses, and one in particular stood out as particularly enchanting as its white mane caught the setting sun.

Hello there

Hello there

And so concluded another day of rare sun here in Lancashire. It has since returned to the usual programme of grey rainy days, but here’s hoping I can get back out with the camera again sooner rather than later!


7

Aug

2017

Halifax & Hebden Bridge

7th August 2017

After weeks of asking me excitedly if I wanted to accompany him, my dad finally yesterday took me along to see the newly revamped Piece Hall in Halifax, just across the county border in Yorkshire. Before we landed in Halifax though, we first made a stop at the petite little town of Hebden Bridge, which I seem to be frequenting more and more regularly.

Chimneys over Hebden

Chimneys over Hebden

Flowers along the way

Flowers along the way

We descended into a Hebden Bridge which as rife with activity due to an ongoing vintage car show, but we skirted around the crowds to visit the canal and for me to have a mooch around some of my favourite shops.

A back street

A back street

A lovely sign

A lovely sign

We soon stopped for a coffee at a quaint little café along the canal, where we sat outside and took a moment to soak in the atmosphere below a suspiciously greying sky. Needless to say it soon began trying to rain, so we began to wind our way back to the car down the high street.

Street art

Street art

A vintage car by the canal

A vintage car by the canal

A pretty little doorway

A pretty little doorway

After a precarious start after having parked on a very steep hill, we were soon on our way to Halifax to find a space to park up and go an explore the Piece Hall. After a quick burger stop, we made a beeline for it (the last time I visited was a good few years ago) and its transformation was pretty amazing.

The Piece Hall

The Piece Hall

The previously uneven courtyard of paving and grass has been completely replaced by a multi-level granite, with the entirety of the surrounding hall having been completely refurbished. This work has injected a new sense of life into the building which actually dates back to 1779, and it was buzzing with people of all ages whilst we were there.

A clash of styles

A clash of styles

I had a good nosey around all the shops, but there’s still many preparing to open in the near future, so we soon headed out to have a little wander around Halifax city centre. Before heading home we headed to see my grandparents at their house near Bradford, but when we got there they weren’t in, so we made back for home and a relaxing cup of tea to end the day.


1

Aug

2017

Covadonga

1st August 2017

In the final installation of my trio of posts on my trip to Asturias, I herein recollect the Monday of my visit (the 17th of July), where Kevin put me on a bus to a place called Cangas de Onís. This seemed like quite a sleepy town, and we headed into the centre to have a pincho and relax in the sun a little – with a quick detour to get some suncream as I’d burned whilst in Gijón.

Cangas de Onís seemed like a very quaint and beautiful place, however Kevin was keen to show me a certain Roman bridge. Whilst heading for it I didn’t expect to stumble upon what presented itself to us – it was magnificent, with a fairytale background to boot.

My first look at the bridge

My first look at the bridge

A view with the mountainous background

A view with the mountainous background

After quite a while gazing in awe at the awesome views, we scooted round the back of a restaurant at the other side of the river and climbed up and over the bridge. Whilst up there we were met with yet more breathtaking sights…

Heading upwards

Heading upwards

The mountains seen from the bridge

Seen from the top of the bridge

A final look through

A final look through

After this we headed back to the bus station to board yet another bus up to see “the lakes”. I had no idea what this meant or what we were going to go and do, rather I just assumed it’d be a few pretty lakes with a gift shop. Once the bus began to climb what felt like the side of a mountain however, I soon realised we were headed somewhere special.

The bus journey was probably the most terrifying non-airborne trip I’ve ever taken! Looking out of the window we might as well have been on an airplane, as we’d ascended high towards the heavens such that we could look over the layers of clouds below. The bus had to traverse a menacingly narrow single-track road cut into the perilously steep and windy cliffs, with the most unsettling moments being as we turned sharp corners and the front corners of the bus were thrust out to hang over the edge of the cliff itself.

Terrifying.

After dicing with death for about half an hour, we eventually made it unscathed to a car park which sat cradled amongst beautiful green mountains. It turned out that we’d been transported to an area of outstanding natural beauty, and we were about to do quite a lot of climbing and walking in the relentless heat – with my burned legs I was not best pleased…

Our trek begins

Our trek begins

I soon forgot about the burning in my calfs however, as the amazing scenery I found myself wandering through provided ample distraction. What felt like miles above all civilisation, there was nothing to distract us but the occasional hiker and the melodic sounding of cowbells from the herds below.

A forgotten path

A forgotten path

After a wander through a defunct mine and yet more upward slopes, we found ourselves surrounded by another herd of cows, and I wound up taking some photos which I think sit amongst the best I’ve ever taken.

Some amazing views

Some amazing views

Eventually one of the promised lakes came into view, at the side of which sat a restaurant which provided a welcome break and a sandwich to refuel. Me being me, I had to take a selfie which has probably the prettiest background of any selfie I’ve managed to take ever…

The hills are alive

The hills are alive

The cows having lunch with us

The cows having lunch with us

Layers and layers of mountains

Layers and layers of mountains

After lunch and a refill of my trusty water bottle, we once again headed upwards to a spot called mirador entrelagos – literally meaning “viewpoint between lakes”. The vantage point lived up to its name, offering a breathtaking 360° view over two of the stunning lakes.

From there we began to descend quite rapidly towards the second lake, where a few cows had gathered for a spot of paddling in the refreshingly cool water. I wrapped my camera strap around my wrist, nearly took a plunge down a precarious little slope, and joined them by the waterside. Here I took some more breathtaking photos, and I’ll leave you with my favourite few here.

Taking a drink

Taking a drink

Over the lake

Over the lake

I made a friend

I made a friend

Old friends take a dip

Old friends take a dip

We then turned and headed back to the car park to grab a bus back down the death path (I swear it was worse on the way back down), having completed our circular walk around the lakes and mountains of Asturias. It was a shame to leave the stunning views, but I was relieved to take the weight off my feet and get out of the sun – and then Kevin reveals that we’ve one last stop to make.

We hopped off the bus before it arrived back at Cangas de Onís, as Kevin wanted to show me another small town. Having noticed a mythical-looking church high in the trees on our way up to the lakes, I wondered if that was where we were headed, and sure enough I stepped off the bus to be greeted by this awesome sight:

Spires rise above the trees

Spires rise above the trees

Before we headed up to investigate the seemingly magical place further, Kevin led me first to a cave cut high into the rock of one of the cliffs. Standing precariously above a pool of water and shrouded by the mysterious scent of incense, Kevin explained how it was a religious site and place of pilgrimage for many christians in Spain.

The chapel cave in the cliff

The chapel cave in the cliff

Before we headed up, Kevin instructed that we were to walk around the pool to a natural spring towards its rear. With five spouts from which water flowed, I was told I had to drink once from each and then I would be bound to return to this place again. I did so, topped up my water bottle, and then we headed up the steps into the cave itself.

The font

The font

Visiting the cave was a surreal experience, as it held a tiny chapel and bench seating for daily masses. Photography isn’t allowed up in the cave, however I did manage to catch a photo of that mysterious chapel from the high angle of the steps to the cave.

A shock of red amongst the green

A shock of red amongst the green

After leaving the cave via another exit, we were soon headed towards the chapel. We had a wander round its exterior and I took way too many photos of the greenery to even begin sorting which ones to upload here, so I’ll just leave you with a couple of the church and its surroundings.

A view from the cathedral

Looking out from the cathedral

An imposing sight

An imposing sight

After this we headed back down to the bus after a rather long day of exploring rural Asturias. Exhausting as it may have been however, I had a phenomenal time having my breath taken away at seemingly every turn. Kevin had once again proven his mettle as a tour guide and host, and that evening we had a well deserved relaxing dinner near his flat back in Oviedo.

As this rounds off my time spent in the wonderful place that is Asturias, I have to once again thank Kevin and his family for their hospitality and making me feel right at home during my first visit to the north of Spain (well, except Barcelona, but as a huge easterly city it doesn’t really count). I shall definitely be back again…


26

Jul

2017

Gijón

26th July 2017

One of the days in Asturias, after landing and meeting Kevin in his home city, was spent in Gijón after just a short train journey from Oviedo! We were soon winding our way from the train station down to what promised to be a gorgeous shoreline, but not before we stopped for a pincho (a small bite to eat) in a bar on the way.

After one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever eaten in my life (seriously), we were soon down by the harbour in all it’s sunny glory!

My first look at the northern coast

My first look at the northern coast

This rabid pigeon wanted our food

This rabid pigeon wanted our food

A closer look over the bay

A closer look over the bay

We wandered first around the bay to the site of the old city, where a big green tree sculpture revealed itself to be made of hundreds of empty cider bottles – only in Asturias! From here, we went back on ourselves a little as Kevin wanted to show me another section of the shoreline, and so we wandered through the gorgeous little streets of the center of Gijón.

The cider bottle tree

The cider bottle tree

A very pretty facade

A very pretty facade

Through the archway

Through the archway

Once we’d made our way down the centre street in the above photo, a very unexpected and awesome sight greeted us – a huge golden beach! It was full of people enjoying the hot and sunny weather, and I was quite surprised as I hadn’t expected to see sandy beaches in the north.

A view over the beach

A view over the beach

Instead of heading out onto the sand however, we took a left turn, wandered past a coastal church, and wound up beginning our way up an incline. As we crested the views over the sea just kept getting better and better – I hadn’t realised we were heading onto a high natural jetty which gave nearly 360° views over the coastline!

A kooky little resort on the coast

A kooky little resort on the coast

A view from a little further up

A view from a little further up

Three lamp posts and the sea

Three lamp posts and the sea

As we hit the summit of this piece of land I suddenly became aware that I had managed to let my arms and face burn in the sun – the cool coastal breeze had tricked me into thinking that the sun wasn’t as hot as it actually was. I pushed on anyway and it was worth it, as a big sculpture loomed into view which is aptly named Elogio del Horizonte, or “Compliment to the Horizon”.

Where the sky meets the sea

Where the sky meets the sea

After this we descended back down to near where we’d began our exploration of the coast, and I picked up an ice cream on the way. We were soon back in the square by the harbour, where we’d arranged to meet our friend Sara who was also in England with Kevin during their Erasmus year! It was lovely to all be reunited again after all the evenings we’d spent in England drinking and talking about how we were going to meet up in Spain one day – seems like that day came quicker than we all expected!

Back down the harbour

Back down the harbour

The troublesome trio

The troublesome trio

To take it easy and chill out, we all headed back on to the harbour to grab some cider (no surprise there) and I had my first go at decanting it from the bottle into the glass from a height of a meter or more – it’s not as easy as it looks!

Here we go...

Here we go…

A lovely place for a cider

A lovely place for a cider

Some colourful stairs along the way

Some colourful stairs along the way

After this we headed to check out Semana Negra, a literary festival dedicated to dark crime mystery and noir stories. Accompanying the celebrations were a huge market, a fully-fledged amusement park on the coast, and plenty of stalls to grab a quick beer and soak up the atmosphere – something we sure as hell did!

Traversing the fair

Traversing the fair

All too soon it was getting late and the time came to bid Gijón and Sara goodbye, but I have a feeling it was more of a “see you soon” – I was enchanted by Gijón just as I was with Oviedo. Next time, however, I’ll bring suncream…


24

Jul

2017

Graduation

24th July 2017

Just this Thursday gone, and after first moving to Leeds to start my adventure four years ago, the day of my graduation finally came – 20th July 2017. This meant an early morning for the Briggs family, as we all grumpily stirred from our beds at about 6am in order to pick up my tickets and get my gown on ready for the ceremony starting at 9:30am sharp.

Compulsory photograph in gown

Compulsory photograph in gown

After briefly catching up with everyone as they enrobed and ran about to take photos, I soon found myself out in the queue to enter the Great Hall with fellow graduands. My parents found a seat near the back, and after a few embarrassing photos which they tottered up to the front to take, our tutors entered and the ceremony began.

My view of the ceremony

My view of the ceremony

One by one we were called onto stage to receive our certificate and a congratulations from one of the key professors in the School of Design, before returning to our seats and eventually being applauded out of the main entrance to the Grand Hall. Degrees in hand, it was time for another few photos in between the spells of patchy rain which didn’t manage to dampen our day one bit – we were all in giddy high spirits and I noted how the folder with my degree certificate in it was the most expensive umbrella I’d ever used!

There were a tonne of photos taken but there’s only one real serious one which I am happy with – I opted not to bother with professional photography of the day but I think this one taken by my dad is probably much better than anything I’d have had taken in a studio.

My favourite portrait of the day

My favourite portrait of the day

As I said, the rain seemed to only heighten our jovial spirit, and hence I present to you a few photos of us all goofing around and using the hoods of our gowns as actual hoods. Hogwarts connotations aside (we all look like we’re in Slytherin, everyone kept noting), they actually worked pretty well to keep our hair dry…

These hoods are somewhat droopy

These hoods are somewhat droopy

Group selfie

Group selfie

The best poses

The best poses

Pretty soon we all had to go our own separate ways, with people having lunches and all sorts of things to attend to, and so me and my dad wandered off to the library to take one final portrait in the beautiful setting of the Brotherton Library – I figured I should have one where I look somewhat scholarly or something…

Malfoy in the library

Malfoy in the library

After disrobing and trundling back to our car through yet more rain, we eventually checked into our hotel for the night and headed out for some snacks, before making our way to Ox Club for a delicious dinner. After this we went out for cocktails as a family, but I managed to catch half an hour with the rest of the gang before heading back to the hotel to sleep after a long day.

Our pretty little hotel

Our pretty little hotel

It was a really lovely day, with an atmosphere of celebration and good fun not dampened at all by the sub-par weather which had been threatening to make us all miserable. It was pretty amazing to see such a huge formal event run like clockwork, and it felt like a lovely closing to these past four years which have taken me halfway around the globe and then some!

In the meantime I have updated my CV with my degree result, and am currently working my way through more photos from my trip to Asturias which began with my last blog post about my time in the wonderful city of Oviedo. Stay tuned!


22

Jul

2017

Oviedo

22nd July 2017

As spontaneous as ever, and a mere 8 days before my graduation, last week I ended up jetting out to Spain for a week! After a gruelling day spent hitching a lift to Burnley train station, two trains to Liverpool, a quick wander and then a bus journey to the airport, I flew out from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Aeropuerto Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas (yes, it is a ridiculously long name for an airport). I didn’t stay for long in Madrid however, as I was soon on a bus up to Oviedo, Kevin’s home city where he’d recently returned to from Leeds.

After a reunion in the bus station, I met Kevin’s parents who had kindly come to pick me up and drop me off at their family apartment in the city. Having been awake on the bus for the entirety of the journey from Madrid to the north, I must admit that my first impressions of Asturias (the area in which Oviedo sits) were somewhat skeptical – there’s a tunnel where you enter under clear skies surrounded by arid slopes, and exit into another land of fog, rain, greenery, and a temperature that’s ten degrees colder than when you first entered the tunnel five minutes before. It’s quite a shock!

After a quick wander round the city it soon became evident that we were both tired, and so headed back home after a gorgeous meal of croquettes, patatas bravas, and a lovely mix of meat called picadillo – I even tried my first traditional hand-poured Asturian cider!

The next day we were greeted by a bit more sun and I really got to appreciate the city a bit more – starting with the view from Kevin’s flat. After this I grabbed my camera and we went for a proper few hours exploring the city…

A view over Oviedo

A view over Oviedo

We spent most of the morning exploring the old centre of the city, with gorgeous streets flanked by pretty little balconets. The centre of the area seemed to revolve around a big open square which housed the cathedral, a beautiful structure with intricate wood and stone carvings adorning its facade.

I love a good balconet

I love a good balconet

The square from the cathedral

The square from the cathedral

Detailed stonework just outside the entrance

Detailed stonework just outside the entrance

Kevin acted as my tour guide throughout, showing me every nook and cranny of the city and recounting the odd anecdote from his years spent as a student in the city. One of the symbols to look out for was the flared cross of Asturias, one of which we found perched on the railing of the church.

The cross iconography

The cross iconography

The vaulted roof of the cathedral

The vaulted roof of the cathedral

Tall archways

Tall archways

After sticking our heads in the door of the cathedral and then promptly retreating to avoid paying the extortionate entry fee, we waltzed leisurely through the square and then round a corner down the side of the church on to the main nightlife street of Oviedo.

The cathedral square

The cathedral square

Here lie the remains of a door

Here lie the remains of a door

Although Kevin had already spoken of the cleanliness of Oviedo, I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the street which lay ahead – any other visitor to the city would never have known that it was where people went to drink and party of an evening. It was spotless! A local had even taken to playing some traditional catholic music from their window, making it feel like we were on the set of some kind of epic drama as we strolled down the sloping street.

Looking back to the cathedral

Looking back to the cathedral

Creeping ivy

Creeping ivy

Down the street

Down the street

As we headed down Kevin wanted to show me one of his favourite places to go on a night out, a club called Radio, which unlike most British clubs actually looked quite resplendent during the day too. We also nipped down a few other side streets to beautiful squares and plazas, and I was enchanted by Oviedo’s quiet comfort and relaxing ambience.

A little lantern on Radio

A little lantern on Radio

A quiet little corner of the city

A quiet little corner of the city

One of my favourite buildings was one of those which Kevin had told me was the most aesthetically pleasing in the city, with striking blue painted window frames glowing above the restaurant below. With a decaf coke in hand from a nearby Mercadona, I spent quite a while snapping away to try and get the perfect shot of it’s gorgeous colours!

A lovely colour scheme

A lovely colour scheme

The world's most gorgeous blue

The world’s most gorgeous blue

As the day wore on we headed further looping around the streets of the city centre, passing even more gorgeous buildings such as the town hall and exploring even more quaint little streets flanked by shops, nightclubs and residential blocks. We eventually wound up at a square with a sculpture in it which was rather unimaginatively known as the umbrella when translated from Spanish, and which Kevin told me was used to hide from the Asturian rain when people are out drinking on the streets.

The town hall

The town hall

Kevin chilling on the streets

Kevin chilling on the streets

This is probably called the umbrella square or something

This is probably called the umbrella square or something

After that we began to make headway back to the flat before having some snacky food for the evening. On the way though we encountered an open church door and wandered in only to find that a lot of the religious figures and pews had been covered in plastic sheeting whilst renovations to the building were ongoing. I thought this gave a rather eerie quality to them and snapped a few photos…

Creepy covered idols

Creepy covered idols

The entrance to a covenant

The entrance to a covenant

Another cute rincón

Another cute rincón

After dinner that evening we headed to Kevin’s friend’s place for some drinks before hitting the town, where we sang and danced up and down the same street we’d been to earlier! It was a lovely evening, but the next day we had to take things a little easier than we’d hoped seeing as we only managed to get back home at 5am! Oops…

The next day we explored the more commercial side of the city, with Kevin once again showing me more of Oviedo’s sights and scenes, including an unsuspecting gofre (waffle) stand where we got the most amazing freshly cooked waffles loaded with cream, dulce de leche, Nutella, and syrups of every flavour under the sun. We then sat in the pretty little park and I did my very best to shovel mine into my face without dropping the toppings all over my white shorts – amazingly I succeeded!

The best waffles in Spain, I promise

The best waffles in Spain, I promise

A view in the park

A view in the park

More modern style architecture

More modern style architecture

 

That evening, instead of heading straight home, Kevin took me towards the train station and we began to climb the side of what seemed like quite a pointlessly steep hill. I was wondering why we were headed up there until I got to the top and caught a glimpse of the city behind me – it was quite breathtaking. A little further up we also stumbled upon a church, which although seemingly abandoned had the telltale sign of a recent wedding – a pool of rice on the floor outside the door. Strange.

A rest after each flight, I presume

A rest after each flight, I presume

A pretty awesome view

A pretty awesome view

A church and some rice

A church and some rice

The two following days were spent in Gijón and up in the Asturian lakes, which were so beautiful and full of adventure that I’ve decided to dedicate two upcoming blog posts to them rather than try to squeeze them all into one. After those though came my final evening in Oviedo, when me and Kevin went to grab some pizza and then walk home, but Kevin took the time to show me one last thing before I left – a Roman church which is apparently the oldest standing building in the entire city.

The facade of a seriously old church

The facade of a seriously old church

My time spent in Asturias and Oviedo was absolutely phenomenal, both thanks to Kevin’s impeccable hospitality and the gorgeous places that we visited during my time there. The people of Asturias are some of the loveliest I’ve ever met, and the weather although a tad wet allows for rolling hills of lush greenery which other parts of the country miss out on. It reminded me of being back home here in England, but with a definite Spanish charm and a tonne of amazing food, the quality of which I’m not sure Burnley will ever be able to match.

Stay tuned for further photos and news from my trips including Gijón and the lakes!


3

Jul

2017

Leaving Leeds on Film

3rd July 2017

So in case you guys hadn’t figured it out by the passing of my final year degree show, my time at the University of Leeds has finally come to a close after I began four short years ago. Not to get all sentimental, but I’ve been scrolling back through my blog posts and one of the largest from first year (which can be found here) has reminded me about all the crazy things which have gone on since I left home.

There’s been the various trips to different parts of Europe and even a hop across the big pond to visit New York with the university. There’s been countless hours of university work to build up my portfolio, and plenty more hours spent chilling out with some of the best people I’ve ever met! There’s even been my year in industry where I was lucky enough to work with the fab team at Erretres over in sunny Madrid – it’s been a wild ride.

But back to business, I just got back a batch of photos from my film camera, and most of them document the launch of the degree show – our last official university even before the big graduation day. Talking about graduation, today I received my final grade, and I’m over the moon to have been awarded a first-class honours degree – now it’s just a case of finding a nice shirt to wear when I go up and shake hands with my certificate!

Last minute preparations

Last minute preparations

Everyone begins to arrive

Everyone begins to arrive

The Smith family portrait

The Smith family portrait

I also have a couple of photos from when my parents came to see the degree show and I took my dad out for some Father’s Day lunch – detailed in this blog post.

Me and my dad

Me and my dad

Chilling outside Ox Club

Chilling outside Ox Club

So the next time you’ll hear I’ve been in Leeds will most probably be for my graduation on the 20th July – I’ll be sure to bring plenty of photos – I’m trusting my dad with my camera for the day so we’ll see what he manages to capture!

All that’s left to say I guess is thank you Leeds and everyone I’ve met along the way – it’s been great. Onwards to new adventures!

Goodbye, Leeds

Goodbye, Leeds