Christmas Markets and A Happy New Year

As the new year rolled in, I toasted with my workmates and drank sparkling grape juice. Sadly non-alcoholic. Meanwhile a patient vomited loudly in a corner of the waiting room. Oh the joys of working night shift on New Years Eve.

But before I get that far, I want to rewind a little and tell you about a little trip I made earlier in the month. I had about four days off in a row (a rare occurrence) so decided to pop up to the cities of Bristol and Oxford. Being December pre-Xmas, it was also a time of Christmas markets with cute wooden stalls and the cities all decked out in decorations and trees.

I stayed in Bristol for just a night. It’s quite a pretty modern looking city. I was surprised with how much I liked it. A few canals, cute little shops and nicely designed walkways was a big part of that. I wandered around the large Christmassy German-style market for ages that first evening sipping mulled cider and enjoying the smell of cooking curryvurst sausages.

Pretty Bristol
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Pretty market too
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The next day I went and checked out the suspension bridge. The bridge geek inside me loves photographing bridges and this was quite a spectacular one. There’s also an observatory near the bridge with some great views of the surrounding valley.

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After defrosting with a hot lunch and tea in a cozy cafe, I did a bit of squirrel-watching in a park before walking through Bristol’s famous street art graffiti gallery.

My squirrel buddy. I named him Harry
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Then it was time to catch the bus to Oxford. It was pretty dark and cold by the time I arrived so it was nice to snuggle up into bed. Shelley was catching the train in early in the morning to join me for the day so I had plans to get up early to meet her. As long as your definition of early means before 10am.

Hopefully some of you have heard of Oxford? It’s a pretty well-known prestigious university town located about halfway down within England where some of the finest minds in the world have lived and trained. It has a long running rivalry with Cambridge. The style of the inner city buildings where most of the campus is located reminds me of a castle which is perhaps why some of Harry Potter was filmed there.

I met up with Shelley and we toured the rather small Christmas market. The mayor even gave a speech since it was opening day and cut a ribbon. There was a stall that did contain the most amazing sausage/potato/cheese thing that we ended up getting for lunch later on. We could smell it a couple of blocks away and boy did it taste delicious.

Oxford has quite highly rated free walking tour by the Footprints company which Shelley and I decided to give a whirl. It was definitely worth it with how funny and interesting the guide was. Shelley thought he was pretty attractive too (he was actually), and wondered if he was single.

We learned interesting things like the exact Harry Potter filming locations, how each house/dorm would have a pet turtle, and about a library with a collection of books so large, if stacked in a straight line would reach London and back before ending.

Outside of the Hogwarts infirmary
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The bridge that Oxford build purely to copy Cambridge’s one
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The wonky library Christmas tree
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Inside of Hogwarts infirmary aka the Divinity School
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Shelley was a bit under the weather that day so I was surprised she even still came to Oxford. If I had felt the way she looked, I would have firmly stayed in bed and said nooooooo. I made sure that we had plenty of thawing out times in shops with hot drinks including some ginger and lemon tea. It was a relief to plop her back on the train still upright and breathing at the end of the day. Well done Shellz.

I was back home the next day and reluctantly back to work again.

Christmas trundled past making me feel rather homesick and sad. I spent the day at work and then got a bit drunk on mulled wine after with my flatmate. Cold Christmases feel weird I reckon. And it’s a bit lonely without your family.

I do have to say a big thank you for the Christmas cards and gifts I did receive. I had a bit of a cry opening Snazzy’s gift. Perhaps the wine was part of that. There was so much thoughtfulness and love inside it. Thanks S-dog :)

To cheer myself up a bit I had a wee London day-trip on my next day off where I watched an excellent musical called Wicked, and checked out Winter Wonderland. Wicked is an amazing musical based on the story of the Wizard of Oz. You should watch it if you get the chance. Same also with Winter Wonderland. It’s a temporary themepark set up in London over winter and contains Christmas market-like stalls, mouth-watering hot German style food, roller-coasters, ice sculptures and ice skating. And lots of loud music. There was even a cool rotating merry-go-round bar. Lots of fun.

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Then I got to work night shifts over New Years. I guess the extra pay from working a public holiday was worth it but it definitely wasn’t as fun. As a bonus I didn’t get vomited on by one of the many drunk patients that night. And many of them had been in fights hence their presenting to A+E rather than continuing to party.

My favourite patient that shift was a young man who’d taken some acid and was completely unaware of anything real. He was having conversations with the walls, enjoying shaking his hair around and unable to even stay on a bed without falling off. Hilarious. At some stage he wandered off and we never actually did discover where he ended up.

Happy 2014 to you all. I wish good health and happy times to you all. And it may interest you to know that my New Years resolution is to learn a bit of Spanish.

hola! ¿Está rascarse el culo como un mono?

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