First stop was London in early February....and funnily I will be there the same couple of days this year.
The Millennium Bridge linking the Tate Modern with St Paul's Cathedral.
Royal Chelsea Hospital - home to the Chelsea Pensioners - former soldiers who find camaraderie in old age as residents of the hospital. We had stopped nearby to visit William Curley's Dessert Bar for afternoon tea - heaven on a plate - or 5 of them to be exact.
March found me in Madrid and Segovia, visiting with my friend Mariana (on a visit from Costa Rica) and her old flatmate (home from Zurich to meet up with Mariana too). It was a lovely weekend and so nice to catch up with good friends.
The Roman aqueduct in Segovia....
A view of Segovia...
Next stop was a family holiday, that involved slightly less family than it was supposed to following a medical drama that involved ambulances, hospitals and an air ambulance....my brother and I remained to visit the islands....
The Broch at Mousa, constructed over 2000 years ago and still standing, the staircase between the thick walls enabling you to climb to the top.
June involved a day trip to the Lake District in the north of England for Woolfest. Always a lovely day out with friends surrounded by woollie goodness.
And then another weekend in the Lake District to Fix the Fells....
The courtyard of the British Museum, with the atrium designed by one of Britain's greatest contemporary architects' Sir Norman Foster & Partners.
To start off the 4 year commemoration of World War 1, 2 artists, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper created 888,246 ceramic poppies that were planted around the Tower of London by an army of volunteers. One poppy for each of the British fatalities during the war. It was indeed a moving sight. The installation was called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
From London I went straight to visit friends in The Hague. It was lovely to catch up with them all again and to visit, Gouda (home of the cheese), Delft and around The Hague.
The town hall in Gouda which was open to visitors as part of the local Doors Open Day, so we got to go inside and visit.
Canals in Gouda.
Cycling along the Dutch coast to the south of the Hague....miles and miles of sandy beaches, about 2km from my friends' house.
Next stop was Gent in Belgium for another work meeting. I had never been to Gent before and it looks like a nice town to go back to in more relaxing circumstances, a medieval centre steeped in history.
Back in the office for a few days before heading off to speak at a conference in Umea in the north of Sweden. In 2014 it was one of the European Capitals of Culture and was hosting a conference about the creative industries. I was giving a talk about a project we had been working on that looks at creative sector incubators/business accelerators.
Me in the Umea logo....another project we are working on looks at city branding and marketing. This is a smile in a heart. It is a university city, with almost as many students as inhabitants. It is about 250 miles south of the Arctic circle and one of the most northerly places I have ever been. We were lucky with the weather and the birch trees that the city is also famous for were resplendent in yellow leaves.
November was Japan!! A long awaited return trip to one of my favourite countries. I am sure to post about that journey but here are a few photos to whet the appetite.
Torii Gates at a Tokyo Temple
A bride at a Shinto Temple in Kamakura.
The bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto.
Downtown Ginza at night.
Japanese maples in Kyoto.
Meiju-Jingu Shrine, Tokyo
2015 plans.....work trips to Zurich, London and Utrecht......holidays....not so sure yet!