Category Archives: Travel

Wales

IMG_6618Friday 22 June

After leaving Hardwick Hall we hit one of the notorious traffic jams on England’s motorways but fortunately are soon able to head off cross country towards Stoke and the slow roads to our hotel, Lake Vrynwy in North Wales, narrowly being missed by a board that flew off a passing van somewhere near the Wales border.

IMG_6578Our Sat Nav seemed to have a mind of it’s own in getting us to the hotel via a single track road for part of the way.

Saturday 23 June

IMG_6561After a restful night in our somewhat antiquated room but with a fabulous evening sunset view breakfast is a traditional Welsh with again stunning views over the lake.

fullsizeoutput_3f08We set off in bright sunshine on a drive to Barmouth where we had been many years ago on a rail excursion from Hertfordshire.

It was quite busy today with beachgoers and walkers a plenty enjoying the summer sun but we did find a small area that was not crowded and this time we probably spent less time there than anticipated as parking was a bit difficult and we wanted to go on to some new places.

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Harlech Castle

Harlech was just up the coast road and surprisingly, parking was not a problem. The cafe at the castle was a find and can be recommended as can the beer they sell in the castle shop as takeaways.

Sadly, no sight though of any male voice choirs singing “Men of Harlech”, that very Welsh song I used to sing with The Harmony Men in Jersey.

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Ffestiniog Railway engine

Our route back to the hotel passed nearby the Ffestiniog Railway at Tan-y-Bwlch station where, having heard the sound of a train approaching from a distance we wait for some photographs of the little Ffestiniog train which is quite full but disgorges a good number of passengers who probably are there to take the next train back to Porthmadoc.

And to think that 45+ years ago this was just a fledgling tourist attraction which we travelled on during our honeymoon. Look at it now.

Sunday 24 June

Start off after another substantial Welsh breakfast with a view to driving around Lake Vrynwy with a stop at a picnic area where we see some wood carvings stuck onto rock – maybe something from the village submerged back in the 1880s – and some wonderful trees and views.

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Excuse the reflection of the bottle!

We have some time before the England’s next World Cup football game so make a detour over a very narrow and windy road to the town of Bala for a coffee over some long and steep hills.

Just before a long drag down from the pass we find a young girl stranded in her car half on the road and half in the ditch with the car at an angle of about 30 degrees.

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Bala coffee stop

Fortunately several bikers had just arrived on the scene and with their muscle and the moving of a couple of boulders to make a ramp she was soon on her way, probably somewhat embarrassed but at least her car was intact and the recovery vehicles weren’t needed.

(We passed her again – quite coincidentally – on our return from Bala and she reversed up this time, one lucky lady)

Onwards to Bala, a bustling little town for a coffee & cake – our lunch – at Y Cyfnod, before heading back a different way to the hotel to watch England’s 6-1 hammering of Panama.

A drive around the southern part of the lake after the football, stopping off at several vantage points to view the large trees, the large picnic tables and the river running into the lake under a bridge – all very photogenic in the wall to wall sunshine .

We had been recommended to this hotel some years ago by a friend whose son was married at the hotel which had been chosen, amongst other reasons for the view and I must say, I could never tire of seeing this view from the hotel on a clear day – we were so lucky with the weather.

Monday 25 June

A long drive in the heat from North to South Wales, a slow journey through Aberystwyth, and single A roads that are not conducive to fast travel.

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Roch Castle

We stop for lunch at Aberaeron asking a local (with not a particularly Welsh accent) for recommendations before our onward journey to Roch Castle for a coupe of nights.

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Roch Castle lounge

Roch Castle is a 12th-century castle, located near Haverfordwest and was built by a Norman knight, Adam de Rupe in the second half of the 12th century, probably on the site of an earlier wooden structure.

It was extended and converted to a hotel, opening in 2013.

It only has 6 bedrooms  which by the very design of the castle, are all somewhat quirky.

The lounge is on the first floor with an outdoor area for viewing the surrounding countryside, above which are 4 other bedrooms and a spa room on the top floor although our room was on the lower ground floor which in turn had to be accessed from below. Strange layout but somehow it worked.

Dinner tonight at a sister hotel in St Davids with some interesting artwork to which we are taken and returned by the hotel provided minibus.

Tuesday 26 June

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St Davids Cathedral (or is it St David’s Cathedral?)

A day to explore St Davids and of course its Cathedral. St Davids is the United Kingdom’s smallest city in terms of both size and population (1,841 in 2011) and is the final resting place of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.

Inside the cathedral, the ceiling, stained glass and flooring were exceptional and there was a lot to see – very calm and collected in there of course.

In fairness, there is probably not a lot else to St Davids other than the Cathedral and the adjacent ruins of St Davids’ Bishop’s Palace which is not free to go into.

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Bishop’s Palace ruins

Now, anyone with an english language background will be puzzled as to the spelling of the Cathedral.

The official website of the cathedral has no apostrophe but Google Maps and Wikipedia has it with an apostrophe. Which is right?

We then head off via Haverfordwest to Fishguard which, just outside, has a good viewpoint at Fishguard Fort.

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Boats at Solva

A meal tonight at the Cambrian Inn at nearby Solva which has a wonderfully protected harbour and some Lime kilns with lots of moored yachts in the harbour and many canoeists.

Of course we get a good view of the sunset from the castle balcony although we are reminded that the sun does not always shine in Pembrokeshire!

fullsizeoutput_3f03Wednesday 27 June

Yes, we would return there if we could and stay at both hotels but let us hope the weather is not quite as hot as it was on our very long drive eastwards in the scorching heat – it reached 30C – to Reading (with a brief drive around Tenby – couldn’t park so didn’t stop) for our overnight and a catch up with Flic, Gary and Cody.

Thursday 28 June

Another very hot day and we are calling in on friends Pete and Lorraine in Woodford for a catch up with lunch in nearby Buckhurst Hill.

Friday 29 June

20180629_213026Another very hot day and we drive down to Steyning where we used to live 30 years ago to visit friends Bob & Di.

Their middle daughter, Toni, has recently become engaged and we are fortunate enough to be there for her engagement party.

Her party is held in a pub just over the road from Brighton Station, the Grand Central public house.

Sadly, our goddaughter, Alex, could not be there but hopefully we will be able to catch up with her soon.

A nightcap back in Steyning and a chance to see the resident badger.fullsizeoutput_3f05

Saturday 30 June

Our plan was to go to Clearwell to check the decorating and garden, talk to the caretaker and collect something from the loft for Flic.

However, we changed so that we could meet Flic, Gary and Cody at Amesbury, Wiltshire for some house hunting, electing to defer our visit to Clearwell for three weeks later.

After struggling in the traffic jams around Worthing and Chichester, we then managed to get into a traffic jam outside Salisbury which took us 80 minutes to travel just over a mile.

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Amesbury park

Missing one house, we then take Cody to a park at Amesbury for a couple of house before ending our stay in a local pub for a drink before we head for Huntingdon for tonight’s stay at the Holiday Inn racecourse which is a bit difficult to locate but well appointed with wonderful views over the racecourse.

It is still 24C at virtually 10pm when we get to the hotel!

Only afterwards we discover that the hold up in Salisbury was probably due to the discovery in Amesbury of two individuals who had been poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent that had also poisoned two Russians in Salisbury a couple of months previously.

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Fun at Amesbury park

Both individuals have a strong link with Salisbury and sadly one of them died a week later.

Part of the investigation included Boots (the UK store) at Amesbury where I had tried to visit whilst there (it was closed). Scary times.

Sunday 1 July

A visit to Sally’s brother, Nick and his family in Cambridge for a catch up although due to a family funeral, they had met in Surrey earlier this month.

Both Peter and Paul were in so it was time to catch up with them and their respective studies.

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Old plane at Liverpool Airport Crowne Plaza

A long drive tonight to our overnight at Liverpool (Crowne Plaza at the Airport), an Art Deco building with an aviation history and which had served as the main Airport building many years ago.

We hadn’t stayed here before but on the basis of our stay, think it will be on the list for a repeat visit.

(I had possibly been through the building in the very early 1960s with my Mum & Dad on a family holiday to the Isle of Man)

Monday 2 July

The end of a somewhat varied experience in Yorkshire, Wales, Sussex and Cambridgeshire with a mid morning ferry home after an indifferent breakfast at the hotel and prepare for a visitor for a few days.

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Yorkshire

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After our entertaining duties are over following the Isle of Man TT, we are on our way to Liverpool this afternoon and the boat will be busier than normal as the previous two fast and overnight slow boats were cancelled because of the storm yesterday.

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I Wanna Hold Your Hand

We stay tonight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Liverpool pier head (100 yds from the ferry) and venture out in the evening for a walk around some of the newly named Royal Albert Docks including a stop at the rather overlarge model of the Beatles for a photo opportunity.

Friday 15 June

Watch the Mannannan go out from it’s berth in a very fast moving inward tide – quite impressive as we have never seen it depart before, we are always on it – never watching it from the land. These fast ferries are so manoeuvrable.

Head off for the Scarborough area of North Yorkshire, finding a lovely garden centre near Brighouse for lunch – very crowded – but later on, traffic on A64 towards Scarborough is very slow so we are 30 minutes later than anticipated.

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View form our bedroom window

Our home for the next week is a converted barn on a working farm just north of Scarborough.

The Old Granary Cottage has a big kitchen and living / dining area downstairs with comfortable seating for 6 and 3 bedrooms upstairs one of which has an en-suite shower room and a wonderful view over the rolling countryside (our room)!

As a welcome pack, we are left 6 eggs, several biscuits, coffee and of course Yorkshire Tea, all very delicious.

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Lucy’s oversize cage

John & Deirdre arrive soon after us with Lucy (their dog) who is possibly somewhat puzzled by the size of the cage that the owners have left for our use.

Saturday 16 June

Not a particularly hot day but very little rain and we head for Dalby Forest for a few walks. The forest has lots of hiking and cycling trails and a “Go Ape” that has an amazingly long zip wire which seems to bring out the screams in everyone!

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Dalby Forest

A popular place with, probably, locals as well as tourists with a well stocked café and shop as well as an interpretation centre aimed more at youngsters.

We, however stick to the walk around the lake which was just as nice as climbing up steep banks or walking in amongst the trees at height.

Whilst entrance to the park is free, if you walk or cycle but if coming by car the parking charge is a steep £9 for any length of stay.

Sunday 17 June

Rosedale Abbey

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Rosedale Abbey church with Priory staircase on right

Our visit today is to Rosedale Abbey, a little village in the dales not far from Pickering.

We are told that there never was an Abbey here but in fact there was a Priory between 1154 and the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 with the only remaining visible evidence being the stairwell and perhaps some outer houses such as the Reading room.

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Near the church in Rosedale Abbey

It is a pretty village with a good tea room and a workshop with some very expensive glass blowing. A couple of fairly flat walks and a view inside the church followed by the ubiquitous refreshments whilst we watch cyclists and walkers pass through – even some on a bus.

Our return is via Cropton and Wrelton where we holidayed in 1994. (Cropton was where we bought take away beer in “milk cartons” and Wrelton is where we all stayed in a holiday cottage – Beech Farm)

Monday 18 June

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Runswick Sands

Sight of the sea is required today – withdrawal symptons setting in! Sandsend is our first stop, then tried Runswick Sands but don’t stop there, car park quite high up and for £2.00 an hour, a little expensive, so onwards to Staithes, a pretty little coastal village where we have lunch at the quaint Dotty’s Tea Rooms – do try the fruit scones.

A long and steep walk down to the beach from the car park at the top of the hill so some dropping off and collecting is required.

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Staithes

The village has a couple of piers so is a sheltered harbour which makes for a nice walk and photo opportunity.

Tuesday 19 June

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Peasholm park

Drop Lucy off at some nearby kennels and we are off to Scarborough for a Jet boat ride, a tramway ride, a visit to the newly renovated Scarborough market – then off to North Beach for a walk around  Peasholm park. 

Evening meal at the Falcon Inn , a short drive away in the Whitby direction.

There are some impressive looking Yurts / glamping  pods in their grounds which look new.

Wednesday 20 June

We are off today on a steam train ride to Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a preserved railway predominantly run by volunteers.

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Our train to Whitby

We are pulled by Southern Railway’s engine number 926, Repton, which was built in 1934.

This is a very crowded train of 7 coaches with a couple of parties and some people in wheelchairs.

We opt for the very comfortable first class compartments at a nominal £2 supplement and are joined by two Chinese girls with large travel cases on our way to Whitby.

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Disused Railway viaduct in Whitby

It is surprisingly very windy and quite cold in Whitby but with only a couple of hours there, we only have time for a crab sandwich and a stroll along the harbour watching the boats take tourists out for a ride onto the North Sea before we are back queuing for our not so crowded train back to Pickering.

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Boat rides on an old lifeboat

No 1st class compartments on this train this time and certainly not so crowded with diesel hauled from Whitby to Grosmont and steam hauled from there. 

So much wildlife to see by the side of the track but they are all moving quickly away from the moving train which is either making a lot of noise as it battles up the hills from or is coasting at speed downhill in an attempt to make up some of the time as it was at least 30 minutes late leaving Whitby.

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Our engine for our return journey

Dinner tonight at The Plough Scalby, the slightly less popular of the two virtually adjacent pubs, the other being The Nags Head which was heaving with customers for their wine tasting event.

Thursday 21 June

A more leisurely day with less wind and cloud and we head for Falling Foss Tea Rooms which were a little difficult to find if you don’t see the sign in the car park!

Down a steep hill so coming back up was courtesy of a very nervous me driving down to collect them over terrain that is far more suited to a 4 x 4 vehicle.

The falls themselves were suffering early onset drought so not flowing freely.

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Falling Foss Waterfall

Aidensfield was our next stop (otherwise known as Goathland).

If you look on a map of the area, you won’t find Aidensfield as it was a fictitious name for a town featured in a 1960s based TV series, Heartbeat, that was filmed there from 1992 onwards for 372 episodes.

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1960s style Police car

Some recognisable features are still there including the old garage and a police car.

Interesting car parking arrangements with sheep surrounding the car on our return – fortunately no damage.

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Car Park at Goathland

Back towards our cottage for the last week and we stop at the nearby Grainary Tea Rooms before returning to pack for our departure tomorrow.

Friday 22 June

John and Dierdre collect Lucy, who is obviously pleased to see them. The kennels are on a remote headland, a lovely location.

Off now to a lunch at a National Trust property – Hardwick Hall before we leave John & Deirdre and head off for our next adventure in Wales.

Receive a phone call just after we get on the motorway about possibly returning to work for a short period of time – interesting prospect.

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Dunham Massey

Sunday 20 May

IMG_6342After our visit to the Anderton Boat Lift we have headed to Dunham Massey, a National Trust house. Whilst this is not a spectacularly large house, the drive to it is long and the parkland surrounding the house is substantial allowing for many visitors to picnic in the grounds.

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Rear of House from Gardens

Although the postal address is near Altrincham it is also near Little Bollington and easily signposted.

A modern cafe and visitor centre is set away from the main house which is found on a flat walk.

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Talk on “A Woman’s Place”

Our Manx National Heritage cards allow us free access to the gardens and house as well and we are lucky enough to hear a small talk in the kitchen area by a volunteer who portrays one of the Housekeepers of the 19th Century at the house (Dunham Massey: A Woman’s Place)

Not a great deal to see inside of the house compared with other houses but still worth a visit. A display of Victorian and other clothing was a popular display and an item of interest is that surgeon Thomas White in May 1729 performed a Mastectomy in the house on Lady Mary Booth’s mother.

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Costume display

It beggars belief the pain the poor woman went through.

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Colourful

The gardens however are worth going to but were not perhaps at their best when we went.

Dinner tonight at a pub that was recommended by another volunteer who provided a golf cart style lift back to the entrance to save our legs.

The pub, The Swan with Two Nicks, is not exactly easy to find but once there we can see why the volunteer suggested it. Sunday lunch type fare, Yum.

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500 year old Oak Tree – the oldest on the estate 

Monday 21 May

A bit of retail therapy in the heat of the day at Cheshire Oaks after we have said goodbye to Phillip & Sylvia.

Lots of renovations are being carried out on the complex which will make it even bigger in the not too distant future – probably in time for Christmas.

Ferry home from Liverpool just in time to prepare for the influx of bikers for this year’s TT.

We are hosing Homestay guests again this year but not our normal visitors.

Anderton Boat Lift

IMG_6337Saturday 19 May

The day of the Royal Wedding sees us driving up to Warrington to meet up with Phillip & Sylvia who are delayed because of a puncture but there in time for us to go out for a meal in Warrington at San Lorenzo which is housed in the old Treasury building at Palmyra Square.

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San Lorenzo, Warrington

Food not bad but service very slow – we had to wait for about an hour for our main course.

The Treasury Building has an interesting history being built in 1901 and housed then the Warrington Technical College before being used by the local council’s finance department and then earlier this century being converted into it’s present day useage.

Phillip had arranged a night out at the next door Parr Hall with an Abba Tribute band – Thank you for the Music. The sound reproduction of the singers was good, the clothes good but they hadn’t quite got the movement right although the evening was very enjoyable – shame there were many untaken seats.

A local school choir had been roped in to join in with one of the numbers which had swelled the audience by the addition of the parents / grandparents.

Sunday 20 May

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Anderton Boat lift from the top level

A morning at the Victorian Anderton Boat Lift near Northwich, Cheshire.

The lift provides a 50-foot (15.2 m) vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal and is operated by the Canal & River trust.

A visitor Centre is at the top of the lift which is free to enter and provides some historical photographs and the complex is run well by the Canal River Trust. ( http://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/anderton )

The lift had to be built out from the bank of the River thus creating an island but over the years, this has been filled in.

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Would you trust these two to steer you along the river?

To experience the lift, a boat ride is required which takes you down from the visitor centre which is on the Canal level to the river below and is followed by a river trip to Northwich and back to the base of the visitor centre at the lower river level. (The process is reversed for every other journey)

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Northwich from the water

A very informative commentary was provided with some good photo opportunities in our tour that lasted about 75 minutes.

The one downside is the view of the still operational Tata Chemicals factory opposite the boat lift and but this does have a claim to fame as it was the location of the invention of Polythene, widely used nowadays in many plastic items such as polythene bags, back in 1933 by two gentlemen, Mr R O Gibson and Mr E W Fawcett, during an experiment that ‘went wrong’.

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Car Rally

After our cruise up River to Northwich and back we look at the cars at the car rally  – mostly TVRs – that was on display in the grounds before climbing up to the Visitor Centre for refreshments.

We now head off to Dunham Massey a National Trust property with a massive park near Little Bollington which is today very popular in the sunshine.

 

Reading and Basildon Park

IMG_6294Sunday 13 May

Long drive late in the afternoon to Caversham on the banks of the River Thames to our Crowne Plaza hotel for the next 6 nights which, using points from previous IHG stays, was virtually free.

Monday 14 May

Meet up with John & Deirdre at Basildon Park – a National Trust property just outside Reading on a lovely day so we take advantage and sit on the grass with our lunch.

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Shell room

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Inside Basildon Park

We were able to get in free due to our membership of the Manx National Heritage.

Basildon Park is an interesting house with a shell room and substantial library as well as a kitchen left in the state it would have been when in it’s heyday.

One field nearby has just been dug up so that the equipment required for ground source heating can be installed which will definitely benefit the finances of the house in the long term.

One or two fields have been left uncut and the resultant display of buttercups was a wonderful sight.

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Library room

Cody is just learning to walk and this was a very tiring day for him – we definitely managed to tire him out.

Tuesday 15 May

Cody definitely overwhelmed with his toys for his birthday and might have suffered with Sensory overload as many of them had to be left for opening later.

Lunch out with Barbara followed by a brief stroll in the sun around a park in Woodley, it was up to well over 20C today, by the lake watching the baby geese.

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Geese family gathering

At one stage, they all were trying to get up a bank, all but one succeeded and the mother had to nudge the last one further along the bank for an easy access route – mother’s instinct!

Gary has hurt his back playing walking rugby and as he is a bit immobile, we stay with him to put Cody to bed as Flic is at college tonight, she is back at work tomorrow after a year’s maternity leave and holiday – how the time has flown.

Wednesday 16 May

Flic is back to work today and whilst Cody is off to the childminder we have a bit of free time in town but were not impressed by the service for breakfast at John Lewis.

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More presents

With Gary, we collect Cody from the childminder – he had been fine after the first few minutes, the other children had taken to him well and Flic was home a few minutes later to have some quality time with Cody, opening more presents.

Thursday 17 May

Ikea breakfast considerably better than John Lewis and at half the price and another day to ourselves although we did have to take Gary to the hospital as he was still suffering with his back and had another appointment.

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Grandma’s watch

Lunch at Bosco Lounge in Woodley with Gary before we pick up Cody again from the childminder.

Friday 18 May

Mel is arriving today for a few days (she should have been on a course but that is another story) so we are not going to get a look in as far as Cody is concerned.

We are, instead, off to a pre-arranged meet up with Phillip & Sylvia in Cheshire tomorrow, driving on what might be quiet roads as it is the day of the Royal Wedding in Windsor.

 

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Buttercup field at Basildon Park

Jersey again

20180414_115051Friday 6 April

Not quite as early a start as our last adventure but still early and our first crossing this year on the fast ferry, a smooth crossing but lots of traffic, again, on way South.  Stop off at Flic & Gary’s for a brief time with Cody, and then off to Holiday Inn Express at Portsmouth laden with an Asda shop for Sarah & Ali as well as a bike for Harry and our ferry the following day to Jersey.

We leave half an hour late probably due to arrival of a Saga cruise ship and we have 10 hours + on this as the route takes us East of Alderney for a change before we turn Westwards for Guernsey.

A very empty sailing with possibly under 100 people on board, certainly most of them heading for Guernsey, our stop on the way. We, probably along with many others, have a cabin for the day crossing – ours has the benefit of a TV and a shower.

Food good value for money but hot drinks expensive at £2.60 per drink.

Harry in bed by the time we get to Jersey so we don’t get to see him until the following day. Why does travel make you tired, even in the same time zone?

The first day was exceptionally foggy and rainy so not a lot of point going out other than me helping Ali with a dump trip to get rid of fencing panels unburnable in a home fire and sundry other rubbish from their efforts of clearing around the house. It is still cold here and an open fire is very welcome.

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Insulation being installed to stop it being so cold

However, the weather did clear up for most of the rest of the week so we were able to get out and about and away from the refurbishment of the house that Sarah is undertaking to make it warmer for next winter.

Harry was pleased with his road bike we bought with us for him although he is a bit small for it at the moment.

During the rest of the week, we managed breakfast at Colleens café at Greve de Lecq (where have you heard that before) a play on the beach for Harry albeit in the cold wind, crazy golf (where I managed to step back onto thin air and fell over rather spectacularly) and a few visits to the newly refurbished Millbrook Park with their sunken trampolines.

Dinner out with Laura & Jim at Somerville, with Sarah, Ali and Harry at the fabulously reasonably priced Roccos and a final lunch with Harry at Pizza Express at St Brelade’s.

Stocking up on food at the local Co-op whilst Harry entertains the staff at Tot Stop is an experience as food is so much more expensive here in Jersey than at home. Carrots for example are double the price, and whilst milk is virtually the same price but for at least 15% less milk.  I reckon that the £70+ we spent would have only cost about £45 in the UK or at home.

Harry did manage to get his road bike out in the field to follow a course as well as building some good tracks on Quadrilla – a Canadian marble game – and some intricate Lego models.

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Just a selection of Lego

Sadly it was soon time to go as Harry was back to the school routine but not before we managed to buy some of the rare Jersey Royal potatoes which have not had a good year because of the harsh winter and will be scarce in the shops this year.

Fast ferry back to Poole, overnight in Southampton and a visit to Flic before heading up north (Overnight at Oxford) for our ferry back from Liverpool on the Wednesday.

Not quite sure how I managed to get us up to Liverpool as I had developed a full blown head cold on the last Sunday we were in Jersey and by Wednesday, it was a struggle to keep an eye open.  Unfortunately, Sal caught it from me so the first few days at home were not much fun for her.

Three weeks at home now before some more Babysitting duties in Reading and a rush back for the TT.

Ibiza – March 2018

IMG_610019 March

Why 5am start? Well, to get to Ibiza without changing airports or walking vast distances, it’s the 7am BA flight to London City, with a surprising complimentary breakfast, an hour transfer time and another BA flight to Ibiza with yet another complimentary breakfast.

Unfortunately, with transfers at London City you have to go out and in again, there is no direct transfer which takes time, especially at rush hour, which our arrival is during. We have a problem with a home printed boarding pass so we have to get a new one which involves going back downstairs, visiting the BA desk although we do get fast tracked through security only to sit on the plane at the gate for 50 minutes.

Comfortable flight with plenty of leg room. Arrival at Ibiza and collection of car quite smooth and we set off towards the centre of the island in somewhat overcast conditions.

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Agroturismo Can Cosmi Prats

We are staying at Agroturismo Can Cosmi Prats which is not easy to program into our sat nav with the address provided but we get there in the end.

We are met by the owner, Anais, a young woman originally from Valencia, who shows us around the wonderful buildings.

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Inside

This is her and her partner’s 4th season and today is the opening day of this season and we have the place to ourselves for 3 days before others join us.

Anais so looks like Laura, Flic’s friend, with her long facial features, freckles and dark hair.

Our room is a new one for this year and still has to be painted, so the look inside is rustic both inside and out which is not at all unattractive.

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Our bedroom door in the new courtyard

After a tour of the area and a glass of chilled wine, we venture out ending up at Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, a nearby town that Anais recommends for finding somewhere to eat.

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Rustic bedroom

One place recommended is closed for the holidays, opening Wednesday, but the other (Macao) is welcoming even before they open at 7:30 as by now it is raining hard so walking around is not an option.

Excellent food, if a bit pricey and certainly popular for a Monday night.

Having programmed the location of the hotel into the Sat Nav before we left, returning was easy and we made it back there just before heavy rains and thunder & lightning – a rarity in these parts.

It is very cold as well for the time of year so are glad of the heater.

Tuesday 20 March

After a good night’s sleep, we find that the hot water does not work, so no shower today, hopefully it will be fixed by tomorrow.

Breakfast is a wonderful spread of fruit, croissant, fresh orange juice, a cooked dish (to order), and coffee/tea.

None of it was out on a side table, all brought to us from the kitchen area. I don’t want to move after this, possibly one of the best breakfast spreads we have had at a hotel.

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Coastline near Sa Canal

Anais suggests going into Ibiza town and then perhaps the salt area by the airport today.

The Sat Nav doesn’t like some of the places around the island and we find ourselves driving through Ibiza town, down very narrow streets as a route has now been pedestrianised since the Sat Nav was configured.

Exit back the way we came and follow signs for Airport and follow map instead to Sa Canal.

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Old salt factory engine

For a dead end of a road and only one or two old buildings from the salt factory by the road it was a remarkably busy road but then we discover that behind the beach is a massive car park, virtually empty at this time of year but that is probably where all the cars had gone.

A brief walk along the sandy beach, still too cold to stay out long and we are back in the car and heading off for Cala Moli and Cala Vadella.

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Cala Vadella bay

Some nice empty (at this time of year) beaches and bays.

Head out to San Antoni but hit a big traffic jam just outside the town which we therefore give a miss to; returning via a late lunch at Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera and buy some food for a snack later tonight. A stay in sort of a night as it is unseasonably cold.

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tree fruit

Although cold, it is now clear so the opportunity was taken for some photographs of the hotel and grounds including their exotic growth from one of their trees (about 20ft tall) as there was no one else around.

I shared some of these with Anais who has used some of them on the hotel’s Facebook page and website; somewhat chuffed about this!

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A Terrace at hotel

Wednesday 21 March

Head off north to Port de Sant Miquelon Le Balansat, which like many of the areas has a multitude of beaches, but is still frantically in preparation for the start of the season.

Grab a coffee at the only open restaurant and head off on a very small cross country single track road Eastwards to Portimax and Cindad but again, very little open, only one cafe in Portinax.

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Little islands outside Sant Joan de Labritja

Return to Sant Joan de Labritja, a quick walk around and off on the very windy road to Cala de San Vicenc where we stop and stare out to sea.

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Cala de San Vicenc

A beautiful sandy beach, at the moment deserted but come the summer will no doubt be heaving, as will be our next stop, Cala Llenya where at least a beach café is open to serve us a drink.

Driving back to the hotel, through Santa Eularia del Rju and the surrounding area, a place we think we should return to.

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Artwork at Bar Costa

Time for a sit outside in the sun on our little sheltered terrace before heading off to Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera for a dinner at Bar Costa ( no relation of Costa Coffee in the UK ) with it’s quirky art work inside.

The meal was a sort of a tapas type meal but there was a lot of it allowing us to bring some away with us for tomorrow’s lunch, and all this for €20.70.

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Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera church

A good still night for a picture of the local church at Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera.

Thursday 22 March

Cold again, but by lunchtime, cloudless. We are off late today and back to some beaches on the South West including an area obviously being set up for sunset watching, Platja de Comte and some smartly presented housing at Cala Vadella.

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Cala Vadella

No chance for a coffee at Platja de Comte so head off for lunch elsewhere.

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Platja de Comte

Drive through San Antoni but not overly impressed and again, most places closed for holidays or siesta.

Stop at Lidl for a few snacks including a very nice bottle of Riocha for €3.49! and ground coffee for €0.99 a packet.

A cafe strategically placed at a road junction on the way back entices us in for a drink, my first for about 5 hours, which is not ideal and another sit out in the sun on the terrace.

Try the Lidl coffee, a bit week but put another teaspoonful in and it should be OK.

Dinner tonight is again at Macao café, they recognised us and again, the place was quite full.

Friday 23 March

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Ibiza Harbour from the old town

A supposed early start but we get enticed into another good breakfast and by the time we have parked and walked to the centre of Ibiza town it is near enough 11:30.

I go exploring up into the old walled city and Sal reads on a bench in the sun.

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Inside the old town walls

Loads of school kids up in the walled town on school visits, all with labels on telling everyone (who can read Spanish that is) where they are from and probably their names. Very noisy.

Climb up further for some more views before returning with a very sore knee to Sal and a welcome drink in a nearby square.

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Poolside

Amble back to car and join in the mass siesta exodus from the town, collecting lunch at Lidl – we know how to enjoy ourselves – before relaxing in the sun by the pool  – still too cold to get in the pool – and on our terrace by our room for the afternoon.

Dinner tonight in La Vela in Cala Llonga, a pizza restaurant that appears to be attached to a locals bar.

The village is, apart from this place and one other, pretty dead. Good quantities of food, Gnochi and Spaghetti Carbonara and two drinks for €26 – not bad and a pleasant owner / server.

No doubt the town will be heaving in a month or two’s time when the tourists arrive and the heat increases.

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a bit of sunshine

Saturday 24 March

A dull day following on from yesterday’s good day and we head out to find the Hippy market at Mercadillo Las Dalias just outside San Carlos (eventually) and after a brief stop at Port de Sant Miquel for a coffee although it is too windy to stay outside long.

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Hippy Market

Lunch in I Ben Agust at Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera and back for a rest before evening meal at Can Pau where we arrive as the restaurant opens at 8pm and are there on our own for just under an hour before the place begins to fill up – they eat so late in Spain.

As to the meal, well it was Duck that was just with herbs and prunes, nothing else or a whole small chicken with potatoes and no veg.

Somewhat surprisingly, given en it was late March, the music comprised of Christmas music.

Sunday 25 March

We lost an hour as clocks went forward last night so we are even later out from breakfast than we had been the previous few days.

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Ibiza “Stonehenge”

Out to find the Stonehenge of Ibiza, a very difficult place to get to, one internet guide says “go to the beach and walk up”.

The Sculpture was commissioned by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and created by Australian artist Andrew Rogers.

Beware, the road to it is seriously not made up, extremely bumpy and treacherous.

We never made it to the beach, the drive signposted to the beach is only probably suitable for 4×4 vehicles, but I did get eventually get a view from across the bay, never managing to get there.

Coffee in Cala Vadella, possibly one of the better beaches we have come across but double the price for coffee as the one in Ibiza town and Port de San Miquel.

The sun is out so we head back via Lidl ( for lunch & dinner supplies, coffee and chocolate to bring back ) and some sitting out on our terrace in the last of the day’s sun. I think Spring is finally here.

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Our terrace at Agrotourismo Can Cosmi Prats

Monday 26 March

A late breakfast, say our goodbyes to Anais and head for the airport via another beach we hadn’t been to Sa Caleta with some interesting sandstone rock that no doubt is being eroded away quickly with storms etc.

A little sheltered here so some brave souls were out sunbathing on the predominantly stoney beach despite the relatively cool temperatures for the time of year.

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A few brave sunbathers

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Sa Caleta beach

Drop off hire car and sit in lounge to await plane to London City Airport.

Plane late, so at London City Airport we have something like 20 minutes to get from the arriving plane (at Gate 8) to the departing plane, including getting out of the plane, through immigration to land side and then back air side again (through security) which required a very long walk to gate 14.

We made it, as did our luggage, but it was tight and Sal, especially, did not enjoy the long walks in haste at London city Airport. It was just as well the flight home from London City Airport was also a bit late.

Another holiday over and again, a place I would like to go back to but perhaps more in season than out of season. Certainly the stay at Agroturismo Can Cosmi Prats made the stay even more enjoyable, it was definitely one of the best “hotels” we have stayed at.

There were so many different bays and coves that were picturesque, this brief account couldn’t really do justice to the island.

Next stop Jersey again for some grandson sitting.

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Beach at Sa Caleta