A total change of direction

When Jasper left for rainbow Bridge fifteen months ago, he left a massive hole in our family, and and even bigger one in my heart.
Then recently Little Sal went to joint him at the bridge, taking another big chunk of my heart with her.
Only a pet owner will know that emptiness I’m talking about.

I know everyone is different, and we all deal with our grief in different ways.
Mine has always been to try and fill that hole as soon as I can as it gives me something to focus on, and if by doing so I can help another poor lost soul have a happier life, well that is reward enough for me.

If this poem is anything to go by, I’m sure Sally and Jasper will be happy too.

Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, giving their home and all they have to those they leave behind.

If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask…
To a poor and lonely stray, I’d give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.

I’d will to the sad, scared, shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.

So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and the pain is more than I can stand.”
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.
This is the only thing I can give…
The love I left behind.

In my mind, I was looking for a long haired, male collie, but had gone to Wythall Animal Sanctary to look at an older, long haired female collie.
I ended falling for Misty a four and a half year old Staffy cross.

Talk about a total change of direction.

She had lived with a man and his five children, until his circumstances had changed and he became unable to look after her.

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Yesterday I went to collect Misty.

She has settled in extremely well, even taking Cindy’s Little Dog Syndrome in her stride.

More to follow, as and when I get the time.

 

***Sadly after three attacks on Cindy, I couldn’t risk a serious injury, so not long after this post was written I reluctantly returned Misty to the rescue. She has since been successfully re homed ***

 

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Where has the year gone?

You’d think with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Home and Harrogate we’d done over the previous months, that when my mum’s house sale was finalised, and the dreaded drive up the M42/M1/M18/A1 motorways were behind us, we’d choose a different direction for a holiday.

June

T had decided I needed a holiday, the last year had been a stressful time to say the least, so after arriving home on 19th June, he booked us onto a campsite for a week from 24th June.

We’d had a glorious week at this site in May 2012 that had left us with some wonderful memories –

Yes, anyone who has read my blog will realise this was Whitby Holiday Park, and yes, it meant another dreaded M42/M1/M18/A1 again – but I’d got to the stage I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do anymore, I didn’t want to go on holiday and I didn’t want to stay at home.

I know T had meant well when he booked the holiday, he knew how much I’d enjoyed it before and he also knew how I’d felt my Yorkshire roots had been severed when I finally pulled the door to on my mums house, which is why he’d decided on Whitby.

The 24th arrived, but I still couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the holiday, I felt as if I was trapped in a bubble, so apart from putting my clothes in the motorhome, T did everything else. IMG_0401_1 Four hours later we pulled into the holiday park.

Everything looked exactly as it was the day we left in 2012, even the sun was shinning as it was then, my mind immediately drifted back to Jasper, had his spirit joined us I wondered.

This holiday followed almost the same pattern as our previous visit, though we didn’t venture offsite with the van this time.

The walk down onto Saltwick Bay was easier, as both Sal and Cindy took the steep slope down in their stride. IMG_0409_1 Looking down to Saltwick Nab from the Cleveland Way footpath. IMG_4990_1 We walked into Whitby a couple of times, along the Cleveland Way. IMG_4994_1 Parked just outside Whitby Abbey, this was just screaming out to have it’s photograph taken, an old series ll/llA Land Rover ice cream van 🙂 IMG_4997_1 A monument to Captain James Cook, b.1728, the famous Yorkshire Explorer looks out over Whitby harbour.

On the Saturday we decided to visit the picturesque fishing village of Staithes.

So another walk into Whitby along the clifftop, then down through the town to the bus station.

Im sure every dog and his person had decided to do the same thing, I counted seven dogs (with their people obviously) waiting in the queue with us.

It was certainly worth the trip, as I got my first ‘Big Hairy Dog’ fix while sat outside the Cod and Lobster pub, from an enormous German Shepherd Husky cross.

This dog could moult for England, and after a ten minute cuddle, he had donated most of his coat to me, the rest was floating around the harbour  like snow 😮 IMG_2075_1 Staithes Harbour. The Cod and Lobster is the cream building in the centre of the photo. IMG_5002_1 An artist at work in the harbour. IMG_0402_1 We were treated to the wonderful east coast sunsets again, and by the end of the holiday, I’d started to unwind a bit, typically, just in time to go back home.

July

A month later we were packing the motorhome again for another holiday revisit.

This time it was Charmouth in Dorset.

I had bitter sweet memories of this holiday, last year as it had been Jasper’s last holiday, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not. Last year’s holiday site was fully booked sowe’d decided on another one just outside Charmouth. IMG_2150 A beautiful well maintained site, but a major drawback with its location.

We usually hook the motorhome up, then either walk or use public transport to get about. We knew we were a couple of miles from the beach via road, but had hoped there may have been a shortcut via a footpath, but no such luck, and the nearest bus stop was over a mile away.

The walk wouldn’t have bothered T and me, but the temperature was in the 30’s and Little Sal, who had recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, had slowed down considerably.

So the next day, we unhooked the motorhome and set off for Charmouth

Could things get any worse, our holiday last year had been in June, and we’d spent some quality time on the beach with the dogs, but here we were, confronted with big signs everywhere NO DOGS allowed on the beaches July and August.

We went for a short walk along the cliff path, but both dogs were struggling, so we went back down and sat on the grass at the edge of the River Char.

IMG_5051_1 Looking down at the dog UNfriendly beach.

Luckily Michelle our elder daughter and Louis her son, had arranged to join us later in the week, so the next day we decided to just chill on the site.

Michelle arrived on the Friday morning.

After enquiring at the reception for the location of a dog friendly beach, we all piled into her car and set off for Eype. No wonder this was dog friendly, there was hardly any in sand in sight, it was full of big pebbles. Great for an athletic young dog, but not for a tiny Yorkie, who kept falling between the pebbles. Poor Sal was struggling to keep her footing too, so we called it a day and went to the pub.

Louis wanted to go onto the beach, so the next day, T stayed onsite with Sal and Cindy, and Michelle, Louis and I went down to Charmouth. IMG_5053_1 Louis befriended a young boy with a dingy, so at least someone enjoyed their holiday.

The next day we left the site early to go home. We decided August would be a no for holidays, so the next revisit was West Runton.

September

Laburnum Holiday Park really has made a mark on our holiday destinations. This was out third visit and it certainly won’t be our last.

This site is a perfect location. Five minutes walk into the village of West Runton, where there is a regular bus service into Sherringham, Cromer or further afield if you wish. IMG_5091_1 Pitched on the clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Just across the tarmac and standing at the fence…… IMG_5115_1 …..this was the view. IMG_5146_1 A ten minute amble and we were on the glorious Norfolk beaches, where, if the tide is out, it is possible to walk into Sherringham or Cromer.

We did the walk into Sherringham three times, catching the bus back to the village to save Little Sal tiring too much. IMG_5151_1   An amazing Trompe l’oeil on the seafront at Sherringham, depicting the crab fisherman for which the area is famous. IMG_5152_1 This was a puzzling sight on Sherringham beach. Had the sea lined up all the pebbles in a straight line, or perhaps it was the sea fairies.

The sun shone the whole week, we ate some good food, drank some good wine, and came home feeling rejuvenated.

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Here are a few more photos, from what is fast becoming my favourite holiday location.

Little did I know, it was going to be Little Sal’s last beach holiday 😦

 

Parlez-vous Tyke

Anyone with the slightest interest in cycling will have heard of the Tour de France, but I wonder how many will know that the first three stages this year will be held in England. And where will two of these three stages will be held?

Yes, Yorkshire…..but I guess the blog title gave that away 😉

Every year T and I are glued to the TV, watching the race filmed from the motorbikes and helicopters and drinking in the amazing scenery, this year we’d planned to stop at my mum’s and see it all in the flesh, but it doesn’t look like that will happen now.

As I mentioned in an earlier post mum’s house went on the market in April, and sold within a couple of days. Although contracts have yet to be signed, if everything goes to plan, I don’t envisage still owning the house in July when the race takes place.

Stage 1, July 5th, After leaving Leeds and travelling through some of Yorkshires’s magnificent scenery, there will be a sprint finish into Harrogate. I can imagine the whole town will be bubbling over with Tour fever as the riders descend on the town, especially as Harrogate is home town to the mother of Mark Cavendish.

Stage 2, July 6th The riders leave York en route for Sheffield. Some 17 miles after leaving York, they will pass through Knaresborough, then a mile uphill into Starbeck and a couple of hundred yards from my mums house.

All the information about the two Yorkshire stages, plus the stage 3, Cambridge to London, can be read here

Tour fever has also gripped Knaresborough. Those of you who read my blog will know we’ve spent quite a lot of time in this old market town over the last few months. I wrote about the Knaresborough windows, or Trompe l’oeil to give them their proper title in an earlier post.

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A new window has appeared depicting Beryl Burton and Brian Robinson, two cycling greats from Yorkshire.

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Theres a commemorative section of drystone wall.

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and some carved wooden sheep.

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There are yellow flags, union flags and French flags flying from almost every building.

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and yellow bikes everywhere.

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The countdown, this photo was taken on 6th May, so with my reckoning it will say 50 today.

I love the knitted bunting jumpers. Harrogate Borough Council had put a request out for knitters to help them with their bunting a few months ago, and had added the knitting pattern here.

It appears everyone wanted to have a go as they now have over 23,000 😮

We may have a couple more visits to mum’s house, before the sale is completed so I’ll try and get into Harrogate next time for photos of the bunting there.

 

 

A day of normality?

Since my mum died in January, we have been doing a 320 mile round trip between Yorkshire and Worcestershire every other week. There was so much work involved in clearing mum’s house in preparation for sale, I found spending more than a week there emotionally draining, so the long drive there was the lesser of the two evils.

Finally,  on the 10th April the house was put in the hands of an estate agent, and we returned home for a longer break.

We had left a few bits of essential furniture there for when we visit, but basically this can be removed as and when, which will be sooner than I expected, as the house was sold, subject to contract on 15th April.

Last Thursday (24th April), T decided we needed some normality back in our lives. Normality being, a bus (free pass) or train (senior discount) ride to somewhere nearby.

I think we’ve been spending too much time in Yorkshire, I’m a tight Tyke by birth, but it’s rubbing off on T now, so the bus won and we whooshed to Worcester on the Woosh Bus.

Once there we headed down towards the river for our normal stroll along the bank.

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The River Severn was at a more normal height, unlike the last time we’d travelled to Worcester on 7th January, when our stroll was curtailed by floods. I wrote and posted a short video about it here.

Believe it or not, the floods got even worse, and in early February eventually took out the rivercam.

Check out 11th February on this website by Farsons Digital Water Cams showing the lock gates underwater and compare to my photos below from 24th April.

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We continued along the footpath.

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T does concern me sometimes.

On towards the new Diglis Bridge, we followed our footsteps of a previous walk I’ve written about………creatures of habit we are 😉

But wait, these metal men weren’t here before:

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Just standing there, by Diglis Bridge, without any rhyme or reason as to why.

I took a few photos and we continued on our way.

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Past the new and I’m guessing rather expensive apartments, now occupying land where the famous Royal Worcester Porcelain Works once stood.

After sharing…….yes, I did say sharing (tight Tyke syndrome)…..a bag of chips, we both decided a pint of real ale at King Charles House would help wash them down……no we didn’t share a pint 😉

I’d found the metal men sculptures totally fascinating, especially when photographed from a low angle, so once home I had to find out a bit more about them.

Chosen by the people of Worcester, they are representative of Worcester’s past.

A Royalist and a Parliamentarian from the Civil War, Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist, Ernest Payne and  Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association.

More images of them in the slide show below.

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Not quite what it appears

Following on from a recent Weekly Photo Challenge post on my other blog Pic a colour 4 me I set myself the challenge, that on my next trip to Knaresborough I would try to locate and photograph as many of the other trompe l’oeil ‘windows’ that I could find.

Leaving Harrogate hospital after visiting mum, we hopped onto the bus back to her house. We I decided instead of getting off at my mums stop, it would be a good idea to stay on the bus and pop into Knaresborough for my ‘challenge’

Dragging T- rather reluctantly with me – for moral support and a second pair of eyes, we jumped off the bus in the quaint Yorkshire market town.

I knew the location of a few of these amazing artworks, so not too hard a challenge, or so I though 😕

The first we found was easy, in the High Street and facing the bus station, I’d seen it many times.

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This ‘window’ represents the zoo that Knaresborough once had. Not a very pleasant place, I can remember my parents glee in telling me the zoo had finally closed.

Next we set off down High Street towards the River Nidd, as I knew I’d seen two just off this main street.

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This one is in the alleyway leading to the Frazer Theatre, which is just off the High Street next to Tesco. The figures are life size and rather spooky  when first seen.

I then dragged T down one side of the High Street and back up the other, looking for another similar painting of some people entering an open door, which I knew I’d seen somewhere.

After about twenty minutes without any luck, I got the usual……… ‘Are you sure you haven’t dreamt it?’ ….. ‘Are you sure they weren’t real people going through a proper door?’ …. ‘Had I been to the pub first?’

‘Never mind’ I replied ‘perhaps it wasn’t in this street at all, let’s go to Blind Jacks, I know there’s one there’

T’s eyes lit up ‘Now you’re talking sense’ he replied………. Blind Jacks by the way, is T’s favourite pub in Knaresborough.

We headed off towards the pub in the Market Place. It was market day, and the centre of the town was alive with the hustle and bustle of all the stall holders.

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While I took a photo of the painting of Blind Jack entertaining the pub clientele, T walked towards the door of the pub hoping to join the real drinkers for a pint, only to find it was another three hours before it opened.

Oh dear, this certainly dampened what little bit of enthusiasm he had with my search.

After checking on the internet before leaving home, I knew others were to be found in the vicinity of the Market Place, and the small streets leading off.

We must have looked a very odd couple, not looking at the stalls, but carefully picking our way between them looking skyward at the surrounding buildings. The odd person we passed, did look at us and then up to see what we were looking at 😀

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This one of King John in Castlegate was the only other one we could find, it depicts the first Royal Maundy which apparently took place in Knaresborough 5th April 1210.

‘Aha!’ I suddenly had a brainwave, ‘let’s go and check with the tourist centre’ I said, as I dragged the now totally fed up T with me. Only to find it closed for lunch 😦

‘That’s it, I’ve had enough, I’m going back to your mums house’, he announced as he headed off towards the bus station.

I decided to wait until it opened up, so to kill a bit of time, I grabbed something from a local bakery and went to sit in the castle grounds, overlooking the river to eat it, by which time the tourist centre had re-opened.

The assistant in the tourist centre was extremely helpful, she gave me a leaflet with information about the windows and their whereabouts. She also confirmed there were several temporary trompe l’oeil painted for the annual Feva festival, which confirmed my memory of the ‘door and people’ painting I’d been searching for had not been a figment of my imagination.

Armed with my information and map, I set off in search again, but I only managed to find two more before the light started to fail.

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Local Hero, James”Ginger” Lacey, one of the best know fighter pilots of World War II.

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Plus a self portrait of Julie Cope,  the artist who painted the zoo and the Guy Fawkes themed one on my Pic a colour blog mentioned above.

Later that evening, when we returned to Knaresborough for something to eat (and a drink in Blind Jacks), I asked the location of ‘I can see the world’s end from here’ painting. No wonder I didn’t find it earlier, it was three storeys up.

The next trip to Yorkshire, I will get that photo and hopefully find the rest 🙂

Below is the leaflet I have scanned (hopefully not illegally) with all the information. I haven’t reduced the images of it too much, so they info should be legible.

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Bah Humbug!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of the winter, but SAD has really kicked in big time this year.

How on earth folk living in countries further north than the UK cope with the even longer nights, some without any daylight at all I just cannot comprehend.

I’m a summer person, I love the long daylight hours and the warmth it brings. Perhaps I need to hibernate till then 😉

Or at least hibernate through the rest of December.

Yesterday 21st December was the shortest day, only three days now till the fat man dressed in red answers the demands of all the spoilt ‘I want, I want’ kids of the world.

Where has the fun of Christmas gone?

The season of goodwill? what a joke!

Nowadays it’s just parents going into debt trying to outdo each other for their little brats, and a mad panic of crowds grabbing enough food off the shelves that would last them for weeks (not just the one day the supermarket is closed).

My younger daughter popped down to the local supermarket today to get something for her dinner, she was refused admission well before the 4pm closing, because the shop was so full it would have been impossible to get everyone through the tills by 4pm…..WTF!

So here, for anyone else in Bah Humbug mode is a little bit of summer.

The accompanying song is Looking for the summer, by Chris Rea.

Two and three quarter cheers for public transport

As much as I love my native Yorkshire, I loath the journey getting there. Of the 155 miles, almost 140 are on the rat race of Britain’s clogged, roadwork strewn motorway system.

We’d driven up to visit my mum, through torrential rain and motorway spray on November 11th, our plan was to spend a few days with her, and hopfully she’d be well enough for us to leave Cindy, her Yorkshire Terrier who has been lodging with us for almost twelve months, back with her permanently.

Our optimism was soon dashed, some new medication she’d been prescribed was leaving her feeling quite weak and light headed and certainly not capable of looking after Cindy.

So after spending three days with her, making sure she was improving and promising we’d be back at Christmas, we returned home.

At least the weather was OK for the return journey, and everything was going well until we hit the outskirts of Birmingham. Well know for snarled up traffic, the final normally twenty minute stretch of our journey took almost an hour 👿

We’d only been home a week, when I received a phone call from Harrogate hospital telling me my mum had fallen and broken her hip, and that they would be operating on the Saturday morning.

I knew I had to go and visit her, but the thought of doing that journey again, so close to the previous one and alone this time, was starting to stress me out.

‘Why don’t you go by train’ T said.

Hmm, I don’t know what was a worst thought, driving up, or my memories of the last train journey I made home from Harrogate several years ago, when we were all packed like sardines with folk standing in the aisles.

In the end the train won though, a packed train was more appealing.

With my senior rail pass which I will add is worth every penny 2800 pennies, I can get a third off the cost of the standard fare. So handing over my £39.60 for an almost door to door open return I set off on the Monday morning.

A change of train at Birmingham and another at York, I arrived stress free at my mums house just over four hours after leaving home.

Over the next three days I made numerous visits to the hospital with my free bus pass via Harrogate’s excellent bus service.

I had written down the train times for my return journey.

From Starbeck, my mum’s local station I had a choice of two trains, both at 11.08hrs.

The train to York, which linked up with the Cross Country Newcastle-Southampton train, or one to Leeds which would link up with the Cross Country Newcastle-Penzance, both these called at Birmingham, where I needed to be for the train to Redditch.

IMG_1665So as I walked on Starbeck platform, I did an eeny meeny miny moe, deciding to use the York route, mainly because calling at Doncaster-Sheffield-Derby-Birmingham, there were less stops.

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Typically the train to Leeds arrived first 😀

Hopping onto the train to York, which arrived seconds later from the opposite direction.

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 We pulled into York station at 11.44hrs.

I waked over to the departure board to see which platform the 12.34hrs Southampton via Birmingham was arriving on……..

…….. 12.34hrs to Southampton – CANCELLED

My eeny meeny miny moe had gone a bit pear shaped.

I scanned the departure board to see if anything else was heading via Birmingham, earlier than the next one that I knew of which was at 13.34hrs, but nothing was listed.

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Before heading out of the station to kill some time, I decided to enquired at the information desk.

‘Oh yes’, she announced, ‘the Newcastle-Penzance is due at 12.45hrs, platform 9, just over the bridge’

I checked the departure board again, by which time the 12.45hrs was listed:

York-Leeds-Wakefield-Shefield-Chesterfield-Derby-Tamworth-Birmingham

😕 Ha, I had to laugh, if my eeny meey etc had chosen to travel the Leeds route, I would have caught the Newcastle-Penzance train in Leeds at 12.11hrs, which had left York at 11.45hrs 🙄

By this time I only had half an hour to kill, so I decided to stay in the station and have a wander round.

I think York station is one of the nicest stations in the country, very clean and spacious, with an aura of its past history oozing out of the brickwork.

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Remove these carriages, the digital clock and modern seating, put some old steam engines on the tracks, and an image of the hustle and bustle from the Victorian era immediately springs to mind.

I had visions of the train being packed with all the passengers from the cancelled train, but it was pleasantly uncrowded.

Not having the faintest idea what time I would arrive in Birmingham, nor being able to remember the times of the Birmingham-Redditch service, I tried connecting my phone to the internet for some information…….typical 🙄 …..no signal!

Never mind, I knew the train to Redditch ran every thirty minutes so I wouldn’t have to wait in Birmingham too long, and isn’t that half the fun on travelling.

We arrived at Birmingham’s New Street station at 15.07hrs. (according to the station clock).

Walking slowly through the confusion of the building site that is currently New Street station while it goes through a total re-vamp, I just happened to glance at an information board……. Yikes!!!! departure to Redditch 15.13hrs.

I took off like a scalded cat, looking for platform 11b. Following the arrows pointing to platforms 11a/11b, I ran down the concrete stairs and jumped onto the waiting train just as the doors were closing.

I suddenly had a panic as the train moved slowly out of the station. Was this train departing from platform 11a or 11b 😮

The driver soon verified I was on the correct train as he announced over the speaker system ‘This is the 15.13hrs to Redditch, calling at ………

I had intended to get a photo from each station, but with my quick exit out of Birmingham it wasn’t possible to get one.

But here at 15.50hrs is the last of my journey, and literally the end of the line, if Mr Beeching had got his way, even this wouldn’t exist.

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The modern building in the distance is the bus station with the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and a cinema above.

I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure to Yorkshire and back, and the next visit I make, if I am travelling alone, will certainly be by public transport.

Perhaps the two and three quarter cheers, should be two and seven eighths…… 😀