Dream on

With everything going on in my life recently I’m sure my subconscious must be taking a battering, which might explain some of the weird dreams I’ve been having recently.

I don’t seem able to remember most, except the fact that they have all been weird, but this latest one felt so real, I woke wondering if it had actually happened the previous day.

Any dream experts out there?

I’m a passenger in T’s car, we are in a queue waiting to exit an outdoor car park of a town near where we live in Worcestershire.

T suddenly says he wants a coffee, so he gets out of the driving seat and sets off on foot to see his friend who runs a cafe……… in Dorset (about 150 miles away), shouting back to me, if he’s not back before the queue moves, I’ll have to edge his car forward.

The queue starts to move, so I slide across the seat into the driving seat to keep with the flow of traffic, but I’m now sat in my Land Rover.

I suddenly realise I need a ticket for the exit, which I haven’t got, so I pull alongside pay machine, curbing my tyres in the process.

An old neighbour, who I haven’t seen for over twenty years is standing in the queue, we exchange pleasantries, as I lean out of the car window.

Although I am still sat in my motor, I note my position is between two women standing in the queue with dogs.

The queue is getting longer, so to save any arguments about me queue jumping, I get out of my car, and stand between the two women.

One woman has a big hairy dog and another a big smooth coated dog, I tickle hairy dog behind ears, stroke smooth dog.

The old neighbour morphs into my present neighbours who are there with their children, they’re waiting to get passport photos from the car park machine for their babies, I look at their babies and see they have big smiles with massive adult teeth.

The queue continues to get longer and longer because the machine is causing problems.

I eventually get my ticket, but machine gives me two.

An attendant suddenly appears, snatches both tickets off me, says there is a problem with them and I need to rejoin queue, which is now about 100 deep.

I have massive argument with him, demanding he gives me one of my tickets or my 50p (very cheap parking) back, he refuses, and points to back of queue.

The car park is now undercover and everyone is watching as our argument gets worse with pushing and shoving.

I then woke up, so no idea on the outcome.

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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Is Britain sinking?

The coasts are being battered by tidal surges, and with the continuous rain, the rivers are bursting their banks.

In the spring of 2012 many counties had already imposed a hosepipe ban on their residents, it was soon lifted when we had one of the wettest summers for 100 years.

Even after last summer (2013), which was the warmest since 2006, to my knowledge there weren’t any hosepipe bans anywhere.

Today we went to Worcester on the train, a journey of about fifteen miles. Looking out of the window across the quagmire of mud and water that was once fields, I started to wonder how much more water our country can take.

The River Severn – which flows through Worcester –  is the UK’s longest river. Starting in the hills of North Wales, it enters the Bristol channel 220 miles later, wreaking havoc in times of flood, with many towns and cities en route.

The scenes in this short video are becoming a far too common sight these days. Not the worst I’ve seen, but they do seem to be happening more frequently.

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The above photo of T (standing near Watergate) pointing to the highest recorded level that I’ve seen, was taken in August 2013.

Todays level, which can be seen on the Watergate clip in the video below, I’m guessing would probably be up to his waist.

 

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…… 😀

Remember remember!

If you think this is a post about bonfire night, then you guessed wrong 🙂

I’m not a great fan of commemorating Guy Fawkes’s Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

I don’t have a problem with the fireworks being limited to the one particular day, but several days either side of the date, is not my idea of fun, as anyone with a pet will understand.

Slight sidetrack there…..sorry 😉

Yesterday, the 5th of November, T and I decided we’d visit the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire.

I’ve visited several times in the past as it was the home of the popular Gaydon Land Rover Show, but it was new ground to T.

Handing over our entrance fee, along with the two for one voucher we’d found in a local paper (yes, I am a tight Tyke).

Austin Healey 3000, T's dream car

Austin Healey 3000, T’s dream car

T made a beeline for his favourite car he’d just seen.

Huey with Luey the Lion

Huey with Luey the Lion

Apart from Huey, the first production Land Rover built in 1948, seen here with Luey the Lion from the Born Free Foundation.

MGB Roadster. Wire wheels and chrome bumper a must though.

MGB Roadster. Wire wheels and chrome bumper a must though.

Here is another of my favourites, the MGB Roaster…….we have some happy memories of the fun times we had with ours.

A national newspaper article made us laugh at the time when a judge presiding over a court case quashed the claim, stating there was not enough room inside the vehicle for an act of infidelity to take place 😉

…..sadly not a family car it had to go, but I’d have one tomorrow if I could afford one.

Talk about reminiscing, we wandered further round the displays, motor after motor drawing memories from the depths of our minds.

My earliest memories of a childhood family motor was the old Land Rover my dad had. Driving over Market Weighton Hills, East Yorkshire in thick snow, I remember thinking my dad was the best driver ever as we passed all the motors that were slipping and sliding around.

He sold it for an Austin A35, which I didn’t think was anything special. I might have thought differently if it looked anything like the A30 we saw.

I then saw an Austin Cambridge, my dad had one of those too…. registration 365 KOD …..just coincidence, he had a fish and chip shop at the time, though he did only sell Haddock 😉

T saw a Standard Eight, his very first car, he commented on how reliable it was on it’s numerous trips to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football ground in the early 60’s

There was a Morris 1100. We had an Austin 1100, which I learnt to drive in.

The iconic Mini

The iconic Mini

The iconic Mini, I passed my test in one. I guess these are a bit more powerful than that 850cc one though.

There were motors from films, including Thunderbirds FAB1. Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider Defender (drool). A SciFi Landy from Judge Dread. One of the twelve Defenders used in the 007 film Skyfall, they could have used eleven and given me one 😉 Even Shaun the Sheep from Wallace and Grommet has his own landy.

How about this beauty.

MG SA

MG SA

An MG SA only £389 new…..

oh, sorry, I forgot to say, that was in the late 1930’s

British icons.

British icons.

I’lll leave you with four much loved British icons.

A fabulous day out, which if you like old motors, I can certainly recommend.

All the motors mentioned above, and many more can be seen in the gallery below.

I’m all distressed

Not in a bad way I might add 🙂

As most of you who read my blog will know, we spend most of our motorhome holidays near the sea. I adore the coast and all it has to offer.

On a recent holiday, I was looking in a gift shops window at all the coastal style gifts that were available, when I had a flash of inspiration, I will transform our well overdue to be decorated bedroom into the this now popular theme.

T looked at me and rolled his eyes as I told him my plans, and the look on his face spoke a thousand words.

“I suppose we’re having sand on the floor, and a CD with the sound of the sea playing” was his response, followed quite quickly with “Don’t expect me to help”

He really ought to know better than to challenge me……I emerged from the shop half an hour later, with two beach huts, a yacht and a seagull, and the plan was now in operation.

Once home, I set about removing the old and very dated vinyl wallpaper, then the backing paper that it had left on the walls.

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OMG! the walls were green underneath 😮 had I really painted them that colour all those years ago?

I never realised I’d hung so many pictures either…….. I spent the rest of the day filling holes.

Saturday, T was going to be out most of the day, so my plans were to paint the woodwork. Little did I know what I’d let myself in for.

My intention was to move the furniture into the middle of the room, temporarily lift the carpet away from the skirting boards, undercoat in the morning, gloss in the afternoon, and hopefully have the room sort of habitable by bedtime. Now how does the saying go? …..’the best laid plans of mice and men’……

The foam backed carpet, which had been down for well over twenty years, didn’t have a foam back anymore, the foam had totally disintegrated, and I was presented with what appeared to be a layer of black soot underneath it.

Oh dear, this wasn’t in my plan, but not to be deterred, at least the floorboards looked OK, so I could always paint them.

I set about moving all the furniture into the spare room so I could get the carpet off the floor. My neighbours must have wondered what on earth I was doing as I heaved the carpet to the window and pushed it out, it landed on the paving below with a thud in a cloud of black dust…..well I wasn’t going to drag that down the stairs, was I?

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Eventually, by late afternoon, I’d managed to remove the final traces of black dust from the floor, washed the paintwork down and was ready to give the woodwork it’s first coat of paint.

By the time T came home, after a rather boozy rugby day out with Deb and his friends, the carpet was hidden in the garage, and just the bed stood on the bare boards in the bedroom. He stumbled upstairs to bed……

“What have you done, where’s the furniture, where’s the carpet gone”

The state he was in I didn’t see the point in trying to explain anything , though I did wonder should I jest and tell him I’d prepared it ready for the delivery of sand 😉 😀

Over the next few days, the woodwork got it’s gloss coat, I gave the already white ceiling an even brighter coat of white, and the walls at least 3-4 coats of white to cover the green.

T was adamant he didn’t want painted floorboards (or sand), so we bought a remnant of berber carpet at a bargain price.

I’d decided I wanted a driftwood look to the furniture, and had intended to distress the pine furniture we already had, but it seemed a very daunting task, especially not knowing what I was doing. The spare room already had distressed mexican pine furniture in there, so I just swopped it round, and bought an extra six drawer chest to match.

I still wanted to try my hand at distressing pine, so I found an old orange pine mirror in a local charity shop, stripped and sanded the varnish off, then following instructions I had found on the internet, gave it a wash of chalk paint, followed by a coat of clear brush on wax.

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Wow,  it turned out exactly how I wanted it. I forgot to take a before pic, but the first mirror is an identical mirror to the one I distressed.

I’d seen some distressed pine and rope triple photo frames in a local shop, but I refused to pay £16 a time, deciding I could make my own.

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This was made from 3 single frames at a £1 each, which I distressed, drilled holes in and tied together with string, the photos are mine from our travels.

I bought two pine shelves at £3 each and distressed those for my beach huts to stand on.

Next to be distressed was the curtain pole, this was a total nightmare to remove the varnish and I ended up using the electric sander on it, so I haven’t attempted the rings.

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I’m quite pleased with the finished result, though the wardrobe doors are still annoying me, so they may end up getting a coat of white paint yet.

Good Karma

My life has been a bit of a whirlwind just lately.

The morning after the Battle proms Concert we set off in the motorhome for West Runton, Norfolk.

I love the coast, and after a brilliant holiday last year, we’d promised ourselves we’d return, but I wasn’t 100% about it.

Loosing Jasp was still very raw, and I feared re tracing our steps without him may be a bit too much to cope with, it had been bad enough going to Devon, and there were no ghosts of happier times there.

The first night on site, after a humdinger of an argument from trying to erect the awning on a cliff top in strong winds, I announced I wanted to go home.

The next morning everything looked different though as we set off to walk to Sherringham on the beach. We talked about Jasp, and I actually found myself smiling as my memories of him came flooding back.

I’m pleased we decided not to go home, as the week turned out good, and by the end of it I didn’t want to go home, we even checked to see if the pitch was available for a few more days, but sadly it wasn’t so we returned home on the Saturday.

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I had taken many photos as usual, but this time I was concentrating on getting something more abstract for my planned revamp of our bedroom with a beach theme.

On the Monday morning while browsing a local craft store for ideas, a text came into my phone. It was Deb, my younger daughter.

It read ‘We’re off to Mallorca on Thursday OK?’

I knew she’d been looking for a last minute chill out holiday, but her friend had been unable to get time off, so happy for her that she’d found someone else, I replied ‘Wonderful, who are you going with?’

The reply came back…………….. ‘You!, my treat’

OMG! The last time I’d had a total chill out beach holiday, was in France over twenty years ago!!!

……and Palma Nova, Mallorca?? wasn’t that geared more for 18-30’s

I drove back home in a bit of a daze, walked into the house, and announced to T that I was going to Mallorca on Thursday.

I don’t think he believed me, as he just grunted, and didn’t even lift his head from the newspaper he was reading.

“Did you here me?” I said “I’m going to Mallorca on Thursday”

“Huh, who with?”

I still don’t think he believed me, even after I explained the text message from Deb.

Anyway, Tuesday I popped into town to get some Euros, and a few other bits and bobs when my phone rang, it was the Yorkshire Health Authority.

“Hello Vicky, I thought I’d let you know your mum has improved so much, we are looking at her going home sometime next week”

My mum has been between hospitals and nursing homes since December last year, so to hear that news was wonderful, my plan was to be there on her discharge, so I had to explain I wouldn’t be in the country and could it be delayed a week.

Everything sorted, I jumped on the bus home, only to realise in all the excitement I’d forgotten to get my euros 😕

Wednesday, after another trip into town, and my case packed, I went to bed early ready for the Thursday 3.15am taxi to the airport.

The flight was on time, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves queuing at the Thomas Cook reception desk to locate our coach that would take us to the self catering apartment Deb had booked.

Giving our names to the rep, she said “could I ask you both to step round the corner of the kiosk please, the manager would like a word with you”

Wondering what we had done, we left the queue and waited, while others happily made their way to the waiting coach.

A man suddenly appeared “Good morning, are you miss and mrs H off the flight from Birmingham?

(I can honestly say my mind went into overdrive in the split second before he continued……. had someone planted something on us! ………why hadn’t I bought a padlock for my suitcase!)

“I am extremely sorry, but your apartment has been double booked, but we would like to offer you an upgrade to a 4* all inclusive hotel, which we hope you will accept with our sincere apologies”

Upgraded from 3* self catering to 4* all inclusive, I had great difficulty stopping my jaw from hitting the floor.

Trying not to look too excited, we made our way to the waiting coach.

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What a surprise Palma Nova was.

Nothing like the rowdy image painted by the TV programs I’d seen, it was beautiful too.

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We spend most of the holiday, totally chilling on the beach during the day. We ate breakfast and lunch in the hotel, but decided eating out in the evenings would be nice .

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Perhaps one too many San Miguels 😉

On the Saturday, I wasn’t just glowing with the sun, I was glowing from the inside too, at Deb’s heroism.

We were walking along one of the streets, when she suddenly took off like a bullet across the road, shouting back at me to ask the couple in front of us if he still had his wallet.

It turned out she thought she’d seen a young man and his girlfriend pick pocket the old man’s wallet, and she’d set off in hot pursuit.

The old man was missing his wallet, I pointed in the direction Deb had gone and explained my daughter was running after the thief. I could see her in the distance, she’d caught up with him and was demanding he gave her the wallet, which he eventually did.

Running back to us, but pointing back at the young couple, she was shouting at the top of her voice, someone call the police, they’re pickpockets!!!!!

She handed the wallet back to the old man, and told him off in quite a stern voice to put it somewhere safe and not in his back pocket. We left them standing totally speechless, probably wondering what whirlwind had just hit them.

I had been thinking about buying an air bed, to float on the sea in, later that same afternoon, we were given one by a family who’s holiday was over, was that good karma or not? 🙂

It saved my knees a couple of days later when I was carrying it to the beach, catching my flipflop in a crack in the footpath, I launched it in front of me and landed on it with a splat. Deb called my acrobatics the Vic Splat 😀

The food in the hotel was lovely, but there wasn’t a vast choice for vegetarians. Deb had pointed this out to one of the waiters, asking if it would be possible to add a pizza or some pasta just with vegetables to the self service menu.

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Talk about good service, the next day she was presented with a plate of pasta AND a pizza, specially prepared for her. 😀

The holiday was quickly coming to an end, we’d had a wonderful time, with stunning weather and temperatures in the high 20’s

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Just a little respite from the sun on one afternoon, when clouds came rolling in bringing about ten minutes of rain.

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Wednesday night, en route to our favourite restaurant, this beautiful moonlit scene caught my eye, typically I only had my phone with me, but I still think it captured it well.

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Up bright and early on Thursday morning, waiting for the coach to the airport, we both agreed we’d had a fabulous week on a beautiful island.

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Goodbye Mallorca, I will be back. 🙂

So in my whirlwind three weeks I’ve paddled in the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Med. 😀

Battle Proms Concert.

Saturday August 31st.

At last the day had arrived for us to use one of the Christmas present from our daughters.

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The Battle Proms picnic concert at nearby Ragley Hall.

Although Ragley Hall is only eight miles from home, we’d never been to a concert before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect.

We knew there would be lump in throat patriotic singing, and weather permitting the Grace Spitfire would give a display, but apart from that everything was a bit vague.

I’d checked the website, ‘Relax with your hampers and champers’ it said.

Ha!, a posh picnic, how spiffingly British.

Neither of us are overly impressed with champagne and we don’t possess a picnic hamper, so it looked rather like we were going to be the odd ones out.

As we were going on holiday on the Sunday morning, I’d suggested to T we go down in the motorhome. We could pack it up during the Saturday morning, then we’d be fully equipped with varying items of clothing, depending on the weather, our camping chairs and a fridge full of food.

After checking with the organisers if there would be space to park it, we were pleasantly surprised to be told  ‘No problem, and if you wish to stay overnight, we won’t move you on’

Now that would have been perfection, but as dogs were not allowed, we thanked them, but said, we would be leaving after the concert.

Motorhome fully equipped with a fridge full of food and a bottle of red, we set off at 4pm to the venue.

Once parked up in the grounds of Ragley, and not being in any sort of hurry, we sat in the motorhome for a couple of minutes, trying to get an idea of what folk did.

Bloody hell!!! many of them looked like they’d brought everything but the kitchen sink……tables, chairs, hampers, rugs, coats, hats, scarves, flags, and there was no strolling to the arena, they were almost running.

We looked at each other……and almost simultaneously announced  ‘do you think we’d better join them?’

T grabbed the camping chairs out of the motorhome, and set of at an alarming pace, leaving me, looking decidedly underdressed in vest, leggings and sandals, to lock the van.

I eventually caught up with him ‘what’s the rush’ I asked ‘It doesn’t start for another half an hour’

‘We’ve got to get a good seat Vic’ he replied.

Considering T was carrying our seats, I think he meant to say a good patch of grass 😀

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Picking our way between cloth covered tables, spread with an array of food and drink that would have done the banqueting table in Ragley Hall proud, we plonked our two chairs down and sat and looked at each other.

After we’d claimed our square meter of turf, I strolled back to the van to get my jacket and change my sandals for my boots. I collected the wine and glasses, and some food from the fridge bringing them back in a supermarket bag 😳 it will be the coolbox next time 😉

Let the show begin:

The Rockabellas opened with a variety of songs, ranging from 1940’s wartime favourites to modern day. They were excellent, and really got everyone in the mood.

This was followed by The Blades Aerobatic Display a civilian display team of former Red Arrows pilots.

They were taking booking from anyone wishing to fly with them. A bit out of our price range, but it was to raise funds for Combat Stress a very worthy charity.

There was a Napoleonic cavalry display, which we couldn’t see from our seats, though it was displayed on a big screen next to the stage.

Then for T and I the highlight of the evening The Grace Spitfire flown by Carolyn Grace. Click on the link and read the poignant story of how Carolyn Grace became the pilot.

Just WOW!!!

The sound of this plane brings a lump to my throat, but accompanied by a favourite piece of music from Elgar, my eyes were leaking totally. Apologies for the brief bit of video, but it gives a bit of an insight to it.

The Spitfire then flew off into the distance, as everyone waved their flags.

The 1812 Overture including live canon fire brought us up to the interval.

Taking note of out position, tables, candles, location of big flags and the man with the bowler hat etc. I decided to venture to the toilet, but returning to a pitch black field (no I didn’t have a torch), I totally lost my bearings.  I wandered aimlessly amongst the other lost folk. Most were on their mobiles ‘where are you?’ ‘wave the flag’, ‘shine the torch (SOS )’ I could here some saying.

Ha! good idea I though, till I realised my phone was in my bag on my seat next to T 😳

Eventually, well after the second half had started, and I was debating to return alone to the motorhome for the rest of the evening, I stumbled across T.

‘Where the hell have you been’ he said

‘I got lost’ I replied

‘Why didn’t you take note of our surroundings’

I did, but everyone has got similar tables, candles, flags, and there must have been at lease a hundred men in bowler hats’

The evening continued with some more lump in throat music, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Pomp and Circumstance, with a grand finale of fireworks.

I’ve tried to capture a little of the atmosphere on the video below, but nothing could beat being there.

Next year, we thought the girls might join us, and we’ll know how to do it properly, including bringing a torch. 😀

Thanks to EllaDee for this link about the remarkable  Carolyn Grace

Sun, sea and scones ….with clotted cream!

It has to be Devon 🙂

This time last year, our motorhome had taken us on five holidays. So far this year, for various reasons we’d only managed one, until last week that is.

We’d had our eyes on Damage Barton campsite since last year, and finally got round to booking it for seven nights, commencing Sunday 18th August.

The weather has been good in the UK this summer, so it was fingers crossed it would stay good for the week we’d booked too.

This was going to be the first holiday without Jasper, and I hadn’t felt the slightest excitement I’d had on previous trips, even waking on the Sunday morning to a beautiful sunny day, still didn’t get me into the holiday mood that I was lacking.

Driving south down the M5, the sight of an overturned caravan, with all it’s contents scattered across the three lanes of the northbound carriageway, dragged my spirits even lower. This holiday really had to be special to lift me.

Leaving the M5 near Tiverton, we headed towards Barnstable, calling at a quaint olde worlde pub called The Mill Inn.  An old collie lay on the floor by the door, another, not quite as old, wandered leisurely around. A drink and a rather scrumptious meal later, I was at last starting to feel like I was on holiday.

IMG_4464We pulled off the extremely narrow lane onto the site around 4.30pm, booked ourselves in and were given directions to our pitch….

IMG_4507….M5.

Certainly not as busy as it’s namesake LOL.

Damage Barton campsite is part of a working farm, beautifully located, not far from The South West Coast PathThis coast path, a total of 630 miles along some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain, starts at Minehead, Somerset, skirts the coast of Somerset, N. Devon, Cornwall, S. Devon and into Dorset, ending near Poole Harbour.

Our holiday plans had been to walk into the nearby village of Mortehoe, a stone built village listed in the Doomsday book, then pick up the coastal path into the town of Woolacombebut the drive down the narrow lane to the site, had scuppered that idea, we’d have been total fools for the two of us to try it, let alone with two dogs in tow.

After making enquiries at the reception as to any alternative route to Mortehoe, we emerged with maps and directions 🙂 ……… ‘take the farm track towards the farm, at the right hand bend go through the gate on your left, follow the footpath which continues through two fields, and a neighbouring campsite, you’ll find yourself in Mortehoe.’

IMG_0107Monday morning, we set off, expecting a twenty minute walk into the village.

Ha! lesson number one, don’t get engrossed in conversation with fellow walkers and their dogs, one of which was celebrating its birthday that day (the dog that is).

At the bottom of the steep farm track, they took a right and continued on to Lee Bay.

‘I think we’ve missed our left turn through the gate’, T suddenly announced, looking back up the hill we’d just walked down.

The farmer, sat on his tractor in the farmyard confirmed this. ‘Mortehoe? to the top of the hill and through the gate, but if you want a longer more scenic route, you can continue this way, you’ll eventually meet the South West Coast path’.

We weren’t in any rush, so we decided the scenic route sounded the better option, besides, I didn’t fancy climbing back up that hill.

IMG_0108Once through the farmyard the footpath split again, luckily it was well signed. The track on the right is another path to Lee Bay, we carried on to the left, both agreeing Lee Bay would be another day.

Following the signs to Mortehoe, we went through another field, and into Kinevor Valley, eventually meeting up with the SouthWest Coast path at Bull Point.

This part of the coast path certainly lives up to it’s description of rugged beauty.

IMG_0114Leaving Bull Point, we headed towards Rockham Bay.

This bay has steep steps down to the sands below. Plenty of folk were down there enjoying the amazing weather, but we decided to carry on along the coast path (just visible on the left of the photo).

Just at the top, where the path goes out of sight it splits, right continued along the coast, left went into Mortehoe.

We eventually made it into the village after two hours of cliff top walking, instead of twenty minutes through fields. What a great choice we made not turning back, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world 🙂

IMG_4500And what did we find in the village? …….The Ship Aground Inn, a lovely little pub, selling real ale.

IMG_4502The story of the anchor in the photo above.

A couple of pints and an ice cream later, we set off back to our campsite, the short route 😉

Tuesday, waking to sun and blue skies, and craving more of this beautiful coastline, we did the twenty minute walk into Mortehoe, re-tracing our steps to re-join the Coast Path.

By the time we got there, the sky had clouded over and there was rain in the air, undeterred, we carried on.

IMG_4426Even on a dull day, the coastline still looked stunning. Looking north to Bull Point where we joined the Coast Path yesterday, the lighthouse is just about visible on the cliffs where the horizon meets the Ocean.

The clouds and drizzle vanished almost as fast as they arrived, and again we were enjoying glorious weather as we headed south towards Morte Point.

IMG_4431A bit of a drop down there 😮

Looking at the map, I think it is Whiting Cove.

IMG_4441Taking a breather, and a water break for the dogs.

Just to my left down on the rocks we could hear, what I thought was someone groaning in distress. I had visions of calling the sea rescue, until T walked to the cliff edge, and looking over declared it was a group of bull seals 😳

IMG_4444Looking back to Morte Point, Woolacombe Bay opens out to the left.

IMG_4519Woolacombe Bay, according to the Wiki link above, it is three miles long.

Leaving the Coast Path again, we followed the signpost into Mortehoe. Past the church and into the village, it came out on the road at the side of the pub, in the earlier photo above 🙂

A case of deja vu with Monday, we returned to the campsite.

Wednesday, was going to be an easy day as both dogs appeared shattered. The plan was to catch the bus into Woolacombe and spend the day on the beach. First though we needed to adjust the awning, as it was stopping the habitation door into the motorhome from opening fully, this in turn had caused T to trip and fall out off the door, catching his fingers in the handle as he fell. I’m convinced his index finger is dislocated, but as the swelling is gradually going down, he’s passed on any treatment.

Anyway, the awning adjustment took longer than anticipated and we missed the two hourly bus service. So we ended up staying on site.

Thursday a glorious hot sunny day we decided to attempt our failed Wednesday plan and go into Woolacombe by bus, so we joined the rest of the waiting passengers at the campsite entrance.

Fifteen minutes of stop start down the winding road, I was glad to get off the bus for some fresh air.

OMG!! the town was heaving. I can imagine out of season Woolacombe is a beautiful place, but this certainly wasn’t my idea of fun.

We made our way down onto the beach 😮 What is it about folk that makes them plonk their chairs down and put up their windbreaks as soon as they hit the sand. Three miles of glorious flat sand and literally thousands of folk are congregated in a mass at the entrance.

Picking our way through the throngs of folk, we headed out to the deserted area, where just a few like minded folk were walking their dogs, and a few surfers were trying to catch the waves.

IMG_4475Ignoring the rabble we’d walked through, this was total heaven. Sandals off, we spent two hours walking ankle deep in the Atlantic Ocean, does life get any better?

We caught the bus back into Mortehoe, finishing the day off with a visit to the Ship Aground Inn for our usual, before walking back to the site through the field of sheep.

IMG_4503This sheep just wandered over and nuzzled me, it even went up to Sal and sniffed her. I spent about five minutes tickling it ears 🙂

Friday was a bit dull and overcast, but after looking at the map, we planned a short walk to Hilly Mouth, near Lee bay. Rather apt for our surname, my intention was to find a signpost and take a pic of T pointing to his mouth open mouth. No such luck 😦

In the meantime, it had started to rain quite heavy and I was being eaten alive by flying ants. Stopping just long enough to put my waterproofs on, we made a hasty retreat back into Kinevor Valley, by which time the heavens had opened.

What a total nightmare, I was nice and dry in my Goretex, but T and the dogs were soaked.

Cindy suddenly decided she wasn’t going any further, and stood shivering on the path so I picked her up and edged my way down the steep and now quite slippery path, eventually catching up with T and Little Sal who were waiting for me under some trees.

Now this is something I never ever thought I’d witness. Cindy was really shivering by now, so T took his treasured white t-shirt off from under his rugby shirt and wrapped it round her and carried her well over a mile back to the motorhome.

IMG_4504I promised him I wouldn’t post this pic, but it just has to be done 😉

By 4pm the sun was trying to break through again, but we decided Hilly Mouth was off limits for the day.

Saturday, our last day 😦

We both agreed we wanted to visit Morte Point again before went returned home, so walking into Mortehoe and along the track at the side of the pub, we plonked ourselves on a bench and sat looking out over Woolacombe bay.

IMG_4515I could have stayed there until the sun went down absorbing the atmosphere, but T thought two hours was long enough, and he wanted a last pint in ‘our local’

Walking back to the site for the last time, we both agreed it had been a wonderful holiday in a beautiful part of Britain, and somewhere we would definitely be visiting again.