A Travellerspoint blog

The West of England

overcast 11 °C

Another rushed time as we only do 1 night stops. Left Bath on Thurday and arrive and David's for lunch , both of them made us very welcome and after lunch took us on a tour of their beloved Chilters , I must admit it is a beautiful part of England with 100's of years of history.. We went out for dinner and spend a pleasant evening catching up with family matters a good visit for all. Left David's after breakfast on Friday and went to see Laurence , Marie's nephew for lunch and then onward to Sheldon Mallet through heavy rain which made driving a trial. Nice hosts at our air b&B. Saturday to the fair, up early and in que by 8.30 there are 3 large sheds and 30 or 40 outside sites it took us 6 hours to get round and we are somewhat poorer and our luggage will be heavier now.?!!

Sunday saw us take off for Western Super Mare via Glastonbury a wonderful medieval town where we watched the UK tribute to those lost in the 1st we and a 2 minute silence then on to Wells probably my favourite town after Bath, and it didn't disappoint Marie loved it too, so much history and the Cathederal is still superb spent some time there before continuing onto WSMare.Had a good evening there at the pub we were at a big carvery featuring Turkey for dinner.The shower nearly scorched us in the morning faulty so we ended up having baths!! We must be getting old as we both had trouble getting in( no not together) and Sven more getting out!!!shows you how long we've been having showers.

Monday saw us go to Ilfacombe via Dunster a lovely old town with a castle and mill , Minehead over Exmoor and to a beaut fishing village then to Ilfracombe.
Tuesday down the Devon and Cornwall coasts through Bude , Boscastle and ended up in Tintagel again a pub stay and very friendly.
Next morning we went to see the castle of Arthur and the knights fame and then further down the coast to Port Isaac , Port When in the TV series another fascinating small port, even able to identify the doctors house etc from the series then on to Wadebridge, Bodmin, liskeard and Plymouth , driving in Plymouth was very taxing and we ended up going down a pedestrian mall before getting out of town to our digs?
Thursday was a disappointing day as the fog rolled in so although we went over Dartmoor we couldn't see much. Before that though we visited Buckly Abbey the house of Francis Drake until lunch time and then the moors via Widdicome (fair) and Bovey Tracey where a friend of ours was born. Then on to Seaton and our air b&B. Fog down most of evening so went into Axemouth for dinner.
Friday went into Seaton and Axemouth as fog had lifted and then headed north to Bristol and our digs to repack and get ready for Manilla. Realised when we got there that we were a day early???!! Booking.com to blame as they misquoted the day for our last night and I didn't pick it up so have another day here, we will probable take it easy as we are both tired and maybe visit Cheddar tomorrow weather permitting.

We have not slept well in the UK and Ireland mostly because of the temperatures in the houses about 24 to 25° if they had daytime temps like this they would complain of the heat so why have your house that hot at night.?
Apart from a few minor glitches our trip has been an outstanding success we have been able to do all we planned plus a bit more, our health has been good to date and we are both fitter than when we left, just Manila to go and we meet Diann Landon there so should be fun and a good change of pace before we get home.

Posted by oldnick 12:11 Archived in England Comments (2)


rain 11 °C

It's a nice day so we bus into town and go walkabout, surprising what I remember and I only check Google to check my bearings.
Showed Marie around town and through the Abbey area and all the streets and alleys off it, then found the old market building and had coffee in there , it is more a tourist thing now than the original meat and fish market but still interesting , walked down Pultney Street by the wait and over the bridge which still has some of the same shops on it I remember as a kid!! Round the news and into Henrietta Gardens and across to Trans old house , still there but had some of the back garden pinched for new houses at the back. Then across to Sydney gardens where I used to go as a youngster watching trains etc and showed Marie the canal which runs parallel to but above the railway line, now fully restored and we walked the tow path. DOWN to the Pultney arms still much the same for a bite to eat. Out through Bathwick road and over the Avon and up round to the Circle and then the Royal Crescent where Mum lived for a while. Number 1 is now a historic house and decorated as the original owner had it in Georgian times , well worth a visit. After that we went downtown and caught a bus home,. Big day but satisfying we both enjoyed it.
Today we woke to heavy rain so impetuously decided to drive Into Wales to the Royal Mont now at Llantrisant near Cardiff about 90 mins This is something new and should be added to any must see list. 90min tour shows how coins are minted and we actually saw some £ 1 coins being minted and also blanks for another country who cannot make them but do their own stamping. Altogether they make coins or blanks for over 60 countries and issue 5 million a year. After lunch there we returned to Bath the rain stopped long enough for me to show Marie 7 Abbey View Gardens where I spent my first 5 years and the view is just as fantastic as ever, back to home and pack up after dinner and off to David's in the morning.

Posted by oldnick 11:27 Archived in England Comments (1)

Ireland and UK

No time before now

semi-overcast 11 °C

Well well what a time we had in Ireland. Trip over was good no real hassles. Met at port by Marie's cousin Wendy as her great aunt had a fall the day before , nothing serious but Wendy decided it would be better if we stayed with them.Very hospitable and we got to see the Titanic exhibition the next day , as well as the Aunt , who seemed quite recovered.toured around a bit on busses seeing Belfast and catching up on the rallies here. Then picked up the car and went to Dublin via Bangor and a ferry ride (unplanned) most onteresting.Found our hotel without too much trouble and went out for dinner, Dublin was packed and we only got a table by sitting at a side bar!! Both didn't feel too hungry having had a large lunch so Marie had chowder and I chose the cheese plate, you should have seen them , glad we didn't choose mains!!
Day 2 look around Dublin after early hair cuts , on city bus hop on hop off very good it's a very attractive city with plenty going on.
We went to Trinity uni and had a conducted tour by 1 of the undergrads, then saw the book of Kells (look it up)and the long hall which is the library and the largest single span hall in Europe amazing.They arrange the books by size and weight over 2 floors about 200,000 of them imagine trying to find the 1 you want!!! Went on to see many other sights of Dublin too but did not visit Guinness.Went out that night to a dinner and show with Ireish music and dance we enjoyed it.
Day 3 off from Dublin to Waterford and a trip round the Waterford glass factory , it is in full production so we got to see all the processes and see how intricate the cutting is.Then after a quick tour round town off to Cork and our B &B our host was a very pleasant ex cop called John who made us very welcome and then took us into town and showed us where to eat and where all the pubs were!!It was jazz week in town so every bar had a jazz group and there were street bands as well, very lively and we had a great meal before wandering the streets soaking up the atmosphere , then home by bus both got a good night's sleep.
Day 4 Into Cork to see the market and do a bit of shopping then onto Killarny a stop in town for lunch and to buy Marie an Irish cardigan then a quick drive through before off to Dingle on th6e west coast and then Trallee another drive round and finish in Limerick for the night, had a Chinese meal at the village restaurant and bed.
Day 5 Drive round Limerick and then off to see Lough Derg a very pretty ride inland before again returning to the coast and Galway another drive round , I had better explain that All Irish towns are made up of very narrow streets which demand one way systems and then parking is a nightmare quite often using part of the pavement and all in all results in a 5km crawl so easy for me to drive slowly whilst Marie snaps away to her hearts content mostly on the camera so pics when we get home.From Galway we went on to the west coast again with a round trip to Galway bay and back then onto Shrule where we stayed with an old friend of Marie's from NZ they had a good matter and catch up that night and over a lovely cooked breakfast the next morning.
Day 6 to Sligo drive round , Rossnowlagh where Marie's rallies have holiday homes and she used to go, Donegal drive round then to Ballybufey, Castlefin, Castlederg, and Ardstraw where Marie's cousins live. Morris and Myra who came to NZ last year and where we are staying. Great night with them drank far too muck whisky ( Irish singe malt) along with Morris and slept well??
Day 7 Off go see the family toLifford to see Uncle Winston and Cynthea Patterson and then to Strabane where we met a cousin Winstons daughter Lesley then on to Morris's shop to look round and we had lunch with him, then to pick up Aunt Sidie 93 from her home and took her to Jim and Wendy Patterson in Casrlefin had dinner there and then home.Another late night as Morris likes to talk I was too tired so left Marie and him talking
Day 8 Off to Armagh to see Aunt Isabel 91 and was shown around town by her (( she still drives ) and then to her house for lunch a chicken casserole followed by Apple pie not allowed to leave before having the Bramley apples,she had cooked!! At 91
Took the back roads back to Castlederg great views but Very narrow single lane!! To "The Grove" dairy farm where Nelson used to farm and now owned by Jack Mitchell Marie's cousin, and run by him and his Son John. A fully computerised herd of 600 cows with a pasturisong and bottling plant supplying the local area , then went to Castlederg and saw the dedicated Mitchell window in the church. On to " Craigmonahan" the farm for dinner with Jack and Hazel then home.
Day 9 To Terry and Joans to see their farm which is now run by his Son Jason again a partly computerised herd and also the site of the first composting and digesting plant to dry and liquid gas by this method in the world, really cutting edge stuff , I was shown around by one of the French engineers responsible for the plants production , really interested me. After that went to Terrys other Son Gregory who has a very successful car business in Ardstraw.Now a quick trip up to Derry to meet Isabel and George who showed us the Derry wall, Bogside, and the school where she was principal during the troubles , too many guns and wall paintings for me ,late lunch at hotel

in town and then rush back in the dark to Aunt Sidie and to Morris's for a family gathering they were 14 of us and now I'm awash with names and relationships!!!!!! But a great evening with much hilarity and whisky and wine etc.
Day 10 Morris cooked a great Irish breakfast, his own sausages and bacon plus black pudding egg soda bread and toast absolutely stuffed full. Went to the Giants Causway rained most of the drive but fine for our visit , impressive sight , then to Old Bush Mills distillery for a tour and tasting yum. After that onto Portrust drive round and then Portstewart where we met Uncle Mervin and Zoe ,could not stay too long as we were due back to go to Terry and Joans for a fairwell dinner made it after another horrible dark rainy drive with bad lights on my hire car, but dinner was really good and we all enjoyed it another late night.

Sunday off to Belfast early to return car and travel by train to Dublin and on to Rosslare good scenic trip marred by the stupid place they have not put the Rosslare station you have to walk a 500mtr loop to get at the ferry office or taxis mad and annoying as we now have 3 suitcases. Taxi to our digs and then to local pub for dinner and so to bed

Monday The journey without a ticket, due to a machine fault at Glasgow this ticket did not download properly and by the time it was sorted we were in Ireland, can only be downloaded at UK rail station.Had ticket but not official so Stena Boats were OK and then to Fishguard where there is no machine, change at Port Talbert with only a 6 minute stay until connection no time to download !! All ticket inspectors looked at ticket and said ok it wasn't until Bristol where we had a bus connection between parkway and Templemeads that I struck trouble but as I explained it was their fault in the first place so on we went.. Bus to airport and collect car, attitude of car hire rep bad and we were presented with a near empty gas tank and a nervous drive until we found a garage , Google then decided that the quickest way was through tortuous back roads at least this cars lights are ok. Found our digs which are handily situated for town ,went down to local Tesco and bought dinner etc and back to eat and sleep.

Posted by oldnick 00:20 Archived in Ireland Tagged and travel to uk Comments (2)

Inverness and North

overcast 10 °C

Saturday went to Wick by train , why , because we could the furthest north by train. Wick is a lovely little town that used to be the biggest sardine port in the world with up to 1100 fishing smacks operating out of the port,hard hit after the collapse of the fishery.We had a 5hr look around a great lunch in a treehouse in town and then back again by train.Nowadays the road trip only takes 2hrs thanks to new bridges but the train takes over 4 going up and down the valleys, but what a view of the true highlands you do get great trip.
Sunday late start thank goodness after long day yesterday 11am trip around Lock Ness explored Urquet castle but it was very windy and drizzle at the time. Went to a small village for lunch and then toured around the back side of the Loch which most don't see very scenic and worth taking the narrow roads to see.Back by 7pm and popped into a pub along the river for a dram.!! Dinner at another pub further along Marie had Venison and I had pherrasant plus drinks all for NZ$ 70 not bad.People in Inverness and north very friendly great you in the street and generally seem very contented nice place to be.
MONDAY a long day train at 6.50am to Perth, Glasgow, Ayr, Cairnryon and ferry to Belfast arrive 5.30pm

Posted by oldnick 23:11 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

From Paris via London to Inverness in 24 hours

semi-overcast 12 °C

An easy trip this one all went well. A late start and leisurely breakfast followed by a casual walk to Gard du nord station with lunch on the way then through customs twice! French and UK all in the space of 20mtrs a short wait and boarding our train,good airline type seating only with more leg room and a fast smooth journey to St Pancras a short walk to Euston and left suitcases at left luggage (and can they charge for the privilage !!! Yaxi to Shaftsbury avenue , had high tea across from the theatre and to our seats front row in the grand balcony great view from on high. Enjoyed the show Alladin great special effects and then a quick taxi back to Euston to collect our cases and board the Caledonian I know that they are updating the stock for this train but the coach we were in was not one of those ,looking a bit tired and the berth was very small but bed ok and it ran very smoothly so got a reasonable sleep woken with a cup of tea and a shortbread at 6.30 so time to freshen up and get ready for departure.
At Glasgow find that our train to Inverness leaving from queen st station (we arrived at central) has been replaced by a bus and leaves 20mins earlier, Dont Panic!!!! Go to bus stop at central and find first transfer bus not until 8am so we walk to Queen St fortunately not far and locate bus, so off we go,thanks to a good motorway most of the way bus makes good time and we join our connection at Perth with no trouble nice ride to Inverness and get in at 1pm.Round the corner for a pub lunch , haddock and chips with the biggest piece of fish I've seen on ages and then walk to our dogs,no one to meet us and we have to wait a while until he arrives not a great problem as we yearn to the builders working across the street.I must say our bed,/sit with ensuite is very nice, spacious with a large king bed both got a great night's rest. After we settled in went out exploring what a pleasant city this is with some great architecture and very friendly people, went to find out about trips etc. Back to supermarket for some supplies and home for a snack a wine and bed.

This morning Friday we went out to town and we have explored most of it today,the more we see the more it grows on you, both of us find it a really enjoyable place Marie and I both got new shoes at Clarkes and I got a pair of sheepskin gloves,plus some new socks as my old ones are developing holes,can't think why. Weather here mostly dry with some overnight rain temperatures 12 to 14 so quite pleasant to walk around in.

Tomorrow Wick then a trip to Lock Ness on Sunday and Monday a very early start for Ireland . Posting pictures now.

Posted by oldnick 09:10 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

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