Llanes and Picos de Europa

P1000653 2

Friday 21st September 2018

A short drive from our campsite was the small seaside town of Llanes.  We were told that this was a ‘must visit’ area as the beaches are so lovely and not to be missed. The drive there was beautiful as the road ran alongside the coastline on one side and the Picos de Europa mountains on the other.

P1000652

The north coast of Spain has the “feel” of Cornwall about it, the lovely sandy bays and rocky coastline are so similar that you expect to be able to buy a pastie and a glass of cider but all you can find is sangria and calamari!

IMG_1530

This is Playa Gulpiyuri, it is a very small inland tidal beach with the sea making its way through the caves to this little beauty spot. My thanks go to José Fernando Calcerrada, a Spansh friend of mine from the gym who has kindly produced me a map of the lesser known places that we must see on our travels.  Everywhere has been great so far and I will show you the rest as this journey continues.

IMG_1532

It is very unusual to see a completely enclosed beach where you can’t see the sea

IMG_1533

Ideal if you don’t like a sea breeze……

IMG_1534

Mind you if the sun was shining you would have to get there early to get a space……….

IMG_1535

A short stroll up the hill and you can see the sea………

IMG_1537

………and the rocky coastline……… not much chance of being able to swim here unless you want to jump of the cliff……….I decided against it although Jane did think it was a good idea!

IMG_1539

On our way back to the campsite we drove through the Picos de Europa. These are a small but perfectly formed mountain range very close to the coast. The drive was spectacular…………………

IMG_1540

…………the only problem, as far as I was concerned, was that there was far too few places to stop, take photos and admire the views………….

IMG_1542

……….one of the only places I managed to stop gave me the opportunity to pose by a road sign, silly and childish I know, but what else would you expect from me?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Our First Day In Spain

IMG_1463

Tuesday 18th September- Portsmouth

The weather didn’t look particularly promising for our ferry crossing to Bilbao, the wind was blowing a gale and there was rain in the air! I had heard that the best way to avoid feeling seasick is to have a full stomach, and as you may know I will try anything once, so this sounded like a great idea! Therefore, after dropping our overnight bags in our cabin, we headed to the restaurant and had a full english breakfast.  What a great way to start a trip!

IMG_1466

This particular ferry is the economy version, so there is not much to do except sleep, read and watch movies on your i-pad. I caught up with the penultimate  episode of the  BBC T.V. programme The Bodyguard on i-player, how am I going to find out what happens in the end? Can someone e-mail me the last episode next Sunday?

IMG_1468

The crossing started off fairly rough but calmed down on the Wednesday morning the closer we got to Spain. The weather got so bad at one time that Jane had to leave a half glass of wine, now that shows you how bad it was!

IMG_1474

Land ahoy!  Unfortunately our cars and caravans were on an open deck exposed to the elements. It is amazing how much sea salt your car can get covered in during a 36 hour ferry crossing!

IMG_1476

So much so that after pitching up the vans the very next thing we had to do was wash and polish both cars and caravans.

IMG_1482

After all the hard work was done it was time to get out and explore. I can’t get over how quiet the roads are, we drove along the main coastal road and hardly saw a car, if it stays like this for the duration of the trip then the driving will be stress free. However I am sure as we progress further south everything will get busier.

The first town we visited was Santillana del Mar.

IMG_1493

This is a lovely town with cobbled streets (not ideal for flip-flops!) This was more than just a tourist attraction as people lived and worked here so there were very few cars as it was only the locals that could use them within the towns limits. One thing I liked about the shops was the signage, this was all very discreet and a far cry from some of the chain store shopfronts that you can get in some U.K towns!

IMG_1508

Our next stop was for a stroll along the beach at San Vicente de la Barquera.

IMG_1607

This place was not only very quiet (except for quite a few surfers!) but beautiful as well.

IMG_1612

Jane asked us for a funny pose, we couldn’t think what to do at first then it came to us like a “Bolt” out of the blue!

IMG_1518

The surfers waiting for their next wave look like seals waiting for their next fish!

IMG_1515

The water wasn’t really that warm, just warm enough to get your toes wet!

IMG_1524

Into town for tea…………….

IMG_1525

…………………and a stroll along the prom!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Up To Date

IMG_1364

It has been a few weeks since I have updated my blog, so here goes! During this time of not travelling  I have met up with with lots of old friends and met many new ones!  David Lloyd has asked me to resurrect the walking club that Rosie and I used to run a few years ago when the club was under another name, and it was great fun choosing a few interesting local routes!

IMG_1450

And I am pleased to say that more and more people are joining us with each new walk. We are very lucky to live in this beautiful area of the country, and have access to some stunning walks without having to travel too far from the club. (If anyone wants to come along and join me for any of these walks, you will find the details posted on the wall in the club behind reception, or alternatively leave a comment on the blog and I will get back to you.) I think its always good to start a walk from a cafe or a pub as there is then that added incentive to make sure you get back to the venue before it closes!

IMG_1459

Although it looks breezy in this photo we had a lovely 5 mile walk alongside the River Hamble this Sunday morning (16th September)

IMG_1427

Most mornings these days I meet up with mates from the gym…………..

IMG_1428

But as you can see from the time on the clock, now I’m retired I’m getting there later and later. Still if I want to make sure I keep my finely honed body in perfect shape I still need to make the time and effort !!!!!!!!

IMG_1425

There are some unusual sights at the gym including “breakfast guy”, who always eats his meal in the changing room. I can think of far more pleasant places myself …………………

IMG_1430

Namely the David Lloyd cafe where you are always greeted by a winning smile from the shy retiring bar staff !

IMG_1433

I am often called upon by Ray and Roger to help them out on the more challenging of the crossword clues, but true to form I very seldom come up with a sensible answer!

IMG_1446

If I’m not attending the gym in the mornings then 18 holes of golf at the stunning Hockley golf course are an ideal way for me to pass the time. The course is beautiful and a real challenge, and so are the sausage baps at the end!

IMG_1352

I took my nieces, Esme and Zena, geocaching for the first time during their school holidays.  They said they enjoyed it or were they just humouring their Uncle????? I think the ice-cream at the end helped in their enjoyment of the day!

IMG_1375

My now not so little nephew has just passed his driving test, and first time too! Now its time for him to start taking me and his Auntie Jane out for the day, but not to the seaside as he lives very close to Bognor Regis.  I’m hoping for a trip to Windsor Castle, that should be ideal for any 17 year old!

IMG_1379

Bognor pier, looking stark against the grey skies!

IMG_1388

Kev and Val came down to see us to discuss our next adventure to Spain (where I’m writing this!) and it was great to see them making sweet music together at Hilliers Gardens in Ampfield!

IMG_1395

Esme gets Baptised

My niece Esme got baptised on the 9th September in my old school hall, what a great opportunity to have a good old nose around!

IMG_1404

It was the first time that I had returned there for over 40 years.  The main building hadn’t changed much at all, except there has been a lot of updating going on, who would of thought they would have carpets in schools, whatever next ?

IMG_1410

They have also built a new library outside of the main building, (the old library held such fond memories for me of Miss Roberts who taught english there in the early 70’s, happy days)

IMG_1415

Esme looking radiant after her baptism!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open Top Bus Tour of The New Forest

IMG_1227

Saturday 11th August 2018

Well I have to say it was probably not the best day to choose for an open top bus trip. Jane, who is our up-to-the-minute weather forecaster had checked her dozen or more apps and assured us that it would be fine………….

IMG_1228

………well it was fine, as long as you were wrapped up nice and dry and warm!

IMG_1230

at least we were all smiling….. and Zena has such a lovely smile!

IMG_1231

I’m really glad I went to the trouble of bringing my raincoat, as it was ideal for Eleanor (who didn’t have a coat to go with her outfit!)  to put over her head to stop her hair getting wet, and I wasn’t cold at all!

IMG_1232

Normally on one of these type trips it is very difficult to get a top deck seat, but on this occasion it was only the foolhardy of us that stayed put!

IMG_1245

Sometimes the excitement of a bus trip gets too much for some of us !

IMG_1233

There were the odd moments of brightness, but they were very few and far between.  It was great to visit an area that I know very well and see it from on high, although I think I’ll have to try one of the other routes on a dryer day!

IMG_1235

Where has everyone gone?

Thats better, these young girls had been visiting the fairy festival at Burley and arrived with their lovely colourful makeup to brighten up our day!

IMG_1239

This little elf was also part of the festival, or at least I hope he was, there are some strange folk in the forest!

IMG_1240IMG_1244

Zena was the last of my lovely nieces to brave it on the top deck, she lasted an hour before she joined Esme and Eleanor down below in the dry!……….

IMG_1251

………….I’m sure it was only the lure of the chocolate that kept her here so long!

IMG_1261

Tuesday 14th August 2018

The walking club walks are getting better attended with each new walk. This picture was taken about 10 minutes walk from the David Lloyd in West End, it’s great that in such a short amount of time you can be out in open land, even in such a built up area! If any David Lloyd members are interested in joining me on future walks let me know and I will add you to the mailing list.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cerys’s Christening

IMG_1159

Sunday 5th August 2018

When Terry and Sammie  invited us to attend the christening of their youngest daughter Cerys, in Newquay, we were delighted as we had sadly missed the christenings for their other lovely daughters Ffion and Seren. I can’t believe it was five years ago since we had all got together at their wedding, and it’s great to see how well they have grown together as a couple and as a family.

IMG_1174

So it was great to meet up with such a large part of Jane’s side of the family and in such a beautiful part of the country.

IMG_1162

There were also new members of the family that I had never met before, and it was a great pleasure to see meet Ffion and Seren for the first time. What a lovely family they make, and it was great to see everyone so happy.

IMG_1166

The church was very warm and welcoming and the vicar was friendly and funny, and had a great way of making everyone feel at home. Cerys was a bit hungry at the start of the service so during a break for her lunch the vicar told us a few corny jokes……….which I have now added to my repertoire. Whilst shaking his hand as I left the church I passed comment on his jokes and he asked me if I would like to hear a slightly rude joke, to which I of course replied in the affirmative!………..Jane nearly fell off her pew…………..if you want to know more you will have to ask me next time we meet, I’m not going to print it here!

IMG_1184

The three lovely and delightful Creswick girls, Jane, Marisa and Tracy, with Tracy’s equally delightful daughter Sam and granddaughter Kira. (I wonder if I will get any brownie points?)

IMG_1186

David and Sam pose with their usual trademark tongue smile!

IMG_1202

Mum and Dad (Terry and Sammie) with Cerys and Nan!

IMG_1190

Stan and Tracy catching up and talking about the old times.  It was lovely to be able to sit out in the garden and enjoy the sun!

IMG_1199

The brothers and sister all together sitting in the sun enjoying a cooling drink!

IMG_1201

One very happy nan with one of her four lovely granddaughters, Tracy was definitely in her element that day, and the smile says it all!

Version 2

After a great day around Terry and Sammie’s, us oldies went out to the pub for a Sunday roast. Kev chose the Fox’s Revenge in Summercourt, which was near our new campsite (not Rosebud Farm!) and their guesthouses. The restaurant was great and the food was delicious, however the barman looked a little perturbed when Marisa, having misheard what was on offer, asked for a full Brazilian rather than a cooled Chilean when asking for the wine!  Other than that I can highly recommend this place.

 

WARNING FOR THOSE OF A NERVOUS DISPOSITION

Monday 6th August 2018

It was just as well that, when walking along the clifftop at Bedruthan Steps I had forgotten my scythe, as Jane told me to put my shirt on in case I was mistaken for Ross Poldark!   I tried a few different poses, stomach out, stomach in and stomach normal, but it was no good she said I definitely looked roly poly………I must get my hearing checked!

IMG_1208

Jane looked far more elegant, but then again she always does!

IMG_1217

We both adore Cornwall and we love it whatever the weather, but it has to be said that on a day like this there is no finer place in the world to sit and eat your sandwiches!

IMG_1224

Another really great thing about a visit to Cornwall is we get to see Dave and Sally-Anne. It is especially good when we get the chance to return their hospitality and this time invite them around to our home! I have known Dave since we were both 16 years old and worked at Sainsbury’s in Farnham……….it’s amazing how quick those 10 years have passed!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rosebud Camping

IMG_1143

Friday 3rd August 2018

Rosebud Camping, St. Teath Cornwall

We have found the Fawlty Towers of the camping world!!! We didn’t set out to find it, we just stumbled upon it really, we were looking for a quiet adults only site for a long weekend as we had been invited to Newquay for a family christening (more of which in the next blog!). We enquired about having 2 more guests to stay for the Saturday night but the owners mentioned (when we booked) that it was couples only, so we only planned to stay the one night before we moved on. Just as well we did.  Upon arrival at the site, each couple is offered a cup of tea or coffee, which we thought was a nice idea (we later realised this was to see if we were suitable campers!)  We were told of the camp rules, one of which was no talking or socialising with the other campers! Can you imagine what it was like for me not to be able talk to the other guests?

The owners were friendly enough to us, and Jane fell in love with Terri’s new puppy straight away, so everything started well.

IMG_1151

But I suppose Jon looked at me and thought I was trouble from the start as he gave us the pitch right next to his “command post”.  I did get slightly stressed when a Hungarian couple asked us about our caravan and without thinking I invited them in for a look around………….this was greeted with looks of incredulity from other campers who had stayed there a few nights, but as we had only been there an hour or so we were still relatively carefree and we got away with it!

IMG_1153

We did find some of the signs very helpful, as neither of us had flushed a toilet before, choosing always to use a bucket then throw it on the roses!

IMG_1150

The view in the morning was not quite as good as the day before! We were due to leave just before midday so I set about the daily caravanning duties, one of which was to empty the loo. The chemical toilet disposal was at the other end of the site and as I walked along the track other people were walking towards me and as we passed we both whispered “good morning” and under our breath said “look straight ahead no eye contact” with smiles on our faces! As I approached the far end of the field there was a group of 4 people gathered together and I said “what the hell do you think you are doing? you know you shouldn’t  be talking!” to which they laughed and said “I know it’s ridiculous, my wife saw Jon coming and she went and hid in the caravan!”  They told me that the  campers on the pitch next to them were posted a letter under their awning the previous evening, warning them about their bad conduct by having a chat with their neighbours and a reminder that they were being watched!

We had only planned to stay the one night and that was just as well. I actually found the stay very surreal and amusing. I got on well with Terri and Jon and they have got a lovely  campsite. The only thing that is needed here is a degree of flexibility.

I recommend that if you have time, stay here and experience a real life Fawlty Towers camping style!

If you don’t believe me I have added a selection of reviews taken from Trip Advisor, there are a fair few good reviews as well, but they are just not funny!

 

The Reviews 

 

I am in absolute shock, my husband and I have been thrown off a campsite for getting up too early, we were leaving to spend the day at the Royal Cornwall Show, at 7am, to avoid the traffic congestion. It seems the “rules” are that you cannot leave the site until 9am.

The gates were locked. We asked them to let us out.

We were shouted at by the wife: “HOW DARE YOU, HOW DARE YOU, HOW DARE YOU BREAK THE RULES, with a stern wag of the finger!!!

We were invited (or ordered) to switch off the car engine and told to go to the summer house where a cup of tea was on offer. John went off telling us he would come back to show us around and left us with Terri, who made our tea whilst chatting to us. All quite relaxed and friendly. We’d noticed on the way in the sign on the entrance gate that said that it would be locked between 11pm and 9am. My friend asked if it would be possible to leave before as we needed to make an early start. Terri replied that the gate would not be opened until 9am and this now looked non-negotiable. My friend then asked if we could park the car outside the site for the night at which point Terri (whose manner had become chillier by the minute) said that she would go and speak to John. John came back (having been spoken to) and told us that we were unable to stay. We thought he was joking as he had a smile on his face as he said it. He then got out his list of rules and we realised that he was smiling because he was enjoying the feeling of power! I found the whole encounter quite sinister as he really seemed to enjoy telling two ladies (I’m 64 and she’s 71) to leave in what was pretty bad weather. I asked if there were any other camp sites nearby and he replied, ‘None whatsoever’. My friend and I were made to feel like naughty children by this arrogant, controlling person but with hindsight, after reading some of the other reviews on here about other people’s experiences at the hands of these two individuals – cctv surveillance, not permitted to speak to other campers, locked gates etcetera – we’re glad we were thrown out

Please avoid this campsite! It will ruin your holiday without a doubt.
The owner is an awful person.
We booked to stay at this campsite for 2 nights. The road to the campsite was closed (due to a lovely local village carnival taking place).
The campsite didn’t inform us of the road closure (despite them attending the local village carnival themselves that day), and so were arrived approx 1 hour late for check-in at the campsite.
As a result, the owner cancelled our entire booking with them, leaving us with nowhere else to stay for our holiday.
The owner was unnecessarily horrid and rude.
Don’t just take our word for it….We spoke with several of the local villagers in St.Teath (in the White Lion pub) and all of them advised “he isn’t a very nice man” and “not many people like him round here, he has a bad reputation”.
Says it all!

We arrived at Rosebud Farm after a gruelling 12 hour journey due to a burst caravan tyre on M5 – no friendly greeting for us ! I had inadvertently booked for a caravan and a pup tent for our adult daughter. Bearing in mind we are pensioners of 78 and 74 respectively and my husband is not very mobile. We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not stay because we were a group !! Our daughter offered to pitch her tent on the other side of the site away from us but, and this is the unbelievable bit, we were told NO because we would talk to each other ! So after a traumatic journey – 2 pensioners 2 dogs and daughter had nowhere to stay and it now almost 6.00 clock, he would not even consider a 1 night stay just kept waving a list of rules at us.

We were in this location because my sister who is 57 years old, was pet and house sitting in the area and was raving about the location. We had decided to spend a few days nearby to offer some company and to see the sites. I mention this because shortly after arriving and starting to put up the caravan awning, my sister arrived to welcome us and give us a hand. Oh dear!!!!!!! John was onto us like a angry bear. “What’s going on?” he asked. I explained. “She has 5 minutes to get off the site. We don’t allow visitors or groups!

On arrival at 10am having left Wales at 6am they were told quite abruptly no you can’t book in till 12, go away, we have chores to do. My friends were a little shocked as they could see people leaving and the site virtually empty, but being amenable agreed to go and visit Tintagel. I met them there and were back on our way back at just before noon when friends who we had arranged to meet elsewhere in their camper an on the weekend text us to say.We just tried to book in but they are nutters, we can’t stay there. Shocked our normally v quiet friends were having a reaction like this we called them and met up.
Apparently they had been v nicely greeted with a cup of tea shown round the park and everything was fine until they said have our other friends booked in? A dark mist seemed to descend over the hosts. Your friends , you have friends booked on site. I’m sorry we don’t allow groups. My friends replied but we didn’t book with them but heard they will be here. Sorry you can’t park your van by them and if we do let you stay you won’t be able to talk to them.

On arrival we were offered a cup of tea which sounds very nice however it felt more like an interrogation. We were given a page of rules that we had to abide by, only once we had spoken to the owners and read these rules did we ‘deserve’ to stay on the site.

After traveling 6hrs through the night to avoid traffic,we arrive at 8.30am(booking in time 12noon)we parked in front of some chained gates walked down a track signed campsite,entered through a closed gate,closing behind us,and was greeted by the rudest person I’ve met.He asked us what we were doing,I explained we were booked in that day.his response was unbelievable he said not at this time your not,I said we just wanted to park the car and walk to the village he refused,and told us we were trespassing and should never go through a closed gate and were likely to be shot around these parts.so we drove into the village and used are time sensibly and found a more friendly site avoid at all costs

However we soon discovered that you are not allowed to speak to your neighbours as no socialising whether in the day or of an evening was allowed. It was very regimented and it felt like being locked into a prison camp. The gates are locked at a specific time and you are not allowed to leave until they are opened at 9.00am.

We were visiting Cornwall for a family wedding but decided to stay longer for a holiday. After reading the reviews for Rosebud Farm we were looking forward to our first visit to Cornwall. We knew the journey would take a long time from North Norfolk and pulling a trailer would take longer still, especially as we were travelling on a Saturday. We left home at 7am which allowed 11 hours with two half an hour stops to arrive by 6pm.
Our journey to the M25 was as we expected. However, from the South Mimms services it became an extremely slow journey due to the volume of traffic. We were constantly nose to tail on the M25, M4 and M5.
By 4pm we had reached Portishead services and knew we would not reach Rosebud Farm by 6pm. We rang to let them know and apologise for our delay. We were told that the first people to arrive had not been until 2pm which was unusual so they knew something was wrong, don’t worry if you’re not here by a minute to 6 and drive safely.
By 5pm we had only reached Tiverton and we had been travelling for 10hours! It had become the journey from hell made worse by our anxiety of being unable to reach the site by 6pm.
At 6pm we had a call from Rosebud Farm; where were we? were we travelling in the right direction as it only takes 1 hour from Exeter? I explained we were on the A30 near Okehampton, the traffic had been slow. At 6.45pm they rang again asking where we were and sounding angry that we still had not arrived, repeating it only takes an hour from Exeter. I explained about the time we left home, the volume of traffic, I apologised but that we could only go as fast as the traffic would allow. They hung up!
At 7.10pm we arrived at the site. There was not a friendly helpful face or a cup of tea to greet us. Instead we were told everyone else had arrived by 6pm, others had not experienced traffic problems, it only takes an hour from Exeter, they did not believe we had been travelling since 7am and to leave the site.
It was at this point, as we pulled away, that I began to cry and decided Cornwall was not a place I would visit again. It was pouring with rain, we were extremely tired after our 12hr journey, we had no idea of any other camp sites in the area, we had a trailer tent, a car full of belongings and a puppy. The owners of Rosebud Farm could not have cared less about what had happened that day or what we would do next. They were only concerned and angry that we had not arrived by 6pm. Considering the traffic we had done well to only be an hour late.
Luckily, due to our family wedding, relatives had rented a cottage at Pendoggett so we slept on their floor that night.
The next day we realised that every cloud does have a silver lining. we found a lovely camp site in Port Gaverne run by a genuine, kind and lovely lady. Its a small site with clean toilets and showers, is practically on the beach, has a local pub with great food and costs £5 per person per night with no extra cost for dogs or awnings.
On Thursday the journey home took 10 hours with two half an hour stops. It took 1.30 hours to get to Exeter.
Our holiday turned out to be fantastic and we will definitely return to Cornwall. However, I am disgusted by the behaviour of the owners of Rosebud Farm and will recommend that people do not stay at their camp site.

Rosebud farm has somehow single handedly ripped out and destroyed the most important quality of camping, and that is enjoyment.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rory’s Birthday Party

IMG_1086

Saturday 28th July 2018

Now I know you might think I’m a little remiss on this particular episode of my blog, but I did my best. We were invited to Rory’s 1st birthday party near Chichester by his proud mum and dad, Rose and Graham, and I appear to have got photos of everyone else except them!  The photo above is of doting grandparents Marisa and Chris, who both thoroughly enjoyed the day with their grandson, though from what I could see there was a competition between them as to who could get the longest cuddle!

I did manage to get a photo of one big kid (sorry not Rory!) but it was only Kev, and he was in competition with me to see who could eat the most jelly and ice-cream……….it was an honourable draw!

IMG_1102

Another big kid was Jane who was totally engrossed playing with one of Rory’s new toys, and she wouldn’t let me have a go!

IMG_1100

Tracy kept herself amused with the push-along car, but was a bit disappointed that Kev couldn’t get on it!

IMG_1110

But Kev thanked her for trying……………

IMG_1111

……….and it all ended happily ever after………even the car was smiling!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Netley and Broadlands

IMG_1057

Wednesday 25th July 2018

We arrived back in the U.K on Tuesday the 24th and the weather was still great over here. In fact being back in a proper house makes it feel so much hotter than we have been used to in the caravan. So after a day of catching up with lots of jobs such as the washing and the unpacking of the car and caravan, it seemed like a great idea to go to the coast and get a little bit more of the sea breeze. We had planned a visit to Lepe which is probably the closest beach to us here in Braishfield, but after hearing that the Radio 2 traffic news had reported a lorry on fire and traffic gridlock in that direction, we needed another plan.

IMG_1060

So that quick change of plan took us to Queen Victoria Country Park in Netley.  I think this is a very underrated, and consequently underused local resource. It was great to have a walk along the water’s edge and watch the sun set over Southampton. Admittedly you do have Fawley refinery on the opposite bank and that is a bit of an eyesore, but it was lovely to sit on a bench and watch the small sailing boats having a race along the Solent and around some of the buoys!

IMG_1062

Dad looks like he has got a halo in this picture!

IMG_1068

Thursday 26th July 2018

I have lived in and around Romsey for the best part of 52 years, having moved here from Southampton when I was 5,  and apart from a short period of time working away in London and Peterborough for Nurdin & Peacock (happy days!)  I have never been too far away.  However up until now I have never really had a good look around Broadlands house. I have a hazy recollection of being dragged around with my mum many years ago but none of these memories  have stuck with me………………..

IMG_1074

So it was time to rectify this shortfall in my Romsey history. The house is only open for 2 months each year, and this year it is open from 27th June to the 4th September, I suppose this is why it has taken me so long to visit, as whenever I remembered about going it was closed.

IMG_1076

The tour guide was very informative and he told us all about Lord Louis and Lord Palmerston who had been the previous inhabitants of this house. It was interesting to see all the pictures of many of the famous faces who had visited here over the years, the Queen spent part of her honeymoon here as did Princess Diana. The guide even told us of a flying visit the previous week by the Duke of Edinburgh, who was attending a christening but it was rumoured that he was here, keeping away from London as a certain Donald Trump was visiting the Queen that day!!!

IMG_1078

Another interesting (and very hot!) day!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Boulogne

P1000588

Saturday 21st July 2018

After yesterday’s grey and misty day it was a pleasure to see the return of the sun. Neither of us had ever visited Boulogne before and I knew it as a major ferry port.  I have checked online and it looks like this has now stopped, but other aspects of the port seemed to be in full swing when we visited. The photo above shows how adventurous you can be with a car park. The theme was bringing the countryside in to the city, and I think it worked beautifully. This particular car park was outside the local town hall, which had about 3 weddings just whilst we were watching!

IMG_1032

This area of Boulogne is the fortified old city and it is a relative oasis of calm amongst all the other busy parts of the city.

P1000589

This is the Notre-Dame Basilica which was built between 1827 and 1866 and this huge building stands high above the old town,

IMG_1028

We walked all around the walls of this town, I think they had been recently renovated and it was great to see people enjoying a stroll in the shade of the trees that hung over the ramparts. They even had play parks for the kids, places to picnic, and benches just to sit and people watch!

IMG_1032

Hidden in amongst these walls was a geocache. I had been introduced to the wonderful world of geocaching many years before by my very good friend Kevin Heard, and if Jane lets me I like to have a go when visiting somewhere new.  It’s great when exploring a city to try and find a “treasure” that a like-minded person has hidden. We have found that it  takes you a little off the normal beaten track to see lesser-known parts of cities and other tourist attractions. I think secretly that Jane really enjoys it and it does have the added bonus of keeping me amused whilst she is shopping. The one thing I find the hardest to do, is that you are meant to do it discreetly, so while I’m ferreting around looking under benches and behind signs I do get some strange looks.  Sometimes I do feel obliged to let them know that I am not mad, and that I am just a grown man looking for treasure, and then funnily enough those strange expressions on their faces don’t disappear!  Visit http://www.geocaching.com and have a look, it just might transform your walks!

P1000613

The moat around the castle (which is now a museum) looked splendid with all the lilies in bloom in the moat.

P1000622

After our trip around Boulogne we decided to retrace our drive from the previous day and see the Opal Coast in the sunshine. First stop Ambleteuse, and a stroll along  the prom!

IMG_1053

Monday 23rd July 2018

Our last full day in France and a visit to Audinghen, which is close to Cap Griz-Nez, where on a clear day you can see the white cliffs of Dover.  Well it was a lovely day but I couldn’t see them!

IMG_1054

We had seen and smelt this place when we were out on our bikes so on our back from the coast we stopped by to get some strawberries for our tea. They were delicious, so much so that we returned to take some back for dad and tea the next day! (There is a joke about a fraise book, but Jane said it was too silly for the blog……..I’ll tell you later!)

IMG_1056

After a great day out I enjoy an interesting read and its not every day that you find out your next door neighbour is an author. Steve Foster, my neighbour from Huntingdon Gardens, has written the true story of his dad’s exploits in the 2nd World War. He explains how he escaped from a German prisoner of war camp in Poland and then caught several trains to Switzerland. It is a great story which I’m sure will be made into a film, and it only came about when Steve retired and started researching his family tree and found an old suitcase full of his dad’s old letters……………………………(the book is published by Mirror books and can be found on Amazon.  It’s well worth a read!)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Camping St Louis

IMG_1023

Camping St Louis is our last campsite in France for this trip, it is a small site, normally used as an overnight stop by most of its customers as it is only 1/2 an hours drive from Calais. We have decided on a longer stay here as we don’t really know this area of France at all, as like most people we just use Calais as a gateway to this lovely country.

IMG_1020

The area around the campsite was pretty flat so this was ideal for a bit of exploring by bike, not only are the roads flat but they are remarkably traffic free so this makes for a lovely carefree cycle!

IMG_1027

After our “tour de france” on the bikes it was time for a healthy meal with local ingredients  cooked “al fresco”, always the best way to eat when camping!

P1000529

We visited the town of Calais on a rare overcast day for us on this holiday. Jane had said that she wanted to see the burgers of Calais and I was obviously up for that, only to find that The Burghers of Calais was a statue by Rodin depicting the 6 leading dignitaries of the town that surrendered to English forces in 1346 to enable a siege of the town to be lifted.

P1000532

I thought the statue looked great, but when you have your heart set on a cheeseburger…………

P1000534

Where is the clock?………. Oh thanks !

P1000550

After Calais we drove along  some of the Côte d’Opale which stretches for over 120 kilometres from the Belgian border to the border of Picardy. This was a very scenic drive, however the weather on this occasion was a little unkind to us and we  couldn’t really enjoy the views.

P1000554

We did take a little stroll along a huge great wide beach, and I saw in the distance an unusual looking object and decided that a closer inspection was needed. It was strange to see the wreck of a ship in the middle of these pristine sands, apparently it as left there to encourage wildlife and whilst I was there a couple of children had netted some small crabs.

P1000565

This is mussel beach French style, not be confused with muscle beach in California………..!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment