30 November 2006


Life has been rather hectic recently and I am rather behind updating this Blog so I thought that a quick update would be appropriate. On 17 November, we set off for a night’s stay in Southampton with friends Lesley and Pete (don’t mention the Sat Nav sending us down a “No Through Road” within 100 yards of the hotel). We had arranged to leave the cars at the hotel for the week.

On Saturday we boarded the Queen Mary 2 after standing in a very long queue. We had cabin 4015, which is towards the front on the starboard side, with a window to watch the sea go by, or up and down! For us, on our first cruise, it seemed like a palace and, compared to our friends’ inside berth, it was large. Here are a couple of photos of Glamorous Gran. I am in trouble for showing the cabin in a disgustingly untidy state but it is the only photo I have of the cabin from the bed.

Maria as Glamorous Gran

Cabin from the bed

The whole experience of our first cruise (more strictly an Atlantic Crossing) was absolutely superb. The ship is magnificent, the staff were first class, the food was endless, varied and very good, the entertainment was excellent and the weather was - well variable at best. We sailed out into a Force 9 on the Sunday and both of us were a little queasy by the time Dinner came around, however, with a little help from a patch behind the ear, nothing came up that should have stayed down. The weather was windy for most of the way to Fort Lauderdale and it wasn’t until the last day that we could get up to the top deck to see the complete view of the ship.

Maria & John - Top Deck

At times it was difficult to believe that we were on the ocean because the sizes of the Dining Room, Theatre, Cinema and Ballroom could lead you to believe that you were in their shore-side equivalents and, in truth, the ship is fairly well stabilised. My photographs just do not do the ship justice.

On the down side, the voyage came to an end and we had to get home. Another long queue to get through US Immigration finally saw us on board a coach to the Hilton Hotel at Miami Airport. Here we were fed a buffet lunch, which was OK but nothing special. A delayed (whilst people who had been shopping finally turned up) journey to the airport left us at the back of yet another long queue for the BA flight back to Heathrow. (the couple who delayed the coach walked straight through to First Class!!) We finally boarded and spent the next 7 hours in the two centre seats of a block of four - not good if you want to stretch your legs! The flight was OK with only a few bumpy clouds en-route. We landed at Heathrow about 06:30, picked up our luggage fairly quickly, then negotiated the long walk to the National Express Coach Station, caught the 08:00 coach to Southampton, a taxi to the cars and left the Hotel to drive home, arriving who knows when. Tiredness and jet lag finally caught up with me and I had to stop for a couple of Power Naps on the way.

Overall - great holiday.

Would we do it again? I think the answer is yes and maybe around the Caribbean, The main problem is that horrible flight back from the States or Caribbean.
I would like another go on the Queen Mary, but if it were a trip across “the pond” then preferably from West to East despite the 23 instead of 25 hour days.

18 October 2006

All Shook Up

As the result of a notice at the Podiatry (why do we have to go American) Clinic in Newquay, Maria, Annette and me, along with another three girls, went to the Lane Theatre in Newquay to see “All Shook Up”, which was a production put on by the Pyramid Theatre Company that dealt with the problem of Type 2 Diabetes. The cast of three played a total of eight characters who were involved in one way or another with diabetes. The play centered around Frank who was a 45 year old lorry driver by day and Elvis impersonator by night. It was incredibly well done and I think that everyone in the audience learned something about diabetes, including the two health professionals present. The shame of it was the size of the audience, which cannot have been more than 15. For a free evening’s educational entertainment, that was a great pity. I learned later from the cast that they had had audiences as low as 4 in number. I guess that a combination of indifference to a serious health problem and lack of advertising was to blame. It also occurs to me to wonder just how many people in this country have ever visited a theatre to see a “Live” production of anything. Perhaps TV should bear some of the blame. Now I’m rambling again so well done to Pyramid and I hope the tour to the Hebrides went well even if you won’t be reading this. If you get a chance, go and see this - it is very important and there is plenty of humour as well.

14 October 2006

Oh Boy

Prior to our holiday, we had booked seats at the Hall for Cornwall to see “Buddy” once again. This is the third time if my memory serves me correctly. Saturday night, there we were, second row from the front, in the middle, having a great time. I think that this production was very good and the guy who played Buddy’s part was excellent. The Big Bopper was very good too and this was the best Richie Valens that I have seen; in fact the whole cast put on an excellent evening’s entertainment which makes me want to get out my collection of Buddy Holly songs again.

13 October 2006

Holiday - Day 8 - Home

Friday the 13th loomed large and very foggy and we heard of a number of accidents that had happened on the road just outside the hotel. Nevertheless, we had to get going so, after breakfast, off we set to Waddington, to have a look at 21, Canberra Square. This proved an impossible task because the barriers at Waddington now extend to the two roads leading to the married quarters area and, as I did not have a pass, I was refused permission to have a look at the first real home we had together.
The journey south westwards was actually not too difficult. The fog gradually eased as we travelled westward and the traffic at the time was reasonably light, even for the M6 and M42. We stopped once for a break and then, using good old Tom Tom, I found my way to Stan Newport’s house near Cheltenham. Stan is a 3rd cousin, once removed, with whom I have been swapping family history information for some time (receiving more than giving) but we had never met so it was good to be able to meet face to face even though it was just an hour. We only stayed long enough to have a cup of tea before we had to be off again on the final 200 miles. This we achieved with no further trouble except that coming into Cornwall the sun was so low that driving was awkward to say the least.
Over the whole holiday, I would say that both the car and Tom Tom were a great success with the car averaging just over 40 mpg and we found everywhere we were looking for.
As an end note to this post, I have included a photograph of the hotels to the Newquay side of us on Henver Road, because we believe that in the near future, the Fort Wayne, Kellsboro and Cumberland will all be knocked down to make way for Flats. In the longer term, I can imagine that the Barrowcliff and the Ivydale will go the same way.

Holiday Day 7 - Lincoln

After a pretty good night’s sleep and a simple breakfast in our room, off we went to explore old haunts and houses and have a look around Lincoln itself. We parked the car close to the station and wandered up Sincil Street to the river where we came across a strange structure, which I managed to not quite photograph; the swans were more interesting anyway!

River Witham, Lincoln

We strolled up the High Street through the Stonebow but decided against climbing Steep Hill. We had a look at the Brayford Pool which has changed quite markedly since we left, with a lot of modern Glass and Chrome Bars and Cafes, mixed up with the King William Pub, which is ancient. For lots of information on Lincoln, click here. In the meantime a couple of photos of the High Street:


I don’t remember an Ann Summers Shop when I lived here!!

Level Crossing on the High Street

I do remember the chaos caused by the Level Crossing on the High Street (there used to be two of them!)

We had a wander around the Waterside Centre and stopped for a quick coffee, then did some shopping in M&S and Debenhams before having a very pleasant sandwich lunch outside in the square by the Corn Exchange. The weather was excellent for the whole of the day.

We set off to visit old houses and I took my only photo of the Cathedral from the traffic lights at the bottom of Lindum Hill.

Lincoln Cathedral

Our first stop was at 93, Rasen Lane, which was the first house we lived in; we rented two rooms and shared the kitchen and bathroom with an elderly brother and sister. Included in the £3-10-00 rent was the use of a garage at the side. Apart from the UPVC windows, the house looks very much the same as it did 40 years ago, although the garage seems to have vanished.

93 Rasen Lane, Lincoln

On to Cherry Willingham and 4, St Peter’s Avenue; although the garden has grown up and a conifer hedge surrounds the garden, the house looks much the same and we were a little surprised that the Dormer had not been updated.

4, St Peter's Avenue, Cherry Willingham

We drove around the estate and I took Maria to see where one of her friends, from her days working at Tanya Knitwear, lived. As we drove by, John came out so we stopped to say hello and spent a very pleasant time with him and Marge, despite the fact that Marge has been, and still is, quite poorly with a heart problem. By the time we left there and drove back to the hotel, there was not much time before we had to go out again to have our meal with Val and Mick.

We arrived to have a guided tour of their large garden, which is magnificent, Mick having constructed all sorts of wooden features. The house itself is enormous with four bedrooms and we were entertained to a lovely meal and plenty of reminiscing. I wasn’t allowed to take a photograph of Val, which accounts for this one:

On the other hand, they insisted on photographing us so here we are:

A quiet drive home was followed by a good night’s sleep ready for the final part of our journey.

11 October 2006

Holiday Day 6 - Bradford/Lincoln

The plan was to leave for Lincoln after lunch so the morning was spent packing and I went for a walk around the village and took some photos, some of which are below:

Bronte House Plaque - Market Street

South Square - Ex-girlfriend, Mary Lou's house now Toilets

Black Horse - Kipping Lane

Wellington Inn - Thornton Road

There was no particular reason for taking photos of Public Houses except that they are some of the better looked after buildings in a village which is rather dilapidated. I wonder if Mary Lou knows that her old house on the left of South Square is now a Public Toilet!!

We had decided to take Pop out to lunch at Asa Nicholson’s but on the way we paid a visit to the two family graves in Thornton Cemetery with some flowers. It was very muddy, particular at Maria’s family grave and I missed the photo of her with her trousers rolled up to her knees!

Lunch was excellent value as usual and then it was time to go home, pack the car and get on the road again.

Asa Nicholson's Cafe and Bakery

The trip to Lincoln included driving through one of the worst rain storms I have driven in, in this country (we had to stop altogether in Florida and Fuerteventura).
We went into Lincoln via what used to be Skellingthorpe Airfield, which was unrecognisable; what had been all open space was now a collection of estates. On we went to Birchwood Estate, which looked very weary in places, none more so than Finch Close which we left in 1973. Number 4 was rather depressing, but the photograph doesn’t look too bad.

4, Finch Close, Birchwood

From Birchwood we went straight to the Premier Lodge at the top of Canwick Hill where we had a room booked for two nights. A very nice room it was too. The hotel is attached to the Mill Lodge; it was rather foggy when the photos were taken on the following morning.

Premier Lodge, Lincoln

Mill Lodge, Lincoln

We had arranged to meet some friends in the Mill for the evening. We hadn’t seen Val and Mick for about 10 to 12 years, so there was plenty to talk about over a nice meal and a couple of bottles of wine. We arranged to go for a meal to their house the following evening and so we parted and whilst we went off to bed, they drove back to Heckington, near Sleaford.

Holiday Day 5&6 - Bradford

Apart from dreadful traffic on the M62, the journey to Bradford was uneventful and we arrived at Oakroyd in the late afternoon. We had a snack tea and spent the evening chatting and trying to get Pop to remember more abut his time on 79 Sqn. A few things cropped up but not a lot that would be all that interesting for the 79 Sqn website, which I have promised to contribute to.
On the following morning, Pop had to go to a little funeral service, so Maria and I went off to meet Terry and Sue for a morning coffee at Asa Nicholson’s at Denholme Gate. This little cafe, attached to a baker’s, is great value and very popular with the older generations. We spent about an hour there with Terry, Sue and Terry’s son Adam who I somehow missed out of the photograph.

Lunch had been booked at the Hare and Hounds at Toller Lane, somewhere that Maria and I had never been. Pop has been a lot recently and had managed to book a table in the Conservatory which was very pleasant. The food was tremendously good value and £20 covered the three of us with a drink each. I can strongly recommend this pub as somewhere to eat, unless you have children because they do not accept children. Very peaceful lunch for us older folk though.

Pop & Maria after lunch

Lunch was followed by shopping for food at Morrison’s and then home for a casual afternoon where at least two of us fell asleep!!

We had another snack tea and then Maria and I got ready to go out as we had promised to meet Lesley and Pete Johnson, who were coming all the way over from Oldham (Royton) to see us. As it happened, Lesley had decided to bring Maria an early 60th Birthday present, which was extremely generous of her (and Pete). We met and they took us out to the Ring O Bells at the top of Thornton. The following photo was taken on the following morning.

Ring O Bells - Thornton, Bradford

We spent a very pleasant evening in the Conservatory. Like many of these country pubs these days, the “Ring” is more restaurant than pub so the seating for drinks is rather limited and I think that we were the only people in there who did not eat.

Pete, Lesley & Maria

Because it was quite foggy and our visitors had a long way to go, we did not stay out all that long so arrived back in good time for a good night’s sleep, ready for the next stage of our journey.

10 October 2006

Holiday Day 4 - Whitby

The journey to Whitby was fairly uneventful with dry weather making the drive down the A68 easier than it might have been. When we arrived at Paul and Bev’s house we were met by Paul’s gleaming BMW 325; this decided Maria that our car just had to be washed to get rid of the grime from the last 4 days, however, Paul kindly said that he would do it, and a splendid job he made of it too. I almost felt guilty about letting him do it, but not quite! Anyway, brother and sister chatted the whole way through whilst I had a rest. He then took us for a ride in the 325, just to show us the difference in the ride, which is a little harder with the sports wheels, and a little quicker with the bigger engine.
Bev made a splendid Roast Beef dinner and all the family sat around one table and thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and chatting about this and that before we went to bed on a blow-up double bed. The only problem was that my 13½ stone outweighed Maria by quite a lot and she spent most of the night rolling on top of me - shouldn’t complain really.
Breakfast was a casual affair, after which Paul went to work and Bev took us for a ride around the area, visiting some places we remembered and some where we had never been. Once again, no photos -what an idiot. We ended up doing a little shopping in town and Maria came back with a half-price Vegetable Steamer; in fact Bev bought one as well so she and Maria are as bad as one another. Mind you, I bought an electric screwdriver and a “Platters” CD, so I cannot complain too loudly. We also bought some Yorkshire Ginger and Tea loaves, or Brack as they are called.
We have eaten one since we returned home and it was delicious.
After lunch we set off on the next stage of the journey - to Bradford. Many thanks are due to Paul and Bev for their hospitality and in the way they put themselves out for us.

08 October 2006

Holiday Day 2 & 3 - Perth

After a casual breakfast we left Warrington, set the Sat Nav, plugged it into the charger, refuelled and set off for the 89th Halton Entry reunion at the Ramada Hotel, Perth. The journey of about 262 miles was a mixture of sunshine and dreadful rain showers but overall was not too bad. We were just entering the city boundaries when guess what, the Sat Nav screen went blank. More panic, where was the hotel (second moral from the day before - failed); I found a stop and plugged the Sat Nav in (properly) and we continued, finding the hotel with no problems at about 4 o’clock. After unpacking etc, we had time for the odd drink, meeting some of the Entry in the bar and swapping a few stories about the parking problems. Our room was fine but some had been recently painted and couples had to move rooms because of the smell, with one couple actually moving hotels for the night. We had a carvery buffet meal which was excellent and followed that with a few more drinks and some more talking before bedtime.
Saturday dawned fine and after breakfast we wandered downtown Perth for a look, prior to meeting up with friends who were arriving about midday. In that time we managed to buy a half-price Slow Cooker in Debenhams!
We met up with Dag and Virginia around 12 noon and spent the rest of the afternoon with them, including a drive around the local hills when I managed to fall asleep; it must be Dag’s good, sensible driving that does it. I did wake up to appreciate about half of the drive however and we ended up in Crieff where it seemed to be blowing a gale. It was here that Dag and I decided that we need to avail ourself of the local facilities. Having found the only public toilet that was visible, we then found out that it was very costly to use so, if you will pardon the expression, we paid 30p for 1p each. Then it was back to the hotel in time for a cup of tea, bath and change ready for the evening “do”. As I only took one photograph in all our time in Perth, I thought that I had better show you the best looking woman on show, so here she is.

There were, I think, 21 couples for the dinner, which I believe most people thoroughly enjoyed. Pete Bolton and John Boyack had done the organising and had come up with the idea of having a magician going from table to table to entertain. This was a splendid innovation and, even at very close quarters, he was very good and with a great line in chat.
After the meal we were invited to play “shove-pounds” to win a bottle of whisky and all the money that was thrown. Techniques varied but the best way turned out to be throwing, rather than sliding, as proved by Bill Butlin who won; he generously donated the cash, £45, to the North West Air Ambulance. I wonder whether or not I would have thought to do the same for the Cornwall Air Ambulance?
The end of the evening was spent in the bar catching up with old friends before retiring ready for the next stage of our journey the following day.
The following morning, we packed the car and had our traditional Entry AGM - did I really volunteer to organise a reunion in Newquay??

05 October 2006

Holiday Day 1 - Warrington

The first day of our holiday was to negotiate the A30/M5/M6 to Warrington to stay with Gill and John who had very kindly offered to put us up and feed us for one night en route to Scotland. We set off about 10 am with the an address carefully entered into the Tom Tom. Having stopped a couple of times and encountered miserable weather for a large part of the journey, I noticed that Junction 20 on the M6 was coming up and this was where we were due to leave the motorway. At 70 mph, in the fast lane, the next thing I noticed was the Sat Nav had gone totally blank. Panic ensued as I negotiated my way into the nearside lane whilst trying to get Maria to connect the charger which would, hopefully, breathe life into the machine. A back up system at this point would have been handy, but we hadn’t bothered to write any instructions down!! Moral: have a manual back up system.
After a few attempts, the charger was plugged in and, although the map wasn’t on the screen, our lady guide was talking to us again so we managed to get off the motorway onto the right road and then I managed to stop and eventually press the right button so that all was working again. Moral: always have the charger plugged in whilst travelling long distances. After that it was fairly easy and we spent a very pleasant evening with Gill, John, Amy, Andrew and Jasmine, the latter three having arrived from Prestwick. Many thanks go to Gill and John for entertaining us so well and for providing a really great meal and drinks to match. Thanks to my meticulous forethought, no photographs were taken!!

30 September 2006

The King and I

Last night, Maria and I had a night out at the Hall for Cornwall where we thoroughly enjoyed the TAODS version of The King and I. I was slightly worried to start with because the basic story, although it has many light moments, is quite serious and the definitive King played on screen by Yul Brynner is a hard act to follow. As the story progressed however, it became obvious that this was a really good production with splendind singing from the lead characters. The children were wonderful and the fact that the younger ones had a habit of looking to the audience at odd times (presumably searching for their families) was very endearing. I thought it a shame that the younsters could not take the curtain call because it was too late for them to be on stage. I understand the reasoning but I am sure that they would have got an outstanding reception.
There were many young children in the audience and I would imagine that they struggled at times to make sense of it all but the support for friends and family is always important in Amateur productions and that support was certainly evident on the night - Well Done TAODS

25 September 2006

Day out at Falmouth

Having now received our new Sat Nav and with a desire to drive the new car somewhere, we decided on Falmouth and I decided to let the Sat Nav take me there. The early stage was fine although I wasn’t really expecting to take the A3075. Having reached the A30 at Chyverton Cross we headed down the A30 and took the first turning off. Coming up to the roundabout, I was mildly surprised to be told to turn left instead of right. Off we went through Carharrack onto the Redruth to Falmouth road and so on to our destination. I think that is only the second time in 23 years that I have driven on that road. Truth to tell, it wasn’t a bad route especially as we missed both Truro and Redruth. On the way we got a “Running on Flat” warning so dropped into Ocean at Falmouth to have the system checked. It was OK and we did get free coffee and a lesson on what to do; apparently it will happen 2 or 3 times a year.
We parked up just below Pendennis Castle in the free car park and took a couple of photos.

Carrick Roads with St Anthony's Head in the background

We had a snack and a short rest then went into Falmouth to do a little shopping - I was a nervous wreck leaving the car in a public car park in a narrow space but it survived the challenge. We only bought a couple of new outside lights for the back of the house and a few odds and ends; that was enough shopping for me. Back at the car park at Pendennis, we sat and had a coffee and watched the world go by. It was quite breezy but otherwise very pleasant.
The surprise to me was that the Sat Nav wanted to bring us home a different way, including navigating Truro on Saturday afternoon. I would have thought that the way it took us was much better so went home that way anyway.

18 September 2006

Old & New - spot the difference!

Well, we treated ourselves after seven years of Rover Power. Our acquisition is a BMW318cSi SE, two years old and with loads of extras. Now all we have to do is complete the course on the controls so that we don’t get burned bottoms. It is certainly different to drive. Now I shall have to keep working to pay for it!

03 September 2006

Family Visit 3 - Paul, Bev, Ryan & Kris

On the Monday following Nick and Karen’s departure, Paul, Bev, Ryan and Kris were due to arrive and Maria arranged to meet them at Trelawney Garden Centre for lunch at 1 o’clock. The morning was spent washing and cleaning etc; I think that between Saturday and Sunday, there were ten loads of washing! We thought that we left in plenty of time but the traffic on the A39 was horrendous so we took a few back lanes and finally arrived about 5 minutes late with Paul arriving just before us. We go to Trelawney quite often but it was Paul’s first visit and I think that he was pleasantly surprised at the standard of lunch. It is always good value.
Once again, I was working so didn’t get to do too much with the family during the days. As usual we talked a good deal about cars in the evenings. They went out and about visiting Falmouth (and looking at cars). They also went off to Newquay Zoo and the Boating Lake but this time just for Kris to feed the birds. They didn’t have a great week for weather but it wasn’t a total disaster either.
On the Friday evening we all went out, including Annette and Clive, to the Two Clomes at Quintrell Downs for a splendid meal - highly recommended.
Saturday saw their departure for an overnight stop in Tewkesbury. Their progress was horrendously slow and they finally made it to the hotel after 7½ hours on the road and a distance of only just over 200 miles. We hope that their journey from Tewkesbury to Whitby is much better - JDT

PS - Arrived home at 16.15.

PPS - I forgot about the trip to Padstow so here goes.

The trip to Padstow was uneventful and, as a boat trip had been decided upon, everyone boarded the Jubilee Queen for the trip out to Puffin Island via Rock and Daymer Bay. Once out of the harbour, everyone found out how rough the sea was and how hard the wind was blowing. The passengers at the front got covered in spray and people were sliding off the seats when the boat pitched and rolled. They passed a little fishing boat on the way and it kept disappearing from view, showing the height of the waves. No special sightings were made; the basking sharks were not in evidence and there were probably Gulls and Cormorants on the islands rather than Puffins. The trip lasted an hour or so I believe that the whole family enjoyed the experience and no-one was actually sick.
Once back on land, a wander through Padstow ended at Rick Stein’s Fish and Chip for a late lunch. The food was generally disappointing, especially to Paul, who has a lot of experience in the trade.

Family Visit 2 - Karen, Nick, Charlotte, Curtis, Connor & Joe

Maria spent a hectic day changing beds and then Nick, Karen, Charlotte, Curtis, Connor and Joe arrived on Monday so the house was now really full and quite chaotic. The weather was a little mixed for them for the week, but overall was pretty good. I think that they all had a good time with visits to Lusty Glaze, Crealy, Trevone and Trenance Boating Lake amongst various other trips. They all got wet on the trip to the Boating Lake when it rained in addition to the splashes from the oars but they all had a go at rowing and didn’t manage to crash into the islands too many times. The children enjoyed feeding the birds; as usual, the pigeons were particularly friendly and would sit on people’s hands as long as there was food around.

The day at Trevone started badly with the drive up the coast road to Padstow. As those of us who live here know, the coast road can be a nightmare, especially when there are any buses on the road. Nick managed to get stuck behind a bus on one of the narrow sections with a couple of brewery delivery lorries and umpteen cars coming the other way. Joe kept on wanting to know where the sea was! After considerable manoeuvering, the situation was resolved and Trevone was finally reached. A splendid day ensued with the weather probably as good as it was any day. The children enjoyed the rock pools and caught a number of crabs which were safely returned to the sea at the end of the day.

On Saturday they all went back to Crealy for the day and took Annette with them. Maria and I went a little later in time for a picnic lunch and for the children to see how many funny faces they could manage whilst I tried my best to get a group photo.

As usual, I was inveigled onto the Log Flume, this time by young Joe, who insisted that I covered his eyes as we came down the drop. Also as usual, I seemed to be the only one who got really wet. The photo is not very good but one of my arms is just visible whilst the other is covering Joe’s eyes.

From the Log Flume, we proceeded to the water slides which have changed slightly since last year in that there seemed to be more water and smaller sides on the boats! Joe wanted to go on the straight slide rather than the bumpy one and I was again instructed to cover his eyes. We had a long queue here but finally made it. If I thought that I got wet on the Log Flume, it was like nothing compared to the drenching I got as we hit the bottom water puddle!! Joe seemed to enjoy it however and wanted to go again but, after the long queue, we decided to go and find something else to do.

Amonst the other things I decided to do was join the children on the slide into the Ball Pool. Well there is nothing like an old fool and I went straight under the balls ending upside down. When I climbed out, I realised that when I started I had a camera but where was it now? Nick and I climbed back into the Balls and, with children still coming down the slide, we scrabbled about in the mass of balls until I eventually found it, unscathed fortunately.

Nick and Karen’s children have been to Crealy many times and don’t worry too much about throwing themselves off death slides, but for Andrew’s Joe, it was a little different. He is also a couple of years younger than Connor so it was good to see him joining in and eventually tackling some of the slides by himself. The following photo has all four children on the outside bumps with one extra in the background.

A good day was had by all with a visit to the shops at the end for the children to buy some odds and ends; Joe managed to persuade Nanny that he ought to have a Triceratops so I think a little “sub” was made. Then it was time to leave and for the family to pack up ready to travel back to Hampshire later in the evening. The following photo was taken by Karen in the evening.

02 September 2006

Family Visit 1 - Amy and Andrew

August has been a very busy time for visitors resulting in no update to the Blog for some time so I thought that I would update in three Posts whilst “cheating” with the dates.

Andrew and Amy arrived on Saturday 19th August; they were to photograph a wedding in St Ives on Monday 21st August so stayed with us for two nights and then with Annette on the Monday night, before travelling back to Warrington on Tuesday. I cannot remember what their itinerary was after that but I do know that they had to photograph another wedding on Anglesey later in the week.
On the Saturday night, the four of us went out to the Restaurant on Lusty Glaze Beach. It was incredibly busy and quite boisterous. I was going to take a photo of view of the beach from our table but right outside the window was a handwritten sign saying “Toilets this Way” with a squiggly arrow so the photo did not get taken - perhaps I should have taken it anyway!
I think that the menu is a little short on variety with only a couple of meat dishes, one of which included a cheese dressing which would not suit everyone. Amy decided on a vegetarian meal, which turned out to be not available; how on earth that can be is beyond me. Both Amy and Andrew had Mussels, whilst Maria had Chicken and I had Fish. For a sweet, I had the “Apple Dessert”, which included Baby Toffee Apples and this was very good indeed. Overall, I was a little disappointed with the meal but the evening was very enjoyable and the staff were pleasant with a very casual dress sense.
The highlight of the evening for me, considering my previous problem with Treliske, was being able to climb up those 135 steps to the car without too much trouble, so I guess the heart is still working.
Most of Sunday was spent with Amy and Andrew sorting out photographs from an earlier wedding. I know that wedding photographs are expensive, and I suppose people tend to think that the photographer turns up on the day, takes a few snaps, develops the film and sends the results to the married couple; the truth is that there is an anormous amount of work involved in the selection process to get the “right” photos in the album. In this particular case, the number of digital images were reduced to about 200 that were suitable for the couple to view. We did have a break and went to the Trelawney Garden Centre at Sladesbridge for a late breakfast. Now I believe that this is good value even if it is a round trip of about 30 miles. I was back at work on Monday and Andrew and Amy went off to St Ives where the sun finally shone for the happy couple.

13 August 2006

Dog Walking

The choice was: shopping in Truro with Maria or, looking after Annette’s dogs, whilst Mother and Daughter did the shopping. Difficult one that, but in the end I chose the dogs who always appreciate a walk.
It was, today, the usual walk across the road to the Barrowfields down to Tolcarne then back to Lusty Glaze, on to Porth and back home for a well earned coffee.

Windblown Brandy with Porth Island in the background

The weather was dry and warm but with a stiff breeze (see picture above) blowing which might be the reason why Porth Beach, pictured below, was remarkably empty for the middle of the holiday season at midday.

The dogs seemed to enjoy themselves although, as can be seen from the picture below, Tia was a little bored with it all.

One Night in Treliske

Apologies to Murray Head and Bangkok!
Having had a day at work feeling pretty awful, with chest pain, dizziness, hot sweats and “pins and needles in my right arm, Maria organised me a doctor’s appointment when I arrived home; apparently I was not looking at all well. As a result of that appointment, and despite an ECG which seemed to prove that my heart was working as it should, I ended up in an ambulance on my way to Treliske in Truro. No Blue flashing lights, so it was a fairly gentle journey. I have travelled the coast road from Newquay to Chiverton Cross hundreds, if not thousands, of times, but never looking backwards - most strange. Another ECG in the ambulance, same result as before; I was made to chew an aspirin - not especially nice, and was given a spray under the tongue.
Arriving at Treliske, the height of embarrassment was being delivered to the A&E reception on a trolley - fortunately I didn’t know anyone. I was the third person in a queue of trolleys waiting to be booked in so I had another ECG and had preliminary information noted. About ¾ hour later, I was moved onto a bed and the ambulance crew were freed to go back on standby for their next job. Maria and Annette arrived at this time so I now had someone to talk to. I was subsequently moved into a cubicle and a doctor duly arrived to carry out an assessment. After this, I was sent for a chest X-Ray, and subsequently moved to the Medical Admissions Ward having been told by the doctor that I was “in for the night”. This Ward is a sort of half-way house, whilst patients are allocated beds in an appropriate Ward. It was mixed and the eight bed section that I was in had three ladies and five men. Shortly after that one of the ladies was taken off to a different Ward.
About 22:45, there was a panic in a bed opposite and the crash team arrived and spent about 20 minutes trying to revive a gentleman, without success I am afraid. It was very much like a scene from Casualty or Holby City, except that we couldn’t see anything; the dialogue, however, was instantly recognisable.
Having solved any number of Sudoku puzzles, I tried to get to sleep about midnight with only limited success. Constant movement of beds in and out, and lots of snoring contrived to keep me awake, but, when I think of the really ill people, my lack of sleep was small penitence for being fairly well.
Morning dawned to show a few changes, with one lady, who I had seen with her husband in A&E the night before, snuggled up in a chair next to hubby’s bed. It transpired that they were Canadian and on a Cruise which had called in at Falmouth. When he felt unwell, he was brought to Treliske, very much like me, for tests to see whether or not there was any heart damage. Since then the ship had sailed for Holyhead on Anglesey before sailing on to Dublin. The couple, once he was declared fit to travel, which was about 08:30, were left with the problem of catching up with the ship. Getting easily to Holyhead from almost anywhere is almost impossible, but from Cornwall, is desperate. I believe that in the end, they paid for a taxi, which was going to cost in the region of £500. I just hope that there travel/medical insurance covered that.
I had some more blood taken and after about 1½ hours, the results came back as negative, so no heart damage; once seen by yet another doctor, I was told that I could go home. Maria and Annette arrived about 12:30 and that concluded my Night in Treliske.

My personal experience was good; The ambulance staff were efficient and very pleasant and did not seem to mind that, outwardly anyway, I was reasonably fit. The hospital staff were exceptionally busy but friendly and efficient. Only once did I hear words of frustration, and I believe that we are all entitled to a little grumpiness now and then. I was admitted to A&E about 18:00 and it was busy then and that was before most of the Friday night fights and bouts of drinking had resulted in the inevitable increase in objectionable behaviour; even then, there were a couple of policemen accompanying someone who I could not see.

04 August 2006

Call Up The Groups

A belated post to say that last week Maria and I went, with some friends to see “Call up the Groups” at the Hall for Cornwall. The groups involved, with some of their original members, were “Marmalade”, “Fortunes”, “Barron Knights” and “Tremeloes”. It was a good night, perhaps a little loud for my taste especially considering that the four lead and some of the secondary vocalists had very good voices which I found somewhat spoiled by the excess volumes employed. I especially enjoyed the rendition of Duelling Banjos (nasty film - great tune) between the lead guitarist of the Tremeloes, on Banjo, and one of the two lead guitars from the Barron Knights. There was also a rendition of the William Tell Overture by the four lead guitarists which was extremely well received. We got about 2½ hours of music for our money and we thought it good value.

29 July 2006

Garage Window

A First for me today - I replaced a window; the garage window frame was rotten on one side and rather than trying to get that replaced, I went out to the local reclamation yard and bought a brand new double glazed unit, which was part of bankrupt stock. Apparently they are very easy to fit (according to the chap who sold me it)!!!. Well what sounded like an hour’s job turned into a 6 hour marathon and even now the inside frame needs repairing. Anyway, it is now in and keeping the weather out so well done me. Before and after photos are shown; perhaps the new one is a bit “posh”, but who cares.

Garage Window - Before

Garage Window - After

19 July 2006

Redcap painting complete

Yippee - the house has been painted (outside) and the new look is shown in the photo below. OK so it doesn’t look so different but it does look fresh and Nick the painter has done a splendid job, saving my poor old shoulders and costing me money instead. He has also painted the kitchen which has changed colour significantly from a strong peach to a pale mushroom.

12 July 2006


For Father’s Day this year, Andrew and Amy bought me “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing. This is the story of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the Antarctic commencing in 1914. I have just finished reading it and although I knew something of the voyage, it was well worth reading what was an incredible story of survival. For anyone who hasn’t read it, I would strongly recommend it. I have just one criticism of the book; there is only one map included and it does not show a lot of the place names mentioned in the text, so, before you start, obtain good maps of Antarctica adjacent to the Weddell Sea and of South Georgia Island. Enjoy your read.