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!!