We are back here on terra firma after spending ten days on our first trip on a cruise liner. We chose the Canaries for our itinery and it proved to be a splendid trip. An intensely luxurious experience which has charged our hedonistic batteries for the foreseeable future. “The Independence of the Seas” is one of the largest cruise ships afloat in the world and it was a pleasure to be aboard her. “Independence” is floated by Royal Caribbean – an American outfit - and the friendliness and professionalism of the crew are a credit. Thar she blows…….!
As we approach the end of the year the rest of this entry will look back and include a selection of pics from the past twelve months with rambling comment from yours truly.
I have just discovered that hovering the mouse over a picture and left clicking once gives a supersized picture - oh dear what a sheltered life I've lived :-)
Puerto Mogan on the Canarian island of Gran Canaria is beautiful but approached by a treacherously precipitous road. If you look carefully at the volcanic outcrop in the background of the picture – say half way up – you might just make out a hairpin bend. Our coach had to negotiate that on the way down. Buttocks remained firmly clenched for some time after!
Our Kent trip took us to Canterbury cathedral. I have always wanted to see this historic building and I was not disappointed.
While we were in the area we visited the Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch narrow gauge railway and this is one of the little locos in service that day.
And in Whitstable, after gorging on oysters we saw this lovely old sweet shop (candy to you Jud).
We also stayed a few days at Southwold and in that neck of the woods we visited the Aldburgh Moot Hall complete with jail cells where local women accused of witchcraft were incarcerated. Look here for a quick rundown:
To Portsmouth next and here we are on the deck of Admiral Lord Nelsons flagship “Victory”. To rise to the venerated rank of admiral then (and now) required a certain amount of string pulling – looking at this, he would have had plenty of practice.
We are in Oxford next and among several colleges we visited, Christchurch impressed hugely but I just hope that this IS Christchurch as I keep getting my images mixed up. Do you get your images mixed up? I sometimes worry that I’ve caught a dose of Multiple Personality Disorder or a touch of schizofunnier but something keeps telling me not to worry.
Up to the top of Ampthill Hill and the atmospheric ruins of Houghton House. These ruins are all that remains of John Bunyans “House Beautiful” depicted in his “Pilgrims Progress”.
A couple of pictures of our garden in her summer dress, she makes us smile.
This arctic weather has been with us for weeks now but there is no doubt that it can produce its own visually beautiful effects. These are the old oaks in the parkland of Turvey House. The cross on the steeple of All Saints' Church rides aloft the icy canopy as if in appraisal of the masters work.
The roads look treacherous so we have not ventured out for three days but we are running out of provisions and have decided to make a break for it. I have just been outside to de-snow the car and the temperature gauge showed minus 10C. Global warming? Bah – humbug!
Back to warmer times, the “bathing place” in Olney on the River Great Ouse still holds summery attractions for local children although I guess it’s nadir would have been in the 50’s and 60’s when the lido was still a watery alternative to the seaside.
Delapre Abbey is one of Northamptons little secrets and we enjoyed this visual joke in the gardens – the fig leaf had been secured by a couple of four inch nails – ouch – ouch!
We are blessed by lots of majestic and historic architecture in this area. A summer visit to Wrest Park gave me the chance to capture this picture. (Shame you can’t hear the splashing as the huge carp rolled and flapped in the lake.)
We are down at Felmersham gravel pits and a kingfisher was kind enough to stay still while I took his picture. Normally all you see of these birds is a blue flash. This is the first time I’ve ever managed to get a picture of one.
Harrold Country Park held a “do” some months ago showcasing traditional crafts and I was able to have a chat with a real old fashioned apiarist who I found weaving his own beehives.
If you have been reading this blog before you will have realized that I/we love traditional morris dancing. Here at Harrold we enjoyed watching “Hemlock” doing there stuff and this chaps pheasant headdress had to deserve a picture.
Earlier in the year we watched the same “Hemlock” performing at the Bedford River Festival. Watch it here if you like:
Just before we moved the old caravan on I filmed a little footage of the Red Arrows from the decking on the day of the Weymouth Carnival. Sadly with all these defence cuts the country is taking I have heard that they are shortly to be disbanded. Maybe this was the last time I’ll ever get to film them - what a shame, here they go.
A lovely summers day and we sat on the cob at Lyme Regis and looked back at the newly refurbed beach; the clotted cream ice-cream was delicious.
I have a more than keen interest in T.E.Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia, so on 22nd May and accompanied by my lady I took the opportunity of attending the 75th anniversary commemoration of his death. A service was held in the small but beautiful St.Nicholas’ church in Moreton,Dorset (TEL lived in his tiny cottage "Clouds Hill" just up the road) and was conducted by the Rev. Jacquie Birdsye in front of a packed congregation. After the service we all gathered round the grave in the cemetery a short distance from the church and heard an address delivered by Ronald Knight.
Lawrence loved his Brough motorcycles with a passion that in the end, killed him. It therefore came as no surprise to find that a number of Brough owners had travelled to Moreton for the ceremony. Their handsome machines were parked in the centre of the village.
I filmed a little video footage but I am no cameraman so apologies for the amateurish (and shaky – yes you’ll get old one day!) footage. It’s here:
Someone was asking about the inside of the caravan, this was taken on the first day we owned it.
And this is part of our view from the veranda.
Just a few weeks ago I went out onto the decking and took this of a spectacular sunset over Weymouth Bay. I used no colour filter to enhance the picture, what you see is exactly as it happened.
And where is the best place to eat the best fish and chips (from The Marlboro) – why here of course, the lovely old Weymouth harbour!!
Toodle-oo chums and Merry Christmas to all my readers wherever in the world you may be. From your very own salty old sea dog – Grampy (what do you think of it so far?)