It seems Summer finally arrived last weekend, so after a bit of persuasion I talked Ian into cycling to Bath on the old railway cycle path. It was a stunning Sunday morning, perfect for a short 16 mile bike ride! The route being an old railway was mostly flat with trees and blackberry bushes either side (which we did go back this weekend to pick – yum). Halfway along we found the Avon Valley Railway so jumped on the steam train for a short ride down the track stopping to have a boat trip up the river and back. After a bit of lunch on the grass in the sunshine it was back on our bikes to Bath for a bit of shopping. Due to a couple of tender backsides we caught the train back to Bristol and cylcled home for a well earned rest.
Just before our new flat mate moved in, and just as we were going on holiday the washing machine started doing strange things. Luckily with a bit of help from the internet it was tracked down to being a coin stuck in the coin trap and blocking the drain pump. Another benefit was I got back a Stonehenge souvenir that had been nicely cleaned.
Just down the end of our street is a very old corrugated paper manufacturer, who is soon to vacate the premise. The plans for redeveloping the area are being put to paper and the process of consultation started. Ian & I went along to have a look at the proposals. Dove Lane.
Spring bank holiday Ian & I took an extra day and spent 4 days around the Northumberland coast. We took a scenic route up through the Yorkshire dales, stopping off at the Wensleyday creamery (made famous by Wallace & Gromit) to watch the cheese being made and also tasting a few samples!! After such a long drive it felt good to get out and walk along the beach near the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle before finally reaching our destination of the seaside village of Seahouses. The weather stayed mostly fine on Saturday for our boat trip out to Staple & Inner Farne Islands where thousands of sea birds including Puffins, kittiwakes, Shags and terns go to breed (saw them on Spring watch with Bill Oddie a few years ago). The puffins were adorable creatures which you could get quite close to as they checked you out, and the Arctic Terns were hillarous dive bombing people. Sunday we visited two old estates, Cragside House in Rothbury and Wallington in Cambo. Cragside, the home of Lord Armstrong a Victorian inventor, was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. We had a pleasent walk around to the power station and rock garden before touring the house and driving round the entire estate, we were even lucky enough to see a red squirrel! Being a little tired by the time we got to Wallington we just had a look around the house before heading back to Seahouses via Bamburgh castle for the best fish ‘n’ chips we’ve had in the UK. Monday saw us heading home along Hadrian’s wall, stopping at housestead’s one of be better preserved Roman forts along the wall for a quick walk around but it was far too cold and wet to stay for long. Our last stop was Wedgewood, Englands finest china company where I made my very own vase in Wedgewoods blue jasper clay. Home sweet home.
Met Nigel and Val at a car boot sale at Wotton-under-Edge near our work. Picked up a bargain, an oil painting spatula. I asked the guy how much and he said 20p, then I heard his partner say in the background, how much did you say – 50p? I felt that 20p wasn’t enough so I paid the 50p 🙂 Could have spent more, but thought at the end of the day I don’t really need it.
We then went back to their house for a cup of tea before lunch at Weighbridge Inn, had a 2in1 Turkey and Trimmings that was pretty filling. The Inn had a lot of old keys hanging from the roof, hopefully we’ll go there with Sarah when she comes over.
A quick trip to Munich to visit Richard and Kiki, who are well on their way to becoming parents with only a month to go. It was great to relax and enjoy such good company. We visited the town of Augsburg, visited the Fuggerei where the rent for the homes was and is still one Rheinischer Gulden per year (equivalent to 0.88 Euros), as well as three daily prayers for the current owners of the Fuggerei. Best of all we had a tour through the Audi factory in Ingolstadt where they make the A3, A4 and TT. It was by far the most impressive production facility I have ever seen, the tour took us right through the production area so close to the robots building the shells and along the more manual building of the interior. I now have a new appreciation of Audi’s. Too soon it was time to come home and back to work.
Making the most of the Easter break we took a few days off work and headed over to Italy Continue reading 2005 – March
Our first trip of the year, to Munich to visit Kiki & Richard for a long weekend, on Friday Richard took us to Neuschwanstein Castle & the older Hohenschwangau Castle before heading back to Munich to go out to dinner with a few friend’s of Kiki & Rich to celebrate one of the couples recent wedding. The plan for the next day was to go to Salzburg unfortunately we got up a bit late so checked out the food market before going up the Olympic tower for an awesome view of Munich, after which we headed home to have Racelette for dinner. On Sunday much to Ian’s delight we spent the day at the the Deutsches Museum, the best museum have seen, and of course a trip to the gift shop. We also went into London for a week end to see Mike & Gerry’s new flat, being tourists Mike, Ian & I went to Greenwich and checked out the prime meridian and the museum housing timepieces from the first wooden ones to the modern atomic clocks. That night the four of us went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and some great margaritas. On Sunday we had just enough time to see Alexander’s palace before catching the bus home.
A bit of English culture to start the year off, at the Straw bear festival. Nigel belongs to a Morris side who regularly dances at the event took us with them to Whittlesea, Friday night we went to the Pig Dyke Mollies social evening for a few beers and dancing (folk dancing like a Ceilidh) then Saturday we watch the parade of the straw bear (a bloke covered all over with straw) and all the different Morris & Mollie sides dancing. In the evening we went to the local pub to listen to all the musicians playing impromptu sets, it was great I even got to have a go at playing a Bodhran (handheld drum) which I’m now looking at getting lessons. Sunday was the burning of the bear, after more displays of dancing and folk music we followed the straw bear out into a field where they burnt the straw suit (minus the man!) to bring luck for next years crops.
Rebecca, our flat mate move out at the end of the month, so we helped her pack and drive the van to London and stayed the night before bringing the van back to Bristol.
We decided to meet our neighbours with a few Christmas drinks at our place, inviting a few other friends too, Rebecca & I made 3 litres of mulled wine which was so popular it all disappeared. A quite Christmas at home, with a trip to the Donkey sanctuary in Sidmouth where Ian’s adopted donkey, Tapestry, lives. We also visited Bletchley Park, the home of code breaking during the war and also colossus one of the first computer ever built. Boxing Day we went to Kate’s & Andrews for one of Andrews culinary delights, a late lunch where time disappeared an we ended up getting home round midnight.