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So, we had a fab holiday in Devon with family, slightly hampered by trying to organise lots of small bunches of people into doing things socially together when they all have different routines and mealtimes.

Wortham 2017

Friday: train down to Exeter to meet up with Steph and Dad, where we organise ourselves into two cars, and Steph and Dad drove us over to Wortham Manor, where Em and Mum were already settling in. Also joined by Gail and David, and Bob and Doreen for the first few days who mostly did their own thing in the daytime but were lovely company in the evenings and cooked some great meals!

Saturday: Day out to Bude, lots of fun building sandcastles and chasing waves, but cut short by the realisation we'd not bought enough car parking and weren't allowed to extend it.

Sunday: dad accidentally went off with our car seat in his car, so Em and Steph went off to see Launceton Castle while Mike, Matthew and I had a nice walk in the lanes near the house, and found an incredible blackberry patch. Grandad joined us in the evening, and sadly James had to leave us.

Monday: a rainy day, so we headed to the Fairground Heritage Centre near Lifton. I'd have liked a better look at some of the exhibits, but had lots of fun accompanying Izzy and Matthew on the dodgems, Izzy on the ghost train and Izzy and Ollie on the Chariot Racer - which was *very* fast. Chris and Kathryn managed to join us in the later afternoon which was lovely, and very brave of them to stay for tea with the whole clan :)

Tuesday: Mum's birthday. A lovely lunch out (where I learned the skill of *not* calling one of the chairs round the table "special" in front of three children), excellent food, shame about the service. A very late afternoon tea, with cake and scones and sandwiches and fizz, and Mike and I took an evening walk, and found deer and rabbits, but no badgers this year. We got back just before the rain :)

Wednesday: Off to Hidden Valley with Em and Steph and the kids. The Maze was a big hit with all of them, and they enjoyed the Indiana Jones trail and hunting for clues. I think the grown-ups might have quite liked to do some of the harder puzzles too. We also did an immense quantity of blackberry picking which the kids loved, and left more than enough for apple and blackberry crumble. (I fear eventually the rest went in the compost).

Thursday: last full day spent mostly at the beach at Bude again, wave hopping and paddling before a fish and chips lunch, then sandcastles, dam-building and a dip in the sea pool - Oliver very disappointed that it wasn't a *heated* pool. I braved a whole actual length across and back as well as some pottering about, but it really was rather bracing. A quiet evening as Em headed off early, and mum and dad out to Dinner, so Steph and Mike and I fed the kids and then had a somewhat bonkers last meal of fish fingers, burgers, chips, salsa and sour cream and chive dip :)

Sad not to manage to meet up with Kate and Nigel - but an excuse to go visit their cottage next year!

Photos on Flickr: Wortham Manor 2017

I think with the demise of Livejournal I'm going to be aiming to use Flickr as the best option for both hosting and sharing photos, as it's more visible to folk outside Facebook. If you dislike any of the photos just ask and I can make private or take down.
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I'm a bit behind, having entirely failed to blog about:

  • Devin Townsend gig
  • Matthew's birthday
  • Suze and Andy's wedding
  • Matthew's birthday party

(all of which were awesome).

However I shall skip a bit and tell you about my holidays :)

We stayed in Bakewell - in a nice enough little apartment in the Sleeplodge at Bagshaw Hall, which is up the most amazing little narrow road/footpath called Fly Hill. Not recommended by bike!

Friday - Chatsworth )

Saturday - Monsal Trail )

Sunday - Castleton )

Not too many adventures on the bus and train ride home on Monday, other than accidentally leaving the carrier bag with the bakewell pudding in it on the bus! I am not to be trusted on buses it seems. Still, I have ordered us a replacement online, so no real harm done there. A lovely long weekend away, and we couldn't asked for nicer weather this time of year!

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Last year Mike and I went away for the weekend nearest Valentine's Day, and had a lovely time in Stamford. Valentine's Day happens to mark the anniversary of when we got engaged, which makes it a little extra nice to celebrate it - but generally if you go out you end up with over-priced set meals which can often be disappointing - so we're happy to time shift it a bit. This year we also decided that while it would be nice to go away it wouldn't be too wise to go very *far* away this close to my due date. So instead Mike took Friday off work and we had an early weekend in the far off city of Cambridge :)

We actually had a nice quiet morning pottering round the house, and I did a bit of gardening too, then we headed into town on the bus and checked into our hotel - The Varsity Hotel and Spa on Thompson's Lane - which it turns out had upgraded our room, to a really rather enormous one with a lovely big bathroom and great views out on two sides across the roofs of Cambridge.

Bedroom Bathroom

We decided to make the most of the nice evening, and headed out for a touristy walk around the backs and through town, taking in bits of Trinity and Kings, and the Corpus Clock. Then we filled the big bath with *all* the bubbles (a foot deep in bubbles alone!) before heading out to dinner in the restaurant which is associated with the spa/hotel. It calls itself the River Bar Steakhouse and Grill, and definitely specialises in steak - which Mike enjoyed. I went for a pretty decent venison and ale pie instead, which at least had good pastry even if it was still technically stew in a bowl with a lid. We didn't have room for pudding - but did have a box of chocs back in the room which made up for it :)

Trinity in the evening sun Kings just after dusk

Saturday morning after a lie in we had a lovely big cooked breakfast, and then headed out for another nice walk. It was a really spring-like morning, and heading along the river was lovely - though crowded with other walkers, cyclists, rowing coaches and joggers - the river itself was busy too. All very photogenic. Then we had a bit of a potter round the shops before heading to the Fitzwilliam Museum to continue being tourists for a little longer. Despite having lived in/near Cambridge for just over 14 years it's the first time I've visited! We skipped through the Egypt/Rome/Greece exhibits fairly quickly as Mike had seen them before (with my dad, while mum and I shopped for wedding dresses), and were perhaps a bit underwhelmed by the room full of European/Japanese pottery and most of the galleries of paintings, but then there was a room full of pottery, sculpture and even some jewellry, including a couple of Barbara Hepworths and suddenly I was much more engaged. And the last room we visited with an exhibition of contemporary Chinese pottery just blew me away: China's White Gold.

Our last stop before heading home was Brown's - for a rather lovely afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream still warm from the oven, and a decent little selection of cakes too. Lovely. We've had a really nice time, and all well within 10 miles of home. Recommended!

More photos from the weekend can be found over on Facebook (public link).

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So I had a couple of days of annual leave to use up before the end of the Academic Year (which starts on 1st October) so I took Thursday and Friday off work with no particular plans. Yesterday (as some of you on Facebook already know) I:

  • Had a lie-in
  • Received maternity clothes from a nice lady online in the post
  • Sorted all my clothes into charity, still-fits and put-away-for-later
  • Tidied the bedroom
  • Put together a bag of stuff to put out for charity tomorrow morning
  • Wrote to Greater Anglia about train tickets
  • Made my list of books and have takers for quite a few!
  • Did some washing
  • Had a nice lunch
  • Did a bit of knitting after tea

Today was almost equally useful:

  • Got up as early as usual for no particularly good reason
  • Remembered to put the charity bag out in time for collection
  • Cycled into town and back
  • Picked up, and tried on my online maternity clothes shopping in New Look and Next
  • Returned the items which didn't fit - getting a £28 refund
  • Had a delivery from Ocado and ranted about them sending me free things I don't want
  • Had another nice lunch - a real jacket spud done in the oven!
  • Baked some buns!

Does anyone want a bottle of Sweet Freedom sugar substitute? Made from apples, grapes and carob apparently!

Anyway, buns. OK so the recipe calls them "The Hummingbird Bakery's Dark Chocolate Cupcakes" but they are blatantly buns. Only made 2/3 quantity of icing ("frosting") and used 72% cocoa chocolate on top rather than a mix of 70%/85%, but I have to say they look pretty good. I admit I did completely forget I wasn't supposed to lick the spoon when the cake mix has raw egg in it though! Mmmm.

Baking! Bun!

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Two weeks ago was Pete and Laura's wedding - in Corpus Christi Chapel. It was a lovely day, and we had a really great time celebrating with them and all their friends and family. The chapel itself is stunning - so light - and the rest of the college is beautiful too. We danced the night away, though not quite into the wee small hours. (Click through below for more pics on Facebook).

The Happy Couple

Then last weekend we decided that since the forecast was so lovely we might as well go and make the most of it - and booked ourselves a couple of nights in a B&B in Matlock Bath. Travelling up on Friday after work we arrived and simply went to bed. Saturday after an absolutely enormous full English breakfast we walked up the road to Matlock, and after much faff, found a bus to Bakewell, where we headed out along the Monsal Trail - which is one of the walks Julia Bradbury featured in her Railway Walks series.

The trail itself was really very busy indeed with other walkers and cyclists - including some old friends who I am embarrassed to admit it took me a minute to recognise out of context. It was a very pleasant walk though - unsurprisingly level and easy going. It was hot in the sun, but cool and shady in the tunnels, which were really rather fun. We struck off the trail at Litton Mills, and headed up over a couple of hills toward Taddington - for a quick drink in the Queens Arms and a bus back to Matlock.

The Monsal Trail

Having followed the road down one side of the river into Matlock we figured we'd follow the footpath along the other side of the river back to Matlock Bath - not quite realising that due to the shape of the valley this would mean a climb and then views from the top of the cliff! It was a great little walk anyway - and then we finished the evening with a potter through Matlock Bath (which was heaving with people who'd come to see the illuminations) and a very tasty Chinese for dinner.

On Sunday, after a rather more restrained breakfast, we headed straight up the hill to the Heights of Abraham - a small theme park of sorts with lovely gardens, a couple of show caverns which were once lead mines, and a cable car ride back down to the other side of the river. We arrived in time for the first tour round the smaller cavern lower down the hill - which mostly concentrated on the history of lead mining. It was particularly fun since there were just the two of us and our guide. The big cavern at the top of hill was much busier, being a bit later too, and we were in a party of more like 30 - but it was still fun. Definitely a great way to spend the morning - with fantastic views from the top of the hill and from the cable car ride. And then it was time for the train home again and an Indian takeaway for tea :) (Again click through below for more photos).

The Peak District

This weekend we're taking it much easier. We've both had fairly poorly tummies this week (mine started while we were away and returned again on Thursday evening after I'd been in Manchester for the day with UCU) - Mike's was bad enough to need a couple of days off mid-week. Hopefully we're on the mend now but it's definitely worn us out a bit! Enjoying the sunshine, playing some computer games, and maybe heading out to the cinema tomorrow afternoon will be the order of the weekend I think - and not much else!

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Mike and I have been off on our holidays, visiting the Lake District. 6 days of (variously) long walks, and a couple of days of taking it easy in between, plus the addition of the company of my mum and dad for a couple of days last weekend. We had a great time!

Read on for more detail from my notebook, plus links to maps and photos )
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Since we're off to the Lake District tomorrow (hurray!) we've made the effort to get out for a couple of nice long walks recently. So on Saturday the 5th we headed out on a bus to Horseheath and walked back home along the Roman Road via Wandlebury (and a rather good tea shop at the top of the hill), and then this Sunday (the 12th) we took a train to Newport (the one in Essex) and walked from there to Haverhill, where we could get a bus home. Both were lovely walks - though we got very rained on during the first one, as well as lots of sun. I've popped routes and some photos on everytrail for both of them, and I'll have a go at embedding them below.

Roman Road from Horseheath to Wandlebury

Newport to Haverhill

Other than that we've not been up to much. I've joined the gym at Addenbrookes as an associate member so I can go along with Clare to pilates classes - I'll probably give some of their other classes a try at some point too. I've also had a pleasant evening out at the regular Girl Geek Dinner event which is now being run in Cambridge by Laura - hopefully I'll go along to some more in future too. And of course we've been rather distracted for a couple of weeks by lots of Olympics happening - some of which I've really really enjoyed.

Work however has been rather more exciting than usual this week. We had a scheduled power outage over the weekend, for some work to be done on the department's substation, and arranged to shut down all the computers in advance as a precaution - since they don't have enough backup power to last that long. Unfortunately it seems the way our aircon system works means our computer room is rather more humid than normal, and it looks like they cooled down enough to be affected by condensation - resulting in quite a few computers having problems when they were powered back on again after the weekend. There's only really one machine which is my baby - and that's our database server - so it was a bit of a shock to have to spend some time rebuilding the operating system from scratch. Thankfully the data itself was all on mirrored partitions and was fine, but we've definitely made sure everything is rather better packaged and documented to make it easier to fix if we ever have problems in the future.

Thankfully all that's sorted now, so I can go away on holiday with a clear conscience, and look forward to some lovely scenery, some hiking in proper hills, seeing Mum and Dad at the weekend in our cottage in Keswick, and then a few days in a lovely hotel in Windermere too. It's going to be great. Just need to pack first :)

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Just back from a fantastic weekend with all the family in Northern Ireland. We were up horribly early on Friday morning, and flew over to Belfast International, before getting a bus into the city for our third breakfast and to meet up with Mum, Dad, Em and John (who'd flown into City and hired a car, which Emily kindly drove us around in all weekend).

We couldn't get the keys to our home for the weekend until 4, so we drove up to Larne to visit Grandad. There we were later also joined by Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel - who'd come by ferry and had just spent a couple of days in Dublin. After a living-room-picnic lunch we headed down to Ballygally for a paddle on the beach. Then it was time to drive down to Whitehead, and head up through the golf course along a tiny private lane to our new home - a pair of lighthouse keepers cottages at Blackhead Lighthouse. We had a lovely evening in the sunshine, and chinese takeaway for tea.

On Saturday we headed off on a long drive cross country - to the Giant's Causeway. I've never seen it with the sky so blue, and the sea even bluer. Absolutely stunning - and a treat for Mike and Dave who'd not been before. After lunch we headed over to Carrick-a-Rede to cross the rope bridge to the island (which we mostly agreed is a lot less scary these days) and enjoy the views some more. Here we spotted kittiwakes and guillemots and razorbills (though it took some peering at the photos later to be sure). Em drove us back via the Coast Road, including the bit up the Tor Head road which is pretty spectacular - rarely has 30 mph seemed so fast. Grandad joined us again for dinner, and to stay overnight.

Sunday we had a quiet(ish) day - with a trip to Browns Bay in the morning where I was daft enough to brave the water for a swim (fun, but very cold). They dropped me and Mike in Whitehead on the way back to the shops, and we had a lovely walk along the bay and back up the cliff path to the lighthouse. Over the course of the afternoon we were joined by lots more of the family: both my dad's brothers and their wives (Alan, Sharon, Loudon and Averil), two of their children (Kim and David), one son-in-law (Oliver) and three grandchildren (Caolan, Oisin and Gemma). It was great to see everyone and just hang around in the garden in the sunshine - where I burnt my feet. Loudon, Averil and David stayed for dinner and we just about managed to squeeze 12 adults round the dining table! Mike and John went for an explore right round the cliff path and found the caves below the lighthouse. Everyone made a valiant effort and between us we polished off one of the six boxes of chocolates I won from the Chocolate Tasting Club last week.

And on Monday there was just time for Mike to take me to see the caves before we waved Steph and Dave off to get the ferry. We packed everything back into the car and headed into Belfast for a Guinness and a sandwich in the Crown Liquor Saloon - possibly the only pub owned by the National Trust. And we finished off the weekend with a visit to the Titanic Museum on the Belfast Docks - which was great. It's a spectacular building, and they do a really good job of telling the story not just of a famous ship which sank but of the company and town which made her.

Highlights of the photos are on Flickr: Ireland 2012, and the rest are gradually uploading to Facebook (Here we go: Facebook album).

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So I don't seem to post here very often, do I? Generally Facebook gets the day-to-day comments and photos, and I post our walks on Everytrail. I do still read LJ though, and it's only fair to contribute a bit too! Anyway, so far this year we've:

  • Baked brownies (which were a bit underdone), and a chocolate cake (which was a bit overdone) from Mike's rather fab Green and Blacks cookbook.
  • Walked from Ely to Waterbeach on a very windy day at the end of January.
  • Spent a weekend away in Stamford where we walked round Burghley Park and along the river Welland and stayed in a lovely hotel.
  • Walked two more sections of the Icknield Way, from Stetchworth to Kentford and then from Kentford to Thetford - with the help of some trains.
  • Had mum and dad visit for St Patrick's Day and Mother's Day - with a visit to Wimpole Hall and an excellent lunch out at Alimentum.
  • Had a bit of excitement with the neighbours blocked drains causing flooding in our garden due to the cruel nature of gravity.
  • And generally just hung out - gardening, decluttering, playing computer games and so on.

Next weekend for Easter we're planning another 3 day stretch to finish off the other end of the Icknield Way between Ivinghoe Beacon and Baldock. With some live music at our hotel on Saturday night, which should be fun. We're also looking forward to a weekend away for Mike's birthday (as yet unspecified) and a long weekend in Northern Ireland with all the family in late May. And the next recipe will be cheesecake - but not until after Easter.

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Last weekend we went up to Harrogate for my cousin Alistair's wedding. They chose a lovely venue - Rudding Park Hotel - and we spoiled ourselves by staying the night before as well. We had a nice potter round Harrogate itself on Friday afternoon: a walk in the valley gardens and a visit to the pump room museum where we admired the old bikes amongst other things and tried the waters (which tasted like an over-salted egg mayonnaise sandwich!). We considered afternoon tea at Betty's but declined in favour of cocktails, before heading to the hotel. Our room turned out to have not only its own terrace but a sauna in the bathroom! We didn't try the sauna but did have a lovely bubble bath and coffee on the terrace in our dressing gowns, and a fantastic dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The next day was lovely: we had time for lunch with mum, dad, Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel (who slept throughout) before everyone else started to arrive. The wedding was short (civil ones always are) but sweet - I loved their vows and both Cath and Alistair looked very happy indeed. It was lovely to see all the girls from the hen night again two - three of them looking very swish as bridesmaids. And they couldn't have asked for nicer weather - the sun shone and no-one needed jackets despite it being mid-October. (I had a fantastic new dress too, which I found in Debenhams the week before - I rarely spend anywhere near that much on a frock but I knew it was worth it as soon as I tried it on!) There was the usual wedding breakfast and speeches and cake cutting and dancing - but there were also pirate hats and small children hiding behind curtains - a fab time was had by all.

I took Monday off work to catch up on housework and painting and to take my bike to the bike shop - I'd noticed a crack in the rim of the rear wheel earlier that week and had been riding it somewhat gingerly since then! They couldn't look at it right away but rang me back the next day to say if anything the front wheel was even worse, and I also needed a new set of cogs at the back and a new chain, plus a few odds and ends I was already expecting, and I'd be looking at at least £200-£230 to get it back on the road, if not more. So instead I decided it was time to invest in a new bike instead - the previous Ridgeback had done me a happy 5 years and over 8000 miles so I don't think it owed me much! (See when I bought it)

After picking it out and giving them time to set it up and move all my accessories over from the old bike I picked her up yesterday and rode her home after work. I'm going to have to take her out for a proper spin tomorrow but she's looking good, and I'm very happy so far. I even spent half an hour cleaning the shed out this morning in order to get the even old spare bike I've been riding this week tucked back away at the back and make some room for her.

Anyway, this wouldn't be a post of mine without some photos, so here's the wedding:

And here's the bikes:

In both cases click through for more.

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So, for our summer holiday this year we waited until late September, and set off for Scotland to walk the West Highland Way, 95 miles or so from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. Here's the notes I took while we were away, along with running mileage total from the GPS and links to the photos which are over on Facebook (NB each photo links through to a gallery for each day, which should be publicly readable, even though they're on Facebook).

Day 0 - Shelford to Milngavie

Read more... )

Day 1 - Milngavie to Drymen (12.8 miles)

Read more... )

Day 1 photos

Day 2 - Drymen to Rowardennan (26.7 miles)

Read more... )

Day 2 photos

Day 3 - Rowardennan to Inverarnan (39.3 miles)

Read more... )

Day 3 photos

Day 4 - Inverarnan to Tyndrum (50.8 miles)

Read more... )

Day 4 photos

Day 5 - Tyndrum to Inveroran (59.9 miles)

Read more... )

Day 5 photos

Day 6 - Inveroran to Kingshouse (69.2 miles)

Read more... )

Day 6 photos

Day 7 - Kingshouse to Kinlochleven (78.7 miles)

Read more... )

Day 7 photos

Day 9 - Kinlochleven to Fort William (93.6 miles)

Read more... )

Day 8 photos

Fort William, the train home, and our route

We did indeed decide that the weather wasn't good enough for tired legs to tackle Ben Nevis, and stayed in and watched the rugby on Saturday, before going for a potter around town. We had a wander along the loch side, a look at the fought, a nice cuppa and cake instead of lunch, a bit of shopping (a jumper and a lovely book of photos of the West Highland Way) and a quiet afternoon reading and writing postcards. Sunday morning we had time for more rugby before the train home too, which was full of more lovely views at first, and then nice and comfy on the long leg between Glasgow and Euston in first class. We even spoiled ourselves with a taxi ride the last leg home from Royston rather than a substitute bus.

Fort William photos

And last but not least by a combination of hand drawing and GPS logs here's a map of our route:

West Highland Way at EveryTrail

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Mike turned 30 last week, and decided that what he wanted to do to celebrate was to go climb a mountain. So he booked us a few days staying in Betws y Coed and we headed off on Wednesday. After many trains on the way there we checked into the Royal Oak hotel, I changed into a summer frock, and we spent the evening gently pottering around the village and a little way along the river. Summer frocks are not ideal for climbing stiles :)

On Thursday morning we breakfasted nice and early, collected our packed lunches and headed off for the Sherpa Bus to Pen y Pass, arriving just after 9am. It was a gorgeous morning, and the Pyg Track was incredibly busy at first, so it seemed almost like queueing to climb. It gradually thinned out though as we got a bit higher. Although it wasn't our planned route it turned out to be a great way to climb: with some slightly steep scrambling in places but nothing difficult, and some lovely views down over the lakes by the Miners' Path. Reaching the pass with the view over the other side was spectacular although hazy. Then there was just a short push to the top where I sang happy birthday :) By then there was a little cloud cover too, and it was cool enough for us to need our fleeces as we sat and ate our lunch. We headed back down along the Snowdon Ranger path to start with, before taking a left across some slightly boggy moorland and over the impressive slate tips to find our way to Rhyd Ddu for a swift drink in the pub and a bus back to Pen y Pass, just in time to catch the other bus back to Betws y Coed. Despite a long day we still went out for a little walk after dinner :)

Friday was another gorgeous day, and instead of taking it easy we headed out again and took the path up along the River Llugwy to Swallow Falls. This was a lovely route, partly by the river itself where we stopped and paddled our feet in the sunshine, and partly through the woods on the steep valley sides. The waterfall itself was pretty impressive, and our photos just didn't do it justice. Walking back we struck away from the river into the woodland, and found ourselves on a bit of ancient Roman road, which was rather fun. We had a bit of trouble with the last bit of route back into the village: coming up across the end of people's gardens, but eventually found our way home. It tipped it down rather spectacularly in the evening, which was fun to watch, and we had fish and chips for tea sitting in a bus shelter.

Saturday dawned cloudy, and with tired legs we decided to do something other than walking :) Instead we caught a train to Blaenau Ffestiniog and treated ourselves to a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway. This is a narrow-guage heritage railway running with steam trains and restored carriages, over the hills and out to Porthmadog harbour. Where we stopped for long enough to grab some sandwiches before hopping on the same train back again, and then another normal train home, finishing off our day with a 10 minute ride on the miniature railway in Betws y Coed. It was definitely a fun day out and made a nice change. Dr Who on the telly followed by a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant finished the day nicely.

And Sunday was our trip home, with the clearest day yet and a lovely sunny bus ride back to Llandudno Junction (since there were no trains) and straightforward journey home. A lovely holiday in a lovely part of the world.

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Over on Facebook, click through for the rest (available even if you don't have an account):


Mar. 29th, 2011 12:29 pm
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Wednesday: train up, settle in cottage, dinner at Magpie, waves and bats at East Pier, champagne to celebrate Clare's new job.

Thursday: up early to enjoy sunshine, sit on East Pier with books, watch and identify turnstones on Tate Hill beach, find fossil ammonites and go for a paddle. Huge breakfast with Clare, David and Heather, then potter round and shopping (books, rocks, new jacket). Walk on beach with Clare with a drowned car, paddling, a harmonica and fulmars. Goth icecream (blackcurrant and liquorice flavour). Bought assorted daft cheap presents for people (starting with a sheep for Heather). Picnic tea in the cottage with Mike and much reading.

Friday: reading and then a potter up to the Spa with Mike in the morning, then craft shopping with Heather and Clare, afternoon tea with Mike at Botham's, dinner at Quayside (good haddock and OK chips, mushy peas were less good), bands at the Spa with much dancing especially early on and some CDs bought.

Saturday: trains! Headed off on the NYMR - though mostly actually on diesels. A brief wander in the woods at Newtondale: stepping stones, no falling in the river, tree climbing and a bit of a run about. Ian joined us on the way back and we did get to go on a steam train! Goth shopping at the spa and bought a cheap and cheerful but excellent corset and talked Heather into a rather nice dress, a potter on the beach the other side of the East Pier with Mike where we picked up several stones with holes in, sandwiches and no icecream for lunch, dinner at the Shambles. More bands at the spa, though I did something to my knee and couldn't dance as much as hoped. Walked back along the beach with Clare and David, and played football with a semi-invisible tennis ball the whole way - great fun.

Sunday: another big breakfast at the caff, followed by milkshakes, then off to watch the football. The lads lost both the match itself (3-1) and the contest to see who could lose the most footballs (3-2), but the lasses won the penalty shoot-out at half time so all was well, and much heckling was had. Stopped for coffee and cake on the way back to the cottage to change, and then out for dinner at the pub - though didn't have much room. Then out to the Laughton's memorial service where a bottle of wine was drunk in the queue, sad words were said, flowers were laid, and a conga-line to the Locomotion discovered how hard it is to conga and sing along up Flowergate. This was followed by roughly 6.5 solid hours of dancing at the Resolution to assorted cheesy 80s pop (with thanks to Landmine and Hamsterboy for the music, and to Clare and Karen for the company on the dancefloor), before we staggered home for 5.5 hours sleep.

Monday: up and off for the 8:52am train and a safe journey home, unsurprisingly sleepy, but happy :) Account is probably full of errors and inaccuracies but gives you the right idea. We didn't see much of anyone other than Clare, Heather, David and later Ian, which was a shame, but we did have a really good time, too much food, and not enough icecream.

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Bit out of date ;)

On the bank holiday weekend we went off to Cardiff. Partly to visit Rae and Adam for a BBQ and partly just for a break. We booked a hotel in town and spent saturday afternoon shopping - mike bought an ipod touch - and then went out to Jamie's Italian for dinner. A little pretentious but the food was really really good.

On Sunday morning we got up and went for a potter round the castle which was great fun. Took loads of photos which I will add a link to later. It rained as we were heading up to Penarth but gradually cleared up and we had a lovely afternoon sitting around in the sun in good company and eating lots of meat :)

When we got back on Monday I promptly ordered muself an ipod too - just in time for them to launch a new version! Never mind.

I had Tuesday off work and took myself off to the local hairdresser for a trial hair do - which I think will look lovely. And I have my final dress fitting on Thursday, it's all go!

This weekend was another busy one. On Saturday we got on the train to Brandon and cycled the 6 miles to RSPB Lakenheath where we spent 3 hours pottering about and taking photos. We spotted a couple of interestibg new birds to us (a bittern snd some marsh harriers) but the other Blairs will be relieved to knpw they're not in the book! I'll lonk to those photos too.

And on Sunday it eas another bike ride over to Duxford for the battle of britain air show to which Mike's work had invited us to celebrate their 75th anniversary. It opened with the red arrows and closed with a display from*16* spitfires and turned out to be really quite impressive. The burgers and drinks were a bit expensive but at least the cream cakes were free and we had a brilliant view. Haven't had time to process those photos yet - we took rather a lot even though we eventually ran out of battery!

And then it's back to work and our last full week before the wedding and then honeymoon. Can't wait. :)

And I'm posting this from mu new toy. Not sure about the LJ app yet, it doesn't understand about default views which is a bit of a drawback.

PS Cardiff photos and Lakenheath photos.

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Day 1: Gargrave

rest of week )

In each case click through for the full gallery, public on Facebook.

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Well, we're safely back from 10 days in the Pennines, and it's only taken me 2 hours to catch up on LJ :) Many many photos will no doubt follow in due course, and possibly some of the notes I made while we were away. We walked a very long way, saw lots of birds, several mammals and 3 small amphibians, ate far too much in the best of walking traditions and generally had a lovely time. I am now very brown. And a bit achy. We really didn't want to come home.

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Finally mapped our two long walks in Devon, you can see them here: Haldon area and Dartmoor. 9.2 and 7.3 miles respectively with 1800 and 1300 feet of climbing. No wonder my knees hated me afterwards! The elevation profiles are pretty cool though, and if you zoom in you can see the rocks that make up Grimspound.

Pre-assessment yesterday took all afternoon, but I've been given a clean enough bill of health (despite an irritating blood pressure reading of 158/86), so surgery is on for tomorrow. Alarm clock is set for implausibly early (by our standards) so I can get to the hospital by 7am, for a mid to late-morning surgery. They expect it'll last 45 minutes max, but I doubt I'll be allowed home before the evening. My bag's all packed and I'm pretty much ready to go, if nervous. I suspect I may not get the best night's sleep :)

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Just over a week ago ... )

But we had a wonderful time, and to be honest I actually enjoy the train journeys too. A fabulous holiday, and a day off today to recover from the travelling, and somehow I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, or to surgery next week for that matter, but boy do I feel fit after all that exercise :)

Photos of Haldon, Exeter, Dawlish and Dartmoor are on Facebook (you shouldn't need an account to see them at those links). At some point I may try to map our walks too.


Jul. 28th, 2009 10:00 pm
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  • I have seen the parathyroid surgeon today and have surgery booked for September 3rd
  • I'm going to go visit baby Oliver (and his mum and dad and grandad and granny) next weekend while Mike is away in Nottingham
  • We are going on holiday: staying in Exeter for a week from the 16th. Conveniently letting me travel there directly from Rae's hen night in Cardiff, rather than coming home first.

It's all good. Apparently the urology appointment I have on 27th August will just be to discuss what to do about the kidney stone, rather than actually do it, but that's not the end of the world. And I have to visit the hospital for pre-assessment 2 days before the parathyroid surgery, but hopefully that'll just be a reasonably short appointment rather than taking a day off work. And I'll have over a week to recover before we're off to Bath for Rae and Adam's wedding.

August 2017

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