26 August 2012

France Holiday, 21st August, 2012

After a good breakfast we packed the car and set off on foot to explore the town. The town was on a hill with the river running through the valley, and as the hotel was at the top of the hill we had to walk down to check out the river in daylight.

You can see the hotel through the "artificial" archway!
The baker's


It was also market day so we had a good look through the stalls before continuing our search for the river... there were so many narrow streets, but which one to take?

Fruit and Veg man

For Sale!

We finally found the river and took a few photos before going back to the car to move on to our next stop.  At 9.30 am it was well on its way to 25 degrees again.

Taken from the old bridge

The new road bridge taken from the old one!

20 August 2012

France holiday, 20th August

Today, after very little sleep, it was time for my first visit to Disneyland! Paul had got free tickets. We packed the car up again and set off for Marne la Vallée, stopping en route for coffee and pancakes. When we arrived we were shocked to find that we had to pay 15€ for the privilege of parking! We were not paying to get in but for those who were paying 74€ per person to get in, it was a little cheeky.

We had a long walk from the car park to the entrance helped by travelators.
I don't think I could have managed that walk with my dodgy foot!! We had to queue of course for tickets and finally swapped our booking form from Sky for tickets.

Paul on travelator


The train we managed to get on!
The engine lurking behind the trees!

One of the many, many queues 
I have to say I was quite underwhelmed. Too many children (I know) and too many sweaty, smelly adults for my liking. Too many queues and too long to wait to get on any rides. Too hot as well! We did go on a train ride round one of the parks and only got on that by luck rather than judgement. Being in the right place at the right time! I know I sound like a grumpy old woman but I was really disappointed. Even the fast food restaurants weren't fast -:( !

After a few hours we had both had enough and decided to call it a day, walk the miles back to the car and head out of Paris to Beaumont sur Sarthe where we were to stay that night .

We arrived at Beaumont about 1815hrs and checked into the hotel. I was hoping it was going to be cooler but it was still in the late 20's. After changing we walked into the old town for a quick look and then had a cool beer before dinner in the hotel.

The meal was good. Paul had gizzards for the first time (as a starter) which he was not sure about but they were delicious. I had a prawn cocktail but with avocado and egg - delicious. We both had steak as a main course and for dessert I had apple tart and Paul had chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Everything was beautifully presented.

After dinner we walked down to the river then went back to the hotel room for another virtually sleepless night!

19 August 2012

France holiday 19th August

After getting up early to make sure we got to the Shuttle on time we arrived to find there was a 90 minute delay due to essential works! It was so hot, already 25 degrees. Me, waiting for the Shuttle.....

We finally left after an hours wait. The journey seemed to pass quite quickly and soon we were on our way to the Isle de France. Due to the lateness of the departure we had to change our lunch plans and ended up with a snack on one of the Aires instead of lunch in Péronne.  After lunch we drove on to Péronne to visit the museum, Histoire de la Grande Guerre. It was really interesting and had numerous displays of equipment and clothing from the Germans, the French and the English from the Great War. 

We really only paid a fleeting visit as the temperature was in the mid 30's and rising. It was just too hot!  After a nice cup of Lipton's tea we went back to the car and continued our journey. By this time the temperature had risen to 39 degrees and stayed like that until we got to the hotel in Chelles. We unloaded the car, went for a beer and then had dinner at le Bistrot du Boucher sitting outside which seemed to be the coolest option.  The staff and our fellow guests were really friendly and we were able to share a joke or two with them.

After dinner it was back to the heat of the hotel room. It was still incredibly hot and we really struggled to sleep. There was no air at all and so although we were so tired it was impossible to sleep. Paul came up with the idea of covering ourselves with damp towels which seemed to do the trick!!!

9 August 2012

Our mini cruise, day 3

We woke on our third and last morning to the sun shining brightly into our cabin as we came down the Suffolk/Essex coast.  You could always get your location from the satellite channel on the TV in the room.  We were quite sad at the thought of leaving the ship especially as the weather had suddenly changed for the better.  We left the cabin to go to breakfast and once again there was so much choice... I had pancakes and maple syrup!

After breakfast we went up on to the Verandah deck and watched the ship come into Dover.  It was such a glorious day.

Paul and the White Cliffs of Dover

After we docked in Dover, we had to wait an hour or so before we could disembark.  We were taken to Dover Priory station where got the train back to Sandling! 

Even though we had only been away for a couple of days it felt as if we had been away for much longer.  It was a fantastic break away and I cannot wait for the next one!

22 July 2012

Our mini cruise, day two

We woke up to coffee being delivered to our cabin and we watched the ship go up the Tyne to its mooring in Newcastle. We had a hearty breakfast and got ready to disembark and get the courtesy bus into town.

The bus dropped us by the police station and we made our way down to the river where there was a Sunday market being set up.

Along the river Tyne
We had a lovely walk along the river looking at the various stalls... selling things from home made jewellery, some amazing glass mosaics to food products, like home made cakes, bread, jams and chutneys,  We didnt have too much time as we had to get back to the boat by 12 noon.  We walked along the river to the Millenium bridge and then made our way back to the bus.  By this time the sun had finally started to come out.

The Millenium Bridge in the background

The Millenium Bridge

The Tyne Bridge
We arrived back at the ship about 12 noon... managed to get a quick photo of the boat before boarding... our room was about 4th from the right.  Another shot of the boat is below.  It was hard to get good photo so close up to the ship!

Quest for Adventure

Quest for Adventure
Back on the ship we went to the Verandah "self service" restaurant for lunch where we both had steak and Newcastle ale pie which was absolutely delicious.  Everything we ate on board was fantastic.  Paul served up desert - so we had 2 large portions of plum sponge cake with custard - yum!

After eating all of that we needed to walk some of it off so we went out on deck and watched the ship sail out of the Tyne on its way to the North Sea.

DFDS Ferry to Ijmuiden

Thompson Cruise Ship

It became very noisy as we passed these two ships as our ship acknowleged them with several loud blasts on the ship's horn and they reciprocated!  Great fun!  As we continued down the river we came across the RNLA having and open day and the lifeboat was performing various manoeuvres - mainly going round in circles which was very impressive!

RNLI lifeboat
As we got closer to the North Sea, we said good bye to the pilot to more "hoots" on the ship's horn.  It was becoming more and more windy so after walking around on deck for a while we decided to head inside to a relaxing read in the library.

The pilot leaving our ship, next stop North Sea

I took a couple more pictures outside before we were blown off deck!!

The swimming pool from above

Deck above the pool

 So after reading and relaxing for a while in the library we decided to go and chill in our cabin before getting ready for cocktails before dinner.  I had a pina colada complete with fruit and umbrella and Paul had a BBC which was a Baileys Irish cream, creme de bananes and pina colada mix again with fruit and brollie... he said he felt like Del boy!

Dinner was another fabulous 5 course feast with fantastic service as always. There were always interesting people to chat to over dinner.  I was concerned about sitting with different people each evening at meal times but everyone we met was so friendly.

21 July 2012

Our mini cruise, day one

We recently had the opportunity to try out cruising to see how we liked it.  We had an offer which we could not refuse for a 2 night cruise from Leith, Edinburgh down to Dover, calling in at Newcastle on the way.  The train fare from Dover to Edinburgh was included in the price.

So early, 5.45 am, on Saturday morning Paul and I left home to get the 6.09 train from Sandling up to Ashford, then transferred to Ashford International to take the High Speed train to St Pancras.  Then a quick cross over to Kings Cross to wait for the 08.30 train to Edinburgh.  I was so excited I thought I would burst!

The roof at Kings Cross station
Kings Cross has changed a lot since I was last here when I went to see my sister who was studying at college in Hull.... some 30 years ago!  It has a beautiful new roof which constantly changes colour... really lovely.

The journey from Kings Cross began fairly sedately and remained so until we arrived in Peterborough, when the carriage filled up with some "air scouts" and 6 ladies off to see Madonna.  After several bottles of wine the ladies became louder and louder and so it was a relief to arrive at our destination.  I thought it would be the scouts that would disturb us... how wrong could I have been?

Four and three quarter hours later we arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station to be met by the cruise organisers and directed on to a coach which took us with other fellow passengers to the cruise terminal where our bags were taken from us.  The next time we would see them would be in our cabin on board. 

We had to go through the normal security checks and we were through to start boarding our ship.  There was a photographer waiting to take our photo before we embarked.  Once on board we were given our security passes and our passports were taken from us.  We were then shown to our cabin.

Our cabin
This photo was taken after we had settled in!  It was much smarter before we arrived!  The cabin and beds were very comfortable and in the bathroom there were lots of lovely smellies!

By this time, mid afternoon, were were feeling quite hungry as our lunch, some sandwiches, were eaten hours ago on the train so we went in search of food which we found in the self service restaurant.  As usual the food was delicious but we were careful not to eat too much so we could enjoy the afternoon tea which would follow in an hour or so!!    After tea we had the life boat drill, and on return to our cabin we had a while to relax before changing and getting ready for dinner.

Royal Yacht Britannia
Interestingly our ship was moored across the way from the the royal yacht Britannia, but there was no time to visit, so a photograph would have to do!  Still, we were on our own "yacht" and it was time for a cocktail before dinner.  We met some really nice people at dinner and ended up doing a short quiz with them after dinner in the bar.  We were runners up!

The ship was due to sail from Leith at 22.00 hrs and so after dinner we went on deck to watch the tugs help us on our way and into the lock to leave the harbour.

Took a picture of Paul on deck before we watched the ship go through the lock.

It started to rain as we were leaving Leith and after our early start that morning, we were quite tired and so we decided to call it a day and retire to our cabin.

10 June 2012

Jubilee Tuesday, June 5th 2012

We decided to have a drive out to Canterbury and walk through the gardens.  We were lucky with the weather as the forecast was for rain, but it held off until the afternoon.

The West Gate

The Sheriff of Canterbury's Building


The West Gate, Canterbury

Bulkhead by Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre