08 November 2010

Photos

This time I am true to my promise about the photos :)
Louise UK 10 Highlights

07 November 2010

Home again home again

Both of us were very keen to get home and also very tired. We woke up quite early and headed into town so I could put my geocoin, that has traveled with me everywhere on this holiday, into a cache in town, that seems secure and is big enough. We wondered around for a bit, but my hip was really playing up and I wasn't keen to do a lot of walking. In the end we gave the whole thing up as a bad job and headed back to our hotel to get our bags and head off to the airport. We got there, after a very circuitous bus trip, about 4 hours early. after two hours, we could check in. Even though it was only 5pm, it was very dark so we had dinner, with security conscious cutlery.
The plane trips (all of them) were:
  • a bit late
  • packed full
  • hot
  • boring
  • boring
  • boring
Yes I realise the last item I have mentioned 3 times, but it was such an important part of the trips, that I thought it was worth mentioning THREE times* but on the plus side, at least our plane made it to Melbourne, unlike the one that left for Sydney about the same time as ours who engine had issues and it ha to turn back.
The last bit of excitement for the trip was Neil's bag. Which didn't make it onto the same plane as us and had to be delivered home the next day.

*quote stolen from Blackader Red Dwarf

03 November 2010

Glasgow Science Museum - take 2

We made it to the Glasgow Science museum this morning around 10.30am. This time, I know shock horror, they were open. We managed to spend... the whole day here. We pushed kids out of the way left right and centre and played with every exhibit they had there, even the foot piano that was only for kids under seven. It was great. The Wallace and Gromit bit was cool. I personally loved the make your own animation bit. Unfortunately my first one didn't send. Here is my second one: video
Not bad hay??!? totally doing more of this when I get home, clever me :) Neil made one too, but it was rude.

Once again, we find ourselves in a pub, in possession on beer/cider. What a shame. One day left. Not worried about admitting that I am looking forward to going home and seeing my dogs (and family and friends and shit)

02 November 2010

Closed

It looked a bit rainy and shit again today, so we thought it would be an ideal day to spend at the near by Science Museum, which happens to have a Wallace and Gromit exhibition on at the moments. We strolled down there from our hotel and found.... it's closed on Monday and Tuesday, great. The was a near by tower, turns out it's part of the Science Museum, and therefore also closed.
Parked, actually I guess it's moored next to the museum is the Waverly paddle steamer, the last remaining ocean going paddle steamer. It is closed for winter.
Across the river is a Tall Ship (know here as The Tall Ship, don't know what they'll call it if they ever get another one). It is currently closed for major renovations (at least their shop was open, we got a nephew present there). We did get to see a helicopter take off from here.
From here it was a quick walk up the hill to the Museum of Transport. Guess what!!! Closed!! it's moving to another building and needs a few months to do that (kind of fair enough really, but still "bugger".)
Next we went to the Kelvingrove Museum. It was........... OPEN!!!! and at least it wasn't raining in there.
From there we walked into town. By the time we made it it was 4pm and my knee was showing me a new and different sort of pain it has never showed me before. Thanks knee. We went to the House of Fraser (famous department store) to their Champaign bar and had some very nice bubbly and posh chips and rested my knee.
When they closed it was time to find dinner, be bus-ed (I know, isn't Neil brave) back home and had some surprisingly good Mexican and a restaurant near our hotel.

I am planning on drugging up tonight and tomorrow morning so we can enjoy the Science Museum and Wallace and Gromit tomorrow.

01 November 2010

Glasgow - take one

We returned out little hire car today. From there we walked all the way into town to the Information place. We spoke to a very nice man in a station on the way about the public transport system, and another nice man about the buses in the Info place. We slowly strolled out of town towards a large park and on from there to a set of shops. We were mostly going there to find a chemist, but conveniently it turned out to be a well know pub strip!!! Even thought it was only around 4pm at this stage we had been walking all day, a lot of it in the rain, so we found a nice pub, with interwebs and sat down to eat and drink. We were in a Belgium beer pub. The men were really nice and the food was quite good, basic pub fair. Neil found a great wheat beer to drink.
It felt soooo late, but it was only about 9ish when we got going, by bus back to our hotel. For those of you who know Neil, you will probable be very surprised to hear that he caught a bus. For those of you who don't know him, let me explain. He doesn't trust buses, mostly because if he was a bus driver, he would turn random corners just to keep the travellers guessing and he thinks the drivers will do that. Anyway, the driver didn't and we made it back!!! Yay us.

31 October 2010

lots of km

We had a lot of km, or miles to cover today, so we couldn't muck around to much. It was nice to start off with, but there was a lot of rain on and off.
We stopped at a few pretty places as we travelled. By the time we made it to Fort William I was feeling a bit off (girl stuff)., I had a bit of a snooze in the car and Neil went for a walk. He found the yummiest Indian place. A little snack of that, combined with my snooze and we were ready to go again. We stopped at the Neptune's Stair case on the way out of town, which is a really big set of locks on the main canal thought the middle of Scotland. This was cool and by complete random chance we were there to see a ship going through it, this meant we even got to see the road way open!!! Ace!
We stopped at a few other stops on the way south for photos (and caches) but in the end the light failed and we just had to keep driving. We made it to our.... shall we say festy?, yes I think that covers it, our festy hotel. OK, it's not actually dirty, but MAN it's cheep for a reason. You could say it's a McDonald's hotel, everything is bolted down, there aren't plastic sheets, but it wouldn't surprise you if there were, the toilet is in it's own little cupboard and the shower makes you think you are in a caravan. OK, I won't mention it again!

30 October 2010

Glenelg

Glenelg is the main settlement in a remote sparsely populated peninsula lying to the South of Loch Alsh and Loch Duich in South West Ross. To the North lie Kintail and the district of Lochalsh, to the West across the sound of Sleat is the Isle of Skye and to the South, separated by Loch Hourn, is the Knoydart peninsula.

Apparently this place is regarded as "extremely remote". Seriously, half the UK really needs to come to Australia and see what remote really means. Anyway, just as we arrived on the peninsula, it started to hail. A lot. We were driving up a pass at the time and the roads were while with hail. The car was fairly slidey with it! We made it to the top of the pass and I quickly climbed up to get the cache. Neil signed it for me so I didn't have to climb down again, then just as I put it back, the hail started again so I had to run for the car.
We cruised around the other 4 caches that are in the area, two were at Pictish Broch Towers that were very impressive. There was a really big 'barracks' building in the middle of a town. To top it all off the series of caches finished with a puzzle cache. No one had been able to solve this since September, and before that August, then April. In fact, I was only the 12th person of 25 people to have successfully found it :) Gotta be happy with that. And it was hidden in a gumboot (or welly, cos we are in the UK)
We went to a battle field to pick up another cache and a station in the middle of no where for our last one. A good day, even if it did take us til 4pm to find a shop that was open for lunch. We count that as dinner and got beer (or rather cider) for dessert.

29 October 2010

Cache hopping to near Skye

I'm sure I have said this before, but it really is true that caching takes you to all sorts of places that you would never have gone to otherwise. Today was a prefect example. I realised that I am within a reachable amount of caches of getting to 400 cache whilst here in the UK. As we had a fairly long drive to do, we broke it up with stopping for caches along the way. The people at Stoer are so nice and we were chatting to them until 11am, so we had a 4 hr drive ahead of us and we were a little behind schedule.
First stop was a bridge that was designed by the same bloke who designed the Fourth of Firth Rail Bridge, near Edinburgh. It was quiet tiny and just on the side of the main free-way, pretty much, just someone's drive way. I can't even imagine how the cache owner ever found out about it. The river flowing under it was certainly flowing well, with all the rain there has been over the last few days. Right next door was a little forestry collect. There were trees from all over the world, with little signs next to them. Neil did his own mini quiz of himself and was pleased (I think) with the results.
On we drove, me taking photos out the window as we went. At one point there started being an awful noise from the car and both of us thought "Oh no, and now we have no spare" we had visions of sitting beside the road for hours, waiting for the car fix it man from the hire car place. We stopped, and thankfully it was just a stick stuck under the car, what a relief! A little further on was a view stop we just had to stop and take advantage of. For some reason, at this point I had an uncontrollable laughing fit. I had tears pouring down my face, very funny. Not sure what brought it on, I hadn't even had chocolate!
The next cache stop was meant to bear near a cemetery which had a pictish stone in it. Both of these were disappointing, the stone, because it had no carving on, the cache, because we couldn't find it.
The last cache stop was a little walk along a beach near tiny town. Was wet, again, but again nice views and a nice walk.
Lastly we drove and drove and eventually found our house for the next two nights. We had fish and chips for dinner, that were average.

28 October 2010

Stoer

Today, Neil and I made a trek out to headland of "Rubh'an Dunain", before we could do that we had to change the punctured back tire on the car. Bugger. Lucky Neil is excellent and this sort of stuff. I man I did help, but it is a boy job. I thought the cache, as it was called "The Scotting's Scottish Cache", was a perfect place to put Scott's travel bug. It was a nice walk, we got to see an entire rainbow! It was the complete arch. and one end of it ended where the cache was hidden. I know it might not have been what you had in mind Scott, but it was a sign!
Next we took a drive up to the Stoer Point light house. Last time we were here, we watched the sunset from here. This time it was so windy, we sat in the car and had a picnic. I also met a man doing the Round Britain Rally. Neil and I have decided it would be cool to organise a Victorian version of this rally, I have already emailed the man and gotten some information from him about how he runs it. (I spent most of the afternoon cursing the website actually)

27 October 2010

My birthday

Today is my birthday, and I have decreed we are having a rest. We got out, ate breakfast, I had a bath (I don't think I have had a bath in about 5 years (that's a bath, not a wash)), then we went into Lochinver to get a bottle of champagne (which really is champagne) to have with dinner. There was only on issue with this, all the bubbles they had in the tiny shop looked like spew-mantie or where from Australia. I was not going to pay nearly $20 a bottle for Jacobs Creek. Anyway, we have gotten some French stuff, I hope it is ok. I got a bottle of Koppaberg, to be on the safe side.
We are having dinner 'in' at Crachan Lodge, where we are staying.

So far for my birthday I have the card that mum gave me, and the travel bug the cache gave me.

26 October 2010

Walking walking

Today I decided that we should go and to the mostly north westerly cache it is possible to do from October on in Scotland (the mostly north westerly cache is only accessible via a ferry, which stops running in October, god dam it! Also it was a 5/5 earth cache, I am sooooo bummed we couldn't do that one) Any way, this one is near the tip of the Faraid Head. The cache said it was an easy 30 min walk from the car park to the cache. I disagree. It took 45 min and it was hard work, across sand, up dune, up a cliff, more dunes, whinge whine etc. The views were spectacular! Well worth the walk and the pain I will no doubt experience the next day.
Because the weather report said "not too bad in the morning, heading towards shit in the afternoon"* I was pleased that around 5 mins after we got back in the car the sky opened :) Ha ha ha to all the people who were still doing the walk, he he he.

We went to Cocoa Mountain before heading out of Durness, and got a chocolate fix, yum. and some takeaways. They have got a directory for their chocolates now, I don't think they had one last time, I am just to whimpy to eat chocolates with out a directory. It's sooooo awful when you get a yukkie one.

Anyway, from there it is a meer 52 miles from Durness to Stoer, "That's nothing!" I hear you say. Well, it took hours (I guess it was after lunch by the time we had finished the walk). We did stop for the odd photo, and a bit of a look around every now and then, but still. Single lane and passing places most of the way.

We arrived here in Stoer at the Cruachan Lodge, where we stayed last time, just as it was getting dark. The people here are really nice, which is why we decided to come and stay again. If you ever find your self in the back blocks of Scotland, I recommend staying here. For dinner we had the pub in Lochinnver, near by, recommened to us. It was FANTASTIC, go there now, I order you.

* this is paraphrasing

25 October 2010

Across the top

Today we drove from Thurso to Durness. Across the whole of the north of Scotland.
We started off and the Thurso Meuseum, which has the very jazzy name, but is still basically a museum, it did help us work out he answer to a question which had bothered us the whole time we were there, "what the hell do all these people do?" I mean, for a town in the middle of know where, it was really quite large, and from what we could see, had no industry, like fishing of stuff that is really obvious. It turns out that in the 50's the government decided it was a suitalbe remote place to put a nuclear power plant. It produced power happliy for about 30 years, as well as being the location for general nuclear power experiment of various types. Around 10 years ago, it was decided to shut the thing down. Everyone now feels there is around 30 years worth of work to clean the thing up, well that was worth while wasn't it!
Any way, moving on, literally. Our next stop was a little museum in the middle of know where (actually it was just outside Bettyhill, but any way. I can see there being a fair bit of 'middle of nowhere'ing over the next few days, as really there are a lot of really small places here. They are marked on the map like real places, but when you get there there is a locked toilet block and not a lot else. This is kind of sucking for me, Neil just finds a tree, or some tall shrubs, as there aren't a lot of trees either). Anyway, the museum was all about the Clearances. The first sign we saw about this was driving up the east coast, it said "Historic Clearance Centre" and both Neil and I (in our respective heads) thought I wonder what they sell there and why are they allowed to sell historic stuff anyway?
On thinking about it more, and remembering the Jamie novel a little better, I remember that a heap of Highlanders were tipped off their (admittedly rented) lands back in the olden days. In fact a lot of these people came to Australia, Canada and New Zealand to, you know, settle our countries. The things were all very interesting and the people where treated very badly, but I do have to think what would have happened to them if they have stayed in their dirt huts. I think there certainly would have been a lot less tough people in Australia.
Next I found this cache that was meant to be a 400m walk to a waterfall, off the side of the main road. Unfortunately there turned out to be a very wet cliff between us and the waterfall :( we did get some great photos, and slightly wet feet.
Last stop for the day was Smoo caves, which we went to last time (it got a one line entry, not quite mostly harmless, but it's an improvement), but that was when I didn't know there was an Earth cache in there, so we had to go again this time :P Still very very impressive.

24 October 2010

Northen loop of no toilets

I know not a lot of people come to northern Scotland in November, let alone later in the year, but what's with locking all the toilets at the end of September?!?!? I mean really, half of your attractions are closed, what to you expect people to do? Knock on peoples door, offer them 20p and ask to use theirs?!?? OK, enough of that rant, I think you all know what happened to me today and we'll just leave it at that.
So we got going, bright and early at around 10-10.30am (hey it's a holiday ok!!) and headed off to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point in Scotland to look at the stacks there, they were cool, very cool in fact, cos the wind at this point made the wind yesterday look like a complete beginner!!! I think it was coming directly from some snow in the North-pole to my nose and ear tips. The only reason it didn't get any other past of me was because that all the rest was covered, completely by upto 5 layers of clothing (if I'd had more it would have been one me, let me tell you.) The sun was shining away, but I think it must have been on 'fake' setting as it was adding no warmth to the day what so ever. Arctic and Antarctic explorers of the 19 whatevers, I have a whole new found respect for you guys! Cold and windy just got a whole load colder of the 'Louise' meter!
Neil decided it would be a great idea to climb down the 65 m high cliffs in this little cove bit where there was a tiny bit of track and some sheep trails, typical. This meant I had to sit around in the said wind and wait for him, always assuming of course that he hadn't slipped and fallen out of my view point and was lying in a crushed and broken heap on the ground, with the car keys. On the plus side, he did get to see some seals, including some baby ones, which were still all cute and white. The parent seals didn't like this very much, so thankfully, Neil decided to leave.
Next stop was the ruins of a castle near Wick. These have been fenced off, as they aren't really all that stable. Naturally we, like many other visitors, climbed the fence and had a closer look. I kept well away from the edges. There were some friendly Americans, who I took a photo for, other than that it was, yep, you guessed it, windy!.
Next we went on to the Camster Cairns, these have been reconstructed and are meant to be 'original' except they have put concrete roofs into them, which I am fairly sure the 'cave men' in around 3500BC would not have been able to do. Still they look cool and of course, Neil insisted on crawling into all of them at the expense of making is pants (trousers for the UK audience) dirty.
Last stop for the day was an old slate mine where many fish fossils have been found. Needless to say (please refer back to the first paragraph) I could give a shit about fish fossils at this stage of the day. We didn't find any, although the hire car tire leaver preformed exceptionally well as a geological hammer.

23 October 2010

to the North

Today we drove to Thurso, which is a little town, next to John o'Groats, but no where near as crappy. This means following the A9 north and north and north. We got so see out first lot of snow covered mountains, so there were many photos, let me tell you! Also as it is the 'end of the season' (nad as we have already noticed) many of the shops and out door shops in particular, are having sales. I have been trying to convince Neil that he needs to get a second pair of shoes. This finally worked today when we saw a nice pair of Merrills, for what I like to call 'the right price'. In this same town (Aviemore, for those of you who are interested) we saw a horrible horrible thing (actually we have seen a few horrible things, but most these have been women wearing clothing they really should have more self respect than to be seen in public in). It was a restaurant.... called the Roo's Leap. As if this is not bad enough the menu consisted of meals from no less than the following countries:
  • Mexico
  • America
  • Italy
  • South America
  • the middle east
  • Greece
  • Japan
  • The Caribbean
  • Jamaica
  • England
There was the odd reference to things like Aussie burger and Aussie fish and chips and the menu, but that's it. We laughed, a lot, as I took a photo of the menu and we walked away, laughing.

Next stop was the Black Isle Brewery, which again we went to last time, but it did have the best beer of the many many breweries we went to last time and Neil could really do with e new t-shirt from there.... really.
We made it to Thurso in good time and decided to go to Dunnet Head, the most northern place in the UK, before it got dark. This place was windy, I mean Windy, with a capital W. We got some nice shots though and a cache, before heading home (I mean the hotel here of course) via another near by cove, that happened to have a cache in it, and some seals, and the moon rising over a stone pinnacle thing. See caching can be good, you see stuff you would never have seen other wise!! Really it is cool, cool people play it....

22 October 2010

chatting

Today was out day of messages. We started off with a 'quick' trip to town to go to an outdoors shop and the kilt shop (see yesterdays post) Two or three hours later, we had done those two messages. The man in the outdoors shop was just lovely, very friendly, very chatty, into cars and had travelled a lot. Neil and him got on really well, plus being Scottish, he had a lovely turn of phase and every storey was great to listen to. Pity any other customer who came in to the shop. However being late October, I really shouldn't be so surprised to see everything winding down as much as it is.
Eventually we strolled out of the shop with a pair of gloves and it was over an hour later. The storey was much the same after the kilt shop, except it was chatting about the man (who is really really nice and served us when we bought the kilt)'s health, dogs, Masons and stuff. Neil bought a belt, buckle and pair of socks (sorry, they are hoes when they are for the kilt). Scott, I also ordered you a different scarf, so hopefully one of them will be right!
Next stop was Dunkeld. This is the evil town where I saw my first bit of Radley, as many of you may know, I now had a fairly large collection, especially given you can't actually buy it in Australia. We didn't stay and chat with the ladies in this store, cos they seemed a bit bitchy, but we did in other stores in the town, including the Fish and Chip shop, where the man was very nice and explained what all the stuff on the menu that we had know idea what it was, was. He was also nice about me asking for a potato cake, which we was sorry to say he has no uncut potatoes left with which to make me one. The chips from there were great, my burger was only average, but I didn't care, I'd been chatting all day and was hungry!

Last stop for the day, only an hour before the closed was the Scottish Crannog Centre. This turned out to be way better that we thought it would be. When we turned up it looked like it would e a bit kiddy, as there were demo stations of all the methods the people used to use to do stuff. The man, in costume, showed you how to do everything, then you could have a go at them yourself. The man was excellent and explained stuff really well, with lots of back ground and real information, not just a superficial glossing over of stuff, just for kids. The demos were all excellently done and had a very genuine feel to them. The reconstructed house itself is really cool and the lady who showed us that, just to continue the theme of the day, was extremely chatty and very pleasant as well as being very knowledgeable.
The final win for the day was that the shop for the Scottish Crannog Centre had a shall like the sort I remembered, it was way bigger than I was really after, but I'd had such a good day, and this one was all wool with a really good Celtic knot pattern on it, and even thought I don't really have room for it in my bag, I am bloody bought it any way :) yay me, my poor credit card.
Back in Pitlochry, we went to the other recommended place for dinner, but didn't stay, the bar people where rude, and I don't think you could have put another halloween decoration in the place and still fit people in there. We went to an Indian place. It was ok.

21 October 2010

and we're off

Off from Edinburgh and on to Pitlochry. I know it seems a bit boring to stay in the same first town that we did last time, but we have some very important things to do in the area. One of the most important to be going back to McNaughtons of Pitlochry and ask them how to adjust Neil's kilt as the pooh pooh head keeps loosing weight (don't ask me how) and the bloody thing is too big and I am NOT paying for a new one.

Anyway, the whole day was so uneventful that it looks like neither of us took any photos. We went ot the tourist information place, pick up what we needed, got our hire car, put our bags in it, drove to a cache on the way out of town, there were blackberries there, drove to Pitlochry. I was further than I remembered. Our accommodation is nice, the people are lovely. They have recommend a place for dinner..... time passes...... the place was extremely good.

20 October 2010

The Royal Mile

Today we walked from the very top of the Royal Mile to the very bottom, and sort of spent money the whole way long it. Opps. And despite my absolute determination not to buy anything else either, fail. I got Scott's requested scarf (I hope it's what you wanted Scott, I'm now worried it's not so will keep looking.) A scottie print. key rings, that also happen to be bottle openers. Neil has been looking everywhere for bottle openers and they are simply not to be found, it's like the whole tourist industry has come over all temperate all of a sudden (the people certainly aren't). You see Neil has this thing that all the cars must had a bottle opener key-ring and the Subaru hasn't yet. And also some ceramic wall mounted flying scotties, as set of three, kind of like those ducks people put on their walls, but cooler as they are scotties, and also they are hand made and do look nice, if you don't think about the fact they are a set of three wall mounted flying scotties :)
I was on the lookout for a shall I really should have bought the last time, but didn't cos I got all thing about how much money I was spending and it was 60 pounds. Anyway, when I found the shop, the ones they had on sale were..... yukkie. They weren't wool, they had this awful chenille stuff woven in with them, and the colors were a bit leery. So I didn't buy it, hope I don't regret it again, don't think I will though.
In there evening we met up with Jacki and Deni for dinner, which was extremely pleasant. We moved onto a different venue for dessert and drinkies, then we had to send the girls home, cos it is a school night after all!!! An excellent catch-up all round! :)

19 October 2010

catch up

Today, after a bit of a stroll to pick up a cache and a few clues for another cache, we met up with Jacki! Yay Jack Jack, it was great to see her. We had a most excellent lunch with some beers (or rather ciders, after discovering the beer mankie foot relationship for poor Mr Neil) and heaps of chatting! We moved on to another pub, for another beer, then dropped in Jacks house. The day just flew past!
We strolled back home to the Hotel, had dinner on the way, and moved into out new room. There were no major dramas this morning when I complained and so far, the bad seems way comfier, we will have to wait til to tomorrow to find out for sure. :)

18 October 2010

Manchester - bye bye

Today we spent most of the day at Manchester Airport..... really not the most exciting place to spend 4 hours. We dropped the car off, with only minor 'discussions' with the car hire man, then we found a coffee shop and sat, and sat, had some lunch, sat, etc. I started sewing the raccoon I bought a the mill yesterday. Eventually Neil and I said bye to Mum and got on our train to Edinburgh.
The train trip was fairly good, it did have to stop for 40 mins, so it was a bit late, but that was fine. The men I was sitting near were nice and chatted with them for the last part of the trip.
I did get my raccoon done on the trip, he looks great, way better than this one.
Our hotel is fine, but i was un-impressed with the bed. Will complain tomorrow

17 October 2010

Mill and caching

Today, on our last full day in the Manchester area, we went to the Helmshore Mill. As it didn't open till lunch time, we stopped at a pleasant little park and I did some caches while Mum and Neil went to a historic site mill place,. I only went the wrong way 3 times and walked way further than I needed to, but I did nine caches. They were mostly soooo close together.
We jumped back in the car and headed to the mill, first for some lunch then to look around. The tour man was very nice and he told us heaps of extra stuff. The machinery was mostly in working order, as the mill itself, which recycled scrap cotton, only closed down in the late 70's. We stayed at the mill for ages, I bought a little raccoon to sew up. oops

On the way home, we stopped at a much uglier little park, and I got another few caches. Bugger, only 2 short of my most caches in a day record!!!
The only task left for today is to try and pack, and get all my stuff back in my bag! Wish me luck! :)

16 October 2010

caves and mountians

Well, maybe not mountians, but moors at least. Today we jumped into the car and drove down to the Blue John caves in the middle of the Peak District National Park. The cave had HEAPS of stairs so Mum decided not to go down. It was really hard work to get back up but it was really impressive. There was heaps of fossils visiable in the walls of the limestone caves, along with the Blue John (which is a relative of Flurite, so yay it flursess!)
After that we had a pleasent pub lunch in Castleton, then stopped at an EarthCache on the way home, along the seanic route.
I am getting quite tired I think. We only have one more day at this house. I took photos of it this morning. You won't believe it when you see it.

15 October 2010

Mill and tower

First stop was the Saltaire model town. There was not a lot of information at the town, as it is still lived in etc, but it was really cool to go and see. We went on to the Queen St Mill, which actually has heaps of working looms in it. It was so noisy! But really cool to see some working ones. I bought a real live English woven tea towel, made at the mill. Neil spoke to the man running the boiler and engine for ages.

On the way home we stoped at a tower thing we could see from the road, and which we havce pasted almost evcery day we have been here. It is called Hartshead Pike. Handily there was a cache near by!! Yay :)

14 October 2010

Tunnel

Today we went for a tour around the local country side to the start and end of the Standedge tunnel, which is on the Huddersfield Narrow Cannal. We went to Uppermill end of the tunnel first, which was a bit boring, so we had to drive over the huge mountain to the Marsden end. This end had a boat ride into the tunnel. It is over 3 miles long and take 3 hours to go right the way through it, so the little 30 minute trip turned out to be just right. The lady was really interesting and it was a good trip into the tunnel. My photos were a bit crappy looking. Neil and I then tried to go for a little walk to a nearby cache. The river we had to cross turned out to be a little too deep for my little runner shoes, so we had to give that one a miss.
We had found a hand out for a sculpture trail that was meant to be close by, and after stuffing around with tiny little streets that seemed to go nowhere, we had to give that one a miss too. Bugger. Luckily the road we had used to go from Marsden to Dingle (or where ever these theoretical sculptures where supposed to be) had had a conveniently located cache on it, so we had stopped at that and I dropped another travel bug. No all I need is a bit of internet to log it and this little write up.

13 October 2010

Silk and Moreton

Today we drove to the Macklesfield Silk mill. This was really cool. The old bloke that was the guide of the old mills was really interesting and he didn't mind us asking questions after the tour. Most of them he even answered well. There is still one we haven't had answered ok, but I'm sure the internet can help us with that at some stage. I got a tiny tiny bit of jackard woven silk in a key ring.
After lunch we headed to Little Moreton Hall.
This had scaffolding all over the front of it and we nearly didn't go, but it turned out to be really good and interesting. It is just totally amazing that the thing has survived in as original state as it has. Many cool photos were to be hand on the parts that didn't have scaffold, and the lady running the tour was excellent.
Last stop for the day, before home and another excellent meal from Neil, was the Post Officer, were we off loaded a few bits and pieces of paper. Will really need to weigh the bags at some point. :S

12 October 2010

Rest day

We all needed it. It was good

11 October 2010

Wales 2 of 2

Unfortunately, today involved a long drive. These days are never fun. We got in two caches. One was huge, and let me drop of the large TB I have with me (Sam the Koala, in case Scott was wondering what was happening with him) and the other was in the crappiest sea side town I have seen in the UK so far. The beach consisted of.... a concrete wall. Man that's crap.
Onto Manchester we traveled via a large detour to Llangollen and some very very pretty roads or rather vistas, visible from the roads. We also went to the Thomas Telford bridge there which was called the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and was really cool. This has made me really keen on a canal boat trip holiday. Trans Scotland or Ireland or Germany or somewhere there are canals. Let me know it you are interested ok? Not for a few years though.

From there we drove the rest of the way to Manchester, with only minor issues on who was navigating. To be honest, I hadn't really gotten the hand of navigation with the GPS yet, and the massive motorways around Manchester were soooooo confusing the map didn't help either. Basically, unless you were in the right land you were f-ed, and we drove through one intersection three times. opps.

Anyway, we made it to our house for the next week. To be honest, it's not that impressive. Bum. It is also UP A CLIFF!!!! This isn't great for either Mum or my hips. Oh well. The views are impressive.

10 October 2010

Wales 1 of 2

Well, if this isn't a day made for caching I don't know what is!! How cool to write 10/10/10 on cache logs :) And all with nice timing for me being re-united with the GPS (and Neil of course ;) )
Mum and Neil were very patient and let me do 7 caches. Thankfully these were mostly at places we would have gone anyway, so I hope I wasn't too much of a pain.

We did a big loop from Caernarfon via The National Slate Museum (fair bit of slate in Wales, in case you didn't know) and some VERY impressive scenery. I was big, really big. And oddly not like Scotland, but big in a different way, I can't quite put my finger on it. Big anyway.

One the way home we looked at a cool 'Telford' bridge. Man that bloke built a lot of stuff.

Our very last stop for the day, right on dusk was at some ancient stone houses that Neil had visited a few days earlier on the island of Anglesea. I also got some cool sunset shots were as well.

09 October 2010

travel to Newport and beyond

After saying good bye to all the nice people we met on the tour (and ignoring the yukkie people), Mum and I wondered on to Paddington Station to jump on to the train to Newport station in Wales. The train trip was very efficient and problem free.
When we arrived..... we had to sit around for 2.5 hours while we waited for Neil. I didn't mind the first two hours.....
Anyway, then we had a long drive through the extremely impressive country side of Wales. I would have loved to spend more time here, but I am glad to have had the time here that I did.
After a while, we made it to Caernarfon. The B&B that Neil had been staying in for the last quite a few nights was extremely nights, even if we did have to walk up many stairs to get to our room (better than us than Mum though)

08 October 2010

Last day

Today was the last day of the tour. It was to be a trip to the "Ally Pally" or rather the Stitching a kkitting Show, at the Alexander Palace exhibition hall. I was sort of expecting the hall to be a similar size to the Melbourne Exhibition hall, bit it was way bigger.
The craft fair it's self was massive! I couldn't believe how big it was and just how many people where there! Mum decided not to got, and instead go on the London hop on hop off bus. I'm so glad she did, she would have hated it, the place was completely packed, you couldn't walk down most isles, you sort of had to wade through the people like you do at the show in really crowded parts, but it was the whole place!

I tried to be very good, and I only bought two stitching kits and picked up heaps of hand outs. We were delivered to the fair by a private bus and were meant to head back the same way, but we (me Louise and Pam) wagged the bus and took the tube back. This turned out to be way quicker, even including out trip to the pub after-wood for a beer.
The final dinner (which was held at the Vanderbelt Hotel) was absolutely awful. The service was totally shit house, it took them 4 goes to get a glass of wine right for me, the menu was completely crap, when I first read it i was not going to go at all and in the end I only ordered a main, cos the entrée and deserts where inedible. Most of the food, when it eventually arrived, it was almost COLD! It was a bit of a shame to have ended the tour on such an average note.

07 October 2010

back to london, eventually

Today we got up and drove half way back past Oxford, they way we came yesterday to go to Blenheim Palace. Whole this was all very impressive, I think it might be a bit of a sign of how over some of this stuff I am getting. The tour lady just crapped on about the paintings and furniture, big deal. The gardens were nice, but we really only had 20 minutes to look at them! I got a little scottie purse (not a radley one, I have not idea what I'll do with it). Add to this that the main clime to fame this place has, apart from looking cool is that Winston Churchill was born there (like I could give a shit) and it wasn't the all round funnest place I have been in this tour.
Last stop on the way back to London was Burford, which was actually a cool town, and for the first time I feel like we actually had the right amount of time in a place. YaY! then back on the bus and head for the Millennium again. \
For dinner Louise, Jenny, Mum and Joan went to Bumpkins which was as excellent as it was the last time and the other ladies all enjoyed it too.

06 October 2010

drive drive drive

We departed Ston Eastern today for a day of lots of driving. We first drove to Sudley Castle, where Kathryn Parr (King Henry VII's last wife) lived out her days after the King's death. Unfortunately the place was fairly beaten up by Oliver Cromwells bunch during the English civil war. When we visited, they were doing all the yew tree trimming, which is only done once a year. These particular yew trees are nearly 150 years old. There were some really really old bits of needle work on display in this castle. I also learnt that pheasants are native to the UK, which I though they are, they are from various bits of Asia.
We were back on the bus then and on to Broadway. We went for ages then in a south eastern direction, around Oxford onto Hartwell house, our last stately home. The place was really nice, and the staff were way friendlier than other places, it was a shame to be only staying there for one night.

05 October 2010

stitching and Wells

today was meant to be a stitching day at out hotel Ston Eastern. This in teory was a really good idea for today except that the kits the nice lady (claire something) where a bit much for me but mum got one. A sat I did the little scotty across stitch I got at Liberty of London. After lunch Mum and I and Louise, a lady from the tour, have waged and escaped to Wells. I was really keen to see the cathedral and also the really ancienct row of houses that are here. (I am in apub I wells writing this now) the street of houses wasn't as old as I was expediting but it was really interesting away. Still many hundreds of ears old!! The cathedral was a bit expensive for me. Its good to have a bit of 'normal' time.
There is another formal dinner tonight. I hope its yummy

04 October 2010

Bath

today was the day if swaning arround Bath. We had a bit of a coach tour first, then a walking tour with David, who is a tour leader with us who's interest is in archtiecture, then on to the costume mueseum. I remebered the costume place being better the last time. Lastly was free time. There was meant to be anthoer formal dinner after than, but mum and I skipped that. We had turkish at the same place Neil and I went to last time, it was great! After that we met up with the group again and went on the Bizarre Bath tour, which was really great fun. I acciently bought a bunny, you had to be there

03 October 2010

rain and travel

today we did a lot of driving, in the rain, it was a bit sucky, cos rain and my hip and mums isn't a great combination, it tends to hurt. We had a stop in a town called Travistock, which I'm sure would have been nicer in better weather. Bit boring as it was. We are staying for the next few days at Stone Easten, outside Bath, it is very flash. Last thing before arriving here, we went tot he American Museum, which this was interesting, it did seem a bit wrong to be learning about American history in the UK. They have dogs here at the hotel and a crochet course, please excuse me, I have to go and play around. bye-e

02 October 2010

Fowey

Today we went on a trip to a little seaside town called Fowey, which is pronounced (more or less) 'Foy'. It is a town steeped in all sorts of literary history and stuff that neither mum of I are really interested in. We all wandered around for a while. I bought a pretty rain coat. I really don't have a lot more to say about this day, it didn't really do a lot for me.
This was our last night at Luchenchard, so even though it was really late when I got back, I did a quick run around and took photos. It really is quite a pretty place.

01 October 2010

Wet traveling day

Today we had to get going fairly early to go to firstly Travistock then on to Lutrenchard for the night. Travistock is well known market town, unfortunately it was extremely wet today and not much fun to be wondering around a market town. Still it was a very pretty town. I was good and only bought one £5 scarf with shawn sheep on it.
I was expecting a bit from dinner, as the restaurant at Lewtrenchard, where we are staying is a mitchelen star restaurant and to be honest, I wasn't that impressed. It was nice enough, but other places we have eaten have been nicer. Sleep is still eluding the both of us, which is annoying.

30 September 2010

Stitching day with Jenny

Today was our first stitching day. Both mum and I were fairly sure we wouldn't be able to sew for a whole day, but Jenny, our most excellent tutor, made it easy. I usually only cross stitch and was determined to try something new. I picked one on the needle work kits which had all sorts of stitches, most of which I still don't know the names of. I was really amazed how much I achieved in the day and how quickly the time few. My kit makes a little vista with three castle towers, some bushes, water, a hill and the sun. I got the hill and all three castle towers sew up. Now the question will be what to do at the next stitching day, as I am keen to keeping going on this kit, but there might be some thing else new and exciting I might need to try.

After sewing all day mum and I headed off with four other ladies on the tour into Hook, the nearest town, to find a pub for dinner. I mean posh is all very we and good, but it gets to be a bit much after a while. I had a small dinner, with much cider.

29 September 2010

Tilney Hall Dinner

Well dinner was defiantly a pretty shoe occasion. We even had palette cleansers, which more than one person in our group were thinking were fairly poxey entres. I ate far too much, but it was all very nice, all three courses.

Hampton Court Palace

Today, after not one but TWO fire alarms (one at 11:30pm which woke us both up with a terrible fright and one at 8:00am ish just as we were about to go down to breakfast) we headed off to Hampton Court Palace.
This is a place of vareying history from King Henry VIII through to present. We spent the whole day there and it was great not to have to rush so much. Some of the rooms were really amazing. The newer rooms (from William III time) were really disturbingly austintachious.
There where heaps of school kids and we got to meet King Henry VIII, who was wondering around all day, as it was his wedding day. A bit sad I know, but he did look very impressive, as did all the other costumed folk.
We also had a tour of the Royal School of Needlework. Some of the things on display were very interesting and it is odd to hear that people can make a career in embroidery in the UK, which you never could at home.
Right now we are back on the bus heading to Tilney Hall (which is near Hook), where we will stay for the next two nights. We also have a 'flash' dinner tonight which will be interesting. I think I will be able to wear my pretty shoes, as I won't have to go outside.

28 September 2010

London attractions

So I said bye bye to Neil this morning. I am completely positive he won't be posting to the blog of his adventures, so I don't know how any of us will find out what he will be upto for the next nearly 2 weeks.
Our first stop was a bus trip to the V&A. This would have been easier to walk to, but moving on. Our tour lady was very nice and she took us to look at things I would normally not looked twice at, so it was very informative. We realty didnt have enoght time there, but I get the feeling you could spend two weeks in there and still feel like you didn't have enough time there.
Next stop was Liberty of London. Very nice and everything but really it is just a shop! I got myself a tiny present and something for fiona. Then mum and I went to look in some nearby stores. I also took this opertunity to sort the phone debarkle. I now have a proper UK number. Now all I need is some wifi to email it to people.
Last stop for the day was afternoon tea at the Ritz. This is not something I would have ever done myself, but it was nice and the building was very beautiful. I ate too many cakes.

27 September 2010

To Greenwich and beyond

In theory today was the first day of the tour. In reality the only thing on today was a dinner so Mum, Neil and I went to Greenwich. We travelled by tube and DLR and walked the last bit. Half the stuff we went to see was being used as a film set for the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 film which was partly interesting in its self but also a bit of a bum. It was a steep climb up to the main observatory but it was worth it. There were heaps of cool telescopes and other interesting instrumentation to look at but most importantly there was the east west meridian line to stand on and have my photo taken on :)
Also there is a virtual cache about the area, which I hopefully can log fairly soon.
Mum and I left Neil there and headed towards Oxford St to a cloths store we found out about. Mum got a nice top and I got some jeans and a pretty scarf. By this stage peak hour was starting and it was time to head home. Mum and I were due to have a flash dinner as the first night of our Stitches and Stately Homes tour. The service was average, but the food was quite good, man were we ready for bed by the end of it!

26 September 2010

Meetings

Today was a day of meetings. First step was for me to make my way to ??? Area where I was to meet Clare. Unfortunately the tube was having some work done on it so I had to make my way there by bus. I was fairly early so I decided to walk to Albert Hall first, this is where the 'Proms' are preformed every year. I'll be truthful now, most of my reason for going was that there was a cache there. I had it in the bag fairly quickly. I also looked at the Albert Memorial, which is huge. I can only say that Victoria must have been impossibly grieved when her husband died.

Next I took the bus to ??? This turned out to be way closer than I thought. There also happened to be some close caches ;) one was even big enough for me to put one of my geo coins into! While caching I eventually heard from Clare who had decided we should meet else where, which was mile away for me, especially give the broken tube in the area. So I decided to finish finding the cache I was looking for at the time THEN head for the bus stop (which happened to have another cache nearby) so that made 4 caches.

Eventually I made it to Waterloo and found Clare. We had a very pleasant lunch and a good chat. It was great to catch up with her. Then we headed our separate way.

Neil and I were to meet at Mansion House station and try and find the Pearly Kings and Queens parade. We were both quite late and it was very cold and quite rainy. In the end I think we were too late and we couldn't find anything. Oh well.
After all this stuffing around, Neil and I were both stuffed, so we went back to the hotel to find mum. That accomplished we went out to the nice, if slightly more expensive, organic restaurant we had seen earlier (one time when we were lost) It was really delicious. We all ate to much but it was great food.

25 September 2010

Museum x2

So, the plan was to briefly drop into the Natural History Museum and Science Museum. After getting slightly geographically embarrassed on the way there, we made it. Neither of them was open yet!! and the cues! I'm not sure if it's school holidays or not but there were kids and people everywhere. Both museums were great and in the end were where there all day and my feet are still sore. Dinner again was a disappointment :( Afternoon tea was good, or that could have been my sore feet simply enjoying the rest!

24 September 2010

shopping in London

Ages ago on Shoeper Woman's blog a friend of my showed me a fantastic pair of shoes. I decided I might have to try and see if I could get them. So we headed off to the Irregular Choice store in Soho. We completely failed to find the Tourist Info place on the way there, and made it to the store at 10 to 10, before it had opened. We cruised around the insane lanes and little streets, getting slightly rained on, until the store opened. To cut a long story short, I now own some lovely shoes that I will be barely able to ware. I don't want to ware them outside either cos the soles have printing on them, of the white rabbit, of Alice in Wonderland fame, in a tea pot!

After some food and a stop at the Swatch shop (Neil managed to not bring his watch), we headed back down Regent St to try and find the Info place, we eventually found it. We got paper, cos you need paper when your on holiday (I should point out this is paper in the form of brochures, not just A4 ok, I just wanted to make that clear) and headed off to Covent Garden.

Wow. I didn't even know this place existed. It was cool. Sort of an older more permanent version of Vic Market, but different. Eventually we found the outdoors stores we were looking for, to procure the extra back we need. Check, it's red. We also found the Canadian pub for a rest, and beer (or in my case cider).

From there we walked down to Trafalgar Square, where there was an irresistible earth caching opportunity, and a festival about Malaysia (yummy food present and correct). Down the road again to Embankment station and back home, another long day!

Dinner was at a nearby pub and fairly average (lets not talk about it)

23 September 2010

travel and arrival

Well, a 24hr plane flight is always going to be long. Thankfully the first 8hrs of it, from Melbourne to Hong Kong where in the dark and we had 4 seats between the two of us. I even slept! The studpied hoops they make you go through at Hong Kong (and I'm sure every other airport) are so demented, but soon we were back in the air. Unfortunately there were no spare seats on the plain this time, but I had had my chair fixed so at least it reclined now. I watched many movies. Then we arrived, I really think this flight seemed short than the last trip (in 07).

So we were meant to be pick up from the air port... by a limo. We waited for an hour... no limo :( Eventually we gave up and took the train, which was actually fine and I didn't mind that much, except for the waiting part, which I am totally shit at. We found our hotel very easily, and it is way 'posher' than I am used to, even if the building is very ugly.

Our next stop after this was the special invitation only Radley sale in Kings Road (wow, an even posher area). Any way, with Champaign in hand and my friend Eva's shopping list in mind, I proceeded to spend... quite a few pounds on handbags :) because, as Neil said, how often am I here? I should just buy them. opps :) I got two and a purse. I am using one already*

By this time it was 6pm and I was definitely starting the flag, so we grabbed a snack in a pub, that turned out to be a gay bar, which was yum and the bar men were very nice. We then came back to home base and collapsed.


*Note even though this post is dated for the right day, I wrote it a few days later