Leeds v Manchester!

So much for spending today in Manchester!

Caroline and I took an early bus towards our preferred railway station this morning, only to find that trains heading west were either running very late or cancelled altogether.

Plan B was easy – get the bus to Leeds and do our shopping there. Simples!

Managed to get everything we were looking for (new bike lights and inner tubes for Caroline in the wake of last night’s club ride and some socks and a new copy of the classic Bogart and Bergman film Casablanca for me).

With lunch at Roots and Fruits and some good coffee and cake at M&S’ cafe, it was quite a grand day out!

15 years…

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I’d never been to Aldeburgh fifteen years ago.

There has been a lot in the UK media about the National Health Service for a while now, but with that election less than a fortnight away, it’s being discussed left, right and centre by voters, politicians and media outlets.

It’s fifteen years to the day since I had a close shave by having a stroke, but I’m very glad to have been looked after by those working in the A&E, intensive care, stroke unit, MRI unit and physios at Airedale Hospital.

The aftercare is still ongoing through my local medical centre a mile away who keep an eye on the meds I take everyday, sometimes at weekly intervals or three monthly intervals depending on test results.

Whilst there have been a few changes in lifestyle since that day in 2004, things that haven’t changed include a very healthy respect for the NHS and a shared enthusiasm for travel.

Caroline and I been to places that we’d never even thought of visiting fifteen years ago both in the UK and Europe.

Yes, there are places I’d like to go that are quite a distance away from home, but with work and holiday time still a major factor to think about, we’re still heading around the UK and Europe for the time being.

For our next few trips we have four new options plus four return visits to think about in Europe, a big rail based trip here in the UK, one or two ideas about rail trips in Canada and quite a few potential destinations that are also in the UK, we aren’t short of ideas regarding places to go.

Our new mantra as it were is “Keep on keeping on!” and the reasons for that my well be revealed next Monday…

In the meantime, Caroline and I are having a grand day out – a day of shopping in Manchester, not Milton Keynes!

Where?

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Not here!

I’m heading down south in a couple of weeks and headed to the local station to buy my rail tickets yesterday.

Stated the dates, departure station and the destination, only to receive the following comment from the ticket seller…

”What did you do to deserve two nights in Milton Keynes?”

An inspector calls…

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First the house, now the office…

Whose office and desk is this?

Who lives in a house like this?

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Earlier today, somewhere in Europe!

By the book…

thumb_DSCN1850_1024Paper or digital?

There’s a trip on the horizon and a quandary in the planning stages.

What is the better format to use – a paper guide or one in Kindle, PDF or an alternative eBook format on an iPad, phone, desktop or laptop?

There’s two Rough Guides and a Lonely Planet plus a DK on the iPad in Kindle format and an elderly Lonely Planet,  a newly acquired (last Sunday – from a bookshop, not online) Rough Guide, a more comprehensive DK and an Insight Guide (also from the same bookshop) in paper format.

It’s over two years since I wrote about this subject, but since doing the research for this upcoming venture, paper books are still for me the way to go when planning or undertaking a trip.

The Rough Guide I bought last Sunday is already on my iPad in Kindle format, but getting the paper version has already proved worthwhile.

Our town and city destinations for this road trip have been marked up with Post It notes and the highlighter pen will be in action this week as potential attractions in and around those towns and cities are spotted.

That book will be shoved into my jacket pocket when we fly and used alongside any information or posters spotted once we land, find our accommodation and then start exploring on the ground.

It will also be used as a guide to menu busting, an aide to my ever woefully bad language skills and as a quick reference assistant should we find ourselves in interesting places at short notice…

I may have an iPhone now, but Siri is disabled on my phone as a means of preserving battery life and data usage allowances.

Is Siri useful? Possibly, but it’s not for me, even though we’ve had great fun leaving reminders on someone’s Alexa device recently (usually along the lines of “It’s time to tidy your bedroom” or “It’s time you used the washing machine” or “It’s your turn to do the washing up”…

So no, technology hasn’t won me over.

Yes, I will have the iPad with me for email checking, but the Kindle app will be used to read biographies, travel accounts or even the odd novel or two (I’m not into fiction).

As far as guides go though, a paper book is easier to read, mark up and find things in thanks to the contents list at the front and the index at the back.

And a book has another advantage – you don’t need to charge the battery!

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