Sixteen years later

Ronda…

It’s not often that I can say that I know precisely what I was doing on 30th November in a given year, but in the case of 30th November 2004, I know exactly where I was – in intensive care at Airedale Hospital on the morning and in the Stroke Unit at the same hospital in the afternoon.

I was one of the most mobile on the Stroke Unit in that I was allowed out of a wheelchair after the first day or so. The care I received over the period I was in hospital was great, but the food was a bit Meh…

Sixteen years on and there’s still respect for the NHS, especially in the way it has had to cope with the additional pressures this year due to Covid-19.

I still get check-ups, but things like warfarin levels are done on home visits rather than at my GP’s surgery at this moment in time. Yes, my flu jab was done at the surgery, but in a very, very secure way.

Will I be getting the vaccine when it becomes available? Yes, but when I’m called in for it according to my place in the queue. Why? Because it seems to be a good idea to get rid of any Covid-19 threat and because I want to travel!

As ever, it’s many thanks to those from Airedale Hospital and to my partner Caroline too – she had just started a new nursing job on the day everything went bang and got one hell of surprise when she found out…

Here’s looking at you kid!

Books, books, books…

Just a few of this year’s guidebook purchases…

Yes, I have the technology to browse ebooks via Kindle on my iPad, but when it comes to planning sessions or usage on a trip, nothing beats a book.

Pages of interest can be marked by the use of sticky notes whilst places of interest can be highlighted using fluorescent pens.

The book itself can be stashed away in a pocket or day bag and consulted over coffee, lunch or beer or left in the bag when you decide to follow your nose and find things out for yourself.

Series of choice for years was Lonely Planet, but examination of their Portugal guide a few years ago led me to buy the equivalent Rough Guide as it was easier to use, had a better layout and was more user friendly.

Yes, buying two guidebooks was a more expensive way of doing things, but I did notice that there were other variations – different attractions were mentioned, different places to stay and eateries too.

Since then I’ve sneaked looks at several different guidebooks to get a quick idea of what they can offer whilst planning a trip.

Books from the Bradt, Insight and Marco Polo brands have gone into the mix as has Rick Steves Italy 2020.

Now this only arrived on Saturday, but first impressions are good ones.

Yes, there are plugs for his shop and other media resources, but the info is in there – travel by trains or buses, accommodation and food suggestions to suit most budgets along with packing suggestions & timescales for visiting.

Will it be used for planning? Oh yes, but in conjunction with other guides to Italy plus some addition ideas thrown in for good measure.

Such a those from Italy Top To Toe that BBC4 are currently repeating along with one or two from Great Continental Railway Journeys and maybe a couple of ideas from The Hairy Bikers, Rick Stein and Anthony Bourdain.

Things to come…

No bull…

Changes are on the way, hence the big gap between my last post in August and this one! Yes, we have been away for part of that time, but I’ve been awaiting news as to what was happening work-wise after furlough’s end.

And now I know – redundancy.

So, what’s next? Possibly staying in the retail world with a new employer once Lockdown II is over or heading back into journalism once more.

This site will be getting a reboot once new Mac and Office software has been sourced and a new printer installed. It may be happening at this site or at a new one as I’d have preferred recent upgrades to have never happened, another reason for the lack of posts over the last two months.

As I’m no longer working for a travel clothing and equipment brand, clothing and gear reviews will be making a comeback along with pieces on the places we’ve been to in 2019 and 2020, site and software permitting!

TV travel…

thumb_DSCN2217_1024The Alhambra, Granada…

With travel prospects outside the UK being on hold at the moment, filling in gaps that were supposed to be holidays has been interesting.

Yes, we’ve been to Oxford and Ambleside in recent weeks and had a fortnight long Scottish trip planned using trains and buses to get between home, Glasgow, Fort William, Mallaig, Inverness, Kyle Of Lochalsh, Stirling, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then back home.

That last one has been moved to 2021 though as there’s an impending wedding – not us, but Caroline’s eldest son and his fiancee.

In between times though, we’ve been watching a few travel related TV progs and got a few ideas from Rick Stein, The Hairy Bikers, Richard Ayoade and Anthony Bourdain (the last one seen was a visit to Granada).

Some were familiar to both of us, some to me and one to Caroline as Jerusalem was visited when she lived on a kibbutz in the late 1970s.

Greece, France and Sardinia would be new destinations for the two of us, but return trips to Spain, Portugal, Sicily and Norway are being added to the mix, along with a visit to Malta to make up for that trip which was cancelled a week before departure thanks to Covid 19.

There are other plans, but they’re not totally fixed yet and quite a bit of flexibility is built into each plan!

In the meantime though, it’s a Bank Holiday Monday here in England and there’s a few more Anthony Bourdain shows to watch on Netflix…

May the farce be with you!

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Sunset, Cadiz

After all the events of the last few months, those of the last few days beggar belief , especially as the UK’s own Transport Minister is now facing a fourteen day quarantine period when he gets back from his brief time in Spain!

With 600,000 people taking a break in Spain and associated island territories, it will be interesting to see what the fall-out is going to be,  especially if there are no more spikes in the UK, Spain or the islands.

Boris says…

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Boris says – we can do more!

Well it looks like we will be getting some measure of independence back when restrictions are lifted here in England on Saturday 4th 2020.

Whilst it’s potentially possible to head to a bar, restaurant, hotel and campsite or caravan site on this date, the finer points of what you can or can’t do aren’t known yet.

This is being written three hours after Boris unveiled the plans in the House Of Commons, but there are still Covid policy restrictions notices on some booking sites, even though the prices being asked for stays are very, very reasonable.

A case of watch this space? Quite possibly…

Skipton…

Skipton…

It’s a while since I moved out of Skipton, but where better to go on the first long trip out in order to get used to the new wheels.

Was tempting to go to a place that I know reasonably well from my time up on the North East, but we’re going to give Barnard Castle a miss for the time being!!!

On the road again…

Small, but perfectly formed!

Yes, we are back out there in a smaller car that’s fun to drive with better mpg, lower road tax and no rat nav or phone connectivity.

And yes, it’s a Skoda.

Oops!

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My car, last Thursday…

Supermarket van v lamp post v my car.

Two out of the three came off badly…

Currently have a reasonably new loan car whilst mine is in the repair shop, but the Fiesta is only being used for essential food shops and collecting my meds.

Will go back to the delivery service though, despite last week’s mishap!

Unplanned….

DAD5CC1A-407F-4F95-8BAE-C0A2106EACA0The email that changed things for this week…

Yes, we should have been elsewhere this week, but things changed after the above email touched down and the one from our airline to say that they were suspending flights to Malta.

Fortunately we’ve got refunds from the airline, the online entity that we’d booked our b&b plus ground transfers through and the airport’s car parks.

So, what’s happening? Well, there’s the UK’s new rules to follow, the shop has been closed temporarily and there’s reading to do & box sets to watch.

Four new guidebooks turned up about ten days before that email, so there’s some reading to do about Genoa, Sardinia, Mallorca and Crete to do in readiness for wherever the next non-UK might be after Malta.

There’s also biogs of Phil Lynott, Rod Stewart, Alan Bennett and David Bowie to read on the Kindle plus a few print magazines too.

Visual sustenance over the last few weeks has come courtesy of box sets on iPlayer, namely Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, but there are also plans to rewatch State Of Play, Our Friends In The North, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Thunderbirds.

If the “break” is further extended then there’s always The West Wing to watch again, along with a few episodes of Young/classic Montalbano, four series of The Bridge and three of Borgen (although that has been seen recently).

And if that’s not enough, there’s some CDs to listen to as I managed to find a very reasonably priced CD/DAB radio system last month.

At the end of the day though, I’d rather be travelling!