Archive | June 2016

One year – May 2015 II

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Wells Cathedral

If it’s Tuesday then it must be Wells

We’d joked about visiting Wells, largely because Caroline and I are both fans of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film Hot Fuzz.

Hot Fuzz can be regularly caught on ITV, but we have it on DVD for those nights when Caroline comes back in from a 14 hour nursing shift and needs a little bit of light relief.

Spotting the locations used in Hot Fuzz is fairly easy (although the National Trust shop seen in the film has closed down), but even so, taking a look around Wells doesn’t take too long unless you’re having a meal or taking a wander around the Cathedral.

I chased coffee, went to the bank and had a look in a camera shop whilst Caroline visited the Cathedral (it’s a long, long time since I went to church for anything other than a wedding).

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As seen in Hot Fuzz…

With the Wells visit taking just a few hours, we headed back to Dragonfly, parked up and then went for a wander along the canal as far as the cafe at Maunsel Lock where a coffee and cake stop was declared.

Now this may have been a Tuesday, but the cafe was quite busy with people stopping off as they were taking advantage of a rather fine day. Some were walking, some were walking their dogs whilst others were cycling or taking a look at the planetary sculptures placed by the side of the canal.

After what was now a full day out, an executive decision was made not to do much cooking on the night so the car was fired up in search of food.

No, we didn’t go to the pub, but we did hit the service area just off the M5 near Bridgwater. Yes, there’s an M&S Food outlet there so it was salad time for Caroline whilst I indulged in a pack of chicken portions.

The latter may be snack food, but by ‘eck it tasted good once heated through in accordance with the instructions on the pack (I have had food poisoning before after eating chicken, one reason why I’m not rather picky when it comes to food being cooked properly – losing a stone and a half in a matter of days isn’t my idea of fun!).

And so to Wednesday.

As Caroline had Betty Bike with her, it was time to take Betty out for a ride to Taunton via the canal tow path. I took the car down to Taunton and got my bearings in a town that I know reasonably well from visiting friends in the town during the late 1980’s and a work trip in Y2K.

Although I remembered my way around town, it didn’t appear to have the same appeal as it did all of those years ago. Maybe that’s down to most towns and cities having the same shops in them which have sounded either the death knell of local traders or marginalised them to secondary locations where the rents and business rates are more affordable.

But I digress. Caroline arrived in Taunton and a light lunch in a nearby pub was declared. Once consumed, we had a wander around and Caroline got back on the bike and headed back to Dragonfly whilst I tried to leave Taunton.

With both of us back at the same destination, there was a problem. Betty had a flat and there appeared to be something up with the other tyre too. I knew of a bike shop in Bridgwater, but they weren’t able to help, so it was time to hit Halfords.

So Halfords was found, the problems explained and fixed whilst we went to top up our caffeine levels in the centre of Bridgwater. Once back, it was time to pay for two new tyres and a couple of spare inner tubes and we were on our way once more.

Whilst we prefer to deal with smaller concerns when it comes to food, bikes, photography, computers etc, on this occasion it was ironic that a large trader had come to Caroline‘s rescue.

There may have been question marks over using a big shop, but Halfords did the job and did it well, just as they have in the past with the couple of bikes I’ve bought from them in the last thirty years.

And in Part III…

A town before a festival, a motor museum and home – that’s tomorrow’s posting folks!

One year – May 2015 I

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The weather was warmer than the photo suggests – then came Monday!

May 2015 saw the start of twelve months of heading off and having fun and our first port of call was Somerset for a week.

We stayed at Dragonfly 1 apartment, one of three units at Dragonfly Barn in North Newton near Bridgwater. I’d spotted the apartment on booking sites a couple of years beforehand whilst researching another trip to the South West and when it came up twice during the research for this trip, Caroline and I looked at the website, discussed it and then booked.

Our plans for the week were loose ones. Yes, there was a kind of a list of places we wanted to visit, but as Caroline had taken her trusty road bike down and we’d seen the weather forecast, we decided to play it by ear.

Dragonfly 1 was a comfortable place – ideal for the two us with an ensuite bathroom, well equipped kitchen and a lounging area where you could read, watch TV or just sit and relax.

After the long drive down to Somerset, Saturday night was a chill-out night once the car was unpacked and Caroline‘s bike was locked away in the secure bike storage. Semi-fast food was the order of the day as we microwaved a meal deal from Sainsbury’s in Bridgwater and enjoyed the bottle of wine that was part of said deal.

Sunday saw a chilled out morning with breakfast, coffee and newspapers being the order of the day. As was a visit to The Harvest Moon, a short walk away from Dragonfly 1 and a place that had a good reputation for its Sunday lunches.

We may have entered The Harvest Moon around 12.30, but the pub was already rather busy and we were lucky to get a table. Plates and glasses were filled and then emptied and whilst another pint of Guinness and a half of Thatcher’s Gold were ordered, we held back on ordering coffee and desserts because the Sunday lunch was more substantial than we realised and besides, we had a bag of our favourite coffee back at Dragonfly.

Once the recovery process kicked in, Caroline took Betty Bike out for a spin on the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal towpath for an hour or so, leaving me to have more coffee and to do the washing up.

Grey clouds were gathering later though once Caroline got back from her ride and we ended up having our own wander along the canal towpath. After this spot of wandering around it was time to head back to our temporary home in search of coffee, cake and a light evening meal and an early night.

Monday morning saw the grey clouds delivering the threatened rain so we went shopping.

Not to a mall you understand, but to Clark’s Shopping Village in nearby Street. The town is home to the Clark’s shoe brand, but the Shopping Village is a brand extension and home to small shopping units from the likes of Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, Cadburys, Lindt and others.

Shelter from the rain was sought as we wandered between shops and a few judicious purchases made. Body Shop and M&S got some business, but did we buy chocolate from both the Cadburys and Lindt outlets?

You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment…

After lunch in a nearby cafe, the sun came out so our rain jackets were stashed in the car along with our purchases, allowing us to wander unhindered around the rest of Street.

Bike route guides were bought from the Tourist Information Centre and visits made to the Clarks Museum, an excursion into Amnesia Alley if ever there was one as both Caroline and I spotted shoes that we’d been bought as school kids by our respective parents or had bought for ourselves once we had the cash to do our own thing.

With a day of driving and two days of relative relaxation behind us, we decided that the next few days were going to be rather busier.

Once the latest weather forecast had been seen and digested, a slightly tighter plan was hatched that involved a visit to one of the locations used in Hot Fuzz, a destination marked out by a famous Tor and several bright yellow festival related signs plus a haven for all fans of classic cars of all shapes, sizes and horsepowers…

And where would these places be?

Some of them will be revealed tomorrow in May 2015 Part II

http://www.dragonflybarn.com

Avoiding sport!

Yes, the Isle Of Man TT Races are almost over and it’s football time again on TV as European national teams do their best to win the trophy and keep their respective sponsor’s names to the fore.

For the fans it’s a chance to eat, drink and be merry in a friendly manner or (as in the case of an incident in Marseilles last night) start causing problems that the French police have to deal with…

It’s all part of what’s sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Summer Of Sport‘, especially as we also have Wimbledon, cricket and the Olympics (along with Formula 1 and the start of the next football season…).

Not that much (if any) of it will be watched around here, especially as I find that watching paint dry is more exciting than the stuff I’ve already mentioned – apart from the Isle Of Man TT Races.

Prep work began months ago as box sets were identified to watch on evenings when sport is being shown on TV here in the UK and there’s sod all in the way of alternatives to watch on the rest of the Freeview channels that are available to us…

So rather than watch sport, it’s highly likely that archive stuff such as The West Wing, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Our Friends In The North, The Bridge, Italy From Top To Toe, classic Thunderbirds and the rest of the latest Young Montalbano series will be hitting the DVD player over the next few months.

Some may need the subtitles on (and no, I’m not talking about Our Friends In The North here – I lived and worked in the North East for 46 years!), but it’s all good stuff and definitely more entertaining than football or last night’s live Referendum debate on ITV!

Just wondering…

I’ve just taken advantage of an offer of a book for 99p on Amazon’s Kindle Store.

It’s about an illegal immigrant to the UK, but don’t let that put you off in the wake of the news coverage of last night’s TV debate about the forthcoming referendum here in the UK.

This particular illegal immigrant travels light, comes from Darkest Peru and has developed a taste for marmalade sandwiches.

The name’s Paddington Bear… and may we recommend him to the house.

Even Nigel’s… allegedly!

Mysterious ways…

Just been for a hair raid (number 4 cut, square back) as it’s getting warmer in Yorkshire and it’s a few weeks since a barber was let loose on my bonce!

Mystery number one was the choice of radio station playing in the premises – young person’s station when the majority of customers were a tad over thirty (or fifty in several cases).

Mystery number two was the music being played on said station – about as good as that being played on a truck stereo whilst that vehicle was parked in our street yesterday.

Was the CD entitled ‘Crapola – The Very Worst Of Pop And Dance Music’?

Dunno, but it would be an apt analogy thanks to the lack of quality in the music being played on that radio station and in said truck – and yes, I do like dance music as I have a few CDs in my collection of dance music old (1980’s-1990’s) and much older (1960’s and 1970’s).

The stuff being played yesterday and today was to dance music what deep fried chocolate bars are to healthy eating!

Mystery number three was an advertisement for city breaks by air.

Nowt wrong with that, but one of the selling points used in the ad was the ability to take along hold luggage weighing in at 22kg on that city break.

22kg? For a city break?

My bag for a seven day break weighs around 8kg depending on the airline being used for the trip…

Whisky Tango Foxtrot was my thought when each of these mysteries presented themselves.

One to watch…

It’s going to be interesting to see how this story pans out.

I quite liked flying in and out of Oslo Rygge airport the last time Caroline and I headed over to Norway and had no problems with this airline either – either with bookings, at the airports or in flight…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/01/ryanair-attacked-over-oslo-base-closure/

The full announcement (which include information on flights in and out of Torp and Gardermoen) can be found here.

http://corporate.ryanair.com/news/news/160601-oslo-rygge-base-closure-16-route-cancellations-after-norwegian-govt-introduces-environmentally-friendly-tax/?market=en