Archive | October 2016

Let the games commence…

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You don’t always need Heathrow to get to places like this…

The decision has been made to allow a third runway at Heathrow Airport and there’s already conjecture that it might never happen if last night’s TV news reports are anything to go by.

I have flown out of Heathrow on several occasions, but if memory serves me right, the last couple of times were in 1999 and 2000. I was living in the North East at the time and access to Heathrow was usually by taking an overnight coach to the airport.

Fast forward sixteen years and I’m now living in Yorkshire so it’s easy to use either Leeds Bradford or Manchester to access international destinations by either direct flights from Leeds Bradford or Manchester or by flying via Schiphol or even via Heathrow.

Travel forums are already buzzing with comments as to what might happen, Boris Johnson has stated his thoughts on the matter and we’ve already had one MP resign his seat in the House Of Commons in protest at the decision and this is leading to a by-election.

Given that the legal niceties, planning and building processes are going to take year to implement, who knows how long it will be before the runway is actually up and running and whether it is the answer to the questions that have been asked over goodness knows how many years?

In which case I’ll stick to flying from and to airports closer to home here in the Northern Powerhouse!

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Luggage matters

Farpoint 40 Lagoon Blue

Our faithful packs – Osprey Farpoint 40

After watching a couple of episodes of The West Wing series two last night, we switched the DVD player off and up came one of the presenters of The Travel Show on BBC News who was talking about the latest in packing technology for travelling with both hand and hold luggage.

First up was a hand luggage pack with wheels that could also be used as a scooter that came in at an unladen weight that was fast approaching what some airlines have as their fully packed weight allowance for bags being used as hand luggage.

Somewhere in the mix was also a bag that you didn’t have to hold onto whilst negotiating the airport terminal or a hotel lobby as the bag is designed to follow you around as you make your way through fellow passengers or people seeing fellow passengers off.

Yes, it was a motorised bag that homes in your movements – a handy thing to have you may think, but dare I allege that it could cause problems when used in proximity to those with visual problems, children running around or even a potential passenger using the same type of bag (especially if they look identical as they haven’t been personalised!).

We phased out big time though when the hold luggage that could store flight and destination information was talked about, largely because we don’t travel with hold luggage any more.

The last time we did this was back in 2008 when we headed off to Austria for a walking holiday based in a hotel that was offering half board as part of the last minute deal. Since then it’s been hand luggage all the way when flying or getting a ferry to Bergen in Norway.

There have been a few posts on travel forums over the last few days as to what pack to take when travelling light and even a few from one person who is designing a potential hand luggage system as part of his third year projects for a degree course.

Osprey Farpoint 40 packs have been mentioned once more on these forums and it was purely coincidence that I had some time to take a look at a 2016 version yesterday whilst wandering around shops in Leeds city centre.

Yes, it’s gone up from £80 to £90 since Caroline and I bought our examples, but I had to look long and hard to see what changes had been made to the pack. From the outside at least, all I could spot were changes to the zip pullers for the two main compartments on the pack.

You may not be able to use the Farpoint 40 as a scooter, but you should be able to pack it for a trip and fly on an airline with a 5kg hand luggage limit.

Not as much fun if you’re a scooter fan, but at least we may not be handing over cash at an airport for last minute bags in the hold charges!

As seen in…

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The only surviving TSR-2 at RAF Cosford Air Museum

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A reminder of a former employer, Abergavenny

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Lyme Regis harbour, Dorset

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The Thatcher we approve of – Thatcher’s Cider Shop, Somerset

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One batch of raw materials at Perry’s Cider, Somerset

Low tech…

Looking at various travel forums, it would appear that there are  a few people out there who can’t live without mobile coverage or Wi-Fi access.

We’ve just had two weeks in Herefordshire & Somerset here in the UK and guess what?

Low signal on Caroline’s smartphone and my dumbass phone at the two cottages we stayed in Herefordshire and Somerset and no signal at all in some of the places we visited in those counties or in the Brecon Beacons, North Devon or Dorset when we were exploring those areas.

And Wi-Fi? None at either of the cottages and only one place – the cafe next to Tintern Abbey – on the day we were moving between the two sets of digs.

Did my head explode because of this?

No, largely because we’d checked network coverage out before we left home and whether there was Wi-Fi at said cottages.

Did it bother us?

Not really, even on the day that both of us forgot to pick up our phones on the day we headed into North Devon and around Exmoor.

The iPad was used for note-taking and for reading using the Kindle app whilst Caroline was watching Poldark and to check my email whilst having a coffee and a bacon butty at Tintern.

And that was it…

Did we have a relaxing holiday? Yes…

Did we enjoy a low tech holiday? Yes..

Will we have more like it? Oh yes!

Back home…

Two weeks have flown over, even though we haven’t been on a plane…

One week in Herefordshire, one week in Somerset and a whole lot of cider going on!

I finally got to see a De Haviland Comet, a Vickers VC10 and the only surviving TSR2 at RAF Cosford Air Musum plus a whole lot more, even though we were only there for just over two hours.

Not much in the way of phone signals in the last two weeks and virtually no Wi-Fi either so no postings or checking emails!

Back home now though and the posting start again this week…