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Back east…

Woodbridge…

Yes, it’s back into the breech after job searches, my first ever video interview and more job searches after the ‘No’ came through the following morning.

There’s also been a bit of taking things easy too plus the planning & taking of a city break along with research for a three destination Autumn break.

But now it’s time to rewind and head back in an easterly direction…

After a restful stay at Hotel Katherine in Lowestoft (01502 567858) it was time to move on to Bury St. Edmunds.

Now the initial thought was to go to Woodbridge, do some shopping and have lunch before aiming for Orford.

Then we saw the afternoon’s weather forecast and changed our minds…

So we just hit Woodbridge. Shopping was on the agenda as we had £10 Rohan gift cards to use up and as tech t-shirts never come in wrong, that was my choice of the day…

Woodbridge II – the lunch cafe was further up this street…

As it was approaching lunchtime, a place to eat was sought and after much mooching around, we ended up at a small traditional cafe that was rather busy, but fortunately had a table available for the two of us to have food and a couple of drinks each – one hot, the other not…

Closed doors at The Angel…
More shopping opportunities

Once fed, it was time to do some more mooching around before heading back to the car and pointing it in the direction of Bury St. Edmunds and our hotel for the next few nights.

It took a little while to find the place and Caroline stayed in the car whilst I went in to do the check in deed.

A small, but infuriating detail cropped up when I entered the hotel’s reception are and tried to check in.

Although I’d book the room a few weeks before via booking.com, the hotel had no trace of my booking…

More on Wednesday!

Further east…

Sea Palling…

When we were planning this trip, we had two options to get from Burnham Deepdale to our next stop Lowestoft.

One was cross country and the other was to follow the coastline as much as possible, so that was the choice.

Why did we pick Sea Palling as a stopping off point for lunch/leg stretch?

Largely because I’d seen a newspaper article extolling the virtues of the area, so Sea Palling was entered into the route planner as a stopping off point rather than Cromer, a place that we’d been to on several occasions.

Lunch was a pure and simple affair for us at the cafe pictured above after which we headed up to the Lifeboat station and onto the beach.

It was a grey day, so fleeces/soft shells were more suitable than t-shirts.

As I’m not much good walking on soft sand, Caroline went off for a longer walk on the beach whilst I stuck to more supportive areas to take photos.

Although a tractor was working on the beach, it hadn’t removed the dead seal pup that was lying on the sand – I did warn one or two people about this, but that was largely because the adults had small children in tow (an image of said seal is on this post, but one from a distance rather than a close-up).

Would we go back to Sea Palling? I’m not sure as there’s more places on the Norfolk coastline that we haven’t explored as yet along with a few around the Norfolk Broads – time will tell!

Another grey day..

More on Wednesday!

What next?

No fog on the Tyne…

A new month in a newish year and there’s still no real indication of when lockdown restrictions will be tightened, eased or lifted here in the UK. Quite a few books have been read and television programmes watched over the last few months as plans have been lightly formulated and then put to one side in readiness for action stations once we find out what we can or can’t do.

One suspects that most of the honey pots will be booked up rather quickly, so we may use Plan B and head into cities rather than the Lake District, Northumberland, Yorkshire Dales, Norfolk, Cotswolds, Pembrokeshire, North York Moors or Scotland.

With railcards at the ready and sites such as Expedia, booking.com and individual hotel or hostel internet sites to choose from, a one-two week UK trip can be put together at very short notice and take just a few hours to research possibilities, check availability and then do the deed.

The only outstanding question is when though!

Over to you, Boris!

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…

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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Still here!

Yes, still working..

The above pics from the wisepacking archive may give you a hint as to recent travels.

There’s still the Isle of Man pieces to come along with items on Dumfries and Galloway and Suffolk too.

Plans for further afield are being made, but flight prices are high for our dates at the moment, so there is both a Plan A and a Plan B being put together.

In the meantime there’s a busy time coming up at the day job, but writing sessions are being rostered to clear the log jam that’s occurred in recent weeks.

And besides, Caroline and I have both had one of those money can’t buy impromptu experiences.

Something to do with being invited to sit in the driver’s seat of an iconic British steam engine!

Taking the…

thumb_DSCN2316_1024No sunloungers here! Thank goodness…

One of the main news stories here in the UK today is about a holiday company that is bringing in a £22 charge that allows you to reserve a sunlounger by the pool at selected hotels.

The story has been run on news websites and on TV news bulletins too.

We won’t be paying the charges though as the photos and news footage I’ve seen on said stories appear to be suggesting the type of holiday experience that Caroline and I would go out of our way to avoid.

There are a few suggestions in the melting pot for our trips in 2018 and none of them come even close to this kind of holiday venture!

Here’s to 2018!

thumb_DSCN2365_1024Here’s to 2018!

Nothing has been firmed up yet for 2018, but there are a few ideas in the melting pot that may (or may not) reach the fruition stage later in the year…

Clues? Where we’re going, we don’t need clues!

Three legged race…

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Laxey Wheel

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One of the little trains that helped inspire a certain tank engine…

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Sea, sun and a sandwich by the beach – Port Erin

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And the last day in Douglas

The term Three Legged Race was our name for the basic plan for our recent visit to Isle Of Man.

The decision to head there was made at relatively short notice as Caroline and I had a two week break coming up, but hadn’t planned anything.

I’d held up a road book with a circle indicating four hours driving time from Wisepacking Towers, but wasn’t expecting Caroline picking out Isle Of Man as a destination for this upcoming trip.

By close of play two days later, we’d got return train travel booked to Liverpool, a night in Liverpool before the outward ferry trip, two return seats on the fast cat running between Liverpool and Douglas, , seven nights in Douglas, found out about smart cards for use on our travels and made sure that travel insurance was also in place.

With no motor sport or other festivals taking place over our visit, we did have to amuse ourselves, but we’d got a few things sussed.

Some came from the only guidebook we could find, some of it came from the Tourist Board’s brochure and website, but there was also some prior knowledge coming into play too as Caroline had made two visits to Isle Of Man about thirty five years ago.

More to come over the next month or so!

Top 10… books

DK Eyewitness

Colourful illustrated guidebooks that hit the spot to give the reader an excellent overview of towns, cities and the local attractions along with brief details of where to eat and where to stay.

Favourites are the guidebooks relating to Portugal and Spain.

Fifty People Who Buggered Up Britain – Quentin Letts

Journalist Quentin Letts aims carefully and highlights fifty targets. Some may surprise you whilst others may well be regarded as very suitable for inclusion in such a work!

Greece On My Wheels – Edward Enfield

Yes, that’s Harry Enfield’s dad.

Edward Enfield has written several books on his cycling exploits around Europe, but this was the first that I’d read by him and it’s on the list of books to read once more.

Hamish’s Mountain Walk – Hamish Brown

A classic book on hillwalking and backpacking around Scotland. One of those books that I read years ago and took lessons from, especially when it came to choosing and using lightweight camping and walking equipment.

An excellent read too!

Lonely Planet

Use paper versions when planning a trip, usually in conjunction with the equivalent Rough Guide (the latter’s city guides beat the LP versions hands down IMHO!).

There have been times when I’ve cursed their layouts (maps pages away from area info in two editions of the Portugal guide for example) and there have been one or three places that we won’t be returning to – allegedly!

My Dining Hell – Jay Rayner

The Observer’s restaurant critic’s collection of past reviews is a joy to read – unless you own one of the places visited!

Rough Guides

I don’t always agree with what’s written, but the appropriate Rough Guide is bought in paper format and used in conjunction with the same area’s Lonely Planet when planning a trip.

I regularly use paper area, city and country guides plus eBook only city or island guides.

The Descent Of Man – Grayson Perry

This is the newest book on the list and one of the few books in my collection that I have in both hardback and Kindle editions.

Not my usual type of reading by any means, but a book that has a lot to say about modern life and is engaging enough to read in one sitting.

The Moon’s A Ballon – David Niven

I first read this back in the late 1970s and thoroughly enjoyed reading it again a couple of years ago. A classic autobiography with loads of anecdotes about Niven himself and his life in Hollywood.

Another book from this list that’s going to get another reading soon.

These Foolish Things – Deborah Moggach

You may not recognise the title, but you may well have heard of the film that was largely based on this novel – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel..

A few changes were made along the way from the printed page to digital screens, but it still hits the spot…