So, where were we?
Oh, yes, Bury St. Edmunds, but there was a slight problem.
The hotel (which shall remain nameless) didn’t have any bookings in our name and I had to fight our corner as a means to get around the problem as the hotel was denying that they’d had a booking from booking.com.
It’s a good job then that I had ample evidence in my hand to say that I had a booking as I’d not only got the original emails from booking.com on my phone, but had hard copies too to back up our case.
After a while, a room was found and the hotel agreed to honour the prices stated on the paperwork.
Our room was in the annex are – sizeable enough with everything we needed for our stay, apart from china cups to drink tea or coffee from – only disposable ones were available, but these lasted just two brews, so necessity was the mother of invention when it came to coffee time…
As it was getting late, we opted to eat in the hotel rather than walk into town on a rainy night in search of eats.
We ended up ordering food and drink, but then realised we were placed between two sets of loud diners who were intent on ensuring that every one in the room knew what there thoughts were – especially about wearing masks indoors when they weren’t sitting at their table eating or drinking.
Breakfast was much better the following morning as we followed the rules regarding getting our breakfast choices.
Once fed, it was time to walk into the centre of Bury St. Edmunds to do some exploring. It was drizzling and overcast as we wandered in, but we managed to get a couple of free coffees from Greggs as I had two full coffee cards in my wallet from the time before lockdown one, so it seemed like a good idea to use them and warm up.
As it was so cool, keeping ourselves drier by indulging in some retail therapy seemed like a good idea and whilst Caroline tried a couple of dresses on in one shop, the only purchases came from WH Smiths and Body Shop.
With lunch at Bill’s taking care of food and drink out for the day, more fodder came along from the food section at Marks & Spencer. As we’d spent more than anticipated at Bill’s, we were quite happy to hit M&S as they were doing the daily round of food markdowns, so our respective evening meals were easily sorted, as was a supply of beer and cider to wash it down with.
With the TV set at the hotel playing up, I ploughed through the magazines I’d bought earlier whilst Caroline fired up her Kindle to do some reading
Fortunately Monday morning was looking good, so we wandered back into the centre and whilst Caroline hit the museums and Cathedral, I took the opportunity to get a few shots on the camera before going for a coffee.
What we had noticed as we’d been away was the different approaches used to stick to track and trace requirements – some were being rather pedantic about scanning QR codes whilst others were more laid-back and simply took our names and telephone numbers as a means of recording our presence in their establishments.
The visit to B-S-E was an odd mix between the two methodologies with some places getting narked at the fact we’d never ever done any QR code scanning for anything whilst others just asked for our details or handed us a clipboard to do the deed ourselves.
After lunch at the Cathedral cafe, Caroline went off for another wander whilst I took a seat to do some reading and take some more photos.
After meeting back up again, we took a wander down to the area around Greene King Brewery.
It wasn’t open to visitors, but a nearby pub was, so liquid refreshment was ordered and quaffed – slowly but surely.
As it was getting on by now, it was time to hit M&S again for food bargains and non-alcoholic drinks before heading back to the hotel to sort out the washing we’d done the night before and then pack the bags once more in readiness for our move towards our next destination – The Red Lion Hotel in Duxford – and our visit to IWM Duxford Air Museum.
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…
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…
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!
After leaving North Norfollk, Deepdale Backpackers and Sea Palling behind, we headed towards Lowestoft.
Where it rained – a little at first that ensured we wore jackets for the walk to the pub on our first night there, but then the heavens opened overnight, a move that meant that we went nowhere during the first day in the town and ended up reading books on our respective tablets and having tea, coffee and snacks in our room and the lounge of Hotel Katherine.
After another walk to the pub for our evening meal, we checked out the forecast for the next day – no rain, so we ventured to Southwold, a town we’ve visited a few times and a one which provides good photo opportunities.
There’s quite a bit to see and do in Southwold, but I won’t spoil it as deserves to be visited and explored in order to get a feel for the place and what’s on offer. Yes, we couldn’t get served in one of the pubs, but that was down to the Covid restrictions at the time and how busy the pub’s outdoor seating was on a nice sunny day.
There’s plenty of places to shop that will appeal to the hipster, but also places that are more down to earth. We make a habit of visiting RNLI shops when we see them as it’s a charity worth supporting and one that doesn’t generally go for high prices for diaries, calendars, t-shirts and bags of fudge.
The above pics are a taster for what’s to come over the next couple of weeks
We spent time exploring the east of England last year heading off towards North Norfolk, Lowestoft, Southwold, Woodbridge and IWM Duxford.
It would have been a full two weeks, but the forecast for the last days was not good, especially as we were supposed to be exploring Cambridge on foot. Thankfully we’d booked a chain hotel on booking.com, so I hit the cancel button on the iPad and cancelled the two night stay.
We will head back there, it’s just a case of when…
When our car was written off by a supermarket delivery van in April last year, the choice of replacement vehicle came down to a shortlist of two – the Kia Picanto and the Skoda Citigo.
The dealer selling the Picanto screwed up big time when I was trying to see it when the first UK lockdown finished and the car showrooms reopened for viewing, so I got the bus down to the local Skoda dealer and took a look at the Citigo Monte Carlo that I’d seen online.
To say that I’d done some research would be an understatement. Not only had I looked at reviews for the Monte Carlo version and the standard model, I’d also looked at reviews of the VW Up! and the Seat Mii as well.
It’s the first time I’ve bought a car without taking it out on a test drive, but with with sound understandings in place, the car was bought, insured and taxed before driving it off the forecourt and heading back home the long way round.
The Citigo may be small, but it goes well thanks to the gutsy engine and aerodynamics and has been known to see off a few white vans at traffic lights since June last year.
The one thing we were worried about at first was the size of the boot/trunk. We knew that we couldn’t get a road bike in, but we could get the folding Dahon in and our bags if the back seats were down.
What we did find however was that it swallowed both of our Osprey packs, a bag of shopping and the usual gubbins that are kept in the car most of the time – foot pump, tyre repair aerosol, window wash/water bottle, hand gel, baby wipes/paper towel (both handy when checking the engine oil) and cleaning stuff for the interior surfaces.
Now this wasn’t to cope with two or three days away, this was also good for the two weeks we spent in East Anglia in late September last year. Yes, the camera bag was placed on the back seat when we were travelling, but it was handy for when I needed to use my DSLR at planned or unplanned stops.
With good mpg (@50+), low insurance costs and Vehicle Excise Duty of £20 a year at June 2020 rates, the Citigo is a good low, cost pre-owned option (new ones are now electric only whereas ours is petrol only).
That visit to East Anglia confirmed the decision to buy was a wise one!
Next up, Packing days are here again, then East Anglia, here we come!
Well, the software has been updated and new pics loaded, so here goes!
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!
It’s a while since I had a long session on my own computer – too long in fact.
But today was the day when it was booted up, the latest version of the system installed and one or two apps that are good to have around.
So, it’s back to the future with more words and more pictures too.
Here’s a few pics that I’ve looked at in readiness for the next few weeks…
September on Isle of Man
Isle of Man once more
One from Dumfries & Galloway
The bridge at Ronda, Andalusia
Sunset at Cadiz
Indoor market, Seville
Flamenco in Seville
Seville once more
No fog on the Tyne
No prizes for guessing the country or the resort…
Taormina in the foreground, Mt Etna in the background
Teatro Greco, Taormina
View towards Letojanni from Teatro Greco, Taormina
More coming your way soon!
Yes, it has been a while, hasn’t it!
Time flies when you’re having fun, working, travelling or throwing the clock out of the window.
Yes, the clocks changed here last night, but Caroline and I have two more time changes to come over the next two weekends…
Where are we off to?
All will be revealed upon our return, but rest assured, we haven’t planned a trip like this one.
The last big trip mentioned on here would be our visit to Isle Of Man back in 2017.
Since then both of us have new jobs, we’ve made flying visits to North Norfolk, Suffolk and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and also made two road trips around Andalusia too.
I’m back in retail for the first time since 2013 and it’s been an interesting move to make, especially since it’s working for a company whose clothing I’ve been wearing for over thirty years now – Rohan.
As this could be seen as a potential conflict of interest, I’ve taken the decision to not mention product names in any future pieces on what Caroline and I take with us when we’re travelling (even though we do use items from other brands from time to time) and use more generic references to items i.e polo shirts, t-shirts, travel jeans etc.
Given that there has been comment in the mainstream media concerning promotional products being mentioned and photos appearing on social media, I think that this is a sensible idea to adopt regarding product mentions on wisepacking.
There’s a lot to do over the next week, but I may be checking in again later this week!
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!