Grabbing the bull by the horns?
Just spotted this one whilst looking through the newspaper websites a few minutes ago.
Also found the official announcement from Ryanair regarding their hand luggage policy.
Link to Ryanair announcement first, then to The Guardian’s story….
One of the little trains that helped inspire a certain tank engine…
Sea, sun and a sandwich by the beach – Port Erin
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!
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. have been to a few places that were rated by guidebooks or websites that were not as good as described.
Now tend to lump descriptions such as ‘Art Deco’, ‘Cosy’ and ‘Quaint’ into other categories – ‘In need of renovation’ or ‘Requires redecoration’.
Chuggers, lavender/selfie stick/sunglasses sellers, timeshare touts
Usually have an avoidance mechanism that’s more nimble than a rugby player heading for the touchline in order to score a try.
Always amuses me when sunglasses sellers approach those already wearing sunglasses – either specs that have Transitions lenses (i.e. mine) or those wearing Ray Bans…
How hard is it for accomodation to provide good coffee at breakfast time?
We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had bad coffee at guest houses, hostels and hotels – even at U.S. based name chain hotels or five stars!
Mind you, a few cafes that have had business from us following bad coffee mornings, usually just after we’ve left our accommodation.
Or when guidebooks get it wrong. We’d checked two guidebooks about the opening times for a leading museum earlier in the year and both said that it was closed on a Monday.
It wasn’t, as we found out when we walked past it and found an open door and a full set of opening times that looked like it had been there for a while…
We’ve found that this usually means you go a shorter way around into security to find that there’s a long queue at security because other passengers haven’t bothered to read the does and don’ts of what they can or can’t take in their hand luggage.
Note to self – stop booking Fast Track and use the money to get a coffee or a meal deal at either WH Smith or Boots when airside and in need of something to eat that doesn’t cost the earth at airport bars/cafes/restaurants or cost twice as much as it does on the plane.
Yes, it’s those jobsworths who are determined to put a spanner in the works when it comes to shopping, visiting a museum or wanting to put your bags in left luggage lockers.
Step forward that supermarket in Paphos and the museum in Belem who wanted me to deposit my day bag and the bloke who didn’t know what had happened to the luggage lockers, even when we were at the office that a sign on the wall had pointed us to!
Yes, those irritating people who walk along the street glued to their phones who are oblivious to everything else that’s going on around them.
Blocking the pavement or other walkway is one irritation, trying to sent a text whilst pulling a wheelie bag along is another and then there’s those who insist on taking selfies or photograph their food before eating it.
One phone user did come unstuck earlier in the year whilst visiting the Alhambra in Granada. She was so intent on taking a photo whilst walking forward that she didn’t notice the step down.
Cue scream and a badly damaged/potentially broken ankle… Ouch!
It rained four days out of seven whilst on Isle of Man last week.
We’d gone prepared as we’d taken decent rain jackets, but it did put a dampener on proceedings. Had the same problem in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal and Spain too!
Restaurant rip offs
Step forward the place in Cordoba that tried to charge us for bread, even though we hadn’t asked for a bread basket and hadn’t eaten anything from it.
Same place claimed that they weren’t doing tapas, even though there was a rather well done set of tiles outside with the word tapas at the centre.
Restaurant or tour touts
Those who try standing in front of you as a means of getting you into their cafe, restaurant or onto a tuk-tuk.
Answer is always ‘No’ and if they don’t take the hint then it’s ‘No, no, no, no, no and no!’.
Which really brassed off one bloke in Malaga in March this year.
We walked passed that establishment later on and there weren’t many in it.
This 1940s classic has it all – Bogart and Bergman, a script full of quotable quotes and As Time Goes By.
Seen it many times now both at home and in cinemas on Valentine’s Day at art house cinemas in both Glasgow and Bradford, but missed out on seeing it in Lisbon by four days back in 2015…
Sicily, film, love and the Catholic Church’s local censorship of feature films all play their part in this DVD and occasionally TV screened delight.
There’s fun, pathos and social commentary, all in the same movie. My DVD copy came free with a weekend newspaper. My iPad copy cost a bit more…
Want an over the top action film to watch while you eat pizza and sink beers?
Well Con Air has it all once the initial few minutes are out of the way and Nicholas Cage’s character ends up in jail.
Is it loud? Certainly was when I saw it on the big screen on Saturday night in Middlesbrough a few years ago.
I’d gone to see Pulp Fiction, but the wrong film had been delivered – and that wrong film was Con Air.
A good night out, even though it took a couple of days before the hearing returned to normal. Someone had turned the volume up to eleven!
Yippee Kai Aye!
I’d passed up the chance to see this in Geilo, Norway when it was first released back in the 1980s, but finally caught up with it at the National Media Museum in Bradford on Christmas Eve a few years ago.
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, more action than you could shake a stick at and some great one liners too.
It may have been Christmas Eve, but the cinema was packed!
Chicago takes over from Islington as the setting for the film of Nick Hrnby’s book with John Cusack in the lead and a scene stealing Jack Black as one of the workers in Championship Vinyl record shop.
It’s pretty faithful to the book, has a great soundtrack and a cameo appearance from one Bruce Spingsteen.
The second of the Cornetto Trilogy sees Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as police officers in the sleepy town of Sandford where strange things happen in the name of “The Greater Good“…
Nothing is quite what it seems in what appears to be the perfect example of Small Town England, and you’ve never heard a former James Bond swear so much, especially in the blooper reel!
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play two comic book guys heading out on a road trip around alleged sites of close encounters.
A car accident sees them having their own close encounter with Paul (a Seth Rogen voiced CGI alien) and it isn’t long before they’re being chased by men in black suits, The Big Guy and a bible-toting father with a shotgun who wants his daughter back.
I still haven’t seen this on the big screen, but there’s more than enough going on via the small screen to keep you glued to it.
Royale with cheese, Dusty Springfield on the soundtrack, Harvey Keitel in the role that he riffs on in the current batch of Direct Line adverts and Big Kahuna burgers too.
Shakespeare In Love
Yes, it’s that award winning film with a strong cast, witty script and Gwyneth Paltrow’s closing walk on Holkham Beach.
It’s a classic, and rightly so!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This is a film I can watch over and over again and one of the few that I will still watch if I happen to chance upon it once it’s already begun.
The strong cast and script deliver the goods and whilst I was surprised that there was a follow up, I’m pleased that they didn’t go the whole hog and make a second sequel.
And one for a potential film list later in the year is Victoria And Abdul. Seen yesterday at Broadway Cinema in Douglas, Isle of Man, Stephen Frear’s film is sad, funny and engaging. Judy Dench plays Queen Victoria for the second time on the big screen.
A very good way to spend a very wet afternoon just off the Promenade in Douglas. Back home tonight!
One of the most successful acts of all time and this CD/DVD collection has all of the hits that you either heard at the time or reminded of the last time you watched Mamma Mia the movie or had a night at the stage show…
Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd
One of the best selling albums of all time that still sounds innovative more than forty years after it was first released.
One suspects that there’s a few successful albums from the last decade that won’t be held in such high regard in forty years time!
Hits Collection – Dusty Springfield
There’s a documentary that keeps reappearing on BBC4 that tells the story of Dusty Springfield and it makes for interesting viewing.
Almost all of Dusty’s hits are on this CD (the ones with Pet Shop Boys are missing), but it makes for a fine reminder of a singer that didn’t need Autotune or other modern recording techniques to commit a great song to analogue tape.
Hotel California – The Eagles
Yes, it’s that 1970’s classic album – the one you either like or hate (one of my University house mates hated it with a vengeance).
Can go a couple of years without playing it and then put it in the CD player and sing along with it all over again.
Live And Dangerous – Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy in fine fettle a few years before I blagged my way in to photograph the band.
I have both the CD and DVD versions of this album and it’s interesting to hear the stories regarding the finished album that are related by band members in interviews on the DVD.
No Sleep ‘Till Hamersmith – Motorhead
One of heavy metal’s heaviest bands caught live with the bomber lighting rig on the cover and their best tracks on the CD.
We Are The Road Crew was recorded at Newcastle City Hall – I know, because I was there!
I also know what the dedication was for the song No Class on that night….
Real To Real – Marillion
This is the Fish era live album from the 1980’s that sounds good thirty years on from its original release.
Garden Party and Market Square Heroes still hit the spot, especially when the car stereo is turned up to eleven!
The Essential Nina Simone
Name checked at least once in an episode of CSI Vegas and featured and mentioned in the Bridget Fonda film The Assassin, Nina Simone has one of those voices that pre-dated modern recording techniques.
The Collection is a three CD box set that mixes studio and live recordings that showcase one of the best singing voices of all time.
Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors – Fish
This was the former Marillion singer’s first solo album and I’d still rate it as his best so far.
All of the songs were heard first live in a mix of club, town hall, village halls and small cinemas in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland a couple of weeks before Vigil was released and there’s still memories of that rather hectic week lingering years later.
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory – Oasis
One of the few albums that really caught my attention when I was a student writing for a student newspaper back in the mid-1990s.
Others may disagree, but it is still Oasis’ finest album to date…
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!
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!
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…
Dave Gorman and companions buy a car and all go to look for America.
Around The World In Eighty Days
Michael Palin may not have been the first choice to present this, but it works and is still an enjoyable series to watch so many years later.
Still prefer the original format rather than the new programmes or Coast Australia. Coast New Zealand due soon apparently.
Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage
Francesco Da Mosto sailing around to visit Croatia, Greece and Turkey.
The Hairy Bikers
Baking, cooking and motorcycles in the UK, Europe and elsewhere too.
Sicily looking good in the Young/Classic versions of the detective series…
Italy From Top To Toe
Francesco da Mosto leaves Venice behind and drives in search of Italy.
Rick Stein’s Weekend In…
Rick’s an affable host as he hits Lisbon or Cadiz and more before recreating dishes in his kitchen. I usually make a cup of tea when he’s cooking seafood.
An unusual choice? Think about where they’ve been and what they’ve seen along the way as they dig up the countryside, islands and city spaces.
World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides
Henry Cole explores the world on a variety of classic motorbikes.