57 Varieties diary travel

the surreal 2019 world of trefor davies

Hong Kong





Trafalgar Square





Washington DC

Isle of Man




St Lucia

2019 may represent peak surreality.

Anti Brexit demo London

Beyond The Woods Festival Horncastle

The Greenhouse

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

The Trafalgar

The Conrad London

MO Hong Kong

Building new office at bottom of the garden

Currently drinking Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle at 40,000 feet

BA First Class flights

57 Varieties travel

clamour for glamour

the clamour for glamour, l’amour, more armour the full silk jacket

weaving taxi driver tipped, out of contract, vanished into thin Catalan air

departure lounging littered with the debris of prior passengers. bored cleaner picks one small piece of paper and selectively brushes floor.

front row easy jet living jet relaxed jet squeezed in jet cramped jet warm jet sufferajet

any cosmetics, perfumes cigarette jet

grey jacket plane full fluorescent green beats in daft ears

trying to make some sense of it all


Ruined shepherd’s hut in Higher Swaledale

Sat in the car somewhere high above Swaledale. Pulled in to the side of the road near a ruined stone building with an enclosed walled garden. It’s small and difficult to describe it as a cottage although it appears to have a chimney. Maybe it was some kind of shepherd’s shelter.

All I can hear is a babbling stream and some unknown birds clattering away. I can’t see them. I’ve driven from Keld towards Kirkby Stephen and back. Turned around when the road began it’s descent. It has only taken 20 minutes to cover what Tom and I took maybe 6 hours or more on foot. Seeing a lot more this time as we are concentrating on just getting there when we did the walk. My feet hurt most of the way.

No cars have passed since I stopped here perhaps ten minutes ago. No mobile phone signal. A wonderfully peaceful spot.

It’s amazing that there are so few people around. It’s a Saturday on a Bank Holiday weekend. I’ve moved on to a viewing spot looking down on what is presumably the upper reaches of the river Swale.


travel tosh

tranes and planes

looking around me on the one carriage “train” between Lincoln and Newark everyone is appropriately dressed for February. Everyone that is except me. I am wearing a thin polo shirt and a lightweight jacket. I am off to Barcelona and didn’t think I’d be spending any time exposed to the British winter elements. This didn’t take into account the fact that the train was late and I spent more time standing on the platform that I had planned for. Didn’t matter.  🙂

Fields around are waterlogged in places with very little growth as you’d expect at this time of year. Sky is grey. I don’t mind leaving all this behind me for a few days. Barcelona, whilst an exciting city, won’t be particularly glamorous mind you. I’ll be spending most of the time at the Mobile World Congress trade show. The evenings will make up for it and I’m having breakfast with Jeff Pulver at 10am tomorrow.

I have a 40 minute wait in Newark so the slightly delayed departure from Lincoln doesn’t matter. I originally booked the train from Newark because there are more options. It was either going to be a lift off Anne, taxi or train from Lincoln. Anne is not available and figured

it wasn’t work paying the extra twenty quid to taxi it from Lincoln. Taxi back is quite likely.

Just had a great weekend. Tom and Joe were back for various activities. We had a JoeFest site visit and Joe separately had a Jazz Vehicle gig with John on Friday night and Pylons songwriting sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Had a very delightful late Sunday lunch. Roast port with crackling and all the trimmings. Opened a bottle of white wine to go in the gravy. The gravy didn’t need a whole bottle so I finished the rest of it. Sensible thing to do. Would have gone off!

Later on Sunday night we booked flights to go and see Dave and Cecile and George and Barbara in Geneva at the end of September.


On board the plane. Bored. Brought an FT and a classic car magazine from the lounge. Can’t be bothered to read them. Just waiting for the drinks service to start. I have been a good boy up until now. Saving myself for the evening ahead. However I consider the evening starts here really. Large G&T please and a glass of champagne.

I can see movement behind the curtains. Cabin steward is mixing my  drinks for me. Not really. Hopefully he is loading up the trolley though. Nice smell of coffee permeating the business class cabin. Coffee always smells better than it tastes. Not too many of us in  business class and I’m in row 4 so should be quick enough. Reminds me of last Friday night when we went to the Jazz Vehicle gig in Coleby. Anne and I had dinner with Nice and Terry beforehand. Joe came to see us and said we should get there by 7 as it was flying up. We weren’t going to make 7 so he took some coats and lay them on the pews (for the gig was at Coleby Church). Came back and told us we were two rows from the back. I didn’t think this was a particularly good spot until I found that we were also four rows from the front. It’s a small church.

Spotify is keeping me entertained through my Bose phones. They will also be serving afternoon tea shortly. Something to do. I don’t mind a sarnie and a scone. I have two small bots of champagne in preparation for it.

Still bored. Also although this plane has plenty of room to the side – they only use two out of three seats in business class – there isn’t much room to open the laptop.


afternoon tea consumed. Coronation chicken, prawn marie rose and ploughman’s cheddar sandwiches with a fruit scone, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Only tiny sandwiches but hey… Onto second bot of chaperone. Listening to Steed Life by the Crusaders. It’s one of my all time faves. About time they introduced internet connectivity on planes in Europe mind you. It would help pass the time away


Just passed Toulouse. Barca is about 170 miles away. Totes relying on the skipper for this info. Window shutter is down against the dazzling sun.

Interesting trip this. You get mostly suits working for large corporates who are bound by their corporate rules. Because they send so many people on these trips they insist on flying them all in economy class. This business class flight was more expensive than economy but only by a few tens of pounds so I considered it worth the investment. Maybe added 10% to the cost. God I’d hate to have to be suit again. I was one but gradually rebelled. I’d only work for a large corporate again on my own terms. it would have to be an extremely senior position where you could write your own rules.

I can now see a vivid red sky at night over Spain. Orange really but it fits the bill for nice weather tomorrow. I turn my back on the drab UK.

People passing me on the plane, heading back from the loos, don’t smile. I don’t suppose there is much to smile about cooped up in a tube at 30,000 feet. At least we are above the clouds and the sky is red, ish.

I’ve determined that this trip I will not be taking my laptop bag with me. I do have it but am leaving it in the apartment. All i need is the phone and a battery charger. Travel light. Enjoy the couple of days of MWC, if such a thing is possible. The evenings will be good. I have a couple of top nights lined up. No idea what I am doing during the day. Others have lined that up. I’ll find out when I look.

e could have been a monk in the old days:)

Now playing Love Is The Drug. It’s another fave. In fact I’m playing songs of my fave playlist. It’s called Tref’s Faves. On my third little bottle of champagne. 187ml That’s 3/4 of a normal bottle I will have consumed.

People watching me using my laptop will have no idea that this is not work. Work is a mugs game. Not saying it doesn’t need to be done. Just that it’s a mugs game. Unless you don’t think of it as work that is. You should enjoy what you do.

We are sinking lower in the sky now. A blood red element has been introduced to the palette. Along with some very dark not quite black colours.

As I recall Barcelona is a big airport. Lots of traveling to get to the exit. Guy sat next to me reckons if we land at 7.30 it will take me until 9pm to get the the apartment which is near the Sagrada Familia.

Listening to Moondance. Van Morrison. Brilliant. Suits three small bottles of champagne. The rest of the cabin is very quiet because these Bose headphones are brilliant. Really good for cutting out the loud and intrusive background noises of the plane. The only thing they have going against them is the fact that they are over ear phones and as such aren’t particularly good if you want to sleep in them. Having said that the over ear aspect is much better for comfort than the in ears.

10 minutes to landing. I’m off


Back on the plane headed nowf. Seems to be more room on thissun although the flight is full and they had problems getting all the carry on luggage stowed. I’m alright anyway jack.

May attempt to have a bit of a nap on the plane – it’s been three 1.30 am days on this trip. big nights out. Quite looking forward to having a drink of milk back in the UK. Nothing like British milk on the continent. Also I missed pancake day on Tuesday so I will have to make up for that. Tonight maybe.

Wondering what the inflight nosh is going to be. Had a couple of miniature croissants and a jam on roll in the lounge with an espresso and a glass of orange juice. Croissants were a bit sweet and the ham roll doesn’t replace a proper bacon sandwich. Not that you’d get a proper bacon sarnie on a plane anyway.

Looks like the Pyrenees down below. Jagged rocks you could cut yourself on. Careful there.

Drinking a restorative Fanta. They only come in small cans on planes but it’s having an effect.

{POpdfh ionuq-8tru wsldbjfkasd fn98wer  lvbkl;’

Amazing how reviving a cup of tea can be. Although it is nice to go off to exotic places it’s always good to have your home comforts in this case represented by a decent cup of tea.

I will have to load up with stuff to watch when I head to Orlando later this month. Doubt they will have my kind of thing on the inflight entertainment system. Though I have no idea what is my kind of thing. When I land at Gatwick I have 45 minutes before my train goes. might even be able to  catch an earlier one who knows.y

lunch est arrived. salad by the looks of it. fine. had crunchy lamb last night. not sure what made it crunchy. it was too dark to be able to see. was meant to be crunchy. according to the menu. I’m avoiding booze this lunchtime. had enough over the last three days .

jaw just clicked when I was yawning.

Hello my friend it’s been along time
Where have you been?
What have you been up to?
Has your life gone well?
Do you have any regrets?
Come and drink tea
Tell me everything
It’s good to see you smile
There is no hurry to leave.

The Ace of Spades hammers against the sides of my head. Drums frenetic. Drummers must be very fit even though they send their working lives sat down. Gambling is for fools. I don’t want to live for ever.

These Bose headphones are absolutely brilliant.

There are now three persons in the queue for the toilet – wtf?

If anyone needs a landing card they will shortly be bringing them through the cabin.

We have two pilots. One has four stripes and the other two. The four striper has just brought out his empty food tray and is chatting to the stewardess. I can’t see her as she is stood behind the bulkhead. He has gone now. Think he went to the loo. Back now.


Sunny day in LGW but only 7 Degrees. I will have to stay indoors:) Not sure what the plan is for getting home. Probs a taxi from Newark Northgate.

Blog queuing for the loo wearing a Jack Wills t-shirt. I thought that was a kids brand? I’m wearing my Latitude tee.

Listening some of the lyrics of the songs on this playlist. Don’t normally do that. Subconsciously perhaps. They really are rubbish by and large. Pandering to the majority.

Just flying over the Isle of Wight en route to LGW. Cool. We are following the South coast towards Brighton. Should land on time. Scheduled 12.30 and eta is 12.20 which means may be at the gate for half past.

They need to start equipping aircraft with internet access. Do it already in the US of A. Apaz.

Shepherdess Cafe Shoreditch – have breakfast there.

Plane is banking to the left. Eeoowww. Fluffy cumuli float.


Railway companies of the United Kingdom

not necessarily an exhaustive list

but pretty impressive nonetheless and in no particular order

Great Western Railway
London and North Eastern Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Southern Railway
Great Eastern Railway
Great Central Railway
Great Northern Railway
Great North of Scotland Railway
Hull and Barnsley Railway
North British Railway
North Eastern Railway
Colne Valley and Halstead Railway
East and West Yorkshire Union Railway
Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
Brackenhill Light Railway (West Yorkshire)
Fawcett Depot line (County Durham)
Great North of England, Clarence and Hartlepool Junction line
Humber Commercial Railway and Dock
Mansfield Railway
North Lindsey Light Railway
Seaforth and Sefton Junction Railway
Sheffield District Railway
London and Blackwall Railway
East Lincolnshire Railway
Horncastle Railway
Nottingham and Grantham Railway and Canal
Nottingham Suburban line
Stamford and Essendine Railway
Edinburgh and Bathgate Railway
Forth and Clyde Junction Railway
Gifford & Garvald Railway
Glasgow and Milngavie Junction Railway
Kilsyth and Bonnybridge railway
Lauder Light Railway
Newburgh and North Fife Railway
South Yorkshire Junction Railway
West Riding and Grimsby Railway
East London Railway:
Southern Railway,
Metropolitan Railway
District Railway.
Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC): Railway
Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway
Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway
Hull and Barnsley and Great Central Joint Railway
Axholme Joint Railway
Cheshire Lines Committee
Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Junction Railway
Dundee and Arbroath Railway
Carmyllie Light Railway
Great Central and Midland Joint Railway
Great Central & North Staffordshire Joint Railway
Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway
Halifax and Ovenden Junction Railway
Methley Railway
Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway
Oldham, Ashton and Guide Bridge Railway
Otley & Ilkley Railway
Perth General Station
Prince’s Dock, Glasgow
South Yorkshire Joint Railway
Swinton and Knottingley Joint Railway
Tottenham & Hampstead Junction Railway
Great Western and Great Central Joint Railway

#FindBritain travel

Coast to coast day 3

Rosthwaite to Patterdale

This is the fourth video from our coast to coast walk back in May. These are pretty rudimentary videos but they give you an idea of the walk as we did it and for me serve as a souvenir/memento of the trip. I’m doing one video per day. This one is about the second day of the walk from Rosthwaite to Patterdale.

I did the walk with my son Tom Davies with friend Mark (Ajax) Agius and his son  Luke. Check out the coast to coast day 3 blog post on

#FindBritain travel

Coast to Coast Day 2

Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite

This is the third video from our coast to coast walk back in May. These are pretty rudimentary videos but they give you an idea of the walk as we did it and for me serve as a souvenir/memento of the trip. I’m doing one video per day. This one is about the second day of the walk from Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite. The first day had been a toughie because of the weather. This second day was equally tough because of the terrain.

I did the walk with my son Tom Davies with friend Mark (Ajax) Agius and his son  Luke. Check out the coast to coast day 2 blog post here.

#FindBritain travel

Wainwright Coast to Coast Day 1

St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

This is the second video from our coast to coast walk back in May. These are pretty rudimentary videos but they give you an idea of the walk as we did it and for me serve as a souvenir/memento of the trip. I’m doing one video per day. This one is about the first day of the walk from St Bees in Cumbria to Ennerdale Bridge. I did the walk with my son Tom Davies with friend Mark (Ajax) Agius and his son  Luke.

#FindBritain travel

Wainwright Coast to Coast Day 0

travel to St Bees

This is the first video from our coast to coast walk back in May. These are pretty rudimentary videos but they give you an idea of the walk as we did it and for me serve as a souvenir/memento of the trip. I’m doing one video per day. This one is about my journey to the start of the walk at St Bees in Cumbria. I did the walk with my son Tom Davies with friend Mark (Ajax) Agius and his son  Luke.

ideas travel

Our VW Campervan Hire Business is up and running

Anne’s Vans VW campervan hire lincoln

If you are thinking of heading off for a UK based holiday you could do worse than a VW campervan hire from Anne’s Vans in Lincoln. Anne’s vans is our new VW campervan hire Lincoln business.

The idea came about when last summer we tried to hire a vintage VW campervan but couldn’t find one for love nor money. Every one was rented out for the season. This gave us the idea of buying our own van and hiring it out when we aren’t using it, which is most of the time.

The van is looked after by our friend Dave Cooper from DC Automotive and is kept in dry storage in his garage in Lincoln. It gives us peace of mind knowing that the van is well maintained and in top notch condition for both our own use and that of customers.

Our first van is called Betty. She is the first of perhaps a stable of vans that will grow as the business expands. Betty has been completely restored over a period of 3 years. She was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt from there up. Her colour scheme is the original paint job used when she left the factory.

Whilst the base vehicle has been kept to its original spec no expense has been spared on the interior which reflects the height of VW campervan luxury. There is even a porta potty that can be a life saver when caught short in a campsite the middle of the night. Everyone will understand the after effects of drinking lots of wine and beer whilst gazing at the sunset over a beach.

Check out the Anne’s Vans website for more info and to keep up to date with the VW campervan news.

Btw we did think of calling the website something else. I have the domain name vwcampervan.hire but whilst this might be good for SEO purposes actually the business is my lovely wife Anne’s and the name Anne’s Vans is far more personable. Also check out the Anne’s Vans Facebook page. If you are searching for “VW campervan hire Lincoln” then look no further.

All the best.




Isle of Man

Images of Fenella

Isle of Man the art gallery

Sea views

3rd law travel

The return journey with greenjumperman

There’s something about international train stations. Perhaps it’s because by and large we don’t have them in the UK, the Eurostar out of St Pancras being the exception. Seeing the names of what are to me exotic destinations up on the departures board is exciting. It also somehow feels appropriate that I am bleary eyed from a poor night’s sleep thanks to the usual waking up every half an hour to see if it is time for the alarm to go off yet. Or whether the alarm has not gone off when it should have more like. This morning I packed my stuff up in my room, fumbled my way around the living room to hug Hannah on the bed settee and set off. Rue Faubourg St Denis at 8am was just waking up. Shutters were being rolled up on shop fronts. Early commuters were starting to permeate through from Gare Du Nord and Gare De L’Est. Kids were being towed by parents, schoolward bound. I over heard one father say something to two kids decked out in identical coats. It ended in “uh?”. The verbal shrug of Gallic shoulders being instilled at a young age. Hannah has a lie in. She is meeting someone to hand over the keys to the AirBnB apartment at midday. Our instructions in the welcome pack were to leave the key on the table in the living room. However whoever comes in to clean up has lost their key and so needs ours to get a new one cut. That piled the pressure on us. Every time left the flat I had to treble check that I had the key with me. Accidentally locking it in would have been a bit a disaster considering that the backup had been lost. It feels strange leaving Hannah behind but she is a grown up now. We still have a lingering responsibility as she is still a student. Paris is the second half of her year abroad. She is studying French and Spanish with Catalan and has just finished six months in Toledo. Both her French as Spanish are now pretty impressive, at least from the perspective of someone whose Spanish extends to ordering two beers and whose French is frozen in time in 1978, the year of my Grade B French O’Level. I get by. Han is by now used to being left alone in strange cities, having made it to Toledo under her own steam. I figured it would make sense to go with her to Paris. Turning up alone in a big city is not a nice thing. I stayed 4 nights and achieved the main objective of finding her some accommodation. She has a student apartment in the 5eme Arrondissement with a Dutch girl and an Italian lad. A good place to be, near the Quartier Latin and the cafes of the left bank. Unfortunately the apartment doesn’t become available until the 20th so we’ve booked her into a cheap hotel just around the corner from the Gare Du Nord where she can catch the RER B to work. 15 nights in a hotel! The flat hunt was a bit of an eye opener. The first one we visited was cheap and would have been a great place to be had it not been for the guy whose flat it was. There was something about him that perhaps hinted at why he had been unable to let the room. The second was a nightmare. She was expected to share a room with a somewhat smelly girl and where the landlady kipped in the living room. A non starter. The third had real prospects compared with the first two. It was just around the corner from the Luxembourg RER B station, on the top floor of a nice old building. The problem with this one was that it was owned by a nice old lady. You got the feeling that it would have been somewhat stifling for a 20 year old girl after a bit of experience of life, and life in Paris at that. So now she’s behind me in Paris and I’m hurtling towards the English Channel and breakfast in London with her brother Tom. As I write we have passed a row of wind turbines. It must be a still day as the blades are pretty motionless. The train is half way between Paris and Arras. Big fields. Occasional villages. Lots of wind turbines. Looks cold out there. Paris was cold. This was a bit of a nuisance because every time we entered a cafe we had to peel off the layers or cook. Greenery is just starting to come though in some of the fields we pass. Growth from early planting at the end of last season, one assumes though I’m far from knowledgeable on the subject. Half the people around me on the train are asleep. The others are engrossed in gadgets as am I. A girl sat across from me is learning English. She has a dictionary and doing stuff with her iPad. We have just passed Bapaume, a place of significant historical significance from WW1 unless I am mistaken. Her name is Mlle Zena Saheli btw. The girl learning English. She has a letter of application open in front of her. Looks like she is a dancer. Not my business but it’s hard to not see what’s there in front of you. I have a coffee now. A medium latte, E3.20. I don’t drink much coffee but figured it was necessary on this trip. Either I spend the journey catching up on my zeds or I write stuff. So I’m writing stuff. When you look out at the frozen fields you really can imagine hte hardship of life in the trenches, especially at this time of year. It’s 10.14 Paris time. Hannah will be just starting to get up. No rush. Once she is checked into the hotel she has a few things she can be getting on with. Signing up for a Navigo and chasing up the bank to see why they haven’t been in touch with her to get her bank account sorted. Bloke next to me is asleep with his green sweater over his head. I took a picture although with the sun behind him it didn’t come out brilliantly. It’s going to be nice to get home and back into a routine for a week or so. I’m listiening to ELO on my earphones. I don’t have a huge choice of music on my phone so tend to listen to the same stuff time and time again. Normally I hop artists/tracks but I can’t be botherered to get that involved on the train. I’m not sure I’ve listened to the whole of ELO’s greatest hits (or whatever the album is called – I bought a load for my 50th Birthday bash 3 years ago). Before I forget I though the passport control set up in Gare Du Nord was a bit odd. You went through a French Passport Control and then separately through a British one. Why bother with two? Just a UK one should have sufficed I’d a thought. Anyway who am i to say? Eh? The fields are a bit snowier the further North we get. Hey we’re in a tunnel. I don’t think it can be the tunnel, the chunnel. I could be wrong. Hadn’t realised we were that near the coast. Must be it. No mobile data reception though. I got 4G on my way out. Probably because I’m still roaming and have data roaming switched off cos it’s a rip off. On the way out I got LTE but was still registered with O2 in the UK. Zena has packed her stuff away now and the green jumper is off his head. There’s something a little strange about being in a very long tunnel under the sea. It ain’t natural is it? We butcher our planet. Handy though if you want to get to central Paris quickly. I’m in seat 46 Car 14 btw. It’s handy for the cafe bar. There’s also a UK electrical socket but I’m in the aisle seat and I can’t be bothered to ask green jumper man to plug in my Chromebook. I’ve got enough juice to get me to London anyway. Only half an hiur until we’re due in London so must me bearly out of the tunnel now. Zena is having a bit of a kip. Feet up on the next seat in the foetus position. Her black trousers are torn at the knees. V trendy I suppose. Green jumper has opened a bag of mixed fruit and nut. Still lots of sleeping folk. Cmon guys. You can’t sleep your lives away. Do something. Oriental looking guy has woken up and is now checking his phone. I can hear the rustling of crisp packets or simlar despite having 10cc in my earphones. Also just had a bit of a shock. Lost this file I’ve been editing for two hours. Coming out of the tunnel and back in the land of connectivity I eventually found it on Google Drive. This is even though I was working on it offline. Wow. Cool. Back underground now. Maybe we are running through a site of Special Scientific Interest and they built dug the tunnel to avoid disturbing a butterfly, or a lizard. Or maybe someone put a hill in the way. I dunno. We interrupt this ad hoc dialogue to tell you that we are shortly arriving at Ebbsfleet. I suppose someone might want to get off there. In fact a woman has stirred and picked up her suitcase. As long as she doesn’t touch my bag we are all happy. Ebbsfleet is clearly convenient if you don’t want to haul yourself into Central London to catch the train. They didn’t have a similar stop in France though. Oo a few people getting off here now. It’s an uninviting looking station. Overweight member of staff speaks into his walkie talkie on the platform. Whistles blow. Presumably in code. Largish bloke not given the go ahead to depart yet. must be someone still getting off train.He keeps looking up and down the platform. The driver has taken things into his own hands and we are off anyway. I’m going to upload this now as I don’t know how much more editing time I’ll have before the final subterranean segment of our journey. Ciao amigos. It’s good to be back.

travel winter series

The next adventure

So starts the next phase. The next adventure. Southbound through a freezing cold English countryside to catch the Eurostar to Paris. City of romance. Hannah is about to start a 6 month stint working for Air France at Charles De Gaulle Airport and she needs to find accommodation.
Dozens of castles are for sale in Italy, apparently.
Seemingly random words and phrases on a journey
The fields en route to the coast are bereft of animals. There is very little grass for them to eat.
going underground
rresurface into grrey frrench febrruary
it’s a month with not much going for it. batten down those hatches. shove another chair leg on the fire, Doreen.
winter has beauty only when it is at its harshest
winter has beauty only at its harshest
winter, harsh beauty
gap in cloud cover above
blue sky
mistletoe visible through barren branches
passed a war cemetery with perhaps 40 or 50 gravestones

Isle of Man

Scenes from Fenella Beach in winter