Categories
travel

It’s all up in the air

The border between solid and liquid, drawn line, coloured
Below us fish swim, boats float and a thick brush stroke scar white cliffs.
We race to overtake a ferry in unfair competition
La belle France arrivees.
The trolley arrives.
Champagne sir? Would it be rude?
No no no save it for later
Very impressive Alps
Goat tracks across the mountains
striata
Not often I sit at a window. Fancied a change.
Gentle downward slide

Categories
travel

East Coast Adventure

Eddie the Senior Breakfast Chef at the Vivre restaurant at the Sofitel is a bit of a star. It was his 30th wedding anniversary yesterday. He went to the Ivy in Maidenhead (or similar) with his wife. He has been at the Sofitel since it opened. 2006 or thereabouts. I’m sure they appreciate him. He livened up breakfast.

Now we are packed and chillin in the room. We have 5 hours before we take off. Better to be far too early and have no stress than to worry about whether the trains will run etc. Although I am on holiday and the out of office message is on I still have a bit of stuff to do but it will wait until the lounge.

I am wearing jeans but have packed some shorts in my carry on. It will be 22℃ when we land in New York City. Currently at LHR it is 10℃. I’ve also swapped a jacket for a fleece which will be more comfortable on the plane. 

Quite excited about going on our travels again. This one has been a year in the planning. I’m in two minds about long haul travel. One the one hand it takes you to parts of the world that are different to your normal experience of life. On the other hand the concept of sitting in a tin can for a day and stepping out somewhere 5,000 miles away does feel strange. Unnatural. Certainly not environmentally friendly. 

I could get used to the idea of slow travel. Not leaving the ground. The problem with this is both time and money. For example we are flying to Florence in October for a few nights away. I can’t remember exactly how much it costs but lets say £200 return each. £400 in business class. It’s a 2 hour flight.

To go overland would be at least a two day drive with a couple of hotel stays and a ferry plus a few hundred quid in fuel. Or a train I suppose but that would probably also be a couple of days. Anyway. Woteva. Next September we are planning a month-long road trip to the South of France. The beginning of our slow travels perhaps.

Back to today if you are in NYC this week we might get a chance to say hello.

The downsides of sitting in a Business Class Lounge is that you get to hear someone discussing a presentation. You can’t see the slides or hear the other person so it is slightly annoying. He is discussing the sterling crisis. Fortunately it doesn’t sound as if they have much exposure to sterling!

The upside is that the Lounges is at B Gates and is 100m or so from our own departure gate. What’s not to like?

Offline

A state that exists when you have not yet connected to the BA onboard wifi. This state will continue until that point in time when I have become bored with everything on offer offline. Currently I am listening to my fave playlist but I also have 15 BBC 4 programmes downloaded onto iPlayer.

There is absolutely nothing I want to watch on the inflight entertainment which is understandably geared to offer popular stuff favoured by the masses. Not my thang.

The new touchscreen interactive map is v good. You can zoom in and out by using your fingers. We think of this as part of our every day electronic device experience but airline technology is v slow to catch up.

My travelling companion has closed the shutter between us. You aren’t exactly close to each other in these seats anyway. Long haul airline business class travel is not a very sociable mode of transport. People climb into their cocoons. Hunker down into survival mode. I am content. A large tanqueray and slimline tonic has been ordered and my food choices already made. 

There is no hurry for the food although it would be good if the Tanqueray arrived soon. Only 12 of us in this cabin so it will be quick enough coming.

Currently we are above Milford Haven (waves to @Nat Morris) and headed for Cork and the Dingle Peninsula. Out of the port window we should be able to see Padstow but I am not sat at a window. I’ve never been to Cork or Dingle. Will have to rectify that once our days of slow travel arrive. Bed and breakfast tour of Ireland methinks. Maybe with an occasional campervan night thrown in?

Next summer I have a week in one of the vans at the National Eisteddfod planned. Pwllheli. Will be like being back in my student days. I watched the highlights of this year’s Eisteddfod and was amazed at how many people I actually knew. Lots of folk I was at University with. 

The Eisteddfod weeks are very boozy affairs. Nothing seems to have changed there. As a student we would go out to the pub every night. If you weren’t in by 7pm you probably wouldn’t get a seat. Times have changed. Kids don’t go out until much later these days. We would occasionally have a Sunday or Monday night in just as a firebreak. Not often mind.

Sunday night was typically a trip to the cinema to watch a movie and then a visit to theTaj Mahal in Upper Bangor for a curry. It was a laddish thing to do. The pubs weren’t open on a Sunday in Bangor in those days. If you wanted a beer it was either a private club (students union, British Legion etc) or a restaurant. Or you could head a few miles up the coast to Llanfairfech which had a different council and wickedly allowed the consumption of alcohol on the Sabbath. 

I’ve downed the G&T and am now onto champagne. The T was flat and the ratio of G to T was inadequate. I moved on rather than trying to get the mix right. Pouring a large, fair play, glass of champagne is easy to get right.

I’m having some sort of avocado and edamame salad. Not totes sure what edamame is but I will find out soon enough. I think I’ve had it before. I didn’t bother to ask. My main is chicken Tikka Masala. I read a review on headforpoints or the pointsguy that it was the best CTM they had tasted on an aeroplane. I’ll soon find out. It will be my last curry for a few weeks. Not worth having one in the USA. Mexican yes, lobster in New England yes, burgers and steaks even. Curry no.

The attendant said she would keep an eye on the level of the champagne in my glass. Makesalorrasense. I assume I will have a kip on this flight even though it is only 7 ½ hours or so. A few sherberts, a bit of scram and then nod off. ‘Tis the way of things. 

Food is on its way. It has made it to seat 5A which is the front left of the J cabin. That is only three rows in front of me. The smell of lunch has begun to permeate the aircraft. Looks to me like they are delivering all courses at the same time on the same tray. As long as my CTM doesn’t go cold. 

Papa was a rollin’ stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. Not talking about my own dad. It’s in my headphones. My dad did have a cap or two but no hat. He was a good dad. I am proud to be his son. He died a year and a bit ago. Just thinking about this makes me a tad melancholy. It is as it should be.

Dad was a victim of covid. Covid didn’t kill him but the isolation he had to suffer in his care home did. His death certificate mentioned a few causes of death that included “old age”. This was true. He needed to be in a care home because we couldn’t cater for his needs which were 24 x 7 availability of someone to help.

It didn’t feel great seeing him go into the home, especially as it was something he had fought against but we had no choice really.  When he was there, on the rare occasions we were able to visit, I understood his reticence. Mam and dad both said that old age was a terrible thing. 

It is. I’m not sure it informs our own life decisions but we certainly try cramming in as much as we can. Witness this trip to the East coast of the USA. following that we have Florence and Paris in rapid succession. Gottabedone. I’m not available for Thursday evening golf for a few weeks by which time the season will be over.

I have finished dinner and am now onto the last dregs of the white wine. The tray is sitting on  top of the compartment that has the gadget in that allows you to call the attendant for a refill. I see someone patrolling the other aisle offering refills. I daresay she will make it around to this side. I also feel a cognac would be appropriate. See what they got.

We should hopefully arrive at the hotel in New York by 8pm. 9 at the latest. We then need to head out into the city to avoid going to bed too early., I get really bad jet lag regardless of the direction of travel. Staying up late on the first night is just one of those things you have to do. Maybs have a beer or a cocktail. 

I recall one trip when I ended up at an airport hotel in Phoenix Az. Hilton Garden Inn or simlar. I decided to head to the bar and after some deliberation to order a cheeseburger. I was too tired to speak Americun so my interaction with the waitress was somewhat limited. She asked me what sort of cheese I wanted. The choices were Swiass, chuddur or Americun. Not really recognising any of the cheeses on offer I asked her to recommend one and her response was that if I wanted real cheese she would go for chuddur. I realised some time later that she was talking about cheddar.

There is a definite knack to speaking Amuricun. I’ve travelled a lot in the States and am fairly fluent. It includes using phrases such as “could I get a” with the relevant lilt in accent instead of “I’d like”. It isn’t worth fighting it. There will be many other phrases in use that do not presently spring to mind but into which I will lapse at the appropriate times. It is the way of things.

A cognac has arrived. It is good. The stewardess went forward to first class to source it and it has been served in a nice piece of cut glass. I have a champagne from Club to chase it down. This is not in the same league as the Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle dished out up front but still acceptable.

John and I flew to St Lucia British Airways First class a few years ago. The destination choice was influenced by the fact that at 19 years old he would not have been allowed alcohol in California which had been the first mooted port of call. On the plane John observed that he wasn’t sure whether he liked champagne. Upon being informed that this stuff retailed at £140 a bottle he didn’t object whenever the attendant passed by and topped up his glass. He knocked back at least a bottle. The attendant was complicit in the plan. She had been informed of the dad and lad nature of the trip.

The next dad and lad trip is with Joe to NOLA and Havana in January. BA First Class. Seems fair. We finish off with two nights in Miami where hopefully Joe will have his Global Entry interview. Just like Irish passports and passing their driving test it is one of the things you do for your kids.

Anne doesn’t have Global Entry. This does create a dilemma when traversing US immigration. It just doesn’t make sense for both of us to stand in line unnecessarily when I could be in the baggage reclaim area picking up the suitcases. Two years ago when we landed in SFO I waited two hours for Anne to get through passport control. Apparently the weekend before it had taken 6 hours. We were fortunate that we didn’t have several flights arrive from China at the same time. Our friend Jackie, from Middlesbrough, who was picking us up from the airport had to wait patiently outside arrivals.

I’m hoping it won’t be the same at JFK (it wasn’t – we both breezed through). We arrive at Terminal 7 which is predominantly BA and I don’t think there will be the same congestion (fingers crossed). Also we are in Club Class so will be off first. First Class passengers have to walk through our cabin to get off. We were in first in SFO and that didn’t seem to make any difference but we shall see this time.

Once I flew to Istanbul as a guest of Hewlett Packard to participate in their CIO Council. V high end shindig. I was in economy but HP had paid 50 Euros or simlar for fast track through immigration. It was the best 50 Euros ever spent. A bloke met me off the plane with my name on a piece of card and I hopped on a golf cart that took me past several hundred queueing worthies to the front of passport control where someone stamped my passport and I was through.

Some time later I was just stepping into the shower at the Sheraton Hotel when the phone rang. It was a HP sales guy on the same flight saying he was looking around arrivals but couldn’t see me. HP hadn’t spent the same money on him. Hey…

That was a hell of a few days. We had dinner in the Topkapi Palace, notionally the best restaurant in Istanbul, and there are a lot of them. Armed guards in evidence as you walked through the gates. Only problem is it was classic Turkish fare. I decided this wasn’t really my cup of tea. I’m not complaining., It was a privilege to be there. 

The next night, after a full-on day of meetings, we went on a Bosphorus dinner cruise and were dropped off at an outdoor night club where, in the VIP area, we consumed bucketloads of chilled Grey Goose vodka and Red Bull. That club was the scenario of a terrorist bombing a couple or three years later…

I left at 1.30am and caught a cab home. I had an early start the next day. Early flight back to London to have lunch with a journalist. As I was checking out some of the party goers from the previous night were just arriving back at the hotel. One of them was on the same flight. I’ve never seen anyone looking so much like death warmed up on the plane.

When I got back to London the journalist didn’t show. When I rang him he said he was in Norfolk and had gone away for the weekend. I never bothered with him again. Unprofessional arsehole. Can’t even remember his name now.

I’m still going strong on the champagne and brandy. I’ll need a refill soon. Either you fall asleep or have to keep going. I am currently opting for the latter. We still have 5 ½ hours to go before we get there.

A refill is in hand. Same source. First class brandy is much nicer than the stuff they dish out in Club. Fair play. Result.

Another refill. Been watching a programme on sheep gathering in the Lake District. Third time I’ve watched it. Compulsive viewing.

Been a bit of a whirlwind few days in NYC. So far so good. In chronological order we’ve done the subway, Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, Central Park, Broadway, Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Macys, Empire State Building, MoMA and the Al Hirschfield Theatre to see Moulin Rouge. 

The show was spectacular. A real work of art. We had front row seats which took me a while to decide on but you were right in the middle of the action.

We booked plinth access at the Statue of Liberty. I had no idea what this entailed but it sounded like the right thing to do. Turns out it meant you got to climb the 176 stairs to the top of the plinth/bottom of the statue. Unexpected and knackering. Contributed to my doing 62 sets of stairs that day. Worth it for the view though. There was a good view of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which is in town for a visit. The crown of the statue is still not open to the public. A hangover from social distancing. Reopens next month you will be glad to hear.

It’s all been great. A few things have stuck in the mind. Breakfast at the Warwick Hotel was a one day experience only. V expensivo and not worth the money. The waitress had zero personality and was just going through the motions. 

The bar at the hotel was good but also v expensivo at around $12 pint inc tip so really just for finishing off the night. Mind you I’m not sure how much beer was elsewhere. A little cheaper perhaps. 

We have tried a few venues for market research purposes, obvs: Cassidy’s Irish Pub, The Whiskey Bar, Judge Roy Bean, Benihaha, Iron Bar, Connolly’s Irish Pub. Tonight it’s PJ Clarke’s. One of the oldest saloons in NYC apaz.

We are headed up the coast on Sunday but have changed our hotel reservation for when we get back to NYC. Cancelled this current one (Warwick) and moved it to the Midtown Hilton which is directly over the road on 6th Avenue. Same cost but double points, diamond member free breakfast and a room upgrade. Makes more sense than shelling out a hundred bucks on two avocado toasts with smoked salmon and poached egg.

Nipped out this morning and bought some croissants and pain au choc from a street kiosk. Ten bucks together with some fruit. Makes a lorra sense to me 🙂

Took us a while to figure out the subway system and we were nearly late for our booked ferry. The last ones on! Wouldn’t have mattered really but I booked the first ferry as I figured it would give us a head start on the day and the perceived wisdom was that the queues (lines) would be shorter. I suspect this was the case.

The next time we rode the subway (getting into the vernacular already) we were approached by first time tourists and I was amazingly able to help them. This is different to our experience where the first three or four people we asked did not speak English.

Having bought a subway oyster type card (can’t immediately remember the name) we of course did not use it yesterday and walked everywhere. Day one was around 17,000 steps but yesterday it was North of 20,000. Not sure exactly as my fitbit is still in UK time and something reset when the date clicked over at midnight and I’ve lost around 18,000 steps somewhere. First world problems.

Walking everywhere does come with its own challenges. The lights seemed to go against us at every crossing. I also had to look down before leaving the pavement (sidewalk) as there is a big step down and I didn’t want to go arse over tit when crossing the road. The speed of traffic in Manhattan is “dead slow”. Hardly worth taking a taxi. Fortunately the roads will be reasonably clear when we leave for the airport on Sunday morning.

Lots to get through between now and then. Stay tuned.

Hurricane Ian is wringing its spongy tail and is soaking NYC this morning. The streets of Manhattan were pretty empty when I headed out in search of milk and croissants. New Yorkers don’t appear to be early weekend risers. I understand. 

The consequence of this is the absence of street vendors and the Ernst & Klein deli was still closed even though its website says it is open at 7am. I was accosted by a guy in shorts with a plastic bag over his top and sporting an umbrella. “Can I ask you a question?” No.

Yesterday I was accosted several times by young Jewish men asking me whether I was Jewish. It must have been my hat and feathers! I finally asked one of them why and got the answer “outreach”. Trying to bring more of their community into the fold. Probs.

We had another great day. Skating rink at the Rockefeller Centre and a 44 second ride to Top of the Rock. Views were spectacular and we stayed up there for at least half an hour. Figured we wouldn’t be doing it again anytime soon so we might as well take our time. It’s only 38 seconds down.

In the afternoon we met Eva, a friend of Anne’s from her time as a student in Germany and then meandered our way to PJ Clarke’s which lived up to its billing. Oysters followed by a burger with fries. Good and plentiful fries, fair play. Anne helped herself to some of mine, they were that plentiful.

All in all the trip is going well. I got 1.07 exchange rate at the ATM when I withdrew some cash which ain’t exactly great but could have been a lot worse. I’m going to tot it all up when I get home. It’s all going on the Amex which funnily enough everywhere seems to take over here. 

Next up we are going to pack for an earlyish departure for JFK tomorrow morning. Coming up we have a full-on day of baseball at the Yankee Stadium followed by dinner at Mr Chows so I figured we needed to be mostly ready to go in the morning.

We will be back in New York for one more night on 10th October before we fly home. Catch ya later.

Well. New York was great. We are, however, now back to the normal unglamorous bit of travel, to whit, airline delays. I’m not too put out, yet. We had breakfast in the airport as planned and are now sitting patiently at Gate 1 JFK T5, waiting.

We have no lounge access but tbh even if we did I suspect I’d rather be at the gate to make sure we were on in a timely fashion to ensure I get my carry on in the overhead luggage compartment. I don’t like having anything under the seat in front of me as it cuts down on leg space.

We are in Row 3 Group A boarding but I don’t trust fu£$3rs with lots of carry on who stick it in the first available space up front and then proceed to their seat in row 36 or similar. Believe you me it is ridiculous how much luggage folk think is acceptable to take onboard.

I don’t even know whether airline travellers in the USA respect the boarding protocols. Does the airline even bother boarding by group

I’m using the JetBlue free wifi. Ordinarily I’d have my vpn on for a bit of security but it doesn’t work on my laptop since the certificate was changed and I’ve not got around to sorting it. Never mind. Life on the edge eh?

Next stop is Boston and thence to Rockport, Cape Ann. A different pace of life to the place we are just leaving. We have a hotel on the beach and expect to be lulled to sleep by the waves instead of the wailing sirens and horns that prevail on the streets of New York City.

We approached New York running and took to the city full on. Yesterday was the only day we registered fewer than 20,000 steps. This was partly because we spent the afternoon sat down at Yankee Stadium and partly because the rain drove us to using taxis.

Now I’m having to listen to some woman whinging to someone on her phone about her travel woes. Sorry love, I don’t care. She is telling the whole long drawn out story about how she failed to get on an earlier flight despite the fact that there were three empty seats on it.

Phew, she’s talking about something else now. Sighs with relief. Can’t stop listening to her conversation though. She has a dreary monotone voice. She’s gone now. Thank god. I note she has three carry-on bags.

Wandered over to the desk to see if there was any info on why the flight has been delayed and blow me down who’s stood in front of me? No other than our whinger. Now whinging more as the staff member has just told her the gate has changed, again. Ya gorra laugh. We have moved from Gate 1 (originally 5) to Gate 22. The plane, unsurprisingly, has not yet arrived at Gate 22 but I’m fairly confident it (probably) will as the crew looks to be hanging around the other side of the desk.

In NYC we stayed at the Warwick Hotel on West 54th. I can’t really recommend it. It’s an old hotel past its best. The three lifts were small and some people had long waits for one to arrive. Also I had to run the shower for a good ten minutes before the hot water arrived and I don’t think there was a day where we hadn’t had to call down to housekeeping because something had not been replaced: coffee cups/coffee/hair conditioner/take your pick. Also I bought a four pinter of milk to keep in the fridge without realising that the fridge didn’t work. The only real benefit of our 6th Avenue view room was that it faced the outside. I opted for this sort of room because I was under the impression we would have sweeping views of 6 avenue. In reality all you could see was the office block opposite.

We had originally booked in here for one more night on our way home but I cancelled that and booked into the Hilton Midtown, just over the road. The bar staff do merit a shoutout, especially Sammy the bartender who did a good job of looking after us whilst we were there:)

At least our plane has now arrived at the gate. Light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. Mrs whinger, who is in my line of sight but quiet, has been replaced by angry woman, bro. I can’t see here as she is directly behind me. Too much tension bro. Between Shevaun and an unnamed person.

Avadenuffornowamgone

Rockport, Cornwall, Wales.

Rocked up in Rockport. It was misty and wet when we left Manhattan. New England has a familiar Autumnal feel to it. We switched the heating on in the hotel room before heading out for the evening. The hotel is on the seafront and the balcony is not only windswept but has a magnificent backdrop of wild Atlantic rollers crashing onto the beach below. Reminds me of the Isle of Man in winter.

Rockport battens down the hatches early on a Sunday. In consequence I was tucked up in bed by 8pm. Couldn’t get into the last pub open, the Feather and Wedge. Apparently a crowd of punters just rocked up and have occupied all the bar stools. Bugger. Even that shuts at 8pm. The pursuit of filthy lucre is very much toned down here. Rockport is after all an artist’s enclave. Every other shop is an art gallery.

We found the one convenience store still open, run by some Indian folk. It’s the same the whole world over. They sold bacon, milk and bread but no beer. Breakfast is secured anyway.

Am looking forward to tomorrow. Bit of a stroll around the galleries and bookshops followed by a spin around Cape Ann. Am thinking we might cab it to Gloucester for dinner in the evening. Feels as if I’ve done the clam chowder and lobster. We made it into the Fish Shack with 15 minutes to spare. Last entry 6pm.

Quite bemusing btw to consider that the motel, Captain’s Bounty on the Beach, made a thing about the two “free” bottles of water whilst at the same time charging us over $300 a night for the room (can’t remember how much exactly). Still it is in a wonderful spot. Looks as if there are only 3 or 4 rooms taken out of around 28 or so.

Up early. Hard not to with the noise of the waves crashing onto the beach below our hotel bedroom. There is a memorial in Rockport to fishermen who lost their lives at sea. It isn’t hard to understand how that could happen here with the wild Atlantic on the doorstep.

Bacon has been cooked and eaten and to a certain extent we are now biding our time before heading out. Things don’t open particularly early in Rockport. This is our one day of “doing Cape Ann”. Tomorrow we are headed to Cape Cod stopping en route to visit Fearghas and Jezzibell.

I’m sat at the dining table looking out at the sea. Interesting to observe that this room, with a fantastic view, is cheaper than a room looking at a wall in New York 🙂 Also the shower worked straight away. There isn’t much competition for the hot water here. 

We could easily spend a few more days in Rockport but time is limited and much to cram in. I’m not sure when next we will be on the East coast although having said that I am back in Miami in January.

Good morning in Gloucester.

This morning we meandered our way around the Essex heritage coastal path or some similarly named route that took us through Cape Ann suburbia. We only really caught glimpses of the coast itself until we arrived in Gloucester, the oldest harbour in the USA apaz. I can believe it. Next year Gloucester celebrates 400 years as a township. As the USA goes, that is old. v.

Gloucester itself was v pleasant other than it was cold and windy. The windy bit meant that none of the whale watching boats were sailing which didn’t really affect us as we had already figured that four hours out of the day was outside our time budget. We can revisit when we get to Boston. The whales probably really enjoy the peace they get away from tourists when it is windy.

We parked outside the Democrats Campaign HQ. This was in a  former fish processing building down by the harbour. I’d stuck the car in the obvious carpark but there was no indication as to whether you needed to pay and all the cars sported some sort of sticker in the window that was clearly not a pay and display job.

I decided I needed to take advice but the first person I approached, in fact the only person in view, was an artist who had come for the day to take part in a competition. She had no idea. Neither in fact did the person in the Democrats Campaign HQ but she said we could park in their lot. Very nice of her and she was v helpful generally. I said I hoped they won 🙂

We had coffee and pastries in Sicilia’s Caff and I bought some olive oil from a specialist store over the road which offered tastings. This was good as the oil I bought was not the stuff I might have done without the tasting and I declined to buy any of the balsamic vinegar. Interestingly this shop imported oils from the northern or southern hemispheres based on the time of year. In this way they guaranteed to have the freshest oils. Currently they stock southern hemisphere product.

There was bugger all open in Rockport this morning but we are going to chance our arm there again later. There is also the Hammond Castle Museum to visit but we will assess that when the day is a little older. See how it goes.

Not that much more open this pm either but did stop in to chat at a couple of bookshops and bought some t-shirts. Popped in to the Fish Shack to discover that they are the only bar open today and they only open because the others are closed. Apparently they only allowed bars in Rockport in 2016. Wtf?! Discovered Jetty Juice. Top notch stuff. Check it out https://rockportbrewingcompany.com/

Rockport is v quaint but has a lot to learn in respect of milking the tourist buck. Many of the stores close for the winter. Picked up an end of season sale t-shirt for a tenner. Not 100% cotton but it was only ten bucks for goodness sake.

On the way back to the motel passed the nice lady from Bullseye Books-Flyboys. She recognised me from earlier and smiled nicely. People are nice innit.

Darkness has descended on Rockport. No spectacular sunset tonight. We feel robbed. In Room 32 preparations are underway for dinner. Salad is being sorted and then the decks will be cleared for me to sort the scallops with bacon and garlic butter and then the steaks. We like to eat well.

Farewell Rockport Farewell. 

We enjoyed our time as your guests. We enjoyed the Fish Shack bar and restaurant and popping into the small shops that lined your streets, when they were open. I enjoyed discovering the local beer and we enjoyed our meal in our room on our last night as a change to constantly eating out 🙂

The weather was affected by Hurricane Ian further to the south but it didn’t really affect the quality of the experience, much.

I leave you with four more t-shirts that I had when we arrived plus a woollen beanie made in Nepal, purchased in the shop I called “the old people’s shop” but still went in anyway.

In the harbour we enjoyed our chat with the lobster fisherman who was packing away his pots for the season. Although lobsters only fetched $5 to the lb this season down from $8 last year he didn’t appear to have done too badly out of it looking at the size and newness of his truck. Lobsters, we are told, have been plentiful this year. A testament to conservation work done in the area. Apaz.

Mine, consumed at the Fish Shack on our first night, was very nice.

Farewell Rockport Farewell. 

Sunrise Room, Lands End Inn, Provincetown.

We arrived at the Lands End Inn during a bit of a storm. Hurricane Ian still tail wagging. The views are terrific and we have a couple of large windows and a private balcony looking out onto the Harbour and Cape Cod Bay. Well they are normally terrific. Today the rain is lashing down and the balcony is unusable. Unfortunately the forecast for tomorrow is worse. Reminds us of Summer holidays in North Wales.

Our spirits are not dampened. For the moment we are sat in our wonderful room watching Liverpool v Rangers in the European Cup. The free wine gets dispensed at 5pm and we hopefully have a booking at The Red Inn restaurant for 6.30. I say hopefully because when Peter on reception called them to book the computer system at the other end was “down”.

The Red Inn was recommended on the basis that it was close. Walking into town is not really what we want to do on such a wild evening. We can see the inn from the balcony and it is one of the best restaurants in Provincetown. Their website says President Theodore and Mrs. Roosevelt stayed in The Inn when they travelled to Provincetown to lay the cornerstone for the Provincetown Monument. I daresay we will visit the monument tomorrow so we will be following in their footsteps in more ways than one. 

Woke up this morning with low battery on both laptop and phone. The dearth of convenient electric sockets seems to have been a feature of our trip. There is one on a lead at the side of my bed but it doesn’t work and every other one already has something plugged in. Except the one next to the sink in the bathroom! And I’ve had to prop the laptop charger up with a tube of toothpaste as otherwise the weight of the power supply pulls the plug out of the socket.

I’ve adopted a technique for this trip of charging the phone overnight with the battery pack and then leaving the battery to charge somewhere during the day. Last night I plugged it into the socket but only realised that wasn’t working when I got up. Niver mind.

I’m not really complaining. All the hotels we have stayed in have been old buildings with an element of quirkiness. This particular one, The Lands End Inn, is by far the best we will be staying in on this trip. Better even than the Sofitel in T5 which is v good but of a formula. The Lands End Inn is like a home from home. Very comfortable and very welcoming and also with great views over Cape Cod Bay.

In other news I lost a small chunk of tooth filling last night. Worra nuisance. It isn’t giving me any gyp but will need sorting when I get back. Problem is the 3 month wait time for a slot at the dentist.

Anyway today we are “doing” Provincetown. We are nobbut a short walk from the beach at which the Mayflower pilgrims waded ashore to build sandcastles. Must have been a bit of a relief after 62 days on board a cramped ship. Just picture the arguments when they discovered that Boston had an airport which would have knocked 61 ⅔ days off their travel time. Would not have offered such a dramatic backdrop to what was after all a very historic moment.

They would not, I’m sure, have wanted discussions on who got window or aisle seats or speculations on the time it takes to get through customs to have distracted from the main purpose of the visit which was to get freedom of religious expression.

After the beach we plan to stroll into town along Commercial Street and take in the monument and museum. From the tripadvisor comments it seems that the museum is all about the efforts to build the monument which seems a bit odd but maybe I’m wrong. We will find out soon enough.

Turns out the reason the pilgrims didn’t stick around Provincetown very long was the absence of water. Nowadays it is shipped in from somewhere along the coast, apaz. The waitress did tell us where but I’ve had a couple of cocktails and a bottle of red since then and can’t quite remember the details.

Will report back

The museum turned out to be v interesting fair play. Didn’t bother going up the monument. You could hardly see the top of it from the base so we would not have had any sort of view from up there which is the whole point of going up. Nice little ride in the funicular to get there though. Bought a copy of Mourt’s Relation at  the museum. Be an interesting read.

Purchaysed a few souvenirs along the route there  including a couple of vintage American car number plates, an NYPD lapel badge, a bottle opener that was a surf board with a shark bite in it and the Japanese Emperor’s Imperial flag. I also wanted to buy the flag of Kazakhstan but they were out of stock and wouldn’t sell me the one on display. Huh! Finally dropped into a Hawaiian shirt shop and got a couple of bangers in the sale for $20 each.

Provincetown is a funky spot and unlike Rockport where the one bar closed at 8pm the local joints here are good until at least 1am. Not that we will be up that late. We have a cab picking us up at 6 (free drinks at the Lands End Inn from 5pm) and bringing us back at 10. Much later than that I turn into a glass slipper, or a pumpkin or similar. It is nearly Halloween after all.  

Back at the Inn now having run up 10k steps so to speak. The place is a haven after doing the touristy thing. In fact this whole holiday has settled into a pattern. We do the sightseeing in the morning until sometime after lunch and then return to chill out a bit before heading out on the razzle. Half thinking of donning one of my new shirts tonight but it ain’t exactly Hawaiian weather. 

The cab journey into town is only about a mile and you might think it’s a bit wussy to not walk. However the weather is still crap and the taxi will be used to taking people on short trips. I was chatting to the guy behind the desk at the museum and mentioned we’d walked. His response was “wow you guys have had an energetic day”.

Today btw is Yom Kippur. Some shops had closed for it. Fortunately other shops were available.

Had a great last night out in Provincetown. Bit of a pub crawl. Can’t remember all their names but one of them was called Heaven (big LGBT place is PT) and we ate at the Lobster Pot. In fact just looked at my FB timeline and I see that one was called Tin Pan Alley and Anne tells me we started off at the Governor Bradford.

Provincetown was fun despite the weather but we are unlikely to return. It isn’t exactly on the way anywhere. We got away in a reasonably timely manner at 8.15 ish and hit the road for Plimoth Patuxet, the Pilgrims settlement museum. Upon arrival the sun came out vindicating my choice of short trousers. 

We were slightly disappointed to discover that the Mayflower II is not at the same location as the Plimoth Museum and weren’t sure that we would have enough time to see the ship as we needed to get the car back to Avis by 2pm. We remedied this by not dawdling too much and bought ourselves an hour or so for the Mayflower. Was pretty amazing to see the space that 102 pilgrims crammed into, including their animals up at the bow.

It was really well worth doing. Both museums were actually interesting. The onward drive to Boston was characterised by the arrival of “fall” in the trees lining the roads. Didn’t get any pics as I was  driving but we have at least now seen some of the famed colours.

Today we are walking the Freedom Trail. The 16 historical spots that define the American casting off of the shackles of British oppression. Our hotel is smack in the middle of it all. To some extent it feels surreal coming here as a tourist. Our room is on the 8th floor. I can almost imagine looking down out of the hotel window and watching the fighting on the streets below. Redcoats v patriots. I imagine the doormen would stop any of it coming into the actual hotel. The comfort of the guests is a priority 🙂

Reminds me of the night of the Eagles concert in Hyde Park where 80,000 gig goers streamed out afterwards. We only had to stroll over the road to the Park Lane Hilton where only residents were being allowed entry. 

Just a few nights left on our East Coast odyssey. Still loads to cram in and we don’t actually get home until next Thursday but I do sense that a quiet week in front of the fire will be in order.

Knackered. Traipsed around the Freedom Trail and now back in the hotel injecting sugar in the form of an M&M Cookie and caffeine in a milky coffee. I’m not going to describe the full five and a half hours but there are a few observations worthy of note.

You start off in Boston Common. A drone’s eye view would have shown many guided tours that were able to keep apart thanks to the many wide lanes criss-crossing the former cattle grazing ground. By attraction number four, the Granary Burial Ground the guided tours began to collide and clog up the pathways. Some notable graves were impossible to view as they were surrounded by groups huddled around their respective guide. The cemetery needs a traffic management protocol.

There were times when we strode ahead of a tour thinking that once we were in the clear we would no longer be troubled by them. This worked until we got to the memorial for Benjamin Franklin where we had sat down for a breather and to check WhatsApp etc. Before we knew it a group had caught us up. This particular guide had a very irritating high pitched nasal whine. I’d have been somewhat annoyed had I elected to go on her particular tour. Couldn’t have stuck that noise the whole way around.

We took a moment or two to find the next attraction, the Old Corner Bookstore. This was because it is no longer a bookstore but a Mexican restaurant. Fair enough. Many of the attractions had a $15 admission fee. We skipped going inside these. If we’d paid $30 for the two of us for every one of these places it would not have been a cheap day out.

As it was the $15 (inc tip) I paid for some bland mexican wrap in the Quincy Market was an unmemorable experience but at least it gave us the opportunity to sit down and recharge the batteries.

Many of the tours stopped at Faneuil Hall although we did see one or two make it as far as Paul Revere’s gaff. I suspect the average tourist and one or two of the guides might have struggled to make it the whole way around. Near to Paul Revere are lots of nice looking Italian Restaurants including Mamma Maria’s which I had booked for dinner on Sunday but since decided against as it looked a bit too posh for what we will want. More lobster than lasagna. 

We did buy some nice looking Italian bread in a deli styled as the best Italian Grocery in Boston. We have picnic stuff in the fridge in our room and much prefer to make our own sandwiches rather than buy them. You can’t buy a small sandwich in the USA.

The hike across the river to Charlestown tested the dedication of the most fervent Freedom Trailer. This was especially true for the bridge which was having some work done to it and  the crossing of which involved risking life and limb across a busy junction unaided by walk/don’t walk lights.

Towards the end we decided to skip Bunkers Hill and the site of the first battle of the revolution heading instead straight for the USS Constitution. Old Ironsides as she is known. The Bunkers Hill monument was a step too far. I doubt many make it up the hill.

So there ya go. We enjoyed the day out and caught the boat back to the wharf near our hotel whereupon we indulged in the aforementioned refreshments. Now relaxing in our room before deciding which bar to hit. No rush.

Unless you have the stamina to visit all the museums it only takes two or three hours to “do” Harvard. We went to the Peabody Museum and the Natural History Museum, both of which were in the same building. Although not huge displays the displays were very high quality and I particularly noted the meteorites. Not sure I’ve seen a meteorite before. Anne had visited here with her folks in 1969 and the crystal exhibits she had distinct memories of were thrillingly still on display.

We found coffee and ice cream at J.P. Licky’s and then sat in the sun for a while watching a chinese busker set up and start to play. His quite competent guitar playing was not really matched by his singing voice but he was entertaining enough and a few people threw in a few dollars.

We were meeting our friends Ren and Joe at Wusong Road tiki bar at 5pm and at 4pm spotted that the sun was already over a handily situated yardarm so repaired to Whitney’s for a couple before the party started. I’m a great believer that towns and cities need to be experienced through their pubs.

Nice chat with the bartender, Baptiste and purchaysed a pub t-shirt to add to my collection from this trip. Baptiste was very familiar with the IoM TT Races which was quite cool. The rest of the day is a bit of a cocktail induced blur that ended up at a packed out Mr Dooleys and watching game 2 of  the Padres v Mets in the hotel bar. Mets won 3 – 7. @Huw Rees won’t be happy. Still one game to go 😉

Thus far I’ll be leaving some good reviews of some of the places we’ve been on this trip but especially of Whitneys and our particular hotel, the Hilton Downtown Faneuil Hall. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the breakfasts here but the stand out experience has been at the concierge desk. Lead Concierge John not only remembered my name, inc spelling, but was able to get us in to the fully booked Union Oyster House tonight and sorted us out for breakfast today at the North Street Grille.

Had we not booked a table in advance the wait would have been at least an hour.

Last night in Boston and our penultimate in the US of A. An action packed trip. We are currently relaxing in the room before heading out to dine at the oldest restaurant in the USA. Predates the American Revolution. Gosh. Gottabedone. We will also no doubt be visiting Mr Dooley for one last beer or two. 

We have an easy enough start tomorrow. 11.11 Acela train from Boston to Pennsylvania Station arr 14.51. Gotta nip out and buy some nosh for the journey beforehand. There is a 711 somewhere nearby. If we get upgraded to first then they dish up food on the train. 

They have a bidding system so I’ve stuck a medium chance bid in. Tbh the reviews on the difference between “business class” and “first class” on the Acela suggest there isn’t much in it which is why I didn’t bother going for first from the get go. Just free food and drink and lounge access at Boston station. Quite like doing picnics. The food on board is probably pretty mediocre anyway. 711 is unlikely to produce anything decent though.

Cab to Hilton Midtown. Plan is to meet John Bradley for beers then head to Birdland jazz club. Although I don’t have a bucket list, Birdland is on it.

Now working my way through the last three bottles of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in the fridge.

I stay in a lot of Hiltons. Two things made the Hilton Boston Downtown Faneuil Hall stand out.

First of all, the breakfasts were exceptionally good. It was helped by being A La Carte instead of a buffet but it was so good that we unusually had breakfast for three out of our four nights at the hotel.

Second was the outstanding service provided by Lead Concierge John. He got us tables at restaurants that were notionally fully booked including the Union Oyster House and North Street Grille. At the Oyster house people were being told that there would be at least an hour’s wait but we were straight in and at our table in a matter of seconds.

The North Street Grille had a similar waiting time – for breakfast! At the latter I mentioned that the table had been booked for us by John at the Hilton. The response was “John is great”. 

He needs to be called out for his exceptional customer service. He even remembered my name including the spelling the second time we spoke.

Nuff said.

Sung to the tune of Chattanooga Choochoo – revision of lyrics based on Tref & Anne visit to USA and ride on Amtrak Acela train between Boston Back Bay and Penn Station New York.

Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer, than to have your bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast with a cup of tea in Carolina.

Train stopped because the bridge ahead was open.

So a bit of a palava getting to New York today. 1st of all, the Acela train was over an hour late. We stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere while the mechanic or someone was called “ASAP”. Then we find we can move but we’d only allow to go a maximum of 125 miles an hour which I didn’t think it went faster than that anyway.

Interestingly when we got to Penn station it was a lot easier than I thought. We went out onto 7th Avenue and I asked someone who looked like a traffic manager or something was there a taxi line and where would it be. She just shouted taxi and a taxi stopped and in we got.

We get to the hotel and there is a massive queue. I look around for a Hilton Honors check in place. There isn’t one.  I checked in online and got a digital key except I didn’t. The room wasn’t ready. I would get the digital key when the room was ready. Then I went to see the bellman and he took a look at my room and points out “you’re on the 39 floor they’ve got their own separate check in place” there. Ahah I think. Now we’re talking. We go to floor 37. 

There was no queue at all at the check in on the 37 floor but it was also the wrong check in desk. It was for a timeshare. She sent us back down to the ground floor.

I couldn’t face the queue and then I thought hang on a minute we’ve already checked in. We might as well to sit in the bar and have a beer. So I ordered a beer and moment the bloody beer came the key for the room arrived so it was neck that and off we went.

Those last few paragraphs were written by voice dictation. Although I did some hand editing I couldn’t be bothered making it flow.

The brain is somewhat dulled this morning. We are relaxing in the relative calm of our 39th floor hotel room with a partial view of Central Park where we plan on repairing for lunch in a short while.

There is otherwise no urge to further explore the frenzy that is Manhattan. Our time in the USA is almost at an end and a gentle day is called for after the manic, full on two weeks that have just raced by.

Last night we met globe trotting rugby player John Bradley in Copper John’s on West 54th before heading over to Birdland. John didn’t have a ticket but we blagged a  spot for him – result! I did buy a t-shirt 🙂 I’m going to wear it tomorrow night at the Royal Albert Hall. Along with my red chinese jacket.

Lag of jet

Birrovadozyafternoon. Intheroom. Readyearlyforthegig. PinkMartiniattheRoyalAlbertHall. Weneedtobethereearlyishtopickupticketsfromtheboxoffice. Doorsopenforusat6pm.

The End

Categories
57 Varieties diary travel

the surreal 2019 world of trefor davies

Hong Kong

Bangkok

London

Cardiff

Barcelona

Trafalgar Square

Brussels

Toulouse

Dublin

Manchester

Washington DC

Isle of Man

Reykjavik

Moscow

Brussels

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

Categories
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

Categories
travel

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.

Categories
travel

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

calcots

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.

Drivel.

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.

Categories
travel

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

Categories
#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 trefor.net.

Categories
#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.

Categories
#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.

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#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.

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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.

tref

 

 

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Isle of Man

Images of Fenella

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Isle of Man the art gallery

Sea views








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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.