Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Rugby league..... party on

Okay, now don't just turn away because of the title.......

If you follow any team in any sport you will know the highs and heartache of that particular pastime.

In our house we follow Castleford Tigers who had a sensational season last year.  I won't bore you with the details but what I will say is that life was better because they were winning.

They were even on the news when they got to Wembley as half the town went to see them off!

Okay, it's a small town but seriously there were a LOT of people went 'darn t'lane' to see them off.

We went on a bus organised by a pub in town.  Actually I think there were nine buses and at 7:00 am there were lots of people milling about in town waiting for buses and wishing they had visited the loo before they left the house.

We didn't win at Wembley, Leeds Rhinos (arch rivals) won, but you wouldn't have thought it on the bus on the way home.  I think this club is known for singing and having high spirits, even as a crushing defeat looms.  I have seen the fans doing a conga round the stands when the team have been on the wrong end of a drubbing.

So, not for us a gloomy bus journey home.  No we had several renditions of Sweet Caroline (the song played at the end of each game), there was talk about the team, the highs and lows of the game and of course some incredibly witty banter among the fans.  It was a great day out.

This year we're not at Wembley so we have decided to have a Challenge Cup party.  It will not involve half the town, but it will involve plenty of beer, plenty of banter and plenty of friends.  We are an eclectic mix who range in age from 20's to almost 70, this is just some of them.  Let's hope the sun shines.......

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


I was sweeping the drive outside the front window, to get rid of the dust and dead petals when I noticed a small black lump on the floor.  When I looked closely this is what I found.....

It is, I believe, a Pipistrelle bat.

We have them round here and I'm not sure what happened to this one but it was there on the floor all dried out, but still with its teeth and furry body intact.

I measured it, because I thought it may be a baby, but that is the size of a fully grown bat.  There was no indicator of exactly how it met its end.  Maybe it lost a fight for territory, I don't know.

I felt sorry, because bats seem to be quite an unusual sight these days.  We do get them at dusk round here as we are close to a wood.  At one time, when my daughter was younger, we would all sit on the front doorstep watching them flap around the house.  At that time there were four or five that we used to see quite regularly.  Sometimes they used to swoop in very close.

I think I need to make a point to have a look at dusk to see if I can see the bats again.

I'm not at all happy that the very last bat that I have seen is a dead, dried up one.....

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth

We had a beautiful day to visit the Historic dockyard.

There is a lot to see and it is definitely a whole day out.

This was a new exhibit, a first world war ship..... which wasn't open.  We were gutted as this was what we really wanted to see.  But I felt more sorry for two elderly chaps who had a connection with the ship and who had made a special journey.  When we looked more closely at the literature it did give the opening date but it wasn't at all clear if you just skimmed the leaflet.  Poor show.

However we did the Victory, which is a great ship to go round, especially if you are small as you don't bump your head at all.  The guides on board are very good and knowledgeable, making the story of the ship come to life.

We did the Marie Rose, which I haven't seen before.  All the artefacts in the museum are real, I think there were 19000 recovered.  The tales of the people that worked on the ship and reconstruction of their faces were incredible.  I was in awe of the amount of stuff recovered and the tale that all those items told in such detail.  I didn't take any pictures, but I wished that I had taken one of the building it was housed in as that was impressive.

I loved the patterns of the tracks for configuring the canons on the Warrior.

And as the Americas Cup was about to take place there were the different team vessels (catamarans?) being loaded in and out of the docks.

My daughter and her friend visited the submarine across at Gosport (the guide asked why they weren't laid on a beach somewhere) and we had planned a return for the tour of the Navy Dockyard, but when we went back it was closed because of the Americas Cup.

It is  great day, or couple of days out but it is expensive if you want to wander at will and visit all the attractions.  The ticket we bought lasts for a year but it is unlikely that we will be back within the year.  Thankfully Caravan Club membership got you two for one so it was half of what it would have been!

If you are in the area you must do the Spinnaker Tower.....

I have no idea how high it is but on a clear and bright day it is fantastic.  I like a glass floor (CN Tower, Blackpool Tower, Spinnaker Tower).

The views are amazing.....
Looking towards the Historic Dockyard.
Or just looking out to sea......

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


I've been away......

We went on holiday but before that I just didn't seem to have time to sit down, organise thoughts and actually put together a blog.

So..... The holiday........ We holidayed in this country, near Portsmouth in fact.  We have a caravan and we had stopped at a site on the way back from France last year and decided to go back. As the daughter is 16 she gets to take a friend and they stay in a tent.

Before we left we had seen two weeks of glorious sunshine and after a five hour drive we arrived in the rain and it continued to rain all night....... Suddenly a UK holiday seems like a very bad idea.

But actually it was ok most days.  I wore shorts for all but one of the days and it was warm, really warm most of the time.

So what did we do? (Prepare for a photofest.......)

We visited the Sammy Miller Motorbike museum.  Sammy Miller MBE owns and runs the museum with a band of enthusiasts.  He is a famous, nay legendary, motorcycle racer who won the British Trials Championship 11 years in succession, as well as a mass of other trophies.

My daughter and I were looking at all the cups and trophies that were displayed there; as she was completely knocked out by the sheer number of them and the fact that he was so very good over so many years; when he came over to us and said that a younger man had worked very hard to get all those and that each of them represented about 50 miles of riding. At that we were even more impressed. It is a genuine treasure trove for a motorbike enthusiast, run by a legend of a rider who is passionate about restoration and the sport, as well as being just a lovely man.  While we were there he was riding one of the exhibits up and down the lane.  If you are at all into motorbikes you have to, have to visit. Seriously, you do....

Boscastle pier.  It has some installations for making sounds down its length.  Some you can't utilise properly because they've had bits removed (vandalised basically), but you can play "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" and a selection of other tunes on there.  It's fun and there is a long windbreak so if it's windy on one side you sit at the other.  Clever....

The D Day museum and Overlord Embroidery.  This is the tank outside the museum which is the same as the one used in the film Fury, which we had recently seen.  The Overlord Embroidery is a fantastic piece of art and much bigger than the Bayeux.  Well worth a visit and if you are short like me you can enjoy the tunnels without bumping your head.

Monkey World.  Ok, this is a drive from Portsmouth but we were 'down South' so we decided to go for it. I saw no monkeys at all for the first 15 minutes and was beginning to wonder if we had made a big mistake but soon we got to see some chimps and from there we saw a LOT of monkeys, including these Limas, who were enjoying Cheerios (who knew?).

This is the home of T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia) Clouds Hill, It was more of a weekend retreat than a home but it is where he occasionally lived and nearby is where he died.

When we turned up here my daughter and her friend were completely non-plussed, so we bought them ice cream and they sat in the sun while we had a look.  It is owned by the National Trust and is as Lawrence had it, other than the books which they are trying to replace over time.

It is a tiny gem of a house and just worth popping into.  Especially if you are in the area.  It is very close to the Tank Museum and Monkey World.  His garage is almost as large as the house, as that is where his motorbike, the famous Brough Superior on which he met his death was housed.

I haven't read any Lawrence but I enjoyed our brief visit here.  It was indeed a retreat and had a calm and peaceful atmosphere, just what was needed after a day at Monkey World.

Finally for this post a picture of my cream tea after a very competitive round of pitch and put.  We spent a couple of hours on the course near Portsmouth and it was great fun.  This cafe is called the Tenth Hole and so after a game it would be rude not to stop for a bite surely?

All the food looked delicious and I was happy because the scones had fruit.  Result.... on the cakes at least, I lost in pitch and put.....

More to come about the historic dockyard and Fort Nelson.  Bet you can't wait.....