Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hampshire Delights Part 1......

Long time I know, and I really should be telling you about our trip to Italy in May, but we had a little getaway to Hampshire a couple of weeks ago so I thought I'd tell you about that first.

It was a coach trip (again) and we travelled down to Basingstoke, Hampshire, where we were based, on the Thursday morning stopping off at Banbury for lunch, arriving at the hotel about 5pm.    It was a long journey so we unpacked and had a short rest before getting freshened up for dinner.

The following morning we set off after breakfast to Runnymede to board a river cruise boat for a two hour trip along the Thames.  The water-meadow at Runnymede is the most likely location at which, in 1215,King John sealed the Magna Carta.   Magna Carta was the first document imposed upon a King Of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their rights.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore Runnymede as our boat was waiting for us.

It was a beautiful day as we sat up top on the boat enjoying looking at the houses along the river.

the wildlife,
other boats

before arriving at Old Windsor Lock.
There were two boats ahead of us waiting to go through the lock so we had to wait a while, then it was our turn to go through. Here's a short video of our trip through the lock.


How would you like to live in this Lockkeeper's Cottage?
We navigated the lock then the drama began!    The engine on our our boat started overheating and the captain had to turn it off, which left us drifting down the Thames!   He quickly got onto his headquarters on his radio and before too long another cruise boat arrived and they lashed the two boats together, we travelled further downstream under the steam of the other boat until it could steer ours to the bank where we could moor.   Waving the rescue boat away we waited a short while for another boat to arrive for us to transfer to, then, because we had already been out for almost two hours and had somewhere else to be, we were taken back to where our coach was parked and were on our way to our next visit.   It was a shame the cruise was cut short because of what happened but we did enjoy the excitement.

Our next visit was to Milestones Living History Museum in Basingstoke, where you can step into the story of Hampshire's social, retail and industrial heritage and imagine what life would have been like during the Victorian era and the 1930's as you explore the life-size streets, buildings, shops and vehicles.  Adults and children can dress in Victorian costumes, buy a 2oz ration of sweets in the 1940's sweet shop, enjoy a drink in the working Edwardian pub, climb on board some of the vehicles and see the vast collection of appliances from bygone days.

It doesn't look much from the outside does it?

Inside it's magic!

See the Marcel Wave machine above and how it worked below?
 In this next photo the item I'm holding is a posser, I used to help my grandmother do the laundry in a dolly tub using one of these to mix the laundry.

It was almost time to go home but we just had to visit the reconstructed pier with it's penny slot machines, where we put a £1 in a machine to recieved 10 x 1 old pennies to play the machines.  We had great fun, MWM won a packet of sweets on the crane grab machine, he also had his Xray taken which turned out to be a small picture of a skeleton wearing a hat and smoking a pipe and I had my fortune told by Madam Zasha!
Here's what it said:

The money which comes your way you spend wisely, although some may not think so.  We cannot all have immense wealth and this does not always bring happiness. A kind person like yourself has true friends.  The smiles on the faces of loved ones is ample reward for a few pennies well spent.

How nice is that? 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Milestones and can really recommend it for a day out if you are in that area.  Unfortunately it was time to head back to the hotel as Milestones closed at 4.45 p.m. but as the hotel was only 15 minutes away we were able to have a much needed rest before dinner.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 and will join me for Part 2 when we take a train ride and visit Winchester.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Coronation Street..........

Before I start telling you about our trip to Italy I must tell you about our day out yesterday, touring the original set of the dearly loved and longest running soap in Britain, first broadcast on December 9th 1960 - Coronation Street.      If you are thinking of doing the Coronation Street Tour yourself then don't read this, you can have your own experience and see it all for real, I can thoroughly recommend it.

This original set, on Quay Street in Manchester, has now been abandoned in favour of a brand new purpose built set at Media City in Salford and is only open to tourists until the end of this year, after which it will be demolished and the land sold off, so we just had to go see a piece of Northern Television History.

The tour started in the studios, unfortunately photographs were not allowed but you can see some here, though we did take a sneaky one of the real life BAFTA Coronation Street received in 2012.
 We were shown the different dressed sets for the various interiors of the houses of the residents of Coronation Street, and it was explained how the sets changed depending on what was being filmed.  On each of the sets was a video showing scenes of the residents of the various houses and it was fascinating to see the familiar furniture in the front rooms,  though it all looks so much smaller than it does on TV.    

We were, however allowed in the Rovers Return.

Here we are behind the bar

Then it was out the back door into the yard.

 Then into the Street

To visit No1 Ken & Dierdre and No 3 Emily & Norris, and the back of No 1 the extension.

No 5 Chesney & Sinead, No 7 Dev Alahan No 9 Tyrone & Fiz and No 11 Eileen
No 13 Sophie Webster and Maddie Heath.
Last on the row the Corner Shop, currently owned by Dev.
The back alley.

At the end of the street is The Bistro
 Across the road we visited the Kabin
Websters' Auto Centre

Underworld (aka the knicker factory)

Round the corner back onto Coronation Street and No 8 Gail McIntyre's. While MWM rang the bell at the front door I sneaked round the back to have a look at the garden.

 Then I went next door to Anna's No.6. but she wasn't in.
 If you want to know who lived in these properties previously with a brief history see here.

Audrey's Salon wasn't open either
so I sat on the bench outside for a while but she didn't arrive.
The plaque on the bench is dedicated to Maxine Peacock, Ashley's first wife and hairdresser at the salon.

Then we went round the corner on to Rosamund Street to see the viaduct,
 Looking up Rosamund Street from the viaduct.
 the medical centre and chip shop,

Barlow's  Buys,

 The bus stop and Street Cars.

Just round the corner is Victoria Street, the home to the kebab shop, Roy's Rolls and what was Elliott's Butchers shop.

On the opposite side of the Street is Tina McIntyre's flat and the builder's yard,

 **SPOILER ALERT** If you're not up to date with what's happened in the last couple of months on Corrie don't read any further!

where Tina met her death when she was pushed from the balcony by Rob Donovan,  but having survived the fall he battered her with a lead pipe and she died in hospital.

Map of Coronation Street and surrounding area here.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Coronation Street and the studios, it was really interesting and fascinating to see the actual set we have watched for so many years on TV.     Hope you enjoyed the tour, if you read it.