Monday 31 August 2009

The Cotswolds Part 2........

After a huge buffet breakfast we took our luggage and boarded the coach at 9 a.m to take us to Stratford-upon-Avon .

We passed through beautiful little villages such as Henly-in-Arden and Wootton Wawen, with their timbered buildings and thatched cottages and even a Saxon Church. Unfortunately we didn't have time to stop so I didn't get any photographs, which is why I've added links. We had two hours free time in Stratford and I did get lots of photographs there. Our first task was to find Shakespeare's Birthplace which we did, and I took lots of photos. I have always wanted to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon which is why we booked the trip and it didn't disappoint, of course the weather was just beautiful - sunny and hot - which made everything even better.

As we only had two hours in Stratford-upon-Avon so there wasn't time to do the tour of the inside of the house unfortunately so we decided to wander round taking photographs of the wonderful old buildings in the town, such as these.....

We found Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried but unfortunately we couldn't go into the church to see his shrine because there was actually a service going on at the time. We took some photos though.

There are some really old gravestones in the churchyard - these two are from the 1700's.

I'm not sure if that photograph will biggify so you can see what it says, so here's a translation of what can be seen, bearing in mind some of the stones are missing.

The one on the left says:
.....Lyeth the Body of
.....rd Gibbs W......................................
Life May................
Aged 39 yeare 1714
Mary his wife died
Dec 26th 1734 Aged 60

The one on the right says:
.........Lord daughter......
.............Lord and Mary Lord
She of fe.......
In the Twelfth year of her........

In a little park nearby some actors were giving a free performance of Hamlet, yet again we didn't have time to stay and watch but I got a photograph of the actors psyching themselves up before the performance.

We then walked along the river and took some photos of the River Avon.

By this time we were desperate to sit down so we called in a pub for a quick drink. The pub was overlooking the river and quite unusual in that it had two names as you can see from the sign.

All too soon it was time to board our coach again for the 5 minute journey to Statford Railway Station to board the Shakespeare Express for the next leg of our journey. We boarded the coach for the 5 minute trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon railway station where we were to enjoy an hour's ride on the Shakespeare Express steam train, pulled by The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, from Stratford to Birmingham through the lovely Cotswolds countryside. The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is a Castle class locomotive which was originally built as Barbary Castle but later renamed after one of the directors of the Great Western Railway, who had complained that his name was on an old engine!

We settled in our seats and the train pulled out of the station getting up a good head of steam until about 20 minutes into the journey when it stopped at some points. Unfortunately the points were broken and we were stuck on the train for the next 45 minutes until they could get someone out to fix the points! Everyone was in good spirits on the train though and there was a buffet car selling snacks, soft drinks and wine - guess what we had? LOL

It was very warm on the train but they opened the doors after warning everyone NOT to get off the train. A huge cheer went up when they announced that the points had been fixed and the train chugged onwards reaching 76 mph! We should have had an hour's free time in Birmingham but because of the breakdown we had to get straight back on the coach at Birmingham for the journey home.

The journey home was pleasant once we got off the motorway (you know I hate motorways right?) through the Cheshire countryside and back to Bolton where we had started our journey. We then had a nice surprise as the coach was based in Heywood, where we live, so the driver said we could stay on the coach instead of having to get a taxi from Bolton to Heywood.

We arrived in Heywood about 6pm and called in our local pub for a couple of drinks before getting a taxi home for an early night.

Friday 28 August 2009

Friday 55 Flash Fiction # 87 Red Carpet

Muriel stepped confidently onto the red carpet.

She walked steadily along its plushness.
She was nervous.
She'd done everything asked of her.
Would she be celebrating or distraught, returning along it's length?
All she could think about were the results.

Reaching the door Muriel's last thought was...
Strange choice, red carpet in a hospital corridor!

Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). The idea is you write a story in exactly 55 words. If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

A necessary task....

Now what you are about to read may seem strange to some of you but I spent yesterday morning taking photographs of all my 'good' jewellery (of which I have quite a lot). The reason for this was two-fold

a)  I want a record of what I've got in case we get burgled and it is stolen.
b)  I want photographs and details of it so I can bequeath it when I snuff it.

Does that sound wierd to you?

Anyway I now have photographs of it all, with descriptions, which MWM is going to save onto a disc which will go in the 'insurance tin', with a list of which pieces are bequeathed to whom. That way there will be no arguing or squabbling about who gets what and I can be sure that heirloom pieces go to my granddaughter i.e. my mother's gold watch and engagement ring etc., and my wedding, engagement and eternity ring.

It's something I've been meaning to do for ages but it's one of those things you keep putting off, you know? Well yesterday morning I was in the mood and had nothing better to do so I did it and I can tell you I feel better now it's done!

Just out of interest, do you have an 'insurance tin'?

It's where we keep all the important papers, receipts and valuations for jewellery, the wills etc. Oh and that reminds me we have to write new wills, ours are too out of date. Oh well that's anothing thing on the list of things to do when I retire.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

The Queen's Meme # 3 (for me).......

This week's meme is

The Message In A Bottle Meme.

I did this a while ago so my bottle is out there bobbing on the sea somewhere but the Queen has decided we are doing it again so here goes.

Here's what the Queen says you have to do:
1. Compose a message to place in your virtual bottle below.
It can even be ANONYMOUS message.
I will not reveal your identity.

2. Right click and Save the graphic below

3. Use a graphics program of your choice to place the message on the picture
4. Post the meme and these rules on your blog
6. Tag a minimum of five people - or your entire blogroll - to do the same.

Notify them of the tag.

Your virtual bottle will remain afloat in the blogosphere ocean for all blogernity (That's a Mimism for blog + eternity.)I will add it to the master list of message bottles when you let me know you've completed the meme.


I will also add it to Message In a Bottle blog with a link back to you.

How to stay out of the dungeon:

Once upon a time in a faraway Bloggiverse there lived a maiden named Queen Mimi Pencil Skirt. She slayed her own dragons, stoked her own fire and well.....wrote memes by the light of the Bloggingham moon. One day a kind blogger from England noticed her meme lovin' ways and royally crowned her Mimi Queen of Memes. As time passed in the peaceful kingdom of Bloggingham, her Royal Highness found comfort in the company of fellow bloggers who also loved memes. But the Queen had a wicked disposition too. It is widely reported in historical Blogosphere archives that any and all bloggers found guilty of not completing their memes were promptly thrown into the dreaded Bloggingham dungeon.

If I were you, I'd do the meme

I'm not risking Mimi's wrath (I've missed a couple of meme's already - sorry Mimi) so here's my
Message In A Bottle

I'm tagging everyone on my blogroll in the hope that at least FIVE of you will do the meme and keep me out of the dungeon.  
Please, Pretty please?

Monday 24 August 2009

The Cotswolds Part 1.....

Cheltenham City Centre

(If you click on the photos they should bigify)

The weekend after we took the grandchildren to Southport we had another little jaunt booked with our friends K&T, to the Coltswolds. We had to meet a coach at 8.15 a.m. on Saturday which took us to Staffordshire where we changed to a larger coach to take us to Cheltenham (which is a Spa town) in Gloucestershire, where we spent about an hour before getting back on the coach to Toddington to the

where we were boarding a train pulled by The Black Prince, a steam engine owned by the famous wildlife artist David Shepherd, for a 40 minute journey back to Cheltenham, chugging along through the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside at a mere 25 miles per hour. Apparently David Shepherd was visiting the GWR on Saturday 8th August to mark his locomotive’s 50th birthday and he had arranged aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to pass over Toddington. The Spitfire which zoomed over the station four times was superb though much too fast for me to get a photograph unfortunately.

We arrived at Toddington Station and had about 30 minutes before the train was due to leave so we had a wander round and took some photographs.

The leisurely journey through the Gloucestershire countryside was very relaxing and the ride ended at

Cheltenham Race Course Station
Here's some views of the famous Cheltenham Race Course.

We then got back on the coach to be taken to The Park Inn, Birmingham, where we were staying the night. We arrived there about 5.30 p.m. which gave us enough time to have a rest and get showered and changed for dinner at 7 p.m. in the hotel. The hotel is very nice, spacious modern rooms with every convenience and dinner consisted of a carvery which was very substantial and tasty. We had a few drinks in the hotel bar after dinner then retired for the night, as we had to be on the coach the following morning at 9 a.m. for the journey to Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare).

Tune in for part 2 coming soon.

Friday 21 August 2009

Friday 55 Flash Fiction # 86 Busy, busy......

Running up the stairs he rapped on the door.

"It's past eight o'clock, he shouted through the lock,
"Are you children in bed?" he asked.

"What on earth are you doing in your pyjamas, running all over the town?" the said.
"No idea" said Wee Willie Winkie, "perhaps it's because I'm a nursery rhyme character!"

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,
Tapping at the window and crying through the lock,
Are all the children in their beds, it's past eight o'clock?

Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). The idea is you write a story in exactly 55 words. If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

After the rain.....

all day Tuesday and our trip on the Ffestiniog Railway, Wednesday dawned overcast but warmer, as you can see from the photo above those young ladies were braving the sea!

We decided to take a walk along the beach.....

By the time we stopped for a rest the sky was brightening somewhat and there were a lot of people taking their boats out and making camp on the beach so we thought we'd join them. We went to the shop and bought some supplies for lunch, picked the cool bag, rug and books up from the car and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach reading.

The following morning, our last full day, we awoke to bright sunshine and it was really warm. After breakfast we took a walk down to the other side of the harbour and sat on the beach. MWM offered to go and get some supplies for lunch and the rest of the paraphanalia ie rug, books etc whilst I enjoyed the sun. We spent the rest of the afternoon sunning ourselves, reading and watching people come and go in their boats, children playing in the sand and dogs splashing about in the water chasing sticks thrown by their owners. It was so hot I burnt my legs which I had inadvertantly forgotton to put suncream on!

All to soon it was time to leave the beach and go back to our B&B to shower the sand of our bodies and out of our hair. We had booked a table at the little Italian Restaurant in the village for dinner and very nice it was too. We retired reasonably early that evening as we wanted to set off home just after 9.30 a.m. the following morning.

Thankfully Friday dawned bright and warm again and after breakfast we popped down to the shop for some supplies for lunch, we intended stopping at Bala again, and we were away by 9.45 a.m. I drove to Bala, where we stopped for lunch, then MWM took over for the rest of the journey home. We arrived home about 1.15 p.m. then once I'd sorted the washing out I popped down to the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

We had a wonderful four days in Abersoch and decided if we win on the Lottery we'll buy a house there overlooking the sea. It will have to be a substantial win though because those houses cost in excess of £1,000,000!

I hope you enjoyed our holiday in Wales?

We're off on another jaunt today, so I'll catch up with you all later and of course I'll be posting about where we're going today.

Monday 17 August 2009


During our usual fortnightly trip to see Big Granddad (my Dad) with three of the grandchildren, Sam (10), Harry (5) and Gracie (3) the conversation went something like this:

Gracie: I went to my friend's party this week at Planet Play.
Me: That's nice, did you have a good time?
Gracie: Yes, I've been before.
Harry: I've been to Planet Play too, I'm having my birthday party there.
Me:  How lovely.   Are you having your birthday party there too Gracie?
Gracie: No I'm having my party at the pub.

I think she's inherited my genes. LOL

Carrying on the party mood............

The lovely Thom (Thoms Place 4 Well Whatever) received this award recently

and passed it on to me.

Thank you Thom I'm truly honoured that you think my blog is inspirational.

As ever the award comes with rules;

# Write a post about your new award, linking to the person who awarded it to you.
# Award 10 more bloggers who inspire you, and link to them in your post.
# Comment on their blog, directing the blog owner to this post, so they may copy the code and display it on their side bar. Here is the link:
# Your blog name and link should have been listed in Mister Linky by the person who nominated you.
# Comment here once you have done all of this so we can read your inspirational nominees’ blogs.

My ten are as follows:

Julia (A Piece Of My Mind) for her poetry
Linda (Are We There Yet?) for her history lessons
Cloudia (Comfort Spiral) for her account of life in Hawaii and the history of that beautiful island.
Daryl (Out & About In New York City) - for her fabulous photos out and about in NYC.
G-Man (Mr. Knowitall) - for hosting 55 Flash Fiction and getting me hooked on writing it.
Stephen (Stephen's Thoughts) - for his amazing imagination.
Buff (Opinions & Rectums) - for his inspiring recipes with leftovers.
Spiky (Bit Player Reflects) - for her fantastic writing skills.
Raven (Views from Raven's Nest) - for hosting Saturday Wordzzles thereby encouraging creativity in others.
Mimi (Mimi Writes) - for flooding the blogosphere with Memes which are great when you can't think of anything else to write about!

So thankyou all, you are truly an inspiration to me.

Friday 14 August 2009

Friday 55 Flash Fiction # 85 Trapped.....

Jack fidgeted, wiping the sweat from his brow.

How long would he be incarcerated?

It was stifling.

He couldn't escape, although the windows were open

there was nowhere to escape to.

He'd have to be patient, he'd just have to sit it out.

Surrounded on all sides

by vehicles stuck in the same traffic jam.

Friday 55 Flash Fiction is brought to you by G-man (Mr Knowitall). The idea is you write a story in exactly 55 words. If you want to take part pop over and let G-man know when you've posted your 55.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Blaenau Ffestiniog.....

This was our destination for Tuesday.

The day dawned cloudy, windy and rain! Undettered we went for a walk to a different part of the beach before breakfast to blow away the cobwebs. The beach was deserted apart from the little boats that had been left on it and the only sound was from the seagulls, the sea and the ropes slapping against the masts of the boats.

After a hearty breakfast (of which I had too many and am now on a strict diet) we retrieved the car from the car park and MWM drove the 20miles to Porthmadog to the The Ffestiniog Railway and the trip w(h)e'd been looking forward to since we booked the holiday. This is a narrowguage railway which was built as a gravity and horse drawn line to transport slate from the quarries in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog. We bought our tickets, deciding to travel first class as the carriages are so small and were lucky enough to get a little carriage for 4 all to ourselves. The journey is a round trip of about 3 hours for the 13 1/2 mile journey, with one or two stops on the way where one can get off and explore and wait for the next train to come along. As it was pouring down with rain we decided to stay on the train and just enjoy the views.

Here's a slide show of all the photos we took on the journey.

We really enjoyed the trip on the train then I drove back to Abersoch where we had a late lunch and a couple of drinks in the pub, well we had to shelter from the rain didn't we? Our meal on day two was at the Sandpiper restaurant where we had pub grub consisting of steak and ale pie with chunky chips and peas - another reason I'm dieting now!

Day three coming soon.