Mystery Weekend #Bakewell #Buxton #Chester

I’ve done lots of day trips with coach companies but last month I decided to have a go at one of their overnight mystery tours. You have no idea where you are going until you get there. For me, who doesn’t mind not having a plan, I really enjoyed it and looked forward to where we could end up next and guessing what the towns could be.

In this instance we first went to Bakewell; home of the Bakewell tart. I’ve been before but only for about 90 minutes at night last December for a Xmas lights switch on. Lots more to see when there’s actually daylight! And it turned out to be a lovely little town. That was followed by the spa town of Buxton, a new place for me to go and I absolutely loved it. Finally a trip through the Peak District to get to our hotel for the evening. I loved this the most even though I spend it stuck on a coach. There’s something about our rolling hills (Peaks, Dales, Penines and more) that just makes me love the country I live in. It’s easy to forget how beautiful it is sometimes

The second day took us to Chester. That makes three times in the last 5 years for me going there so it’s beginning to lose it’s charm I think but it’s still a wonderful place to visit and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been. Not too many photo’s on this trip. I enjoyed more just getting away from everything and relaxing

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Caenarfon, Wales

I love my day trips and have been loyal to one or two coaches companies in the past. I decided last weekend to branch out and try a new one and go to tourist village Port Meirion. Sadly the coach company had other ideas. It took over two hours to go to all the passenger pick up stops before we could finally set off. It’s quite a distance from my home town but according to Google maps we should’ve been there about 2pm. At 2.30 we were still driving along a motorway. Then the driver pulled over in a layby and started messing on his phone. Never spoke to anyone beyond the first row of seats but I managed to catch that he’s missed his junction. Ok I thought he’s working out how to get back on track and when he set off again everything was ok. Afterall he didn’t say anything to us (paying) customers. Except half an hour later we pulled up in the small town of Caernarfon and he got off the bus expecting everyone else to do so. Still not actually telling anyone what had happened unless they asked. And you would when you’ve paid money to go somewhere and suddenly you’re somewhere else. Turns out we were too far away to go to our stop so he’d made the decision without consultation to take us to the nearest town. Caernarfon was a nice little town with nothing much more than a castle. It was pleasant but ultimately not where I’d expected to be going when I set off at 7.30 that morning. Even worse were the stories that getting lost is apparently standard fair for this travel company. I’ll save you the ranting my friends were subjected to and the subsequent complaints to the company and give you some photos of Caernarfon instead. Enjoy 🙂

Edinburgh (Scotland)

The other week I went to Edinburgh for my birthday. Despite living in the north of England I’ve only been to Scotland once before and that was thirty years ago. I had the most wonderful time. There is so much to do there. We went for 3 nights but could easily stay for the week.

First stop was the Elephant Cafe – the cafe where JK Rowling spent time when writing the Harry Potter stories. For me who loves Indian colours and mysticism the cafe had twice the appeal. One thing that amazed me was the loos! Yep the loos. Harry Potter fans have graffiti’d every single space in there. Apparently the cafe owners got fed up of painting over the scribbles and have left the marks as they are.

We spent many hours in the castle that overlooks the city. And at least half a day on the Royal Mile wandering all the cool shops. Before leaving we got to have a quick look around the art galleries. There’s a lot more we didn’t get chance to see so I’ll definitely be going back. Here are a few pictures:

A Walk to Work – #London

Poor Westminster has been in the new for all the wrong reasons lately due to terrorist attacks. I love the area and whenever we get the chance to work down in London and specifically the Westminster area where our head office is. So I thought I’d share a couple of photos of the last time I was down there

Holiday curse

I’ve just been on holiday with my best friend for the first time. We were meant to travel for an afternoon in Amsterdam using the ferry as our hotel room. The week before I got an email cancelling the trip as the travel company had forgotten to book the ferry part of the holiday! A bit of finangling later we managed to book a trip to Edinburgh instead but I figured it was probably time to tell my friend about my holiday course.

Yes I have a bit of a curse. Of the many holidays I’ve been on many of them have had some kind of trauma before or during. Here’s a few of them:
•After booking my first ever holiday abroad the very next day 9/11 happened. At the time I thought it was something very horrible but didn’t have an impact on my trip. Except when it came to flying to America the restrictions and actions of airport security only a few months after the event was terrifying. I’d booked a week in San Francisco followed by a week in Anaheim. Except I’d forgotten to book the bit where you have to travel between the two. Turns out just because a 600 mile trip in England is fairly easy on public transport, it’s less so by Amtrak. My train trip included 2 buses and a walk through a field.
•The next year we went to San Diego. The trip itself wasn’t horrible…well except for my son developing a severe gastric infection and the plan being re-routed from the stop-over in LA to San Francisco because of yet another terror threat
•So then we went to Paris….and the roof of Charles De Gaulle airport collapsed the day before we set off
•I’ve been to Orlando and got stuck in 2 tornados, a hurricane, lost all my credit cards (reporting them lost then finding them down the dies of the bed…) and then almost involved in a collision when our plane landed in the Atlanta stop over before having to do an emergency take off straight away as someone and I quote ‘had left a plane on the runway’.
•I went to Barcelona for my 40th birthday and the airline lost my luggage. Everybody’s suitcase but mine came trundling out. Sighing deeply I went off to report it in my broken Spanish to the official who only spoke broken English. The friend I was with mentioned I was really calm. I mentioned the above list. She mentioned never coming on holiday with me again. Whilst trying to communicate in 2 languages the suitcase roundabout suddenly started up again and out came my case all on it’s own. I still to this day have no idea where it had been.
•Day trip to Brussels – the driver got lost and I end up with just 90 minutes in the city
•Went to Germany using the ferry and went through the worst storm on the English Channel in years
•And then I booked Amsterdam as above….

The funny thing is I’m sure I’ve missed a few events off. I find it amusing. I suffer from sever anxiety but have had so many trips with these little issues that travel is one of the few things that never set off a panic attack. It’s probably when I’m at my most serene.

So anyone fancy a trip????

A Walk in the Woods #Leeds

I had a plan to cheer up a friend. A wander around Rodley Nature Reserve in Leeds followed by a trip for coffee in nearby Horsforth. Lack of planning on both our parts meant we went when the Reserve was actually closed so opted for a wander down the nearby canal. What followed was a lovely 7 mile walk and discovering some joys of Leeds we had never seen before.

We started walking down the canal in the direction of Shipley (if we’d have kept walking another 10 miles we’d have got there!) marvelling at some of the houses, amazed by nature (we must have stood watching geese fly and then land in unison on the canal for ages – just mesmerising) and just marvelling at the beauty of the landscape.

We stopped at the Moody Cow steakhouse in Apperley Bridge for lunch (very nice highly recommended) before deciding to stay off the canal and try the Calverley Millennial Walk. This turned out to be part of the Pudsey link for walkers. Again a  reminder of how beautiful nature can be when left alone. Scattered around the walk are various historical remnants such as a medieval forge which sadly we didn’t get to see this time but hopefully when better prepared we can see much more.

Hope you enjoy some photos

EuroDisney (Nov) 2016

I wrote a blog on this page a year ago saying I’d been stuck in too long and needed to start getting out and about again. Then barely did anything. I’ve written on one of my other sites about having money problems and learning to budget and so with those lessons learnt I am going to try again and get out more 🙂

To start with by the end of the month I should have booked a short trip away to EuroDisney for November. My son is grown up and my friend doesn’t have kids so it’s a grown up having fun event and a pre-cursor to hopefully going to Orlando in 2020.

I’ve actually been a few times. One of the things on my bucket list is to see all the Disney parks in the world (I’m just a big kid at heart). So far I’ve been to Paris, California and Orlando. At the time of writing that leaves Hong Kong & Tokyo still to do. I’d have to do a lot more budgeting and saving up to reach those so they are on my ‘Someday’ list.

I’m still to this not sure how I managed to go to some kind of Disney park yearly but while my son was growing up for nine years in a row I did it. Despite being a single parent I saved up and we got to go to one of them every year. At the minute I can’t seem to get from one month to the next without running out of money. If I could go back in time I’d pay attention to how I actually managed to budget so well 🙂

I don’t care if you’re 4 or 44 there is something for everyone at these parks. I happily buy into all the shmaltz and cheese. I love the rides. I love the kids faces when they meet characters. I’m not so keen on how every other food stall is a McDonalds but you can’t have everything!

If I can be really well behaved I am thinking of either a mini-trip to Amsterdam or Edinburgh mid-way through the year but I really will have to get in control and save properly to manage both. But we’ll see. I’ve been doing my de-cluttering. I’ve sold some old books and DVDs on a cashback website. I’ve put some other bits on local Facebook selling pages. Every little helps when you’re holidaying on a budget.

Fingers crossed now I can keep this page more updated and get to see some wonderful sights in the coming future 🙂

Quiet retreat to Glastonbury

Has had a lovely few days in Glastonbury. It was a lot smaller than I expected. I think I saw it as being quite a big town however on arrival the main part of town was no nigger than a high street similar in size to one of the suburbs near me in Leeds. This just added to the charm for me though. It’s a charming little place and there is a lovely calm atmosphere.

I’ve also never met such a bunch of friendly people but had to laugh at the lack of taxis. We are so lucky in Leeds and big cities to have such a huge service with lots of cars while they have maybe 3 in total taxis all operated by seperate self employed people. And despite advertising themselves as 24 hour services they stop working once the pubs have shut and won’t do a pick up at 6.15 because “its far too early” lol.

Loved the peace & quite so much that on an afternoon trip to Wells city we found it too busy and it wasn’t a particularly busy place. Re-inforces my feelings that I need to move out of Leeds even if just to a nearby town. The peace & quiet also allowed me to have a proper think about future ideas and come up with some kind of plan for my own life and how I want it to go. 

We were there for three days and went to see the Abbey which includes the Holy Thorn tree said to have been planted by Jospeph of Arimathea on arrival from Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. Cuttings from this tree have been re-planted in several other towns. We also had some quiet meditation time at the Chalice Gardens complete with paddle in some healing waters and went to Wells city to see their cathedral. Here are a few pictures.

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