Christmas in #Newcastle

This weekend myself a friend went up to Newcastle to see the department store Fennicks annual Christmas window display. I wasn’t sure why we were doing this apart from it being my friends annual family tradition. We never did things like this as a child so I found it hard to buy into the excitement of going to look in a shop window.
In the end though I really enjoyed it. The theme was Paddington and the display was set into several sections telling the story of the recent film. The display was really intricate and each part had the jar of marmalade hidden somewhere for the little ones to find. I was amazed by the amount of families queuing up to have their pictures taken against the window as well as watch the display. It’s nice to see something that’s not linked to the latest phone app or technology that children were enjoying and I loved seeing families interacting.
Made me wish we had done more of this as a child but nothing to stop me being a big child and enjoying more of this now I’m older.
Advertisements

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

A walk to work #London

Westminster to Kings Cross on foot

Every few weeks I get to go down to London for work. Trying to be a bit healthier I’ve started walking back from the office in Westminster to the train station in Kings Cross. I really enjoy it, there’s so much to see that you wouldn’t going by tube and I’ve decided that as long as the weather is fine I’m going to see what new things I can capture each time I’m there

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 🙂

Canal Walk #Leeds

In my efforts to get fit (which haven’t amounted to very much so far) I bought a pair of walking boots and decided to give them an airing with a walk down my local canal. Somewhere in an earlier blog is another part of the canal (Rodley to Apperley Bridge). This time I decided to walk the other way and if I kept on walking the rest of the 170 miles I would have arrived in Liverpool!

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????

Cities in the dark #Blackpool

I have a new job that involves lots of travel. As glamorous as that sounds I spend lots of time on the train and have only really been seeing new cities at night on the way to the hotel and again on a morning on the way to an office.It gave me an idea though to pass the winter of capturing some sights in the dark on my trusty mobile starting with Blackpool.

Blackpool brings with it mixed memories. I haven’t been in six years; the last time was  agirls night out that ended after we rounded a street corner just in time to see a man get run over by a bus. A man so drunk he sat there laughing & joking with his friends while a bus reversed several times over his crushed legs which a ‘helpful’ person kept screaming at the driver to stop; start; go back; no wait wrong way.Not the fondest of memories! I’ve wondered since what happened to him.

On a happier note are the Illuminations. Despite the fact that the website says they are all switched on they weren’t on my visit.A little bit gutted as I wanted to see the Dr Who lights – they have a Tardis and some Daleks. For us and many other 70’s kids Blackpool Illuminations guaranteed a day out to the seaside. Every year dad would come home and off we’d go to drive the Golden Mile and if flush with cash have some fish supper and during times of financial hardship then mum would pack a night picnic. A much nicer memory than the other one 🙂

My friend often comments that she finds that the further North you go the more people will stop and talk. I found on this trip that Blackpool folk fit that category. I had a lovely chat about old self employment dreams of running my own guest house and what it takes to run a tea shop (my other dream) when your business is dictated by the seasons. Another conversation started after I realised a woman was wandering around glued to her phones map app just like me. So much for only teenagers being glued to their phones.

I left this time with fonder memories and a renewed desire to spend my retirement by the beach even if it was freezing cold and raining most of the time.

 

Stratford

Last week I spent the day in Stratford; birthplace of Shakespeare. One of my customers at work had recently moved away from the area saying he couldn’t cope with all the tourists and despite being a tourist myself I kind of saw what he meant. Everywhere I turned were groups of students (all foreign languages) and at one point when I wandered into a church from a break from them (I get anxious when it’s too crowded) I ended up avoiding 83 Americans each one with his own Dr Seuss Thing numbered shirt. Definitely off putting when you are on your own. I couldn’t get into a couple of places such as Shakespeare’s birth place as the crowds were just too long. Thankfully it was a lot quieter at Anne Hathaway’s House and I got to spend some time in the garden enjoying some peace and quiet. I wouldn’t say it put me off but if I went again I would definitely avoid the summer school holidays!

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 🙂

Previous Older Entries

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: