Post Lockdown visit to Tenby, September 2020

We’ve recently returned from our first visit to Tenby, a small seaside town on the south Pembrokeshire coast. We had a long weekend, Friday to Monday and had a thoroughly enjoyable time once we got there.

The day started well enough, we loaded up the car, sorted out some housekeeping stuff with our neighbours and set off. Or tried to. The car wasn’t having any of it. We’d literally done about 1/4 mile and the engine became very ‘lumpy’ and wouldn’t pull. We limped to our local garage to be told that they definitely wouldn’t take it any distance(not good when we had a 210 mile trip ahead of us) so home we went. We sorted a hire car and eventually hit the road around mid-day.

We didn’t have any problems getting there despite the almost complete lockdowns along the South Wales coast and eventually arrived around 4:30. The hotel we stayed at, The Premier Inn didn’t have parking and so we used their recommended parking which is the multi-story about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. Second challenge of the day. The parking is coin only. Only £5 for 24 hours which is very reasonable, but of course I had assumed I could pay by card. Sorted out that and then headed to the hotel.

One of the lessons we have learnt post-lockdown is that to be sure you can eat at the restaurant you want, in the main you need to book ahead, so we had booked evening meals at the Bay of Bengal, The Blue Ball and The Baytree. The Bay of Bengal was a real disappointment as they claimed no knowledge of our booking and they were full. Happily we found an alternate with good pub grub, the Normandie. (I have written reviews of all our eating out activity on Trip advisor, under the name of TheDirger).

Tenby has a nice selection of quirky shops and restaurants, is very Coeliac aware (essential as both my wife and I are Coeliacs, we can thoroughly recommend the fish and chips at Fecci’s). It wasn’t too busy as we visited late September, although the very nice weather did bring out visitors on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday we did some essential family shopping, then went out in the car to visit Manorbier Castle which is quite impressive. Their is a castle in Tenby which we visited on Sunday morning, but its much smaller. Their is a nice little bay at Manorbier castle too.

We then headed along the coast, once i persuaded the satnav to take us to the right place, to Freshwater West, famous as the last resting place of Dobby, the house elf in Harry Potter. Busy with Surfers.

Sunday saw us finish off the shopping, visit Tenby Castle and as it was such a nice day we decided to have a picnic on the beach. Plenty of space and everyone social distancing. A very pleasant couple of hours it was too. The car-related challenges persisted over the Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, we damaged the front of the hire car courtesy of a huge unseen pothole and just for good measure Sunday I got a parking ticket in the multi-story. Will the car curse never end?


We had a pretty uneventful trip home on the Monday. We liked Tenby and will return. Thanks for reading.

Gluten free xmas (not)

I was out last night with my wife at a christmas party at a local hotel with a group of friends, 3rd year with this bunch. I have to say, I get very fed up of trying to eat out as a coeliac at christmas. The hotel were told ahead of time I (and one other) were coeliacs.

When I went up to the buffet, I was told the salad was ok (doh), the roast potatoes and veg were ok, but none of the meat in gravy, I.e Turkey, pork. They told me the cold meats weren’t ok.. but decided they were ok in the end. So I cobbled together a meal. The organiser of our group complained and I eventually ended up with some pork/Turkey in gluten free gravy (after I’d finished eating).

I gave up with the desserts. Again the organiser complained and eventually I was given a gluten free xmas pud in custard, which was ok.

I paid the same as the folks that had all the food options, but I would say I would be lucky if I had access to about 1/3 of the options as every one else. I understand the difficulties, but I would say don’t say you will cater if it needs complaints to get coeliac options made available. Don’t think I will bother next year.

Sorry for the rant, but I cook perfectly good gf meals at home and I get annoyed at being ripped off.

Rant over, have a good xmas.

It’s been a while (2 years).. where’s that go?

Shocked to see my last post was October 2017. A quick catch up. We did our first (and last) cruise. A 12 day trip to Madeira and the Canary Islands. We really enjoyed the days in port, but found that extended days at sea very quickly became boring(our longest spell was 3 days). They really didn’t have a good handle on catering for Coeliacs.

Our grandson is now almost 3 and an absolute delight. I am now the proud owner of 2 motorbikes and still enjoying riding as much as I can. I’m hoping to get in a trip to ireland on my touring bike next summer too.

It’s my wife’s 60th next year, so we have a couple of special trips lined up – a 10 day trip to Kenya on safari, plus a week in the US with 3 days in New York and 3 days in New Orleans.

Brexit rumbles on. Time will tell.

Happy Christmas to anyone that reads this. I will be back to more regular updates in 2020.

A Visit to the Tan Hill Inn, Britain’s highest Pub

During my visit back in the summer to my home county of Yorkshire (for which i was based in Osmotherley, a beautiful little village on the western end of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park), I had a ride up to The Tan Hill Pub, famous for being the highest pub in Britain. It sits on top of the pennines and has its own Snow-Plough/SnoCat as it regularly gets snowed in. Its a great place to visit especially on a sunny day. A favourite with cyclists, Bikers, Cars and walkers. As you’d expect, it has its own website .


After a brief stop and cold pint, I had a ride over the moor to Hawes, via Buttertub Pass – recommended by a couple of fellow motorcyclists I had chatted to while there. one word sums it up – AWESOME. I saw a number of motorbikes even mid week as my visit was. I have a video of the trip on Youtube.

The scenery was brilliant and the traffic light – well worth a visit. Thanks for reading.

Mach 2 Motorbike Festival, Machynlleth, Mid Wales, May 2017, Day 1

At the end of May, a long bank holiday weekend, I went to the Mach 2 Motorbike Festival in Machynlleth, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. I met up with 2 other owners of the same bike as me, (Honda CB500X for those that are interested) and we had some great rideouts. Typical British weather, Sunny and hot one day, cold and raining the next and even in any combination on the same day.

Anyway this is the first of 3 instalments, covering the Friday. A glorious sunny day, perfect for riding the hills. We covered roughly 120 miles, route below.

Friday rideout updated

Luckily, I recorded all day (well mostly) and created 3 videos of the various sections.. all uploaded on Youtube, so if you want to have a look, here’s a description of each and a link to the relevant Youtube video.

Initial Off Road – our first foray off road, first time on loose gravel for me, a few WTF moments but thoroughly enjoyable.

Tregaron to Abergweysyn –  a mixture of tree-lined roads, deep valleys, barren hills and some quite interesting road.

The Elan Valley – words fail me. Barren Hills, deep blue reservoirs, dams, lots of sheep, waterfalls, The Elan Valley has it all. Well worth a visit.

Their is some wind noise as at times I was struggling to keep cool. It was a great start to a fab weekend. Thanks for reading.

Rideout through Selborne to Frensham Great Pond

I recently had the pleasure of a circular rideout through North Warnborough, Alton, Selborne and ended up for a coffee at one of my favourite stops, Frensham Great Pond (tip: If you fancy a tea break there avoid the weekends and bank holidays – the car park is chargeable and they (the national trust) treat bikes the same as cars. £3 for the pleasure of parking for half an hour for a tea/coffee seems a bit steep to me).

Anyway, the weather was kind, the traffic was light and the riding was good. Map below…

Mystery Tour

The video I’ve loaded to Youtube (here) concentrates on the ride to Frensham Pond. Thanks for reading.

Rideout to Pewsey, Wiltshire

We have friends who live in Pewsey, which is a nice little town in Wiltshire, between Andover and Swindon. Its a beautiful area that up until recently I hadn’t really been able to appreciate as every time we have been to their house, its been dark. I decided to have a rideout on my bike and rode a circular route to Pewsey recently. The outbound route is below.


This was the planned route. The actual route varied somewhat but not significantly. The ride from Basingstoke to Andover via Whitchurch was very pleasant, most notable being the discovery of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill. Definitely one for another day!

From some strange reason(most likely the satnav settings) the route wasn’t QUITE as shown, but once past Andover (the most interesting bit), the route was fine, taking me across Salisbury Plain with some beautiful views, then down into Pewsey. I was right, the countryside was amazing. Rideout on Youtube can be found here .

Thanks for reading

An Early Spring Rideout to Whiteways Cafe

Now the weather is improving (slowly) here in the UK, I’ve been able to take advantage of the sunny days to get out and about and visit another of my favourite places on the motorbike, Whiteways Cafe at the top of the hill on the A29 at Bury, near Arundel. The route is below.


The route didnt QUITE go to plan as the main road between Haslemere and Midhurst was closed, hence the weird shape to the route. Anyway, it was still a nice rideout on a sunny Monday morning. I’m still getting to grips with the  helmet cam I am using, (Tom Tom Bandit) and havent quite worked out yet the filming capacity on a full charge, or there would have been some footage of the return too.

You an see my video here

Thanks for reading, feedback on the video would be appreciated, I’m learnign every time!

A ride out to the H Cafe

I’ve been trying to get back up to the H Café at Berinsfield near Oxford for a while. Earlier this week the sun was out, all my jobs were done, so out I went. I had decided to test my TomTom 400 Rider satnav, so had dutifully programmed in my route(which quickly went out of the window). I ended up having an unexpected detour, due to a road closure, which the satnav dealt with admirably (To view video click here) .

I would have recorded my trip back via Henley on Thames, indeed I thought I had, but thanks to a noobie mistake, the camera was off, which I didn’t realise til I got home. Oh well, lesson learnt, here’s to the next time. Thanks for reading.

Here’s the route I took…

H Cafe


One drunken new years eve a couple of years ago, I was ‘persuaded’ to learn to ride a motorbike. It was the first time in a long time that I had needed to learn a new lifeskill outside of work. How hard could it be? Humph.

The process to get a bike licence in the EU is that getting a licence is a 4 step process. Do the Compulsory Bike Training (then you can ride up to a 125cc on the roads with L plates). Passing this gives you 2 years to take your full licence. The remaining steps(each of which has to be passed before you can proceed)  are to take your Motorbike Theory Test, take an off road handling test on the bike of your choice, then a 40 minute test on the roads.

I got my full licence about a year ago and since then I have been having a lot of fun riding. I bought a Honda CB500X and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I wished I had learned to ride sooner. Last summer I took a trip over to Ireland to see a friend who lives down in Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016 and had a fabulous time.

I’ve added some bits and pieces to the bike and have just started to record my outings, searching the highways and byways to find interesting places/roads. Anyway, these are the first 2 efforts.

A cross country ride through the rolling Hampshire hills Cross Country Ride South Warnborough to Hatch and Ride down to Loomies Biker Café. I’m getting to grips with the technology. It would be really helpful to gain feedback and maybe subscribers…

Thanks for Reading..