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…

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An unexpected visitor

During our recent weekend in Bournemouth, UK, we had an early morning walk through the park in the centre of Bournemouth. Its a favourite place with families for picnics. There used to be a tethered balloon ride, but while the mooring base was still there, there was no evidence of the balloon – maybe it’s in storage for the winter.

As we walked along we noticed the park has a lot of grey squirrels and they are very tame. Have a look at this fellow…

The park is an unexpected find right in the centre of Bournemouth.. worth a look if you visit.

We were very lucky with the weather – we were there 4 days and had bright sunshine every day. Although it was cool(well it was late October), the crowds were out.

The seascapes were fabulous…

All in all a great weekend, thanks for reading.

 

Dingle, Southwest Ireland, July 2016

I have a friend who moved out to Dingle to look after his parents who have now sadly died. I had promised to go over and visit him. When I retired from IBM last year, one of my bucket list items was to get a motorbike licence, which I achieved in February 2016. I decided to take the bike over on the ferry to have my first overseas biking experience.

I decided to go from Fishguard to Rosslare(using Stena Line) as the closest (and easiest) route. So my route was pretty much straight down the M4 and keep going to Fishguard, a distance of about 230 miles. My sailing was at 2:30am, so left around 8pm and had a steady drive. The journey to Fishguard was mostly ok (I did have a 45 minute detour as the westbound M4 was closed near Newport), but thankfully I arrived in plenty of time. Their was a spectacular thunderstorm just as I arrived in Fishguard.

I paid for Stena Plus, which is a bit like an airline executive lounge. It was a pleasant discovery that they had some Ilumi Gluten Free options. They did a good job of securing my bike and I was pretty much the first off the ferry in Rosslare. We arrived at 6:30 to a thich sea fog over the port. I had to keep stopping to clear my visor and glasses! Once I was a little way away from the port the fog cleared.

At my first break, the cloud cleared and I had my first good view of the Irish Countyside

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I refuelled (both machine and body) and headed pretty much West through some lovely villages and towns. The fact that I could switch the GPS and the Bike Dash to Km made things much easier. The countryside was breathtaking in places, just beautiful in others.

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I arrived at my friends house (about 6Km from  Dingle) around 12:30pm, having travelled 322 Km .  Here’s the view from his front garden…

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The hills on the other side of Dingle Bay in the distance are part of the ‘Ring of Kerry’. Very close to my friends house is a bridge reputed to be the oldest bridge in Ireland…Garfinny Bridge(although their seem to be several such claims in different parts of the country).

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Their were a number of things on my things to do list during my visit. Travel a section of the Wild Atlantic Way . Visit the Conor Pass as well as some of the small towns and villages in the area. For the first few days the Conor pass was cloud bound (its 410m high), but late one afternoon, the cloud cleared so we hightailed it to the summit. Here’s the view looking toward Dingle (middle of the picture).

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Here’s the view looking the other way, toward Mount Brandon/CastleGregory..

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Absolutely stunning… We also had a drive around Slea Head, a small section of the Wild Atlantic Way. Again the weather was kind and the views were stunning…looking toward the Ring of Kerry across Dingle Bay..

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We stopped at a small cafe at Coumeenole in the sunshine and had a great view of the Blasket Islands.

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We went out with the local hill walking group and did a short (4 hour!) walk along the Dingle Way up to Coumeenole, starting from the Stonehouse carpark. Beautiful scenery, an elevated position meant a different viewpoint…A nice elevated view of Slea Head and the Blasket Islands

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This was the view as we returned to the start…

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We also had a trip down to Inch for a walk along the beach. The sand is very soft, very flat and very white…the sky reflecting off the water caught my eye..

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And looking back toward Dingle

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As you can hopefully see, Dingle and the South West of Ireland is fabulous. Dingle is a pretty,  small town which does get inundated with tourists.. their are lots of bars, most with live music most evenings.As a destination for my first trip it was a great success. The bike performed well, no major problems and the weather in general was kind (well apart from the trip home from Fishguard, where I had torrential rain and high winds pretty much all the way home). I will be going back to explore more the Wild Atlantic Way… Thanks for reading.

 

A long ovedue update on Life, The Universe and Everything!

No not 42 (as per The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams). Hard to believe that my last post was in April – I have NO idea where the time has gone. Their have been lots of changes in the Armitage-verse over the last 3 months, with more on the horizon.

We had a lovely couple of weeks of early summer sunshine in Nerja on the Costa Del Sol in mid-may. We were JUST ahead of the season, so everything was still being painted, made ready for the new season and the numbers of tourists were low. The weather I am happy to say was fabulous. Here’s a coastal view taken from the Balcon de Europe…

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As you can see, the beach at Torre Del Mar was heaving (not)…

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Anyway, we had a great couple of weeks. Nerja is about 55Km east of Malaga. Now sadly a dim and distant memory.

We had decided that once we got back from our holiday, we would put Armitage Towers up for sale. We have a large house and now their is mostly just the 2 of us rattling around in it, so we decided to downsize and use some of the proceeds for some travel.  We’ve been living in our current house for 14 years and in the area for 34 years, so definitely time for a change. At the time of  writing, we have found a couple of possibles, but are waiting to sell ours. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, my only comment about BREXIT.  It has been interesting to see how the promises made by the LEAVE campaign have unravelled and been shown to be less than 100% truthful. However, I do believe in democracy and will accept the vote. Its been very revealing to see how people that didn’t get the result they wanted want to change the rules until they get the result they want. I personally think that we have a very interesting 2 or 3 years ahead of us. Oh and of course, the least said about the England Football team and Euro2016 the better. Come on Wales!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

A day at the Southbourne

We recently visited our sun who lives and works in the New Forest, a lovely natural area with ponies roaming the heathland. We were taken down to a small sea-side town called Southbourne, about  4 miles east of Bournemouth. We took our dog as she loves to run in the waves and swim. We had a nice day, with lots of warm hazy sunshine… but as it was still very early in the season the beach was pretty much empty, apart from the work to replace the Groynes and rebuild the beaches.

I can thoroughly recommend it. A very nice, typical, small British sea-side town. Thanks for reading.

Good Friday walk(Windsor Great Park)

As Good Friday was looking to be the best day of the Easter Weekend(and we hadnt been there for ages) we decided to take the dog and stretch our legs in Windsor Great Park, which is 4,800 acres of park managed by the Crown Estate.

Their is plenty of parking and loads of space….this is the view looking to the north – in the distance is the castle.

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Here’s a zoom look.. their really is a castle there.. (apologies for the quality – I took this using my phone).

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Behind a deer fence was a HUGE number of deer….

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It was a little boggy(we had had quite a bit of rain) but a nice way to stretch your legs. At the southern end of the long walk is a copper statue of King George III. A nice walk. Enjoy your weekend.

A grand day out!

After yesterday evenings sunset (see previous post), I had  a day booked out to clock up some miles on my new motorbike. Getting a full licence was one of the things I had on my to-do list for when I retired. I passed the 4th and final part of the test on 10th February.

For the motorbike minded, I have a Honda CB500X which I am enjoying immensely. Anyway, the plan for today was to ride down to the coast and visit a couple of my favourite south coast towns. Its slightly early – as you will see from the pictures, a lot of the attractions have yet to open – that will happen this coming Easter weekend.

When I set off, it was grey cloud and didnt bode well. However by the time I parked up in Hayling Island, the sun was out!

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The Isle of Wight could be seen very clearly across the deserted car park(on the right hand horizon). At the weekend, weather permitting, the view would be much different.. cars everywhere. DSCN1764

After a snack, the mandatory selfie.. the sun was very bright!

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Anyway, the second stop on my outing was 50km east, a small town called Littlehampton. Again, mostly closed, but will be heaving come next weekend, weather permitting.

Here’s a view East along the promenade….nice perspective….

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And the view West to the coastguard lookout..

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Finally.. the mostly deserted beach….

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I love seaside resorts outside of the main season – you get a feel for the type of place they really are. Hope you enjoyed.. thanks for reading..