Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 UK trip.

Diary for UK 2013

Only 6 more days to go before we leave on it trip to UK. It's is the first entry, hopefully don this trip I will not be to tired to make more entries.
I have made notes on what to take, clothes etc. and at the moment we are packing light. Very light, which is very different to other times we travel. 
James is not taking his Australian hat, as he does not want anyone asking him about the austfailure team in the cricket. One thing about going north it should be warmer. 
Also I hope that my knee holds up, or should I say lets me to keep walking. It has been so painfull since my arthroscope I havae wondered if I should be going. BUT all is paid so we are going whether my is better or not.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Back O' Burke, where the birds fly backwards so they don't get sand in their eyes.

1st September 2011, Spring, Oh! Lovely Spring.
Our  Spring Trip to NSW Outback.

After a sad day yesterday, with my cousin Chris having his funeral, we left our home at Salt Ash to travel to the NSW Outback. We left at 6.30am, it was very foggy and not very much traffic at that time of the morning. I was very surprised. I was very surprised when we reached Hexham and there was not a traffic jam, as there is most mornings. Even after going through Maitland and Greenhills, all the traffic was going towards Newcastle, which was great for us travelling north.

We had morning tea at Muswellbrook, after travelling through some extremely foggy areas. Just about, everyone controlled themselves on the road and stuck to the speed limits and we saw many police cars, which is great.

We had a smooth drive to Uralla where we had lunch. I like the little town of Uralla, we have stayed there many years ago when we broke down coming over the Moonbi range, we were going north at the time and I have never forgotten what it feels like to brake down and not one person stop for you. A man did eventually and we were fixed up a couple of hours later and drove to Uralla for the night. We also spent a weekend there some years ago, when there was historic car racing on. The town is on the highway, and they closed off the highway to traffic while there was a Grand Parade down the main street. After lunch we walked over to the information office to see if the road from Uralla to Inverell was good enough for us to take the van or did we have to go to Tamworth and then across. After talking to the lady at the information office, we decided to go on the Gwydir Highway, and we are very happy we did. The road was very smooth with not many rough patches. We arrived at Inverell about 3.30pm, just before the schools are out and all traffic has to go slower. Not that there is much traffic in Inverell, but the school zones do slow cars down. (most of the time)

After booking in and setting up we had a caffeine hit and a walk up the street. We did some shopping, I bought myself a new jacket with a hood from Millers, bought some other little things, came back to the van park to have a rum and coke and dinner, a shower, watch TV and then to bed. James didn’t made it to the watching of TV, he is asleep and it is only 7pm. He is propped up on his elbow, he has driven for 8 hours so I suppose he is very tired.

After having, a great sleep tomorrow will be an exciting day….I hope

2nd September 2011 - Friday, Inverell,

I couldn’t believe it James was asleep at 7pm, I woke him up at 7.30pm to watch The Big Bang Theory, which he did. We then got into bed to read but we both were too sleepy to read so off went the light and to sleep we went.

We both woke about 6am, read for a while and the got out of bed about 7am when it started to warm up a bit. I think that the overnight temperature was very low.

James isn’t having too much luck with the radio/CD player in the van, as it would not come through the speaker properly. I thought here we go again, this is the third new player we have had in the van in six years.

HOWEVER, NO! After going to the shops and buying some ‘bits’ to fix the problem. James fixed the player, after we came back from a visit with Phyllis, he had the wires crossed….wrongly put together.

We arrived at Phyllis’s house about 10am, we had a cuppa while she talked about the family history that she is doing. Phyllis has made up six books, all the same, dealing with all the family. Photos and little stories about those who are in the family. It was very interesting reading about those who came before us.

We took Phyllis to the hospital for an x ray, which didn’t take long and then off to a Chinese Restaurant for lunch. After lunch we went back to Phyllis’s house for another coffee and more talking about family history.

We arrived back at the van about 3pm.

I read until rum time, and then dinnertime, yes more eating. Watched a bit of TV and then to bed for a good nights sleep before helping James drive to Lightning Ridge tomorrow.

3rd September Saturday 2011- Inverell

We woke up to 5mm of ice on the car, which made it a bit cold. The further we got into the day the warmer it got.

There was not a cloud in the sky, the sky was perfect, a nice blue which seemed to go forever. The road to Lightning Ridge was long. It was a two-lane road and I think that in the 380 kilometres there were only 20 cars and 2 semi- trailers passed us coming towards us. We were overtaken by 2 cars, now that is great, we had the road to ourselves but it did make you think that one would have to have a very reliable car. We made it to Collarenebri for lunch, and that meant that we got to LR about 2.3pm. We had lunch down by the Barwon River. There were a few people with vans stopped there. It seemed a nice place to stop for an overnight fee rest. The last time we drove this way there wasn’t any grass in the paddocks and only little green bits by the side of the road, where the sheep and kangaroo and different sorts of wild life ate. The last time going through here we saw lots and lots of road kill. This time we didn’t see any road kill, which was nice, but in saying that we didn’t see any animals either. Now the paddocks were full of grass and crops of sorts. This made for a wonderful trip, nice and easy with no one trying to hurry you along.
Coming down off of the Great Dividing Range onto the Liverpool Plains.
Overlooking the Liverpool Plains. Northern NSW Australia

This is the entrance to Lighning Ridge.
At last we arrived at Lightning Ridge.
We found the caravan park, just up the road from the hot pools, the van park is nice and new. The amenities were lovely and clean and new.

After setting up we drove into the Tourist Information just outside of town. We got some information and then decided to go and see KB, of course the directions that James had was wrong. Actually, they were correct but we interpreted wrong. I do know I am clever, and at times I can multi skill, but one thing I can not do is drive and navigate at the same time. So after having James explain to me a few time where we were suppose to be going we headed off. Therefore, after driving for a little while we came to a dirt road, which meant we had driven to far.. Well! We were on the wrong road. After ringing Jan and James got the correct directions, which he also interpreted wrongly, we drove off. After driving on a dirt road for about 1 kilometre, we came to water over the road, we turned around and took another road and came to a mine. We hightailed it out of there, as we didn’t want to get shot or anything like that. I asked James to tell me what Jan said to him and he said that they live in 3 Mile Creek Road. After looking at the map, we were completely in the wrong direction. Now I know why I navigate and he drives, sometimes it works better that way. The road we needed was next to the Information Centre, they lived 1 kilometre from there. It took us 15 minutes to find them from the time we set off. Lightning Ridge is not that big that one would get lost, especially when given the directions…

Anyway, we found them, they are living in a railway carriage, very comfortable. Not what I would like. They had it set up very nicely, still no electricity, but they do have some tanks for water and that is an improvement on the other place that they had. We had a lovely couple of hours catching up before we left to go back the caravan park for dinner and a well-earned rum and sleep.

These are the rail way cariages that our friends live in.
So different to anywhere else in the world.

We sat in the shade of the trees.

The TV will only get one station and not very good so we are listening to some Cds that James brought along. I found that very relaxing.

Tomorrow we are going to the pools for some R&R.I just cannot wait.

Sunday 4th September 2011 - Lightning Ridge

Woke up to a windy cold day, but I must say that as the day went on the day got better and warmer.

The sky never had a cloud in it all day and it was just wonderful.

1st we had breakfast

2nd We drove down the in the Information Centre and there was a market there. Although it was windy and cold there were about 20 stallholders selling all sorts of things. James took the bag to buy potatoes seeing that it was a market but as we found out not that sort of market. They were selling more the mining sort of stuff, opals, books and junk of all descriptions. James bought some DVDs and 2 books. I bought nothing, nothing for me there at all, although we did look at some opals. James had to go to IGA for the potatoes, which we did later in the morning.

3rd We came back to caravan park, changed, and went for a dip in the hot pools. The pool was extremely clean, I do believe that the pools were updated although I thought they looked that same as they where 10 years ago. The day before about 5.30pm went for a drive to the pools and there were so many people there I just was not going to go in, so we came back to the caravan park and had dinner. To day, we drove up to the pools and there was only one other couple there and a man with a boy. I thought that was just great, we had the pool to ourselves - well, sort of- we stayed for about an hour or so. The water is about 40 degrees and very hot, and very refreshing. I did get very hot and the sign said to get out every so often and have a shower. James did that and said that the shower was just so cold. I didn’t have a shower as I thought that I would cramp up, so I just stood up every now and again to cool off, which worked wonderfully.

4th We then came back to the park, had lunch and then took off again to have a look around to see if anything had changed since the last time we were here. The shopping part of the town hadn’t changed at all. There were many proper houses built since the last time we were here. Although there were still humpies, you couldn’t see most of them from the road, or tracks as they are.

5th We drove up to the mine, The Opal Mine and we were the only people there. I like it when there is no one else around to take up the time of the person serving me. The fella there was great and bought some opals, in fact we bought Teagan’s birthday gift there. A Black Opal, very rare and only found in Lightning Ridge. I do hope she likes it.
An Underground Mine

6th On the way back we decided to call in on Ken and Jan which we did and of course there were very welcoming, after spending an hour or so with them we said our goodbyes and said we would see them in another ten years. Now that would be something.

7th Drove back to the van park and started talking to our neighbours, we had Happy Hour with them and then after three hours we decided to have dinner so off we went to BBQ our dinner which was lovely, and considering that we have dinner at 6 pm at home and this was 8pm I thoroughly enjoyed it.

8th all we did today were catch up with the Blog and shower and got ready for bed.

Looking forward to going to Bourke tomorrow. I hope that it will only take 3 hours to get there.

Nighty night till tomorrow and we will see what holds in store for us. Only good things.

5th September Monday, 2011 Stewarts Birthday. Bourke.
 First we had to go through Walget which was 70 k down the road.
There wasn't any water in this river 10 years ago when we came through. This time there is and the country is looking just wonderful

Main street of Walgett

I did try and ring Stewart but the number I had wouldn’t go through. I thought I would message him and that wouldn’t go either. I will ring him tonight when he gets home.

We had a very good trip to Bourke, in fact, it was only in 320 kilometres from LR to Bourke and in that time 8 road trains passed us coming towards us, there were also 6 caravans and 10 cars, that’s all that was coming towards Walgett. We only had 2 4WDs and 2 cars pass us on the way here. It sort of gives me the creeps, seeing no one else on the road for miles and miles. I also think, as I did when we went to Winton that the centre of Australia goes up in the middle, as it seems that we are always climbing. We use a tank of gas, and nearly ¾ tank of petrol to get here. I also think that we had a head wind.

The park is 6 kilometres out of Bourke on the Cunnamulla Road. I wouldn’t mind going to Cunnamulla, but I don’t think that we can go this trip. James is now reading all the information that we received from the Back O’ Bourke Centre. Bourke is a very historical town. More historical than I thought. I did know that Henry Lawson came here and wrote poems, but that was about all.

Tuesday 6th September 2011, Bourke.

We drove into town, it is about 6 kilometres, and this was about 9.30am. First, we drove to the Wharf. This wharf was rebuilt after the flood, which one I do not know, as every so many years they have a’ big’ one.

Secondly, we drove out to the cemetery to see some graves of famous people. I thought that we would see Captain Starlight, but no, we saw the man who caught him instead, Sergeant John McCabe. The sheet of paper said it was Captain Starlight’s grave. He was a famous bushranger who ran amuck through NSW.

1991 Australia of the Year Professor Fred Hollows, who was the eye surgeon who is known world wide for his determination to restore the sight of people going needlessly blind. His motto is ‘that all the world may see“’ .

Also in the cemetery are several graves of Afghans who were associated with camel trade that ceased in the 1920’s.

Republican William Sly, who opened the first pub, own the first cradle and the first grave. The headstone of his daughter is the oldest in the cemetery. We couldn’t find it, but we found William Sly’s headstone.


Drove out to the lock and weir, this weir was the first built on a river system anywhere along the Murray or Darling River systems, in fact in Australia. Built in 1897, the lock and weir is also the only one of its kind built on the Darling river.

While we were in town, we went to the other information centre and bought some tickets for bus tour around the town. This office was at the old station. find out how much wool was shipped out of Bourke

It is a shame that the government of the day put an end to the rail line, but that happened everywhere in NSW. All the little towns were growing, but with the end of the rail line some of them went downhill and it has taken a long time for the bigger towns to grow.

On the way back to the van park, we stopped off at the Bourke Bridge (North Bourke). This was the first bridge over the Darling at North Bourke and was built in 1883. This is a Lift-Up Bridge and the remains of the pulleys and cogs can be easily seen. James went fishing just below the bridge but he never caught a thing, although there was fish jumping in the water. The water along the Darling River was brown, I wonder if it is always like that?

This holiday is taking its toll, we came back to the van, had lunch and I had asleep. James didn’t as he thought that we would sleep in and miss our booked tour of Bourke.

On time, the bus pulled up and there were 10 couples on the tours, which made it a nice small groups of people. We all climbed aboard and then started off for the trip around town. We saw

The house build very high on stilts, just in case of a flood.
The hospital, which is very new. The government gave 15million to build.
Ardsilla fruit 1890’s, which went broke because the government saw it fit to stop at once the water allocations for that farm. This farm employed 300 people from the surrounding area and put millions back into the community. Makes me wonder why they had to stop the water allocations. The bank took over the farm, rented it for a while and now it is up for sale. The oranges trees are being pulled out. We picked some, they are the best oranges I have tasted for some time. Now it is gone.
Police inspector’s quarters built in 1901. This fine old wooden house is now a women’s Refuge.
The Western Herald first known as ‘ The Central Australian” established in 1868 and Bourke’s first paper. Was first published in 1887. This building although undated, is considered to be the oldest building in Bourke
The London Bank was built in 1888 and is the last surviving example of Victoriana business, the bank closed in 1890s depression
Post office began 1880
Post office hotel was built 1888 and was the drinking hole of Henry Lawson.
Police station is the 1889 vintage and is the site of the first court house of 1865, Bourke’s first court case was held in open air and concerned a bushranging chare.
Courthouse built in 1900 for the cost of 9,5400 pounds.
The crown on the spire apparently indicated a Maritime Court, the furthest inland Maritime Court in Australia.

After the tour of the town, we went to the cotton gin, to see how we need to keep our cotton growing. In addition, what it entails to get the cotton from the field to the maker. We also know now that they only irrigate the cotton for a period of 36 hours, 3 lots of 8 over the growing season. I wonder if our politicians know that.

Because of the water restrictions on the farmers, we saw what that could do. There was an orange grower who the government made bankrupt because they took the water licence off of him. Now they are pulling out all the orange trees. So sad.

I thought when we came here we would see a town like many others on our travels that is just surviving, but this town is going ahead full steam. Or was.

Wednesday 9th September 2011- Bourke

Would you believe it! It rained last night, to start off with a couple of spots, and then a couple more, and then the shortest shower I have heard. All this made the car very spotted with the dust that was on it.

The day started off very cool, I had to put on a cardigan, as usual the further we got into the day the warmer it got.

We went to the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre. There is a saying out here and that is ‘you don’t know Australia until you know Bourke.’ and there is another saying - “where the crows fly backward so they don’t get dust in their eyes” we spent nearly 3 hours at the centre reading and getting a better idea of what it was like to live in the 1800’s and the heroes and the people that made this town what it is today.

In the afternoon, we drove into town to get some bread and have a look at the only general store in town. I thought that it would be something to see, but it was like any other store.

I really do not know where the people buy their modern clothes from. I suppose they go to Dubbo that would be the nearest town 300 kilometres away.

On the way back we called in to the art gallery and bought 2 reproductions of a drought and flood, they will look great when they are framed.

We came back to the van and had a rest, I cooked dinner and James read and then went to sleep, just like him.

8th Thursday September 2011 - Bourke

AM - We woke to rain. It seemed to rain all night but the ground was not wet this morning when we woke up. The sky was that black, grey so we knew that it was going to rain, and it is raining now, not hard, just nuisance and another thing it is freezing. I didn’t think that it would be so cold. It must be below 10degrees.

James is now reading and I will be doing some knitting when I have finished here.

I thought that we would go to Mt Oxley, seeing that it is the highest part around here. It is on a dirt road, 35 kilometres from the main road, which is 50 kilometres from Bourke. Now that is out of the question, as the road will not be passable for a car, maybe 4WD. There is not much more to do here, we may as well just stay in the van and relax, seeing that we are leaving tomorrow and it is a long trip 300 odd kilometres from Bourke. I just hope it is not raining.

PM - It is still raining, it has rained all day, now it is getting to be a bigger nuisance. We decided that we had a bit of cabin fever and went at 12 pm, by the wharf to see the Historical Crossley Engine, Twin Cylinder Oil Fuelled Stationary Engine, this is a fully restored 1923 vintage Crossley oil fuelled stationary engine. The engine was manufactured by Crossley Brothers of Manchester England. This engine is a fine example of an early four stroke engine, which followed on from the steam engine era. There are volunteers who start the engine every day. This engine was originally used from 1923 to 1938 in the Sydney Power House to generate electricity for Sydney. The engine was then sold to the Allowrie Butter Factory at Coffs Harbour and used from 1938 till 1949. The engine was then sold to a Narromine property and used from 1949 to 1964 to pump water for crop irrigation. The engine was donated by Bob Crawford and family of Narromine in 2001 and fully restored to working condition by Don Burns and Bourke Shire Council in 2002. It is really lovely to see old engines working, and this engine was so quiet. The volunteer stood a 50 cent piece on a part of the engine and it didn’t move at all.

After spending some time there looking and finding out about the Crossley Engine, we came back to the van had some lunch and as it was still raining, I knitted and James read his book.

In the ladies I met a lady called Elvie Douglas and she paid us a visit for a couple of hours which was nice. We talked about knitted socks and all sorts of things. I am sending her some patterns as she has never knitted socks. Elvie had been talking to another lady who knitted socks and was quite taken by them. Now she has all the information, Elvie can not wait to get home and start knitting.

We are not moving on tomorrow if it is raining, but sooner or later we have to move on, and the rain has to stop.

Lets pray it does stop.

Friday 9th September 2011 0- Bourke

It was fine when we woke this morning and I think that we were the first to move off at about 8 am.

Between Bourke and Walgett there was only about five vehicles on the road. We got gas at Walgett, although it was a bit tight with the van on, but we got in and out with out too much trouble.

We took the karmalai highway through Burran Junction, were there was less traffic on the road. We met a great big vehicle, some sort of farm vehicle and he pulled over to let us through.

We called into Burran Junction for some bread for lunch. We went to this tiny little garage, store, newsagent and decided to have pies (James wanted that) I had 2 sausage rolls. Mine tasted great, I think that was so, as I hadn’t had a sausage roll for a couple of years. We drove up the road a bit and then pulled over and ate them. They were so tasteful.

We pulled into Narrabri about 3pm, checked in and then walked up the main street just to see what was there and get some vegies for tea. We also had a coffee at a nice cafĂ©, where we bought some cream buns. We hadn’t had any of them for, well, I can not remember when. It started to rain on the way back, so we just hurried up a bit. It ended up not raining, I was so glad. On the way to the showers I saw the best rainbow I had ever seen. I could see the colours distinctly and they were so bright and vivid. The rainbows we have at home are pale and the colours blend together.

After we had dinner, we got into bed and James read and I did my puzzles till lights out

Saturday 10th September 2011 Gunnedah

We woke to a wonderful sunny day, but that changed not long after, although it didn’t rain it most certainly looked like it would. We drove through the little town of Boggabri. I thought that it would have been bigger than it was. We only drove up the main street. We had been following a 5th wheeler and really didn’t want to pass him, so we took a side track, as we were turning the corner to go down the main street, he came out further up. I didn’t think that our little side trip made a difference to the time we were behind him.

After getting to the caravan park and checking in, we went to the swap meet at the show ground. It is a large show ground, first we went to where the dog show was and turn around not knowing where we were. So heading back to the car and driving off we found that the swap met was next door. We spent 3 hours there, looking at all the ‘stuff’ we also spoke to many stall holders there too. It was a shocking day as the wind was very fierce. I am so glad that I bought the coat with a hoodie on it. I wore it and the hood kept my ears and head so warm. I didn’t bring a scarf or beanie with me as I thought that this trip, seeing that we were going north and nearly to the Queensland border I wouldn’t need them. I was wrong. Gunnedah seems a rather large town and very friendly. We went to the tourist office and the lady there gave us some more information of sites to see, and little car drives around the town.

Sunday 11th September 2011 Gunnedah

Today is a sunny day, well it is to start off with. James is sitting outside reading. I am making a cake for morning tea and attending to this writing.

The cake tasted great with the cappuccino I made. We decided to go for the drive yourself around town tour. I drove and James tried to navigate. Just as well I had a good look at the map before we left, as James didn’t know where he was or how he was going to get anywhere really.

We had a nice drive around looking at a lot of sites, the best on was the lookout, I could see to the mountains in the north, south west and east, across the Liverpool Plains and Breeza Plains. What a great sight it was. We some time just looking at our wonder country.

We called back into where the swap meet was to see a car show. A little disappointing just 20 cars where there, some where really old and some newer.

As the day went on it got colder and colder. James was talking to a man that said last night he stayed at Walcha and it snowed very lightly. I am just glad it didn’t here. I must say Walcha is a lot higher than we are.

12th September Monday Gunnedah

Today was a very slow day. The itinerary for today is,
Newsagent to see if we won the millions that we bought a ticket for. We went and no we didn’t win anything. The only consideration is that there are a lot of other people out there didn’t win anything either.
Try and find a GIO, insurance has to be paid. AND no there isn’t a GIO office here, the closest is at singleton. Quite a few hours away. Will do pay the insurance when we get home
Have a look at the museum, which we did. There was so much stuff there mostly farm implement. One shed full of farm machinery was donated by one person. We had a great chat with him and he was very interesting.
We went up to the Pensioner Hill, which is a smaller lookout overlooking Gunnedah. The hill, in the depression was a shanty town. We met a man there who took us around and told us some of the history of the town. He also showed us plants and gave us the names of them, all of the were in flower which was most interesting. Most of the plants were from Western Australia. Plants we haven’t seen before. Before coming back to the park we went to the nursery and bought some plants. Now all we have to hope that they grow.
A walk down the main street of Gunnedah. There was a few shops that were closed down. The town had a wonderful main street and some beautiful buildings, and the widest street I have ever seen in a town in Australia.
Tomorrow we leave after having a wonderful time travelling through the Outback of NSW, a place that I must do again. There is a lot to see, pity we do not have a 4WD to go to those other places that an ordinary sedan car can not go safely.

13th September 2011 Monday

I couldn’t believe how cold it was, James woke me up about 4am to put the heater on. I was warm so I didn’t notice how cold it was. Once we warmed up, we went back to sleep till 6am when we got up to a light frost. Now that is why it was so cold.

After we had breakfast we packed the van and started off about 7am, a nice early start. The day was the best we had seen for a week, every since the cold front came through. There wasn’t a cold in the sky all they way home. The road from Gunnedah down the Quirindi was just perfect. The road was wide enough for people to pass and there were quite a few trucks on the road also. Once we joined the New England Highway there was a bit more traffic but not what I thought that there would be.

Anyway we arrived home safe and sound and that is all that matters in the long run. We had a wonderful trip, even if it did rain for a day or two and was a bit windy.

Not to get ready to go to Kirrily’s for a week and then back home for two weeks and off again. So I will keep everyone updated.

Some interesting fact about Burke.

One person declared it was so hot in Bourke that when locals died and went to hell they sent back for extra blankets.

Everyone should drive to Bourke, if for no other reason than to experience the road between Nyngan and Bourke, the state's longest stretch of road.

‘If you know Bourke, you know Australia

Monday, August 8, 2011

James and myself have been home from Britain for 3 weeks. The first week I slept most and the second I thought that I must do some cleaning and catching with friends and family. Of course I did that and it felt good to be back to somewhat normal. The 3rd week home we decided to go to Port Macquarie for the weekend. We have been the PM many time before, we have stayed in caravan parks, nearby and in motel room and units.

Port Macquarie is a couple of hundred kilometres up the road from where we live. It is a very easy, comfortable drive and we arrived just before lunch.

We had morning tea at a rest stop just before Taree, and lunch on the river at Port Macquarie, after which we took the ferry over to the other side and had a drive around just to see what was there. One long road and about 50 houses lined the river. We drove for about 5 kilometres and we came to another part of the river where there was another ferry but we would have to wait for over an hour to catch it. The ferry was not going as it was lunch time, so we turned around and drove back to the other ferry. We booked in the hotel and after a little rest we walked down into the town of Port Macquarie along the water front and caravan park and breakwater. It was a bit windy and the sand was cutting us to pieces until we walked around the corner. We walked up the main street of Port Macquarie and down by the river, over the hill and back to the hotel. As it was getting late by this time we decided to walk to the bowling club for dinner. We have often eaten at the bowling club and it always has been nice and comfortable and the food has always been delicious, as it was this time also.

Walked back up the hill to the hotel and went to bed.

In the morning we decided to do the round trip to Comboyne, a partly tared road and partly dirt road back to Kendal and then to Kew and back to the Pacific Highway. Although we drove on a dirt road the road was smooth and there were not many cars that came our way or passed us. We had to raod to ourselves which made the drive more enjoyable. We finally arrived in Kendal and then drove to Dunbogan and around the beaches and lookouts which we have been to many time before. It was still nice to visit and see if anything had changes, which it hadn‘t. we had lunch at the North Haven Bowling Club. We have eaten there before and it hadn’t changed either nice food.
The next day we went to the markets at Kendal, although small there was enough to keep us there for an hour. That was my fault as I was talking to the most interesting women I have met for some time.
One lady sold antique aprons. She sold most when Masterchef had been on the week before. All the children who seem to love Masterchef, saw the aprons and want at least one. That is when this lady sold most of them. She told me she had hundreds at home and was only selling the ones she didn't like anymore.
The other lady I met was a lady who grew lavender and made soap, and pillows filled with lavender from her garden. She was most interesting to talk to. The thing I liked most about her, she was keep to share her information with me. That is  rare, very rare, usually one has to take a lesson from the person that has the information you want, or need to know, even if it is for curiostity.
One the way home just before Buladelah, there was a 4wd behind me flashing his lights.
I was not amused, and as I was on the speed limit I slowed down. He just kept flashing his lights, so when we came to the 60kh I slowed down even more. I was not going to be imdimated by him. I asked James is he was a Queenslander, as they are not the most patient drivers, even in NSW or Queensland. I turned off and so did he. That was when I saw the number plate it was a friend of ours. Thank goodness as I though there was going to be an altercation. We stopped at the park for a wee stop and a chat before it started to rain, and we set off again.
Home at last again, unpacked, had a cuppa and relaxed after a great weekend.

Sorry, we forgot the camera, so not photos, which is a pity. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

England and Ireland and Home again

I am sorry for being so slack and not updating my blog since the 3 rd week in England. I am now back on track and trying to catch up on what we did. The time in England and Ireland was very hectic but enjoyable and this is the rest of our story.

4th Week in England and 5th Week in Ireland.

26th June Sunday

We left our lovely Abby House Hotel, which was a shame as it was so nice. It did not take us too long to drive up the M6 to Carlisle and turn off to Newcastle-On-Tyne. The further we went east the sunnier and hotter it got. To day was the hottest day for nearly 3 weeks that we have been here. We stopped at the site of Hadrian’s Wall, took photos, walked down into the village which was not far then it started to rain, and as James has a cold we didn’t hang around very long. We went back to the car, had a cuppa and then drove to Newcastle.

Hadrian’s Wall was built to keep William the Conquer out of England. It was very disappointing to see that there wasn’t much of it left. The wall was not very wide or high. Maybe it was wide and high when it was built. Maybe.

We arrived about 12pm, nice and early. We asked for directions into town and was told it was a 25 minute walk. The walk was nice with a gently down slope to the city. When we arrived in the city, I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were in the Mall and the shopping centre and down by the river. We had a look at the Mini Sydney Harbour Bridge the Tyne Bridge, and was not as good as ours. There were markets down by the river and they are the same as markets everywhere, selling the same sort of ‘stuff’. we didn’t buy anything as we would have to bring it home. We walked along The High Level Bridge to take some more photos of The Tyne Bridge. We walked up lots of steps to get to the Black Gate and Castle Keep.

The Castle Keep of Newcastle Upon Tyne was built by Henry 11 in 1168-1178. The Castle was built by Robert Curthose, the son of William the Conqueror. After rambling around the area for awhile we decided to have a sit in the park and watch the world go by. We then wandered back to the hotel, which seemed to be quicker than going into town.

27th June Monday

Today we set off to Sunderland, a city where James’ grandparents came from. Robertson lane was where his great uncle Bob Crammer was born and lived. Which now is under a shopping centre. We were told that they built straight over the top of the street.

There was also another street there name Olive Street. James mother names was Olive we wondered if she was named after the street. Maybe not.

Vine Street was where his great, grandfather was born.

Then we drove to Whitby, the famous town for having TV shows made there and that is where lots of famous people lived. Also Whitby is where Captain Cook started his career . He lived there as an apprentice and when he left for Australia he left from Whitby.

28th June 2011

We were glad to be out of that B&B’s the room was hot very hot, uncomfortable hot. It was supposed to take 2 hours to drive to York and the address of the
B&B we had booked for the night. It didn’t, don’t know what went wrong but it took a hour longer. We nearly ran out of petrol too, which was a bit of a concern. Anyway we got to York booked in and walked into town. The York Minster cathedral was built in 1200 an took 250 years to build. It is enormous. We went inside for a peek and it was vast. The Cathedral had been added to 3 times over the years.

After that visit we walked, and walked and walked around the city with it tiny little streets which were full of people walking just like us. We saw the oldest row of houses in York, and they looked like it too. Walked down The Shambles on cobbled roads, there is a lot of them still in the cities, especially the older parts of the towns.

We decided to go over to the train museum, a walk of about half an hour. We walked over the bridge and along the side to old wall of the town of York. We thought that we would see the Flying Scotsman, but as usual we were too late. There were the biggest train I have ever seen. One train went to China and came back many years later. All in all a very interesting day.

29th June Friday

Tonight we are staying in Northampton, the hotel is nice our room was upgraded and is extremely big overlooking the front yard. We went down to Silverstone but as they are getting ready for the Grand prix they wouldn’t let us in. Not even to have a look around.

One thing I will say about England, there is cigarette buts everywhere. It makes the place look untidy and dirty.

30th June Wednesday
Extremely tired today so this is what we have done to make us this way.

Drove to Canterbury
Motorway was extremely crowded and slow
Took forever to get to Dover.
We saw the White Cliffs of Dover today.
Had a drive around the waterfront
The beach was stones, not sand, the water was nice and blue,
There were lots of ferry’s there.
A nice little town, we had a coffee.
Nearly ran out of petrol, until James say the red light and we were so close to a petrol station it was funny.
Didn’t go to the castle on the hill as it was nine pounds and I was not paying that much. If it was a nice and sunny day I may have paid just to see the view to France.
Drove to Canterbury.
Paid for more parking which is getting a bit of nuisance.
Walked around Canterbury, the old city, which is where all the shops are.
Found a patchwork shop and had a great chat to the ladies there. If I was staying longer I would have done a course on bleach printing. the ladies gave me  a very quick lesson on how to do it. I am very grateful for that as I have never found anyone else to give information about a subject. Anytime I have found a course that I would have loved to do the person giving the lesson has said to me. "If you want to know take the lesson and find out" and it has been as blunt as that.
Came back to hotel and had a well earned rest and dinner.
Asthma is giving me hell.
1st July Friday
Drove to Heathrow, Costa Hotel.
Everything was going well until we put the sat nav on, and we got lost.
The address that was on the booking sheet was wrong. That took sometime to sort out.
Did the washing, so now we have some clean clothes to wear.
Booked in
Had a cuppa, repacked our bags, had a bath, a sleep and a feed.
Now ready to drop off the car tomorrow.
Ready to fly to Ireland.

2nd July Saturday

Had a great sleep last night.
Had a wonderful breakfast
Found the Avis return very fast and with no trouble at all.
Checked in for the flight to Ireland.
Walked miles and miles inside the airport. It got to the part I thought that we were walking to Ireland.
Nice flight, very quick. 1 and a half hours.
Went through customs so quick, we just whizzed though.
Took an hour to get our bags. Don’t know why and I think they don’t know either.
Went to get our booked car.
Didn’t want extra insurance. We had to leave a deposit with the credit card for the access in insurance. The credit card didn’t work at all so we had to take the insurance. When we got to our hotel we checked the CC and found that $1900 was taken from our CC. NOT HAPPY. Think we got ripped off.
Found our way to the hotel, which was easy
Tomorrow we will catch the bus into Dublin for a bit of sightseeing.

3rd July Sunday
Once we had breakfast we ran for the Number 66 bus into Dublin, and we caught it.
I had to ask a passenger where the centre of the city was. I just couldn’t tell.
After we alighted we caught the Hop-on-Hop-off bus just to give us some sort of idea where everything was. It didn’t. We just winged it and won in the end.
There was lots of things to see and do but I think that we are Catherdraled out, Castle out, and probably museumed out.
We ended up going to the Natural History Museum, I didn’t stay inside as there the museum was full of every dead animal for the last couple of hundred years. Not my scene.
Then we went to the National Museum, it wasn’t much better. Like I said maybe I am museumed out.
After walking and walking and looking at just about everything there was to see we caught the 66 bus back again to the B&B. Magic!
One thing I did see was how many beggars there were on the streets. And how many people asked for money. There is no reason for the begging as I saw quiet a few wanted adds in windows of shops. Very disappointing.
How dirty Dublin was with cigarettes butts everywhere and broken glass in the gutters and on the footpaths.

4th July 2011 Monday
Today we started off early and drove down to Waterford which was easy to get to. the highway was great to drive on especially after England's road. We had a look at the town of Waterford and the Waterford Crystal Factory. We just missed the tour and we couldn't hang around for the next one so we left and drove to Killareny. That took most of the day. We were is such a hurry to get there we took the wrong road and missed the turn off for Blarney Castle. It wasn't until the next day we realised we missed the turn off, so we decided we would go back it was only an hour or so to drive and we really wanted to go.
On Monday afternoon we visited Muckross House, a wonderful house set on the lake. Now it is in the National Park. We took the tour through the house. I thought it looked like a castle. The rooms were still kept as it was many years ago. Also were the servants worked was kept the same also. The ground were lovely too and the public is very welcome to come and enjoy the  surroundings. The outlook from the house to the lake was something too. I could have stayed longer.
we drove back into Kilarney and joined a very long cue to get into the town. As all the towns over here there are little roads to travel on and the towns get very congested extremely quick. We parked the car and had a walk around just to see what was there. There were many people just doing the same thing. we found a place to eat and when we had finished it was time to go back to the B&B for a well earned rest.
5th July Tuesday,
We set off fairly early for the Ring of Kerry Drive, which was only 150 k. it took us all day the sites are wonderful, sometimes breath taking. We drove Killorglin then onto Glenbeigh, these little towns are very quaint. but more quaint was Cahersiveen. We caught the ferry over to Valentia Island. This is where we took a little walk to the look out, overlooking the cliffs. we were on the island for 1 ½ hours. Which was lovely

We came back over the bridge at Port Magee another extremely quaint town. If is wasn’t for the tourist there wouldn’t be anything here. So pretty. We went up to the ruined castle, the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to walk. The view from the castle was beautiful,overlooking the water and town and the island.

The countryside around the island is very wind swept, it was extremely windy the day we were there. It was so blowie it nearly blew us both over.

The drive around the Rind of Kerry and the Ring
Skellig which was is the Ring of Kerry.

We ended up back in the national park at Muckross castle And then drove up to Limerick and it rained all the way.

7th July 2011 Wednesday

Drove down Blarney castle it stated to rain and then it poured and we still drove through it all to get to the castle. We were early as we knew we would be, so we had some breakfast at the take away shop at the castle village. There were not many people there, so we had the place to ourselves. We climbed the very narrow steps to the top. All the steps were slippery as it had been raining most of the night. I had to sit on wet surface learn over backwards and kiss the stone. Kissing the stone didn’t make the rain stop only made it rain worse. We went back down the steps most carefully and out into the rain again. Had a walk around for awhile and then decided to go to Galway. It rained all the way, although it did at times look as if it was getting clearer. We got to Galway and then decided as it was absolutely pouring down, we would have lunch and then drive most of the way to Dublin ready for tomorrow.

We drove to a little town called Athlone, or we thought it was a small village, but we were wrong. We found a hotel after a bit of driving around in the longest traffic jam in the smallest, narrowest streets. couldn’t believe it. the town was a bustling hub with cars, trucks and buses going in every direction We made it to the hotel without to much trouble. James is sick to death of the roads. One thing I will say he was very happy when we went on a Motorway.
We are on the 5th floor and after looking out the window we found we were beside the river and overlooking the castle which is on the other side of the river and the town and the country side. I just wish that it was a clearer day, so we could see forever or what would seem forever.
Hopefully tomorrow it will continue all the way to Dublin and that will make me very happy.

7th July 2011
It was raining again when we left the motel for the airport. The only good thing was that there was a 4 lane highway and freeway to get us there. Because of that we were very early. We found a coffee shop had a coffee and then drove to the car rental place which was a bit hard to find. Mainly because they put the signs behind trees. I found this was so most to the places we were trying to find.

We boarded at the correct time and had a good flight to Bangkok where we had disembark for 1.5 hours. We both slept most ot the way which was good and made the trip shorter. That part of the flight was 10 hours.
Now for the longest part of the flight. I hope it goes fast too.

Saturday 9th July,

Home at last. Tracy was there to pick us up from the airport and drove us home without any trouble. There were not many cars on the road, which made driving easy. As the sun came up the day was nice and sunny. From 12pm to about 6pm I slept, then got up and had something to eat, and would you believe went back to bed and slept for another 12 hours. I slept most of that first week back home. I just fell asleep when I sat down. James wasn’t much better. I suppose after such a strenuous holiday I was worn out.

24th Sunday.

We have been home for 3 weeks and just now are getting back to ‘normal’. it has taken a long time for us both to get back into a regular routine. I wonder if this has to do with not wanting to be home. OR just would rather be away somewhere, learning about our world and people. Now I am looking forward to October -----away again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This is our 3rd week in Britian

Third Week

Now we are all packed and ready to leave London. We walked up Belgrave Road to get the car was, which seemed to take forever. Once we were on our way it was easy just followed what the Sat Nav said. We did not take one wrong turn to get the racetrack, which was built in 1903. We were lucky to strike some motor racing on. It was a day of motoring trails for classic cars going back to when cars were first built. The cars have about eight different events to participate in the class for which they were all timed. The oldest car was 1901 three-wheeled Morgan, which had a 50cc engine up to the biggest car, which had a 27-litre Rolls Royce Engine in. between showers we looked at the cars on display. There was 100
s of classic cars on show and competing.

This track closed in the 1930s.

After a short trip, we drove to Farnham about 10 miles away. James wanted to see the grave of Mike Hawthorn who was the 1958 f1 World Champion. He retired because racing was getting to dangerous and was killed 4 months later racing a team owner and hit a tree and was killed.

We then drove on the quickest shortest road to Southampton and the hotel. After checking in, we caught a bus into Southampton for a look around. It was pouring rain when we got off the bus, and guess what?

I bought the umbrellas this time. We went into a shopping centre until the rain stopped, which it did, after about 10 minutes.

We wanted to go to the Old Town so off to find a Visitors Centre. They were just ready to close, we asked for a map. (Of course we left the map back at the hotel) we were given the wrong directions and after about walking for a couple of blocks we turned around and read the map properly.

We walked through the old part of Southampton and down to where the Mayflower left. We also walked along the old part of the wall that surrounded the old city.

After walking for a couple of hours, we found the bus stop and caught it back to the hotel for a nice shower and rest.

19th June

After leaving the hotel, we drove to Beaulieu Car Museum. That took what seemed forever. One thing that I am doing in future is checking on the map as I think that we were taken the wrong way or the long way round. Anyway, finally we got there. There was a car show on in the grounds. All sorts of different English cars were on show. There also were quite a few American cars there more than we expected. This time I think that, we are just on time - not too late and not too early - for these sorts of unplanned things.
We looked through the museum.
We rode on the monorail to get to the other side of the park where there were lovely gardens.
We also walked down the castle and it was lovely not too big and not to small. Just nice and it was nice to be welcomed into the castle by the butler and the maid.
Then we thought that it was getting a little late so we decided to hurry to Gabber Farm in Plymouth. I did not think that it would take so long to drive, but as usual, it did. I think that I will have to put the sat nav onto kilometres instead of miles as I think that the kilometres go faster.go figure.

I thought that we would never get to the turn off for the farm and when we did, I thought that we would never get to the farm. I must be very tired again. I know that James is very tired.

After a little rest, we went for a drive.yes again. The little lanes with the bushes right up to the road, are very intimidating, and more so when another big 4WD is coming towards you. There are little pull offs where the car can just fit. If the person coming towards is closer to one of these pull offs he will flash his lights just to let you know that he wants you go by. When you do go buy he gives a little wave. So English.

20th June Monday.

We left Thomas Downs a tiny little village to go to Plymouth city and then onto Saltash. We got to Plymouth and had a drive around the waterfront. It is fascinating to see the wall ruins. It was pity we did not have time to stop and have a better look around but we had to be on our way. That is what is wrong when you book accommodation ahead of time. Penzance is the last place where we have made prior arrangement for the night’s accommodation.

We were listening to the sat nav and we went 15 miles out of our way. We turned around and went back to the A 38, and it was only a little way to Saltash, whereas the sat nav was taking us 20 miles out of our way. Now I go by the map but looking occasional at the sat nav. After driving through Saltash [it is a lot larger than our Salt Ash] we were on our way again to a church at Camborne

Then it started to rain, and then got very foggy. Of course, when we reached Penzance it was still sort of misty light nuisance, or like a sea mist just heavier. We reached Penzance and drove around to find the B&B, which really was not hard but as we did not know where we were going it was confusing with all the little lane ways. James is fed up with driving here. When we finally got to the B&B, we were talking about this with the woman who owns the B&B, she told us to put a P plate on the car and then drivers will be a bit more considerate. Maybe she is correct, as that is what she does when she drives to London.

After checking in, we went for a walk up to the High Street where all the shops are. We also walked down to the waterfront but could not see anything except fog. We walked back to the B&B through all the little alleyways and there are a lot of them.

We have asked a couple of people over the time we have been here for directions but we have always asked visitors.

We walked just around the corner to the pub for dinner. Don’t you love it when you walk in and everyone stops and looks at you? Even walking down the street everyone looks, sometimes they even stop and look. I wonder if it is the way we are dressed. NO Coat.

21st June

We had a very enjoyable breakfast at Penzance and a chat to the lady who owned and worked the B&B with her husband. There were many photos on the walls throughout the house of entertainers. She told us that her husband worked with most of them. He worked for one of the TV studios. She said that some of them were nice and some where not. He also worked at NO 10. After the children had grown, they moved for a simpler life and they love it.

The sun was shining so we had a little drive around the waterfront of Penzance and the drove to Port Isaac. Port Isaac is where Doc Martin was made. The travel time was a little over an hour. Port Isaac is a tiny little working inlet. The roads are so narrow that the public are not allowed to drive into town at all. We all had to park up the top of an extremely steep hill and walk into town. I did not think that I would make into town or for that matter backup the hill again. I think it was harder going into town than coming back. We saw the school, the restaurant where Doc proposed, the house he lived in, and the house where he had his surgery. In fact, we saw everything. We had lunch, pasties, which were still not as good as, what I make. We sat down on the waterfront wall to eat, as there was nowhere to set anywhere else to sit. I have never seen a town so full of tourist on a weekday. They even have coach trips to Port Isaac, the town is so popular. We had a good walk around and then decided if we did not leave soon we would never get to Bath or even get a B&B for the night. Very soon, we were at Bath and it was crowded with cars and the narrow streets. We saw lots of B&B’s but they were all full. We just kept driving and driving not knowing where we were going. Finally we reached a town and went to a couple of B&B’s they had no vacancies. Finally, we went to the pub and asked if he had a room for the night but he was full. No room at the Inn…lol

However, he rang a friend and found a room for us. It is Tog Hill House Farm and just lovely, nice surroundings, going to cost us an arm and leg I am sure.

We went back into the village for dinner, which was only a couple of miles, and on the way back we bought some coke for rum and coke and sleep.

22nd Wednesday

The B&B we had last night was just wonderful and that was because it did not cost us an arm and leg at all. We were in the Stable rooms. This house has always been a hotel from about the 18 century and had attached stables. There was the nicest breakfast I have even seen. Something out of the movies I would say. We even had Royal Dalton dinnerware, which made you feel important, special. As usual it was raining when we left the farm but by the time we got to Bath it had stopped and was quiet warmish. We found a park very quick and it was very cheap. The metres were broken. What a bonus. Offcourse we walked the wrong way into the centre of town, probably twice as far as we should have walked. It was a nice walk and we saw some things we would not have seen otherwise. We finally found the baths and had a tour of them, which was extremely interesting. The baths date back to 76 AD which is a long time ago. We also visited the Bath Abby. We were asked where we came from and when he found out we were Australian he told us to go to bath --------------- where Admiral Philip was buried. He wanted to know if we knew if he was buried in Bath we did not know at all. (For those that do not know, He is was know as Captain Arthur Phillip, the Commander of the first fleet in 1788.

The First Fleet transported the convicts out to colonise Australia. For doing this Captain Arthur Phillip was made the first Governor of New South Wales. There was no Australia at that time. The country was known as New South Wales. )

After finding our car, which took a bit of doing as we didn’t’ have clue where we left it and we did not have a good map. We drove out to Bath , which was easier to find than finding our car back at Bath. In the church on the wall we found Admiral Arthur Phillip’s commemorative plaque saying he was buried below. There was an Australian flag above him.

We then drove to Stratford-upon-Avon, which was only 70 miles away, but as usual we saw different parts of the countryside to what we should have.

There are so many round-a-bouts here even on the major highways. It seems every couple of miles. Get the speed up and then slow down, we even go through little towns, sorry villages that we have to slow right down for. Now wonder it takes so long to get around from one place to another.

Before we did anything we got ourselves some accommodation. Then decided to drive into town, which we did. Then we drove back to the hotel as we were only half a mile away from the city centre. That’s what happens when you don’t’ have a map or a clue where you are going. Anyway we drove back, parked the car, and walk the little way into Stratford.

We walked along the River Avon looking at the birds and canal boats. We walked to Shakespeare’s Church and grave site and the whole family was buried together in the Church. We then walked a mile of so back into Stratford along the river to where he was born and lived for a short time. We took a tour of his house, which is in the main street.

The building here have walls of about 2 foot thick and with the double glazing you don’t’ hear a sound outside. Just wonderful for sleeping.

We had some dinner and walked back to the B&B totally wore out. Again.

23rd June Thursday

Another day, started sunny and then rainy and then cloudy and then we reached our destination. Well with little stops along the way.

Our first stop was Ann Hathaway’s house. Nice, lovely garden. Very easy to find and for us to find our way back onto the highway again.

Our second stop for the day was up the highway without any trouble to the Jaguar Museum for a look. There was one Jag there that was made from polished aluminium. The car was covered in fingerprints,. I think that it would be a problem keeping it clean all the time. James’ favourite car was there a British racing green D Type Jag. It was lovely. We found the museum very easily and back to the highway to go to Castle Donington, where we are going to spend the night. First we had a drive around and we took a couple of wrong turns. Again. The countryside if beautiful, green, and orderly. We also drove through a few tiny villages. They were quaint.

We decided to spend some time at Donington museum and it took us 2 hours to go through it. There was the biggest display of racing cars I have ever seen, and the outside did not look that big. This is a biggest display of F1 racing cars in the world, all owned by one man and they are raced and loaned out for displays. We were there that long I thought that the men that were walking past us every now and again where making sure we weren’t doing anything wrong, but they were looking for a car and finally found it right at the end of the display.

We also had to ring to find out how to get to the hotel. I think it was secret and they wanted to keep it that way. Little did I know it was on the highway.

After booking in and resting for a little while we went to get something to eat. We asked at the desk if there was anything near to have something to eat. We were given directions and off we set. Me, thinking we will never get back again ever. Somehow we did. Don’t ask how I have no idea.

We had dinner at the Clock Warehouse Pub which was quaint and right beside the canal. We saw some canal boats going through the lock at the back of the pub. On the was out of the town we saw a ‘parking station’ for all canal boats. There were hundreds of them all moored and we didn’t have the camera with us to take a photo.

24th June

Again on the road straight up the M6 to Cumbria it was an extremely quick trip, which was great.

Booked into the hotel which is castle. Abby House Castle. Very impressive. I must say we are getting a bit better finding the hotels we are booked at. We had a cuppa and started to have a look around. We decided to go to Coniston about 20 mile away. I had the instructions on how to get there which we followed to the letter. Coniston is a tiny little village ( well I know that nearly all the villages are little or tiny) which is on the Coniston Lake. Coniston is famous for Donald Campbell breaking the world water speed record. This race killed him on the Lake. Also John Ruskin lived and died in the area. He was a very interesting man. There was in the Ruskin Museum for both Donald Campbell and John Ruskin. In the museum I saw some Ruskin Lace. I don’t think that my eyesight would be able to stand doing something like that. The museum held some memorabilia on Donald Campbell John Ruskin. There were videos and artwork, photographs and of course the Ruskin lace which was just so lovely.

I didn’t take an photos of it as I had to pay to the privilege of taking them. We found Donald Campbell gravesite and memorial in the park . After doing all that walking around Coniston Village we took a boat ride on the Lake. The lake is lovely and the slow boat ride was just what we needed to relax a bit after being and to go for so long. There have been a few movies made around this area because it is so picturesque.

The Campbell family have donated the boat to the museum and are in the process of raising money to restore it back to the original condition. The museum have permission to run it on the lake up to 100 mph when it is finished. In the museum there is a piece of the Bluebird body and jet engine.

We took the scenic route home ( yes we took the wrong turn and had a little adventure). The road to Coniston was typically British, narrow and very winding.

25th June Saturday

We had a trip into town and a drive around the waterfront and the river. As nothing was doing there we decided to go to Lake Windermere. It was quite a nice drive along side the lake, the only thing wrong was it was sort of raining. An extremely light drizzle just enough to make it miserable, but we soldiered on. The mist was covering the mountains which looked great but not good for taking photos. On arriving at Lake Windermere we had a walk around and a cup of coffee and then started for the hotel again. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were there and how many were lined up for the cruises on the Lake.

The hotel we are staying at I called Abby House Hotel, and is very luxurious. Now off the have some dinner in the Abby Restaurant.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2nd Week In London

2nd Week,

13th June - James Birthday.

To day is going to be a ‘slow day’ if there is such a thing.

Today we decided to go to St Paul’s Cathedral, the Transport Museum and Covent Garden. We looked at the map just to see how we could get there. It is very easy with the Underground, it is even easier when you look at the map correctly and read the map correctly. The problem we seem to have when getting out of the Underground is we come out of the wrong door or when we come out the correct door we really don’t have a clue where to go after that. We stand there looking at the dam map trying to work out where we are before leaving that spot. Now I know it should be easier by now but it isn’t. so today we just walked around the block and down the road and back again. Now wonder we are walking 50 odd miles a week.

Anyway we saw up a side street The Transport Museum, a collection of transport since transport began in London. How they built the Underground and why and how they have added to it over the years. Most interesting. We spent about 1 hour there with about 150 school children. We walked outside and worked out that we were at Convent Gardens Square an interesting collection of shops and eateries. There was a nice atmosphere there as we walked around and had a good look at everything. We ended up near St Paul’s Church, mistake we wanted St Paul’s Cathedral, that is what happens when you read to map wrong. So off we set to St Paul’s Cathedral the proper one. Before we entered we had something to eat and drink which was most welcoming. We paid our money and entered St Paul’s Cathedral it was just so beautiful I couldn’t believe it. I thought that Westminster Abby was great but this one was better, just in my opinion. We spend about 2 hours there just looking at the domes and alters down into the crypt and everything really. I couldn’t walk up to the next floor as there was 350 steps and my knees just wouldn’t take the steps up or the steps back down. Worse luck as it was something that I would have loved to do.

In the afternoon we went for afternoon tea at the Grosvenor Hotel just up the road from where we are staying. A little disappointing or maybe I just expected more. We had Champagne Afternoon Tea for James’ birthday.

All in all a great day. Again.

14th June

To day we hired a car. Driving out of London was not good. We got lost or as James says “we disputed the position we were in.“ me I still say lost. Anyway eventually we found the correct road and were on our way to Shenley to see the grave site of Graham Hill, he is buried in a 600 year old church graveyard. The graveyard is not used anymore as it was sold. The headstones are still there. Graham Hill for those that do not know is a famous car racing driver who was killed in a plane crash coming home from a race. He was killed at Luton Airport 5 minutes away from where he live and is now buried. Graham Hill is the only racing car driver that has won the big three. The F1 World Championship, Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hour Sports Car Race. James wanted a photo of this grave for his Webshots of the Gravesites of the Rich and Famous. 
I just went along for the ride.

60 miles away was Blenheim Palace so off we set. I thought that we were going to wrong way so pulled off and checked out sat nav. I still don’t know if we were but we arrived just the same a couple of hours later.

Blenheim Palace was the home of Winston Churchill where he was born. The palace is now in the hands of his nephew the 11th Duke of Marlborough. We did the tour through the palace and learnt a lot about the Spencer Churchill families.

We also went to see the gravesite of the Churchill’s in Bladon. The whole family is buried together. There is also memorial stone seat for Winston Churchill from the Danish Military.

We were only 60 miles away from London which took 2 hours to drive back. The closer we got to London the more traffic we struck and James said it is bedlam. We really don’t know the difference between, turn right and keep right. We found it very confusing, so confusing in fact we had a ‘little adventure’ and ended up near the Thames River. We then drove passed where we were suppose to drop the car back but as the traffic was so bad we missed the turn off, got honked at from a bus and a car as we really needed to turn right, which we did and going around the block again we found where we had to drop off the car which was quite a relief. Then we had to find our way out of the car park which was not an easy task. We had some dinner and back to the hotel for some rest ready to stay another day.

th June,

Today we decided to catch the Green Bus to Windsor Castle. The trip took for what seemed forever and it was only one half hours to get there. As this bus had a local route we went into different towns which was nice for us as we wouldn‘t have seen these town if we had gone by train. You can see the castle as you entered the town of Windsor standing high on the hill looking over the whole countryside. We were let off the bus just outside the entrance to the castle which was handy for us. There were a lot of people there, more than at any of the other attractions we have been at. Once we had our tickets we entered the ground to see the changing of the guard which takes place at 11am every day, except when it is raining.

We walked around to St George’s Chapel which was finished in 1484 and then added to in 1528 by Henry V11. All the Kings and Queens are buried in this Chapel. They are not put into coffins but wrapped in shroud and put into the ground, in tomb or covered with a marble slab which has their names engraved on. We saw King George V1, his wife the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret all buried together in one tomb. We were told when the Queen dies this is where she will be laid to rest.
Up the hill we walked to the famous dolls house was built for Queen Mary in 1924 and was never intended to be a play thing. The house has running water and electricity and is filled with thousands of miniature objects. Nearly all the objects are on a 1/12 .in the next room to the dolls house is an exhibition of two dolls that were given to King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth for their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. The dolls are French and called France and Marianne, they are shown with some of their wardrobe.
Next was the Drawings Gallery finished in 1804. This part is now used as an exhibition gallery for temporary displays from the Royal Collection. There where paintings from Rembrandt, Leonardo de Vinci.
The China Museum was next. There was wonderful displays of priceless china which the Queens still users. I would hate to break any piece of it.
Grand Staircase was next and we walked where the famous knights and politicians, Kings and Queens and Princes and Princess. There was a wonderful feeling to that staircase.
Grand Vestibule, this was just an other wonder. I don’t know who they made these ceilings. You would have to see it to belive it.
Waterloo Chamber, now this room was the best of any I have seen for a long time. The Queen, every June holds The Garter Luncheon for the Knight and Ladies of the Garter. The China Worcester Porcelain service comes from the China Museum-throne Room .
Then into the Ante a small Audience Chamber. On the walls hang tapestries and famous painting of family members.
King’s Drawing Room, where he received important visitors. A lovely room.
Kings Bedchamber, also a room full of 1700’s furniture and painting. Silks hung around the bed. Just beautiful
Kings Dressing Room, which also has wonderful paintings hanging on the walls.
Kings Closet. A very small room somewhere he could go away from court life, just to relax.
Queen’s Drawing Room. To day this room has hanging painting of the Tudor and Stuarts royal portraits.
The Kings Dining Room, this is where the Kings and Queen ate together.
Queen’s Ballroom, this room has marvellous chandeliers hanging from the ornate ceilings. This room has portraits from Anthony Van Dyck exclusively.
Queen’s Audience Chamber, this room is very ornate, the walls have tapestries and paintings.

We had a walk around the town which is very quaint.

We caught the bus back and would be you believe I went to sleep. I slept most of the way. I didn’t realise I was so tired.

After dinner we decided to go for walk up to Buckingham Palace, which we did. It was a lovely walk and walking back I decided to go a different way back. Well, I thought the bus went this way when we were on it, but it didn’t and we got ‘in a place we didn’t want to be’ in other words lost. So I had to ask someone and finally we got back to the hotel. Relieved again to be back, showered and in bed by 8.30pm and probably asleep by 9pm. Holidays are wearing me out.

th June

It was raining, in fact pouring when we left today. We caught the NO 24 bus out to the British Museum. I thought that there was a lot of people at Windsor Castle but there were three times as many at the museum. We spent the whole day there, our feet were aching when we left just before closing time. I think we saw everything, whether we remember what we saw and read is another thing. One will have to visit the museum to realise what a wonderful museum it is. There was object going back to 1500BC. Now that is a long time. Getting back to the hotel was an adventure in itself. We couldn’t find the Bus Stop. Would you believe it? After about 20 minutes we saw a bus with the number 24. So off we raced to the bus stop and waited for the next one. We got back to the hotel tired but not as exhausted as other days.

17th June

To day is special, it is my birthday.

We caught the Underground to Portobello Road Markets. We walked down the street looking at all the things there. We decided not to buy anything, as we would have to get it home and anyway there was nothing there that we needed. - wanted maybe but not needed.

I found the little cup cake shop that Hannah told me about Hummingbird. The cakes were delicious; we bought two and had them when we got back to the Hotel. Then it started to rain. Funny everyone just puts up an umbrella and keeps walking. They are used to the rain, I think. Therefore, we did the same. I have never used and umbrella so much as now, even James had his own. Funny when someone comes towards you with an umbrella up, one person raises their umbrella so the umbrellas do not collide. I found this very amusing, just like a ballet of sorts.

After visiting Portobello Road, we walked down Kensington Palace Road. We thought that the Palace was in this road, but no, it was not. There were a lot of Embassy’s in this road and we were not allowed to take photos. There wasn’t anything to take photos of anyway.

We finally come to a path that leads to the Palace. It was not as I would have thought. Queen Victoria thought that all the people should be able to visit The Royal State Apartments so she made them open to the public in 1754.

There were seven Princess who lived here in the Palace Apartments. They were. Princes Mary, Ann, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. There was another Princess but I can not find or think of who it was. In these apartment. There was a sort of exhibition there about the princess.

I was not impressed with this palace at all. When

William and Kate come to London tney stay here in one of the apartments. It is thought that when they move back to London they may take up residence at Kensington Palace.

Walk then walk to the Royal Albert Hall and the memorial over the road. We could see the memorial from a distance and thought it to be a church that is how big it was. After taking photos and it started to rain we then walked through the park to Princess water memorial which was not going as it was being cleaned. Just our luck again.

We then decided to go back to the hotel and eat our cakes which we did.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Friday 3rd June 2011

Both of us were up early and off to the train for a 3 hours train trip to the International Airport and what a trip it was. The train had 3 carriages on and where just about full by the time we boarded at Broadmeadow.

By the time we got to Central it was standing room only and that was from Wyong. The fact was the trip was not as peaceful as I would have like or anyone else on the train would have liked. There was a little girl with her mother and the little girl about 2 screamed all the way. Someone down the back of the train yelled out ‘shut the kid up’ I think that they were are the end of the tether too. James ended up with a headache and my head was just starting off as a little headache. The lady who owned the little girl pushed her way in front of everyone to get off as she was catching another train. We got off last with a couple of other people travelling to the airport. We got to track 23 without any trouble and who was there the lady with the little girl and she was still screaming. I felt sorry for both of the and the people for the return trip.

She was going to the airport to meet someone and she stood beside us, so James said he was moving down the platform further and guess what the lady and the little girl followed. But she turned and walked up further just as James was getting ready to move. One can only hope that the trip will get better and quieter.

While getting something to eat we saw Harry Kewell at McDonalds and he turned heads as they do, a someone wanted their photo taken with him and he obliged happily.

On board the plane I had a spare seat next to me and it was great for the 6 hours to Singapore which at that point we had a couple from Victor Harbour next to us. We had row 74 and there was still lots behind us. It was a huge plane and had the best smooth flight I have ever had. There was more leg and bum room than a 747.

They were older than us and very nice and she has visited England often and told gave us some more information on travelling around once we left London.

We both had some sleep on the plane both from Sydney to Singapore and from Singapore to London.

Getting thought customs was quick and then a really long walk to the train.

We were to change trains at Green Park which we tried to do but that train was not working. So with lots of other people we had to get another train and don’t ask me how we got to Victoria station I have no idea but we did.

Walked about 10 minutes to the hotel. Put the bags in as we were not allowed into the room until 12pm, which was better than the 2pm we thought that it would be.

We then we walked down by the Thames River. It was low tide and it looked very brown. We had a cup of coffee on the way which was very welcoming, it gave me a boost to keep walking which we did. We walked past the Lambeth Bridge and onto the Westminster Bridge. James took plenty of photos on the way, now all we have to do is remember what they are. There was lots of people around, doing the same as us, just walking, talking and taking photos.

We had a look in St, Margaret Church and Westminster Abbey from the outside as there were 2000 people lined up ready to get into the church.

It was extremely hot so we just kept walking.

We then came back to the hotel and checked in, had a little rest, and then started off again.

This time we ended up at Buckingham Palace with thousands of other people with the same idea. The Queen was not home. Then walked down the Mall past Clarence House not realising it was so big. Past St James Palace and Chapel Royal. Back out onto the Mall we walked where the Royal Guards in full regalia marched past us. They were going to practice for the Trouping of The Colour for the Queens Birthday Celebrations, which is on the 13th June. James’ birthday is on the same day and it is the first time that he has a parade in his honour.

After a little rest in Green Park, we walked back through The Canadian Gates. We finally got back to the Hotel after Dinner. Plopped onto the bed and went to sleep for 11 hours.

Sunday 5th June 2011

After a great nights sleep we finally woke up about 6am had breakfast and then we were off again. This time we went to the Royal Mews. The guide was very informative and gave a wonderful talk on all the carriages.

We saw the all the Queens Coaches.

After we saw the Mews we walked a couple of hundred steps to the The Queens Gallery and saw all the paintings that she owns plus all the memorabilia that she has collected over the last 60 years worth millions.

We had lunch a pasties - a proper Cornish Pastie which said it was a prize winning pasty. In my view I can and still can make better pasties than them.

As it was raining we then decided to visit The Churchill War Rooms which we did . It was a most interesting afternoon. This was a mighty feat for its time as the War Rooms where built under and existing building. they inserted a 6 foot thick concrete and steel ceiling pumping all the concrete in without anyone knowing what they were doing. This was to house Churchill’s War Cabinet, where they all lived for the duration of the war.

I do not know how they lived like that for the 6 years the war was on.

Monday 5th June, 2011.

Today we found our way to the Imperial War Museum. It looked small from the outside but inside it took us 4 hours to look at everything on the four floors.

They had tanks, planes, trucks, cars, submarines, bombs, rockets everything to do with the war.

There was also a part on the Children and Families of the War, which gave an insight to what they had to put up with.

We then caught the train from Lambeth station to London Bridge station where we alighted. We walked down the river walk looking at old buildings. The first church built in England in 606 was Southwark Church. We thought we would go to the Borough Markets but they were not on, so we kept on walking past Old churches in ruins, the Clink Goal, Sir Frances Drake’s boat the Golden Hind which is an exact replica. We then crossed over the Thames River on the Millennium Bridge on the way o St Pauls Cathedral.

Again we came home absolutely worn out. Would you believe in bed and asleep by 7pm.

Tuesday 7th June 2011

Today we caught the Big Bus which took around the city. We got off to look at the changing of the guard. We had a walking tour guide, which was free…..

We walked with about 25 other people to St. James Palace and saw the Queens Guards getting ready to march to Buckingham Palace for The Changing of the Guards.

James and I then caught the ferry to Greenwich Peir where we had a little look around. We decided to come back later and have more time to have a good look around. We caught the ferry back to London bridge and got back on the Red Bus for the rest of the Tour around London which was done in peak hour traffic.

Wednesday 8th June

I think that I will have to put my travels in point form from now on. I really do not have enough time to write everything up.

first we caught the train to Cutty Sark Station at Greenwich.
Walked to the observatory up a long hill.
We walked through the park passed a part where the equestrian is going to be held of the Olympics in 2012.
They are making the course on a platform of about ½ acre in size. Some parts of the platform is about 2 metres above the ground. The course will be pulled down when the Olympics are finished. The park will be upgrade to what is was before the platform was built.
There were very interesting things to see at the observatory, we stood at 0 mean time
Walked back down the hill to the Queens House which is now an Art Gallery.
We also had a look at the Maritime Museum.
We walked back to the Cutty Stark station and caught the train to Cannery Station where we alighted to have a look at the car show.

9th June
We caught the train back to Tower Hill, where the Tower of London is.
We joined in on a guided tour and we got some great information on how and who built the castle.
We also heard about all the people kept here for all sorts of different reasons.
The Queens also has a house here, but I don’t think that she stays here any time.
We walked around the outside and through the Turrets. Also into the Tower itself.
They still had the cobbled streets.
Some of London still has cobbled streets which makes it hard walking. I see people walking around in high heels and I don’t know how they do it. I have trouble walking in flats. I also cannot image how the horse and carriages got on in the 1800s
After we had lunch we walked over to the Tower Bridge which was just around the corner.
We walked across the south tower and back across the north tower and then down into the engine rooms.
The weather is showery and coolish nice for walking around and sightseeing.

10th June
Talked to Jessica last night on Skype and wished her a Happy Birthday. Tried to ring her on the phone but couldn’t get through as we didn’t dial the correct number. Talked to Charlotte also.
Caught the Underground to Marble Arch to see where we had to go to pick up the car. We went to the wrong Marriott Hotel. Got directions from the concierge at the wrong Marble Arch Marriott, we missed the George street sign and walked far to far. Asked directions again and got the wrong ones again kept walking. Turn around and walked back towards Marble Arch and found George Street and the correct Marble Arch Hotel.
Got the bookings for the car changed to Victoria, just up the road from us, walking distance in fact which is great as we don’t have to lug luggage on the Underground in peak hour.
Had a look and walk around Marble Arch and caught the underground to the Science museum. There were lots of hands on things for the children there. It was interesting too but some things one does not really want to know.
Across the road was the V&A museum (Victoria & Albert), I would have liked to spend more time there.
There was a great place to eat at the V & A Museum so we had a cooked lunch with vegies. The surrounding were just lovely, took you back to the 1800’s.
We had a chat of about an hour with one of the security men. We talked about lots of different parts of history.
We were going to go to Kensington Castle but it was raining very hard so we decided to come back to the hotel for a rest as we were extremely tired.
At Victoria we had a look for the Avis Car Hire and found it after walking around for a bit.
Came back to the hotel had a coffee and rest.

11th June
Woke up very tired, knowing that we are going to have another rugged day, racing around trying to see everything there is to see.
After breakfast we raced down to the Mall for a good spot to watch the Queens Parade. We got what we thought was a great spot to watch, just outside St James’s Palace and Clarence House entrance. It was freezing standing in the shade of the trees. Before the parade started the police came and stood and said intervals along the Mall. Then after they got that right the Queens Soldiers marched up the Mall and peeled off at intervals and stood in the correct position and ;they also are checked and moved to the correct positions. The parade started with Queens Soldiers marching in full regalia they look fabulous. The Queens Marching bands sounded great. The Queen and the Prince came in an open coach, as she was not aloud to ride as she usually did. Then after them Prince William, Andrew, and Princess Ann came behind riding on horses in full regalia. Prince Charles and Camilla where in a coach with Kate and Prince Harry. We were on the wrong side of the road as the Royal Household was at the entrance of Clarence House and St James’s Palace and the Royal Party as they rode passed turned and waved to them. Not us.
Walked down to the London Eye, there were millions of people there all waiting to get onto the London Eye for their ride. We went back to the ticket office and updated our ticket. we only had to wait 10 minutes for our ride instead of hours. The sky was so clear we could see for miles and miles. Absolutely fabulous, wouldn’t miss it for the world.

12th June
Woke again so tired, this holidaying is wearing me out.
It is raining and freezing cold. I think that this weather has caught all Londoners by surprise as they keep saying that it is June. It seems funny to see it when it rains all the umbrellas come out and everything just seem to go on as before.
We caught the underground to Harrods where we did some shopping. We followed some ladies from Wales and chattered while we found our way around. Inside Harrods is not to be missed the food hall is fabulous. There are all types of food and presented with flare and taste that I have never seen before. Going up the escalators is an experience in itself.
Went to Westminster Abby for Evening Song. It was unbelievable inside, we will have to go back again and have a better look. The service was good too and the choir was something else.
We came back to the hotel and James is watching the car racing.
Tomorrow is another day.

That was our first week in London. What a week it was. Just fabulous, wonderful and exhausting. Till next weeks update.