A Travellerspoint blog

August 15 to 26 2011 - Suffolk and back to Byron Bay


overcast 18 °C

After the Shrewsbury trip, I headed back to Cockfield in Suffolk to spend a few days with my sister and mother. Unfortunately the weather throughout August was pretty awful - still warm but mostly depressing grey skies with the odd few hours of sun here and there (mainly in the evening)

Mum, Elaine and I had a trip out to Angelsey Abbey in Cambridgeshire (Jeni and I went there in May) and I went along to see Elaine competing in a nearby dressage event with her latest horse



On Saturday the 20th, I drove down to Southend-on-Sea to visit my cousin Lynnette and then spend a very pleasant few hours with Bob and Maggie in and around Old Leigh



On the evening of Tuesday the 23rd I drove down to Ealing to have a few beers with Richard Price and then drove the last few miles to Heathrow early the next morning. The Qantas flight back to Sydney via Singapore was very good, made even better because the flight was not very full and I had 2 empty seats next to me. The Qantas A380 is very good but both Jeni and I think that the Singapore Airlines A380 is better and landing back in Sydney at 7:20pm is a nuisance for us as we need stay overnight in Sydney before flying up to Byron Bay (thank you Neil)

It's very unlikely I would fly Qantas again; their flight staff were very good but I just don't like the way Qantas operate their business any more - I had an "Any Seat" frequent flight booking (ie a lot of points) and I still had to pay $60 to change the flight and another $20 to select a seat. A very 'Easyjet" attitude from a supposedly premium airline and their software is rubbish - I couldn't change my booking online as they said and despite being a frequent flyer with them for 20 years and having the vegetarian meal option in my profile for 20 years, the software somehow managed to forget my preference when I changed flights, but I hope they do that again as the staff very kindly arranged a meal from First Class which was delicious


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August 1 to 14 2011 - Devon, Cornwall and Shrewsbury


overcast 20 °C

Jeni flew back to Byron Bay on the 1st and I hobbled across to London Paddington to catch the fast train to Tivertion in Devon; "hobbled" because after weeks of walking hundreds of kilometres on concrete and cobbled pavements my right knee finally gave way in Victoria underground - nothing serious, just an old recurring football injury

I spent 3 days with Louise and Steve and went down to Sidmouth twice, once for the Folk Festival and once for the beach. Folk music is not top of my list but the whole of Sidmouth comes out to play and it was a pleasant enough evening walking from pub to pub listening to the the bands - I even got to see and hear a Hurdy-gurdy


Then it was another train down to Truro to spend a few days with Neil and Kyra in Devoran. As is often the case, we spent a great afternoon lazing on the terrace of the Idle Rocks Hotel overlooking St Mawes harbour and watching the regatta

I then picked up a car from Truro and drove to Cornworthy in Devon to see my old friend Bill. His house is very close to Dittisham where you can catch a very small ferry (expensive at GBP3.20 return) across to Greenway, Agatha Christie's old house. The location and gardens are wonderful but although the old house is fine as a home, it really isn't that interesting



The next day, I drove back a few miles to Aveton Gifford to meet Mike and Lynne. Unfortunately, Lynne had a terrible cold, so just Mike and I drove into Kingsbridge to the very pleasant Crabshell Inn on the river (I hope you're feeling better Lynne)

From there I drove north to Shrewsbury to spend a few days with Rob and Jo before they head off to Croatia for 3 weeks

On Friday, Rob and I drove the 20 miles to Chirk near Wrexham, on the Welsh border. Here there is a 700 year-old castle. The interior is not overly interesting but there is a fascinating document from the time of Oliver Cromwell, listing the hiding places of money within the castle (the family were royalists)



Also in Chirk is one of Thomas Telford's canal aquaducts sitting 70 feet above the valley


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July 31 2011 - last day of Jeni's trip - London - the Palace


sunny 25 °C

Another lovely day, so we took a short tube-ride to Green Park with the idea of walking through that park and on into St James' Park. As we approached Buckingham Palace we could hear a large band playing the themes from James Bond movies; it turned out that we had stumbled across the "Changing of the Guard" which Jeni has never seen. All great fun and surprisingly not too crowded. We're not sure why they don't just do away with the "Old Guard" with all the trouble they cause



Next was a lazy Sunday afternoon in St James' Park, waiting for a brass band to start playing in bandstand; they never did


For Jeni's last evening, we thought we'd stroll around our apartment's area (Fitzrovia) and have a couple of quiet drinks in one of the many local pubs - well it was quiet alright as just about everything was shut

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July 30 2011 - London - ferry to Kew and Hammersmith pub


sunny 25 °C

A late start. After a long breakfast, we took a short tube-ride to Leicester Square to try and get mantinee tickets from the official ticket booth for one of the few plays in London. All sold out

So then we had the brilliant idea of walking down Whitehall to the Westminster Embankment to get a ferry-trip up the Thames to Kew or Richmond - with of course, no thought to the fact that about 200,000 people would be at Westminster to look at Big Ben. It was horrendous and far worse than Prague. We fought our way down to the the pier and managed to book the last ferry of the day to Kew and back (GBP12 with Travelcard discount). My life on-board was short-lived; someone had brought a new-born baby onto the top deck and it was screaming its lungs out. Jeni wanted to stay but I just couldn't contemplate 3 hours trapped on a small ferry with that. Bye, bye Jeni, have a good trip

It seems I am tired of life

We met back at the apartment around 6pm and decided to enjoy the glorious summer evening down by the Thames, this time in a non-tourist area next to Hammersmith Bridge where there are 2 pubs close together and great views of the river


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July 29 2011 - London lunch-time concert


semi-overcast 21 °C

Let me say straight away that Prince Charles was correct this time, the new British Library is a hideous building

We went there thinking we could look at their large collections of maps and manuscripts but you can only do this as a "registered reader". They have a "treasures" collection that is open to the general public but these objects are pretty much what used to be displayed at the British Museum - a fantastic collection but what was the point in moving it all?

At 1pm we were in St Martin-in-the-Fields to see a piano concert by Andrei Licaret from Bucharest, a free concert with a suggested donation of GTBP3.50 - there are "free" concerts every week

At 5pm we met Steve and Carole and Bob in Broadgate at Liverpool Street and had a few drinks at Corney and Barrow along with about 500 city workers who seemed hell-bent on getting pissed as quickly as possible. After Bob had left, we walked down Bishopsgate past St Etheburga's to the Royal Exchange Cafe where we had a fabulous 3-course meal

Posted by kforge 10:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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