Thursday, 22 June 2017

Making the most of the weather!

With temperatures soaring up to 30+ degrees it was time to make a couple of runs into the local area to make full use of the Morgan.
The 'Stork Inn'
The first of our runs was to the 'Stork Inn' at Conder Green, near Lancaster, and then on to Glasson Dock on the shores of Morecambe Bay.
The view across the River Lune estuary towards Sunderland Point.
The second was into the hills, to a local beauty spot called Beacon Fell.
En route to Beacon Fell.
The high visibility of the fell made it an ideal location for a warning beacon. A beacon on the fell has been recorded as early as 1002. The fell formed part of a chain of beacons to warn of the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and of French forces between 1795 and 1815. More recently, beacon chains have been lit in celebration of coronations and jubilees.
The view from the east side of Beacon Fell with the Bleasdale fells in the background..
A super couple of days.

No car, no worries!

Following a series of cancelled foreign holidays caused by health issues, my wife and I finally made it to one of our favourite destinations.
Our hotel with its private beach.
We have normally rented a villa set in the countryside close to Pollensa at the north west tip of Majorca. However, on this occasion we decided that a hotel would be a safer option.
One of the swimming pools.
The hotel that we had set our minds on was the Illa D'Or Hotel in Puerto Pollensa, where we had spent many an evening in the past, with a coffee and a brandy, viewing the setting sun across the bay from their bar in front of the hotel.....but alas, almost as expected, it was fully booked.


View from our balcony over the bay of Palma.
Knowing that we love traditional Spanish hotels, they suiggested a family owned and run hotel that would meet all our requirements and what is more was within 7kms of the city of Palma. It was in Illetas and is without question one of the best hotels in which we have stayed, easily matching the Paradores of Spain where we have stayed on many occasions.

The name is going to remain a secret because I don't want to find the place fully booked when I come to book again for next year....although with a minimal amount of sleuthing and with the help of pictures in this blog you should be able to identify it!
Palma...a lovely city!
The name is going to remain a secret because I don't want to find the place fully booked when I come to book again for next year....although with a minimal amount of sleuthing and with the help of pictures in this blog you should be able to identify it!
The train to Soller

Soller station
So, a lovely hotel, close to the city (with its clinics if necessary!) and no hire car to worry about. I am not saying that we will not rent a hire car again, but on this occasion I felt that we could do without one, knowing the island well already and wishing to have a complete rest.
We were alone in a carriage on the trip back to Palma.
That is just what we had, relaxing and occasionally hopping on the regular bus to Palma. On one occasion the bus took us to the Placa d'Espana where we caught the little train to Soller.
A Majorcan moon above our balcony.
A great holiday and no car.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Under an English heaven!....

....and when the weather is good you can't beat it.

The open road.
So it was, that we set off to one of our early season picnic spots, in the Duke of Westminster's garden, the Forest of Bowland.
Down the bonnet and far away!
Remarkably quiet, although we did set off quite early having had to drop the Volvo off at a Body Shop to be repaired after the corner of a brick wall hit it some days ago!!!
She's looking gorgeous...and the wife's not bad either!!
Driving conditions were great;  the sun beating down, the occasional sound of a curlew or a lapwing and when we sat down for our picnic the constant sound of sheep and new born lambs to keep us company.
A lovely place.
Very enjoyable, with a favourite pork pie and a small beer to wash it down. Roll on the next time!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Norfolk

We have just spent a week in my favourite English county with one of my daughters and her family in a delightful house bordering the River Bure at Wroxham.
Our accommodation


Early morning with the River Bure at the bottom of our garden
The lawn ran down to the waters edge where our small day boat was moored, in which we enjoyed many cruises up and down the river with the occasional picnic thrown in for good measure.
The day boat
Since 1954, when I was 11 years old, I have been visiting the Broads, initially with my family and then at around the age of 17/18 with friends, once in a yacht, but mostly in motor cruisers.
Commander Ted aged 3 at the helm!!!
My wife and I also spent our honeymoon there in 1966, so I have a great love and affinity with the place.
A trip to the beach at Sea Palling
Cruising down the river at Belaugh.
As the years have advanced I have become increasingly nostalgic for a Norfolk Broads filled with traditional wooden cruisers and yachts, all displaying their individual character and each an example of the boatbuilders' individual style and build.....a bit like the cars of yesteryear I suppose.

A 'Windboat' from the golden age of motor cruisers crossing Barton Broad

A trip by rail to Aylsham
Anyway, the way we have done it in recent years is fine, a little boat to spend the day in and a lovely house and bed to sleep in at night, although I do not discount the chance of hiring a cruiser again in the future, God willing!
Quanting a traditional yacht from Hunter's Yard at Ludham
John Betjeman wrote a lovely poem about Norfolk that evokes special memories for me as a youth when I visited the place with my parents and subsequently.

How did the Devil come? When first attack?
These Norfolk lanes recall lost innocence,
The years fall off and find me walking back
Dragging a stick along the wooden fence
Down this same path, where, forty years ago,
My father strolled behind me, calm and slow.

I used to fill my hand with sorrel seeds
And shower him with them from the tops of stiles,
I used to butt my head into his tweeds
To make him hurry down those languerous miles
Of ash and alder-shaded lanes, till here
Our moorings and the masthead would appear.

There after supper lit by lantern light
Warm in the cabin I could lie secure
And hear against the polished sides at night
The lap lap lapping of the weedy Bure,
A whispering and watery Norfolk sound
Telling of all the moonlight reeds around.

How did the devil come? When first attack?
The church is just the same, though now I know
Fowler of Louth restored it. Time, bring back
The rapturous ignorance of long ago,
The peace, before the dreadful daylight starts,
Of unkept promises and broken hearts.

JOHN BETJEMAN

Sunset on the Bure


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Still alive and kicking!!!......

....after another spell in hospital.

But they can't keep a good man down and at the first opportunity we rolled the Mog out of the garage on a beautiful day and set off to the Lake District.
At 'Sizergh Castle' (National Trust Property)
What a great day it was, lovely countryside and a convivial meeting with our friends in the delightful village of Finsthwaite, near Newby Bridge in the South Lakes.
A welcome stop near Witherslack in the South Lakes
The car behaved impeccably and we saw two other Morgan owners with similar ideas to us, enjoying their cars on a really glorious day.
Above Bowland Bridge






This week,  prior to our planned holiday in Norfolk we take the car to Southport to have a new set of four tyres. Not a question of wear on the treads but one of age!!!

Circumstances, due to health issues, over the past two years,  have meant that Morgan use has been minimal, although, in total we have now clocked a respectable 27000 miles.
Looking down on Lakeside, Windermere
But the tyre issue is a problem when owners of Morgans are doing minimal mileage, generally well below the average that normal cars are doing ie 10/12000 miles every year.

In fact we now have three tyres on the car that were manufactured in 2006, two years before the car was built. So they are now 10/11 years old!! Truthfully, they should possibly have been changed well before now.
Across Windermere towards the Langdale Pikes


Lakeside
The tyres for the 4/4 are quite rare and are only made in small batches by 'Continental', so you have to take 'pot luck' regarding the age of any 'new' tyres that are supplied.
I'm just hoping that ours were manufactured in a recent batch!

PS Just returned from 'Tyred and Exhausted Ltd' in Southport where we have had 4 BRAND NEW TYRES FITTED, manufactured in late MARCH 2017. Delighted!!!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

What a beauty!

7 sleeps to go and I decided to give 'Nellie' a spin...and what a drive it was!

Extremely cold but quite a bright day and above everything else dry roads, so with heater blasting out and without my speed restrainer sitting beside me I set off.

Foot to the floor and the exhaust bellowing I vanished down the road to the first traffic lights, where I was accosted by a former customer and her daughter who were overwhelmed by the beauty of the Morgan and surprised when I lifted my 'flip-up' sunglasses beneath my beanie hat and discovered that it was their former village newsagent driving the car.

Blimey, the car went well, a very civilised version of the Morgan is the 4/4, eminently manoeuvrable and with sufficient 'poke' (I think that is the term) to satisfy most people, no Ferrari certainly, but who the hell wants a Ferrari anyway!

Not today....but thoughts of Spring!......
It was also an occasion, as I powered my way down the road, which was surprisingly quiet considering the time of the year, to ruminate about 2016, an 'annus horribilis' for my wife and I, including as it did for me, seven weeks in Manchester Royal Infirmary and stays in both Norwich and Exeter hospitals. Two cancelled continental holidays and one cut short.

But it wasn't just that. We now face Brexit, something I didn't vote for, although I am beginning to feel more settled about it, especially since our so called friends in Brussels are behaving like spoilt children and treating us badly. I just wish that the government would get on with it.

Not just that either. Car makers, including those at the luxury end of the market, are still producing extremely ugly cars which the populace are voraciously consuming. It seems that every week another SUV (SERIOUSLY UGLY VEHICLE) comes off the production line with each manufacturer proclaiming how desirable and unique they are, when in fact they all look just the same! Barmy!

Other things have niggled me, such as the fact that it seems de rigeur for most people, including BBC interviewers to begin their response to every question with the word 'so'. Really, really annoying, and I was amazed to hear that it is not confined to this country but seemingly every country that uses English is also doing it!!!!! It's like a disease but who started it I don't know.

....and all the wonderful experiences we've had in 'Nellie'
And another two things, relating to the language. Have you noticed how many people don't sound their 't's'? Ironically a very good example of this is the Shadow Education Minister of all people, and many of her colleagues!! God help us!
The other is the pronunciation of the word sixth, now it seems very often pronounced 'sicth' by many supposedly highly intelligent people.

There are other things, but I can't remember them due to my advancing years. Just a very grumpy old man I suppose!

Meanwhile, on the road home I am holding back, just like the F1 drivers do during practice sessions, to allow themselves space to get their clogs down. Then, oh boy, the sheer exhilaration of the Morgan at high speed, what a shame there are speed limits to hold me back.

All is well with my world now!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS WORLDWIDE.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

A sunny winters day!

What a glorious day, very cold with a frost on the ground, but a wonderful opportunity for a spin in the Mog.

The alternative was a couple of hours power washing the York stone backyard....the Morgan won hands down!
Lytham St Annes with the windmill in the distance.
So, off to Lytham St. Annes we went for my lovely wife to continue some Christmas shopping.


Across the Ribble estuary with Southport on the skyline.
I'm afraid I must have been an even grumpier old man than usual, criticising everything from the appalling size of many of the people we spotted, to complaining vigorously about the fact that we dish out millions of pounds in foreign aid (even to India who no longer need it) and we cannot afford pots of white paint to repaint white lines on the roads and particularly mini roundabouts that prove difficult to see in untreated concrete, especially in the low winter sun.
Down the prom,prom,prom with the 'Big One' in the distance.
I'm quite conviced that the government will not be satisfied until the standard of our roads matches third world standards. I kid you not when I say we have experienced better road surfaces than ours in East Africa!
Hundreds of Santas taking part in the Santa Dash in aid of the local Hospice.


 ...
And one that got away!!!!!
Wonderful letter in the Daily Telegraph this Saturday in response to the announcement that speed bumps were possibly going to be removed to improve car emissions......"Who needs speed bumps anyway, when we have so many potholes!"
Blackpool Tower basking in winter sun.
Enough of this, we had a great drive and our pictures as usual tell the story.