Friday, 3 November 2017

An Autumn pootle

Yesterday, my wife and I had dental appointments at the surgery which is in the village of Great Eccleston.

The high street of that fair village offers views of the Bleasdale Fells.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we had decided at long last to give the Morgan a spin, initially just to the dentists, but on seeing those hills we thought sod it, let's go for a drive and a picnic!
Pork pies were bought from the local shop and off we went.
Taken in September 2011 in the same place as yesterday.
The car behaved impeccably, as usual attracting both attention and a couple of appreciative comments.
Also taken in 2011 when I was 6 years younger!!....but the car looks the same!
It was great to get out in it again after a period of some stress and hard work, certainly once again attracting me to the possibility of once again venturing across the Channel on another adventure.

Return to Norfolk

What a joy it was for me to return to my beloved Norfolk and the Broads in particular during Autumn.

It is a place in which I could live happily but alas business commitments and I suppose family, have meant that it is unlikely that will happen.

An Autumn view of the River Bure from the lawn of our cottage.
My love of boating, both yachts and motor cruisers, also means that I have a deep yearning to own a boat in that area, but once again the practicalities of ownership at a distance of 300 miles or so has deterred me from doing it, to say nothing about my recent spell of bad health coupled with,. advancing years!
Picnic moored in Fleet Dyke
Ah well! The holidays that my wife and I are now spending in the area which also give me the opportunity of some boating activity are sufficing to a large degree.
Approaching Coltishall on the upper Bure.
We were fortunate in having first class weather in the first four days of our visit which allowed us to make full use of our little dayboat in exploring once again the River Bure.
The sun on the afternoon of October 16th when dust from southern latitudes was blown north on the tale of hurricane Ophelia.
When the weather finally broke we travelled to the north Norfolk coast, specifically to visit once more Nelson's birthplace at Burnham Thorpe and the church in which he was christened. Heavy rain and mist spoiled the views across the North Sea but it was pleasant to see once again those lovely villages such as Wells and Cley.
A cormorant roosting on the evening of the same day.
Another visit is planned for April where the cottage we have rented is situated in Horning, a good central location for visiting more distant areas of the Broads in our better equipped picnic boat.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Bella Italia!

Just had a terrific week in Italy in a hotel in Garda, set in a commanding position overlooking Lake Garda.
In our room at the Radison where we stayed overnight prior to our very early flight.
It was a package holiday but oh, how my wife and I wished that we had been in the Morgan.
Along Garda's promenade.
We were in a room at the back of the hotel with a balcony overlooking a busy square, a busy road and a church whose bells rang 46 times each morning at 7am. Shades of the film 'Genevieve' for those old enough to remember the scene!
The view from our balcony with the dreaded church on the right
Anyway, we were sitting on the balcony on Sunday afternoon, when it seemed that there were many local car clubs out for a run, VW Beetles, Porsches, Alfas etc., but no sign of a Morgan, until at last a red +8 drove passed. It was good to see.
Our hotel from the steamer
Whilst there we visited Sirmione, a delightful town that unfortunately was absolutely heaving with tourists when we landed off the ferry so to a certain extent we could not appreciate fully its delights. Rather similar to the situation in Dubrovnik when 5 cruise ships have disgorged their passengers.
Sirmione
We enjoyed wonderful walks along the flat promenade in Garda that must stretch about 6kms from its northern end to Bardolino, the next town south.
Salo
Salo
Our final boat trip took us to Salo where Mussolini set up his HQ after being ousted from Rome, and what a wonderful, sophisticated town it is. Lots of very upmarket shops where we bought a Rolex each, a cashmere for my wife and a dozen pairs of top range shoes.....and if you believe that!!!!!!

The crowds are gathering!

The wedding car

The highlight of this visit occurred just as we were rounding a corner in the town and there against a wall sat a 1977 4/4 in white with well patinated red upholstery. Needless to say it was being oggled at by a great number of passers-by and I was fortunate to talk to the driver who was a member of a firm which has classic cars for hire.

This one had been hired as a wedding car and the bride was in the nearby Town Hall. Sadly, just as she was about to come out into the warm sunshine and into the Morgan, when I would have taken a photograph our ferry left for the return trip to Garda, ah well!
It doesn't get much better!
Great holiday, but if you care to read my review of the Hotel Terminus in Garda, mine is the one showing a picture of me standing next to the Morgan, you will realise that it was not all a bunch of roses.
You may notice a missing flag! I did mention it to our waiter who said that it had blown down in a gale and if I looked closely the German flag was broken as well!!!!!! Apparently local Council finances wouldn't run to replacing the Union Jack until next year!





Monday, 17 July 2017

On a Summer day.....

.......we set off for the Yorkshire Dales.

We pointed the Morgan, freshly polished, towards the Trough of Bowland from where we made our way to Slaidburn and on into Yorkshire.
The descent through the Trough of Bowland
Two mediocre pork pies for our little picnic were bought in Settle and we then headed out on the tiny road to Malham.

The surface had been recently relaid and chippings were flying from other vehicles that were ignoring the 20 mph speed limit, plus there was a Council lorry sweeping up the chippings and creating a considerable amount of dust.....not the place for a newly polished Morgan!!

Surprising how many cars have defective speedometers nowadays!!!

However, we found a lovely area where we could have our picnic, enjoying the extensive panorama across a lump of Lancashire, the Cumbrian fells and the beautiful limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.
Our picnic spot with, in the distance, Ingleborough on the left and Pen-y-Ghent on the right.

Towards the west.
We headed back home via Ribblehead, looking once again at the wonderful viaduct carrying the Settle to Carlisle railway, Ingleton, Burton in Lonsdale, Hornby, Littledale, Quernmore and all stations to Poulton-le-Fylde.
Gorgeous! ...and the wife's not bad either!

Looking north from above Littledale towards the Lakeland fells in the haze.



A great run with the Morgan performing beautifully.

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