Tuesday, August 31, 2010

31 August 2010 Bridlington

An adult Herring Gull

Thomas Yogurt in the supermarket

Ready made Pizzas

Iggle Piggle Yogurt

31 August 2010 Bridlington, Yorkshire

Cold overnight and we needed to snuggle in to keep warm so we reckon the summer is now well and truly over. The forecast though is for the weather to warm up through the week. It was 4c overnight in parts of Yorkshire.

We went shopping today after managing to find the local Morrisons shop which has a wider variety of food than some of the others. The Marks and Spencers store was quite a small one so had to limit it's normal wide variety.

We spent £56 ($97)on most of the stuff we will need for the week of self catering in our unit and consequently got a voucher for 5p (9c)of the price per litre of petrol at the Morrisons servo. Coles and Woolworths have a similar scheme in Aus. This offer expires on 5th September here whereas the Coles and Woollies ones are continuing with slight variations in the amount of discount offered.

We were again amazed at the variety of different foods for sale, a lot of which is ready prepared to save time I guess.

After completing our shopping we went for a walk along the seafront to check out the arcades and the maritime museum down at the Marina.

The breeding season for the Gulls has obviously been very good as there are hundreds of new gulls with brown feathers around the area here. The parents are very large birds with an orange spot on their beak. The commonest Gulls here are bigger than those in Aus. I think they are Herring Gulls (Joyce?)

By mid afternoon it got a bit cool for shorts and t-shirt (yes, I know I should now stick to Jeans) so after getting a few prints done of relatives photos to send to them, we headed off home.

We were pleased to find that the central heating for the block had been turned on so it has taken the chill out of the air this evening. There is a notice on the wall on each level of the building saying that the Central Heating is turned off between June and August and then is on from 7am 9.30am and 5pm to 9.30pm in August, September and October. So it appears to have come on a day early. It also says the 6 residents here are responsible for equal shares of the heating bill. A pity if one goes away for 3 months in winter as you would still be paying the heating bills.

Lyn made a lovely dinner for Mick tonight and we will now be settling down to watch the last episode of The Bill followed by a tribute program to the 26 years the show has been on.

Monday, August 30, 2010

30 August 2010 Coventry to Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire

Our Bridlington unit top left in Roundhay Mansions - notice the BT (Telstra) phone lines from the pole

Audrey, Mick, Davina, Roy and Lyn

The seaviews from Audrey's sea front home

30 August 2010 Coventry to Bridlington.

Nothing much to report for the past couple of days as we had a quiet weekend at the Premier Inn in Coventry, having a rest from the pace of touring. This allowed us to watch the excellent Formula1 coverage from Spa in Belgium on the BBC followed by the MOTOGP race from Indianapolis in the good old US of A. The weather was also showery for most of the weekend and unlike the Brits, we are not really wet weather tourers.

Mark Webber didn’t disappoint as he managed a solid second place in the F1 race behind Lewis Hamilton but unfortunately Casey Stoner in the MOTOGP repeated what many of the other riders did at the track, by falling off half halfway through the race.

We awoke this morning, Monday, refreshed and ready to go again and the weather was sunny but cool. Mick is still persisting with wearing his shorts and gets some strange looks from the natives.

So, we left Coventry at about 10.30am and filled up with petrol at the Morrisons Servo right next door to the Hotel. There was also a huge Morrisons store there as well. Morrisons is a bit like a Coles or Woollies and offers discounts on fuel for shopping there. The petrol price matched a price we had found in Canterbury which has been the cheapest we have found since being in the UK at 111.9p or $1.94 per litre. We have seen petrol at anything up to 129.9p ($2.25) per litre but on the motorway 120.9p ($2.01) per litre is the common price. We never buy fuel on the motorways!

We headed off down the M69 towards Leicester and then turned onto the M1 and traveled North past Nottingham. We left the M1 at Junction 32 and headed west on the M18 heading Northeast until we joined the M62 and then exited at Junction 37 onto the A614 to Bridlington. (Did you get all that Margaret?).

We arrived at about 1330 after stopping once for a coffee at a motorway services café where we made our own coffee and used their loos! The total distance was about 153 miles (around 245 klms).

Roy and Davina (Mick’s cousin) and Audrey (Roy’s sister) met us at the unit, which is owned by Audrey who has kindly let us use it for the week. Roy and Davina, who live in Newcastle-under-Lyme, are currently visiting her.

She showed us around before inviting us for dinner and leaving us to settle in.

Audrey lives a 5 minute walk away in Bridlington on the fourth floor in a block of six units and her unit is on the top floor overlooking the sea. The view is beautiful from her balcony.

With Lyn’s encouragement and due to the cool weather, Mick changed out of his shorts before going to Audreys for dinner.

We had been dying for a lovely baked dinner after all our eating out and when we arrived found that Audrey had cooked a beauty which she invited us to share with them. After the meal we sat around chatting and getting to know Audrey whom we had not previously met.

An enjoyable day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

27 August 2010 Coventry

Jaguar Heritage Centre, Browns Lane Coventry

Browns Lane Coventry as it was during full production

Browns Lane site now cleared - Jaguar is now owned by Tata Motors of India

1974 E-Type V12 Series 3

Jaguar XKR used by the baddies in the James Bond film, Die Another Day

Some of the Jaguar items for sale at the Heritage Centre

Jaguar XJ220

Jaguar XJ220

Painting of TWR Jaguar XJS as raced at Bathurst I believe

Coventry Cathedral or what's left of it but still a place of worship.

Coventry Cathedral

New Cathedral linked to the old

Read it

Holy Trinity Church in Coventry

Holy Trinity Church interior

Lyn and Lady Godiva

Coventry Police use Vauxhall Astras like the one we have

27 August 2010

Looked like fine weather today as we got up early to get to the Jaguar heritage Centre which was only open between 10am and 1pm (despite what their Internet site said). From Huntingdon to Coventry is about 65 miles travelling down the A14 and hooking up with the M6. Good road all the way and we were there in about an hour.

We arrived at 10am to find a relatively small but well laid out building on the site of the since demolished Jaguar factory which first started producing Jaguar vehicles in 1935.

The centre contained a lot of Jaguar history including cars, paintings, photographs, various engines cut open to see the internals and a nicely presented souvenir/memorablilia shop which sold just about everything the Jag enthusiast could want.

Mick chatted to the lady assistant who said that they had about 130 vehicles altogether but only currently had room for a small number in the showroom. There were plans to expand the facility in the future.

After buying a few presents, including Leapers (those chrome Jaguars commonly seen on Jaguar bonnets) we headed off to check out Coventry City.

Mick was interested in looking at the Coventry Cathedral but when we got there found that it had been burnt out during the war in 1940 and only the outside walls remained. A new Cathedral had been built which was a sort of extension to the burnt out one. It was a very interesting idea with the old flowing into the new.

Right next door to the Cathedral was the Holy Trinity Church which survived the war apart from having all of it's stained glass windows blown out from the blast and fire that destroyed the Cathedral.

The Holy Trinity Church started life in the year 1043 as the Benedictine Cathedral Church of St. Mary, founded by Lady Godiva (yes THAT Lady Godiva). Lady Godiva was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, in what is now the United Kingdom. Around 1057, she and Leofric got in a dispute over the taxes he had levied on the growing city of Coventry, and he challenged her to ride naked through the marketplace, promising to ease the tax burden if she did so. Lady Godiva took the challenge and became a local legend. At least, that's how the story goes, a story that began to circulate a century after her death. In the 17th century, the detail was added that Lady Godiva had instructed the townsfolk to stay indoors during her ride, but that a man named Tom peeked at her anyway, hence the term "peeping tom."

Now you know.

The first reference to the Holy Trinity Church was in the year 1113 and high on the ceiling is a Doom.

A Doom is a painting of the Last Judgment, an event in Christian eschatology (end of the world). Christians believe that Christ judges souls and then sends them to either Heaven or Hell. Many Dooms survive in medieval churches dating from around the 12th to 16th centuries, although they were virtually standard in churches from much earlier than that.

Unfortunately the flash wouldn't highlight it sufficiently to get any detail but for something that is over 600 years old and has been painted over and restored twice the colour is quite amazing.

Three o'clock and time to buy a paper and head to the Premier Inn for some quiet reading. All has gone a bit quiet on the Australian election in the media here whilst Abbott and Gillard try to sell their souls to enable them to form government. It's almost identical to what happened here in the UK a few months back but the Tories here only had to get into bed with one party.

(In case you didn't know the UK Conservative Party was founded in 1834 out of the old Tory Party and it's members are still frequently referred to in the media as "The Tories" today.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

26 August 2010 Ashford to Huntingdon via Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral framed by the entrance gate

Canterbury Cathedral Gate

Mick at Entrance Gate to Canterbury Cathedral

Roman soldier and his horse in the Roman Museum

Fantastic stained glass window, the Cathedral is full of them, all beautifully restored

Roman Soldiers advertising the Roman Museum

Canterbury town square

Lyn in Canterbury

Speed down to 50mph on the motorway due to rain

Aston Martin Racing semi-trailer on the motorway - I have never heard of Aston Martin Racing

Inside the Dartford Tunnel on the M25 - Toll is £1.50

Says "Do You Love Your Bum" on the back of the truck

Entering Essex

Dartford Tunnel toll booths, 14 of them (and still gridlocked) only take cash - stupid - needs automating as in Australia

Here comes more rain

The semis over here have single rear wheels rather than our Aussie dual wheels

26 August 2010

Plenty of rain in the night and a power failure at the motel during the evening probably caused by the rain.

This morning was overcast again as we left Ashford to head to Huntingdon via Canterbury as Mick wanted to check out this historic city.

It started to rain on our way down the A28 to Canterbury but as we entered the town Mick was pleased to find an Esso service station selling petrol for 111.9p ($1.94). This which was the cheapest we had seen it since being in the UK. He had noted that we had passed a Morrisons store about 100m back and they often have a service station close by selling cheap petrol. The Esso price was probably matching the Morrisons price.

When we arrived in the city centre it took some persuading to get Lyn out of the car to see the Canterbury Cathedral because of the rain. Having persuaded her Mick parked in a parking lot about a 5 minute walk to the Cathedral and paid our £1.50 parking fee.

Fortunately it had stopped raining but we put on our wet weather coats just in case and walked down the narrow cobbled road to the Cathedral Gate. After having a good look around Mick went down the road a bit to visit the Roman Museum whilst Lyn browsed around the town. No she didn't buy anything other than the mandatory pencil.

The shopping centre was set around the Cathedral entrance gate with cobble stones used in the plaza area. It was really very nice.

We didn't have a great deal of time as we had to drive to Huntingdon where we were staying for the night and with the shocking road conditions due to the rain, needed to take it easy.

So after taking a few photos we left the German tourists behind and headed off down the A2, M2, M25, M11 and A14 passing Cambridge on our way to Huntingdon, with much of the journey in the pouring rain.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

25 August 2010 Rye (Kent) and Hastings (East Sussex)

Lyn with Python

Eurasian Eagle-owl

Eurasian Eagle-owl



Mother pig and piglets

Check out the name of the bakery in Hastings

25th August 2010 – Rye in Kent and Hastings in East Sussex

Woke to an overcast morning, with heavy rain forecast for this afternoon. We had a slow start to the day. Lyn didn’t wake till 9.15am and by the time she fiddled about it was 11am before we left the motel. We decided to have a drive down to Rye and Hastings.

We took the M20 towards Folkestone exiting at Junction 10 onto A2070 and we were driving along merrily until Mick saw a sign to the Rare Breeds Centre so we decided to stop and have a look.

The Rare Breeds Centre is owned and run by Canterbury Oast Trust, a charity that provides homes, care and occupational opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.

What a lovely little place it was. There were animal handlers in many places with various animal and birds so that the children could touch them to see what they felt like. Lyn put a large Burmese Python around her neck, as she appeared to be the only one game enough to do it. Most people seemed to think that the snake might bite them.

The next handler we found was holding a young Eagle Owl which can have a wing span of up to 6’. There has been some discussion in the newspapers here about exterminating them as some experts believe they are not a native species and the law here says that any animal species that is not native to this country should be destroyed.

Next was the butterfly house. When we entered it we were hit with a tropical atmosphere and Mick’s camera lens immediately fogged up. So many beautiful butterflies flying about and one landed on Lyn’s finger. People were complaining it was too hot and sticky but as Lyn said to one lady “it is like this Cairns and Broome in the wet season” as she had already told her that we came from Australia.

As we wanted to go to Rye and Hastings before the rain set in. We left the Rare Breed Centre and continued down the A2070 towards Rye.

Rye is a quaint little English village with a lovely nature reserve and many wild birds to see. There was a large information sheet with pictures and narrative of the various birds in the area on the side of an information shed in the car park (free) near the water. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain and Lyn said she had left all the wet weather gear back at the hotel so we could only see it from the car.

After a quick look around we headed off to Hastings in the pouring rain and when we arrived, did a circuit of the town and parked the car in an undercover car park, which cost £1.40 for two hours, which we thought was reasonable.

We then headed off to the city centre under our umbrella, which we had found in the boot. About 50m down the road in the pouring rain, Lyn suddenly remembered that we had the wet weather gear in our large suitcase, which was in the boot, so we trudged back to the car to dress for the rain.

First stop Costa’s for a lovely Latte and toasted ham and cheese sandwich and then off for a walk around the shopping centres which were very nicely laid out with a good variety of stores.

Mick took the picture of the bakery from inside Costa's. What a cool name!

As it was still pouring with rain, which the Brits don’t seem to worry about, we decided to make our way home rather than get drowned.

As we had passed through the town, the GPS decided we should keep going down the A21 and then onto the A28 back to our motel at Ashford.

This evening we again went for dinner at the restaurant next door to the motel and Mick had a rack of Pork Spare Ribs and Lyn had Chicken Breast wrapped in bacon.

As we settled down for the evening the power failed in the motel and all the buildings within sight. Luckily we had the laptop switched on to provide quite a good light as the motel rooms were in complete darkness. There was, however, emergency lighting in the corridors. The power was off for about 50mins.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

24 August 2010 Left London for Folkestone & Ashford

Mick Zara Lyn in London

Mick Betty Lyn

Mick and Betty

Betty's block

View from Betty's flat

Battle of Britain memorial at Folkestone

Supermarine Spitfire replica

Cross Channel Ferries at Folkestone

White Cliffs of Dover

24 August 2010 London to Folkestone

After a relaxing start to the day we were packed and ready to leave London and head to Kent to visit the sister of my father’s brother’s wife, Betty, who lives at Folkestone. Got that?

We said our goodbyes to Zara, our charming host who had put us up in London for a couple of days before and after our Paris adventure.

After filling up with petrol for £1.139 per litre at a Shell service station and after having to negotiate with an Indian gentleman to allow us pay with our ANZ Visa travel card that has a magnetic strip and requires a signature rather than the now more common chip and pin version, we headed off down the A20 and thence onto the M20 to Folkestone.

Loaded with the appropriate postcode, our Nokia N95 GPS took us right to Betty’s house in Folkestone, where we received a very warm welcome followed by tea and scones.

Betty is a very sprightly 89 year old.

We spent almost 3 hours chatting about our family history and more recent events before asking Betty to show us around the local areas of Folkestone and Dover.

We had a look at several interesting sites including the Battle of Britain Memorial at Folkestone and the very large and imposing, Dover Castle.

Folkestone is a lovely town and nearby is the entry point for the Eurostar trains that carry passengers, trucks and cars under the Strait of Dover to France through the Channel Tunnel. It is the route that Lyn and Mick traveled on the trip to Paris.

We watched several large ferries leaving the Dover port heading across to the French ports of Dieppe, Boulogne, Calais and Dunkerque.

After they saw the rough seas of the channel, Lyn and Mick were pleased that they had taken the train through the tunnel rather than travel by ferry.

At about 5.30pm we dropped Betty off at her very spacious flat on the 4th floor of her building. The building contains 5 flats in total and has nice sea views.

We then headed off up the M20 to our hotel accommodation at a Premier Inn at Ashford and had a nice meal of Rack of Lamb and Prawn and Lemon Squid and salad at the attached Beefeater restaurant.