Thursday, August 11, 2011

and so you're back from outer space (Gloria Gaynor)

...and so we're back from, well, not outer space...although, come to think of it, London is looking like it exists in a parallel universe at the moment.

Amazing scenes there - people jumping out of burning buildings, police running around like headless chooks wacking people, thugs in masks smashing windows and looting shops. Madness. Fran's partner, Nic, was alone in their flat above a Sainsbury's that was smashed up. He's okay but no doubt shaken by events. Some of Pat and Randy's friends (David and Presley) live close to the initial problem area in Tottenham and didn't hear a thing (their facebook message read, "Riot? What riot?"). It's been that kind of experience, I guess. London is huge and with 16 million people it's bound to contain a few nutters innit.

Anyway - we're back in sand land after an often brilliant three weeks away. I have downloaded all of the what-we-did-on-our-holiday snaps so here we go with the (Jacky approved and chronological) highlights.

We began our travels in London with some returns to old haunts like St Paul's Cathedral, the Tate Modern, and a river cruise along the Thames (that's why there's a picture of the river cruise boat we went on).

Wozza photographed by SWMBO, outside St Paul's.
Jacky with pashmina - not that warm then.

The one above of Jacky is from our first B 'n' B in Chester. The next day we continued the trek north for Irene's 90th birthday party - a true highlight. Irene looked fantastic and we loved being part of the day. The look of surprise on her face when I walked in the room was priceless!!

Fran, Tom and Lew model the three different plate balancing manoeuvers.

Jacky caught red handed feeding Samantha.

The moody magnificence of Lewis senior...

...and the there's-the-door hospitality of Tom junior.

Irene Purdy, 90 not out, with orange juice (yeah, right).
The gathering of the Purdy tribe.

The next stage of the travel north involved our first visit to the Lake District in general and Keswick in particular. Needless to say, like everyone else who visits this magical area - we fell in love with it. Dove Cottage was one of the many highlights. Another was finding a mint vinyl copy of 200 Motels by Frank Zappa in the Keswick Collectables shop! That thrill probably means more to me than you, I guess.

On the way we stopped off at Rishworth where Jacky took approximately 367 photos of cows - I have added one for the sake of historical accuracy. By the way this was the only place that we left stuff behind - dirty clothes! Somehow we both missed a bag of laundry in the smallest room we had all trip.

A scene we don't see much in sand land.
Our amazing B 'n' B in Keswick

Oh I spose another four poster would be okay.

Sorry - but I love the Hollies!

Keswick in blue sky finery.

The view from the four poster.

Dove Cottage.

William and Dorothy's view!

We reluctantly left Keswick and headed north to Scotland. That means going through Biggar - one of my favourite places on earth. In 2003 Jacky took a photo of me posting a letter from the post office - here's the 2011 version.

Onwards we travelled, to Edinburgh and a stay at the Hotel Ritz in the Haymarket - a 5 minute walk to town. I had booked the hotel and location by mistake it turns out. I had forgotten that Jacky loved the Grassmarket area - not the Haymarket. Oops! I couldn't believe my luck to find the cheap price at the Hotel Ritz in the area I though Jacky loved. Oops again!

On the southward journey to London we stopped off for a night in York and went to Castle Howard for a looksee. In this case, it's probably fair to say that the pictures don't do the place and the atmosphere justice, nor does the word breathtaking.

A very special place.

A brief return to London was followed by a trip to Paris on the Eurostar. 

Our digs in Montparnasse.

The view from our balcony.

Notre Dame and the Seine.

Look - it's a houseboat!
On our way to see Mona and some other girls.

Jacky considers the way forward to see Mona.

Post Mona come down drink at Arbucks.
Back to blighty and a nostalgic train trip out to Leigh-on-Sea were the final flings in terms of photo ops.

We did see a fantastic play with Randy on our last night with him - Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead. It was a great end to a great holiday.

Outside our old house in Victoria Rd.

Nick at work in Wimpy on our fine burgers.

Possibly the best independent music store in the world!!

The Leigh high street called The Broadway.

The view from the Grand Parade over to Kent and a place called Grain!

Katy and Jacky cooking a goodbye dinner (for us)
and welcome to the shire dinner (for Janice's yet to be born daughter)
on one of our last nights in the shire.

And that's it!!

I start work again on Sunday the 14th so I dare say that will feature in oncoming updates, inshallah. Until then...

Love and peace - Wozza

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