A Travellerspoint blog

32 Around Branston

Our last weekend

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Sunday 21st Sept
Had a pretty cruisey Sat. Carol and Ian's grandson's Josh just 7 and Lewis just 5 are staying over, so we went out for a picnic to an Aero park beside East Midlands Airport. A good collection of old aircraft and the Argosy old freight plane was open for us to go inside. There was a Vulcan bomber, a Canberra bomber, 2 Vampires, Hawker Hunters, a Buccaneer, Sea King Helicopter, a Lightening, a Nimrod anti-submarine aircraft, a Vickers Varsity and lots more. All being fans we enjoyed this visit a lot and watching the bigger planes landing at East Midlands which services much of Europe. A lovely experiences then time to get the boys back to their parents. Caught up with Margaret again and her friend Eric, also Carol and Ian's other daughter Natalie and her partner Gavin - baby due in 6 weeks.
Next day Monday 22nd, farewelled Carol and Ian when they delivered us to Lichfield Railway stn for our trip to London. Hard to say farewell as they are family and we get on so well.

Posted by RuthWinmill 12:17 Archived in England Comments (0)

31 Wales in Two Days

August 18th

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Thursday 18th
Up early and off with Carol and Ian to Wales at 7.30am. A lot to cover for what we are to see. Knew we were in Wales when we couldn't pronounce the names of places on the road signs. Encountered the weirdest toilets ever seen at Corwen. Seat sticking up vertically on a steel frame above a stainless steel bowl like a funnel. Had to almost get a step stool to sit on the seat when you pulled the seat and frame down.....I missed getting on the seat first go and it shot back up in the air and that made the toilet flush.
I laughed my head off and succeeded on the 2nd attempt. The same had happened to Carol....very strange set-up indeed.
Beautiful countryside and villages, we just couldn't get enough of looking at them. Stunning lime green trees and forests and beautiful streams. Headed to Snowdonia National park and to see if we could get a train up Mt Snowden. One time left but it would return too late for us. No probs as it was lovely just walking around, looking and spending time chilling by the lake. Huge slate mines and quarries here and equally huge slag heaps. Stopped next at stunning village named Bedd Gelert...pronounced Bethgelert. Chilled out a bit here, ice-cream, walk in the fields, paddle in the stream before finding our way to cousin Christine's home. A beautiful old stone farm house and out buildings in the countryside. About 250+ years old. Fields and pheasants all around, nice vege and wild flower gardens. Nice to see Christine's home after hosting her during her tour of NZ in March. Sooooo lovely and very interesting to stay in such an old country stone house. Was fun watching all the pheasants flying up into the trees to roost.
Woke to a nice fresh morning and after breakfast the 5 of us headed off through more Welsh countryside heading for Portmierion on the West Coast. It has been on our places to visit list for a while. A very colourful Mediterranean styled town of very classical buildings beautifully constructed. Many of them are Hotels that are built on a hill to the sea setting, and are surrounded by elegant trees and gardens. It was the location for the 60s T V series The Prisoner. And there is a well-known crockery style that is known as Portmierion crockery. I have always loved it and was able finally to purchase a couple of pieces. Very nice, would have loved more but for getting it around the rest of our tour and home safely.
Stopped at a slate place and awed at the size of some of the old slate quarries and slag piles.
Dropped Christine off at the 300 yr old Cottage not too far from Carnarvon, that she and partner John have purchased and are restoring. Wow what a job. It was very neglected and unloved but they are slowly making some progress and it will be just wonderful when they are done. We are looking forward to staying there on our next visit in a couple of years. It is a Heritage building as a old Welsh Bard used to live there and he's now buried in the old Churchyard across the street. A wonderful old 15th century church, and the graveyard to boot. Loved picking fresh blackberries over these two days. They tasted so delicious.
We had a long drive back to Branston. Carol drove the whole way since the day before and did so well, but we were all tired when we arrived home about 11pm. Haven't mentioned many Welsh names as we find it hard to spell them let alone say them!!!!!

Posted by RuthWinmill 12:16 Comments (0)



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We visited this place in 2004 and were keen to see how it had developed and how big the trees now were.
It is a lovely Arboretum in an open rolling field dedicated to all the wars and conflicts worldwide. Dedicated to the loss of life from these costly events. It is very tastefully thought out and designed with very moving and thought provoking areas. We visited the Gallipoli area here too and realised we hadn't taken NZ flags and poppies to leave there. Have them for Gallipoli in Turkey. Asked Carol if she could take her little grandson's Josh n Lewis to put them there for us. One area has 2,500+ trees planted in perfect rows to represent every Naval ship or Submarine that was sunk in the war. Spent a lot of time here
amongst the many other visitors including those from the different Services. Would thoroughly recommend a visit here if you come to the Midlands in UK.
Had a lovely visit to the Barton Marina area on Wednesday, gorgeous longboats moored here, privately owned. We plan to come back and do a canal trip some time.....others keen to join us too.
Local cold meat pies for lunch by the lake......very relaxing.
Went home collected Ian after his sleep and headed to lovely Nursery/Cafe. Saw an area where there were beautiful Falcons and Barn Owls. Even saw a Falcon freely catching prey and coming back to the handler. Sheep and pigs there too.

Posted by RuthWinmill 12:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

29 London Here We Come

Family catchup

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Thursday 11th Sept
Flight finally left at 10.45pm, so by the time they brought dinner around we were almost over it! 6.5hrs to Heathrow but they were 5 hrs ahead in time so arrived and it was about 11.15am. I had managed a little sleep but Ralph none so feeling very jet lagged when we arrived.
Julia Winmill was there to meet us and it was fantastic to see her again. Only seemed like a short time since with here last and not 8yrs. Have had FB, email and skype contact so that has lessened the distance between us.
Staying in Wokingham with Julia two nights. Needed a wee sleep after lunch though on arrival day. A lovely little town is Wokingham and I had a nice stroll with Julia. She had to work Friday so we chilled out, went into the village for a wander, checked out the local market and had a coffee and people watched.
Friday night, so a few drinks at Julia's with her best friend across the street and her female boss/friend also and not forgetting Julia's lovely doggy Jess. Very nice too.
SATURDAY 13th Sept.
Julia drove us to Birmingham to stay with and meet Jenny, another of Ralph's English cousins. Julia then off to see her goddaughter and spend the night with her mum in Breewd.
Spent the afternoon in the park with Jenny's daughter Ruth and her family....husband Peter and 2 sons.
Out to dinner with next daughter Emma for English Cod n Chips n mushy peas.
Next morning Jenny drove us to Leek for lunch with brother Martin and to meet another 90 yr old 1st cousin of Ralph's. Nice to see the different countryside around the Midlands and Leek is not far from Stoke on Trent. Had a gorgeous country-lane drive to Dovedale for a walk along a pretty stream and swim for Jenny's dog Tess. Lots of families and pooches out strolling in this beautiful place and a wonderful autumn day but still rather warm. Back to Birmingham for the night then Jenny driving us to Barton in the morning.

MONDAY 15th.
We arranged to meet cousins Margaret and her daughter Carol ( Margaret, Carol and Ian, Jenny and Ruth, Christine - who we will see in Wales- and Martin Winmill have all been to visit New Zealand and stayed with us since we first came to UK in 2004 and met some of them. So we have greatly helped New Zealand's tourist industry.
On arrival found Margaret-84- had fallen earlier and was a bit battered n bruised. Didn't stop her having a group lunch with us and Martin had come over from Leek to join us too. A lovely Marina area at Barton with many beautiful long canal boats. Oh how we love seeing them all again and the rellies and this area.
Hard saying farewell to Jenny, as it was also to Julia. Ralph's family uncles and aunts lived in this area as had his father Eric.
Carol got her Mum Margaret checked out at the Hosp and all ok, just bad bruising so I got the Arnica cream on to her. Carol's husband Ian on night shift this week so he was up by the time we got to their home. Ian ex Royal Navy Photographer used to go on secret missions with the Navy and record all sorts of aircraft testing and the missions. Now works at Marston's Brewery in Quality Control and yes that entails tasting the batches of beer among checking equipment and processes. He doesn't really like beer anymore!

Posted by RuthWinmill 12:05 Archived in England Comments (0)

28 Last Day In Toronto

A long day

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Wednesday 10th.

Decided we would make our last day our Hop On Hop Off bus tour day. Sorted out wnere to catch it from....in Chinatown not far from our Hotel. This was a really traditional Chinatown, with dried roots of Ginseng and otx of different dried mushrooms and Fungi, all sorts of other medicinal items and lots of Chinese foods and ingredients, fruit and vegetable shops and the usual smells of chinese spices. It was a large area of several streets and most interesting. We caught the double-decker bus beside the new and very modern Art Gallery of Toronto, rode into the city to the interesting commentary about places and the local history. Down near the CN Tower is the Roger's Sports Stadium, the first in the world to have a retractable roof that worked. We were told a good story of the first time it was closed after thecrowd demanded to see it in action! Yes well it takes 20 minutes to open it fully and then to close it again as once started it can't be manually stopped. Well it started raining heavily just after they began opening it so you can see what happened!!!

This trip also included a boat trip out around the Ontario Islands off the coast of the city. Most enjoyable and a surprise to us. Great to look back at city and watch the activity of the domestic airport on one of the Islands. Back on the bus we stopped at the food and produce Market, oted the best on the world by National Geographic. The ols Distillery was a but dissappointing as we thought there wouldbe mlre history in the old buildingsbut instead, modern shops with mkstly clothing and nothing of real interest to us. Had to time our getting off the bus at the stop we began from in the morning as we had to walk quickly back to our Hotel (well almost run and it was raining quite heavily for the first time since we left home - Niagara ponchos were useful..) in time for our taxi to the airport at 6pm. Flight to Heathrow leaving at 9.20pm and we needed to be there 3hrs before. Arrived airport to find our flight delayed and not now leaving till 10.20pm........ A long day already!

Posted by RuthWinmill 09:34 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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