Recent Posts

Onward to the Provence …

Sep 03, 10

Today we left our Cornish chalet a day early so that we can travel on to “La Belle Provence” from Southampton airport tomorrow. Again our trusty guide Jane directed us unerringly the 192 miles to our overnight hotel. However not before I put in a slight diversion to Charmouth beach on the Dorset coast when I realised we were passing by it. Dorset’s coast is known as the “Jurassic Coast” because of the ancient Jurassic rocks that make up its cliffs. They’re rich in fossil beds and passing by awakened in me another boyhood passion, collecting fossils. I’ve not done this for a long time now, in fact the last time was probably in Charmouth when on a family holiday about 25 years ago (or more … gosh I really am old aren’t I ?) Anyway we could only stop for half an hour or so but it was fun … Although no new fossils to add to my collection unfortunately....

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Clay Mining

Sep 02, 10 Clay Mining

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Cornwall, in addition to its seafaring culture, is well known as a centre for mining tin and clay. Whilst the tin mining industry has all but disappeared china clay mining is thriving. Close to the site of the Eden Project, itself built inside a disused clay pit, is Wheal Martyn, a museum located on the site of two old china clay works. The museum has preserved all of the machinery, drying tanks and buildings exactly as they were when it was in full operation. Roaming in between these industrial relics was a real privilege and extremely interesting. Right next door to the open air park is a working open cast clay pit and we were able to look down on this huge lunar landscape whilst lorries and diggers the size of houses chewed up the decaying granite and assorted rock. China clay or Kaolin is the product of decaying feldspar in granite. The feldspar changes into a fine white powder but, the other parts of the granite, Mica and Quartz stay the same. China clay, in addition to its well known use in fine china pottery, is used in a staggering array of other materials and products: Paper, cosmetics, paint, plastics, rubber and pharmaceuticals to name a few. After the museum we headed on down to a place called Charlestown. Charlestown is the main location where the china clay, especially from Wheal Martin, was exported. It was purpose built just for this purpose and is a perfectly preserved example of an early Victorian harbour … today much loved by film directors filming period dramas. All in all an excellent day out...

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As far as you can go

Sep 01, 10

Today we motored on down to St Ives and then on to Lands End. St Ives is another picturesque Cornish fishing village. However it’s also been an artists hub for a long time and is the location for Tate St Ives. This was our main motivation for going there and being the ‘cultural barbarian’ that I am I’ll let someone who understands what the heck is going on in these types of galleries explain …. Annelies over to you ….. “Interesting tour and great selection of works from Tate Britain as well as an exhibition from Dutch artist Lilly van de Stokker – cheerful looking art, great fun (not at all like Lilly herself according to our tour guide!). Needless to say Robert was unimpressed! ” Following on from our visit to St Ives we went on to Lands End the first (or last depending on your point of view) point of...

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Eden reclaimed

Aug 31, 10 Eden reclaimed

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Today we visited the impressive ‘Eden Project’. A trip Annelies has been positively salivating over since we planned our trip to Cornwall, and it didn’t dissapoint. Over to Annelies ….. “At first site Eden looks like an amazing futuristic scene with its big bubble-like biomes nestled into the valley spread before us. We headed for the biggest one first – the rainforest biome – but we were too late to escape the humidity and high temperatures inside. The re-created jungle world even houses a waterfall. Felt a bit like a science fiction setting like “Logan’s Run”. The Mediterranean biome was a little easier to cope with. Both were fantastic. Outside the biomes the global variety of plants and gardens continues to impress us particularly when looking at the comparative images of the site only ten years ago when it was a disused clay pit looking like a lunar landscape. Love the ethos of Eden Trust – ‘Education on our dependence on plants and finding ways for a sustainable future.’ Running this attraction is merely a way to raise funds for its educational and social programmes…. Love it!...

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Childhood revisited

Aug 30, 10

Today we drove to Polperro … a place I last visited on a family holiday when I was about 5 … 36 years ago … I can’t believe I’m that old !!!! Polperro is a delightful quaint Cornish fishing village crammed into a rocky valley that leads down to the sea. Like so many other Cornish fishing villages it’s cute with small alleyways and traditional English inns where at any moment you’d expect a gnarly old sea dog to come staggering out in the garb of an 18th century sailor … enough to set the imagination of a 5 year old (or 41 year old) little boy racing. Whilst in Polperro we also visited a minature village … something that fascinated me when I was 5 as well. Looking at it though I don’t think it’s had a clean or a lick of paint since I last touched it as a 5 year old! After Polperro we drove on down the coast to Fowey ( pronounced I’m told as ‘Foy’) where we took a car ferry across the harbour to the town centre. Whilst here we succumbed to the temptation for a full English cream tea : Sandwiches; Cakes; Scones; Jam; Cornish Clotted cream & Biscuits, and of course 2 pots of Tea. Boy am I gonna have to get back on my diet when I get back! (worth it though 😀...

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Padstow

Aug 29, 10

Padstow … or the village owned and run by Rick Stein the celebrity sea food chef … or so you’d think when you visit it. Seriously though Padstow is beautiful and was well worth a visit in its own right. However it’s been firmly put on the map by Rick Stein. He owns a cafe, a restaurant, a brasserie, a patisserie and a fish and chip restaurant, all in the village itself. We tried out the fish and chip restaurant and ate them on the sea from overlooking the harbour … they were ‘scrumdidillyumptious’. It had everything you’d associate with a cozy archetypal Cornish village. There were traditional English ale houses, a brass band playing on the pier, the smell of pasties wafting through the air and Cornish ice-cream for sale on every street corner. It didn’t feel false though which made it all the more delightful. Sigh … I could get used to this!...

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Cornish Delight

Aug 28, 10

Well we’ve arrived in lovely Cornwall. We flew to Exeter and hired a car for the week. Our holiday home is just outside Newquay it’s nice … but a little musty … part of the charm I suppose … ahem! 😀 We’ve bought a TomTom GPS navigator especially for our Cornish/Provence “foray” and I have to say it’s fantastic … or should I say ‘she’s fantastic’ . Her name is officially Jane … after the persona or voice you can select for when it talks to you. We tried ‘Autralian Ken’, ‘Brit Tim.’ We even tried Dutch Bram and South African Doreen … but they didn’t do it for us, especially as Annelies is the only one between us who can understand Afrikaans. So she’s Jane and she’s incredibly accurate and useful. So much so we prefer her judgement over ours ( sometimes) …. the “day of the machines over humans” has arrived I guess ;-D Well we’re all set ready to explore Cornwall...

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Haiku Holland

Jun 21, 10 Haiku Holland

Posted by in Holland, Travel

Not our usual holiday blog but whilst in Holland Annelies has been inspired to write some Haiku poetry… White wool fluffs the fields Peacefully they stand and dream Beneath clouded skies ~~ Black and white on green Shades of blue, grey, white above Holland’s colour scheme Tall and proud they stand Flanking quiet waterways Herons standing guard ~~ Green fields stretch away Majestic skies covering Peaceful grazing...

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Gadget Utopia !

May 28, 10 Gadget Utopia !

Posted by in General Tech Stuff

It’s here … !!!! A couple of weeks ago I put my name down on a short list at our local Apple store for a 64GB wi-fi iPad, Its the UK launch day and I’ve been allocated one .…… wooo hoo! 😀 It is VERY impressive and causing quite a stir, I had no less than 5 people surrounding me in the office just opening the box...

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A la Perchoine* Cambridge

May 23, 10 A la Perchoine* Cambridge

Posted by in Cambridge 2010

This morning we had a late brunch with Julie before heading off to the Fitzwilliam Art museum. The museum houses works from antiquity right up to modern abstract art. We were able to get up close to works by Monet, Cezanne, Picasso and Rembrandt amongst many others. Also, and what I found most impressive, there were carvings and treasures on display from Greek, Roman and Egyptian culture. However, (sigh), it’s time to say goodbye to Cambridge again. I’m all ‘superlatived out’ describing the exquisite & cosy beauty of this place (well apart from that last bit 😀 ) so I’ll simply say … “â la perchoine” *Guernsey French – “Until the next...

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Shop till ya drop

May 22, 10 Shop till ya drop

Posted by in Cambridge 2010

Met up with Julie for a leisurely brunch in a little cafe on the river Cam. We then spent the afternoon wandering the charming streets and alleyways of Cambridge shopping like people possesed (we’re returning home with no less than 5 new pairs of shoes between us!) This evening we went to Great St Mary’s Church to attend a service led by the very entertaing and hilarious Jeff Lucas as part of the year long celebration of Cambridge SA’s 125th...

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Tally-Ho !

May 21, 10 Tally-Ho !

Posted by in Cambridge 2010

Today we visited the nearby Duxford airbase. Now the site of the Imperial War Museum for aviation. Duxford has a long history of military aviation right from WWI through to the 1960s. Most famous of course for its “Big Wing” during the Battle of Britain. It’s from here that the famous Douglas Bader flew with his squadron during those long hot days in the Summer of 1940. Duxford now hosts a very impressive collection of aircraft right from WWI to the present day. The aircraft we’ve seen today are a veritable roll call of all the most exciting and iconic classics in aviation history : a WWI SE5, a Hurricane, a Spitfire, a Lancaster Bomber, a Vulcan bomber, Lysander, Anson, a Meteor, an ME109, a Harrier Jump Jet, a Sunderland Flying boat, a Mosquito, a massive B52 bomber (cf “Doctor Strangelove”), two flying fortresses, the first proto type Concorde, a Euro fighter … the list is almost endless. The sheer size and beauty of them all was breathtaking. Also housed on the airfield is The Royal Anglian Regiment Museum. It contains a truely staggering array of mitary hardware. British, German, Italian and Russian. All arranged in tableaux depicting them in action … FANTASTIC! 😀 This evening we went out for a meal with Julie before going on to the Cinema where we treated outselves to an artery hardening and mouth watering mountain of ice-cream : I had a Ben and Jerrys Vanilla plus Cookie dough tub of ice-cream hollowed out to contain hot fudge all topped with thick cream and nuts – yum...

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Cambridge Revisited

May 20, 10 Cambridge Revisited

Posted by in Cambridge 2010

Well we’re back again in the outrageously cosy city of Cambridge, visiting Julie in her ‘new’ digs. Cambridge is a lovely as ever and even the weather has perked up so that it’s hot and sunny. After arriving today we visited Wood Wind and Reed where I deposited my beloved Tenor Sax for repair and service after carelessly dropping it whilst playing in the New Wine band a few weeks ago. I also took the opportunity to spend some time trying out some new metal mouthpieces and ligatures … after years of searching and with the help of an extremely helpful and knowledgable assistant I’ve taken the plunge and bought a Metal Yanigasawa mouthpiece along with a new funky Francois Louis ligature … yeaaaaaaa! 😀 This evening we went to Jamie Olivers restaurant in the heart of Cambridge and were treated by Julie to a wonderful...

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Santa Fun Run 2009 ….

Dec 21, 09 Santa Fun Run 2009 ….

Posted by in Miscellaneous

Phew … I did it !! I’ve just completed my first “competition run” ! 😀 hmmm … well actually not really a “competition” … and the run was actually slightly shorter than one of my weekly training sessions …… however I did achieve a personal best pace time of a 9:21 minute mile … plus this was the first time I’ve run with other runners … over 300 to be more precise ! Although this was my first one, the “Santa Fun Run” has become something of a tradition now in Guernsey. The idea is to raise some money for a local charity “Aid Reaching Children” (ARC) as well as having some exercise & a lot of fun. The adult course is about 3.6 miles and starts off from Pembroke car park and finishes in Church Square in Town [Map1 and Map2]. The children’s course runs from Bulwer avenue to Town and is joined by the adults course about half way through. I started on a running programme about 3 months ago …. entitled “Couch to 5K in 9 weeks” which basically builds you up gradually to running 5K (3.1 miles) via a series of running/walking intervals. Once I’d done this I wanted to carry on and am now doing 3 sessions a week of about 4 miles each. I’m really enjoying it, despite the freezing cold, rainy whether. You get a real buzz from running and if you’ve had a bad or grumpy day at work, going for a run is a real tonic to drive those negative vibes away :-D. So what’s next ? … not sure, but I am keen to keep expanding the distances and improving my times so we shall see...

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