Tag: travel

Short Jaunt…

For my 50th, my friend surprised me with a trip to Prague, she paid for a 4-star hotel bed and breakfast, transfers, flights and 20kg bag in the hold. I am not too sure if airlines about the world are as tight fisted as the UK ones, but Ryanair you have to pay for literally everything. Seating used to be free, but now you have to pay for that on top of the flight. Baggage is extra no matter what now, apart from a very small bag that can go under the seat in front of you, no overhead lockers in use now.

So, off to Prague, we go tomorrow (Sunday) for a few days. The dogs have been booked in with the kennels, paid for our seats, booked parking, which is expensive too, and special assistance for M. The special assistance is usually great as we get through the airport in no time as we are escorted to a disabled section, and M is taken in a wheelchair through, so no hard slog walking and I don’t have to push! Not sure on the way back though. Rome was great, Amsterdam was crap, Ireland a dream, so fingers crossed.

We are staying at the Grandior Hotel & Spar in central Prague, and have decided not to plan anything, just go with the flow, so we will not be restricted. I am looking forward to all the food I will admit. I like to try all the foods on offer when in another country, no point sticking to familiar food, we have to live a little, although I doubt it will be as good as the food in Italy, but not as bad as that in Amsterdam, which I thought was really bad, even the burgers, well, apart from Burger King, which was okay.

Since we have a good few hours in the airport, the flight which is only 2:15 I decided to get a new book (why as I have loads not read yet) to while away the hour traveling.

We have decided this will probably be our last foreign jaunt as it really takes its toll on M. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with massive changing landscapes, mountains, lakes and so much more, so why not explore our surroundings. Wales is quite literally on our doorstep, we can see the mountains from our beach each day, and to the north, we can see the mountains of the Lake District. A 20-minute drive and we can see the start of the Pennines, so what’s not to love. Also, we can take the dogs with us everywhere we go, not to mention saving a fortune on kennel fees.

This time tomorrow we will be on our way…

Trip To Ireland

The Ferry on the Mersey with Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in the background.

It’s fathers day, and we are aboard the good ship Mersey sailing to Ireland to see M’s parents. The dogs are with us and are in the onboard kennels. They are not too happy, to be honest, but it is better there than left in the car or left at the boarding kennels back home. I have had my breakfast finally along with a gallon of black coffee, so I am happy. M is in quite an excitable mood, but I think it is because he is going “home” and with that, it’s like watching a kid in a sweet/candy shop with everything for free.

We arrived at the port at 7:30am, and finally boarded at 9:30am. The ship is rolling from side to side so I guess we are off. We have a 4 birth cabin on the main deck which is good for M, no stairs to use, also the dog kennels are on this deck too, so we will be in and out for the next 8 hours checking up on them and walking them on the outer deck where they can go.

Unfortunately, Mazikeen seems to be suffering from disagreeing of one of the treats from last night, so I have had to clear up a few times after her on deck, but, it’s all part of having dogs.

I went a little mad and bought myself some new cologne in the duty-free shop. The lady there was spraying all kinds of fragrances for me to try, but most of them were too sweet smelling. I like dark and moody aromas to my aftershaves, finally, we found one called Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf. It has notes of cinnamon which is a good start, £20 cheaper than in the shops, bargain.

We have about one and a half hours of sailing left until we dock and I think I have exceeded my calories for a week so far. Apart from a fried breakfast with toast, at lunch, I had fish and chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce and a pint of Pepsi, three black coffees between meals and one white tea after, and now I am sitting in our cabin with a large pot of Jelly Bean Factory beans. I have two bars of liquor chocolate, one Irish gin the other Irish coffee.

Needless to say, I am shattered and the humming of the ship is causing me to want to have another nap. Yes, another one. I had a power nap before and felt worse for it. I don’t know if it is the dryness of the air circulating the ship or I am coming down with a cold, but my throat feels raw, I hope it is the former or my friend Eileen has a lot to answer for LOL.

The Kennels and Excercise Area

I cannot complain about the journey. The restaurant food is all good, there is a bar if one wants alcohol, and a cafe for snacks and soft drinks is excellent. A little expensive though. But, we do have satellite internet, it is slow, almost like having dial-up again, but at least we have it. There is a free cinema too showing three different films. Also, we have our car with us, so that’s a bonus.

So on and on the story goes…

An ode to an odd day…

M flew out to visit his parents yesterday morning.  We had to be up at 4:45 in order to get him to the Airport for 6 am check-in.  Not a hard feat but, all the same, I would have prefered to have been in my pit for a little longer.  The journey to the airport was its usual run and nothing new, however, as soon as we arrived the rain started.  M does not like flying at the best of times and in bad weather, he hates it.  The disabled assistance at the airport is my saviour, I handed him over to the company and from that point, they look after him for the duration of his journey, at the other end they collect his baggage and hand him over to his friend, thus no worries for me.  I returned home well after sunrise in torrential rain.  I was not aware that a so-called Indian summer included monsoon rainfall.

The rain, it never stops, but I do have places to go!  Dog walking, a rather wet affair, the girls were not too impressed in the end, well, I say the girls, I really mean Harper, she is not a lover of rain, however, the pup carried on like it was a normal thing, a Springer is only at home digging in the dirt.

I finally managed to get out and get some groceries, and of course the obligatory treats for the hounds.  But then the day seemed to grind to a halt, constant rain battered the windows and a feeling of being lost in my home started to consume me.  I needed something to do that I could relax with, yet my mind became vacant of all thoughts relating to that.  I have a mountain of things I will be doing whilst M is away, but I really wanted to try and relax over the weekend.  The mind-numbing silence was broken only by the persistent squeaks from the dogs’ toys.  Then the inevitable, the squeaking stopped and the deafening sound of silence was all consuming.  My only solace, Spotify!  However, even the throws of death metal indispersed with softer rock started to invade my physical space.  Finally, M called and a sense of normality prevailed, at least for a short while.

The Last Night of the Proms was on TV, as I have always watched it, last night was no exception, thus I opened a beer, sat on the floor so the animals could claim the sofa as their domain and mentally transported myself to the Royal Albert Hall amongst the throng of the Prommers.  But as with everything, it is all over too soon and my bed called to me.

The night was filled with the dogs cuddling up to me, or a more precise description would be lying on me, and Mazikeen feeling it appropriate to rest her very hairy neck and face across my nose and mouth, rendering breathing an impossibility.  A massive bed devoid of souls on M’s side.  This was a new fresh hell to add to my continuing saga.  Finally, they relented and let me sleep until 5:20 when it became toilet time for the pup.  Deep joy enveloped me having to drag my carcase out of a warm bed to stand naked in the cold of the hall whilst she did her pee, the rain still pouring and the winds whipping everything.  I managed only to stay in bed then until 7:30 when the dogs had finally decided it was time to rise.

Local, Not So Local…

I had spoken to Paul the owner of the farm and he recommended going to Wistlandpound Reservoir as the walk is quite flat and good for disabled users.  It is only about 25 minutes drive away so pretty local.  So, imagine our surprise in taking over an hour and a half to find it.  This part of the world is not so well signposted, and very few roads have names, which makes it really hard to find a place.  My TomTom could not find it, not even in the points of interest.  We ended up in Barnstaple which was handy as I needed eye drops as my hay fever has reached fever pitch and even though I am taking double the dose of antihistamines it does not seem to rid me of the symptoms, so I needed eye drops too.  After my quick visit to Tesco pharmacy in this rather massive superstore, we left under the navigation of M who had found the place on Google Maps and was now my TomTom but in human form.  We got there relieved that we could finally get out of the car and enjoy the place.  Needless to say, the dogs were made up to get out of the car too and explore this new place.

As you can see from the header image, it is quite a lovely place to walk around, and the sun was out giving its all to us.  We met many other dog walkers and were surrounded by quite literally thousands of blue damselflies which were lovely to look at.

This is what they looked like, although this is not my photograph, but that of David Kitching, taken from the British Dragonfly Society website.

After our jaunt, we came back to the cottage and pottered about as the dogs were totally exhausted by the heat on top of the exciting walk they had.  I got the lounger out of the shed and lay there for a bit reading, then fell asleep in the midafternoon sun, and as you would expect, got burned quite a bit.  Thankfully I have been a little sun-kissed these last few weeks and I expect it to have calmed down quite considerably tomorrow.

Later this evening we went for another walk with the dogs down a rather rocky lane that part way down has a mound of horse manure that would rival any medium-sized hill, in other words, it was massive.  Not a highlight of the walk but all the same an amusing sight.

This evening we have both kicked back and relaxed on our own couches with a dog each keeping us company and read with Classic FM on in the background.

All in all, I think it was another successful day of relaxation.

Hey Up!

As we say up North.  I cannot believe it has been this long since I last blogged, so by this entry, you can rest assured I am not dead.  However, I cannot testify to whether I have been abducted by aliens in the last month,  which would account for the loss of time and absence of my wittering on about this, that and the other.

So, where have I been?  Not far if I am honest.  M went to see his Mum in Ireland for her 80th, so a month ago I dropped him off at the airport.  The service I have to say is brilliant.  I book his ticket and log his assisted needs, take him to the airport and to the special assistance desk and quite literally hand him over.  They check his bags in, take him through security and customs and then to a private lounge and get him food and drink if he wants or needs it.  When the aircraft is ready for passengers, he is wheeled through and put on board via a lift, and seated, they put his overhead baggage in and make sure he is all okay and ready for the trip, then the rest of the passengers get on.  At the other end it is the same, but obviously in reverse.  As I am not there at the other end, he is then handed over to a taxi driver that we have arrangements with to get him to his parents’ house.  All in all the service is brilliant, however, a few years ago we booked with special assistance and it was close to a disaster, as they had left him miles away from the boarding gate with no one about and no information.  Only for him asking a staff member he would have missed the plane as they had forgotten about him and as he was last on the aircraft he felt embarrassed as all the passengers were waiting on him.  Even though it was not his fault, the experience put him off travelling alone.  He hates flying that is why we usually get the ferry and take the car with us when we go to Ireland, but the cost is insane at the moment.  Usually about £400, where his trip on the plane and the taxi costs about £180 return.

So, today I dropped M off again at the airport for his latest trip to Ireland to see his Mum again, and he will be back on Sunday.

The only other thing of any note that I have been up to was going to Delamere Forest with the dogs.  It isn’t on the doorstep so usually about a 90-minute drive to get there if the roads are being good to us.  When we were there they must have been filming something as there were lots of crew vans, lighting, catering and other film type trucks about.  I could not see anything going on apart from the myriad of vehicles.  we went for a walk around the large lake and just enjoyed pottering about for a few hours, then back in the car for the journey home.  Some think we are mad doing a 3-hour drive just to walk the dogs, but the new scenery and places make the walking more enjoyable.  I may take the dogs out tomorrow for a jaunt to somewhere for the day, sitting in the house really does not have any appeal when M is away.  The photo with this post (viewable as the featured image on my post) is of the lake in all its glory, its name is Blakemere Moss.  Lots of birds and wildlife about, and obviously lots of dog walkers, cyclists and joggers.  It is a lovely place.

 

 

Rain, Rain, Rain…

Mazikeen at the window

Waiting for the rain to stop

Sitting at my desk, the lighting is low, not by my doing. The weather, although we were promised temperatures higher than Spain, has not stopped raining, so much so the roads were flooded in many places.

Well, I ought to leave but the rain it never stops, and I’ve no particular place to go.

Earlier I needed to go out and get the dogs a 15kg bag of dried food that I give them with the cooked stuff I make them.  I also wanted to go to my favourite northern supermarket Booths.  Now, from where we live to the supermarket is a 20 miles round trip, There is another Booths, but that is a 30-mile round trip, so all in all, it is quite a distance.  Not that I mine, when getting my unpasteurised milk, I have to drive 26 miles, but I am a bit of what we call in the UK, a petrol head.

My plans for the morning was to go to the dump/tip and get rid of some of the accumulated crap from the garden, and the old gas barbeque.  Take the dogs for a walk, then off to Booths and the pet warehouse.  Build the new barbeque, and give it a test run, because this is the law in the barbeque world, also on Thursday I could smell someone barbequing so that really got my juices flowing.  The other plans were to plant some more clematis and other climbers.  Of course, then to sit in the garden and enjoy this.  But this was not to be.  When letting the dogs out this morning at 7am I thought it was quite mild, I did not have a stitch on I do admit, but then, my garden is totally private and not overlooked, and I did have some hope for the day, however, as I pottered out there I could feel the spits of rain and knew that it was all about to change.

I decided to treat myself to a leather tape measure.  I have to admit, it is beautifully made, and the smell of leather is divine.  I had seen it on the wrist of a fellow knitter on Instagram and decided I just had to have one.  Along with the soggy post it was in the mail this morning, wrapped and sealed from China.  How many times have we all been there looking for a measuring tape, well now I have one to hand, pardon the pun.

So with the rain still battering the windows, I think I will watch a film and do some knitting, and of course, keep dry.

Fingers crossed for a dry day tomorrow.

 

Homeward Bound

Homeward bound finally. M and I are now in our cabin, lying on our beds (of which we have 4 to pick from) relaxing and eating overpriced chocolates after our lunch.

We have been travelling for 7.5 hours so far, and have another 6 hours to go until we dock back home, then just over an hour drive home.  I admit, I will be happy to get back to my own house and relax properly, although I am very relaxed here, and the hum of the engine is quite the sleep inducer.  The facilities are good, comfortable beds, our en-suite shower is great but a little cramped.

I cannot decide whether to watch a film on TV, go to the cinema, or just lay about and read my Kindle and maybe have a nap.

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