Archive for United Kingdom

14 Dec 2012

Squelch, fart, pop

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We are staying in a nice B&B in Bethlehem, South Africa (kind of seemed the right place to be at this time of year), the birds are chirping, Gillian has arrived and I was thinking back to my last weekend up at Robert's place “Canny Dale” in England's Lakes district. I am still trying to get the dried-up caked-on mud out of my coat. I had to be rescued a couple of times on our walks, slurped up in mud puddles while Paul and Robert were constantly ooh-aahing the views. I have just seen the photos and realised what I was missing! Wow.


Canny Dale


By the end of the second day I had swollen up so much Paul mistook me for the knitted hot water bottle cover Robert had made us so we didn't freeze to death. I am not sure he will be forgiven for this.



Then on Monday morning, squeezed dry, Dudley (the dog) mistook me for a stick and I vaguely remember bounding down a hill, teeth in my ass, peering over the edge, looking down at one of the lakes and I too was ooh-aahing … before I finally passed out.



11 Dec 2012

Let’s talk about the weather

1 Comment United Kingdom

There's such a thing as too much of a good thing – sun, and with it warmth. It gets tedious after a while; the same routine, the vibrant colours, the open spaces, cycling along the coastal paths, moonlit evening walks, the gorgeous fishing ports, the nocturnal lifestyle, and even Spanish food and wine.

After a while the desire for change is so strong: to desaturate, freeze at the extremities, cram for public transport and vie for footpath space — it is blatantly obvious the only place to go is London.

By the time we got off the Tube it was 4 pm and London was cast in darkness. It was a deep gloomy grey, and the cars and buses already had their headlights on. Never mind, we walked into a coffee shop where the people inside had peeled off outer layers of clothing and were seated with large cups of coffee cradled in their hands for warmth. I watched while the colour gradually returned to their faces. After a while the artificial heat became stifling. I listened to the conversations which flowed through chattering teeth in any number of languages. Occasionally I heard English and eavesdropped.

Not so nice out?

Can you believe this weather?

Cold init?

Might get some rain.

Bit of frost about.

Paul's hands had finally warmed. He donned his jacket and we made for the door. Midway out, in the antechamber, we met a man on his way in who helpfully and politely told us it was a bit nippy outside. It was tempting to say Really, I hadn't noticed, or Is it not like this every year, at this time of year since the dawning of man? But no, a sort of English politeness overcame Paul and he looked out into the greyness, as if suddenly discovering something and turned to the man and said Yes, I think we might even get a bit of frost tonight.

PS: There's a lot to talk about in London, but please don't get me started on the weather.


No more fun - it's time to leave Mallorca


Besides Mama turtle reckons it's time we went


Welcome to London, where the temperature outside is a balmy 3 degrees


29 Sep 2012

No more riding. Yay!

3 Comments Spain, United Kingdom

Valencia is a beautiful city and confusing. Watching tourists (and probably locals) wander around with their maps held high, turning them this way and that, with absolutely no idea of where they are is part of the fun.


You need to be Sherlock Holmes to find your way around Valencia


With that in mind we set off on our ten minute journey to Spanish School with an hour to spare and we made it … only just. Paul has been grouped in with a bunch of Dutch students all less than half his age. They already speak fluent English, Dutch, German and at least one or two other languages and now want to learn Spanish. They have been studying Spanish on average for a grand total of six weeks vs Paul's 5 months …. which by my reckoning makes them about even! I of course am fluent. Gracias.

It's the end of the bike riding and it has been fun, tiring, dangerous, interesting and hot. Paul's bicycle is safely locked away in Valencia until he can decide what to do with it. I will be taking mine to Morocco next week because there is no way I am riding a camel. Not a chance.

We have popped across to London for a couple of days to catch up with Gillian and Jeanne aka those who want to eat …. and drink (all the time), chill out in Shepherd's Bush, but mainly to have a decent strong flat white.

Next stop Casablanca – play it again Sam

Gillian & Jeanne (smiling and thinking about breakfast)


Eating breakfast (and thinking about lunch)


River Cafe - divine food


River Cafe - keep it coming