Saturday, 30 July 2011

Bring Your Own Seat Protest

  Stamford in Lincolnshire is a wonderful place to visit (as previously stated in Stamford and Queen Boadicea) with cafe`s and public houses to sit in or outside of......
until now....

The council officials of Lincolnshire have decided that one such place in the High Street of Stamford should be targeted for outside removal of seating and as of 31st July 2011 it will be "illegal" to sit outside Cafe Black to enjoy a lovely cup of Cappuccino  or your savoury Paninni as it is causing a nuisance to vehicles entering the High street and that they are in breach of early opening hours to serve drinks, I didn`t  think tea and coffee constituted as an alcoholic beverage? and 9.00am is a wonderful time for a cup of tea or coffee, obviously the bureaucrats disagree.
If this is the case, then the market that is also on the same street will have to cease trading and other establishments that have outside seating will also have to have seating withdrawn - right? 
Wrong, this is the only Cafe to be served a notification of its seating being removed.

It is also a great place where you can sit down with your dog (yep this is me and Willow this morning) and enjoy a cuppa and your dog gets watered too.

So, a group of us have decided that on the 13th August 2011 at 9:30am, we are going to bring our own seats and sit outside Cafe Black drinking their tea/coffee and support their cause in trying to get the council to reverse their stupid decision and leave a wonderful establishment alone.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Poorly Dog.....

 I`ve had a few e-mails asking where my faithful companion is.
Sadly, Willow`s not been feeling too well and has a poorly leg, but, she is coming with me on a short holiday to Skegness, which we`ll tell you about later.

She has had a couple of visits to the vets and although 10 year old, she thinks she`s a sprightly 2 year old!

But it will not be long before we are hopefully doing a few walks together, but I won`t travel too far without her or for too long, the walks and sightseeing don`t seem the same without her, nor my website as we`ve always done alot together, fingers crossed..........

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Battle Proms, Burghley

Us Brits love a bit of pomp and circumstance!
The Battle Proms at Burghley House were phenomenal and fantastic to watch. 

The evenings entertainment began at 4:30pm in the large estate grounds where deer roam and views of this wonderful building light up with warmth and air of posterity that welcomes you!

The day began pleasantly with warm sunshine welcoming everyone and with large queues awaiting entrance, an air of anticipation was evident to those who had not been before and those that had.......
  It wasn`t long before people made their way onto the field with trolleys and hampers bristling to capacity as the cucumber sandwiches and the sounds of corks of  champagne bottles and the fizz of cans opening or cans bursting and flags from all walks of life took on a whole new meaning of country with pride and passion!
There is always something about the Proms that fills people with a sense of purpose and fulfilment, something I had not experienced - until now.

And the evening began gently enough with a Jazz Band and people in uniform walking round.......

But then, things would change as the proms would burst into life and a full cavalry charge ensued!
The magnificent horses and riders showing expertise of being one together and then something we had all been waiting for, the spitfire to music......

A storm slowly brewed and then the flash of lightening and a surge of thunder echoed across the sky and the torrential downpour that ensued us.
But we were not bothered!
After all, this is the uk and nothing could dampen the cucumber sandwiches or make our plonk flat!
And we were soon rewarded with the spitfire dancing across the sky, and it was being flown by a woman!

And as canon blasted and marksmen fired and the spitfire enthralled us with the loop the loop and other daredevil aerobatics, wow`s and ooo`s escaped the thousands that watched in awe......
The classical orchestra played magnificiently as indeed did its opera singer whose  voice I can only dream of having (instead of my z flat!)
And if that was not enough, we were treated to a wonderful red sky after the storm...............
It wasn`t long before the penultimate, 200 canon going of to the 1812 Overture that would ignite the nights sky and fireworks that seemed to go on and on..... Then songs of Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and many more would fill the night sky and the end of a wonderful evening.......
I can only apologise for a couple of my blurry photos, they were taken of my camcorder, so not to good, but will try and replace them with better ones later.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Urquhart Castle, Divach Falls and Culloden

A Visit to Scotland is always worth a good look around and we crammed in a good   day visiting various places, with Urquhart Castle our first stop of.
It is not really known when the castle was built but it was inhabited in 1296 and destroyed in the 1500`s to prevent it from falling into Jacobite hands but it did used to be a true Scottish stronghold, though now sadly in ruins and over time its walls have been plundered and used for local buildings but it now belongs to the National Trust  Scotland.
 Situated on the banks of Loch Ness and 2 miles from Drumnadrochit it is one of the most photographed ruins of Scotland. 
 One of the oldest weapons still stand as a monument now, but was once a force to reckoned with.
 The old jail still has a prisoner!
 The lovely Scottish piper who proved extremely popular this day with photographs with all the visitors - including me!
 Even inside the castle House Martins nest wherever there is warmth.
 Modern day graffiti, the earliest seen is 1871 by J Dewar who also appears to have returned in 1888! 

The views as usual are always stunning, even through the old windows.
Our next stop of point was Divach Falls, which is also one of the most painted and photographed waterfalls, though with not much rain falling (yes it is Scotland and has not had much rain!) it is a gentle cascading river rather than a torrent.
To get there though you have a gentle woodland walk before seeing it....

The view of Loch Ness from the car park of Divach Falls.
We made our way from the Divach Falls to the Culloden Viaduct.
Built in the late 19th century, it represents the age of steam trains.
Not far from here are the old burial grounds, huge for the days they were built and would have whole families buried in them...

Even the old mushrooms enjoy this environment.......

Our final destination was the site of Battle Of Culloden.
One of the final sites of the battle between the Jacobite uprising against the English in 1746 and although one of the quickest it was sadly one of the bloodiest with around 1500 and 2000 Scots killed and not many government forces suffering losses. This was the last battle on The U.K Mainland......
Today, flags mark the fields of government and Jacobite troops and mass grave stones mark the clans that fell for the cause and the pavement lines the names of many that help support the visitor centre and keep the memories of those who fought and died here......

 The names on the ceiling of the visitor centre are those that help support the site and there are thousands of names...

Names that line the footpath to the visitor centre.
We had a great day and the visit was welcome and worth the money.
So Visit Scotland, it is a world where dreams, stories and Myths are made of Legends..............

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Date With An Old Friend! Now To Get There!

It was time to return to Inverness and Collect my old friend my bike!
This time though it would be a journey along the road.
The A1 North past Darlington, then the A68 and through my old Town and places along the A7 through some stunning countryside.
The A720 city bypass of Edinburgh Over the Forfar Bridge along the M90 and finally the A9 that would take us all the way to Inverness..........

The route began pleasantly enough with not much traffic, but as we got further north speed restrictions came in as roads were being widened, but a lorry thought that 50mph was to slow for him and with blaring horn and flashing lights we were eventually forced over by him as he accelerated passed doing well in excess of 60mph (I wonder if he altered his tachograph as I used to be a lorry driver and know all about tacho`s etc).
It`s 50mph for a reason, not so you can please yourself - idiot!
If you see this Lorry driver Vehicle reg can clearly be seen, be sure to afford him the same courtesy as he afforded us, or better still get a woman driver to show him how to drive properly with a load!


With fields of poppies joining us along the A68, the weather also changed to sunshine and a clearer journey, indeed as we passed the sign for Newcastle I gave JZ a wave! And soon we were upon the route that changed England into a very welcome Scotland and Alan Smith the Scottish Piper was there welcoming us in and his light hearted manner and cheerful tunes made for pleasant memories. 

 The view from the top of the Scottish Borders was outstanding and the welcome cup of tea would take us a little further as we would stop for a while in Jedburgh.

Jedburgh is a lovely old place to go and visit and is near a place called ColdStream - because of the Coldstream Guards.
It was first documented in 847 as Gedwearde and then in 1147 the Abbey was formed although being near the borders, constant battles between the English and Scottish and also the French (who helped Scotland hold the Abbey and other areas) meant that the Abbey was constantly being ruined then re-built and then ruined again.
Today it still stands proud, a testament to the Scottish builders who failed to bow down to English bullies and bureaucrats for centuries.

 The main front of the Abbey that awaits visitors.

This picture holds a different story.
As I took this and thought I saw something in the archway, on closer inspection, a figure can be seen.
My friend also took the same picture but on closer inspection, nothing could be seen on her picture.
Was this an apparition watching everyday life of an ever changing Jedburgh or is it just a trick of light and stone that makes it look as if someone is there, but the other 8 people who looked at the photograph can`t be wrong, can we?

You`ll have to decide.......

Many gravestones still line the Abbey and also inside and this was one of the oldest.

The main graveyard is just next door.

The ruins of the Abbey are well worth a visit and the £5.50 entrance fee we paid was very acceptable.

Whilst in Jedburgh we grabbed a couple more photographs before going to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill for a soup and a well deserved cup of tea!


Pleasantly full we continued north and turned off onto the A7 through Galashiels before joining the A720 and over the Forfar Bridge and then into the wilds of the Highlands and eventually Inverness.
Inverness by night is stunning and I`m finally re-united with my bike that had completed a long journey of over 200 miles, now to get it back home...........!!