Thursday, July 30, 2015

Last days in Cheddington.......

The heaviest rain since I've been in England hit today, so various plans were changed and we headed off to the Hare Krishna Temple in Watford.

It's a very beautiful old manor that George Harrison donated to the Krishna's and they have a Memorial Garden to George. A very moving experience and a peaceful place, was a shame about the weather.

They have lots of weddings here and there was one in progress today.

The George Harrison Garden

A seat for meditation

Dawn and Kerry in the rain 

Use of fallen branches everything is recycled

Tea and cake, of course and souvenirs at the shop. The gentleman behind the counter asked how we came to be there. When he heard that it was because of me and my Beatle obsession and that I was from Australia, he then gave me a book that has conversations with  John and George!

He gave it to me as a gift, as it had been given to him, so put your name in the comments section if you'd like to read it then pass it on to another person.

We headed home as the rain was still coming down.

And so it's now the last day before the Ireland leg of my journey, so just a short trip today to Thame, saw lots of old building's and pubs also a craft fair then had lunch in a pub built in 1220 that was a leper house and the cellar was a prison.
It's also listed in Britain's Most Haunted Homes but we didn't see anything unusual!
Sherlock Comb!

Great Sign, Zac would love that on a T-shirt!

Aussie name, British pub, Thai food!
Our lovely hostess at the Birdcage -the 'spooky' pub

Dawn and Kerry here to wave me off at Cheddington Station

 We headed for home and I packed my bags and we had a quiet night in.

And so now it's time for me to leave Cheddington, caught the train to Manchester Airport, where security is so tight I had my Vegemite and toothpaste confiscated! I was also frisked and had my shoes (my Dunlop Volley's) x-rayed. 
Must have looked sus! I'm not really complaining as I realise all that is necessary but really my Vegemite!

OK Now next up will be my Irish trip.

Cheers till then

Bletchly Park, Home of the Codebreakers

This is also where the movies The Enigma and The Imitation Game was made. Very interesting. We explored the huts and the Manor House, saw a demonstration of a bombe machine with full explanations!
Beautiful grounds

Dawn and Carolyn heading into the Manor

There is so much to see here, you could spend hours wandering through, lots of interactive spots and tables etc. Here are a few photos to whet the appetite!

From the Imitation Game set display

Actual codes to be deciphered

Even the sign posts were in code!

From Bletchly Park we went into Milton Keynes for dinner. The decision was made and Jamie Oliver's Italian got the nod!
Great food, great company everything I've come to expect over here.

As we drove home Dawn pointed out a bridge we drove under as the bridge where the train in the "Great Train Robbery" was held up. The train was backed up to Cheddington Railway, how's that for a bit of history!


Monday, July 27, 2015

The Ladies Who Lunch in Cheddington

These lovley ladies have a lunch every month and I just happen to be in the town for this month's lunch.
It's school holidays here so not all the ladies were in attendance today, but if they are all as nice and fun as those I met, well it's a shame Ettalong Beach is such a long way from Cheddington.

The Old Swan was the venue for lunch and your typical English pub, the dining room was very elegant yet comfortable, service was excellent and the food tasty with lots of choices also very reasonable prices. Lots of chatter and laughs a typical ladies lunch. I must say I felt right at home!

Maggie, Paul - The Old Swan Manager, and Dawn
Loved the thatched roof
Wandered through the village back to Dawn's where I made cocktails for the ladies. We started with Dry Martinis, alas no olives so made do with lemon.

Dry Martini, shaken not stirred!

The ladies liked them so much I was sent to the kitchen to create another.

Hard at work creating cocktails

A Cloudy Cheddington

That one went down a treat so back to the kitchen for me , yes was a great way to pay for my board and I decided to do a long drink to finish up so I created the Long Cheddington Afternoon it was also much appreciated .
Long Cheddington Afternoon

Was a great day enjoyed by all, so Cheers Ladies Who Lunch I had a ball! Thanks.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Exploring Cardiff and a Beatles Connection

It was time to say Goodbye to Sarah and David - Dawn's parents who had kindly put us up for a couple of days. We headed of to explore Cardiff but started off with elevenses at Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Gardens beside Cardiff Castle.

Studding the menu

Souvenir shopping was on the agenda followed by all the sights. Lots of the old buildings have been remodeled but some of the fa├žades have been retained. I think I've mentioned that it's school holidays over here so it's busy but nothing I can't handle and very colourful.
Now this building had been changed quite a bit but you can see the old bldg underneath The Beatles played 3 concerts here, one each year in 1963,1964,1965 It was The Capital Theatre back then.
In the shopping precinct

After checking in for coffee it was back to Cheddington and a light dinner the off to the pub across the road for a couple of drinks before bed. Oh yeah the pub across the road is The Three Horseshoes.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Still on the road in Wales

Had lunch at a gorgeous little Welsh pub in Ystradfellte - no seriously that's the name of the place

A Bouquet of Buttons 

I dined on homemade fish fingers and chips, the biggest I've ever seen. After lunch we wandered through some very picturesque villages, more strange names like Aberdars; Pontypridd, which is the birth place of Tom Jones;
Porth; Trebanog, and back to Dawn's parents in Ermondstown.


Mist over the forest

Yep a sheep

The sheep are just wandering around everywhere no fences also wild ponies which once we had to stop to let them cross the road.

We went into Cardiff for dinner overlooking the bay along the river Taff.
We had dinner at San Martino Restaurant an Italian restaurant very nice food and service great afterwards we walked around looking at  various street art and came across Tiger Bay the birthplace of Shirley Bassey.

Kerry and David


Overlooking the Taff River

View to the right

The Italian Restaurant

Safety sign

No idea but looked interesting

The Pilotage

In These Stones Horizons Sing

And so my friends another fabulous day comes to an end. Tomorrow it's a winding trip through Wales sightseeing on the way back to Cheddington.

The adventure continues!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cheddington and a Surprise Trip to Wales

So on Saturday afternoon I arrived in Cheddington,  a village and civil parish in the Aylesbury Vale district of Buckinghamshire. The parish has an area of 1,429 acres. The village is about 6 miles north-east of Aylesbury and three miles north of Tring in Hertfordshire.
Staying with my friend Dawn and her husband Kerry.
Dawn is Welsh, whilst Kerry is half Welsh and half English, Dawn's parents, David and Sarah and whom I met in New York City in 2012, still live in Wales in the village of Edmondstown, which is 14 miles (23kl) from Cardiff, the Capital.

Now you have the background information on with the show!

 Had a great first night we stayed in and over a lovely dinner (sorry Carolyn no photo available) chatted for ages during which plans for my stay were revealed. A visit to Wales to catch up with Dawn's parents and sightseeing!
How good is this!

So after breakfast on Sunday lazily sitting in the beautiful garden here and yes in sunshine, we got into our glad rags and off to lunch in a Statley Home - LutonHoo. And very stately it is as you'd expect in England. The waiters were French which surprised me I been expecting an all English affair. Food to die for and company to match.

Stuart,Carolyn, Me, Kerry and Dawn

It was so elegant the tapestry you see in the background of the above photo was ancient I would love to have gotten up and walked around but that's not the done thing.

If it looks familiar to you "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was filmed here. There was actually a wedding there on Sunday.

My new friends Stuart and Carolyn are delightful company and added to the days enjoyment, yes there was brilliant sunshine and I enjoyed every minute. I'm now ready to take tea with Her Madge when I get to London!

After lunch and a quick nap for Kerry it was off to Wales, we arrived around midnight Sarah and David had the house all warm and welcoming cups of tea and cake then off to bed. My Tour Guide Dawn has a big day planned, sadly the weather wasn't very helpful for sightseeing, all mists and rain so Dawn was giving me a verbal account of what I should have been seeing.

As you can see from this photo the mist is all around and it was raining also!

All the signs are written in both English and Welsh

Ducks Ducks Ducks to make me feel at home

A rather unusual safety message

At Swyddfa'r Heddlu

A Royal Mailbox from Victorian era

Welsh flag flying high

And so we wandered through quite a few towns and villages, well done if you can pronounce these:-
Treochy, Treherbert, Rhigos Mountain, Pendryn, Brecon Beacons, Brecon Town.
So we then went off to lunch.

To be continued.................