Monthly Archives: May 2009

Holiday Snaps

A few piccies from the holiday:  Click here

Update from The Kingdom …

The main point of the annual pilgrimage here being to revel in the isolation, it was almost inevitable that the lack of a decent internet connexion would mean neglect of the blog. And, sure enough, here we are a week later with not a solitary thing recorded, beyond my notes the day after we arrived.

But if this record is to be a useful chronicle of events that I can refer back to (as I suppose is it’s only realistic purpose), then I’d best get something down …

Saturday 16/5/09 –
Continued high winds from the NW: this sets the pattern for the next several days; don’t think we have ever seen the flag on the church stuck so consistently on one place. Sea state very choppy – no way the boat was going to come, so arrivals and departures by helicopter for most of the day. Curry for tea.

Sunday 17th – 
Wind and sea conditions unchanged. Fortunately, very little rain, so it’s possible to get out for some fresh air and exercise, but not conducive to long walks. Roast beef and all the trimmings for tea.

Monday 18th –
Weather much the same, but sunny and not unpleasant where you could find a bit of shelter. The others were well into their jigsaw puzzle, so I took a solitary walk for  a couple of hours: up main road to Quarter Wall, then over to the West coast (where I met the Warden’s Walk coming back); through the Earthquake and spent some time in total shelter at its Northern end, admiring Jenny’s and the view towards North End (as usual, lots of razor’s and guilli’s on the rock faces, a few on the water, but no puffs!); back across the Halfway Wall, pausing at its Eastern end before crossing to Caterpillar Corner and sitting for a while out of the wind again (two or three seals below and brief sighting of the peregrine); dawdled down the Quarry path and up to the Timekeeper’s Hut; home along the Upper East Coast Path (got a second view of peregrine, or possibly a different one?). Boiled ham joint for tea.

Tuesday 19th – 
Still the wind! but the sea didn’t look too bad and the Oldie made the crossing with some changeovers and a handful of day visitors. After coffee in The Ugly, watching the boat come in, went up to the pub for a couple of pints; Diana introduced us to Marion Trapnell (she said in fact the crossing had been pretty unpleasant and a lot of people were ill). Pub for tea.

Wednesday 20th –
Weather definitely improved; bright and sunny in the morning with much less wind. Most of the day taken up with the visit of TRH the Earl and Countess of Wessex (Edward and Sophie). It was a very relaxed and informal affair: they had lunch in the pub, sitting at the big middle table (naturally we lunched there too!) before setting of on a tour of the obvious island points of interest. Turned quite wet for a time, but cleared up in time for them to unveil a commemorative plaque outside the door of the Marisco.
Sausage and cauliflower-cheese for tea.

Thursday 21st – 
Finally the wind shifted to NW and was much abated, though still brisk; plenty of sun and no rain; excellent visibility – clear views of Devon and Wales for the first time. We did the North End, but not using the "usual route": up main road to Half Wall, then across to Jenny’s and up the West side; lunch in the usual spot, well sheltered from the wind; back down the road almost to Three-Quarter wall, then down to the Lower East Coast Path, just North of Brazen Ward and back that way. Chilli for tea.

Friday 22nd –
Topher and I got up early (8.00am !) to meet up with Roger for a chat: as usual he was good value on some of the goings on here, and ever ready to chat about various infrastructure projects. Weather not looking so promising today – the rest of the morning spent reading, and doing this update. Maybe it will improve later.

Saturday 23rd –
Time to go home already 😦
Lovely sunny day to end with; smooth crossing in record time.

Finally Arrived in the Kingdom of Heaven

And so to Lundy for some serious chill …

Tuesday we travelled down to Poole, after a morning spent in final packing, using the leisurely rural route: to Newport, then Bridgnorth (avoiding Telford) and Kidderminster, joining the M5 at Worcester; M5/M4 to the outskirts of Bath, then Warmister, Blandford and Wimborne; arrived Broadstone just after 5.00pm. a little over five hours including a couple of stops.

Next morning spent in frantic re-packing after a trip to Sainsburys for final provisions. One of our bags initially weighed in at 42lbs, way over the maximum individual bag weight, with the second not much better. Fortunately we had brought an empty bag (anticipating problems) and could do some rearranging. C&P had four bags, bring the group total to seven and quite a few pounds over our joint baggage allowance — fortunately they never check!

Arrived Lundy yesterday via an easy, if rather early sailing from Bideford, having overnighted at the Travel Lodge in Barnstable. Very pleasant lunch at the pub. Met up with several old acquaintances and settled gently into Lundy Mode.

Cold and very windy today, but that’s OK — we’ve lit the fire mid-afternoon and settled in for the rest of the day, after a very invigourating stroll this morning, up to the Old Light. (Very strong wind from the WNW: almost enough to knock you over.)

Now approaching G&T time …

[ footnote: the Kingdom of Heaven a reference to the island once having been owned by a certain Revd. Hudson Heaven — spendid name for a parson! ]

To Garstang for the Annual Gathering

And so to Garstang for the annual clan get together (Lesley’s clan, that is) to celebrate Mother-in-Law’s 87th birthday.

Travelled up early Friday afternoon (moderate traffic) and arrived to find R&M already in residence. They had come early to visit estate agents, following the Big Announcement of their intended relocation. Mother-in-Law was apparently gob-smacked, as you might expect, by the news they plan to move back here — but of course delighted: she declared at some point during the course of the day that this was "the best present of all". Lesley and I think it’s quite a good thing too 😉

Saturday, we had the now traditional family lunch at Quattros — twelve sat down to eat, counting The Boys.
Photobucket  Mother-in-Laws 87th Birthday Lunch - 1

A good time was had by all, and the staff were particularly good, especially going to lengths to accommodate and amuse Archie and Jack. I had hot shrimps followed by the Bistecha Piccante (which was definitely very piccante! but good none-the-less) and finished with toffee pavlova. I nobly volunteered to drive — must remember next year (DV) it’s somebody else’s turn!

In the afternoon, the cousins decended. The last couple of years, we’ve had good weather and been able to sit in the garden, but this time we were out of luck; so twenty of us crammed into the lounge for tea and cake. Still it’s really good to get everyone together — I’m sure M-in-Law was greatly chuffed.

No room of course for The Children (and their children) to stay overnight, so just the five of us for lunch today.

Then home this afternoon to begin final preparations for Lundy — tomorrow is Child Minding, of course, so we need to get organized ready to go down to Poole on Tuesday.