Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tidiness is next to Godliness …

… oh no — that’s cleanliness, isn’t it? Well, near enough.

Spent a number of hours over the last few days re-ordering the garage and chucking out all sorts of junk, and now feeling pretty pleased with the result.

The posh new shelving is Clarke Boltless Shelving, from Machine Mart, that I got in their recent VAT-free sale. Bit pricey, even at sale price, but good value — dead easy to assemble, smart and substantial.

Managed to turf out a stack of plastic plant pots and a host of other stuff; including some decidedly dodgy-looking unlabelled liquid, creosote (which I believe is now illegal), solidified filler materials, etc.

Now that the bike is accessible, I guess the next project may have to be making that roadworthy and making some use of it (need to do something about the excess weight soon — Lundy added another five or seven pounds!)

Lundy 2011

Preamble …

Tuesday 10 May
Inauspicious start to the holiday when we headed to Cheerbrook Farm Shop for a gammon joint and sticky-toffee puddings: the shop is closed for refurbishment! Nothing daunted, we continued into town and purchased ham at Clewlows, before our next planned stop at Chatwins; there at least we were successful. Finally to Sainsburys for last-minute provisions; another blow when the small bottle of port I wanted was refused us because it was not on the computer system and so could not be sold!

On the road finally, around 11:00am: good journey via the eastern route, arriving
Broadstone just after 3:00 — 3h20m driving time at ave. 66mph.

Joined C&P at the boatyard for an inaugural outing on their new boat.

Wednesday 11th
Hectic morning for C&P, coping with last minute tasks, before we finally go going, after a lunch of soup and sandwiches. Phyl worked her usual magic to pack the boot!

Arrived Okehampton Travelodge around 5pm. Cup of tea and choc brownies, then into Okehampton in search of some more substantial sustenance.

Abortive tour of the town ended with a couple of pints of quite decent beer and some long-delayed pizzas at the White Hart.

Okehampton as a destination – not recommended!

Holiday proper …

Day One: Thursday 12 May
Successfully parked the car at the home of Nick’s friend Dom, and boarded the boat in good time at around 9.30am. Sailed a few minutes early at 9.50. Rather lumpy crossing, with one or two folk looking rather unhappy.

Arrived Lundy 10:55.

Disappointed to discover we have missed Diane K this year, and also that Roger is off on the returning boat (we did manage a few wrods with him though).

Lunch at the pub with a couple of pints of Old Light followed by an afternoon snooze.

Salmon with asparagus and cherry tomatoes, followed by Chatwins raspberry cream roll.

Day Two: Friday 13 May
Fairly idle day — shower in the morning, sunny later.

Phyl’s pork chops and Sainsbury’s choc puddings with cream.

Day Three: Saturday 14 May
Sunny morning, with deck chairs out despite coolish breeze.

Lunch followed by a walk around the South end; strong and cool winds on the West coast.

Gang of bell ringers arrived — looks as if we have four days of that racket to look forward to 😦

Tom and Mike, the fishermen, and Chris Hughes from Crewe are here again; Mike recuperating from recent surgery.

Curry and red-fruit salad.

Day Four: Sunday 15 May
Bright start to the day, turning a bit grey and cool later, but some good spells.

Idle morning at home. Took netbook to the pub to use wifi (password unchanged from last year)

Pint in the pub prior to lunch.

Mid-afternoon JL & I headed up to the half wall, hoping we might see the Trumpeter Finch, but no luck; returned by the upper east-side path. Tophes not home when we returned, but they appeared in due course to announce that they had seen The Finch! — I’m not really bothered :+(

Bell ringing for at least a couple of hours morning and afternoon. We think there should be some limit to this!!

Roast beef with asparagus for a starter and apricot cream pud.

Day 5: Monday
Windy and cool with a little sun.

Trinity House boat in the bay. Apparently delivering supplies or something to South Light, with the aid of a small helicopter.

After lunch, I fell asleep in the sun and got a bit burned.

Search-and-rescue helicopter exercises South Light and South Coast.

Boiled gammon with parsley sauce, mash and peas; minced tart and ice-cream for pud.

Day 6: Tuesday
Fog all day.

Hordes of folk on the boat, despite weather; quite a few of them tickers after the finch; many others ill-dressed for the conditions.

Lower Rhodi Walk after lunch; collected wood for fire.

Smoked salmon to start, then Topher’s bangers and mash with cauli cheese; ??? for afters.

Day 7: Wednesday
Fog early; brighter later; sunny by mid-afternoon

Sedge warbler in the morning. Lunch on Harman seat. Spots of rain.

Earthquake and Jenny’s after lunch. Puffins and trumpeter finch! (Longish chat with Shaun, the Keeper Of The Finch.)

Chilli followed by minced tart and ice-cream again.

Day 8: Thursday
Bright and sunny all day; cool in the evening.

North End: straight up the middle, seeing the Trumpeter again passing half wall; lunch in the usual spot between Kitewake Gully and Puffin Gully; back on the lower East Side Path, joining it at Brazen Ward. Lots of seals seen throughout the walk.

As we were recovering with afternoon tea, made one of my several attempts during the course of the holiday to get a new Holiday Group Photo …

Pub for evening meal: Venison pate, deep fried brie wedges, plaice goujons and whitebait for starters; fish pie, chicken in sauce, minced beef pie and venison meatloaf for mains; home for pudding – Phyl’s chocolate & marshmallow mousse.

Day 9: Friday
Mainly fine and sunny, overcast at times, brief shower mid-afternoon.

Visit by RN helicopter late morning; came to lift wood-chipper machine off the East Sidelands near Quarter Wall. Thanks to Nigel’s advice, we got settled in an excellent spot just above the action; pretty impressive stuff — no wonder those pilots need such extensive training!
  

Couple of pints at the pub; prelude to a tidying-up lunch.

Lit a fire early afternoon, when the weather took a temporary turn for the worse.

Beer-can chicken for tea.

Day 10: Saturday 21 May
Long day (6 o’clock sailing) and mostly lousy weather!

Day started out OK, with some sunshine, so we headed up to The Snug outside the pub around 10:30, to stake our claim. However, by just after 11:00 the weather took a turn for the worse, and we decided to go for an indoor spot; lucky enough to bag the corner table before everyone else had the same idea.

By lunchtime, it was very misty and blowing pretty hard. Next 4 hours spent in an increasingly noisy, crowded and humid atmosphere, as most of the 240 boat passengers crammed into The Tavern!

Finally headed down to the Landing Beach in the hope of ensuring choice of seats for what seemed likely to be a non-too-pleasant homeward voyage. The queue started well before 5:00, while The Oldenburg was still out on its round-the-island-for-a fiver cruise.

Considering that the fifty or more cruise passengers were allowed to stay on the boat before we boarded, we were lucky to get a decent seat on the after-deck. The tannoy announced that a “moderate sea state” was expected but we reckoned that was pretty generous — as confirmed by a crew member later on, who said he would call it “moderate-to-rough”.

Excellent fish and chips in Braunton.

Then a pretty good run home, arriving Broadstone about twenty-past midnight.

Postscript

Sunday 22nd May.
Home to Crewe, again using the Eastern Route. Pretty easy run, despite moderate-to-heavy traffic at times: 3hr 50min, ave 56mph. Good driving weather, but high winds at times — you could see the fuel consumption dropping as we flogged along the M6 Toll.

Conclusion: a good time was had by all — looking forward to having the extra two days next year!

Supercar Track-Day

While at the Autosport International show, back in January, I signed up for a “free supercar trackday” with Supercar Lifestyle. The deal was, you paid £99 up front, as a “fully refundable deposit” and then would be invited to drive some supercars on track at some point later in the year. Sounded too good to be true, of course, but the guy was insistent it was a genuine offer — all you had to do was listen to a sales pitch for the company, during the course of the day.

So, today was the day I set of for my free trackday.

The blurb had led me to expect I might get a go in a Lambo or Ferrari, but it turned out what was on offer was not quite so exotic. Still never mind, at least I got a go in a couple of pokey machines.

After the initial “safety briefing” (nothing was actually said relevant to safety, but it was mercifully short) we had a chauffeured couple of laps to see the track layout, and then got to drive three cars, with in-car instruction.

The track was Prestwold Hall Circuit, as used by a host of track experience outfits (e.g. Trackdays) —  yet another old airfield site: not all that attractive, and a
somewhat limited experience, compared to places like Oulton and Cadwell.

First up was and M3, which was pretty tame, to be frank; but this was mainly learning the circuit, so it didn’t matter that we never really got going.

Then came the TVR Sagaris, which was a different class altogether! Sadly, laps were limited, so I was just getting the hang of it when we had to come in.

Lastly I had a go in a Porsche Oakley GT3. This one I really enjoyed, despite taking a long time to conquer the sequential gearbox! Probably the best experience of the three, simply because the instructor was less conservative.

Then it was indoors for the Supercar Lifestyle sales pitch, which was not too hard-sell, but tediously long-winded.
Once they accepted that I wasn’t going to spend any money, the day was pretty much over!

So the “supercar trackday” turned out to be a half-day, and not quite as “super” as I’d hoped, but pretty good fun while it lasted. I never got my £99 back, having blown it on a few “extra laps” that were not clearly explained until the money was mostly spent.

Oh, and there was also the non-event of the “hot-laps with a race driver” — billed as being in an Ascari, which would have been fun, but it was broken, so we had an Ariel Atom instead; actually there was only one hot lap, and not all that hot — I’ve had more fun at Oulton with Paul Sheard in an MX-5!

All-in-all, a bit of a curate’s egg: interesting but ultimately not all that satisfying. Still, when would I otherwise get even a few laps in those cars? — so, worth doing.