Monday, 8 June 2009

Long time no see!

Have been decorating rather a lot lately so not got out much. However, I did trek off to Alfreton the other day, a place I'd never stopped at apart from to go the the indoor bowls club and a nearby garden centre.

Quite a quick trip to get there, despite some roadworks, but found parking quite difficult as the signpost for the car park seemed to run out and I didn't know which way to turn! Anyway, eventually found a car parking space and paid my money. Alfreton turned out to be an interesting little place, with lots of independent shops, housed in interesting buildings.

Found a fabulous antique shop that had a clothes stall upstairs, so spent absolutely ages looking around trying to justify why I needed to buy so much stuff! Well, only ended up with a Portmeirion cup and a dress, so it wasn't too bad!

Had lunch in a lovely old building, Alfreton House, that now is home to various council offices, as well as Alfreton House Victorian Coffee Shop.

Was a bit disappointed that I found neither the tourist information office, nor a library, nor a museum nor an art gallery, so I missed out on a lot of the history of the town. Maybe next time ...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Latest outing

Well, the most recent outing was to Rugby in Northants., the home of Rugby School, where the rules of the ancient Greek game were amended and codified by William Webb Ellis.

The town centre consisted of a shopping centre, full of the usual suspects, with a lovely big Dunelm, but quite a few empty units. As it was a Saturday, the market stalls were out in the main street, although people were mostly heading for the shopping cente as there was a bitterly cold wind blowing.

There were a number of what I would call posh shops, as well as some individual local stores, but it did seem as though Woolworths had been the hub of the main street and its demise left the other shops rather quiet. Found a lovely Thai restaurant, The Thai Orchid, for lunch - lovely decor, brilliant service (as you'd expect) and scrumptious food, all for a reasonable sum!

The best bit though, had to be the library, museum and art gallery, all in a new, state-of-the-art building that reminded me of Tate St Ives, although the outlook over the building site that was to be the new Asda was a little less appealing!

Next stop? Who knows!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Well, the weather seems to be improving a bit so trips out are more likely! The most recent visit was to Nuneaton, one of those places whose name was familiar but I'd never visited. Wednesday morning was a good time to go as the place was buzzing with people visiting the large street market, which is also there on a Saturday.

The usual suspects, in terms of shops, were there, but there were also a lot of individual retailers, making for an interesting, competitive mix. Lovely to see a Co-op department store and foodstore - and in lovely 1930s buildings too. The Debenhams was a bit of a surprise too - quite large and higgeldy-piggledy!

Before I went I had no idea that George Eliot was born in the area, but a visit to the local museum told me all about her. There was also an interesting display of art, in the form of recycled cans by Val Hunt. The museum cafe was a very nice place to eat, as well - lovely service!

Where next? Who knows!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Snow!

This time of year sees little opportunity for traveling to different places; it's cold, wet, dark - and the coffers are somewhat depleted after Christmas! So, instead I've been staying at home, watching detective videos, catching up with my family history research, updating my perosnal wiki and my work wiki, and buying things! A thirst for visiting Wales is having to be satisfied with buying and perusing books, mainly those of old photographs of favourite areas, and few specialist ones on the industrial history, or geological make-up. Of course, the novels I had for Christmas have already been devoured and now I'm onto books on favourite hobbies as well, like stick weaving!

On the odd occasion I have managed to venture outside, I have been pleased I did. Our area didn't suffer too badly with the recent snowfalls, but on a recent a trip to Leicestershire, more specifically Bradgate Park, I was astounded and thrilled to see loads and loads of snow. Lots had been compacted down so there was a lot of sledging going on, but some areas were untouched - 8-10 inches of the stuff, cold but wonderful to walk in. Of course, all this snow mean that the kite flyers I had expected to see were not much in evidence; I think I spotted one or two on my way out, but there was certainly nothing doing in the sky!

So, where next? Undecided!

See you soon.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Christmas

No time for the usual trip to Tenby at Christmas-time this year, so went in September instead. Absoulutely amazed to see people sunbathing and swimming in the sea. In fact it was so busy was really worried about finding somewhere to eat, but as usual Fecci's did us proud! Had a good old wander round, and then spent a day in Narberth as well, visiting the superb food festival. Spotted Sophie Grigson and tried and bought some rather ace Welsh food and drink. Found a lovely antique shop where bought a pretty Portmeirion tea cup and saucer, and a rather smashing piano stool that is proving very useful for sitting on to play the piano and for storing some of the music!

So, Christmas was spent in Cornwall! Well, a couple of days after Christmas anyway. Stayed in the most beautiful Georgian hotel, the Penmere Manor Hotel, just outside Falmouth and had a wonderful day looking around Falmouth and walking along the coastal path from a car park on Swanpool Road to Gyllyngvase Beach, which had a lovely cafe, The Gylly Beach Cafe, (a bronze award winner in the Cornwall Tourism Awards, 2008), a great looking hotel, The Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel, and was overlooked by Pendennis Castle! Cold, but invigorating.

In the evening we had a good meal at the Gweek Inn - in Gweek! The Christmas lights twinkling on the River Helford and in the trees were simple but effective. Didn't make it to the seal sanctuary but their good work still goes on.

Now for the long haul of January!

Happy New Year!


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Still in Conwy

So impressed with Conwy that went back again another evening and had a fantastic retro Italian meal in Alfredo's! Brilliant service, and the food was superb - just like we used to get in our favourite restaurnat in the 80s!

Also went back for the
Conwy Food Festival. Amazing that such a small place could be so transformed! The smallest house in Britain was hidden behind a huge beer tent in which a group was giving it their all, especially their violinist! Unfortunately I didn't catch their name.

The
mussel museum was closed, but as it was the start of the mussel season, and Conwy being famous for mussels, we did get to see some being cleaned and some being cooked, and we got to taste some too.

Watched a couple of celebtrity chefs do some cooking, and was very excited to talk to
Bryn about cooking, after his demo! His young assistant was only about 15, but quite talented. Must try and go to more of these - quite interesting trying out different foods, but it can end up being quite expensive!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Still in North Wales

Well, the trip to Conwy through the Sychnant Pass has to be one of the most spectacular drives I've ever done! Up through autumn-shaded trees, past the Fairy Glen and the Austrian restaurant and down the other side into Conwy itself, with its spectacular town walls and castle.

Just about managed to cover everything of interest in two visits! Walked all the way round the castle wall - a bit scary in places, but mostly a very beautiful walk, looking out over the town and surrounding areas. Spotted interesting things that I wouldn't have done from the ground, like the Welsh restaurant.

Spent quite a lot of time wandering around the castle, again, looking at the stunning views all round: the three bridges, the bowling green, the waterfront, spotting yet more places to visit.

Visited the toll keeper's cottage at the end of the suspension bridge; lovely little place, but hardly big enough to swing the proverbial cat!

Walking back into the town from the suspension bridge stopped at a fish and chip restaurant for lunch; sat upstairs overlooking Aberconwy House, so just had to go in and have a look around. All the rooms were arranged to show how they would have looked down the ages - fascinating.

Just up the road was the rather impressive looking Ty Mawr, the merchant's house. This had a very mediterranean feel, with light stonework, small courtyards etc., numerous rooms to look through - stunning!

To be continued!