Buzios

Wednesday 17th January 2018

Buzios, outlined by beaches and secluded coves, is a beautiful beach resort on a small peninsula in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The town is full of lovely shops where I bought some T-shirts and Jane bought a sarong. Armação dos Búzios, often referred to as just Búzios was an almost unknown fishing village until the 1960’s when Brigitte Bardot chose to escape the paparazzi hounding her, and then boyfriend Bob Zagury, on a visit to his native Brazil.

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The shops were all situated in shady avenues and all had air-conditioning which actually made shopping a pleasure (don’t tell Jane!)

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And the shops which weren’t air-conditioned made up for it with lovely views!

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The statue of Brigitte Bardot has very shiny knees; apparently lots of people stop to have their photo taken at this spot, can’t see why myself!

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Another great statue depicts the fishermen bringing in their daily catch.

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And it’s here fresh and ready for sale!

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We took a leisurely stroll from the quay along the front to find a beach.

 

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This young lad seems horrified looking at the lady in the thong……………. however it was a pleasant way to pass the time for me!

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Jane took her first dip in the sea!

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Whilst I kept a sharp look out for the thongs……………

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Some more shocking than others!

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The beaches that were within walking distance from the town were very crowded. We asked a local why the beaches were so busy on a Wednesday in early January and he said its because it’s the middle of their summer holidays.

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Jane with a tender behind.  Búzios was our first port of call where we had to use a tender. This is generally fine, however  on the return leg we were left to bob about for about 10 minutes whilst the ship repositioned before we could board.  I think Jane turned as green as her dress!!

 

 

 

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We set sail at 5.30pm from this lovely place. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a relaxing break.

 

 

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Salvador

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15th January 2018

Another bright sunny day for our trip around Salvador. The temperature today has been forecast 33c so we must take loads of water with us!

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Also make sure we put on our sunscreen and wear a hat!

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The bright colours are amazing. Everywhere you look there is something vibrant to see!

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Plenty of gift shops selling sarongs, maybe they might suit me?

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The local dress hasn’t changed in years, however it does look odd when a mobile phone is in hand!

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The houses are bright and colourful but on closer inspection you can see that they are in quite bad repair which adds to an atmosphere of faded elegance.

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Jane was being a bit foolish taking her hat off at midday, she likes to live life on the wild side!

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He’s got a lovely bunch of coconuts!

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Kev was doing his best to look intellectual and gave us all a interesting talk on 17th century tiles!

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The historic centre of Salvador.

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We were warned to be very careful of pickpockets in the city.

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But there was a large police presence which made us all feel safe.

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As the heat of the day rose the city became quieter and it was easier to get around.

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5pm and we sail out after a lovely visit.

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K&V waving an emotional farewell to Salvador

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Crossing the Equator

13th January 2018

We crossed the Equator in the early hours of the 13th of January. We didn’t feel a thing despite the captain telling us all not to be worried if we heard a loud bang in the middle of the night!

There was a “crossing the line” ceremony the next day at the more civilised hour of 2pm.

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King Neptune, accompanied by two glamorous assistants, held court over anyone who had never crossed the equator before.

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His not so glamorous wife also made an appearance.

 

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K&V had already crossed the line before so they felt safe being close to the action!

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The ceremony consisted of a few games between two teams of the crew, officers and other ranks!

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And regardless of whether you won or lost, you still ended up having to kiss a fish and have copious amounts of gunge tipped over you!

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And here are our certificates to prove we have crossed in to the Southern hemisphere !

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Update From Salvador Brazil

As you can probably guess the internet connections are infrequent and not always of the best speed so hopefully this will get through!

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End of Day 5

The sun was setting as we left Funchal in Madeira. We managed to call home and speak to Dad and Charlotte and let them know that we were both well and had survived the storm on the cruel sea!

Days 8&9 mainly involved eating and a lot of sun-bathing.

Jane and Val have joined the choir and are preparing for their first concert on the 16th of January. Val has performed before (her CD is still available on back order) but this will be Janes first starring role!

I have entered a few golfing competitions.  These are played on a simulator on the top deck between a group of 15 of us, and are a nearest the pin game.

We have also found time in our busy schedules to attend a few lectures and to see a few shows, with the best so far being Elektra the two lovely girl violinists.

Captains Log Day 8  Mindelo, St. Vincent, Cape Verde.

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The Cape Verde islands are a collection of barren islands about 400 miles off of the west coast of Africa.  Formally a Portuguese colony these islands are now independent .

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The busy fish market seems to be the centre of the main town.

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There is a small crowd on the pier awaiting every boats arrival.

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The fish is then bought and taken the short distance to the market where it is prepared for sale.

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A short distance across the road is the fruit and veg market where it seemed that lettuce was a popular choice.

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Just a short 10 minute walk to the other side of town brought us to this rather run down area.

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The Cape Verdes coast guard vessels looked to me like something from World War 2, and the guards on board looked pretty menacing!

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After a long walk around the town we found a cafe with great views of the beach and free internet, so we were able to catch up on e-mails and Facebook but I didn’t have time to do my blog. I really can’t understand why, in this day and age, we can’t get free internet in the middle of the Atlantic. I mean to say, what on earth are we to do with ourselves when we are beyond reach of social media?!!!

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After a frantic 1/2 hour on the internet it was time for my first swim in the sea of the holiday. The beach had a steep slope into the sea and I was under the water slightly quicker than I had anticipated! The water was warm and very refreshing, and after our walk it was very welcome.

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The stroll back to the ship took us past a cruise ship that had seen better days.

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At about 5pm we set sail for our next port of call, Salvador in Brazil.

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A last view of  Mindelo as we sailed out.

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11th/12th/13th/14th January-Sea Days

We have settled in to a nice routine during the sea days….

06.45        Ian has 1st breakfast.

07.00        Ian in gym for stretches.

08.00        Ian on cross trainer

08.45        Ian gets off cross trainer          (yes really!)

09.00    Shower and shave.                     (Jane is ready to go)

09.30    Ian has 2nd breakfast, Jane has 1st.

10.00    Port talk

11.00     walk around deck  (3.2 laps = 1mile)

11.30     sun bathing

12.15     Ian golf, or photography.   Jane choir.

13.30    Light lunch, well for Jane anyway!

14.30     Doze/sunbathing.

15.30    Afternoon tea.

16.30    Game of Scrabble/Upwords.

19.30   Dinner

20.30   Show

22.30   Quiz/disco

00.00    Bed

I have enrolled in a short photography course. Its only when you take your camera off the automatic settings that you realise how much you have to learn.

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This is a portrait of Lauren, one of the ship’s photographers running the course. She is far better looking in real life and this photo shows how much more I have to learn!

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This a shot of Hayleigh, the boss of the photo gallery. This time I’m trying to create different textures and light to produce different effects.

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The office I use to produce this blog varies from dad to day.

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Today’s choice is in the shade at the back of the ship with a slight breeze, which is very pleasant.

Later on in the day Kev and Val will be taking part in the deck games of shuffleboard etc, I did want to go and watch but Jane said that it might be classed as “quoitus iterruptus”!

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The ship has several themed restaurants, which for a small cover charge you can try for a different “special” evening !

This one was The Beach House, which served excellent steaks and had the added benefit of being outside.

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Madeira

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Sunday 7th January

We arrived in Madeira on Saturday night, which was earlier than expected. The captain had decided to sail full steam ahead to avoid another storm that was due. Sunday morning the clouds were starting to disappear and the sun was trying its best to make an appearance .

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By the time we had walked in to Funchal everything was looking a lot better, apart from my stomach (and it’s only day four of a sixty five night cruise!)

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If you look carefully you can see the captain giving us a wave, well he did have a lot to spare!

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After an open top bus tour we both fancied a cup of coffee, Janes looked a lot lighter in colour than mine.

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The view from the coffee shop was lovely and quiet, not many of our fellow cruisers walked as far as us today!

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I have never really been that much of a great violin fan before, but listening to Elektra last night has changed my point of view, and when we met the stars of the show in town today and they asked to have their photos taken with Kev and I, well I was totally sold!

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Captains Log day One

After a full days packing on the Tuesday, we are now ready to pack the car.

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The car is far more loaded than when we set out on one of our two month long road trips, mind you I suppose we do store a load more stuff in the caravan.

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It is great living where we do as we can be at the cruise terminal in less than 1/2 an hour and the holiday stars then!

The check-in was easy, however the security was anther matter! The lady on the x-ray machine found a strange foreign object in Jane’s carry on suitcase. On further inspection this turned out to be my swiss army knife that I had packed just in case …….. Well we can all laugh about it now…….can’t we ?

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We boarded the ship at 12.30 and the suitcases made it to the room some 6 hours later, I was really worried that all my gowns would be creased, they weren’t and neither were Janes.

The port of Southampton looks far more magical at night, the dark can hide a multitude of sins!

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As we left port at 6pm we were treated to a tremendous firework display and we were on our way!

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That evening we met up with our friends Kev and Val and her sister Jill and her brother inlaw Barry for a drink and a meal.

We both awoke Thursday morning feeling a little bit worse for wear. To say we were feeling queasy would be an understatement! We hadn’t had much to drink the previous day, so it must be the  dreaded “mal de mer”.  I have never truly been sea sick before and this was so debilitating that I missed not only going to the gym but my breakfast as well! Jane suggested that we have an injection that she had heard of, that they dispense at the sick bay on deck 5. Well I couldn’t get out of bed so she went down on her own, when she returned she said she could feel some minor improvements. So I dragged myself down there to have my injection, and after a 2 hour doze I was right as rain and eating my lunch!

The sea was so choppy that one of the ladies giving a talk rushed off the stage with her hand over her mouth leaving someone else to continue.

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After lunch a walk around the prom deck to get some fresh air and to do our daily mile was a refreshing way to spend 1/2 an hour.

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The good feeling continued and I managed to demolish the superb evening meal !

I awoke early, full of renewed vigour, I looked out of the window and saw that the sea was still in an agitated state and that the white horses were still in abundance! So set off upstairs  for my first breakfast of the day with a little trepidation (well you can’t go to the gym on an empty stomach !).  I got to the gym at 7am only to find that they don’t let you use the cross trainers and running machines until 8am, so I had to make do with a few weights and some stretches for an hour before the serious  work began.

After a quick shower I joined Jane for the second breakfast of the day (this was the serious one, eggs and bacon etc) and then to plan the rest of the days activities.

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The sea was really rough again today, and even the crew were complaining about how ill they felt.  Jane wasn’t feeling so good too day either so after the first lecture she  went to spend the rest of the day in the cabin and I fell asleep during the next talk!

Day 3

The sea was still rough and the ship was rocking and rolling like it was at a chuck Berry concert! Good news, Jane was feeling a bit better and said she would be up for breakfast when I got back from the gym. Todays first breakfast was porridge, I think I’ll give that a miss from now on and stick to muesli for my pre exercise snack!

Today events included a lecture on “walk active” a talk on  Salvador, our first port of call in Brazil and a classical concert in the afternoon. This evening we are going to see the “Runaround Kids” a great 50’s & 60’s rock and roll band from Ireland in the main theatre, and then after our meal Elektra will be entertaining us with their virtuosity on the violin.

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Christmas, Janes Birthday and New Year!

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Dad and I in Romsey Square waiting to sing carols.  Now the reason I’m wearing the stylish tam o’shanter is that dad forgot his hat, and I as a dutiful son let him have mine. The head gear I was wearing was in the boot of my car on the way to the tip with some other rubbish from the loft, still it was warm even if not particularly festive!

(Message from the editor – Actually he doesn’t need much of an excuse to wear it, so I will be most displeased if this hat somehow makes it into the luggage for the cruise!!!!!!!)

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There was a great turn out and everyone was in fine voice.  I think we will have to make this a Christmas tradition!

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A guest appearance by the long lost Peters and Lee added to the festive fun!

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The Christmas lights shone brightly on a very chilly evening and a lot of money was raised for the childrens’ ward at Southampton hospital.

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A few days earlier we had attended a concert by Romsey Youth Choir at Romsey Abbey. My niece Zena (top row 1st on the right on the large screen) was singing. This choir is terrific and I urge you to get see one of their performances if you ever get the chance!

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A lovely evening was really appreciated by a very proud grandad and uncle, and don’t forget to mention her sister, Esme!

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As most of you know I really love my gadgets. I bought this Amazon Alexa for the kitchen and dad was very impressed with her vast knowledge of Louis Armstrong and other jazz legends with some the recordings going back to 1919!

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We went down to Chideock for a couple of days to visit our friends Kev and Val, and to talk about our upcoming trip around South America.  We also discussed another long road trip around Spain for later in the year.

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Back home in Romsey I took dad to the opticians to get his eyes tested and to get some hearing aids. He was very pleased with how discreet the hearing aid were, but he was not very keen on the frames for his new glasses!

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Although I’m not working I still like to get up early in the morning and go to the gym, I try to get to there gym for 6.30am, that way when you leave at 9.30am you are well and truly set up for the day!

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Another reason for going so early is because you meet the nicest people at that time of day. (don’t kill me Phil, I did say this photo was going on the blog!)

 

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Christmas day at dads, and a lovely feast was enjoyed by all, with a great big thanks to Jane , Charlotte and M&S. Mind you we still had to do a vast amount of co-ordination to ensure that everything arrived at the table piping hot!

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Paul really enjoyed the selection of fine wines that were on offer, although Eleanor was slightly embarrassed at the effect it was having on him!

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Jane was happy with her Christmas books that I had made for her about our adventures so far, or the smile might be simply because of the Lindt chocolates she was tucking into!

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Jane’s birthday is on Boxing day, and as this year it was a special one (xx years old) we took a trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Nutcracker ballet.

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We had a great view of all of the fantastic dancers and it was great to see all the young children enjoying this festive treat. I was 50 before I plucked up courage to try something different and see a ballet, I wish I had started earlier!

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As it was a special occasion we had a box. I could get used to this!  It was hard work having to host these three lovely ladies for the duration of our visit, but I managed.  Well, someone had to do it!

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On the walk back to the tube we passed the Natural History Museum which had an ice rink going at full pelt as we walked by.

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So the festivities are over, the decorations are down and the new year is here. Time to pack for our next adventure!

This time tomorrow (1pm) we will board P&O’s Aurora for a cruise to and around South America. I will be posting more photos of this trip and our adventure whenever we get good internet connection. We are both very excited!!

 

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Lofty Aspirations……Clearing the Attic!

The Mumbles, Swansea

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Although it was very chilly on our walk around the mumbles in Swansea, Jane still chose to wear her micro bikini. This did cause a little unease with the locals on the pier, especially  after she had a little too much red wine and lost her footing!

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Still the other views were lovely and when Jane recovered she really enjoyed the scenery. The good thing about these midweek off-season walks is that they are very quiet and peaceful.

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We walked around to Langland Bay to find the beach absolutely packed, so we decided to turn around and head back to the car.

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When we got back to the car we were all totally exhausted, however Pixie still had enough energy to run round and around the railings and get herself all tangled up, very amusing to watch, less so if you were holding the lead judging by Jane’s expression!

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So we said goodbye to Wales after a great stay at Sharon’s house in the lovely Chepstow. I’m sure we all came back a lot fitter than when we left with all the dog walking, and the fact that the house was on three stories and we both climbed so many stairs!!

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I think I’m coming to terms with my unreasonable fear of driving over suspension bridges. The nearest David Lloyd club for me during this break was in Bristol, so I had to cross the Severn at least twice every day! Its not cheap either at £6.70 a trip into Wales, (it’s free to come into England!) But I suppose its worth it when you have got your body to within an inch away from perfection! (lol) Jane does say that I should wear my glasses when looking in the mirror. Well a boy can dream can’t he?

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Back at Dads, in-between tidying the attic we took the opportunity to walk closer to home. We walked not far from Kings Somborne and found a bye-way that headed in the direction of Farley Mount along a muddy track, although we didn’t get that far. The clear blue skies really accentuated the bright reds, golds, browns and greens of the autumnal day.

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We walked for about two hours and didn’t see anyone, it is amazing that no-one else was around on such a lovely day.  We did meet a few pheasants which suddenly flew up and  really made us  jump as we not expecting it! Be calm my beating heart!!

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The view of Dad’s back garden from the attic.  To the left and in the far distance is Hilliers Arboretum, very handy for a quick stroll around and a coffee and cake !

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Its amazing what I found up there. I have always had a great taste in music, however I think in this case it was the album covers that made me part with my pocket money. Paul was also pleased that I managed to find his long-lost cycling proficiency certificate, he said he was going to hang it up in the cab of his lorry!

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There was (and still is) a lot of paperwork left over from the shop, which we have to keep for 7 years. It is a good feeling to be able to burn some of the really old invoices! Having a bonfire in the garden takes me back to being a kid again!

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On a cold Saturday afternoon in November there is nothing better than an old Fred Astaire movie…..

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Followed by a homemade fish pie eaten close to the warm Aga!

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I have had a few complaints about the lack of blog updates from Barry so I have finally brought you up to date.

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Most days at the moment begin with an early morning (6am) trip to the David Lloyd club in West End, Southampton. An hour in the gym or the pool is followed by a lengthy coffee and a putting the world to rights session!!! Then back to dad’s for breakfast……. then the rest of the day is my own….if Jane says its ok!! We are already planning next year’s trips at the moment, starting in early January with a cruise around South America with a stop off at the Falklands. We will return in early March and spend some time with dad before we embark on another epic road trip. This time we hope to spend at least a couple of months exploring the highways and byways of France, and in that time we will hardly have time to scratch the surface! So we will have to go back again, and again and again, as long as Brexit doesn’t muck things up any further!   Then back for a British summer  (better than this year I hope!) and then …….who knows, I will have to keep reading the travel books and get some more inspiration, and  hope that our desires can fit our budget!

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Tintern Abbey

Wednesday 8th November

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What a beautiful  day to visit this stunning ruin.

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The sunshine made it easy for me to capture some lovely pictures.

Who would have thought that all those years ago this was the birth place of Tinternet!

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We had a very pleasant walk around the outskirts of the Abbey.  It’s great to be able to visit these places on a bright Wednesday in November when everyone else is at work, because its so quiet!

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The leafy footpaths around the Abbey are at the height of their autumnal colours. It is a real feast for the eyes!

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On the odd occasion that I take hold of the lead, Pixie is still trying to get close to Jane…….well, she does have the all treats in her pocket!

Thursday 9th November

Caerphilly Castle

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It was a lot colder today for our exploration of Caerphilly Castle.

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I was wondering if anyone famous had been born in this town when “just like that” we saw this statue of lovely Tommy Cooper.  He gave us all many laughs through the 60s and 70s.  He was a great hero of my childhood and I have many happy memories of watching him on our little black and white T.V!

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The statue was unveiled by another famous welshman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, who was apparently totally amazed by the huge turnout for the ceremony.

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Caerphilly had made a real effort with their Remembrance day poppy displays.

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It was all so poignant on a bleak freezing cold day to see the all the red poppies around town.

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Pixie had to tread “caerphilly” around the dragons (Jane and the Welsh ones!), we didn’t want to wake them up !

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House-sitting in Chepstow

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November 4th

For the first couple of weeks in November we are house-sitting for Sharon in Chepstow. She and her mum are off to New York on the Queen Mary 2, and while they are away we get to look after Pixie, her cocker spaniel. So we have got plenty of excuses to go for long walks and explore this part of Wales.  This is the view from Symonds Yat Rock, a beauty spot in the Wye Valley.  We took a lovey drive following the many bends in the river, and the autumnal colours were stunning!

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We can see Chepstow castle from the lounge, kitchen and bathroom windows. Very popular with schools, so it seems! Also it’s not too far to take Pixie for her night time stroll!

The week before we came to Wales we took our nieces 10-pin bowling – you can see from the photos that the girls gave it their all! I only just managed to win…….. I know I’m a little older than they are………..but they had the bumpers up!!!

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My nieces, from left to right, Esme, Zena and Eleanor.

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Not sure where they got their good looks from, certainly not from my side of the family!

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It has been great being around Romsey again. We got to visit the town hall to hear Zena sing as part of the Romsey Children’s Youth Choir.

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Dad and I played a few holes with Elliot who is a teaching professional at Royal Winchester. It was a warm, bright  afternoon, ideal  to pick up a few tips.

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Anyhow, I digress, back in Wales………

Jane really wants to get a dog but I’m not so sure, so this is a good test for both of us. I don’t mind the dog walking……..

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……..but I’m not so sure about all the messy bits!

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Whilst we are staying here in Chepstow, I have been getting up early to drive to the David Lloyd club in Bristol. It’s just like the old days, scraping the ice off the windscreen at 6 in the morning! One thing about driving to Bristol for the health club is that I have to cross the Severn Bridge twice every day. Most of you already know I have always had a fear and feel very uncomfortable about driving  over large suspension bridges. Up until now I have only had the odd occasion to have to cross these bridges. But with all my travels this year these bridges appear more and more  frequently. So this next two weeks should really help me put this strange fear to bed !

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During a quick visit to Monmouth, I enjoyed the architecture, especially the tower on the bridge, and Jane enjoyed the shops, especially Joules!

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