Recent landbased travels

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 4 Aug 2011 17:53

Charles has a collection of around 20 magnificent motorbikes which have all been restored and are in absolutely perfect condition. He has ridden all the way to our home in Spain on two occasions and we are hoping that he will do say again later this year.

We travelled by train from Havant to Knightsbridge. Not having an oyster card, the fare to travel just four stations on the Underground, was exorbitant.

Off to Marshfield, near Bristol and Bath to visit Dick’s cousin and her husband, we stopped enroute at a service station advertising M & S Simply Food, to buy a sandwich for lunch. When we tried to use our M&S voucher to pay for purchases we were told by the cashier that they weren’t M&S at all, Simply BP. In Marshfield, a house in the high street had recently become available for sale, due to the demise of the elderly, owner occupier; a bargain perhaps, for a would-be purchaser, looking to move to this sought-after village.

The weather, on the journey to Lancaster was dull and overcast. One could hardly believe that we are in the midst of summer. Janie and Mike are renting a lodge house in the countryside just outside the town and we were entertained by rabbits hopping around outside and sheep, frolicking in the fields. Rosie, the much-loved dog, drew blood when she snapped at Dick as he attempted to pet her. Apparently, she has since become even more unreliable and has had to be put down, much to the despair of Janie; they had been companions for more than 10 years.

The weather picked up enroute to Glasgow and the sun shone warmly. We found the apartment which David and Susan are renting for 3 months, with ease. We had last seen them at the WARC farewell party in St Lucia, in April.

The Tom-tom, which we have borrowed from another friend, has been brilliant, taking us from door to door.  

While in Glasgow, we did a tour, by car, of the city. We drove out, past Loch Gare, the well known Polaris base, via Loch Long, Loch Lomond, Lochan and up to Loch Fyne. We stopped at the picturesque village of Luss and visited Inverarary castle. On our return journey, we were caught in a three hour traffic jam; there had been a motorbike accident on the Argyle road, which had subsequently been closed. Traffic crept along the lanes, some hardly wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

On our way to Newcastle to visit Mike and Dorothy, Dick’s brother and his wife, we drove over a bridge on the main road near Wall and before the turn-off for Hexham; standing waist high in the river below, was a man casting his rod.

While in Northumberland, with the weather still sunny and warm, we drove to a pub in Craster, on the east coast, and ate bowls of delicious crab soup accompanied by crab sandwiches, a local speciality. There were some very unfriendly waves breaking on the rocks and the swell which came into the small walled harbour caused the few boats within to jerk, in what seemed to be a most uncomfortable fashion.

Mike, Dick and myself walked past Dunstanburgh castle and across the sand dunes, the golf course to our left and the sea and beach to our right, to meet Dorothy at the golf club; she had driven the car to meet us there, supping coffee and reading the paper while she waited for us to join her.

Tim, Dick’s nephew, his wife and her son, joined the rest of us for dinner at home, Sunday evening. Tim had married again while we were circumnavigating and this was the first time we had meet his bride and stepson.

Tim had catastrophic kidney failure about seven years ago and after having to cope with dialysis for a while, his father gave him one of his kidneys. Unfortunately, the transplanted kidney has now ceased to function so Tim is back on dialysis and we are all hoping for another suitable donor.

The sun was still shining when we left Newcastle and took to the road again; this time to travel to Leicester, to visit Tim’s sister Sarah and her family, a very bright, talented trio. Ian is the eldest, thirteen years old, macho when he thinks about it but lots of fun when he forgets, a typical male teenager. Olivia is a natural gymnast; only eleven but easy to see that she will be giving the boys a run for their money when she gets older. Emma, the youngest at 9 years is very smart and enjoys numbers. She can tell you instantly what score remains when she plays against you at darts. The girls had me pushing myself into all sorts of weird positions as we played Twister together.

Next, we drove to Shaftesbury to meet again with Terry and Wendy. Once again we had the luxury of sleeping in the apartment above the garage. Visiting Weymouth, we were amazed at the number of people swimming in the sea, while others sat on the beach wearing windproof jackets. We were all wearing much needed jackets. The following morning we went to Stourhead House, a National Trust property with extensive gardens. We picnicked near the cathedral at Wells, where we met with their son Ollie, Becky his wife and Timothy, their three month old baby.

Next stop, we drove to a small village near Somerton to meet Steve, an old friend of mine from the days we both lived in Winchester, his wife Fen and their two delightful children, Alice, who is thirteen and Ingrid, who is eleven.

The following day we all climbed into Fen’s seven seat automobile; Emma the dog, half lying on the girls laps, half on the floor of the vehicle, with her head propped on the folding middle seat in front of her then, drove to Lyme Regis. Walking from the car park to the beach, we passed a boat building academy where we watched students of all ages, building traditional wooden boats.

The girls bought an inflatable boat, both managing to get themselves soaked as they rowed in circles. Steve swam in the cold water.

On the road again, this time to Plymouth, to visit Jackie, the widow of Dick’s cousin Ian. The day we arrived the sun shone, the wind was not too strong and it was day 1 of a sailing rally. We walked along Plymouth Ho and round to the Barbican. There were lots of classic boats, dressed overall, moored in the marina.