Saturday, October 05, 2019

Newcastle 1

This is the hotel where we had the most fantastic roast beef meal, mid afternoon with about 20 of R's family. It was great.

R's sister's neighbour's gladdies. Brexit supporter, no doubt.

A neighbour's tied up gladiolus.

I moved the outdoor table and chairs to this paved area from another. It was great watching the bees buzzing around the lavender. It has been flattened by recent rain.

K's other neighbour is from South Africa and is a local nurse. She has an interesting garden, full of produce.

Given this post is short, I will add these photos. As I mentioned, R's sister's bathroom was rather small but well set up for those with disabilities, as long as they did not need a wheelchair as the space was very small. These taps are so easy to use for anyone, with a beautiful smooth and light action. Of course mixing hot and cold water in a single tap was not the way things were done in England. I think the English are past that now, I think.

A hangover from times past, no power points or wall light switches lest you touch them with wet hands and get zapped. Remembering light switches and power switches at my childhood farmhouse, there was a chance of being zapped but not with modern switches. One cord is for the light and the other to switch on the controls in the next photo. I had to use my electric razor while sitting on our bed and looking at a wardrobe mirror.

The photo is quite self explanatory, as I go on to explain it. You press Start and it starts. You can adjust the flow from high to low. Why would you want low? Actually, the pressure wasn't bad at all. The temperature is adjustable. I used to turn it up from five to six. I prefer my showers on the hot side. The problem was the sagging shower head. You would put it in your preferred position and over thirty seconds it would sag. If it was my shower, I would have had to do something about it.

Friday, October 04, 2019

London, again

We weren't in London for very long. Just an overnight stay this time. I think we dined at the hotel and of course we caught The Tube very early to Kings Cross for our train. When R gets stressed, I don't function so well. Someone should tell him. He is always needlessly worried about missing a plane or train, even though we are always so early.

We bounced our cases down the stairs at Old Street and were soon at the much more old person friendly Kings Cross Station, ready to catch our train north to Newcastle.

Specific information was not shown on passenger information boards until close to departure times.

Maybe the last time we travelled in a first class carriage. I am not sure. It was a terribly long way to walk to the buffet car for sustenance. There was the usual argy bargy over seats. Standing and those without reservations try to take seats. A young and polite person managed to kick a grumpy old Arab man out of his seat, that wasn't his seat as he hadn't booked a seat.

But the journey passed quickly and we were soon in Newcastle and met up with two of R's three sisters. There was a huge family get together, maybe twenty family at The Denton pub on this Sunday, and for the first time in the UK, I had a proper meal, roast beef with vegetables. Our roast beef cuts here we buy are rubbish compared to the roast beef in England. I won't even have roast beef here in Australia.

While they may not have air con, Boris buses are very quiet, I believe using electric motors and batteries to start off and then switching to the diesel motor. Here is a short video of a bus outside our hotel.

Around Kings Cross Station.

I think three times we have caught a train north from Kings Cross. It feels like an old friend.

Thursday, October 03, 2019


It was raining as we arrived in Cambridge. An included tour was boating on River Cam with a Cambridge student at the helm to punt us along. It was too wet, the boating trip was too long at 45 minutes, no matter how hot the posh Cambridge student might be. We did our own thing and strangely where we chose to lunch at a comfortable pub, so did our tour leader. We just wandered among the crowds and when I say crowds, I really mean crowds. I don't know any of the buildings in my photos.

By 6pm we were back in London at the end of the tour at a cheapish hotel I had booked that did not have air con. Management had bought heaps of new fans and we had one which helped a little, that is it blew the hot air around in the room. We had left the coach at Greenwich Station and caught The Tube to Old Street Station. A recent new rebuild plan of the station has been rejected as it might have lead to youths loitering. A new plan is in place. It seems ok to me. The Old Street Station as we experienced was hard work, with no no escalators or lifts and we had to lug heavy suitcases up stairs. Then the monster roundabout was undergoing renovation and there weren't street signs. I tried to work out which was was up on my phone to find our hotel, but I couldn't. We tried each of the five roads with Google Maps open and once Madame said rerouting, we knew we had gone wrong. It was the last of the five roads we tried. How I wished we we were in Westminster where there are clear street signs. To say R was pissed orf is an understatement. Why didn't we get a cab? Perhaps he was right. Well, I didn't know about the mega road works or that there wasn't a lift at Old Street Station.

That is the end of our UK tour. We saw Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England in thirteen days. I hope you enjoyed some aspect of my blogging of our holiday. I cannot say it was our best holiday ever, but it was ok.

However, it is not all over yet. The next day we caught the east coast train (LNER) to Newcastle to catch up with R's family for a week or so. Why didn't we travel first class!?

Who is this handsome man? Seems he caught me taking a photo. I don't remember seeing him. He looks a little cross? What does he want to do to me?

Caught again, I think. No doubt a Cambridge student, with strong arm, chest and leg muscles. I need to settle down.

Back to beautiful buildings.

Another gasometer skeleton discovered.

A proper mailbox.

Cambridge University Press, I suppose.

My usual skill at avoiding people in photos in busy areas totally failed this day. Mein Gott, was Cambridge flooded with tourists, in spite of the very ordinary weather.

This is interesting. I pushed the tourists out of the way to get a closer photo. I wonder what it is about.

A lock, I believe.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Shrieking with tears

As well us having tears from laughing yesterday at our visitor's demonstration of his brother's partner's plumping up of cushions, I also set us off with my remark about the old British tv show Silent Witness, where the person who conducted the autopsy, Sam Ryan, nearly always opened with the statement, we are examining the body of a well nourished male. Yes, G, R and myself are all well nourished males. Ok, yes, you had to be there.

Photos make a post better don't they?  The character Sam Ryan, name Amanda Burton. I am sure you don't want to see photos of well nourished males. You can see them daily in your local street.

A disrupted day

Today did not go as we planned, that is on a gorgeous warm and sunny spring day we would go west over the big bridge and clean the car at a commercial car wash and then brunch in Altona Village.. We were up bright and early and ready to be out by 10.30! As I was drying myself after my shower, I heard R talking to someone on his phone. The conversation sounded friendly but given we barely have friends, and it clearly wasn't a long conversation, so it wasn't Mother, who could it be?

It was someone R worked with in the early 80s, a gay man who was once married to woman. He and R caught up about 5 years ago here but I did not see him as I was at work. I last saw him at a barbeque at our house in Balaclava in about 1999. In the 80s we travelled in a campervan around New Zealand with him, and resolved to never travel with him again.

He was cleaning up the empty three bedroom flat he owns in Malvern, very near to former blogger Fen. His daughter used to live there rent free. He rather outstayed his welcome here, being here for five hours. We did go out and walked down the boulevard to a cafe for lunch and coffee. He lives an hour's train ride from Melbourne on a a semi rural property with his former pedo brother. His brother is gay too and now has a non live in partner, and G was quite amusing as he demonstrated how the partner fusses around and plumps up cushions. Actually we had many laughs about many things with G during his visit. We talked about our medical issues, sex, medications, sex, current affairs, sex, our history, sex, all sorts of things, and sex. He is a couple of years older than me but he is still sexually active. Oh dear, what gay men get up to on country train full of private school girls. Even I balked at that. But no child was harmed during the connection.

While it is not about him being older, it is that he has changed his appearance, think white beard. He sounded like the old G but did not look like the old G would, or an older version of himself. He stayed way too long, but nevertheless, it was nice to see him and we certainly did have some good laughs, with laughter tears having to be wiped away.

I understand why people disparage Facebook, but via FB I have connected with an aunt, a schoolmate and we have connected with G.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Family on the Island

Phillip Island that is. Named after a colonial governor I think. Not important. Ex Sis in Law rented a rambling five bedroom house in Cowes to get her three children together along with close family. We were honoured guests.

I don't expect you to follow this but I need the record. We were all supposed to watch the AFL Grand Final on the Saturday but it was so boring and one sided even the most ardent fan drifted off to play a game of pool or similar.

There was myself and R. Ex Sis in Law and her husband. Her three children, plus their children, Little M, Little Em and The Twins. Her children's partners were there too and one partner brought along his own two toddler daughters. Ex Sis in Law's husband's daughter was there too, along with her partner. Add to that a boisterous and badly trained Golden Retriever.

That is twelve adults, less two, us who weren't staying there. Six children under five, and one baby. Was it chaos, oh yes. Was it great fun, oh yes. Was it hard work? Oh yes. Did it cost us? Oh yes. R shopped for nibbles on the way there like a mad man, $60. You are buying grapes at nearly $10 per kg? The kiddies devoured them like there was no tomorrow. Worth every cent. One of the twins kept eating cut up carrots. Our accommodation about $400 for two nights, school holiday time and a long weekend. $100 to Hippie Niece because she was out of money and we didn't want the twins to miss out.

Slow cooked pulled pork with coleslaw on rolls for dinner the first night. The next day Firefighting Nephew and his wife supplied nibbles in the afternoon.

R put the cost of delivered pizzas on his card. Oldest Niece and her partner paid their share, as did Fire Fighting Nephew and his wife. But no one else did. A further $130 down.

Oh well, they get it now or they get it later.

It was a hideous trip to the Island. R was in a very crabby mood. About ten kilometres from the Island the traffic slowed to a crawl as everyone headed to the Island for the 2pm hotel check in time.  A squall came through and it poured rain. We had some nice food at a cafe in Grantville on the way but the most god awful coffee.

Mother and ABI Brother were supposed to join us on the Friday and they almost reached the island when they stopped for some food at San Remo. Mother was drenched by the heavy falling rain when she thought she was locked out of the car but wasn't and she then wet herself. While she takes changes of underwear with her wherever she goes, she did not have changes of clothes. They just went back home. So sad.

Before the football match began at 2:30pm we all met at Amaze'n Things. The adult price was $34 but given what we saw, I think it was worth it. Hardly any of us paid full price anyway. There were illusions, distorting mirrors, gravity rooms.....too much to remember and it finishes with exiting via a maze. There are other things you can add on as well.

Saturday morning breakfast we had toast and coffee in a cafe and Sunday morning a naughty pastie and coffee at a bakery, the only bakery I have come across that has half decent coffee. After Sunday breakfast and a quick check of where we used to stay in a house Mother rented for holidays over a period of about two decades, owned by a friend of hers, it was homeward bound.

PS R once mentioned a check list for when we go away. Given I forgot my thongs (footwear) and my camera, I will do so for whenever we next have to pack a suitcase.

An uplit gum tree near the house where family stayed.

It was so nice to have views. The hotel was ok but not flash.

I like this photo.

A rather odd mural off Thompson Avenue, unsigned.

Fisher folk on the rather short Cowes Pier.


Was once the wonderful Isle of Wight Hotel, burnt down in suspicious circumstances a number of years ago.

Just a few photos at Amaze'n Things.

Next to a proper toilet, everyone opened the door to see what kind of toilet it was. Some thought they had intruded on someone's privacy.

I'm not the only Camera Face. The one that got me was when I had to walk on a suspended pathway in a room while the round external walls rotated. I didn't hang around there.

A train travelling around overhead while Fire Fighting Nephew slides down at speed.

Geese crossing the road.

Yes, well.

What is this sculpture in the distance? A drilling rig?

Shabby and neglected but so many wonderful family holidays were had here. I guess it is still standing because it is made of asbestos and would be very expensive to demolish.

A couple of very brief videos taken at Amaze'n Things.