Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Summer's over

Saturdays and Wednesdays are market days in St Albans. A great street market with stalls all along the length of the main street, our personal favourite is the 'cheese van', but this Saturday it was so cold that we just had a quick walk up and down the length of the stalls and headed home. Back 'home' where the heating's on!
In the afternoon we drove over to visit my old school friend, Cheryl and her husband Bob. It's always so nice to meet up again, there have been too many years in between. We were fending for ourselves that night for dinner and we over indulged in fabulous German Rye bread and an assortment of delicious cheeses. (and I confess to a couple of glasses of Italian Pinot Grigio). The next morning we were all supposed to be going to a car boot sale, but only Jim braved the cold weather, he said we didn't miss much, it was too cold for a lot of people.
I then spent time organising a couple of our side trips, we finalised our trip to Berlin, flying out and back at reasonable times and finding an hotel - we'll see when we get there next week how well I did.  I checked out all options regarding Ireland. We decided to take the car over on the ferry, from Fishguard in Wales to Rosslare in the south east of Ireland. By taking the car over we can indulge ourselves by visiting some of our favourite places. Gosh this internet is grand isn't it? One click and I've spent hundreds of dollars!
Monday, the start of another week and it's time to leave St Albans, head back over to Reading and then westward and down to Devon. We took Jim out to lunch in Watford (Joy is unfortunately in hospital). We went to a place called Jimmys - all you can eat buffet with lots of dishes to choose from - Indian, Chinese or Italian. We couldn't try them all but we all gave it our best shot, and what we did have was very nice.
After lunch Jim went off to visit Joy, Michael and I had a little shop in Watford before heading back to John and Pauline in Reading.
 Dinner that night was fish and chips - we are going to have to stop eating!
The next day, despite the rain, we caught the bus into central Reading for more shopping. Michael was finally lucky in his search for some nice jumpers, and we've got our eyes on some items that are on the list to buy in September with any spare cash before we fly home. In the afternoon I borrowed John's printer and  printed the documents for the car and the ferry booking and re- organised the suitcases.
We are ready for the next adventure.
Wednesday we were all packed up, most of the clothes in one big bag and a smaller bag with just enough for the next few days, and on the road by 10.30am.
 The summer sunshine has deserted us and the showers started soon after we left Reading. We drove across country, using A roads (main highways that pass through towns and villages rather than M roads, motorways that bypass towns, have limited access points and everyone zooms along with nothing to see. Motorways are great when you need to get from A to B in a hurry but we are meandering - enjoyig the gorgeous scenery). We drove past Stonehenge - (Got Michael to stop the windscreen wipers so I could grab this shot).

We carried on along country roads to arrive in Shaftsbury in Dorset at lunch time. We have been to this lovely old town before but didn't realise just how many op (charity) shops there are in town. We went to at least 6, and we got some CDs to listen to in the car (Beachboys, Jamiroquai, and 'Non-stop party under the sun').
Shaftsbury is home to Gold Hill, made famous for its setting as the location for the 'Hovis ad' on tv. Last time we were here it was a lovely warm day and we wandered down the hill and along all the lovely old streets, passed quaint thatched cottages.

 Today it's raining and 13 degrees C so it's just a quick photo stop, lunch and those op shops before getting back in the car and continuing on. The weather got a little worse as we neared the coast and the light  showers degenerated into constant showers, in fact I think we were driving through cloud cover.

Our destination is Seaton on the coast near Lyme Regis. We decided on Seaton because it's marked on the map as 'home of the Seaton tramway'. Definitely worth a look.
The road to Seaton was lovely but was somewhat spoilt by the grey skies, rain, strong winds, grey sea and heavy mist. Along the seafront a lot of B & Bs had 'No vacancy' signs up, we wondered if they were booked out or had themselves gone off on holiday before the peak season, but I spotted a grand guest house right on the sea front and we checked it out. The Beaumont. Very nice, a beautiful clean room with a nice en suite and sea views - shame about the weather. (Couldn't take a photo from the window this afternoon as the rain on the glass is all you can see). The forecast is for gale force winds tonight and a better day tomorrow, we shall see.

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