30 September 2008

18th September

We had an early breakfast, the missing companions stayed missed (though this was a hotel they had apparently arranged) and they didn't show for the ferry either...

Tony and Sue just missed us having breakfast, but came to see us off and as they don't live that far away we will catch up with them before too long.

We arrived at the dockside before too long and having got through passport control (yes folks despite rumours to the contrary, our passports were checked to ensure we were entitled to come back to the UK); though because we were on motorbikes, we were not required to get off and have them searched, unluckily for us we simply had no room for goodies, but we will know better next time.

The ferry crossing was calm, much better than last time and all too soon we were back on British soil and heading home.

SOH will say that due to my suggesting let's go up the M1 that it took longer to get home than if we had gone up the A1 but in my defence I said I didn't mind which of the two roads we took - but honey, next time I will defer to you :-)

Total Mileage for the trip : 1943 miles

Many happy memories and we are already looking forward to our next trip abroad.

18th September 2008

We had an early breakfast, Premier Classe hotels start serving from 6.30am so it was easy to make an early start and get on the road by 8am. Today was a shorter ride, only 170+ miles (est) to Boulogne and we wanted to get there and have a look around.

Also in our mind was the fact that having 'lost' our companions of the trip so far, we wanted not to catch them up on route but to arrive at the hotel before them and be nice and calm in trying to resolve the issues.

SOH had a GPS system, but the roads to Boulogne were well signposted, and we made a good team as our riding styles are quite similar (just think pipe and slippers - comfort mode)

We made good progress, stopping for fuel and a coffee on route; even so we arrived at 1.30pm and the hotel lets you book in even though the manager isn't on duty with a electronic system; easy to do and even displays the instructions in English as well as French.

We changed clothes, and went in search of some lunch before taking a look around. While we were walking back from Decathlon we noticed that a bike contained Tony and Sue was arriving so we walked back to have a chat with them; they were staying on an extra day to look around Boulogne town (we had established by now that we were just too far out of town to walk and neither of us fancied getting the bikes back out).

We arranged to meet for dinner, taking another visit to the Buffalo Grill where I had the cowboy platter and SOH had a lovely steak and between the four of us we drank two bottles of St Emilion so we were very happy as we went off to bed.

Daily Mileage : 183
Total Mileage so far : 1815

17th September 2008

We had the luxury of a warm double bed, and a shower that provided a ample supply of hot water so we were well looked after by Zeltus and his wife.

More so when we went down for breakfast and had fresh croissants from the Boulangerie (just across the road) so hot that when Jan went for them they were almost too hot to carry comfortably.

The guests that had accompanied us had been told by SOH and myself that breakfast would be basic, but Jan did us proud with cereals, fresh pastries, piping hot coffee and tea and cold meats and a baguette to choose from on the kitchen table; sadly these two so called guests managed to put a sour note into the breakfast and Zeltus and Jan were left fuming at their unbelievable rudeness and bad manners.

We set off at 9.30am, only because we were prolonging breakfast as having eaten too much last night we were still stuffed and also we wanted to spend the time with family. Zeltus got his bike out and accompanied us as far as Limoges, he needed to buy dinner for that evening but also to replace the wedding anniversary champagne that we had drunk the night before, so that he and Jan could celebrate properly.

Going across country to the A20, Zeltus took us by the chateau where Richard the Lionheart died from his wounds he got at Chalus - another missed photo opportunity.

We took the A20 northwards to Orleans, the scenery changes quite quickly as you rode along, but the long open roads on the E9 road after Orleans let you see for miles ahead. Though overtaking in the side wind was not fun, and on the second occasion I got blown back out into the traffic by a gust of wind and after that I rode a little more cautiously.

Chartres was skirted, and I longed for a stop at the cathredral (another place I have promised myself a visit to so that I can take the pilgrims maze), but I had to satisfy myself with the view from the traffic lights.

The cathedral had some scaffolding up, which you can't see from this viewpoint.

Our stop was some 30 miles north of Chartres, at a place called Dreux (we still don't know whether the x is silent or not). We arrived early evening and noticed the restaurent was about 500 metres up the road, but not a great distance. However our companions at this point lost the plot completely and decided to leave us as he didn't want to walk that far; instead he drove another 40 miles to Everaux and book in to a different hotel. By this time we had enough of their behaviour over the past few days and were glad to be on our own.

We had an excellent meal at the Campanile, where Vanessa made us feel at home and when she established we were staying at the Premier Classe hotel just down the road she gave us a free drink and we got 10% off our bill.

Tomorrow, Boulogne and then home.

Daily mileage : 263
Mileage so far : 1632

28 September 2008

Sinners vs the Saints

SOH and I went to watch the rugby match between the Saracens and the Saints at Watford on Saturday. It was a great game, and we had good seats; we went with a couple of friends and have invited them to the Bedford vs Cornish Pirates game on November 1st.

Saracens won 26 to 12, but it wasn't always going their way with Saints having got the lead and maintained it for most of the match then seemed to tire at the end letting Saracens get two tries in quick succession.

We didn't get home until late in the evening and picked up a chinese meal of Cantonese Duck with Sweet and Sour chicken - delicious and meant little washing up.

16th September 2008

We had a good night's sleep and with a shorter day in front of us we opted for a slightly later start. This also allowed the frost on the bikes (yikes - frosts!!) to warm up before we set off for the days ride to Zeltus's.

We were in the midi-pyrenees, and though we didn't know it we were only 27 miles away from my old neighbours who left home to live and run a Chambre d'hotel in France; I didn't realise this fact at the time otherwise we might have been tempted to call in on them as well.

We headed up through France, through the Lot region, and it was extremely pretty; particularly so was the port on the Tarn we passed through and a very scenic little village that I forgot to make a mention of the name of but would have like to have had a coffee at if we had the time.

The Paper mill at Sarlat, gets a mention as it was extremely pretty and as we drove past it could have been right out of the middle ages; Zeltus thinks that it is a modern recreation but it was very good and hard to tell.

We stopped for a photographic moment (a first for us) at Jumilhac le Grand, the Rapunzel story is supposed to have originated from here; SOH in trying to turn his bike somehow lost the battle of weight vs obverse camber and she hit the deck, but luckily only a few scratches and no major wounds or trauma.

We manoevered the bikes in front of the fountain and took this picture :

We were only 6 miles or thereabouts from Zeltus at this stage, so we called to see if he wanted to come out on his bike, but he preferred to wait for us at home. I had been there about 3 years ago (yikes - really that long ago?) but as we neared his home it started to look very familiar; he lives opposite the church in the village so it wasn't difficult to miss him.

After making the suitable introductions, and changing into more comfortable clothes we sat down and had a pre-dinner drink before Zeltus kindly drove us all to the restaurent, making two journey's each way to ensure everyone could get there - cheers Bro.

The restaurent was typical french cuisine, and specialised in local dishes of the perigord region. I had the assiette perigord and shared with SOH who had the vegetable soup while Zeltus's wife shared with our leader the delights of her plate after giving me the dish of creme brulee with fois gras (which was delicious) and I look forward to trying in again in future.

We pigged out far more than we should have done and all of us felt full that night and it was hard to do justice to the spread that Zeltus and his wife put out for us the following morning.

The croissants and pastries came from the boulangerie just 2 mins away across the road along with cereals and cold meats we had a feast; unfortunately the two guests we had taken with us were not pleasant breakfast companions and I can only apologise to my brother and his wife who had put themselves out on our behalf and who didn't mention a word in front of them publicly. I know they felt upset at how these two 'guests' were rude and obnoxious given that Zeltus and his wife had only just got home from Cornwall and then were faced with opening up a gite, cleaning it and preparing for our stay with less than 24 hours notice and got very little thanks from our companions for doing so. If it helps we appreciated very much

It was too short a visit, but we have promised to go back before too long.

Daily Mileage : 147
Total so far on holiday : 1369

27 September 2008

15th September 2008

A long day and tiring, but full of drama and scenery that we passed. We left the campsite at 9.30am and headed towards the motorway (peage) after refuelling, unfortunately our leader led us initially the wrong way so we ended up having to backtrack and lost about 40 minutes overall but we did get back on track fairly quickly.

The wind was quite strong, a disadvantage for motorcyclists as when you are passing lorries or open spaces it can catch you out occasionally. We passed by Salon de Provence on the Peage which on reflection it would have been easier to have used this on the journey down to the campsite but you cannot change the past.

Managing the toll booths on the bike is an artform; SOH would take a ticket and pass through, then me. Then the other side of the booth we would stop and he would hand me his ticket, then at the other end of the toll section I would hand over both tickets and pay for us both; I apologise now to anyone caught behind us in the queue.. as I took a while to co-ordinate getting money out and putting gloves back on.

We passed by Montpellier and the Camargue region, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the white horses running alongside the black bulls but it was only a glimpse and I had to buy a postcard to get a decent picture, as the wind was so strong along this part of our route that you were having to hold on fairly strongly to make forward progress.

We were also entertained by some jet planes above enjoying the open space to play battle games with each other until they disapppeared off into the distance.

It gradually grew cooler as we headed northwards, we had been in heat for so long that it felt almost cold to us but we quickly acclimatised. We stopped for fuel, and a break from the wind, a scottish lorry driver en-route to Spain came over and chatted to us having spotted the English plates.

The Millau bridge is as good as I had imagined it would be we rode over it in blue skies and sunshine and it seemed to unfold before us. We were not so lucky as this photo shows the bridge with cloud underneat the structure, we had no clouds at all to impede our views but I am sure we will return one day (we would have considered returning to the bridge the following day, but we felt that it was just too much considering the days ahead and so regretfully have postponed it until another day).

We still had another 45 miles to go to our destination, and we were all getting quite tired and it was with some relief that we began to see signs appearing for Rodez where we would stop for the night. The hotel was warm, welcoming and a restaurent was nearby (even if it was only McDonalds).

Daily Mileage : 321
Mileage so far : 1222

Sunshine and Blue Skies

La Pachacaid was all that it had promised, the warm air of the Cote d'azur was there morning to late evening; it felt very strange to be in short sleeves at 11pm at night, and to have to use the air-conditioning in the caravans to keep cool. The view from the caravan was over the hills towards the sea (not that we could see it from our location, but it was beautiful).

What you can't see in this view of our caravan was how steep the ground was sloping; very kindly Tony and Sue opposite let me keep Max over there and you can see how flat this was. This was also where we had most of our meals as Sue was Mum in charge of us and concocted some great meals which included breakfast.

I volunteered to be up at 8.30am when the shop opened so we could have fresh croissants and bread for the day ahead, breakfast was when I got back up the hill; if nothing else I should have been fitter when I got home, but I guess the diet of bread, cheese and steak probably didn't help me much.

Apart from SOH going shopping, with two other members of our group, I stayed behind to do some much needed washing (which meant I didn't have to get dressed up again), we didn't leave the campsite. A couple of our group decided to have a day out in St Tropez, another went to Monaco to ride the grand prix circuit and a couple more decided to take in the Verdon Gorge.

SOH and I discussed what we wanted to do, but given we were planning to take 4 1/2 days home we figured we should just chill out and relax; I didn't take much convincing, the pool was good and the jacuzzi above it helped to take out all the kinks that still niggled from days on the bike.

Early one evening, we heard what sounded like cowbells, and they were going up the slope opposite our caravan. I got the camera out and about 200 goats went scrambling up the slope the bells ringing out as they made their way up the hills to forage.

Then all too soon it was the last night, and we were packing to leave early the following morning. Neither of us regretted leaving a day early as we were looking forward to the journey home.

26 September 2008


Well it has been a week since we got back from France... doesn't time fly?

Work has dominated my time, as the new academic year and students start next week and we have been busy trying to ready the new systems for them, which has left the blog story in the South of France, but more will turn up over the weekend as we cover more ground on the way home.

SOH has also been kept busy, he was working Tues, Wed, Thur but these are 12.5 hour days and bless him he starts at 4am so is whacked by the evening; just enough time to get a meal together, get his lunch together for the following day and then chill on the sofa before bed. He has today off and I twisted his arm to make a Cornish Curry as we will both enjoy a spicy meal after a couple of weeks of fairly standard cuisine.

Yesterday I had to visit the MOP (Mistress of Pain) as I had toothache; she took an x-ray and I have to go back on Monday for a root filling.. remind me I need to take my ipod to keep me calm but I am sure I will survive, she is actually a very good dentist.

I also have booked a holiday in Normandy for next year, to co-incide with the 65th anniversary of D-Day; we just need to book the ferry tickets and see whether to extend it to include visiting my brother again.

Tomorrow, in the lovely autumnal sunshine, we are off down to Watford to watch the rugby game between the Saracens and Northampton Saints... we think it should be a good match.

Till the next post

25 September 2008

10th September 2008

Day 4

We enjoyed a lazy, and late, breakfast on the terrace overlooking the panoramic view. It was already hot and we were regretting not having made an earlier start (remember this fact later).

We had heard nothing from our missing traveller, however he had no mobile phone with him but he did have our contact numbers so we decided to make our way to the caravans.

The route chosen, by our leader, took us via Marseille and Toulon. Trying to keep 5 bikes together was extremely difficult, and while we managed Marseille we failed miserably at Toulon and our leader was last seen heading Eastwards.

One of the other bikes took over the lead, and we navigated out of Toulon safely and towards our final destination. GPS units have their uses but get two or more together and you get differing routes.

At Hyeres, Tony's GPS said one thing and we all followed blindly only to have to do a U-turn in a narrow road with limited vision. I was second bike, and following Tony down the hill only to see a French driver in an Audi plough into the back of him, sending Tony and Sue (his pillion) tumbling to the road - thankfully they were not hurt - but the bike was damaged and roadside repairs were needed. We hauled off onto the side of the road, while insurance details were swapped but we were quite shocked at how much it affected us.

We made our way along the coast road to La Pachacaid, another mistake as there was a better road above it, however the views along this road were gorgeous, the sea was a turquoise shade of blue and all of us were tempted to stop but we had to keep going.

The road from the coast up to the campsite was narrow and very twisty, the GPS's all showed the path upwards until you took a road and then they smugly showed that the route you should have taken was the other way. We ended up trying to turn the bikes around with a drop on one side of hundreds of feet and a loose gravel path on the other.. I wasn't the only one who was tempted to park up, stamp my feet and give in at this stage. When we finally got on the right path, the drivers coming the other way wanted all the road (remember the drop, it was on their side) but we now had large drains on ours and didn't want to be forced in.. my language turned a lot less lady-like I am afraid.

It was a relief to see the campsite emerge from the hillside, and know we were almost there. We parked up and booked in, then it was a simple 5 mins journey to the caravans and a cold drink - before we went here :

You can see the blue of the sky, this was taken about 30 mins after our arrival, a cool beer and a chat amongst the fellow travellers before we met for something to eat.

Daily Mileage : 119
Total Mileage to date : 901

9th September 2008

Day 3

Another early morning start, and despite having done a lot of miles already the group were ready to go another long day. It wasn't cold when we set off from Chalon-Sur-Saone, we have an organised method of travel with the bikes in a string behind the leader. The roads today took us down by the Rhone river, which was very impressive as to it's width and we crossed over it a few times on some of the smaller roads.

The only trouble with travelling on a motorbike is that you have to pay attention to where you are going, to what is happening all around you and you have very little time to look in great detail at the scenery surrounding you.

We stopped for a break in Montelimar, to get a snack and to refuel. You cannot go to this region and not buy some of the speciality so a bar of pistachio and almond nougat and a bottle of wine made it's way into our bikes for consumption later. The temperature by mid-morning was pleasantly warm, finally we were beginning to get a feel for how hot Southern France would be.

Part of our route took us through Mondragon, I particularly noted the name as it has an impressive fortress both on top and built into the cliff-sides. With regret we could only pass through it but many of us spoke in the evening of wishing to have made a more leisurely journey which would have permitted us to stop and take photo's during the ride down (or even just to enjoy what wonderful locations we were missing).

The fields of sunflowers were mostly finished flowering and those that remained looked quite dry and dessicated, but occasionally a yellow flowering head could be seen; I was reminded of the Van Gogh painting of sunflowers and perhaps this gave him his inspiration.

It got hotter as we rode Southwards, and navigating through Orange the bike felt very hot and it was a relief to hit some open roads after the town which allowed air to cool both me and the bike but every hold-up in traffic after this point became a nightmare of heat being applied from both above and below - my thighs were almost al dente by the end of the day!

Our stop for the night was at Salon de Provence, it was the best hotel we had on the trip so far for views; our room overlooked the river and a Le Clerc supermarche. We had lost contact with one of our group (the one who filled his bike up with diesel) on route to this hotel, one moment he was following us through the town and the next he was gone - we still don't know what happened to him.

We booked in and peeled (quite literally) out of our bike wear and after a shower we felt more human. We walked about 50 yards to the campanile which was adjoining our hotel and had dinner with lots of drink and chat so much so that the hotel manager had to come out and tell us to be quiet.

Chastened we adjourned to our rooms, tomorrow would be a shorter ride so we decided on a later start.. this was a big mistake as we would learn later.

Daily Mileage : 267
Total Mileage to date : 782

23 September 2008

8th September 2008

Day 2

We aimed to be on the road by 9am, and the 6 bikes were ready to go by 8.30am.. just the inherent enthusiam for the journey ahead. This picture of the bikes was taken early in the morning before we loaded them up for the day ahead.

Setting off from Amiens, again on smaller non-motorway roads we made good time until we stopped to refuel the bikes. One of our party, who seemed to know less about his bike than was good for him, managed to fill his bike up with diesel even after asking what pumps were people using. A few curse words later, also established that he had come on the journey with no maps or european breakdown cover.. insert curse words of your choice here.....

The whole shebacle delayed us for an hour and a half while he arranged for a convenient garage across the road to pump out the fuel in his tank and then refill it with high quality unleaded. No-one felt like leaving him behind at this early stage in the journey, but this would prove to have been a good choice later on.

We rode a short while on the periphary of Paris and passed by Charles de Gaulle airport; so close that SOH though he might have tyre marks on top of his helmet, but this didn't prove to be the case.

The French roads are quiet, mostly; good (in places) and great sweeping bends which are great on a bike. The tree lined routes are wonderful as they offer that little bit of shade and help to break up the panorama. NB one of the shady bends, caught all but 1 bike out.. nope I got caught by it too... having to break on a corner means you got it wrong but not disastrously so.

A stop for lunch in Sens saw us lose contact with two bikes, unintentionally lost contact at traffic lights but both sensibly decided to head down to the hotel separately.

The sun had come out by this time, and it was warming up nicely as we rode through Chablis, the hills surrounding it are covered with vines but we couldn't see how/if the grapes were already picked, but I did note the premier cru signs on the side of the road; unluckily for us no stopping as we didn't have time. But it was nice to make a note of and SOH and I intend to go back and take a more leisurly tour which will included some wine tastings I'm sure of it.

Two Gendarmes on bikes joined us just outside of Chalon-sur-Saone, riding alongside us for a short while before breaking off and pulling up on the opposite side of the road; we think they might just have been checking us out to ensure we were ok and not hooning around,

We finally arrived at the hotel in Chalon-sur-Saone at just about 8pm, one of the two bikes we had lost early had arrived about an hour before us and had booked a table at the Buffalo Grill. We booked in, had a quick shower and then the last bike had arrived so we enjoyed a late meal at the restaurent; I had a Bison Burger (bit gamey for my taste) SOH had a entrecote steak which he enjoyed a bit more as he then finished my burger for me.

Total Daily Mileage : 300
Total Mileage to date : 515

7th September 2008

Having packed the night before, it was just a question of putting the bags in the bikes and then we could leave. Ha.. so simple.. Out by the bikes after locking up the house, I had a sneaking suspicion that I had forgotten to do something... then I realised, my helmet was still inside on the couch where I had left it.. Doh! Got the keys out, unlocked the house, picked up the helmet and reversed my directions. Finally we could go.

We decided to take the A1 down to Dover, so cross country to Baldock and heading South down the A1. The radio communications decided not to co-operate which meant we didn't have the luxury of talking to each other and the intermittent drizzling rain combined with new tyres for both of us meant that we took a leisurely ride. I am always impressed with the inability of other motorway users to see the brightly coloured bikes along with the riders in flourescent jackets, must be some sort of invisibility cloak that you put on when riding in this country.

The QEII bridge over the Thames was as spectacular as ever, and of course motorbikes are free to cross both this and the Dartford Tunnel crossing which we would do on the way back. We filled up the bikes at Dover, prior to getting on the ferry as neither of us were quite sure about filling up in France on a Sunday and it eliminated the risk as we still had to get to Amiens and our first overnight stop.

The ferry wasn't as bad as I expected, because it only did cars and motorbikes, there wasn't the risk of diesel spilled as I had concerns over and the ramps were gently sloping not like the experiences of ferries I had been on in the past. You ride on into a front wheel clamp and then stay on the bikes until the handlers clamp the back wheel and then you can climb off; this process is repeated at the other side. We went up to the lounge and bagged a nice seat along with the other members of the group that had met at the ferry port. The crossing was a little rough, and I was grateful for the bands I use as other than feeling a bit queasy at times I didn't lose my sandwiches unlike another member of our party.

When we landed on the other side, we went downstairs to the bikes to find that SOH's bike was tilting dangerously to one side; almost leaning on my bike. A quick check seemed not to throw up any major problems but it is difficult to deal with when they want you off the boats so they can make the return trip.

One of the guys, who had put together the trip, then led us out of Boulogne to Amiens. Using a mixture of small country lanes and villages. By this time the rain had stopped, thankfully so as some of the villages had cobbled centres and these can be exceptionally slippery. We made it to our destination for about 7.30pm Frenchtime, but reception at the hotel was incredibly slow so we only got booked by about 9pm and then it was find somewhere to eat before turning in as tomorrow was going to be a long day.

Total mileage for the day : 215

21 September 2008

Safely Home

We got home late Friday night and after a chinese takeaway we went to bed as we were both shattered. We spent the last four days travelling 200+ miles a day and while it was great fun to do it does leave you feeling absolutely exhausted when you don't have to do it again the following day.

Yesterday was a blur of unpacking, washing and generally getting over the holiday... I now know the value of needing a holiday to get over the holiday we just had.

Total number of miles on the trip was 1943 miles, 901 miles on the way down alone and we saw some stunning sights and had wonderful weather; some of which followed us back to the UK. I will do a proper write up when I get an opportunity and post some pictures though as we were on bikes our photo moments were few and far between.

15 September 2008


Today we are heading off towards Millau and our journey home, we are leaving a day before everyone else will as we want to take in the bridge and then we will head up to Zeltus for a stay.. we brought a book that he wants as well as some nuts and catches for his motorbike. Good job he isn't having to pay mileage costs.. no instead he is providing us with bed and breakfast before we move on towards Chartres and we might even be able to persuade him to travel with us part way.

Also this will be the only opportunity I will have to update the blog however briefly on how the journey has been so far, so you never know I might be able to get a couple of photo's loaded and you might even get a real post for a change.

10 September 2008

Cote d'Azur

By the time you read this, SOH and I should be on the Cote d'Azur and settling in for a few days of rest and relaxation after 3 fairly long days on the bikes. We don't have internet access until we get to Zeltus so I am taking a book and pen with me to write it up the old fashioned way as I hope to get it published in the BMW Club Journal on our return. So I need some witty suggestions for a title... over to you guys - what do you think?

Settling down to Retirement

Today, we will be heading to La Pachacaid, we will have done over 650 miles when you read this.. so we might both benefit from a humourous post.

Tom had been in the liquor business for 25 years. Finally sick of the stress he quits his job and buys 50 acres of land in Alaska as far from humanity as possible. He sees the postman once a week and gets groceries once a month. Otherwise it's total peace and quiet.

After six months or so of almost total isolation, someone knocks on his door. He opens it and a huge, bearded man is standing there.

"Name's Cliff, your neighbour from forty miles up the road. Having a Christmas party Friday night. Thought you might like to come. About 5:00"?

"Great", says Tom, "after six months out here I'm ready to meet some local folks. Thank you".

As Cliff is leaving, he stops. "Gotta warn you. Be some drinking”.
"Not a problem" says Tom. "After 25 years in the business, I can drink with the best of 'em".

Again, the big man starts to leave and stops. "More 'n' likely gonna be some fighting' too". "Well, I get along with people, I'll be all right. I'll be there. Thanks again".

"More'n likely be some wild s€x, too". "Now that's really not a problem" says Tom, warming to the idea. "I've been all alone for six months! I'll definitely be there. By the way, what should I wear?"

"Don't much matter. Just gonna be the two of us."

08 September 2008


Just something to fill the gap while SOH and I are travelling down through France, by the time you read this we should be travelling towards Chalon Sur Saone from our overnight stop at Amiens :

I am lucky in that a couple of years ago, and before SOH entered my life, the University that I work for set up a student group interested in gliding and that staff were also eligible to participate. The only catch was that we had to travel 40 miles to Bicester where the airfield was situated; No problem, that's what the motorbikes were for.

So every Saturday or Sunday would find me heading down to the airfield, ready for a day's work with some flying if the weather was being kind. We had to pay 3.50 for a launch and 20p per minute flying but the instruction was free. In return we had to help out retrieving the cable, the glider if it landed at the far end of the field or helping in the catering truck dishing out teas/coffees etc.

Over the period of the Summer, and as my bank balance fell, I managed to do the take off and landing a couple of times as well as fly the circuit with the instructor just providing guidance. It was exhilarating to launch as it was so fast and then you were hundreds of feet up in the air with just the noise of the wind outside. There was never long enough to look at the scenery as you were too busy watching for other air traffic as well as controlling the glider movements and aiming towards the airfield thermals (if they were around).

The landing seemed to last forever, the glider would hang on feet above the ground before gravity grabbed onto it and pulled in onto the ground. Then the debriefing, what you did right/wrong, how to do it and then you went up again; usually 3 flights in a row before you got a break to let another pupil up.

I never did go solo, mainly the cost and also it was just that little bit more terrifying that I was comfortable with. I was happy on the motorbike, I didn't need to have another expensive hobby and by the end of the Summer I found excuses not to go and let my membership lapse.

I don't regret the money I spent, I had a good time, but all good things sometimes have their day.

07 September 2008

Todays the

Start of our big adventure... we are off to France.. can you tell I am just a little excited? we are leaving soon and will be heading off to Dover and Speedferries for the afternoon crossing.. seasickness bands all packed in an easily get attable location.

Rather than have you bored seeing the same old post because we are all off on a bon vacance I have taken advantage of the pre-posting to put something up every couple of days except the period at the campsite as I want to write something very witty on my return.. oh and did I mention I now have a copy of Sam's last book Under Asian Skies which I have said I will write a review of while we are down on the campsite.

06 September 2008

What we haven't got

If we find en-route, that we have forgotten anything well it will be too late. There is such a thing as too much packing and checking. While we might have thought about it, it doesn't always translate into actual events.

Stressing about the trip is normal for me, but once we are on the road I am fine.

Keep well everyone, keep safe

05 September 2008

Keyword Analysis

I am fascinated by the fact that so many people stumble across this site by doing a search.. as an IT person I definitely get a kick that you can type various things into a search engine such as google and come across a variety of blogs from all walks of life. So I analysed my stats and found the following was the case.. never realised how popular the song lavenders blue, lavenders green was..

29.74% wiseherb
24.55% lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, lavender's green, when i am king, dilly, dilly, you will be queen.
5.20% humour
2.30% random nouns
2.30% book club questions, a suitable boy
3.45% zen guide to life
1.15% kappa top box
4.30% healing herb cream recipe
1.15% randy pausch
1.15% gemmak
4.30% she flies like a bird in the sky
3.45% collective noun panda
1.15% sagethe herb
1.15% cornish flag bag
1.15% kipling when you're wounded
1.15% asian book club choice
1.15% there are two theories about how to win an argument with a woman. neither one works.
1.15% random jottings of a book
1.15% collective noun for panda's
1.15% martha vs real women delia
4.30% nice divserity joke
1.15% sage family tree set up august 2008
1.15% random list of nouns
1.15% wilkinsons redruth new store

Was reassured that no-one who found my site searched for something sleazy.. always good to know.

Its a Bl***y Disgrace

See Here on Elaine's Blog or Here for Dickiebo's which gives more detail

I heard the news about the solder refused entry to the Metro Hotel in Woking when he produced his ID card as proof of identify. The so called Manager has made the receptionist the scapegoat by saying that the receptionist got it wrong, the hotel does not have such a policy regarding not allowing Military Personnel a room.

It beggars belief that a hotel can treat a person, never mind a serving solder (especially considering he was also injured at the time), with such appalling manners.

Like Elaine, and Dickiebo I will not be using that hotel or any other in the group and if you want to publicise it, Elaine has kindly made available her post for your blogs.

The Wise Herb Filmbiography

Janet from 32 aker wood tagged me, at my request, so blame me for this

Le Rules

If you had to select celebrities/actors to play the parts in the story of your life today (including yourself!), who would it be and why - this can be based on looks or personality.

1. List the people who would play you and the key people in your life.
2. Give credit to the person who tagged you.
3. Tag four new people to participate.

1. Mum, would have to be Victoria Wood - mumsy but funny with it, could be serious at times but liked to try things out..

Liked to sing, even though she couldn't hold a note - something I inherited from her... tone deaf and proud of it.

2. Dad, would be played by Heath Robinson, never knew anything he couldn't turn a hand to and fix up in an instant. Loved playing in the garage tinkering with tools and turning out contraptions to shut gates and the like. A quiet man, he was never loud even when annoyed.

3. SOH - It has to be my favourite actor (other than Viggo Mortenson) - Sean Bean. Straight talking but great sense of humour.

Remember when Geraldine Grainger dreamt about him at her wedding when he say 'Come Away Lass' in the Vicar of Dibley... but he could also be a knight in shining armour (like SOH), who couldn't have failed to see his prowess in Sharpe..

3. Me - that's a hard one, I would love to be played with Genevieve Bujould (she played Anne Boleyn in Anne of a thousand days).. but it is more likely that I would be played by 'old hag/young lady' as in this optical illusion.

I have always admired the tudor period of history and the chess game of life that the courtier had to play. The peasants sorry working class would simply get on with their job and the daily grind but the gentry had to try and navigate round the intracate quicksand at the court of the King.

Me - I don't think I would have lasted 1000 days, Henry would have had my head off much sooner :-)

5. Zeltus - well it has to be bofh - this is the brother that said to me back in 1980 that getting into computing was a good idea. So far I haven't managed to get out of the industry, but 6 years ago he emigrated to France to run Gites with his Missus. Mind you he still does computer/IT work for people so perhaps bofh isn't such a bad guess.

Like Janet, I am not going to tag anyone, but if you want to take up this 'offer' of your own film, then let me know and I will officially tag you; though I would be fascinated if Dickiebo took up the challenge of who to play in his life story.

04 September 2008

Bountiful Harvest

The Apple trees are groaning under the weight of the fruits; I have already had to pick some to try and thin the branches out or risk them breaking under the volume of apples.

It is funny, last year I had no apples on either tree due to high winds/late frosts and this year they are all overdoing themselves with a bounteous harvest. They are technically eating apples and similar to Braeburn apples with that delicious sweetness and juicy, but in our house they also get used for cooking as you can use less sugar.

So some will go into mince pies to make it lighter, and this year they are going to be gorgeous, I say this year but of course I make the mincemeat in December for the following year allowing them to soak up the brandy for a full 12 months. Its not as bad as it seems as they are quite small pies and two bites and they are gone but I have orders for them so the couple of days before christmas will be quite busy.

03 September 2008


Today will be the 6th Anniversary of Dad's passing; I kind of like the American expression, it is far softer than the more outright dead.

This is a picture of Dad just before he had a trial flight in the plane behind. Zeltus and I chipped in to buy it for his 70th birthday but he didn't take up the flight immediately saving it for a sunny hot day in September; little did we know that a year later on the same date he would go to sleep and not wake up.

Sam, joined him and the rest of the family last October and I can visualise Mum and Dad taking Sam and the rest of the dogs out for endless runs over the elysian fields chasing rabbits and having fun. God Bless.

A drink tonight of the Jamesons Reserve will be our toast to you.

02 September 2008

The French Trip

On Sunday 7th September the great adventure begins - we are off to France on the motorbikes to the Cote d'Azur . SOH and I are travelling down with a couple of friends and we don't have to be at the park until 10th September giving us 3 full days to travel through France.

The plans are to go over the channel on Sunday afternoon and then ride to Amiens - about 80 miles, for our first overnight stop and a chance to take stock and adjust things on the bike if necessary.

Monday (8th) morning we head towards Chalon Sur Saone about 310 miles. We aren't planning on pushing it too hard as we want to enjoy what we are doing but we think that we should be able to do this in about 6 hours.

Tuesday (9th), we head down towards Salon de Provence and our overnigh stop, this is a shorter day at only 266 miles and we will enjoy a relaxing evening with good food and good company.

Wednesday (10th) we only have a 100 miles to our destination at the campsite. With luck the sun should be shining and we won't be too saddle sore. Unpack and relax is the order of the day.

We then stay there until the 16th when we head home - but SOH and I both wish to visit the Millau bridge and may leave on the 15th to head over to see the structure and take some photos. Then we will head up to Limoges to visit with Zeltus, however it will be brief as we have to be back at Bolougne to catch the ferry at 10.00am on Friday 19th September. Hopefully we can persuade Zeltus that he should get his motorbike out and join us for a ride before he heads back to home and we head Northwards.

All being well we should be home on 20th September, just in time to have a day off before we both go back into the melee of the workplaces.

What does this mean to the blog, well this will be our first official blogging break but fear not, where there is internet access there will be a post however brief it might be. Don't expect many photo's until I get back though.. unless I can find a willing person to assist.

01 September 2008

Third weekend in a row

SOH and I have just returned from 'oop north (well to us anyway) to see friends, check on the caravan and attend a committee meeting...

We headed off early as the meeting was at 11.00am at Newark, we only meet three times a year and as the last meeting was at our house (with a bbq) it was nice to go somewhere different for a change. After coffee and a chat, we got down to business, it doesn't take too much effort to run the section, the treasurer does most of the hard graft with the money, the social secretary does the hard work of organising the runs and events and me, I just get to write up the minutes and deal with the memberships (new, old and soon to be).

We covered the business in less than two hours, with nary a bad word among the group just the odd question about budgets and other such stuff.

Afterwards we returned to Graham's house where he welded a swan neck extension to the trailer (pictures to follow) while we sat in the sunshine and chatted. Graham's wife showed us some of the things he has done, creating metal gates, brackets but most of all some stunning metal roses adorning mirrors, stands etc.. a truly talented gentleman.

Then over to another of our friends, while they sorted their bike out for the French trip [so close now :-) ] and generally nattered in the sunshine until the last of the work was completed and we headed back to our temporary home and a feast of chicken and chips...

Sunday was sorting out the caravan and packing the car.. not to mention fixing L's PC which had required a new USB device the one she had only had a short lead. I found a suitable package in a supermarket A*** which had connectors for all sorts of things; I wish I had brought myself one of those while I was at it - talk about jealous.

We sat down to Sunday lunch of roast lamb with tatties, carrots, peas, cabbage and yorkshire puddings so it was no wonder when we finally got home we only had toast for a light snack later that evening.

Next week, the french trip...