Downtown to meet up with Denis and Mae

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Nick and Celina left after breakfast; we had a quick clear-up and then headed up the A1 to Downtown. It was another gorgeous day here – just like yesterday – and it seemed to keep the roads pretty empty, so we were there in no time.

It’s Mae’s 65th today and we met there because it’s about half-way between them and us but primarily to hand over her birthday presents. We did a little browsing before hand and bang-on-time at 12.30 we saw them heading towards the restaurant area. We had a good natter over a lengthy, lazy lunch and after saying our good-byes headed to the large Garden Centre to primarily look at the petrol strimmers.

We had a good journey back and were indoors by 3.15. We plan to take it easy for the rest of the day! We put a wash on, emptied the dishwasher, snoozed for a bit and then caught up with the TV we’d missed over the weekend.

Phew! What a busy weekend!

Nick and Celina here…

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Nick and Celina are joining us today – they’re here all day today and are leaving after brekky tomorrow – we’re really looking forward to seeing them again.

honda_s2000 Just after 1pm they arrived in their shiny new Honda. What a gorgeous looking car! We caught up with all their news including Celina’s ‘little project’ involving a B and B in Haworth, West Yorkshire – must help them out with a web-site for it.

Then, after a quick bite to eat, we headed off to Houghton Mill near Huntingdon. It’s a houghton_mill001National Trust property, near the  river and features a working Mill – quite unusual these days. The place was already quite busy mainly because the weather was gorgeous – and maybe because some people didn’t want to be at home watching the Cup Final!

houghton_mill002 We took a look around the Mill, starting upstairs and working down – amazing stuff. We then spent a couple of hours looking round the surrounding area and finished with an ice-cream each from the shop.

dvd_transporter3 We left around 4pm heading home to Pimm’s and nibbles. We sat out for about an hour before settling down to watch Transporter 3 on Blu-Ray DVD. Not a bad film – stunts, excellent…storyline, poor…Jason’s eight-pack, unbelievable!

Around 9pm we sat down for our evening meal. Ann had prepared a spicy prawn dish for starters followed by Lamb cooked with rosemary with loads of vegetables – including fennel (which by a majority vote, got the thumbs down). Dessert consisted of a raspberry soufflé kind of dish – very scrummy. It was all finished off with cheese and biscuits…and Port (fatal for us two…we’re going to have thick heads in the morning!!)

We sat out until 10.45 – it was a perfect evening – putting the world right and drinking far too much – the blue recycling box will be heavier this week! It then got a little cool so we came indoors and continued our conversations whilst attempting to rescue the kitchen from its somewhat disorganised state!

We eventually got to bed around midnight…

TV: Doctor Who’s companion announced

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Digital Spy has announced who the new companion will be for Matt Smith’s first series as Doctor Who. It’s Karen Gillan – a 21 year-old actress from Scotland.

Nope, I’ve never heard of her either!

Meal with David and Val

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biscard_theoldbakehouse We went to The Old Bakehouse in Rothwell tonight. The service is always good and they’ve just updated the menu too!

It was already busy when we arrived but the service was, as we expected, so we didn’t have to wait long for the menus. It was a warm evening but they’d thoughtfully opened the fire exit door to allow a breeze through -too much as it happened, and they ended up closing it not long after.

I hadn’t eaten much during the day, so I was starving. We all had starters and I chose the meatballs (same as David) and followed it up with ‘chef’s special sausage’ which made our Server smile when she described it!!!

After a short time, the main course arrived: Ann had the Cod, Val chose the chicken on a skewer, David had Chicken without the skewer and I wrestled with the Chef’s sausages contained in a humungous pot full of tomatoes, potatoes and a slightly spicy sauce. It was so hot, it took me ages to get through it – in fact, I was the last to finish – very unusual!

We skipped dessert and coffee and headed back home to try out the fruit tart that Ann had picked up from Waitrose. Delicious!!! It was such a nice evening we sat out from around 9.30 until around 10.15 – It was all a bit courageous of us and we ended up with cardigans and shawls on!! Ahh, the British Summer has arrived!!

The new outside solar garden lights looked good (except for one that definitely isn’t working properly).

Summer-Chocolates-IMG260087m Val brought round some Hotel Chocolat chocolates called ‘cocktail sleeksters’ – a sort of cocktail-in-a-chocolate. You keep them in the fridge until it’s time to get drunk enjoy them.

We’re getting together at ours next – with a takeaway and a film, – Blu-Ray DVD of course!

Blu-Ray DVDs: Australia & Quantum of Solace

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dvd_australia Having picked-up the new HDMI cable from Richer Sounds after yesterday’s error, I got it all connected up to our new Blu-Ray player and existing TV without any problems at all. At 89.95, the cable felt expensive, but apparently, it’s one of the best you can get. The blurb for the cable boasts:

  • 99.999% Oxygen Free Copper Conductors
  • Individually screened pairs to ensure interference free signal transfer
  • Fully shielded connectors for enhanced electrical screening
  • 24K gold plated connectors
  • HDMI Standard 1.3
  • Certified full 1080p compatible

Apparently, all of these features make it a good purchase! I hope so

So, with everything now connected and working, we settled down to watch the Blu-Ray version of ‘Australia‘ starring Hugh (I’ve got a six-pack) Jackman and Nicole Kidman. I watched it from a picture quality point-of-view and Ann watched it for Hugh Jackman! 🙂

Wow, what a picture – absolutely fantastic …such clarity and richness of colours (and, also, the sound quality was ultra-clear through our hi-fi – I wasn’t expecting the sound to be so noticeable).

DVD-BluRay_QOS Then, in the evening we watched the Bond film: ‘Quantum of Solace’. We’d seen it at the cinema when it was first released and didn’t think much of it (I’d given it three stars; much of my criticism was around the blurry action shots and the difficulty in trying to ‘keep up’ with the visuals). So, we thought we’d give it another chance. We really enjoyed it – and that surprised us, as we don’t normally change our minds about films. I wonder if the crispness of the Blu-Ray picture cut down the ‘blurriness’? Still hated the theme song though!

Our new Blu-Ray DVD Player/Great Shopping Trip

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Sony-DVP-S735D-DVD-Player-0It’s time to pension-off our trusty Sony DVP-S735D DVD player which is now more than 15 years old. Technically, there is nothing wrong with it – it still attracts good reviews on-line, but technology marches on!! BD80web550After lots and lots (and lots) of research, step forward the snappily titled Panasonic DMPBD80, the most technologically advanced Blu-Ray DVD player currently available.

Probably the two most innovative features are the ethernet connection, allowing access to the Internet, (for sites like YouTube) and a USB port allowing digital images from cameras and PCs to be displayed through the player to an HD TV.

We bought ours from those very nice people at Richer Sounds. They were easily the cheapest and there was also an option to purchase a five-year warranty for just 10% of the purchase price. Total price: 340.90. Superb customer service from ‘Ellis’!

In addition, I needed an HDMI lead. How much? 20? … 30? …40 pounds? Not even close! How about 79.95? – I think it’s made of gold!!! Then when I came to connect it all up I discovered that it wasn’t long enough. Kerr-ching!!!, that’ll be 89.95 for a two-metre version. I’ll have to drive over to Leicester tomorrow, to pick it up.

Because the DVD Player is very new and a bit hard to get hold-of, we couldn’t order it on-line but had to visit one of Richer Sound’s shops. We chose Leicester, having reserved it a few days beforehand.

Whilst we were in Leicester, we popped into the newish John Lewis there. What a fantastic store …spacious …not very busy …and a great product range. Perfect! We had a productive time. I picked up a black leather jacket; we bought some more garden lights; a small carpet for the lobby; and we arranged for a visit by their kitchen planner to help us re-think the kitchen.

TV: Doctor Who in September?

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Good news for Who fans! Digital Spy reports that David Tennant will reprise his role as The Doctor in episodes five and six of season three’s ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’.

Excellent news!