Short break: Portsmouth (Day 3)

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I didn’t get up until 8am!!

Looking out the window, the weather looks good at the moment although the forecast is cloudy. We plan to primarily use today to take photographs and try out our new camcorder.

9.00am. We got down to breakfast and found it a lot quieter than yesterday. The service was still sluggish, although the food was excellent.

IMGA0004 10.00am. We took a short drive to the War Memorial. It looks like the original memorial was for WW1 and a a large extension had been added to accommodate WW2. The weather seemed to be IMGA0010 getting better!

Whilst we were looking round, we saw what might be Ann’s next car! (only joking).

IMGA0033 10.30am. We then drove to the Historic Dockyard. We haven’t been there for (we think) 15 years! It’s been developed quite a bit and it was great looking around the improving good weather helped. HMS Victory looked stunning and so did the various modern warships.

IMGA0015 11.00am. We then took a boat trip round the harbour. The Guide was really informative and pointed out lots of Frigates, Destroyers and a couple of aircraft carriers. We even saw some brand new IMGA0012 warships awaiting commission. Ironically, some of the other warships were there awaiting a decision about their future. Part of the trip included stopping off at the now familiar Gunwharf Quays.

12.00. We had a final look round and then decided to take the Ferry to Gosport.

1.00pm. The ferry was busy – obviously a popular way to get to Gosport. The journey only took about 5 minutes and only cost £2.30 return.

IMGA0035 The weather was now really hot. We took a short walk along the marina and stopped off at a small Bar/Bistro: Coburns on the Water and tucked into a burger with a cider each. We sat in the sun for about an hour before catching the ferry back.

2.45pm. We drove back to Gunwharf Quays and popped into the M and S Outlet and bought a few bits and pieces.

film_coco_avant_chanel 3.10pm. We went to see the film: Coco avant Chanel at the Vue cinema starring Audrey Tatou. The film was typically French and told the story of Coco Chanel’s rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world. It’s not the sort of film that normally I go for, but it was well-filmed and quite a moving story.

5.30pm After the film, we headed back to the M and S Outlet to look round the men’s department again. This time, I managed to get a new suit at around half-price – excellent!

spinnaker_tower_2 6.15pm. We headed off to Café Rouge, just opposite The Spinnaker Tower. It was pretty quiet and after moving tables because the table-top was falling off! we were served pretty quickly. Ann chose the Beef Bourguignon and I had the Breton Chicken. The food tasted good, but Ann had to send hers back to heat it up! We finished the meal sharing Belgian Waffles with bananas smothered in chocolate.

7.30 We headed back to the hotel only to find that parking was a nightmare – absolutely no spaces anywhere. We eventually parked it in a parking area at the top of the road, but I’ll need to fill the meter tomorrow before 8am – bang goes a lie-in!!

7.45 We’re knackered!

Short break: Portsmouth (Day 2)

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6.30am. I was up with the sound of birds and the faint sound of a hovercraft! A bright blue sky outside suggests today might be a fine day weather-wise.

8.30am. Breakfast calls, so it’s a short walk across the road (!) and in through the back-door to the breakfast-room. It wasn’t a very big room, and it was very busy when we first got there – but we were soon seated. Michael took our order – scrambled egg and salmon on granary bread for Ann; scrambled egg, sausage and beans for me.

9.30am. After breakfast, we took the short 5 minute walk into Southsea.

Once in the town, we headed for a unique John Lewis still called ‘Knight and Lee’. Unique because it was very small and it had possibly the loudest escalators we’d ever seen heard. The staff seemed to have tune-out the noise, but we found it quite irritating. Back to the mission: I bought Ann some casual shoes and a belt. We then headed for Debenhams (sorely in need of some money being spent on it) where I stocked up on socks and added to my t-shirt collection. We then walked back to the hotel.

11.10am. We headed back into Southsea, to the Post Office to drop off a package. Whilst waiting for Ann, a Hummer turned up to pick up a load of girls on some sort of celebration. The Hummer was the centre of attention, with locals taking photographs and other motorists taking note of it blocking-up the high street! 

11.30am. We set off for Devizes to meet up with Johnny H and his wife Mel. On the way there, we stopped off in Wickham, a rather quaint town. We popped into Lilly’s a small tea-shoppe. It was already busy but we spotted a table for two in the corner. Ann chose a baked jacket potato with ham and cheese whilst I went for the cranberry, brie and bacon sandwich – both delicious…and the service was excellent.

12,30pm. After picking-up some flowers for Mel in the shop next door, we resumed our journey, narrowly avoiding a short down-pour of rain.

2.15pm. We had a fairly good journey to J and M’s, but because I’d set the sat-nav for shortest rather than quickest, we were directed away from the motorway which added to the journey time – it took about two-hours.

It was good to see them both again especially Mel, who’s recovering from a very serious operation. The time flew and we were there until 6.30.

Ann drove back, and this time we stuck to the motorway, reducing the overall journey time by about thirty minutes.

The Spinnaker Tower8.00pm. We stopped off at Gunwharf Quays and decided to try out Chiquitos a Mexican Bar and Grill chain. We were quite hungry by now. The service was sluggish and the food OK rather than anything better – it could have been hotter too! We weren’t offered a dessert and it took an age to get the bill….but it filled a hole!!!

8.45pm We took a short walk along the top floor of the Quays towards the harbour. The view was spectacular, especially with the sun setting against The Spinnaker Tower (the phone on my mobile doesn’t really do it justice).

9.45. We arrived back at the hotel. It’s been a busy but enjoyable and rewarding day. Just time for a night-cap, a bit of TV and then … zzzzzzzz…

Short break: Portsmouth (Day 1)

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We’re off to Portsmouth for a few days. We left around 8.30 and popped into Central Garage on the way out to have a look at their used and new car stock as part of getting a car for Ann.

After much discussion with Paul, we narrowed the selection down to possibly a new Fiesta…but we do have some more research to do.

We left the garage around 10.15 and two-and-a-half hours later we were parking in the Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth car-park – a great journey!

We had a good shopping session as there are loads of shops – Ann got a couple of coats and I picked up a few bits and pieces. We’ll probably come back later this week and explore upstairs and also drop into the VUE cinema.

3-1At around 4.30, we took the short drive to the hotel – The Florence House Hotel in Southsea, as recommended by Trip Advisor. We stayed in room 3, a very tasteful and modern design in black and white (how practical, a black carpet!) – very spacious too…and free wireless internet…perfect!

7.10. We asked at the hotel where the places to eat were. There were quite a few but for convenience, we chose The Florence Arms literally two minutes walk from where we’re staying. It apparently had a wide range of ciders and the food was top-notch pub-grub!

The Florence Arms When we arrived, it was quite busy and after ordering some local cider (yuk!), we were offered the menu, which was quite extensive. We ordered the fish and chips and after a short wait, we were invited into the restaurant.

The fish and chips was excellent and best of all, they had a proper cider available – Aspall’s. The service was great too considering there was only one waitress on duty – well done for keeping us all fed and watered. The only shock was when they informed us they didn’t take plastic. Luckily, we scraped together the £20…just!

8.45. We planned to take a walk, but it was p****** down, so we headed back to the room.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is good – better than today, and we plan to travel over to Devizes and catch up with Johnnie and Mel.

Let’s (not) Dance AGAIN! (Week 5 of 7)

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We knew we had a bit of catching-up to do as we’d missed last week’s lesson. So, imagine our surprise when we got there tonight, only to find that no-one else was there!

It’s been a day full of surprises!

Big Mac and a Big Disappointment

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j0427640 I went for my six-monthly check-up at the local dental practice today. The dentist I saw was new and boy, was he rough – ouch! Last time my mouth was that stretched was back in the 1970s when I used to eat a whole Big-Mac in one mouthful! He looked as serious as hell throughout the encounter, and had no ‘small-talk’ whatsoever. I think I’ll contact the Practice and switch to someone gentler, humorous and more of a conversationist…but mostly someone gentler!!

j0289613 The ‘measuring-man’ from the local ‘Rock Revelations’ kitchen company was due to arrive at 1pm to measure the kitchen. His office rang to ask what time the appointment was – doh! When I confirmed 1 o’clock, they said they couldn’t make it, so we arranged for later in the day, 3.30. Later I discovered I’d missed a message on my phone asking for directions – doh!, we’d emailed directions to them last week. I gave them again over the phone. At 3.30, no-one had arrived. When I rang, he was apparently ‘two-minutes’ away. Fifteen minutes later, still no sign of anyone.

I cancelled!

The patter of tiny…

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Well, it’s a start. We bought new number plates for Ann’s yet-to-be-sourced new car.


Jo and Janet’s for a takeaway

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We popped down to J and J’s for tea tonight – a Chinese takeaway – Scrummy!

It was a great opportunity for Ann to let the girls know about her new job!