Long Weekend in Long’s Park Castle – Friday

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Here we are in Long’s Park Castle south of Melksham – we’re here until Monday. We were last to arrive (around 8pm), but we had a great journey from home. Leaving around 5.30, we covered 165 miles in under two-and-a-half hours averaging just under 40mpg. Because we were so late leaving, we reckon we missed most of the congestion.

We missed the entrance first time round (but apparently, so did everyone else!) Luckily, Rosi came and stood in the entrance, so it was a lot easier on the second pass.

It’s a unique property with tons of character – a convincing plastic suit of armour, a baronial dining hall,a  large lounge and a cosy feel to it all. Good food and friends meets quirky design and decor! …and what a food spread! The girls had been busy: two types of lasagne, trifle and a couple of variations on an Apple Strudel – all helped down with plenty of wine!

After the meal, it was ‘all-hands’ to the kitchen, and with 13 of us, it made light work of the chores!

After the big clear-up we all crashed out in the lounge with BBC’s Children in Need on the widescreen TV in the background. Out came the chocolates which finished off the meal perfectly.

Predictably, we were first to flag, and stumbled off to bed around 9.30. We’re in the cottage away from the main building, and although it sleeps four, it looks like the other couple aren’t coming – so we have the whole place to ourselves.

Nighty-night – We’re probably going to go into Bath tomorrow.

Photo shoot II – Insignia

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It was an early morning – even by my standards (3.45am!) – and the plan was to take some more shots of the car and make the most of the summer, specifically to catch the Sun rising. God  and the BBC weather-team, however, had other ideas – and it was a misty start, and no sign of the Sun!

So John and I drove around looking for inspiration, and found a couple of spots, but we both felt a bit disappointed with the way the weather screwed the event.

We’ve decided that for the future, rather than plan ahead, we’ll take the decision on-the-day.


A few more photos on Facebook

TLC for Ziggy

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I took the Insignia over to the Vauxhall Body Centre in Corby this morning to get some TLC for the damaged bumper. It should be done by Friday afternoon!

Whoever you are – thanks for driving off and not leaving a note when you pranged mine. Come the revolution, you’re one of the first in the queue!!

I Believe in Angels!

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After many years faithful service (I think I bought it in 2005), it’s now time to upgrade my Road Angel (the device that helped me to keep my Licence free from additives!!!) – shown above – to the latest incarnation of the device.

My original Road Angel was upgraded to the ‘plus’ version a few years later, and at the time, it was one of the best devices on the market. Fast forward to 2011 and we now have the sleek-and-shiny ‘Road Angel Connected’. The significant part of the name is the last word – connected. This means that I don’t have to remove it from the car and connect it to the PC to update the databases on it – it does it, automagically via an in-built sim-card. Add to that, it’s got a colour screen and a tracking function (so it’s possible to pinpoint me on a map – or the car, if it gets stolen), it’s a real overdose of super-tech. Lovely!

I’d considered other makes and brands, but in the end, I settled for this beauty! Best of all, I was able to haggle the price down direct from the manufacturers from an eye-watering £294 (eeek!!) to a much more reasonable £169.


Photo Shoot

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I was up with the lark this morning (what a surprise!). I picked up John W and we headed to Burton Latimer for a photo shoot featuring my new car. We wanted to make best use of the natural early-morning light. More piccys to follow, but here’s one that makes it look really eco friendly (although a bit unstable!!!)


Later, I drove down to St Neots to meet up with Ian H. He’s up this way on business and I wanted to see his new speed camera detector gadget that he’s just installed. We ate at The Highwayman, the pub/restaurant next door, feasting on chicken-burgers under their ‘two-for-a-tenner deal and put the world to rights along the way!

I got home around 4ish.

Another trip to ‘Ireland’

Reading time: < 1 minute... What a spooky coincidence! I’d already to planned to catch-up with Denise for lunch in London, but due to a change in both our schedules, we realised we didn’t need to travel that far! Instead, we went to the village of Ireland, in Shefford, and The Black Horse, a lovely Pub/Restaurant – the coincidence being that we’d done the same almost three years ago to the day! The other coincidence was that back in 2008, I just got my new car – the Mondeo – and wanted to show it off. This time it was the Insignia’s turn! Good to see you Denise!

Bank Holiday Weekend with Ian and Sharon

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Shoreham Airport

Image by Steve Palmer (UK) via Flickr

The day began early – earlier than planned – Neil rang to say that the M11 was closed in both directions, so we left around 7.30. Lee is cat-sitting for us and looking after the numerous ironing duties – thanks Lee!

The plan was to drop into Mum’s, meet Neil there (to give him our redundant pressure washer) and then head off towards Shoreham Airport to meet Ian and Sharon there for lunch.

The problem with the M11 was that there had been an horrendous crash where a lorry had ploughed into a coach that was parked on the hard shoulder. They had closed the motorway in both directions – and it was to remain that way for most of the day. We therefore used the A1, and although it was a longer route, we arrived at Mum’s in good time.

Neil had already arrived and Mum was waiting in the conservatory. It was then that we learned that Debbie’s Dad had passed-away last night after a long illness.

We headed up to Mum’s flat, caught up with bits and pieces over a cuppa and then headed off south.

We arrived at the Airport just before 12 – the car averaged 40mpg –  and after a quick de-bugging of the windscreen, we headed inside to get a table.  It was a lovely warm day and the forecast is for the same tomorrow. It’s a very popular place for lunch – not surprising really, good quality food at very low prices!.  Ian and Sharon arrived not long after. Initially, we sat inside as it can be a bit windy out near the runway, but we eventually braved it and it wasn’t too bad. We had originally planned to go to Shoreham village for a look round, but instead we headed for Worthing town. After a bit of confusion with finding the flat car-park that we always use (I thought I’d transferred the location from the Mondeo to the Insignia’s sat nav, but we ended up in completely the wrong place), we eventually arrived in the right place.

We had a quick look round the shops and then headed for Beale’s department store for a pit-stop. It was all a bit lack-lustre there, and we didn’t stay long.

Premier Inn - Littlehampton

We headed off to our hotel – the Premier Inn at Littlehampton, grabbed a bit of shut-eye before getting ready for the main event this evening – a visit to the ‘Istanbul’ a Turkish restaurant near to the sea-front in Worthing.

The Istanbul Turkish Restaurant in Worthing

We picked-up Ian and Sharon at theirs just before 6.45 and took the short drive to the sea-front. The restaurant area was already busy and it took us a couple of circuits to eventually find a parking-space (I’m still avoiding multi-storey car-parks in case I dink the alloys!). We were given a warm welcome on arrival and were soon perusing the menu. After some indecision, we settled for a mix of hot and cold starters which we shared and then did our own thing for the mains. Ann had Moussaka, Sharon – salmon, Ian – the mixed grill and I tried the Turkish Meatballs. All-in-all, it was a fantastic meal, and predictably, we were all completely stuffed by the end – but some of us did manage a dessert! A nice touch at the end was that the waitress had over heard us talking about Sharon’s birthday, and delivered us a dessert with a few candles in the top. The accompanying sparklers set off the smoke detector and they were quickly taken outside!!

We waddled back to the car, dropped Ian and Sharon off along the way at theirs and headed back to the hotel.

On arrival, we noticed that the hotel was covered in kids – and we do mean ‘covered’ – dozens of the little angels. That now explains why the hotel had called us last week.  They’d noticed that we were child-free and wanted to alert us to the prospect of some potential noise at the hotel. Top marks, Premier Inn!!

Actually a herd of elephants could have been staying here, and we wouldn’t have heard a thing! I think we got off to sleep as soon as our head touched the pillows!!

Arundel tomorrow…