Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Thanks

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A week in review – house hunting, camping and the odd beer

Wednesday

We slept quite late considering we were sleeping in a tent, it was about 8am. Mrs.R wandered off to the kitchen room on the campsite to make us a cup of strong black coffee with honey.
Once the coffee had kicked in we had fun packing our camping gear away. We managed to get the sleeping bags back in to their covers, we even managed to get the tent folded neatly enough to slide back inside its cover, but the air bed refused to return to its box. 😮 So we scrunched it as much as we could, making it as small as possible and chucked it in to the boot of the car. Then we packed everything on top of it, helping to keep it flat(ish).
Then we hit the road, heading towards Hartlepool to hopefully begin our search for a house.
Once in Hartlepool we popped in to a couple of estate agents, and made some appointments.
Unfortunately our appointments were not until 5pm onwards, which meant we had more or less the whole day to waste.
We popped in to a cafe on the high street for breakfast. Mrs.R had beans on toast, I had a full English. Two cappuccinos and we were good to go. Go where? Anywhere to waste the remaining hours until we met the estate agent.

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I decided to drive along the coast, where we parked up, and we went for a walk. The wind was quite chilly, but this was interspersed with warm sunshine. Hartlepool is not the prettiest coastline we’ve ever seen, there’s quite a lot of industrial stuff going on. Plus there were lots of heavy machinery, and workmen, all busy building up the sea defences. We enjoyed our stroll though, and it did waste some time.

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Then I drove to Hartlepool marina, which was very different to the seafront, and a pleasant surprise. There’s been lots of development, with several large residential blocks, and various cafes, pubs, and restaurants, as well as the boats in the marina. We stopped for a drink, and soaked up some sun, which was pretty hot by this time.

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Finally, after a long day hanging around time wasting, we drove to the first property we were viewing, to meet the estate agent.
Property number one was a decent enough property, with a very good burglar alarm. The alarm was so good it refused to stop ringing. The estate agent tried everything to turn off the alarm, he couldn’t.
We explored the house, as the estate agent nervously looked out of the lounge window, saying he hoped the neighbours didn’t go mad. 😮 The estate agent made several phone calls hoping someone could help him reset the burglar alarm, but no luck. He said he’d take us to the next property, and sort out the burglar alarm later. As we left the house, locking the door, the alarm stopped. :)
We liked this first house, but were less impressed with the actual street.
The second house was not as nice as the previous property, but the street was much nicer. The property smelt very damp, and was mouldy, there was fungal growth all over the walls and ceilings.
The estate agent said the previous occupants had probably been growing marijuana in the house, which explained everything.
As neither of the two houses we’d viewed felt right for us, we said goodbye to Hartlepool, but with plans to return on Friday to view another property.

After a very long day we drove to our accommodation.
We had wanted to drive to Seaham, where we were planning to house-hunt the following day,
but we stopped before we got to Seaham, not because it was particularly far, but because we couldn’t find any campsites, so we had to book a hotel. The best deal we could find was in a place called Pity Me. Hahaha! Hope that’s not a sign. 😉 😮
Our accommodation was nice, it would have been even nicer if it was cheaper.
We had a drink in the bar, before dinner in the restaurant, followed by a film, then sleep.

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Thursday

We had breakfast at our hotel, then drove to Seaham hoping to view some properties.
We found parking close to the estate agents, popped in and arranged to view 3 houses at lunchtime.
As we had time to spare before the house viewing we went for a wander round Seaham.
First we walked along the high street. We did a bit of window shopping. We saw a Wetherspoon pub, which is good, as we like Wetherspoons because they do decent enough food, and value good beers. :)
Then we walked to the harbour, looked at the boats, and stopped for a cappuccino in The Lookout cafe. We sat outside on the deck overlooking the sea, which was very pleasant.

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Coffee drank, we then walked back to the car, drove along the seafront, parked up again, and had another wander along the coast.
The lady who’d served us breakfast earlier that morning at our hotel had mentioned Lickety Split Creamery & Juice Bar, but when we walked past neither of us were in the mood for ice-cream. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll visit there again in the future.
Time seemed to be going very slowly, we still had a couple of hours before our first house viewing appointment, so once again we got back in the car and drove further along the coast.
This time we parked opposite St Mary the Virgin church. We crossed the road and walked around the church and its wild graveyard.
St Mary the Virgin church has a late 7th century Anglo Saxon nave, and is regarded as one of the 20 oldest surviving churches in the UK.
We took some photos of the wild flowers and graves in the graveyard, as well as the church building itself.

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Then it was finally time to meet the estate agent at property number one.
We were quite interested in the first house we were shown. Then it was on to the next house. This property required too much work to make it habitable for us, so we went on to house number three. House number three was fine, but we preferred the first house, so we followed the estate agent back to house number one.
We looked round it once again, and decided that we definitely did like what we saw. Food for thought. We said goodbye to the estate agent, and drove back towards our hotel.
We were hungry, so we stopped in Durham for lunch. Curry! Because it’s ‘curry club’ at Wetherspoons on Thursdays. 😉 I had a dragon curry, chicken, and very hot, Mrs.R opted for lamb rogan josh. Both curries were served with pilau rice, naan bread, popadoms, and mango chutney. A couple of pints of Strongbow completed our late lunch. We had Strongbow because it was one of the choices of drinks included in the price of our food. Otherwise we’d have had one of the ciders from their cider festival.
Lunch eaten, we had a brief walk about, before returning to the car and driving back to our hotel in Pity Me.

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Friday

First thing in the morning, after a very unimpressive breakfast at our lodgings, we headed to Hartlepool to view a house. It was a nice little house in a nice street but the big downside for us was the fact that the master bedroom was very small and it would have been hard to squeeze in a king sized bed. This house was so close to what we want, but alas not close enough.
We then set off in the car South towards Lancashire and found a campsite to call home for a couple of nights.

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The Quechua tent was up and pegged in a couple of minutes. Then it was just a matter of inflating the air beds, and chucking the sleeping bags into the tent.
House building done we then drove to Nelson to look at houses. Unfortunately there was nothing decent on offer in our price range.
It was then a quick trip to a local Lidl supermarket for some food supplies, and then back to the campsite.
I fired up the camping stove and rustled us up a meal. I sautéed lots of onions and garlic, that Mrs.R had helpfully chopped up, then I added passata, followed by fresh mushrooms. I let the sauce simmer for a good while, and then I cooked some egg tagliatelle. It all tasted pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
Meal eaten we sat in the car, to hide from the bad weather, and watched films on the iPad.

Saturday

We headed to Burnley for some more house-hunting. We managed to find parking, which was not an easy task because all of the short stay car parks had been taken over by the police.
It seemed we had picked a bad day to visit Burnley because there was a march on, and not just any march but one by the far right. Given the number of police we saw, it looked to be a big protest with a lot of potential for trouble.

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We stopped for a coffee and then popped in to a couple of estate agents.
We then drove around a few streets in the budget area of town. There were lots of boarded-up and derelict houses. In fact, street after street, after street of them.
Burnley was not the town for us.
Feeling a little deflated we retreated to The Anchor Inn in Salterforth for lunch and a few beers.

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Sunday

We departed Lancashire and drove to the hotel I’d booked, The George in Piercebridge. On the way we stopped for breakfast, and to visit Richmond and Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire.
There was little else to do with regards to house-hunting because it was a Sunday. A day of rest. :)

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Monday

We departed the hotel in Piercebridge and headed to Seaham, but first we needed to stop at a Halfords in Darlington.
The previous day the oil warning light in the car had flashed on a few times, so I thought it a good idea to top the engine oil up.
Many years ago Laura’s Jaguar XJ ran completely out of oil, and there was a very nasty clonking before it juddered to a halt.
Not wanting to repeat this experience, I erred on the side of caution. It cost £35 for a bottle of oil, the car took a 1/4, which saw us safely on our way to Seaham.
Once we reached Seaham we headed to the house we had viewed the week before. I went for a walk locally to see the area, and Laura stayed outside the property. By the time I returned to the house Laura had got chatting with a local lady. She then knocked on the door of the house next door to the one we were interested in to ask the occupant what the street is like to live in. The lady who owned the neighbouring house invited us both in, and gave us loads of information about the street, the neighbours, and the area.
Feeling good about the street, and the area, we drove to Reeds and Rains estate agents and put in an offer on the property.
Then it was off to the pub for lunch and a beer. I spent more time finding us a place to stay for the night online then I did over lunch. It seems this area of England is very lacking in hotels, and campsites for that matter. There are some, but all are midrange for price but low-range for comfort etc. In the end I settled on a guesthouse in Sunderland.
We motored to Sunderland, found the guesthouse, parked up and headed into the town centre. I needed to get a mini bank statement for the estate agents to show I had the funds available to purchase the property in Seaham.
Happy days! The money was in my Natwest current account.
Then it was off to the pub for a couple of beers, before heading back to the guesthouse.

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Tuesday

I had seen a property listed on the RightMove website in Easington Colliery , so I decided to drive down to have a look at it, and the surrounding area. On first impressions I was a little dubious about the street, but after viewing the rear of the property and seeing the extensive regeneration work that had taken place, I was a lot happier. I was even more happy after walking round the area for a while.

We then drove a little way up the road and parked at the coastal walk car park. We went for a little stroll along the coast path at Easington Colliery.
After a very enjoyable walk, and lots of fresh sea air, we went to a local estate agent to book an appointment to view the house in Easington Colliery.
The appointment was for after 4pm. We were hoping for something earlier, but no luck. So, we had lost of time to waste.
First we drove to Crimdon Dene, where we walked in the nature reserve, and then on to the beach. The sky was much less cloudy that it has been recently, the sun even shone on and off. There were quite a few people walking with their dogs, and also a couple of people horse riding on the beach.
Crimdon Dene is absolutely lovely, we thoroughly enjoyed our long refreshing walk, listening to the birds and admiring the scenery.

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We then drove to Peterlee where we had lunch in a Wetherspoon, The Five Quarter.
After lunch we still had some time to waste before the house viewing, so we popped in to Asda to buy some red wine, goats cheese, and mascara.
Not your typical dinner ingredients, but we like to mix things up a little. 😉
Then it was finally time to meet the estate agent at the property in Easington Colliery. He was there when we arrived, so we went straight in to the house. Five minutes later I said I’d buy it. The agent said he’d let the vendor know, and we said goodbye.
So, I’d now put in an offer to purchase a second house in the same week.
By this time we were both knackered because we’d been awake since 5am. I drove us back to our accommodation in Sunderland where we spent the remains of the day relaxing, eating, drinking red wine, watching Foyles War, and catching up with writing blog posts.

Microsoft Online Award Email: roddmulqueen@she.com Phone Num +447024071733 Fax +448704794476

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A week in review – Road tax, Apple Genius Bar and Camping

Wednesday

We headed up Whiteladies Road in search of a Post Office, eventually finding one hidden away inside a Tesco. £140 later we had a Road Tax disc for our new car. Driving on the roads in Britain is not a pleasurable experience, the potholes, lack of proper road signs, signs hidden behind trees, raised drain covers, uneven surfaces etc. make sure of that. Having to pay £140 for the displeasure really is shocking.

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Thursday

We went to the Apple Store.
We met a hipster. :(
I had a problem with my iphone5 because despite purchasing it as an unlocked phone, it was locked-on to the Orange network. I’d bought a new nano sim on the 3 network to replace the Orange SIM card because it offered better a better deal, but it wouldn’t work in my iPhone.
I’d tried all the obvious things to fix my phone; a restart, resetting to factory settings etc. but nothing resolved the problem.

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So we had to go to the Apple Store to get them to sort out my iPhone.
We arrived at the Apple Store just after they’d opened. As we walked in we saw several members of staff standing chatting amongst themselves. One of them, the hipster, stopped talking and greeted us. He asked us how he could help. I told him about my iphone 5 being locked on to the Orange network. He said I had to speak to someone in their customer care department; Apple Genius Bar. But instead of him just phoning upstairs to the on site Genius Bar, or sending us straight up there, he said I had to download an app, and the use the app to book and appointment for the Genius Bar. Whilst I was downloading the app, and going through the booking process, he continued to stand holding his iPad in its red cover, and rambling on about various services and stuff that I had no interest in. He also said that I’d have to come back when an appointment was available, which may be in a couple of days, or a couple of hours. I told him that we didn’t live in Bristol so this was inconvenient. He said that I’d have to go to another Apple Store and make an appointment at their Genius Bar, unless I could get an appointment at the shop I was standing in.

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There were no other customers on the ground floor of the Apple Store, but there were about half a dozen staff, milling about doing nothing. Why they couldn’t help me, I don’t know.
Anyway, the hipster, was still blathering away, patronising us – as in ‘are you sure your iphone is unlocked, you old people you don’t understand technology, have you had your iPhone for long’ etc. I told him that we’d been users of Apple products for many years, and had iPhones for several years too, and that yes of course I was sure my iPhone 5 was unlocked. Honestly!
Eventually he finished his scripted nonsense about various services available at Apple. He glanced at his iPad, with its red cover, and said, “there’s an appointment available for you now, go upstairs and speak to any member of staff holding an iPad with a red cover.
A red covered iPad! Er, like the one he was holding, and the ones all of the staff on the ground floor were holding. Yep, like that.

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It must be tiring being a hipster, I say this because the clearly exhausted guy never once stood up properly during the whole time he was trying to sell us this, that, and the other Apple products and/or services. He was so tired he’d remained slumped against the counter.
Anyway, having been in Apple for what felt like weeks, we walked upstairs where we saw, surprise surprise, several members of staff holding iPads with red covers.
In the far corner of the too floor was the sign ‘Genius Bar’. We walked over to be greeted by a young lady, holding a red covered iPad. We told us to wait. Wait for what I’m not sure, as she wasn’t doing anything. About a minute later she said she was ready to help.
So, having been through everything downstairs with the hipster, the hipster with a serious attitude problem, I had to go through everything again.
Eventually the young lady began the process trying to fix my iPhone 5. She started by asking me if my iPhone was definitely unlocked. Yes, it’s unlocked! She checked the serial number. Then she told me that, yes, your iPhone is unlocked. Der!

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Having established what I already knew, that my iPhone was unlocked, she then began tapping away on my iPhone, and her iPad. During this time she also called a colleague over, to ask his opinion. He asked us what the problem was, despite the girl already having told him. We told him; iPhone 5, unlocked, but locked on to one network. His response? “Wow!” I guess geniuses don’t want to waste their precious brains in conversation. Having said ‘wow’ he then wandered off.
The young lady continued clicking various things in the settings on both my iPhone 5 and her iPad.
Eventually, after what felt like another week, we were told the phone would now work with my 3 network nano SIM card.

Iphone 5 and iPad 3

We said that as we’d also purchased another iPhone 5 at the same time as the iPhone she’d just fixed, would that also be locked, despite it also being purchased as an unlocked phone. She said it may be. She then checked the serial number of the other iPhone, and yes, it was also locked. She said both iPhones had locked on to the networks of the first nano SIM cards we’d put in them. This iPhone had a 3 network nano SIM card in it, which is the network we intend to stay with. But we don’t want any problems in the future is we decide to change mobile networks. So the girl said she would make sure this didn’t happen. She said it may take a couple of days, and a message would be sent to that iPhone confirming that it was unlocked.
At the time of writing, 4 days later, no message had been received.

I am a fan of Apple. But this whole experience was ridiculous. It was obvious that I could have, and should have been seen within seconds of entering the Bristol Apple Store. There were no other customers, there were lots of staff doing absolutely nothing, and yet I had to waste my valuable time going though the lengthy appointment making nonsense, listening to the diatribe of the hipster, being patronised and spoken to as if I’m an eejit who knows nothing about technology,
and finally explaining my problem to 3 members of staff. What a joke!

Friday

We caught a taxi from our hotel to the car auction where we collected our new car. Our first trip in our new motor was to a petrol station.

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£83 later the car was full. Mrs.R was so shocked by the price on the pump, she took a photo of it – much to the amusement of the ladies behind the counter. When I walked in to pay, they were laughing and saying, ‘she’s probably shocked by the price’. I said, yes she’s is that’s why she’s taking a photo. They laughed some more, but probably not as much as the chancellor of the exchequer.
Tank full, of expensive fuel, we pointed the car East and headed towards Reading, Berkshire.

We went to Decathlon where we purchased a tent, a couple of sleeping bags, air bed, pump, gas stove, a couple of foldable chairs, and a few other bits and bobs.
We were going camping!
We didn’t go camping.
The weather had started cloudy, and by the time we’d bought the tent etc. the skies had darkened and it was raining, heavily. So, being the hardy people we are, we decided to book in to a hotel. 😮 We chose a very nice coaching inn in Ripley, Surrey. Much better than a tent. 😉

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Ripley was a nice little village, with a good choice of amenities. The high street had various shops, as well a couple of cafes, and pubs. We went for a beer in one of the pubs, follows by a late lunch in one of the cafes. Mrs.R had a cheese ploughmans, I had a chilli sausage in a baguette. The food was nothing special. The coffee menu sounded impressive, several different coffees from various countries, with detailed descriptions of taste, flavours, brewing dates etc. Unfortunately the coffee menu was far more impressive than the actual coffee which tasted like warm water. Disappointing.
We spent the evening relaxing in our hotel.

Saturday

Early in the morning we drove from Ripley in Surrey to see my parents in Croydon.
After a pleasant visit we headed across London to the M1.
This is when it all went horrible wrong.
We were both tired, and not really with it.
It was the Troop in the Colour. We didn’t know.
We were both tired, and not really with it. 😉
Despite knowing the way from Croydon to the M1, for some unknown reason, I decided to use Google maps on my iPhone 5.
To cut a long story short, we basically drove round in a big circle, spending one extra hour getting to the M1. Eeejits!

Once on the M1 I drove until I felt like stopping, which happened to be in Coventry.
Not wanting to get our brand new tent dirty, we once again booked a hotel for the night. 😮
Coventry was not our sort of place, which may or may not explain why we drank more beer than was sensible in the Wetherspoon pub in the town centre. The pub was packed, to overflowing, everyone seemed rather squiffy – when in Rome, or Coventry………..
We did have an early night though, which was sensible as we set off early the following morning.

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Sunday

Bright and early we set off from Coventry to Nuneaton to visit Mrs.Rs brother.
Once again we weren’t with it, as we were unaware that this Sunday was Fathers Day.
We arrived in Nuneaton intending to go out for lunch at a country pub.
The first pub I drove us all too was closed down.
The second pub, was fully booked with families celebrating Father’s Day.
The third pub, a Brewers Fayre at the Marina, was also very busy with families out for Father’s Day, but thankfully we managed to find a table.
Well, actually we found 3 different tables. Initially we sat inside by the bar with our drinks. Then we moved outside to the terrace, overlooking the canal boats on the water, and watching the ducks, and a swan with her 4 signets. It was quite chilly sitting outside.
Finally one of the staff found us a table inside, upstairs, in the warm.
We ordered lunch. Mrs.R had lamb with mashed potato and peas, her brother opted for the carvery, his friend ordered vegetarian lasagne, and I had a steak and ale pie. The food was nothing special, but it filled a gap.
After lunch we returned to Mrs.Rs brothers home for the night. We chatted, we drank red wine, we chatted. Mrs.R was very happy to be spending time with her brother after being away travelling for so long.

Monday

We woke quite early but didn’t rush off anywhere. We drank coffee, and chatted some more. Eventually we said goodbye to Mrs.Rs brother and began driving to York, our initial destination.
After a while we felt like stopping for a stretch, drink etc. so I stopped at a motorway services.
The car park was crazily busy. I drove up and down the aisles, eventually finding a free spot.
Mrs.R was hungry, so she popped in to M&S where she bought a few things for us to share, a pack of 3 sandwiches; prawn, BLT, and ham with mustard mayonnaise, a pack of 3 mini sausage rolls, an apple & mango smoothie, and a large bottle of mineral water.
We sat in the car park for ages, not sure why. We were knackered. We sat watching the craziness of the overflowing car park and numerous vehicles driving up and down looking for parking. We soon realised that most of the cars were full of people who’s obviously been to a festival. We later heard on the radio that it had been the Download Festival at Donnington.
We are so put of the loop with what’s going in in Britain. 😮
After resting for a long time at the services, we planned to rejoin the M1, intending to drive on to York. Mrs.R said I looked exhausted, so we changed our minds about York and decided to stop for the day as soon as possible.
Once again we had intended to camp in our new, and as yet unused tent. But as the cheapest campsite was not cheap, and the cheapest hotel was only a couple of quid dearer, it seemed like a no-brainer. Why stay in a tent, when we could stay in a hotel complete with hot running water, electricity, heating, TV, and no need to blow your own bed up?
I used the Booking.com app to book a night in – no bloody idea, somewhere near Rotherham. We’re too far from the South to have a clue where we are. 😉
So, we didn’t quite make it to York. It seemed mad to continue driving up North for the sake of it. No doubt, it’ll still be there tomorrow.
We checked-in, then had a much needed afternoon nap. Lovely!

Tuesday

We were up early, so we drove to Bridlington, which we really liked, but unfortunately there were no houses for sale in our price range. :(
Then we drove up the coast to Scarborough where we stopped for lunch. We chose a busy little cafe, which seemed popular with the locals. Mrs.R had a vegetarian lasagne, I chose chilli-con-carne.
After lunch we had a little wander round town, took a few photos, and then returned to the car and motored on to Robin Hoods Bay where we spent our first night camping in our new tent.
We’d been to Robin Hoods Bay many years ago, we liked it then, and it hadn’t changed at all. Last time we’d visited in the Winter, and we’d been there very early once morning so there was no one about. This time it’s the Summer (supposedly 😉 ) and there were quite a few tourists, and a couple of large groups of children on school trips.
We had a pleasant stroll down along the sea walls and in to the village. There were a few people on the beach, mainly people walking their dogs. We did a little window shopping, and then had a very slow walk back up the winding road to one of the pubs where we sat outside with a drink.
After our drinks we went to our campsite, Hooks Farm. We quickly put the tent up, it took about 10 minutes in total, from erecting it to securing it with pegs and guide ropes. Not bad for a ‘2 second’ tent. :)

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Then we sat admiring the beautiful view down across Robin Hoods Bay and out to sea.
It was a bit too chilly for us to sit outside for long, so we relaxed in the back of the car watching a film on the iPad.
During the intermission, I made dinner. As we weren’t able to purchase anything decent in the local shop, I sautéed some onions and garlic with some curry powder, in to which I scrambled some eggs. It was a tasty dinner.
The campsite was fairly busy, with an equal amount of people in tents and caravans.
Just after dark the police turned up. We watched as they ‘knocked’ on one of the tents, receiving no reply, the policeman undid the zip, and then shone his torch inside. There was obviously no one at ‘home’. After chatting to one of the campsite owners the policeman left. They returned the following morning, just as the tent was being dismantled. Not sure what happened.
After we’d eaten dinner, and washed up, we watched some more programmes in the iPad, before retiring for the night.
The campsite was really peaceful, we drifted off to sleep with the sounds of birds singing and sheep being sheep in the neighbouring fields.
And so ended this week.

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A week in review – Porthcawl, Bristol and a Citroen

Wednesday

Welsh adventures.
By adventures, I mean a short walk to a pub, but it was in Wales, so it surely that must be a Welsh adventure. The pub in question was called the Globe Inn. While there was nothing special about this boozer, we did meet an interesting customer.
The poor chap had clearly had some sort of accident because his arm was bandaged, and he was obviously super keen for the bandage to stay on because he had secured it at the top and bottom with gaffer/duct tape, directly on his skin.
I’m betting removing the tape will be an injury in itself. Ouch!

Porthcawl, Wales

Thursday

Like pebbles on a beach…….
The sun was out, so what more excuse did we need to visit the beach.
We walked into Porthcawl, and then onto the rocky beach to explore the rock pools etc.
Lots of photos later, we retired to the high street and stopped for a much needed ice cold pint of Strongbow cider in the Rock Inn.

Porthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, Wales

We’ve gone off cider later, but today with the temperatures pleasantly high, and feeling particularly thirsty, the Strongbow cider seriously hit the spot, perfectly refreshing.
Then it was a quick visit to Home and Colonial Delicatessen (64, John Street) where we perused all of the delicious looking foods, before purchasing some goats cheese, olives, and bread. As we were queuing to pay we nibbled some of the complimentary bite sized pieces of chicken and sweetcorn pie that were on the counter – very nice indeed.
While in the town centre I also snapped a few photos of the locals as they went about their daily lives. It would have been rude to turn down the chance of an in-depth anthropological photo study of the Welsh.

Porthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, Wales

Homemade pie nibbling, cheese, olive, and bread buying, followed by some photo taking, we then enjoyed a slow walk back to Newton for a late lunch – leftovers from yesterday.

Friday

Another beach day, but this time nowhere exotic like Porthcawl. Instead it was the beach at Newton, only a couple of minutes walk from where we were staying at our friends house. Well, it should have been only a couple of minutes, but Mrs.R was in charge of navigation, so it took a little longer to find the footpath leading to the beach. By took a little longer, I mean after walking back on ourselves several times, we finally saw the sea, about 15 minutes later.
While the beach was fine, the weather was not. It was cloudy and windy (A Welsh Summer), so I only took a couple of photos. I did not even bother getting my camera out. Instead I just shot the pics on my iPhone5.
That was the extent of excitement for the day.

Saturday

The day started and finished with a visit to the Ancient Briton in Newton, Porthcawl. We started off sitting outside at the front of the pub in the sun. We both had a pint of stout, Brains Black, it was pretty good. We began to feel hungry, so we moved inside the pub to eat. Opting to eat the same for lunch, we both ordered one of the daily specials, a Turkey Thai Green Curry. The pub was quite busy by this time, there were lots of people sitting waiting for food. Eventually our curries arrived, but unfortunately they weren’t worth waiting for. A thought the portion of rice and curry was quite generous, the taste was not good. The turkey was in a sauce that can only be described as ‘interesting’. It was so far removed from a Thai Green Curry that it’s difficult to know exactly what it was. It tasted like a meaty gravy, it was grey in colour, and not pleasant. The rice was bright yellow and mushy. The specials only cost £4.95, which having tasted one of the them, is £4.94 too much. :(

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Disappointing lunch over, we strolled back to our fiends home, where we spent the rest of the day and evening relaxing, by which I mean don’t absolutely nothing at all. Perfect!

Sunday

Our last full day in Wales. Our amigo had the entire day off of work, so was cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
We didn’t want to get in the way, so we skipped off to the pub, the Jolly Sailor, but the pub decided not to serve us, very possibly because we are English. You may think it was karma because we’d left our friend cooking lunch, but we had helped preparing some of the vegetables, so I’m sure this wasn’t the case. 😉
The rest of the day was a tad strange to say the least, but when in Wales every day is a little strange.
The evening was a little better because we headed to the Globe Inn for a drink, and not only did they not hate the English, they were very friendly. And a big plus was them having decent beer on tap. After a pleasant drink in the pub we had an early night in preparation for the an early start the next day.

Monday

Early Monday morning we headed off to Bristol. First it was a bus to Bridgend, a very expensive bus; it costs £3.70 each to travel 5 miles. Then a train to Cardiff, and then another train to Bristol.
From Bristol Temple Meads we walked to our hotel in Clifton. A very long walk, it took us about 3 hours, but helped by stopping of in The Berkley pub for a beer to help us on our way. The pub may be where the majority of the 3 hours were spent. 😉
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Tuesday

Going once, going twice…….
We spent the morning at Manheim car auctions. The plan was just to look at the vehicles, and get a feel for the auction.
That plan lasted about 45 minutes. A 2010 Citroen C5 tourer came on the auction floor. It fitted all the criteria. The bidding started at £4000, I started to bid at £4500, and I was successful. Ten minutes later I had paid for the car and the buyers premium. I came away just under £5000 poorer, but with a decent car. :) There was a small problem, because the M.O.T. Certificate was missing so we had to go just up the road to an M.O.T. testing centre to get a new one printed out.

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We were car owners!
We headed into the centre of town for a celebratory beer at V Shed. Then it was back to our hotel. We decided to leave our new car at the auctions for the remaining few days of our stay in Bristol. Drinking and driving is never a good idea.
Back at our hotel I spent the next couple of hours searching online for a decent deal on insurance for the car. Finally I found the best deal I could, and so ended our car purchasing day in Bristol.