Tag Archives: Travel

Whitby – Fish ‘n’ Chips and Daytrippers

On a sunny August Monday morning Laura and I motored down to Whitby in North Yorkshire. It was our first day trip out in many moons and
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
One of the reasons for the trip was to sample the famous Whitby Fish ‘n’ Chips and what better place to try it than at the Quayside Fish and Chip Shop.
Whitby, North Yorkshire
It won the national award for best fish and chip shop of the year in 2015.
Whitby, North Yorkshire
We had arrived early in Whitby so it was almost a Fish and Chip brunch that we ordered. Eating Fish and Chips at 11.30am was rather odd, but having spent some time in South East Asia it was not the earliest strange meal of the day, that we have ever had.
Whitby, North YorkshireWe enjoyed our Cod and Chips just across the road from Quayside. Sitting on a concrete bollard type thing. Proper British holiday style of alfreco dinning.
I’m always dubious about ‘Award Winning’ but I can say hand on heart that it was great. Really ferm well cooked fish in the best batter I’ve ever had that was not homemade.
Quayside Whitby
7 Pier Road
North Yorkshire
YO21 3PU
Tel. 01947 825346
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
A trip to the seaside would not be complete without buying some rock to take back home for friends and family.
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Blog post by Richard Randall

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham

We had to go to London recently, and as we had Barley, our dog, with us we didn’t want to do the drive in one go, so we decided to break up the journey by staying in the Angel and Royal Hotel in Grantham.
The main reason we chose the Angel and Royal Hotel was the fact that they welcome dogs. The fact that the Angel and Royal is an historic hotel, right in the centre of Grantham, and with ample parking was a bonus.

Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamFor our first stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel we arrived at midday, check-in is usually at 2pm, so we were pleased to be given a room straight away.
The room for our first stay was more like a mini-suite, it was well furnished and contemporary in style.
There was a small lounge, and a small bedroom, both of which had a TV, and a nice bathroom.
There was a kettle in the lounge with a few of sachets of coffee, a few teabags, one sachet of hot chocolate, a bottle of mineral water, and a couple of packets of biscuits.
All of the rooms were nice and clean.
The beds were quite small, narrow, but the mattresses were nice soft and comfortable.
Unfortunately all of the rooms were very hot when we first arrived, and despite keeping all of the windows wide open all night, it was still too hot for us to get a decent nights sleep. Barley didn’t seem to notice the heat though, as he slept very well.
Another issue was the shower, the water pressure was good and strong, which would have made showering a real pleasure. But the temperature of the hot water was so hot it was not possible to stand underneath it. It didn’t seem to make any difference how much we adjusted the taps, the water was boiling.
During our first stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel the complimentary WiFi was a decent speed, so we were happy with that.
The staff were welcoming and helpful.
Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamOn our second stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel, a couple of days later on the drive back from London, we once again arrived at about midday. This time we were told our room would be available at 1pm.
Once we checked-in we were given a standard room, which was larger than the room we’d had on our previous stay. This time the beds were a little bit wider, but the mattresses were very thin, hard, and uncomfortable. Also the wooden bed frames made really loud creaking noises every time we moved, which was disturbing.
Thankfully the room wasn’t hot like the last room was, which we were pleased about at first, but by the evening it wasn’t pleasant, the room was very cold. Only one of the two windows shut properly, which obviously meant the room remained cold all night.
This room was not as clean as our previous room had been, I’m not sure if the cleaner had completely finished preparing the room before we checked-in.
There was a used bath towel chucked on the towel rail in the bathroom. The loo had poo around the rim of the bowl.
This room also had a kettle, and coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, but there was no mineral water, and no biscuits. Not that we particularly wanted them.
The WiFi didn’t work at all in this room, which was very disappointing.
Having said all of that, we did enjoy our stay at the Angel and Royal Hotel, it is a nice place in a good location, and we would stay there again.

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham
Our First Room
Angel and Royal Hotel, GranthamAngel and Royal Hotel, GranthamAngel and Royal Hotel, Grantham
Our Second Room

Angel and Royal Hotel, Grantham

BEST WESTERN Angel & Royal Hotel
High Street
NG31 6PN
Telephone +44 (0)1476 565816

From Wikipedia
In 1812, Lord Brownlow sold his property in Grantham to William Manners, including another pub, The Angel Inn, which had taken its name from stone carvings of angels on the front of the building.

The gateway arch of the Angel Inn, as it stood in the 19th century, was older than the rest of the front of the building. On either side of the arch were carved heads of Edward the Third and of Queen Philippa his consort. These, with an oriel window above, can still be seen today. Also still to be seen today is the gold-painted carved wooden figure of an angel over the entrance, beneath the oriel. Such a wooden figure, dating as it does to earlier than the seventeenth century, is rare for an inn. The entrance dates to the Tudor period, as do portions of the courtyard buildings. Other rarities to have survived in the Inn include the stone twin-panel vaulting in the interior ceilings of the bay windows. The front of the building is built in ashlar, of local oolithic stone. The Angel thus lays claim to being the oldest surviving Inn in England, sitting on what was once the Great North Road.

It is widely held that the Angel Inn was once a “commandery of the Knights Templar” (as reported in both White’s 1846 History, gazetteer, and directory of Leicestershire and Allen’s 1834 History of the county of Lincoln). However, the Reverend B. Street, curate of Grantham, stated in 1857 after his own investigations that “such is not the case”. “I have read a document drawn up at Grantham, October 15, 1291,” he wrote, “which certainly refers to the property, as belonging to the Knights Templars, but not as being a Preceptory of the Order.”.

According to Street, the Angel Inn was Knights Templars property that was a hostelry for travellers and pilgrims. It was seized from the Templars, by the Sheriff of Lincolnshire, on 7 January 1308, in accordance with the following writ issued by King Edward the Second on 15 December 1307:

The King is about to proceed to parts beyond the seas for a short time. During his absence, he wishes certain matters relative to the peace of the kingdom to be explained to the Sheriff in a writ which the Sheriff will shortly receive. The Sheriff of Lincolnshire is therefore commanded to warn twelve discreet and trustworthy men, Knights or others, upon whose fidelity he can best rely, to meet him at Lincoln, on the 7th of January 1308, very early in the mornin; at which place and time the Sheriff is to be in person to do and perform what shall be contained in the said write, and also what he shall be directed to do by the bearer of it.

The second writ, born to the Sheriff by one of the King’s Clerk’s of Council, which the Sheriff and the twelve men all had to swear to follow before being told its contents, was:

On Wednesday, 10th January, 1308, very early in the morning, the Sheriff of Lincoln, with the twelve men summoned and sworn, is to attach and arrest all the Knights Templars in his Bailiwick. All their lands, goods, tenements, chattels, charters, writings, and muniments, are to be seized and secured, and an inventory of them made, in the presence of the Custos of the Templar’s house, and two witnesses. The Knights are to be kept in safe custody, but not in a straight or loathsome prison; and to be maintained out of the revenues of the Order.

Street believes that the Angel Inn, having been seized by the king, probably then became the property of the Knights Hospitallers. He bases this conclusion on the presence of the arms of the Hospitallers on the East window of Grantham church in 1662 (as recorded by Gervase Holles in Notes of Arms in Grantham Church, a manuscript held in the British Museum), in place of the arms of the Templars that had been there, indicating that the Templars’ property in Grantham had passed to the Hospitallers.

Street also records the Angel Inn as having been used to hold court by Kings John (on 23 February 1213) and Richard the Third (on 19 October 1483). He also states that it was probably used by King Charles the First on 17 May 1622.
At the time of Richard III, the large room over the gateway of the Angel Inn was called La Chambre le Roi (the King’s Chamber). Street concluded that this room’s name came from Norman French, and probably from the visit to Grantham that John paid in 1213 (during which he delvered Letters Patent at Grantham granting the release of Lucian of Arquill). The evidence for Richard III’s visit he took from Rymer’s Fædera, as quoted in Halstead’s History of Richard the Third, which said that the Great Seal, used for issuing a death warrant, was delivered to the king by messenger “in a chamber called the King’s chamber in the Angel Inn, in the presence of the Bishops of Worcester, Durham, St David’s, and St Asaph, and of the Earls of Northumberland and Huntingdon, and of Sir Thomas Stanley”.

As is still recorded today on the charity board of Grantham church (in the ringing chamber of the church’s bell tower), in 1706 a Mr. Michael Sullivan left a benefaction to the church for a sermon against drunkenness, to be paid by the Angel Inn. As recorded in the Grantham Register the benefaction was:

Item, I give to the alderman of Grantham and his successor for ever, a rent charge of 40 shillings a year to be paid out of the Angel Inn in Grantham aforesaid every Michaelmas day, upon this trust, that he procure some able divine to preach a sermon in the afternoon the Sunday after every alderman’s choice for ever, wherein the subject shall be chiefly against drunkenness and then pay the preacher 40 shillings for the same, I looking upon that sin to be the inlet of almost all others.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Egypt, a Blast From The Past

Many many moons ago, I can’t count how many moons as that would be lunacy, Mrs. R and I travelled to Egypt for a 3 month adventure.
It was an exciting time, enjoyable and frustrating in equal measure. The sites we saw were phenomenal, and the interaction with the locals was – interesting to say the least. Thankfully we always managed to find a cold beer to calm us.
I’ve just retrieved my old photos which we shot during our past travels, from my parents loft and updated them for the digital age.
I had already scanned the negatives and slides, so it is just a matter of putting them on my iPad and messing around with them a little, so that they are fit for 2014. 🙂
I still have a lot of images to edit, which I will share on Instagram (@zoqyphoto) and needless to say on this blog too. Hope you enjoy them.

Blog Post by Richard Randall

Venice, Italy

In February 2013 we spent a few days in Venice, Italy, during our round the World trip.
I was in two minds about visiting Venice. I feared it was going to be crowded, tacky, and the food would be overpriced and disgusting. To my surprise we had some of the best budget meals of our entire Italian travels.
Venice was busy as expected, but we went to see the main sights early in the mornings, and explored the lesser visited back streets and canals at midday. These were particularly good for restaurants serving decent food at reasonable prices, which no explains why they were full of locals and no tourists.
From being a place I almost dreaded visiting, and only really decided to visit because Mrs.R had never been there before, Venice became the jewel of our travels in Italy
Venice, Italy
Venice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, ItalyVenice, Italy

Videos from our adventures in Venice, Italy

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

By Richard Randall

Other bloggers on Venice:

Armchair Travel

It’s been nearly 6 months since we stopped traveling. Well traveling round the world at least. The first 3 months back in England saw us traveling up and down the country while we looked for an house to purchase.
To rekindle some fond travel memories I’ve been looking at a few of our travel videos, that are posted on YouTube. We have 370 of them! Here are a few.

Maharaja’s Palace, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore

Bayon, Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hoi An, Vietnam

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

By Richard Randall

A week in review – Birthday, Beer and Blackpool


It was a surreal day. We travelled up to London to visit my parents. My mother said happy birthday to me. Not having any idea of the date, I assumed she was correct. We then went for a birthday lunch at the Kingswood Arms, which I paid for. Then we went to see my father.
On the way back to my parents house we passed a sign advertising a fair in Ashburton Park, which informed us that my birthday was not until Friday. Actually the sign made no mention of me by name, or my birthday, but it did state that the funfair commenced on Friday the 24th, and so all was clear, I now knew when to celebrate. 😮
The day continued to be surreal. On the drive back down to New Romney in Kent we caught the tail end of a news story on the radio. It was about a vicious attack, but we had no idea of the location, or the nature of the attack.

It was only once we had settled down for the evening in front of the news on television that we saw that it was a Jihadist attack on a soldier in Woolwich, London, an area we know well.
My thoughts are with the soldiers loved ones, and anyone else who has suffered loss, irrelevant of their religion, beliefs, nationality etc.
I’m saying no more about this sad news, mainly because I’m too tired to write a book, as that’s what my thoughts about it would result in.


We had a houseguest coming, well, a caravan guest, so we headed down to Hythe to do a little food shopping.
We usually eat randomly, at various times, we don’t have a traditional routine, but we figured our guest would probably appreciate a proper meal during his stay.
We pulled into the crazily busy supermarket car park, found a spot, and just as Laura headed over to the Pay and Display machine there was a sudden violent hailstorm. Very bizarre weather for the South of England at the end of May. She rushed back to the car, soggy parking ticket in hand, and then we both made a dash for the supermarket. We were so taken by surprise as the large hailstones pounded and drenched us that neither of us thought to take a photo. We were more concerned with rushing across the car park to the warmth and calm (compared with the hail storm) of the supermarket.
It was as crazily busy inside the supermarket as it was in the small car park, but we whizzed round chucking whatever took our fancy in to the shopping trolley. Grub bought, job done.
Our guest arrived at about 8pm, we all headed to the pub for a couple pints, and then it was back to the caravan for something to eat. A fish pie Laura had spent the afternoon making. It was the first time she’d ever made it, and it was very tasty.
By the end of the night, which was about 3am the following morning, there were a lot of empty beer and wine bottles. We’d drank the caravan dry.



A hangover day. There’s not much else to say.


Feeling a tad better we took a short drive into Romney Marsh, and stopped for a beer at the Star Inn. Then it was back ‘home’ for lunch. Chicken cooked in cider, served with rice.


It was our last day/night in the caravan so we spent most of the day packing our stuff. It only took us all day, on and off, because we’re shirkers by nature, not because we had a lot to pack. We hardly have any belongings at all.
Apart from packing we ate. Weird and wonderful concoctions of what was left of our fresh food. I’d purchased way too much food, probably because I’d been so pleased to be able to cook again, after so long travelling. What we didn’t eat, we boxed up to give to my mother.



Just another manic Monday…
We drove up to Croydon from New Romney. It was a pleasant drive. Partly because we left at 6.30am and partly because it was a Bank Holiday Monday.
There was hardly any traffic on the road, so it took less than 90 minutes.
Once we arrived at my parents house we decided to have a look at the car rental booking form, only to discover that the Avis depot we were due to return our hire car to, was closed on the Bank Holiday Monday. After a quick phone call to Avis, we managed to sort out another return location. Victoria. This was a major result for us because we were heading to Victoria anyway. This meant we had one less tram and one less train to catch. Result!
We drove into London and dropped the car off at Victoria Coach Station. The very same station we were departing from.


We then caught a coach to Blackpool, via Preston.
Yet again it was a replacement service and not the National Express coach we’d booked. Ergo no WiFi, no comfortable leather seats, no air-conditioning, and to top it off, the bus was also uncomfortable and dirty.
En-route the coach stopped in Birmingham, and Wigan before it reached Preston where we changed coaches.

It wasn’t the most pleasant day of travelling we’ve ever experienced, the bus was hot and stunk of fuel, but we did get chatting to a lot of people. By we, I mean Mrs.R, she enjoyed a good natter with lots of people, some on our coach and others who were waiting for buses at Preston coach station.
After 12 hours of travelling we finally arrived at the guesthouse in Blackpool. We dumped our bags and headed out to get something to eat. We ended up a the Auctioneers (JD Wetherspoon). The beer was good, but the food was terrible. We both ordered the roast of the day. I wanted beef, but they didn’t have it, so I ordered the same as Mrs.R, chicken. The chicken was seriously overlooked, beyond dry, the ‘roast potatoes’ were in fact deep fried, the vegetables were mushy. If we hadn’t have been completely exhausted we would not have eaten it, but we simply did not have the energy to go anywhere else. It was the worst meal we’ve ever eaten in a Wetherspoon pub, and we frequent Wetherspoon pubs a lot. 🙁


Our first full day in Blackpool saw us heading into the centre, it was cold, wet, and windy.
We popped in to the tourist information centre to ask about buses and various other things. Whilst waiting to be served we noticed that the group of women milling about outside were wearing sparkly dresses and vertigo indulging heels. Then we saw a few blokes dressed in suits. It was a wedding! Apparently you can get married above the tourist information office, because there’s a registrar office there. It was a surprising scene.

Anyway, back to our tourist info needs, we asked about public transport, and then as we were leaving the lady said, “I don’t know what your plans for today are, but as the weather is so horrible, you could go in to the Blackpool tower ballroom and watch the dancing, if you go up to the stalls – for free”.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Mrs.R was grinning from ear to ear, she loves Strictly Come Dancing, and has wanted to see the glitzy ballroom interior, so how could I refuse? 😉 It’s not really my sort of thing, but it was pleasant to get inside out of the cold and rain, and actually it was quite interesting watching the couples trot around the dance floor. There were a couple of professional dancers, two women, who mainly danced with each other, as well as lots of older couples who were clearly enjoying their moment under the spotlights.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom
It was quite busy on the dance floor level, there were people of all ages, although the majority were pensioners. Several people were enjoying a cream tea, others were tucking in to jacket potatoes, whilst some just sat drinking beer. Directly across the dance floor in the stalls facing us, were two couples sitting watching the dancing whilst eating their packed lunches. It was a pretty surreal experience.
After we’d been sitting, shooting photos and video of the dancers, dancing, and the ornate gold interior of the ballroom, Laura took mercy on me and said we didn’t have stay any longer. It had been nice, but I was pleased to leave. There’s only so much loud organ music, and so many sequins twirling that I can take in one day. 😉