Category Archives: Holiday

2014

Sitting down in our local Tap House me and my fiancée were enjoying The Mills Winter Ale. The background, a buzzing atmosphere as many chatted away. It wasn’t long before we asked each other the standard New Years Eve question.

Now before I go into it, I must add that this was the first time since we’ve been together that neither of us were struck down with a cold and we were away from our house on New Years Eve.

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The question?…. “What are my highlights of 2014”

Immediately I dismissed it as a pretty standard year, 2014 appeared quiet and a lot calmer to that of previous years. It wasn’t until I thought a little harder about the question that it became apparent that 2014 has had its fair share of positives and some sad chapters as well.

In a year that saw a fantastic family wedding, an intimate In The Woods festival, camping trips and glamping in York, a birthday weekend away in Canterbury and many disappointing sporting woes from my beloved Leeds United it was hard to really answer this question with so much going on.

For those of you who have followed my blog since I started it in 2013, I’m hopeful that you’ve started to paint a picture of me and my life. I will always share what I feel comfortable with sharing and it’s because of this I feel that my followers understand how valuable I rate life. I will therefore answer this question honestly.

One of my main highlights of 2014 involved me and my fiancée moving into our first house together in February. I initially moved in with Lisa when I left Stratford and despite having a lovely place together then we made a decision to get a bigger place with our own garden. We have certainly benefitted from this and have spent most of the sunny days out in the garden cooking BBQs, growing plants and encouraging wildlife in to enjoy it with us. We have done many jobs to make this house our own and have just agreed an additional 2 year extension to our contract which is fantastic news.

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The bird feeder was one of my Christmas Pressies and despite the return of our resident scatty Wood Pigeon, it’s clear he isn’t afraid of heights and is giving it a go. Unfortunately he is just a bit too big to use the feeders. The scattered seed on the grass from other birds is his reward.

On a professional level 2014 saw me secure the biggest promotion to date in my working career. I became a Branch Manager in August and have been responsible in ensuring the Branch has finished the year in an excellent position. I work for a Builders Merchants and 2014 has seen the Banbury depot succeed at its highest level in recent history. Five months into my new job and I am fully aware of the numerous challenges that await, however it’s important at times like these to enjoy the successes and ensure I benefit from the welcome festive break. Time to recharge these batteries!

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With my new job I enjoyed my first Managers Christmas party and was very fortunate to be treated to a weekend around Cheltenham Races. It gave me the perfect excuse to get smartened up in a year that saw my fiancée improve my style and construct a far more fashionable wardrobe for me!

It is from this that 2014 sadly saw the passing away of one of my biggest influences in my professional career. In 2000 I started working in the Building Industry for a company called Underground Supplies. I was interviewed by the MD, a gentleman by the name of Andrew Bygate. I recall the meeting I had with the Recruitment Agency prior to this interview as if it only happened yesterday.

The lady at the Recruitment Agency advised me that Andrew was a positive man who admired forward thinking and driven individuals. I arrived with this in mind and following the interview Andrew simply said to me that he would be back in touch via the agency to let me know if I was successful. It was at this point I simply asked Andrew for the job. He looked at me, slightly perplexed by my forward nature before smiling and simply saying “ok then, the job is yours, well done”.

This was the start of nearly a decade working with Andy (Andrew was far too formal, once I started working for him!) Andy was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour in 2006 and undertook the biggest fight and challenge in his personal life. Andy fought hard and carried this on throughout 2014. Unfortunately Andy lost this battle in late 2014 but fought so bravely and inspired many people who crossed paths with him, this included me. Thank you Andy for inspiring me to succeed and play a major part in where I find myself today.

2014 saw one of my biggest personal challenges and one that me and Lisa were able to complete together. We had more than a few personal battles to overcome but on a bright dry day in Wales, we climbed and descended Mount Snowdon. If ever there was a challenge and one that needed team work of the highest order then this was it. Towards the end of the decent my legs packed in and I needed some heat pads and assisted stretches to keep me intact until the end. The important thing is we got through it and loved the breathtaking views and experience we shared together.

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So as we head into 2015 another book starts, one thing which is pretty certain is that we will be asking ourselves this same question again on future New Years Eves.

All I can say is I hope my readers and followers can take a moment to reflect and look back on 2014. It’s always nice when you can recall some stand out memories. Have a great 2015 and I look forward to sharing some more moments with you as I head into a big year!

Mark

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Apologies for the Quiet

I must apologise to my followers for this moment of silence. I know there isn’t a need to do this, however I want to. I am extremely proud to have over 80 followers and I feel the very reason you followed me has been put on hold, well this has ended tonight.

As I appear from the shadows it is at the time of year the world we live in takes on a festive holiday filled feeling. So what have I been up to and how is 2014 concluding as we head into the final throes of the year.

I’ve had some fantastic weekends and day trips away with my fiancé which included a fun weekend exploring Leeds for a family members birthday. Leeds is a fantastic city and one that we both love. Who knows what the future holds with regards to this awesome city….

Last Tuesday we went to London and visited the Tower of London Poppies. We tried to go a fortnight ago but couldn’t quite battle our way through the crowds. This time around we were able to walk right around the tower and saw some amazing sights.

I have a couple of my favourite photos below:-
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I witnessed Northampton Saints lose against Exeter last Friday which was slightly surreal. It’s the first time I’ve seen them lose and now the disappointment that Leeds United provide has been mirrored at Saints.

Towcester Mill has had a handful of visits as the nights draw in, it’s very cozy inside. It’s a shame we can’t quite enjoy the long evenings in the amazing gardens. It’s a good job the Winter Beers are on tap, there will be some reviews coming up soon!

Our hedgehog who became our fourth family member has gone into hibernation. I do have a photo from last month below as he made the most of our feeding station. We also seem to have a new kitten who visits our garden. It’s all go round our neighbourhood!

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So what does the rest of November hold? Firstly it’s a certain special persons birthday. I can’t say anymore as it will spoil the amazing plans I’m rapidly compiling as next weekend approaches.

Work is going very well. I am into the fourth month of my new job and so far so good. I’ve always wanted to be a Branch Manager, now I have it, I won’t be letting go of it!

Ummmm oh and my Dad ran his first half marathon. He is running 2 more and his first Marathon as he raises money for Cancer. Please check out his sponsorship page and if you feel generous then please send him a message or even better a donation.

https://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Barrow3/

Phew! I promise I’ll write again soon! It’s far too hard trying to fill so much in one blog post!

Mark

1085 Metres Later

As I sit here sipping my coffee on the summit of Snowdon I find myself reflecting. This challenge we set ourselves has been one amazing journey, one that through strength, determination and togetherness we managed to navigate.

1085 Metres altitude over rocky terrain and hazardous pathways behind us it’s certainly a sense of achievement. It’s far too early to even think about the return journey back down the route we have taken, one thing is for sure it will be a bit less demanding on the body and my legs.

The views have been truly breathtaking as the climb gradually saw us see the world from different heights and views. Great Lakes turning into puddles the further we headed upwards to the summit. The weather has been kind to us, some moments when the sun peeked around the clouds it became too hot, the overcast conditions for most of the climb a welcome present.

This is one of those moments you need to savor and I will certainly do so, it is when you do something as epic as this you begin to wake up the adventurous monster that lurks within my soul. This has certainly reminded me of the Grampians that I climbed in Australia but it is nowhere near comparable. This has been one awesome adventure, another one to the long list I am lucky to be compiling with my fiancé. Life is good!

DarcyB

My Blog is 1 Year Old – Happy Birthday

A year ago I decided to start my blog, over 80 posts, 5,000 views and 70 followers later I have never felt more accomplished than I do right now.

I must once again place my thanks on record to my friend Jaki Jelley whose similar minded approach to her blog gave me the final push I needed to start my own. So what has happened this year and have my random ramblings really entertained my readers or drove you to despair? I’d personally like to think it’s been a mixed ride with many different topics covered.

So what have been my highlights? Well this year I’ve written about Leeds United on quite a few occasions, I am still hopeful that I will get a piece published by one of the fans pages this season. I’ve had some fun adventures and holiday trips with my awesome fiancé, mainly involving the tent.

I’ve written about my travels, gardening and nature stories including our ever so near attempts to get a blue tit nesting in our garden right through to creating a hotel for our bee to lay it’s eggs in. I’ve cooked pickled Beetroot, attempted to grow tomatoes and even written up a couple of my favourite recipes.

I’ve managed to get an article on the Autumn Towcester Beer Festival published on the about my area website and have written further blogs about my love for local ales. There have been some exciting pieces on Music Festivals including the surreal In The Woods Festival.

I’d like to thank you all for taking that little bit of time out of your busy days to read my blog and I promise that this second year will see even more stories from my crazy world and the life I lead.

On one final note I’d like to share some awesome news with you all. I secured my promotion at work and have finally become a Branch Manager. This is something I’ve wanted these last three years and from the beginning of August I’ll finally be there. This is a big deal for me and I am so proud of myself and also would like to place on record my thanks for the support my fiancé has given me throughout my career.

So as we embark on another adventure this weekend in Snowdonia, I can already feel my next piece formulating together in my head. Here is to the future and the exciting times it promises to bring.

Thank you.

DarcyB

York City Adventure – Part 2

Bank Holiday Monday promised a day of sunshine and dry weather, this was the reason for deciding not to pack a jacket with me on our second day exploring York. I cooked us a couple of sausage sandwiches to ensure we started the day with a full stomach, the sun was out as we left the campsite to head back into the city.
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Today was going to be another day of new adventures, one that started by walking around the first part of the city walls. 75% of York is surrounded by the original Roman walls and these have been modernized in parts and repaired to allow walking access along them. The turrets with arrow slots paint exciting Images in my mind as I could see the Roman Army defending York from these points in history. This is when the weather decided against following the forecast and the first light showers hit us. I was determined not to allow these showers put me off as we left the City Walls and headed towards York Minster.

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York Minster is an impressive building, whose walls contains a lot of stories and historical events. Richard the Thirds young son was buried within these walls decorated with numerous examples of breathtaking interior design work. We decided not to visit the tower but that didn’t dampen the experience. There is a display that shows the work that is currently being undertaken with one of the largest stain glass windows. They are removing the panels one by one and cleaning them and resetting the panels. Each panel can take up to 1,000 hours with a cost of over £10,000 to repair. York Minster costs £20,000 per day to run and operate which is hard to imagine but after exploring it you can understand why these costs exist.

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York Minster has had to have some major foundational restoration work carried out. The East wing started to sink with cracks appearing in it. The Minster was saved with hard work and over £250,000 raised to carry out the emergency work required. Some of the bolts driven into the foundations are visible as we walked under the basement of the Minster.

We grabbed a drink in the Guy Fawkes Hotel bar which is another historical landmark in York. Guy Fawkes stayed here before his involvement in the failed gunpowder plot. I learnt so much about the story of what happened, I didn’t realise he was Catholic and wanted to lead the revolt to put a Catholic head of the monarchy in place. We “plotted” our next part of the day before deciding to head into Stonegate.

At 35 Stonegate there stands another haunted house. This place has had some convincing reports and reviews so with some gentle persuasion I managed to persuade my Fiancé to join me. The woman who managed the place gave us a brief introduction before our tour started and we were left alone.

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The tour lasted around half an hour as we were led around by audio commentary around the rooms. Some of the rooms were in darkness as I tried to take photos with my phone. There were a couple of instances where I felt a strange sensation. When I sat down on the bench in a room surrounded by old masks and various artifacts I felt a sharp cold sensation on my back.

The tour carried on up narrow stairs and darkened rooms. In the attic I thought I saw a golden sparkle in the corner of the room where a child’s cot sat. It was very obvious and something else that added to the feeling I was being watched. The final room had a large table with leather seats positioned around it. The table was set up for a seance with a glass globe positioned centrally on it, this room felt wrong. As we left Lisa my fiancé felt a bit faint as we made our way to The Punchbowl pub to grab some dinner. A couple of delicious cheeseburgers later and we were back on our way to explore York Gardens.

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York Gardens have some amazing ruins and colourful plants within the grounds. We had a lovely walk around and couldn’t help but be amazed by how some of these arches were still standing. The sun came out as we enjoyed the calming atmosphere that these gardens brought us. We walked through them to the other side before we rejoined the City Walls to finish off our day in the city.

The final night chilling at our Campsite was enjoyable as we ate cheese and crackers whilst finishing off the film American Hustle. The weather during the night was terrible as the heavy rain bombarded our tent, fortunately for us this stopped in the morning. Getting the tent packed up in dry conditions was a relief and we were soon off on our way home.

Thank you York for a truly amazing long weekend, we did so much but have so much more to come back and do.

DarcyB

York City Adventure – Part 1

We decided to take advantage of the late May Bank Holiday break and packed up the tent for the first camping trip of 2014. The Destination was York, to revisit a city I fell in love with in my early teenage years. I’d hoped to study at Askern Bryan in York for my Diploma before a change of events put that dream to bed. Despite this disappointment I have always loved this city and couldn’t wait to explore it properly with my fiancé.

The weather forecast was mixed which suited us perfectly. This kept changing as we drove up the M1, M18 and finally the A1 as we were greeted by Wagtail Park and the hardest of grounds to pitch our tent on. We were asked to bring Rock Pegs which on first inspection seemed like overkill. It wasn’t until I cockily hit a standard peg into the lush green grass that I discovered it was merely a topping. What lay under this welcoming layer was a silt filled, rocky mixture of quarry type material. After a dash to the local camping shop we had enough rock pegs to erect our tent and canopy securely.
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By the time we’d pitched the tent and got camp set up it was too late to wander too far away. There was a lovely fishing lake close by which we walked around and after we’d cooked some chili and drank a couple of beers we watched a film and called it a night. It wasn’t the coldest of nights, however as it was our first camping trip in nearly 9 months we needed to acclimatize. We survived the night and after a late breakfast which comprised of a bacon roll we headed into York.

The Park & Ride is quite simply excellent value for money. To park the car and get a return ticket cost £2.70 each which is far cheaper than parking in the city centre. We used the Sunday afternoon to explore the streets of the city as well as sampling some of the local food and ales. We walked up the Shambles which is a quaint cobbled narrow street lined with shops on both sides. The hustle and bustle of the bank holiday crowd evident and we were caught on a wave of visitors.

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We had our Sunday Beef Roast at The Golden Fleece which is the oldest pub in York. It is also the most haunted pub in the city, a claim backed up by the Most Haunted crew, who spent a weekend filming here in the pub/hotel. The place itself is typically quirky and feels very welcoming. There are a couple of skeletons that sit at the bar on a stool and also in the pub garden. All of the floors are wonky and slanted, so much so that my pint of ale was slanted and the gravy was trying to escape from my plate. A quickly constructed defensive wall using my mashed potato prevented any casualties. When we sat for dinner my fiancé did feel a cold sensation next to her side which hung around for a few minutes. It certainly backed up the claims of the owners and many guests who have stayed there.

We had a walk around Parliament Street which is the widest most open street in York and also had a tour of the York baths. This was conducted by a very knowledgeable Canadian historian by the name of Ryan, who not only told us about the Roman Baths in York, but also covered wars, deaths, Christianity and many other topics. By the time we left this small room which gathering heat the longer we stayed down there we were gasping the fresh air to celebrate our freedom. Joking aside it was well worth the £3.50 it cost plus a small contribution to Ryan’s education costs!

By a friends recommendation (thanks Aimee) we went to an off license called The House of the Trembling Madness. Above this there was also a bar which quite simply oozed class and style. The decor comprised of stuffed animals and randomly placed gothic designs framed by some stunning timber open framed roof trusses and beams. The place was busy and the small number of chairs and tables filled. The bar was small and quaint and the food smelled delightful. We helped ourselves to a couple of IPA’s and shopped till we dropped as I was reunited with some of my favourite Australian beers imported in their shop.

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We returned to camp just before the forecasted rain and had a very chilled out Sunday night. We ate some cheese and crackers and watched Taken 2 and the first half of American Hustle. Following on from last nights shock chill factor I put on an extra layer in an effort to get a warm comfortable nights sleep to get me in good stead for Mondays day of adventure. Historical visits, walks, haunted sightings and more local pubs awaited us, we certainly had a lot planned!

One final York related story before I bring this 1st Part of the blog to a conclusion. There are cats all over the city on various buildings. It is said that any building that is graced with the presence of a cat, is a happy place. We spotted a couple of these cats with one been on the front of The Golden Fleece Pub. Based on this story, I think it’s safe to say that my fiancé encountered a good happy spirit!

To be continued…….

DarcyB

A Festive Message

Thank you to those who have taken the time to read my Blog this year. Some of you may have seen my constant plugs on Twitter or Facebook. Some of you may have seen my page featured as I tried my hardest to gain visitors. If that still doesn’t include you, then maybe just maybe you stumbled upon it by complete accident. Either way it doesn’t matter one little bit how you found my blog, the important thing to me is that you did.

I’ve been writing on here for just under 5 months and am quite honestly enjoying it beyond my expectations. I’m one of those people who frankly enjoys writing. It gives me a sense of pride and joy to think somebody else is reading something that I’ve written. A blog is quite a personal thing, yet not in the same sense as a diary, I think you all get what I’m saying.

So as we head into the Christmas Break, I’d like to wish all of my followers (49 so far) and readers a very very peaceful and enjoyable festive break. It has become very obvious to me these last few days that it’s imperative to let those around you know how important they are to you. I lost a very good friend of mine last week and I’d like to think he knew exactly how much he meant to me.

Of course it’s a time to eat, drink and be merry whilst keeping warm, however it’s also essential to think about those not so fortunate that are in our lives. This isn’t a generic statement, it’s a fact. To those out there that have touched my life so far who are facing more challenges than most, I’m thinking of you.

So what now? Let’s just stay safe, follow Santa on Google maps and enjoy this wonderful time of the year. I’ll be looking forward to what the last few days of 2013 bring to me and the excitement that next year promises.

Happy Christmas to you all.

DarcyB

Being United, Cheering Coyotes and Reality!

So the drive back today was kind and we made it back in just over 5 hours. We didn’t quite get the dry morning that we were promised on the forecast, so a wet tent and canopy were packed up ready to be put back up to dry out at my partners Dads farm. It was certainly a great holiday and its scary to think a week and one day has flown by so quickly. As I lie down chilling after a well needed bath and shave its made my mind wander a bit. I’ve noticed that the amount of beard I’ve grown is far less than if I’d been working for the same length of time. Am I going crazy or does facial hair need a break too to relax and slow down? I’m also dreading the fact I’ve got an Alarm going off at 6:10am. I’ve not had an alarm for these last 8 days, why do I already hate you Alarm!? On a more positive note I’m loving the fact I will have a comfy nights sleep in our bed, that beats the blow up air bed any day of the week!

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It’s occurred to me that since I’ve started this blog I’ve not spoken much about my beloved Leeds United. Now for those of you now groaning and switching away I’m sorry but I have to have a moment. Leeds have gone through a massive transformation this Summer and the rebuilding is not too far from being completed to a satisfactory level. Leeds new owners have reengaged with the supporters, who lets face it had lost all interest in the club towards the end of last season. I won’t bore you all, but in a very small snapshot Leeds United have done it the right way without being GungHo. A new Chairman and Managing Director who talk and listen to the fans. Rebuilt links with the Supporters Club Chairman that had disappeared in the past. A new structure of ticket pricing and membership levels. Reduced Season Ticket prices and back on BBC Radio. All of this and including major new sponsorships with Sky and Heineken plus being close to buying back Elland Road, which was carelessly sold off by the previous regime. Life at Leeds is buoyant and given the fact we also remain unbeaten after the first 4 games this season it reinforces the belief. We are Leeds and we are United, I’ve even paid £40 for my Gold Membership which arrived in the post whilst I was away! Now that’s commitment on my part.

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And finally a massive beaming smile and pride as my Baseball team the Milton Keynes Coyotes battled their way into the end of season playoffs. This is our debut and inaugural season for the Coyotes and its being one hell of a roller coaster experience. The final day victory against the London Marauders today was enough to clinch a Play Off game on the 1st September. A special congratulations needs to go out to Sid and Mo who have worked extremely hard to organize the day to day running of the club on the diamond. This completed a double of successes for Baseball in Milton Keynes and despite not playing today am so excited about what the Play Offs will bring. I will keep you all updated as to how they go, I have been told we are playing at Richmond Dukes which will be tricky, but then again all games are. We finished with an 8-6 record over 14 games which has seen some memorable wins along the way. Well done Milton Keynes and Baseball, we have all done the city so very proud this season.

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DarcyB

Telling Stories

As I sit down taking shelter from the Cornish wind, rain and mist, it certainly makes me appreciate the week away we’ve enjoyed. We have certainly been fortunate with the weather these last 7 days, so it’s only fair that we had one bad one thrown in for good measure. We have literally zipped up the tent and taken stock of our supplies in an effort to get through the day and night in one piece.

Now it may sound overly dramatic but it is like this when the elements are against you, that you truly appreciate the warmth. Throw in the satisfaction that you can safely erect a tent correctly so that you can enjoy the moments like these. So as we enjoy the sip of a cold San Miguel and nibble on the remaining Dairy Milk Nut Bar I stored in our fridge, I am really feeling the benefit of a great holiday break.

Yesterday we found the energy and desire to drive to the Lizard and visit one of the bays off this picturesque stretch of coastline. It is certainly a place that you could be forgiven for mistakingly thinking was in the Mediterranean. The weather was clear, bright and sunny. It was because of this that you could really differentiate between the greens and blues along the clear coastlines within the sea. I have to admit it looked not too dissimilar to the Aegan Sea that I swam in during our Greek holiday in May. We walked around 3 miles taking in many steep tracks and fields with the cliff top views a beautiful backdrop.

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This is a place I visited a couple of years ago with my best mate James, however we went along a different route and the weather wasn’t so clear and kind. One other thing I noticed was the bright dark yellow glows that the Lichen had. Now I appreciate that this isn’t a fascinating subject, however it did drive home the fact of how clean and fresh the air is along this part of the country’s coastline. Lichen thrive on these conditions, which is why when you live in towns and cities the color isn’t that distinct or the areas aren’t as dense. I took this photo which I hope for all you Lichen enthusiasts shows off this fact.

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One thing that me and my partner love about Lichen is the Water bears that live within them. If you haven’t heard or seen these, then please take a moment to go on YouTube and check them out.

On a more somber note it was sad to hear the passing away of Jon Brookes earlier this week. Jon was the drummer for the Charlatans, a band that we are both big fans of. I was very fortunate to meet the band for my birthday last year and we spent some time with Jon and the band before their Telling Stories gig in Edinburgh. In the time we spent with Jon, we found him to be a genuinely decent and friendly family guy. During the gig we were stood at the front and despite being one of many Jon threw his towel into the front row for which my partner caught it. It is rare that the death of someone famous actually hits you so hard. Jon you will be sadly missed and would like you to know that you really touched our lives. It is another painful reminder of how valuable life is.

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DarcyB

Champagne Bucks

As the weeks holiday comes drawing to a conclusion, it’s at times like these that I wish I had really concentrated on the Back to the Future films. I am sure had I really understood it, that I could have created a device and fitted it to my Car in an attempt to go back to last Saturday when we first arrived here. I would obviously pick the moment after the 7 hour journey and also with the tent and canopy all set up. In fact I would like to be in the exact moment of time where I’m sat down in my chair with a nice cold can of beer in my hand! Not too much to ask for.

Since my last blog we have experienced another couple of days out and about and have ticked off both the Saints from the Cornish town list. We went to St Just on Wednesday and despite initially finding parking spaces a challenge to find, we were able to park up and have a wander around the centre. I had my first Cornish Cream Tea, to which I later discovered had got the Jam and Clotted Cream the wrong way around! Only I could do that and a successful shop in a local Craft Shop provided my partner with some creative options further down the line. We then finished the wander with a nosey of the local church. If there is one thing we have noticed in Cornwall it is the tidy presentation and appearance of their churches. This one was no different, however it did provide me with a chuckle when I discovered a certain book title in their give a way section. You couldn’t script it any better a hardback copy of The Satanic Verses, free to a good home!

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The journey took us to Cape Cornwall and another climb to see more amazing scenery off the coastline. Now Cape Cornwall may not sound dramatically interesting, however it is the only point around the entire United Kingdom where two different seas or oceans merge together. I will always try and offer some education along the way and this is my token gesture! Another musing was to discover that the tower on Cape Cornwall was constructed by Heinz as a marker of their decision to purchase Cape Cornwall and donate it to the National Trust. It was exactly at this point I noticed a similarity between the tower and a certain accompaniment to chips!

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On Thursday we went to St Ives and just about survived the crowds flocking to soak up the Summer Rays that were hitting the beach and coast lines. St Ives is a lovely place and one that I intend to visit again when it’s not so in season. If you visualize the letter U it gives you the perfect image of St Ives. There are two extremely high points and the main part of the town is in the dip between them. We were parked on one of these high points and walked over to the other, crazy stuff but even more beautiful views to take in. It was here that I learnt the correct way to eat a Cream Tea the proper way and also to discover they aren’t even scones! In a nutshell St Ives is beautiful, creative and has a nice positive vibe to it. There are however a few too many Art Shops each selling exactly the same pictures and prints!

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On the way back we went via “St Ives Cider” farm and met the guy behind supplying St Ives with the majority of its Cider. It certainly was an eye opener to say the least. He just finished a 10,000 litre batch of one type and it was then we discovered that he bottled it four at a time! Now that is one effort that needs saluting. The set up was no bigger than two medium storage units and it shows the belief and desire that he has in his product. It was this evening that I finally tasted the Cider that my partners step dad has produced this year. Percy certainly didn’t disappoint and I’m pretty certain that the other bottle I’m lucky enough to have will be enjoyed later this weekend.

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Finally I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Milton Keynes Bucks Baseball Team on clinching the AAA title last weekend. I have been very fortunate to play a couple of games for the Bucks this year and its so amazing to be so close to the success. They have played terrific Baseball this year and the First Team are a terrific bunch of guys, well done again you all deserve it so very very much! For my non Baseball followers this is the equivalent of winning the league and earning the first seeded ranking going into the Play Offs. Jon and Ernie a special thanks goes to you guys for making all this possible!

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DarcyB