Blog Archives

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

Snowdonia Long Weekend

Following on from my blog written 1085 Metres above sea level on the summit of Mount Snowdon, I have been gathering my thoughts. On what was a truly amazing adventure we had the pleasure of enjoying one of the most picturesque of places visited to date.

The drive to our campsite was beautiful. As soon as we passed the Welsh border, we were greeted with winding roads offering some beautiful views. Mountains, open rivers, streams and fields full of nature on show setting a lovely background story to what lay waiting for us.
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Cae Du is a beautiful campsite, very neatly presented within a border of the Snowdonia Mountains. This campsite offered spacious pitches and a well stocked shop. The prices were good value considering the remoteness of this site. The facilities on this well maintained site included basic toilets open 24 hours with more modern and newer washing facilities open between 7am-10pm. The views all around the site were breathtaking and there were some lovely parts we walked around on the site including a secluded mountain stream.

Saturday was our judgement day as we climbed Mount Snowdon. Following on from my previous blog, I can confirm the decent was far more demanding than I thought it would be. My fiancé had to strap a heat pack to my calf and help me carry our numerous stretches to aid my tight calfs and sore ankles. Despite the aches I am still feeling, I wouldn’t have swapped this experience for anything.

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On Sunday we headed to the local village called Beddgelert. This village was so beautiful and the walk from our campsite took around ten minutes. This is a very lovely place and the walk into the village took us along a rocky river which was overlooked by some very attractive houses. One snap shot of this walk seemed to take us back to Greece, this picture is below.

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We had a walk around the shops and bought a couple of pieces from a craft shop. There was a lovely ice cream parlor where we sampled some delightful flavours. I had a strawberry, melon and Cointreau Ice cream which was amazing. We spent some time chilling at one of the local pubs and watched the world pass by as we rested our achy legs and bodies.

There is a sad local story to this village which played a huge part in the naming of Beddgelert. My story is very rough and if I’ve missed anything I do apologise. A prince dating back to the 1300s lived in this village and he had a loyal dog as his pet. One day he came home to find his empty sons cot covered in blood, the prince feared the worst and slayed his faithful companion Gelert. The prince frantic over the death of his air to the throne was in despair. It wasn’t until he searched the house that he found his son unscathed and the blood was from a wolf that had tried to attack him. The wolf was killed by his loyal dog Gelert. It is said that after this event the prince never smiled again. Gelerts grave remains to be seen today, the photo below shows his grave as well as a statue of Gelert.

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We had a couple of meals in Beddgelert which were decent and enjoyed the lovely feeling this village gave us. The streams were beautiful and the sunshine lit up all the flowers and bright colours around the streets. This is a place we will visit again and one little treat we didn’t expect to find. The final night at our campsite was chilled and we played a couple of games of Scrabble before settling down. The rain was heavy and kept us awake but by the time it settled it gave us time to get some sleep ahead of our journey home tomorrow.

Before we got on our way home we decided to visit a place called Portmeirion to have a walk around the coastlines or that’s what we thought it would entail. Our adventurous streak got the better of us and once we walked around the streets with brightly coloured painted houses and pools filled with piercing blue water we found ourselves thrown into our own adventure.

Portmeirion is spanned over 70 acres and whilst most of it is mapped, we decided the sign pointing to a Ghost Garden was too much of a temptation to resist. Off the map and past the Dog Cemetery we were trying to find, we found ourselves clambering through Rainforests filled with bright plants, loud wildlife and areas that not even the most local of residents had passed.

We finally got stuck as we were presented with a steep sandy bank down around 30 feet of cliffs. We managed to clamber down safely and the walk led us down to the beach. Fortunately the sea was out and we could enjoy a lovely albeit lengthy walk back to the village centre. It was one adventure, one we didn’t expect to participate in, however it was bloody good fun.

Portmeirion turns out to be quite a famous place with many tv programs filmed there. These include The Prisoner and Doctor Who. It certainly offers a lot and we did enjoy some lovely cake in their cafe. It is very quaint and a strange thing is that some of the buildings have windows painted on them, now that is weird!

The drive back was pretty boring in comparison to the amazing long weekend we experienced. Snowdonia we will be back. 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

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

Local Legend of St Buryan

So following on from my last blog there are a couple of things that I can confirm. Firstly we got here in one piece despite every attempt the A30 threw at us. It was a scene similar to that of The Truman Show, where when he tries to escape he is faced with many man made blockades to prevent him from doing so. The journey itself took a little under 7 hours and once we’d got the tent all set up, we were very very relieved to sip that first cold beer. The second thing I can confirm is that Scrabble didn’t make the trip, my partner has convinced me that the Puzzle Book she bought would be a worthy substitute! Only time will tell on that one 😉

We have certainly made the most of our time down here so far. We are both massive fans of walking and exploring and have found some truly amazing sights and views. To the untrained eye an Ordinance Survey map seems dull and boring, to us it’s pure ecstasy. We have successfully found our first Cornish Stone Circle, located some standing stones, found ancient burial sites and our first Ordinance Survey Marker.

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Now we are also fans of doing the more well known sights, just in case I need to dispel that concern you may have as you read this. We have not only visited the brand new theme park styled Lands End, but we have also survived the Causeway and long winding uneven walk to the top of St Michaels Mount. The views from the bottom were impressive, the views from the top simply breath taking! We spent a day in Penzance and walked along the harbors and along the streets, this is a beautiful town with flags gracing every part of it. The weather so far has been lovely, it’s only rained when we have been asleep in our tent!

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The nature we have witnessed first hand down here has been amazing to say the least. As we walked along the Sand Dunes yesterday from St Michaels Mount we saw a Weasel chasing a Rabbit ahead of us, it was in a comical way similar to Road Runner and Wiley Coyote! We think the Rabbit escaped. We have seen many colorful butterflies including Red Admirals and large Moths which resembled Red Tiger Moths. On our walk to the top of Chapel Carn we saw wild ponies and many birds as well as the sweetest little Field Mouse and yes I got that close to it using my IPhone Camera. Finally the evenings turning into nights have seen many a creepy crawly trying to invade our Tent and surrounding areas, the slugs have proven to be somewhat brave and large.

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Finally our visit to St Buryan proved to be an interesting one. They say the term “legend” is used far too regularly and that it loses value, however I am quite confident that its a fitting term for this instance. We went to grab a pub lunch and popped into the pub in St Buryan. Now it’s always a strange feeling when you aren’t a local popping into a village pub and in this instance it wasn’t too daunting. We were presented with a nice bar area with many arrays of local memorabilia on the walls and three locals, two of them together.

After we ordered our drinks and sat down, we were greeted by an elderly gentleman called Basil. The conversation quickly turned to Cricket and we were talking about the current Ashes Test that was on and how England needed to set around 250 to give them a chance of winning it. Suddenly I was pointed to a newspaper article framed and hanging proudly on the wall. It was a copy of a Schoolboys Cricket match in August 1974 when a certain Basil took all Ten Wickets in a match. I must say it was at this point I realized this was Basil. He proudly talked me through his successes and exploits as if the game had been played yesterday. For any non cricket fans out there, then the equivalent of this is hard to compare. All I can say is this is a very rare achievement and one I’ve never seen before. To that Basil I raise my glass to you, you are an awesome real life local legend of St Buryan!

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DarcyB

Camping Holidays Rule!

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Well it’s the first time I get to write about going on Holiday. I am not going to sound smug and rub it in, however I am extremely excited and looking forward to it.

Me and my partner are heading down to Cornwall for a week. If there is one thing we certainly do, it is making the most of every day that we can when we escape away. We are both into our camping and have the most awesome tent, trust me, my previous experiences of camping have involved having to crawl around the tent due to lack of head space. Well not now, I have to admit it was the most savvy purchase that we’ve made, all the research was undertaken by my better half and I can honestly say it makes camping a delight. Not only can we stand up, but we have our own bedroom and living room compartments which when kitted out actually feels like living in a static caravan, well a spacious static caravan!

We have certainly got the knack of putting it up and have already made five camping trips this year. From the extremes of Derbyshire in March where we experienced temperatures of minus seven, right through to the heat of Lewes. We stayed at an amazing place called the Secret Campsite last month where we also watched Mumford & Sons Live at the Gentlemen of the Road Festival. Practice has very much made the process much easier as the year has gone on and I can’t wait to get the car all packed up in the morning and start our next adventure.

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I am a real geek when it comes to packing bits on a camping trip and I am confident that I will not only manage to sneak the Scrabble Board amongst our bits but I may even get a game! I love setting up our Mini Purple BBQ called Cookie and firing up the Coals so we can cook either breakfast or some lovely burgers for dinner. I am still convinced that I will be able to BBQ a full Chicken on it, but I think that’s just me dreaming.

Basically if you haven’t worked it out from my words above, I love adventures, I love camping, I love holidays but the most important thing is having the company of my awesome girlfriend. All of these factors mixed together make the experience a total delight. There is a rumour that the campsite we are staying at has WiFi, if this is the case I will write a couple of Holiday Blogs whilst I am in Cornwall. If not there will be one big one waiting for you all to digest in a weeks time.

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DarcyB