Sunday, 27 November 2011

Back home

So, the holiday is over and we are back home. Boooooo!!!!

Friday started out very sunny, but suddenly came over very dark and threw it down with rain for a while, and then brightened up again.

We went back into Whitby town for another quick wander around (see Beryl, i was listening yesterday, and this time have spelt it right!). We both even braved the 199 steps up to the church, which gave us some excellent views across the town, but was SO windy.

Coming down the steps gives you plenty of good photo opportunities, and i took full advantage of them.

Lunch was back at Humble Pie n Mash, which i can totally recommend - they are absolutely scrummy - especially the "Homity" one.

Saturday saw us leave the apartment - sad in one way, but also quite glad to get back home in another. I was missing my radio gear, and Sally was missing her craft room, we were both missing our comfy bed, but neither of us were missing the general clutter of our house! If only we could find a way to have all of our toys but still keep things tidy!!

The journey back was very uneventful. We stopped off at Sally's parents for a few hours, and it was lovely to see them. I haven't been to see them since July, which i could hardly believe it had been so long.

While we were there, Beryl made a request of me that i do more things on my blog that she would understand - the radio ones just baffle her. So, having seen the magazine Christmas tree she had made, i made one myself this morning and here it is:-

I made it from an old issue of Amateur Photographer magazine. It won't win any awards, but it was good fun to do!

I have also set up another blog which i will dedicate to my radio exploits. The link is if you are interested.

Oh, and by the way Beryl, i worked a new country this morning - Latvia on 15m PSK31.   ;-) xxx

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Grumpy Old Duke of York

We got up early again today, and headed off to York. It seemed to take far longer than I expected to to get there. We used one of the many park and rides that serve the city, and very convenient it was too.

The thing is, we appeared to have taken a wrong turn somewhere, which could explain the long journey, and we had arrived in London!!

What on earth is he talking about you are asking yourself. Well, it was majorly busy, more like Oxford Street in London on a Saturday than York on a Thursday at the end of November!

Also, why was everyone in such a rush, so grumpy and aggressive? This surely was London. After all, everyone up north is chilled and pleasant aren't they?

Marks and Spencers was an experience. There was the old man complaining to a staff member about the lack of staff meaning that he had been forced to QUEUE FOR A COFFEE AT LUNCH TIME!

He was so incensed by this, that he was now more than happy to waste even more of his precious time complaining about it..........

Then, there was the very strange sight of staff in fluorescent jackets at the top of each of the escalators to tell customers which escalator went up and which went down......funny that, I would have thought the direction of travel of the people on them would have been a bit of a giveaway! Does this show how little sense M&S think their customers have? Slightly worrying. If some of these yellow jacketed staff had been serving coffee, that old chap would have been far happier.

There was a "Christmas" Market in the street, which was mostly selling "tat", but was causing a lot of interest among the madding crowds, and the feeling of being hemmed in by so many people was beginning to freak me out. I really don't cope with that well, and it has been quite a while since I have had that feeling.

We took a slightly different route back, and it was quicker than the journey there. Back at the flat, I dozed off on the sofa for a while, and spent a fair time snoring so I am told!

Dinner tonight was at the famous Magpie Cafe. Sally had fish and chips, and I went with the scampi. They were both absolutely superb, among the best we have ever tasted.

Dessert was lemon meringue pot for Sally and baked Alaska stollen for me. Both were again fabulous. I can see why it has the reputation it does. Thanks for the tip Clive!!

Tomorrow is our last full day, and we have yet to decide how to spend it....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Have you missed us?

Well, we vanished for a couple of days there - sorry about that!

Basically, Tuesday was a very lazy day for us, and we ended up staying in and chilling out. The weather was a bit dull and threatened rain all day without really carrying out its threat.

I slept for quite a while, and read while I was awake (so not for very long then!), and Sally got on with her crochet practice, trying again and again until she got it right. She was very pleased with her efforts, and rightly so.

On Wednesday, having set an alarm, I managed to drag myself out of bed at a sensible time, and we headed up the coast to Staithes, which is a tiny fishing village, a bit like Robin Hoods Bay, and when we got there it all looked suspiciously closed for the winter, and so, rather than walking down the steep hill, being disappointed, and then having to drag ourselves back up to the carpark again, we chickened out and drove on to Saltburn by the Sea.

From the information leaflet we had picked up, it looked as though it was a miniature version of Scarborough, which, in a way, it kind of was, but imagine a miniature version of a miniature version, and you are more along the right lines.

Once again, a lot of it was closed for the winter, but we did find a nice little coffee type shop, and got chatting to the lady serving in there, and he told us a few places to check out. We ended up having lunch in a small cafe next to the railway station, which was ok, but nothing to get excited about.

When we got back to Whitby, we had a wonder around a bit more, spent some time in the amusement arcade, and checked out a few more of the little side alleys. On the way back to the flat, we made a brief detour up to the abbey. It was closed but I was able to get some photos of it from the carpark.

Soup and a roll for dinner, which was rather yummy, I watched some of the football after Sally had watched master chef, and then to bed for another good nights sleep. The strange thing is that even though the bed seems quite comfy, we both seem to wake up a back ache! Despite how much we like the flat, we do miss our own bed.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Happy birthday to me

Monday 21st November 2011 - my 44th birthday. Middle age creeps ever closer, although some would say that it has been with me since I was 8 years old!!

It was a dull and misty start to the day, and it didn't improve too much. The sun did manage to break through every so often, but not for too long. It was reasonably warm though.

To start the day, we drove south to Robin Hood's Bay, which is a very picturesque little fishing village, not unlike Clovelley in Devon. You have to park at the top of the village and walk down the very steep hill to the main part of the old village with it's narrow winding streets and tiny old fishermans cottages.

Despite the whole cuteness of the village, the fact that it is out of season now means that virtually everywhere was closed. It also seems that the vast majority of the cottages are now holiday lets. It would seem that the village is almost uninhabited outside of the summer season, and so can only have lost most of it's character. It is such a shame to see this. It is also very noticeable that Whitehall Landing where the flat is we are staying in must also be almost all holiday lets or second homes, as it is virtually deserted now the weekend is over.

I find this very frustrating and annoying that there are so many perfectly good homes empty due to the "greed" of some of those who are able to afford more that one property. I appreciate that it is a good investment plan in the current climate, but it doesn't make it right.

Anyway, back to the Bay. We had a wonder around the quaint streets and spent some time sitting watching the sea before braving the steep hill back to the car. We then made our way a bit further south, through Scarborough and on to Filey.

By the time we had got to Filey, it was just about as murky as it had been so fare during the day, so we parked in town and had a quick wonder around and found a nice bakery to buy lunch in. This we ate in the car - never let it be said that we don't know how to "live it up"!

We then drove inland to Pickering where we had stopped briefly on Saturday on our way up to Whitby. We had a proper look around the town, it was market day, although as it was now getting on in time, they were starting to pack up.

I drove us back to Whitby from there. It was the first time that I have driven this particular one of Sally's company cars (focus diesel) so it was interesting to see what I thought of it. It was a shame as it was now getting dark, as I'm never too keen on driving in the dark, but I still gave it a bit of welly to see how it performed, and was quite impressed with it.

Back at the flat it was time for a lovely pot of tea before we headed back into Whitby for my birthday meal. This was at "Humble Pie n Mash", which as you can probably guess, serves home made pies and mashed potato. I went for the chicken in cider one, and Sally chose the "Homity" pie which contained cheese, garlic, potato and spices. Both came with mash, peas and gravy.

Mine was lovely, but Sally's was spectacular! I tried a few mouthfuls of it, and I have to say that it was exquisite. I hope that we can get back there again before we go home to have some more. For pudding, I had the jam rolly polly, and Sally went for the mince pies. Both were lovely.

We then walked some of the calories off by having a wonder around the town, taking in some of the streets we had missed the last time. It is very noticeable that there are not many multiples in Whitby, and very few of the usual suspects that you tend to find everywhere. Boots, Holland & Barrett, Specsavers and Superdrug being the only obvious ones.

There are also a lot of empty shops, and some rather shabby looking ones, so one can only imagine that times are very tough around here for businesses, and that being a "seaside resort" does not guarantee you any favours.

So, another birthday bites the dust. Do I feel older? Yes. Do I feel tireder? Yes. But, this may be down to the sea air of course!!

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Sunday, 20 November 2011


.....Why do you miss when my baby kisses me?

A good nights sleep in the pretty comfortable bed, a bit of a lie in, and a sunny morning greeted me when I finally woke up enough to drag myself out of bed.

Sally had spotted a Christmas Craft Fair being advertised at the Moors Visitor Centre at Danby, so we made our way inland to the centre.

As we made our way from the carpark, Sally heard a woman on her way back to her car say that she was "proper disappointed". Not just disappointed, but PROPER disappointed. We had a sinking feeling!

Despite Mr and Mrs Santa being on hand, the actual "craft fair" was indeed a proper, full blown disappointment. It was a great shame that Sally hadn't brought her boxes of cards with her, as they would probably been the stars of the show.

We ended up giggling about it all. It was free to get in (thankfully) and it was a lovely day, we are on holiday, so who cares?!

Leaving the (un)fair we headed down narrow twisting country lanes, up and down serious hills, and weaved our way across the moor through tiny villages until we got to Goathland where they used to film the TV series Heartbeat.

We had a wonder around the giftshops and ended up having a cream tea in a little cafe, which was very pleasant.

The weather had started to turn a bit misty, although it did vary tremedously from village to village, turn to turn.

We made our way back to Whitby, parked up and had a wonder around the town. Being Sunday afternoon, not everywhere was open, and as it was getting on in time, some shops were starting to close anyway. We only just made it to the CoOp with minutes to spare before it closed.

I was gutted to discover that the cafe "Tea n Tarts" has closed down and been replaced with a photographers studio. Sally was delighted to find the amusement arcades, and I suspect that we will visit them when we have a bit more time on our hands.

Back at the flat as it was getting dark, tea and birthday cake was followed by a period of reading and dozing. Tonight we had soup and rolls and made plans for tomorrow.

Wonderful Whitby

So, here we are at last on our "Winter" holiday in Whitby. For many many years I have wanted to come here, but have never got around to it. Finally, here I am.
The journey up was fairly uneventful. There was a closure on the M1 just north of the Derby/Nottingham junction, so we did a detour which took us just around the edge of Derby and got back on the motorway north of the closure near to Ripley at junction 28.
The rest of the journey was fine, and as we got further north, so the sun shone more.
We actually arrived at the flat over an hour before we should have been able to get into it, but took a chance, and the coast was clear, so were able to get moved in and settled.
The flat is in a new'ish development on the site of an old wharf. There are several blocks of flats (sorry, luxury apartments) and a few town house style properties on the development.
Ours is on the 3rd floor (the block goes up to 4 floors) with there being a gated carpark on the ground floor. Thankfully there is a lift, which we took full advantage of to get all our stuff up here. Even though we are only here for a week, we seem to have brought so much with us. I am equally as guilty as Sally, and it seems that as I have gotten older, my ability to travel light has diminished!!
The flat itself is beautiful. It is HUGE, spotlessly clean, nicely furnished, and well set out. We are very impressed. The view from the lounge window is across the harbour and the town, with the abbey just being visable to the very right hand edge of the vista. We doubt that one would ever get bored of this view and want to take it home with us! We have yet to see "Sammy the Seal", but there are photos here to prove that others have seen him in the harbour.
After a refreshing cup of tea, we ventured into town to the Co-Op to stock up a bit. It was dark by now, and almost time for the shops to close (it was around 5pm), so our main interest turned to finding somewhere to eat.
We decided on a chip shop/restaurant that looked clean and nicely presented. Here we both had haddock and chips with mushy peas. Now I normally don't like mushy peas, and will only have one mouthful before turning my nose up, but these were lovely and creamy and I scoffed the lot! Sally on the other hand, who usually loves them, thought they were very bland and left most of hers. The fish was stunning. Very fresh, very white and very tasty. Full marks!
While we were waiting for our order to arrive, we spotted that sign I blogged about last night in the shop opposite. Have you worked out what "Pluots" are yet? If I tell you that the shop was one that sells dried fruits and nuts, will that help????
Back at the flat we settled down for the usual Saturday evening of mediocre television with plenty of interludes for tea and cake. (Sally has made a chocolate cake for my birthday - even though its not until Monday, we started on the cake!)
While "I wish I was still a celebrity, please give me some work" was on, I downloaded a cribbage game onto the ipad. I haven't played for about 30 years, and was amazed that I could still remember most of the rules and scoring. Had a couple of games against the computer, losing the first and winning the second.
To finish the evening off, I watched some of Match of The Day, mostly to see the Wigan v Blackburn game to see Blackburn's contriversal second goal. They are right, it should have never been allowed to stand! As a Blackburn fan, half of me is glad it was allowed as it gave us a point, and the other half of me wishes it hadn't been, we'd lost and would have been another nail in the mangers coffin, because all the while he is in charge, we are going to struggle. He simply hasn't a clue what he is doing!
Time for bed. See you in the morning!!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

What on earth is "Pluots" ?

Sign just spotted in a shop window in Whitby :-
"New in stock, Pluots, special offer, 49p per 100 grams"
The question is, what is/are Pluots?
The waitress in the Royal Fisheries chip shop restaurant heard us puzzling over it and told us what is is.....but do YOU know???????
Answers below please!!!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

More new countries...

I have spent the week or so since the big contest mostly working on the data modes - PSK31 and JT65 snagging me some nice contacts, including a few new countries:-

20m - Norway, Poland, Lithuania.
10m - Brazil, Dominican Republic, South Africa. (the last two being new countries for me)

30m - Malta. (new country)
20m - USA.
15m - Russia.
10m - USA, Russia, South Africa, Brazil.

20m - Canary Islands, Holland.

So, three new countries there for me, and i also missed out on a few that i heard but could not hear me (Japan being the most frustrating one on 10m JT65 early this morning)

I am getting the hang of the JT65 operating procedure, and even managed to have 2 QSOs at the same time - don't ask me how i did that - it shouldn't actually be possible, but never mind!

Despite not being able to have spent as much time as i would have liked on the air, i have enjoyed what i have done, and feel that it was worthwhile.