Haresfield Beacon and bluebells…

A misty and wet walk through the woods to see the bluebells and find some dens!

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Day 012…

A dismal, cold and rainy day in Reading. Having taken the train up there, wandering around and feeling quite uninspired to take photos, I saw a quite random and abstract opportunity – a cable tube running under the train tracks. It was shining in the rain and the vivid colour stood out against the dull background.

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Cornwall camping: day 4…

Another wet day followed the very wet night, which followed the very sunny day… the Cornish weather wasn’t making its mind up!

But, we had an ace up our sleeves, in the form of Falmouth Maritime Museum, which we hoped would be something which would get us out of the rain for most of the day. It ended up being a really good visit with great exhibitions, graphics, architecture and food. Everyone had a good time and the Seahawk Helicopter was particularly impressive.

At this point we had pretty much decided to cut the camping trip short by a day and head back home tomorrow as we had run out of indoor and dry entertainment!

Eden Project here we come!


Allotment growing and digging…

I’ve had no sight of the allotment for the past two rainy weeks and was itching to get over there.

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Managed to get the final section of the potato and onion patch dug over and carried on with the area between the potato patch and the raised beds. A new path has also been set out to the right side which gives a bit of definition.

Lots of healthy potato leaves popping up and the onions are well established. Also doing well are the various weeds! Lots of rain and mild weather has kicked them into life, so a weeding session is needed me thinks.

T-minus 1 week till the next delivery of Rocket Garden seedlings! Need more growing space!


Thistledown camping…

Our first camping trip of the year! We had a great few days camping with our friends the MK’s and their kids. We’ve been to the site once before and that was also really good so there was no hesitation in going back. We’ll probably go back there this year as we’ve found another area of the site and we’ve also explored the valley further.

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There’s a National Trust area at the bottom of the valley, around Woodchester Mansion and lots of amazing walks and trails to explore. We all went on what we thought was a kid-friendly walk down the valley through the woods, which turned into a massive hike! It was great though, but dd involve a fair bit of boy-carrying! We found lots of cool features and future walks, including a great boat and boat house and some amazing woodland. One thing that struck me about the conifer plantation we walked through was how little biodiversity there was and the lack of sunlight. It was almost barren, apart from the trees and some ferns on the ground.

The weather was really good and we had some good camp fires in the evenings. The nights were cold and the second night sleeping I had a t-shirt, two long-sleeve shirts, a cotton button up shirt, fleece and cardigan! Also a hat. Slept really well though! It was great just sitting around the camp fire and there were some potentially big decisions made!


Ireland 4th-13th Sept ’09

After 1025 miles in the car – 350 miles to get there, 350 touring around and a bit less coming back, we are back in Blighty!

The weather was wet for the first 3 days but after that, it was amazing and even managed to get a tan!  Jamie made huge progress with his toilet training and completed his toilet chart, after using the ‘big-boy toilet’ 20 times. There were also Donkeys in the adjacent field to our cottage! 


So, drove to Pembroke Ferry Port for a 2:30pm sail – 3 hours drive. Then there was a 4 hour crossing then an hours drive to Waterford, where we were staying the night. Waterford Travelodge was fine + dinner at Eddie Rocket’s – 1960’s American diner themed restaurant (you can’t call us cheap!)! We got to the hotel at about 8 so there’s no way we could have driven straight through to the cottage.


Drove from Waterford to the cottage (4hrs + stops), about 2 miles from Ballydehob on the N71. Got to the cottage around lunchtime and basically spent the day settling into the new surroundings.


Well, as starts to holidays go, this wasn’t the best! It rained lightly all day, but enough to get the waterproofs on and look like proper tourists! We all set off to a town called Kinsale near Cork, which in the end was a 3 hour round trip, back in the direction we had just come from!

The town looked nice but having to deal with the kids and the rain didn’t help matters. We visited Desmond Castle, which had long been used as a prison for the French + the ‘international’ wine museum inside. It was a nice place and the rain probably added to the atmosphere inside! Claire and Edward stayed on for a visit to the local public house but we headed back to look for food.


After the previous days exertions, we decided to stay local and check out the sights in and around Ballydehob. This turned out to be a good move and was more like the sort of thing I was thinking about + it didn’t rain till about 4pm, after we had got back. There was a good playground for Jamie on the road into the town and a cool 12-arch stone bridge with a footpath along the top.

We then set out to find a beach and managed to get to a lovely couple of beaches near Schull – Coosheen beach/cove and Cooradarigan, off the main road to Schull. Really nice rock pool action and photos of pebbles etc + grey sand! Lots of slate in the area maybe giving it that colour.


Another expedition north of the cottage beckoned. We went through the Bantry Bay area, which was exactly 15 mins drive (as predicted by the AA website), then onto Glengariff, which is the town where you get a small ferry to an island called Garinish Island. Lots of Seals on the way and the gardens on the island were really nice. Again, it rained till about 4pm, but generally it was fine with the buggy, although muddy in parts. The 65 steps to the round tower was fun (thanks to Edward for helping to haul it up there!).


The first day without rain! This was the start of sun for the rest of the week and a definite turning point in the choice of destination. Having sampled the rocky/pebble beaches, we wanted some more + some sand! We all headed to a place called Barley Cove Beach, which turned out to be a huge sandy beach with a stream running down the side and lots of interesting rocks, dunes and pools etc.

We had some lunch on the beach (bought from Goleen – a local village) and went paddling – my god the water was cold! Built a sand csatle and generally enjoyed the place. We then headed to Mizen Head, which is the most south-westerly point of Ireland, but you had to pay to get into the centre and we were all starting to get a bit tired by then.

Finally, as it was an awesome day and since the boys were by now asleep, we drove up to the top of Mount Gabriel, which stands at 407m tall and is the tallest peak in the area. Amazing views from the top and you could see for miles. There’s a Aviation Authority station up there with two white domes + a wind farm a couple of miles away.

Got back to the cottage to find that sister Claire had locked the cottage and taken the key with her (I suppose not illogically) meaning we were locked out! My first thought was ‘how do we break in’! I found their bedroom window open to the side but then Claire suggested using the bathroom window, which was lower and bigger. Climbed on the picnic table and got a leg up from Claire and managed to get through into the cottage.


After our awesome day at the beach, we decided to go back to Barley Cove, while C&E went on a cultural tour. Again, a very nice day and not a cloud in the sky! We tried the smaller cove area this time and had fun digging sand dams to keep a few large pools at bay, making a deeper area which Jamie could jump in etc. In the end, we dug a few levels of pools and it was starting to look like a ‘Megastructure’!


Schull playground and food shops + walk along the coast and onto a small pebble beach. Schull is defo the sort of place to go for a chilled out holiday and lots of good shops.


Left the cottage around 10:30 and drove for a couple of hours, until we got past Cork. Saw a sign for the ‘National Ploughing Championships ’09’ – on the way to Rosslare! Got into St. Helen’s Hotel at Rosslare Harbour in time for a trip to the hotel pool. we all had to wear swim hats(!), which I haven’t had to do for 20 years! Had a really nice dinner then off to bed.


The ferry back to Pembroke from Rosslare went well but part of the car trip was a bit stressful (!!!), with Jac not happy in his seat!

Went a bit nuts with the photos (477 in total) but here’s a selection! Used my Nokia phone camera quite a bit and the new zoom lens for my Canon DSLR (18-200mm) was really useful.

Overall, a very good holiday and lots of ideas for the future.