Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Oh, What a Forkload . . . . . . . . .

of carrots. Husband was really pleased - he has just harvested this amount of fine looking carrots with one tentative forkload. If all goes well we should have enough to last us well into the winter. In fact all our root crops have done well. The only vegetable that is looking thin and sad are the leeks.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Carriage Chaos

Last Thursday we decided to catch a local train from Bradford-on-Avon down to Weymouth. This train chugged along and stopped at every station, including some request stops with delightful names - Chetnole being one of them. The train passed through lovely countryside especially through the Dorset hills. However both journeys there and back were spoilt by some of the passengers. Sorry this is turning into a rant!!! On the way to Weymouth an unfortunate middle aged man, presumably with some mental problem, shouted all the way with 'time checks', where was the loo, what were we doing etc. Some poor couple had to move with their child. Husband had a crick in his neck trying to avoid eye contact. Not ranting really about this poor man - but on the way back - a family from hell entered the carriage and we had to endure continuous shouting, screaming, fighting from two children aged about 10 and 8. The mother said nothing. In the end I sent a piercing stare to the girl and mouthed "bloody shut up". Silence was golden! I am expecting a knock on the door from the Transport Police any minute!

At Weymouth we made our way to the harbour and watched the trawlers come in with their catch. We ate a very good fresh fish pie at one of the little restaurants and then walked along by the sea. Husband dared me to swim - but I did not take up the offer!

Friday, 26 September 2008

A Great Over (I mean honour)

Very many thanks VLIF for this award, it appeals to me because I just love cricket. I now pass this on to the following:

Malc because of his wonderful humour and his love of pigs! I think he finds these awards a bit 'girlie', but I just love his blog.

Uphilldowndale and Nuts in May for their blogs which contain very descriptive posts and beautiful photos.

Lane and Suburbia their posts make me laugh.

Autumn Is Here

On misty mornings I roam around with the camera trying to spot a nice view of a cobweb. The blackberries in this photo are Husband's pride and joy being a variety called A Parsley Leaved blackberry - their leaves stay on in the winter and there are no thorns.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Canal Walk

A couple of days ago, when the sun shone, (it has gone again now!), we took a walk along part of the Kennet & Avon Canal at Wootton Rivers which is a village near Marlborough. This narrow boat in the lock is owned by The Bruce Trust. To enable wheelchair users to enjoy a canal holiday the boat is actually wider than the traditional narrowboat and very well fitted out.

After an hour or so we rewarded ourselves with a lunch at The Royal Oak pub. This pub, along with many of the other houses in the village, was thatched. There was a very industrious woman sitting in an old shed dressing a wheelbarrow with reeds - apparently there was to be the annual wheelbarrow race in Pewsey that evening.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Mystified by the Cows

The cows are back in the field behind our house - they appeared silently, the calves are grown up enough now not to have mothers calling and making contact with them. Suddenly they are gone again gently swaying through the gap in the hedge to the two fields beyond - then they are back again - and so on. The farmer appeared to check on a water trough and I asked her how far she thought a cow walks in a day given the freedom of a couple of large fields. She said she had no idea! Perhaps somebody else has? I would have a guess at 5 miles?

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Harvest at Last

I am so pleased for our local farmer (this our view from back garden) the combine contractors have arrived at her place at last. Dreadful stories of combines getting stuck and clogged in the muddy fields. The tips of the wheat were just about to sprout so they arrived in the nick of time. We now have the roar of hurrying tractors and trailers through the village with their loads of grain and straw. Apparently their dilemma at the moment is to decide whether to haul the loads of grain to the dryers (about 10 miles away) with their own tractors and trailers or to contract lorries to do the job. When she comes to deliver the eggs on Wednesday she has promised me a map of the farm with all the names of the fields - so much nicer to be a bit more informed! I asked the farmer a question which she was unable to answer - so my next post I will be asking the same question to you! (depending upon the health of this spasmodic computer)

Computer on Strike

This dratted computer took 6 hours to load Windows!!! Now that I am online this is just to say - if no word comes forth from me, the computer is in hospital or I am contemplating throwing it through the window through "Windows"

Friday, 19 September 2008


We took a day out to Wootton Rivers which is a village near Marlborough and near the Savernake Forest. A large majority of the houses are thatched.

This thatcher was on his lunch break I think! However this photo shows a good example of the art of thatching.

We had lunch at a lovely pub in the village which had these four birds on the roof. Referring to my earlier photo of 'Slinking Fox' - I think most people will realise that these are not real birds - whereas some were fooled by the thatched fox!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Pulling Down the Sails

I expect I have bored everyone enough with these photos of our fabulous holiday. So this is the last I shall be uploading. These sunbeds were strung out in the sea from Royal Clipper marina when we were anchored. I preferred to swim around - slightly anxious after spotting the huge jellyfish.

This is husband (I think explaining two points!!) to our new found Australian friend.

This is arriving at Venice early in the morning where sadly the cruise ended. We made some really good friends and experienced a truly different holiday (and topped up with the old sunshine which has been lacking in the UK this year).

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Royal Clipper Clippings

This enormous cruise ship followed us into Corfu. Royal Clipper sailed away in the evening with her graceful sails lit up and music playing. I think all captains are proud of their ships. Our Captain gave 3 ear splitting horn blasts as if to say "We are the best" - all of us on deck had a good laugh. Suddenly the cruise ship responded with three blasts, Royal Clipper responded with two blasts, cruise ship one blast and then as if to have the last word Royal Clipper gave two cheeky pip pips. One of the cruise ship passengers shouted to Husband "What is it like?" Husband replied that it was very hard work for us continually hauling the sails!!!

This is a view taken in Corfu near the cricket ground - I think the restaurant was rather tastefully done picking up the green of the ground beyond.

This is our cabin. We had a Bulgarian stewardess called Diana looking after us - she was great. We appeared to be the only ones that came in after breakfast to find a towel sculpture on the bed. This one is of a crocodile. One night I decided to do a towel sculpture for Diana. I took two biscuits and a banana from teatime and made a smiley face on my pillow capped with my sunhat.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Sunsets Viewed Aboard Royal Clipper

We had some really lovely evenings during our holiday aboard Royal Clipper. As you can see, the sea is really calm which did not enable the crew to fully sail and we often motored along gently.

Actually I think this photo is sunrise rather than sunset just after we had passed Stromboli which was gently smoking. Royal Clipper always slowed down when we passed a really interesting and lovely place.

Monday, 15 September 2008

More Clips from Clipper

The anchor was huge and when it was rattling out clouds of rust particles flew into the air.

This is the Bosun who is in charge of the deck crew, he came from Goa.
My only visit ashore came at Corfu when Royal Clipper actually moored alongside instead of anchoring just off land. Husband and I were enjoying the best ice cream we have ever tasted. It was fresh Kumquat. I enjoyed Corfu - we took a taxi straight to the Old Town and wandered around finally reaching the Cricket Ground.

The cafe in which we ate the ice cream was situated near a square where this photo of the statue plus pigeon was taken.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Aqua Antics on Royal Clipper

This is Husband boarding the Royal Clipper tender vessel to go ashore - as you can see it is not easy, once having stepped aboard there is a drop down off the seat. We decided that I, with the wonky knees, would not take the risk. No matter - there were water sports available off the marina. This marina was an integral part of the stern of Royal Clipper and hinged downwards into the sea so as to provide a platform. To reach the marina one had to climb through a series of watertight doors.

From the marina one could swim - this was lovely although rather cold. There were diving opportunities for the nutters that liked sinking into the depths to look at wrecks and things. Snorkels and flippers were readily available. There were also two kayaks, a couple of small sailing dinghies and of course the Zodiacs. Here you can see me in the blue tee shirt yakking to the others as we donned life jackets in readiness for a zodiac safari. The others hopped in - I did a slow shuffling on my behind!

Here we are all set for a zoom through the seas exploring the inlets and coves around the Korcula area. For those of you who watched a lovely documentary on TV about Francesco Da Mosta and The Black Swan, Korcula is one of the places he visited.

The three people in charge of the water sports were all from Sweden. I asked if I could swim a circle around Royal Clipper but due to health and safety we were not allowed to do this. Once, whilst on deck, looking down at the marina, I saw the biggest jellyfish of my life - it was about 18 inches in diameter, a solid pink in colour with an inner circle of deep red. I shouted a warning down to the swimmers and all made a hasty exit!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

An Award - Thanks Hadriana

This award comes to me just at the right time to cheer me up. For those already not in the know, Rescue Dog had to be put down very unexpectedly after our arrival back home from a holiday on Royal Clipper. My brain is still reeling from the loss of Rescue Dog and the swaying motion from Royal Clipper.

I think I would like this award to travel to the following - their blogs reflect my interest in all things rural and my tomboy instincts that my poor mother was unable to quell! I love all their wonderful photographs.

Linda at Just Another Day on The Prairie

Malc at The Edge of Nowhere

Woodpightel Cottage

Mudranch's Real Dirt
Aussie Oklahoma

Friday, 12 September 2008

I Liked Watching Men At Work on . . . . . . . .

Royal Clipper during our holiday. Actually I think the Captain was taking a photo of another vessel during our entry into Corfu. The Captain was from Poland and was very charismatic. He had visited many of the churches dotted along the coastline and had arranged that whenever Royal Clipper sailed into view of one of the churches, the ship's horn would sound three long blasts - the noise was absolutely ear splitting - then we would hear the church bells ringing out - wonderful. On our first night on board he appeared on the top deck, introduced himself and implored us all to have a lovely relaxing time. A couple of days later upon another gathering on the top deck he stared at a German lady and suggested she smiled a little more!! There was much laughter from the rest of us! The Chief Officer is seen here wielding a couple of radios connecting to the various crew members to deliver instructions. The Chief Officer was called Vlad and he needed to take the Captain's advice and smile - he never did!

During time in port all the deck crew were busily but quietly keeping the ship - well - shipshape! These two were high up on one of the spars changing some pulleys. The fair haired one was obviously the crew's most athletic member and he was often seen hanging upside down inspecting, repairing and generally keeping busy. Varnishing and painting jobs were carried out non-stop. The ship, I think, has only a week in dry dock a year. At the end of this month the ship sails to the caribbean for the winter.

Husband took the opportunity and visited the engine room. Apart from the engines there was a de-salination plant for all water needs, a sewage cleansing system - the water so clean by the end of the treatment it is pumped back into the sea.

Tomorrow I shall describe the water sports facilities (my particular interest).

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Rescue Dog

Have come back from really good holiday to find Rescue Dog very unexpectedly in a terminal condition - he was only six. With the help of our kind vet we came to the ultimate decision to end his life. Thought I ought to write about it as Rescue Dog has featured a lot on my blog - by the way - his name was Taz after Tazmanian Devils who have large ears.

We Sailed Away on . . . . . . . . . . .

The Royal Clipper. This ship is the largest fully rigged sailing ship in the world! We sailed from Civitavecchia (Port of Rome) to Ponza, Capri, Sicily, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, Rovinj and ended up at Venice.

The crew were made up of over 26 nationalities but everyone seemed to get on well. We were amongst a motley group of approx 240 passengers -only 3 british couples, quite a few from Australia and USA and the majority from Germany. We especially enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere on board - no rigid table places at mealtimes etc.

The weather was fantastic - 30C and clear skies for the 11 days - we could have done with a little more wind to have been able to sail more often - however the deck crew did their utmost to utilise the wind. These first two pictures were taken by Husband whilst going ashore in one of the tenders - mostly we anchored off the ports. Lots of little boats used to flock around and take pictures as Royal Clipper was quite a sight - especially sailing at night - the masts and rigging were lit up. Enough for now as my brain is still not working properly after the holiday and I am still swaying along with the ship!