Thursday 29 April 2021

Hove Beach

 Another day at the beach, and today the sun is out again.

Just a short update, and after waiting all day, it seems that we are the front runners for the flat, but there are still some details to be finalised before we get the official go ahead.

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Brighton beach

 Another day, another beach. This time we are in Brighton, our absolute favourite seaside town and the only place we would consider if we are going to get a little flat.

Much colder and wetter than yesterday, but still lovely.

For the first time in ages something has come up that we like the look of and can afford, so let's see what it's like.

First impressions- very rusty railings and a nice street, also extremely close to the sea.

The estate agent cheated with their photos and showed a sea view, but that was actually taken from a flat on a higher floor than ours, and as the window to our flat is behind the very fancy car, then a totally impossible view!

Still, it is very pretty. Almost as pretty as another flat that went on the market today that is way above our price range and is even a bit smaller. Unbelievably, our old flat in Brighton is now up for sale and we can't afford to buy it back!

Anyway, we liked this one, it needs some work and we have put in an offer, along with four other people, and we will find out tomorrow if we have got it.

Fingers and toes crossed!

Bournemouth beach

 Yesterday we took a trip to Bournemouth, mostly because we were interested in buying a studio flat, but also to enjoy the sunshine on the beach. 

Obviously we had to have a 99 which was big, but not quite this big.

We had a nice time walking around and did 27,000 steps so we covered a lot of ground.
With regards to studio flats, we saw one that Darren liked but I didn't, one that I sort of liked even though it was grotty and Darren didn't. Another that was terrible and we both didn't like, and finally a totally derelict old bank that is being split into flats.

This one was quite exciting and the top floor had a clock room. It was a round tower room with the back of a clock and a load of mechanism to wind it up, and on the outside is the clock. Think of it like a tiny Big Ben.

Anyway we aren't burying that either.

We carried on enjoying the lovely beach views and then on the walk back to the car saw this wall.

I have taken lots of photos as I am going to try to copy it on our roof terrace at home.

After a lot of thought we have decided that a flat in Bournemouth is not for us.

Monday 26 April 2021

Farmoor Reservoir

 We made a quick trip to Decathlon in Oxford for some new running kit and then drove a couple of miles to Farmoor Reservoir.

We parked up and headed up a ramp to the reservoir. It is right next to the river Thames, draws its water from there and the view was lovely.

I have to be honest now though and say that the next thought was 'what a terrible smell'. It overwhelmed us for about the next 100 metres and then we either got used to it, or the wind blew it away.

We then watched a family of baby ducklings being introduced to the rather rough water by their mum. They definitely weren't keen on the idea and quickly hopped back again when they thought that she wasn't watching.

As you can see from the map, we walked the whole route, and we didn't swim across the middle, but surprisingly there was a road across it. A nice way to spend a couple of hours. 

Monday 19 April 2021

Busman's holiday

 We have just got back from a lovely few days away. We have been staying at the Premier Inn at Buckhurst Hill because we have been working hard. For the last four days we have been turning Darren's sister's living room in to two bedrooms and a corridor, as she wanted to reconfigure her flat to make it work better for her family.

Darren built all of the stud walls, fitted two doors, insulated the walls and put up the plasterboard. We got in each others way a bit, but I taped and jointed the plastererboard, wallpapered it and did a bit of painting.

What made it extra nice though, was our early morning walks to work through Epping Forest. Every morning was frosty, dry and sunny and we saw wildlife, ponies, golfers, cyclists and dog walkers.

The leisure walkers such as ourselves were well catered for as there was a surprising number of tree swings, which I couldn't resist trying.

I also got a couple of feet up in to a tree, and I very sensibly didn't try to cross the stream over numerous fallen branches as I am getting very clumsy and it would only have ended badly.

We also found a great coffee shop and sat outside with a cappuccino and almond croissant every morning before starting work.

Round cycle trip to Waddesdon

 I don't know why I forgot to blog this grand day out, but five days too late I am doing it anyway.

Darren sorted out the route and the two of us and Susan, and we set out on a lovely sunny day. After a few miles we arrived at Brill which is a beautiful village at the top of a very steep hill. Susan had cycled it before and knew that our route took us up to the top of the hill, then back down again before finally going up again to a windmill and actually to the village. 

We then carried on to what we were expecting to be the highlight of the day - Waddesdon Manor. Unfortunately the manor house is carefully hidden in the middle of a wood on the top of a hill so we didn't see it at all, but we had a great time cycling along car free road in the grounds. Waddesdon Village is a sight to behold, but is on the very busy A41, so it was good that we turned quickly off and back on to quiet lanes.

Next stop was at Quainton, which I had never heard of, but turned out to be the highlight. It has a vintage railway station complete with steam trains.....

..... a very nice cafe with tables on the village green and an amazing view of yet another windmill. 

A route that I am sure that we will be doing again and at 54 kilometres, just the right distance. 

Monday 12 April 2021

Snowy shopping

 It's very rare that I open the blinds in the morning and gasp in surprise, but I did today. Not Mount Fuji on the horizon, but snow, in our garden in the middle of April.

It was snowing quite hard, but as I was drinking a coffee I realised that it wasn't lasting long, and by the time I took some photos the world was no longer quite as white.

We were out early though and we had an exciting destination in mind. Bicester Village has been closed since last year and it was opening at 8am, and we wanted to be there to witness it.

We were slightly delayed along the way as the train crossing was closed, but we arrived at about 8.04am and we were just about the first shoppers at the station end.

We walked the whole length of the village and the crowds were pouring in from the car park at the other end.

I bought some glass cups from Villeroy and Bosh and Darren got a whole new outfit including shoes from Timberland. It felt great to buy some non essential items in real life instead of ordering them online. 

We were back home by half past nine and all of the snow had disappeared. The flowers in the garden recovered well from the shock, and I think that we are going again tomorrow.

Friday 9 April 2021

Sharky bike ride

 Today we cycled to Oxford again, but on a different route. We also did a bit of sightseeing including the Bridge of Sighs, 

and the highlight of the day - the shark through the roof house.

I don't know why it's there, but we saw it a few years ago and it's good to know that it is hasn't fallen off.

Yet again we cycled though lovely villages and quiet country roads and racked up a fairly tiring 56 kilometres. 

Spooky fact, our route looks just like a giant shark caught on the end of a fishing rod. 

Thursday 8 April 2021

Wedding anniversary walk

 I suggested a walk around Port Meadow on the outskirts of Oxford for our wedding anniversary. Okay, I know that in the past we have done much more exciting things, but it was the best that we could do.

We arrived and parked at the edge of a huge rather boring looking field and my expectations sank a little.

After skirting the edge for about 20 minutes the route then took us out through a little wood and it started to improve.

Then we went along the side of some well kept allotments and on to the beautiful canal. There are some very nice houses backing on to the water, some great seating areas and lots of canoes and rowing boats.

Our turning point in Oxford was the station so we nipped inside to use the facilities and grab a cappuccino and, luxury of luxuries, an indoor seat. Seeing as we were celebrating I splashed out on an egg and cress sandwich to go with my coffee. Disappointingly there was no empty chairs by the coffee shop so we had to sit right next to the ladies toilets. Even more disappointingly, my sandwich was semi frozen so it resembled a choc ice, but nowhere near as pleasant.

I forgot to take an inside shot of the station, but this is the view as we left.

Onwards and upwards, we then joined the river Thames and followed the southern bank all of the way back to a lock, an ancient ruined Abbey and our car. 

This section was lovely and it's always good to explore new places. 

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Kirtlington walk

A lovely walk today, but firstly a quick funny photo from yesterday.

Darren's two great nephews visited and opened their belated Christmas presents, which were crocodile and shark cardboard masks. They wore them all afternoon and after the shark tried to eat our fluffy nemo fish puppet, they then decided that the crocodile would eat the flowers in the garden.

But getting back to today we parked in Kirklington village which is just a few drive minutes from our house. We walked down to the end of the village where there is a quarry although it is now disused and someone has made a maze in the base of it. 

Just beyond the quarry is a canal that runs next to a river and railway line. 

We walked along it for about five kilometres and then through Heyford village which has a large narrowboat marina. 

We walked up through the village and then back over the fields. 

We walked back to Kirklington through a very tidy farmyard and then along a magnificent driveway with fancy fields on either side. There was some elegant horses in a few of the fields and I decided that in the extremely unlikely event that I ever owned a horse or donkey, then this is where I would like it to live. 

At the end of the driveway we exited via a good looking gate and found out that we had walked through Kirklington Stud Farm. There is also a polo field in the village so that explains the amazing stabling. 

Sunday 4 April 2021

Sporty few days

I am counting down the weeks until the parkrun starts again. I think that there are eight weeks to go, and every Saturday morning I do a fake parkrun. Yesterday I was very pleased as I managed quite a fast one, for me anyway.

Today we did a re run of the outing to Woodstock, but this time S and P joined us.

I was a bit worried about keeping up, but after about 15 kilometres it was going well so I went to the front of the peloton, just as we got to the top of a steep downhill section. I am now a fan of speedy descents, but as the leader on the road I thought it only right to set a speedy pace.

Unfortunately I went straight over a big pothole with a bounce. Undeterred I carried on and then at the bottom found that I had a puncture.

Fortunately Darren came to the rescue and fixed it for me, and I stayed mostly towards the back after that.

We stopped for coffee again at Woodstock but all of the benches were taken so we all sat on the pavement. Classily S and P brought a blanket along to keep them warm, but it was so nice in the sunshine that they just sat on it. 

A nice ride home and then we had wine and peanuts on their terrace. A perfect end to a lovely sunny day.