31 October 2006

A bit of an update!

Okay, so I’ve let this get a little bit out of date - SORRY! So, here is a quick (well, sort of quick!) run down of what’s been going on over the past three weeks or so…

Saturday October 7 - We spent the day at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, with our friends Mark and Sheila and their three boys Adam, Charlie and Ben. It pretty well goes without saying that we had another great time! We started the day with breakfast in Chez Pierre before heading off into the swimming dome. The rest of the day was spent swimming, playing around on the water slides, being attacked by Adam, Charlie and Ben in the pool or just sat around watching the world go by, that and eating of course! In the evening we ate in Huckleberry’s the American themed restaurant.

Friday October 13 - Lynda and I went to The Flowerpot, in Derby, to see The Rattlers a local Derby based folk rock band. This was a typical Flowerpot gig! The place was just about packed out, the crowd were dancing around and cheering the band on from the very start and the place was rocking! I’ve been going to concerts/festivals of various sizes now for over 25 years and I still think that the smaller venues like this are so much better! The band is right in front of you, not little dots in the distance, the atmosphere is so much better and more often than not, there are NO chairs in the way! This is how music should be - LIVE AND PLAYED TO A CROWD! Sorry, got a little off topic there… the gig was great! Alan Woolley and the rest of the band played a cracking set that rocked from start to finish. I’m looking forward to the next Rattlers gig already.

Saturday October 14 - A change of pace after the previous night - Lynda and I went to the Derby Dance Centre to see Mark Gwynne Jones and the Psychicbread. A strange name but another great evening’s entertainment. A mix of poetry, comedy, songs, world music and, at times, a mix of everything at once! After I saw this act at the Off The Tracks Festival in September I said that I would go and see them again as soon as I could - second time around they were equally as good if not better than at Off The Tracks!

Friday October 20 - This was the start of a long weekend off work for us. After a rather later than normal start to the day Lynda and I headed off to Worcester for a couple of days. We spent the afternoon looking around the city centre and the shops before moving on to our hotel on the outskirts of the city. The early part of the evening was then spent in the Beefeater restaurant next door! An excellent meal with an equally good bottle of wine finished off the day for us.

The following morning was a very early start, as we had to be at Worcester railway station to catch a train at 6:00am! The early start was more than worth it though! We were to travel on The Cumbrian Mountain Express, a full day trip that would take us up to Preston where we would then be met by the steam loco 71000 Duke of Gloucester. This loco then hauled our train up over Shap Summit, through to Penrith and then Carlisle before travelling along the beautiful Settle to Carlisle line - in reverse of course!

71000 Duke of Gloucester

This trip was a birthday present to me from Lynda and it was the best day I could have asked for. We were served Bucks Fizz soon after the journey started, a full English breakfast, tea or coffee whenever we wanted, lunch, afternoon tea and a four course silver service dinner in the evening! This was rail travel as it should be!

It’s hard to pick out “highlights” of the day as everything was so good, but I will never forget the sight of the steam loco as it came into view at Preston. The speed at which we passed through Lancaster station - I’d guess we were travelling at around 100mph or more - with the whistle blasting from before the station came into view until we had passed out the other side was just amazing. The views from our carriage as we travelled along the Settle to Carlisle line were breathtaking and more than matched the stories I had heard about this legendary line.

One of the many great views!

Although we had been on the train for over 16 hours by the time we returned to Worcester it didn’t feel like a long day at all. The service provided by all the staff was first class, the food was excellent, the sight and sound of a steam hauled train was every big kids dream! This is most definitely something we will be doing again - maybe a different trip, maybe for more than one day!


Thursday October 26 - Started the day off with a bang! Rode to work on the mountain bike (it’s my preferred choice of transport for getting to work now) without any problems. As usual I rode straight into the workshop and headed for the door at the rear that leads into the parts dept. BIG MISTAKE! Wet mountain bike tyres + tiled floor + a corner = me and the bike in a big heap on the floor! I slid the best part of six feet whilst still attached to the bike pedals! Was a laugh though, and I didn’t even mark my new cycling jacket - I still know the best way to fall from a bike even after all these years!

Friday October 27 - Another live show, another change of style. This time we went to Derby Assembly Rooms to see Spirit of the Dance, the Irish dance show. This was another great evening’s entertainment - traditional Irish dance, Salsa, Flamenco, Scottish Highland Fling, Urban Street dance and even a little ballet - this show has something for everyone. We may try and get tickets for Riverdance next!

So, that just about brings things up to date I think, apart from Sunday just gone. The changing of the clocks meant I got an extra hour in bed but it was such a gorgeous day I decided to make the most of it and go for a quick ride out on the bike. A little over two hours, and thirty miles later, I returned home!

I had found a cycle route called the Cloud Trail on the internet and decided to give it a try. It runs from just around the corner from us and heads down to Worthington just to the south of Breedon On The Hill. On the way to Worthington I left the cycle trail and passed through the villages of Melbourne, Wilson, Breedon On The Hill and finally Worthington itself before rejoining the Cloud Trail and returning home. All I need to do now is find a way of adding some extra miles onto the bottom end of the trail that are on either a cycle route or away from major traffic.

The Worthington end of the trail.

One of the many old railway bridges on the trail.

Speeding towards home!

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