Our retirement adventures

Boston & Cape Cod October 2013


13 October 

Leaving home in glorious sunshine, arrive at Gatwick in a downpour but fortunately not too wet by the time we meet Flic who takes us to the hotel at Heathrow airport. Both the check-in and check-out at the hotel were probably one of the best we have encountered at a Holiday Inn, well done. 

14 October 

Our wedding anniversary and a flight to Boston with champers on the way, better seats than we had hoped as well. The tree colours on view on the way into Boston are changing from Green to Bronze so we are in for a colourful vista when we start touring, we hope. 

Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel for the first few nights but food there too expensive and we are too tired so end up saving money and calories and going to sleep! 

15 October 

Usual jet-lag and wake up early, but only at 5am local time.  

Ornate walls inside Boston Library

Ornate walls inside Boston Library

Breakfast in nearby Pret a Manger followed by look around the impressive Boston Library building and take transit to Harvard and quick walk round area and return to an exceptionally busy Quincy market for a seafood lunch and back to hotel to watch England v Poland (2-0) and England qualify for 2014 World Cup.

Antiquated Boston transit car

Antiquated Boston transit car

Boston transit is somewhat antiquated with in at least one instance, passengers able to cross the actual lines at track level within the confines of the station.  

Tight curves on the lines, trains that follow preceding ones by a few feet, not particularly user friendly for wheelchairs and pushchairs but at least clean and frequent.

Dinner at Cheesecake Factory lives up to expectations. 

USS Constitution

USS Constitution

16 October 

Virgin rep never turns up at meeting place despite us being there for 30 minutes.  Not good service, especially as we then find out that one of the tours she had recommended had ceased operation the previous month. (90 minute cruise).

Take Transit to Quincy and opt for 45 minute sea tour although the USS Constitution area is closed due the intransigent attitude of the US politicians. 

Lunch in still busy Quincy market area again talking with a couple from Wiltshire who run a B&B and a New Jersey woman on business in Boston.  Back to hotel for a rest and another Cheesecake Factory dinner, it just has to be done. 

17 October

Try breakfast at Au Bon Pain, mistake; not a patch on Pret a Manger. Walk to park and through side streets past bronze ducks and then antique shops and boutiques.  Catch Metro back to hotel, check out and have lunch at Pret a Manger before getting taxi to Airport for car collection.

Five cars later we surface from the car park in a Chevrolet Captiva, our wheels for the next 6 weeks. First car offered was not in the bay we were told it was, 2nd one was damaged and rejected by us, 3rd one was on Canadian Plates but was fine. We loaded up and got to the exit barrier but Budget then said car had to be changed. 4th car was also non existent, should have been in a bay but there was nothing there and finally, fifth one is what we now have for 6 weeks. 

Traffic on way out of Boston absolutely horrendous even at half three. Eventually arrive at Swansea after about 90 minutes for a 50 minute scheduled journey. Partly using points and partly getting upgrades we are in Holiday Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses or Crowne Plazas until we reach Orlando.

Dinner tonight is a bought salad from Target eat in our room, that saves us money! 

18 October 

Temperature today is over 10F above average at about 80F and we set off for Cape Cod.

Halloween competition entry

Halloween competition entry

Halloween competition entry

Halloween competition entry

First stop is Chatham, a quaint, as America is concerned, village with lovely clapperboard houses.  

The big disadvantage is that the Electricity wires pass in front of the houses spoil any decent pictures.

Manage to catch a falling vase in a shop much to the delight of the owner who was wrapping up to sell it. No reward though!

Coffee outside at Monomoy coffee company was pleasant enough and a walk past a Halloween competition with some very elaborate entries and then on to Orleans.

Lunch in a nearby Greek restaurant and on to the end of Cape Cod at Princetown.

Absolutely glorious weather throughout.Find a shop that sells good Ice cream and take a wander around the town. Many same sex couples as it appeared to be Lesbian week which has brought out some fascinating slogans on T Shirts etc. as well as many other “sights”.

Autumn colours in Princetown, MA

Autumn colours in Princetown, MA

Drive back to Swansea slow and mostly into sun. Finish off dinner from last night.

19 October

Skyped Sarah, Ali and Harry in rainy Jersey before setting off for Newport RI.  Possibly incur wrath of state by not being able to pay a $0.10 toll which could not be paid by cash and was upon us too quickly to avoid it. How ridiculous to charge such a small amount!

Newport, R. I.

Newport, R. I.

Find a free parking bay for 2 hours instead of the in town car park charge of $3.00 per half hour.  Not quite as sunny as yesterday but still short sleeves weather. Local food festival popular, lots of fish based goodies which go down well for lunch.

An upmarket town with a lot of sailing types enjoying the ambiance both on the quayside and on the many boats in the harbour.

Drive around Ocean Drive to view outstandingly wonderful properties and head back via Providence, probably just like any other US city but we didn’t stop to see.  Dinner in Ruby Tuesday’s.

Wealthy New England American Summer House?

Wealthy New England American Summer Houses?

20 October 

A lot cooler today but still very sunny.

Drive up to North Conway in New Hampshire for next 3 nights.

Lots of colours in the trees but less the further north we go. Some detours taken off Interstates to view some of the colours in small villages.

Virtually every house is Halloween decorated, some being very elaborate. What an effort some people go for just the one night.  Certainly this is a wealthy area with many houses considered as summer houses for the rich and wealthy of the NW corridor.

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Trains and boats and Planes (and bikes, Ashes, Dentists and Jersey)

29 July


Donald arrives today.  I have known Donald for close on 45 years having met on a Wood Badge course with the Scouts at Gillwell.  Haven’t seen him in probably 10 years with the bizarre exception of bumping into him at Bangkok airport in March.   He arrives on very late ferry (late as fishing lines wrapped around Ben’s propellers which delayed it an hour) and no time to go out tonight as High Society rehearsals are scheduled.

Clear day forecast next day so off up Snaefell from Laxey on the crowded tram, time for a walk around at the topIMG_1794, viewing all but Wales of the 7 kingdoms before returning and then going over to Peel.  I don’t think I have seen Peel as crowded as it was apart from carnival day or longboat race day.

The weather was not so good for the following day, so steam train it was, chugging to Port Erin with a fairly full load, picking up more as we went along. A refreshment break at Port Erin followed by a walk up to top of Bradda Head for some fantastic views back to Port Erin. Bus then to the Sound for lunch and a brief view of the seals as by now heavy rain had set in.

Back at Port Erin, just time for liquid refreshment before catching last train for the day back to Douglas. Old fashioned compartment to ourselves although this time only to Castletown where we are joined by Professor Andrew Marsh and his son from Greece who is over here on business with MT but had a couple of half days free to sample our Victorian Transport.
Not an overly brilliant (weatherwise) day followed and after a walk through town we made our way to Derby Castle for the tram to Ramsey.  Quite crowded on the trailing coach open to the elements and most disembark at Laxey for mountain trip.  

At Laxey waiting to return to Douglas was Professor Marsh and his son; how co-incidental. They had travelled up to Snaefell but it was in cloud so nothing seen. Too late at Ramsey for lunch in Bar Logo – kitchen closes at 2pm even in peak holiday season so resort to Costa Coffee before returning on bus via Kirk Michael and Peel.

8 August


Off to the Ashes at Chester-le-Street.  Tony next door is there tomorrow and we are there on Saturday. With Ashes won, let us hope some decent cricket played with no rain interruptions. But first of all an exceptionally smooth crossing to Liverpool – smoother than gloss paint it seemed.

9 August

Trains again.

A Friday at the National Railway Museum. How do the people of York survive with so much traffic around?  IMG_1836Museum not overcrowded and pleasant to walk around reviewing those mechanical marvels of the Victorian era. Only 4 of the big A4s on site as the other two in steam somewhere on the mainline after last month’s Great Gathering. An area dedicated to children to build their own carriages out of “brio” and race them down a track was very popular. The store of artefacts has so many items it would be impossible to see and study them all.

10 August


A diversion from transport – watching day 2 of the 4th Ashes test at Chester-le-Street, home of Durham County Cricket Club. Now if you know nothing or little about cricket (as Sally does) this may be a boring day for you but as a birthday present from Sarah & Ali we had to choose our day well in advance so had no control over match conditions, weather etc. Unfortunately, the day was not the best advert for the game with only just over 200 runs scored, very few big hits and only 6 wickets in predominantly overcast and chilly conditions.  IMG_0457The best entertainment was left to the fellow spectators who were in good voice fuelled of course by copious amounts of alcohol and the light-hearted banter between the English and Aussie contingents totally unsegregated and who between them caused absolutely no trouble. Even the long snake of used beer “glasses” reached from one contingent to the other.

A lovely evening meal in The Dun Cow on way back to hotel.

11 August

Drive over Pennines to Stanhope and then on to Barnard Castle much better than the boring Motorways with a lovely lunch at A66 Motel at Richmond before another crossing of the Irish Sea back home with a lovely sunset half way across.

14 August


Surprisingly, it was cheaper to come back home for a couple of days and then fly to Jersey than either fly from the UK or take car to Jersey! 

A very long walk at Gatwick now that gates 1  – 9 have been demolished and the usual stupidity of having to exit through customs and straight back through security to a nearby gate. Flight on time and our 10kg hand luggage is bursting to the seams but no one weighs it.

Catch double-decker bus into St Helier and sit up top looking in all the gardens en route. A few swimming pools and other surprises we weren’t aware of before. Another bus up the hill to Sarah & Ali’s and Sarah arrives home a few minutes later.

Harry back shortly afterwards with Ali. Harry now saying a few words but first of all has to see Riley, the neighbour’s dog. It is now a ritual when he gets back every day. Other popular words are “Seagull, Truck, dirty (with the emphasis on the rt), no”. His understanding of other words is very good – he knows which is his toy police car if he is asked to get his “ne na” and goes to the front door when anyone mentions the word “work” .  

Still milk intolerant but other than that eats well, liking spicy foods.

Seven days of good weather, with Millbrook park and beach visits, and although he does not like the sea he loves the beach.IMG_1892 A visit to Laura and Jim’s, seeing Evie and Alby who perhaps has some health issues and a meal out at Moulin de Lecq with Laura, Jim and Kevin.

St Ouen’s at Bray slip was crowded beyond belief on Sunday evening as it was high tide accompanied by very good surfing waves.  

Only a very small area patrolled by the RNLI life guards which added to the congestion.  

Harry just played in the sand and wandered around the group of people we were with.

Sal bought some tops at St Peter’s garden centre for £3.10 each. Who needs America for clothes shopping?

21 August

Back home and prepare rooms for Homestay bikers in between more rehearsals and attempting to learn words. John, Peter, Robyn and Brendan are good fun and not as demanding as the Romanians! Hopefully they enjoyed themselves with us, there was certainly some good racing although the final race was cancelled due to poor weather.

30 August

Sal off to Venice with  Elizabeth but I have to stay back to rehearse for High Society.  DSCN7077

The wonders of Skype kept the costs down and by all accounts she had a good time.  With house painting done, the repair to the living room window takes my time in between High Society.

11 September

Apparently Richard is not good enough for High Society and with 4 weeks to the show, he is “relieved of his part”. After all the time he has put into it, the producer obviously had someone else in mind for some time. So, why did she want him to do it in the first place, he never auditioned for the part anyway. What a waste of his time all through the summer and what with a few others not happy, it does not bode well for any future productions. Richard will certainly not be going back next year anyway. Sal & Mel are also understandably outraged.

13 September

Change ferry crossing and go to Oxford early managing to see Flic and Gary and have a meal in Faringdon with Phillip & Sylvia.

17 September

A Caro Emerald concert was a fantastic choice for a “lift me up” although the weather in Oxford was not. A paddle around the city in the pouring rain, a place I hadn’t been to before, did give some sort of idea on the architecture but it was a very very wet day. Sadly we can’t go to the March 2014 concerts but will have to watch for future dates. She is an amazing performer.

It was just as well we took the Friday ferry as strong winds cancelled the Monday ferry we were originally booked on and might have missed the concert. Can’t wait for our America holiday now.

22 September

A bad fall by Sal on the pavement outside Cowley Groves in town is going to result in a right shiner that will last for weeks; poor girl. Obviously shaken but opts for no medical treatment as all parts moving properly.

23 September

Viv arrives for the week but with inclement weather, we spend more time indoors than we expected although do get over to Peel, Port St Mary, Ramsey and Laxey for some walks.  Too cloudy to go up the mountain though.

3 & 4 October

Dentist time. First Sal for an hour and a half and the following day, Rich had half a tooth out in the same time, the other part refusing to be budged. No alcohol for a week whilst the anti-biotics kick in.

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