Our retirement adventures



13 October

Sorry to leave home with such wonderful weather we have been having but we set sail towards the clouds and the rain covering the UK.

Charingworth Manor, Chipping Campden

Charingworth Manor, Chipping Campden

First stop after navigating the heavy rain is Charingworth Manor, a delightful retreat in the Cotswolds near Chipping Campden and a driveway with a sense of humour.

now there's a challenge

now there’s a challenge

Phillip and Sylvia share a wedding anniversary with us tomorrow and this hotel very much “fitted the bill” for a chill out near the end of a very busy year.

Bedrooms, all very warm, are named rather than numbered and relate to previous owners and local dignatories although some of the rooms are somewhat of a walk from the main hotel’s lounge area.

Room name at Charingworth Manor

Room name at Charingworth Manor

Dinner in the hotel was part of the package and the hotel did us proud with a well presented spread, especially welcome as we hadn’t really had much lunch.


14 October

Anne Hathaway's House

Anne Hathaway’s House

A wet day for our anniversary and a look around Anne Hathaway’s house and gardens (she of Shakespeare wife fame) along with a large party of French students.

Sally standing on the IoM in Anne Hathaway's House gardens

Sally standing on the IoM in Anne Hathaway’s House gardens

Grounds obviously now past their best but you can see the potential for a summer flower display so perhaps a return visit at a different time is called for.

A walk around the grounds and gardens whilst the rain held off before heading into the house which contains many original items.

Old birthing chair

Old birthing chair

Some of the furniture is old and unique including what the guides seem to think is a birthing chair from the 18th C, rather similar to one my mother had.

Onwards into Stratford-on-Avon for a brief walk around avoiding the school parties, the Japanese and the rain drops.  We finished our honeymoon at the White Swan there back in 1972 so the walk past the Hotel

89 years of married life today

89 years of married life today

How did we find out where to stay back then, no trip advisor, no internet just an AA or RAC hotel guide.

Back to hotel for our welcome tea postponed from yesterday due to our late arrival followed by another lovely meal.

89 collective years of marriage to the day celebrated.

15 October

Still wet but not quite as bad as yesterday. Check out and off towards Snowshill, a Country pile previously owned by a Mr Webb who died in 1956 without children and bequeathed it to the National Trust.

Mr Webb was a hoarder and a kleptomaniac so the whole house is stuffed with toys and gadgets of all ages, including various ancient suits of armour.

Because of the delicate nature of the items, the lighting was subdued, curtains drawn so photographs not good. Not enough time to take in all the 20,000 items on show and although no school parties there, it was still crowded.

Model ship at Snowshill

Model ship at Snowshill



My advice, don’t go in just as the doors open, leave it 15 minutes or so as hopefully the queue to get round will be less.

Before Snowshill a visit to Gift shop is an interesting diversion although you may need deep pockets for many of the items.

Say our goodbyes and drive almost due Eastwards to Bromham and an overnight with John & Dierdre to catch up and finalise some Australia organisation.

Also managed to catch up with daughter Jill and granddaughter, Lizzie.

16 October

Head south down A1 towards Woodford Green and a meet up with our third set of friends in 24 hours, Pete and Lorraine. Although Lorraine is an excellent cook, better be careful here is Sally is an excellent cook as well, we dine out at a local Italian restaurant, Pizeria Bel Sit. Pete and Lorraine’s son Tyran recently married in Cyprus so the many photos they had were interesting as that is one country we have not yet been to.

All too soon, we head off for an overnight in Holiday Inn Express at North Woolwich somewhat exhausted.

17 October

Park up at the O2 car park for the day and try the skyline cable car over the Thames.

The Dome from the Cable Car

The Dome from the Cable Car

Jet-lev flyer in London docks.

Jet-lev flyer in London docks.

Not overly crowded and we manage a gondola to ourselves although the going rate for exclusive use in crowded times is £88.00.

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Some Jetlev-Flyers on the water and lovely views over the O2, Thames barrier, Olympic village and greater East London before dropping down and then walking to the DLR for a ride into Tower Gateway.

A fantastic show of all the poppies at the Tower of London installed as an art installation.

Poppies, Richard and the Tower of London

Poppies, Richard and the Tower of London

Some have questioned whether this is correct to commercialised the sale of the poppies but personally, they are both an appropriate method to commemorate those who gave their lives in what we now know as the 1st World War which started 100 years ago this year.

Two thirds of the poppies at the Tower of London

Two thirds of the poppies at the Tower of London

Loads of people viewing the art installation of the poppies at the Tower of London created for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st World War.

Sit by the Thames and contemplate the crowds of people milling around, both British and of course all nationalities. Interspersed are the faithful lunchtime runners and joggers from the nearby offices as well as a few in wheelchairs trying to negotiate both the cobbles and the crowds.

Return on DLR to Canary Wharf for a late lunch / early dinner at Pizza Express which by now is not so crowded, most office workers filtering back to their mundane desk jobs. A book purchase later and the tube back to the O2 for a long wait pre a Caro Emerald concert.

Seats at the back were a good choice although a bit draughty and only a few trying to get past us. The support act, Kris Berry, was good but of course everyone wanted to see Caro Emerald in her first O2 concert. She was obviously excited about it as were we and she treated us to many of her songs in a show that personally I thought was better than the one we saw in Oxford 13 months ago.

We were even photographed, along with possibly 8000 other people by Caro with the picture being immediately put on Facebook. Can’t tag myself on it but we are towards the back on the right hand side. My only regret was not bringing with me a CD of hers to listen to on the drive away from the O2.

The Highways Agency on the roadworks website had shown the slip roads from the M25 to the M23 as being closed overnight so we thought that a long diversion via Dorking was in store; however, the website was totally inaccurate and we sailed down to Gatwick for our overnight at the Premier Inn, North Terminal. Meet and Greet worked well and we stopped outside the hotel, so not many steps to take to reach the hotel for  a good night’s sleep.

Off to Morocco tomorrow.

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Jersey and London

23 September

Wet and chilly, a surprise to our systems after such a long and lovely summer. Ferry to Liverpool on time – so it should be as it hadn’t left it’s berth earlier in the day – and arrived in Liverpool in the rush hour. Slight detour to a toy shop for a skate board, dinner in Frankie & Bennys and a quick drive to Hoylake for our night’s stay.

Never been to Hoylake before, quite impressed so will explore more later. Hotel modern but bed comfort not brilliant. Nevertheless a good night’s sleep.

24 September

Drive to Gatley for a long overdue visit to Cousin Bernard and his wife Caryl who were in good form and looking well. Hadn’t seen them since my 60th.

M6 and M42 relatively clear but slow on M42 and A34 so arrival at Frankie & Bennys in Reading for evening meal a little late and we only had about an hour with Flic, Gary and his mum, Barbara. Flic is much better following her operation which is good.

Overnight in Southampton near the Ageas Cricket stadium, not as modern as Hoylake but much bigger and with a more comfortable bed.

25 September

St Peter Port, Guernsey

St Peter Port, Guernsey

Drive to Weymouth for a ferry departure in warm and sunny weather.

Somehow we get put in wrong lane at Weymouth but it works to our advantage as we end up downstairs rather than up in the front of the boat, hopefully we will be off early.  Seating on Condor ferries is not as good as Isle of Man Steam Packet seating but we do have internet access which is something.

Reclining seats are so near the one in front, we move to alternative seats.

Lovely views of St Peter Port as we call in on Guernsey before arriving in St Helier on time and, yes, we are off early.

Coronation Park

Coronation Park


26 September

Ali takes Harry to Nursery and we are off for Breakfast at Colleens at Greve de Lecq  ( )  followed by a town visit to get Sal’s iPad working.

Take Harry to Coronation park and back for dinner with Ali dressing up for a fancy dress evening.

Inspector Ali

Inspector Ali

27 September

Sarah out at life saving, Harry helped with the mannequins as he can sort of do the resuscitation on the dolls.

Take Harry to Gorey beach for a play in the sea, on the swings and in the sand.

Harry has not had a love of the sea although does like swimming in pools.

Harry at Gorey beach

Harry at Gorey beach

This time however he did manage about 15 minutes paddling, mostly, but not always, holding onto Grandpa’s hand.

Dinner with Jim, Laura and Kevin at Cafe Poste in Gorey.

We hadn’t been there before, usual good Jersey standard and very popular.

28 September

Mont Orgueil (Gorey)

Mont Orgueil (Gorey)

Ali off tonight to France for a week’s climbing and as Sarah out lifesaving, we have Harry on our own for a bit after another Gorey visit with some nice cloud formations.

29 September

Early start to take Harry to nursery and then into town for a few things, collect Harry and take him to Ransome’s to see the animals.  He loved the snakes.

30 September

Breakfast at Colleens again after dropping Harry off.

Quick visit to Corbiere, lovely sight of high tide and a cloudless sky. Collect Harry from Nursery, lovely when he says “I missed  you Nana” and take him to Laura & Jim’s for a play with Alby and Evie, Morag’s children.  Alby walking now but still not really talking too much yet.

Corbiere Lighthouse

Corbiere Lighthouse

1 October

Rain!!  We haven’t seen this for some time. Cleared up later in time to watch Harry swimming at Les Quennavais after lunch with Sue Thorne at Goose on the Green.

B & Q visit for tiles for Sarah & Ali’s kitchen floor using my over 60 card, apparently I have some uses! Curry night @ Laura & Jim’s but somehow Sal manages to get some sort of virus which will lay her low for a day or so.

2 October

Sarah drops me off at airport for a day trip to Bristol, car hire and drive to Cinderford for Carole’s funeral. Well attended at the Crematorium with over 80 people. Both Rob and Jamie were not good, Jamie more so in the service, Rob afterwards. Enough locals and a good supporting Catholic Father but we must keep our eye on him for Clearwell’s sake. Only 10 on flight back but told it was full on way out of Bristol in the morning.

3 October

Leave Harry at Nursery for last time, not sure he understands that we won’t be there when he gets home tonight. Coffee at St Peter’s Garden Centre with Pam who lost her husband, Stuart, last March. Back to pack final things and down to ferry which was heaving, all seats full, apparently, over 700 passengers.

A McDonald’s for dinner and a drive to Apsley for a couple of nights.

4 October

Plan:  Meet Mel in London about lunchtime, get tickets for a Matinee, dinner, go to Forbidden Broadway (tickets already bought).

Actual:  Mel’s plane is 5 hours late, so just as well no Matinee tickets bought.  Take late train in from Apsley, have lunch, meet Mel at Victoria just before 6, dinner followed by Forbidden Broadway and crowded (standing room only) 12 coach train back to Apsley.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Forbidden Broadway, it is a musical with a difference as it features, and makes fun of, some of the best productions from both Broadway and the West End including The Book of Mormon, Once, Matilda, Wicked, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and many more.  Well worth going to see if you have a chance (on at the Vaudeville Theatre until late November).

5 October

Surprisingly smooth crossing back home from Liverpool on the fast ferry, even more surprising as the conventional ferry that evening to Heysham was cancelled because of bad weather.

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