Monday, 25 September 2017

A Special Anniversary

Some special friends had an important anniversary recently when they celebrated their Ruby Wedding. We've known Dave and Jane Haworth for almost all of those forty years and we were delighted when they agreed to spend part of their celebrations with us. So, in the early hours of last Wednesday, the four of us caught a flight from Manchester to Palma Mallorca.

The happy  couple raising a glass in celebration (one of many)

Jane suggested the venue. Although Marion and I holidayed in Mallorca in the 1980s when Sarah was a baby, Palma is a city we've never visited and we were very pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer.

The stunning cathedral (where I amazingly bumped into a childhood friend)
There is an abundance of art throughout the public spaces in the city

Marion worked hard before we travelled and researched all the best places to eat and drink. The excellent Ombu offers a modern twist on classic tapas in a very central location. While we ate there was a fairly large anti-tourist demo going on a few hundred metres up the road. There's quite a growing anti-tourism movement in Spain at the moment but it didn't spoil our enjoyment of the break.

Across the road from Ombu

We stayed at the excellent Convent De La MissiĆ³ , a modern boutique hotel in an old convent. 

The hotel is home to celebrated English chef Marc Fosh whose Michelin starred restaurant was one of the highlights of the break.

This was the tasting menu we enjoyed. Each course was accompanied by a paired wine and the result was three hours of gastronomic delight. So many courses suggest gluttony but each was just an extremely delicious taste. 

Marc visited our table a couple of times and explained the thinking behind several of the dishes. It was a truly memorable evening.

The city is a foodies delight. The indoor food market is one of the best we've ever seen.

Even Darren on Fram market would struggle to compete with the variety on offer here.

Marion and Jane at another of Marion's discoveries - Luna 36 in Soller 
No trip to Palma would be complete without cocktails at the amazing Abaco. It's totally over the top but a real "must see"

We didn't spend four whole days and nights eating and drinking and walked off some of those calories with long walks around Palma and the nearby marinas.
The Torrent De Sa Riera - Palma's river

Both footpaths and cycle paths are beautifully maintained
A rare photo of me at Luna 36

One of Palma's many striking buildings

We even had a rooftop pool at the hotel
We visited Nicolas twice. Fabulous fried squid and excellent service.

The marina holds more boats than I've seen in my life

More Gaudi influenced architecture

Cathedral grounds

We took the old wooden train from Palma to Soller. There's some spectacular scenery en route although Soller itself was a slight disappointment and we caught a taxi back to Palma in preference to spending over an hour on the return journey.

Hard to believe this young chap was celebrating forty years of marriage.

It was an excellent four day break and we were so pleased that Dave and Jane were able to spend the time with us. Marion's busy looking into future jaunts. What's the forty-first anniversary?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Framlingham - Rochester - Framlingham - St Andrews - Framlingham. The retirement merry-go-round

Yet again I've had to put the blog on the back burner as the hectic retirement merry-go-round continues. It's almost three weeks since I told you about very expensive bottle of Pinot Grigio that wrecked the Apple Mac and those three weeks have been quite eventful. 

The Mercedes CLS tyres appear to be jinxed. By August we had already had  three punctures this year - two of those needed new tyres (£250 each- ouch) and one was repaired by the excellent Fram Tyres. All this after telling my friend Mark in March that we hadn't had a puncture in years. You would have thought that that was enough tyre problems for a long time but no! On Thursday we went to drop off some bits and pieces we were donating for the refugees in Ipswich when a boy racer approached on the wrong side of a narrow country road. I swerved to avoid him but overdid it and hit the kerb with a bang - another £250 up in smoke. Although it was his fault it was my fault too - my steering left a lot to be desired. 

Oh well. Once again Fram Tyres offered excellent service and went out of their way to get hold of a tyre on the same day despite the blowout being after their usual cut off time. 

So what's been keeping us so busy? I'll fill you in in pictures.

We had a great day in Rochester visiting son Paul and our grandchildren Catherine and Teddy. Here they are at the Chatham Dockyards - a quite spectacular example of regeneration.

Here's a submarine that was built in Chatham. I've never been in a submarine before.

There's not a lot of room.

Near the dockyard is a trampoline centre called Flip Out. Marion flipped and I sat it out.

Back from Rochester it was time to get in the car and drive up to St Andrews to visit the Scottish branch of the family. 

We had a lot of fun. Here are Rose and Melody at the Dundee Science Centre where we had a great day.

No summer trip to St Andrews is complete without a visit to Allanhill strawberry farm.

The sun did shine - for all of a couple of hours

It's not much fun staying in a caravan on rainy days so we went and had coffee in some very special places. Here's the view from The Old Course Hotel. Okay the coffee is almost twice the price of Costa but you don't get this view and the WIFI is super fast.

And the Fairmont's not too bad either.

Whatever the weather. St Andrews is a magical place.

But you can't spend a whole week drinking coffee, however nice the venue. So we filled in the rainy afternoons with no less than three movie trips.

Detroit. Excellent but harrowing.

Logan Lucky - fun.

Wind River - thrilling.

Now it's time for the stuff I've been finding with the metal detector so you can stop reading if you're not interested. In between trips to Rochester and St Andrews I've managed to get out a few times and, as always, there have been some interesting finds. Here they are :-

Cut halfpenny of either John or Henry III
Medieval casket key c1200-1400

Seal ring c1250-1400 (it's not complete sadly)

Tiny early seal or alnage

Wonderful and very rare penny of Henry I. My first find of a Norman king. Henry reigned from 1100 to 1135 so this coin has survived for over 900 years. 

The moneyer is Brunic and, as far as experts tell me, there is no previous recorded example of this coin with this moneyer

Lousy condition but the first Roman coin I've found since living in Suffolk. Emperor Gallienus c260-268 AD

Lovely shoe buckle. Post Medieval

Another medieval casket key
Elizabethan Penny
Medieval penny