Peter Burton's daily log, covering Peter's personal interests, e.g. jazz, travel and general grumpiness plus (occasionally) the business of Isomatic and its associate companies.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Bellenie's Bake House, Abbotsbury
This morning we drove out from East Dorset to West Dorset, stopping for coffee and cake at Bellenie's Bake House, Abbotsbury. We can recommend this for friendly service and early opening, plus fine cake.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Today we took a nostalgic trip from our Bungalow in Dorset to Porlock Weir in Somerset. We visited many times with a son of 5-10 years but the last time was 30 years ago. It has not changed but we have. The bar where we ate in the past was not good enough for the older fussier Burtons so after a quick browse of its menu we moved to Andrews On The Weir
, first picture, a much more up-market eaterie. We had the roast beef with yorkshire puddings (2 each) and a good selection of vegetables. Both red and white wines by the glass were excellent.
We left by ascending Porlock Hill, which now seems very easy in our Suzuki Ignis Sport. In 1967 we tried it in a 1953 Ford Zephyr and broke a leaf in one of the rear springs as we rounded the tightest hairpin. After the hill, we crossed Exmoor via Exford (instantly recognisable) and Dulverton (very different from our memories).
On the way back we passed through Wivelicombe, where I had a few business meetings. I did not recognise this place either. It would be sad if they are all unchanged but we imagine them rose-tinted !
Sunday, January 17, 2010
As it was a sunny and relatively warm day (at last) we drove to Swanage via the Sandbanks chain ferry. Previous visits to the town centre have been disappointing, expensive car parks and poor cafes. Therefore we stopped at the other end of the sea front this time; much better. We parked in the road for free and had hot chocolate on the promenade, very close to the waves. The view can be seen in the picture.
It is great to have a lovely home so close to so many seaside spots.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last day of ice and snow
The picture shows the snow at Park Farm, where Ampair / Boost Energy
is still located for the moment. Today was the last day of snow, the journey from Guildford taking 2 hours. The most difficult part was up the hill called Silwood Road out of Sunningdale. The rear-drive Mercs and BMWs stood no chance and all turned back after minimal attempts. Even two VW Golfs failed after trying very hard. Of the many cars in our group only our Suzuki Ignis Sport made it to the top. Front-drive is a huge advantage, allowing the driver to try various angles of attack. I suspect that the short wheelbase is also useful in these circumstances. Conversely we had the handicap of wide, low-profile tyres.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
This afternoon we returned to Wimborne to buy a Panasonic television and DVD recorder. We chose to buy from Dacombe and Renaut
as they are helpful, knowledgeable, and price-competitive. We walked through the grounds of the Minster (first picture), pausing to photograph the military bell ringer high on the tower (second picture).
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today we visited Weymouth harbour. When we had a small child we would always do this on what we suspected would be the last sunny Sunday of the year. We have just repeated the prediction. This is the best time of year, pleasant but lacking the worst of the crowds.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Today we visited Poole Quay in Dorset, which has been re-vitalised to an amazing extent since I was taken there as a child. There are bars, cafés, pubs and restaurants 'ad infinitum' and sea trips of various lengths. Next summer, on a still, hot, day we plan to take the ferry to Brownsea Island and see red squirrels.
The first picture shows a view of the quay from one end. The second picture shows a 'real' boat; not a toy for tourists.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
The New Forest
This morning we drove through a part of The New Forest
that we don't know from many previous visits. Hazards crossing the road included: fords (mostly dry at present), ponies, cows and donkeys. We note that there is jazz once a week at Burley; Tony Robinson's Chicago Aces. We must try them one day.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Bournemouth; the good and the bad
This weekend we went to Bournemouth for shopping, a walk by the sea and to dump some rubbish. The shops were great; I found what I wanted within 10 minutes of parking the car (at an extortionate cost). There are many places from which one can walk along the sea shore, the one pictured being just over the boundary into Poole.
However, Bournemouth Borough Council is as mean as the worst. There is a council refuse tip just over the boundary from Ferndown but one has to show proof of Bournemouth residency to use it. How mean and nasty is that ?
Contrast it with the dump at Wimborne, where all are welcome with no questions asked.
Three cheers for Wimborne and for East Dorset Council. Two fingers to Bournemouth; we cheated and dumped our rubbish in your rotten dump regardless !
Saturday, August 08, 2009
This evening we went to the Southbourne end of the very long promenade that runs through Boscombe, Bournemouth and Poole to Sandbanks at the far end. When we had a young son we would take him to the cafe there, now sadly gone. I wish I could remember its name, something like Point House ? On a sunny August Saturday, evening is the best time to walk along the 'prom' as the crowds have died away.
Monday, August 03, 2009
The Rufus Stone
Today, for the first time in 30 years, we visited the site of the Rufus Stone
in The New Forest
. This commemorates the moment when Sir Walter Tyrell despatched William Rufus
, King of England, with a single arrow. The stone gives Sir Walter's version of the event, i.e. a hunting accident, but it should be noted that he immediately fled the country. It seems to be a very unfortunate accident whereby a glancing shot should prove fatal. Is it not more likely that Rufus's younger brother Henry paid Sir Walter to assassinate such an inept ruler so that he could become Henry I of England ?
Sunday, August 02, 2009
When I was a young lad my father would sometimes take us to Seaview, the only viewpoint from which one can see Poole harbour in all its glory. More recently I have been unable to find it, but today was one of success.
It was early on a Sunday morning so visibility was not of the best.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
White Alice Farm bed & breakfast
While working at our Misty View Farm test site in Cornwall, we stayed at White Alice Farm
for two nights. Great breakfast, nice bedroom and bathroom, a kitchen and a sitting room. I recommend this for anyone wanting a remote Cornish location. We will definitiely use it again next time.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Three Legged Cross, Dorset
Yesterday we passed through Three Legged Cross in Dorset. Sadly the heart is being ripped from this village as the 'Woodcutters' pub and the petrol station are both closed. We dread to think what will emerge in their place. The village web site tells us nothing.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Every time we visit our bungalow in West Moors we end up going to Wimborne. The main attraction is Dolloways, the best hardware store in the area. You can even buy individual screws from a full size box ! While we are in Wimborne we are tempted to walk round. Last weekend we had gone to buy a drainer and Selina bought a pair of shoes.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Kendall Van Hire
This morning we returned a short wheel-base high roof Ford Transit to Kendall Van Hire
. The van was ideal for the job, carrying a refrigerator out and a single bed back. The major advantage over the Vauxhall Vivaro that we have previously hired from Apex, is the ability to stand up in the back.
Kendall was open 5 minutes before the official 08:00 starting time and dealt with us quickly and efficiently, despite having trouble with the credit/debit card machine. The price was competitive too.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
West Moors, Dorset
On Saturday we collected the keys to our bungalow in West Moors, Dorset. We have now explored it thoroughly and we are very pleased with our purchase. The Elephant and Castle
is better value than ever. Two main meals ordered together cost £8.00 and a bottle of Hardy's Shiraz costs £5.95. Saturday evening was 'Pudding Night'; all at £1.50. We are looking forward to living 5 minutes walk from this pub.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The Lamb at Winkton
This afternoon we visited The Lamb at Winkton
. Large pub in the countryside just outside the New Forest. Ringwood bitter on draught. We will return for the fortnightly jazz at some time.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Frixo, Dorset via country lanes, Wimborne
Before setting out for Dorset today we checked on the traffic using Frixo
. We decided, for the second time in 8 days, to use country lanes for as much as possible of the journey. On the way down we encountered some problems:
1) Road closed with no advance warning
2) The alternative route took us to a deep ford but the Suzuki managed it.
For the return journey the only problems were two bad accidents with ambulances involved. Despite all this, avoiding traffic is still worthwhile and the countryside was beautiful.
Our final stop of the day was at Wimborne Minster (pictured), an attractive market town that boasts, among other things, Dolloways, a promising hardware store. I suspect we will need this when we first move down to the area.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
In all the 40 years we have been visiting Dorset we had never climbed Hengistbury Head until today. The two pictures from the top prove we finally did it. There are fine views in all directions but across Christchurch harbour and out at sea towards the Isle of Wight are undoubtedly the best.
It was very humid at the coast today, making the climb a struggle for Selina. On a cool day it would be easy.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
En Route to West Moors today we hit heavy traffic as we entered the New Forest. We changed route immediately, driving into the forest and emerging on the Lyndhurst to Christchurch road. Therefore we changed our plan and drove to Mudeford Quay first. The picture shows the view across the narrow channel where the Avon and the Stour discharge into the sea. The other side can be reached by ferry or, presumably, by walking down from Hengistbury Head. A pleasant spot, best seen when there are few visitors.
Readers should note that Mudeford is now the home of ace jazz guitarist Ken Ames.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
After the hell of Guildford town centre on a Saturday afternoon, rushing to the Nationwide before its 15:00 closing time, we feel the need to redress the balance. Here is a picture of the view from the downs, just passed the last Guildford house.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Lyme Regis, Beer, Exmouth and Tolpuddle
Today we indulged in a nostalgia trip, visiting places in Dorset and East Devon from when we were young. We passed through:
Lyme Regis, where we stayed for a week in 1968;
Beer (pictured), where we would sit on a bench in '68 admiring the view;
Exmouth, where we holidayed with our 3.5 year old son in 1973.
On the way back we stopped at The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
, a fine memorial to the evils of the ruling classes.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Haslemere via the Surrey countryside; pay-and-display
Today we drove through the beautiful Surrey countryside to Haslemere, passing through the villages of Albury, Chilworth, Blackheath, Wonersh, Bramley, Hascombe and Hambledon. The pictures show the centre of Haslemere and the Coffee shop where we stopped for tea and cakes. The many who seem to think that Surrey is full of houses and traffic should try a trip like this. On second thoughts, perhaps we should stay quiet and selfishly keep it to ourselves.
The only black mark was the Haslemere car park, of the hated pay-and-display variety. While we walked to the ticket machine a man in uniform was already preparing to issue a fixed penalty notice. Fortunately he saw me waving furiously in the distance. I have said this before "Pay-and-display is EVIL". It is a trick to extract fines from people who either do not have the required coins or who don't know how long they will be away from the vehicle. All car parks should be either free or pay-on-exit.
Labels: Grumpy, Travel
Saturday, March 14, 2009
West Moors, Dorset
Today we visited West Moors in Dorset, one of the villages in the Bournemouth area about which we knew nothing. We lunched very cheaply and well at the Elephant & Castle
(pictured), washing the food down with a pint of Ringwood Bitter (Peter) and a dry white wine (Selina). We were very impressed with the village centre; two pubs, two small supermarkets, two BUTCHERS, a coffee shop, etc. The residential streets were quiet, clean and free of parked cars. This place is not like Guildford !
Labels: drinking, Eating out, Travel
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Today we drove to Bournemouth and had lunch at The Crown
in Northbourne (pictured). Marston's Pedigree has been replaced by the more local and equally acceptable Ringwood Bitter and there were no special food offers. Still good though.
We then went to the sea front and walked along the promenade and back along the cliff top in glorious sunshine, warm enough to sit on the conveniently placed seats.
We drove back via Ferndown, West Moors, Verwood, Salisbury, Stockbridge and Arlesford. This started well but traffic in Salisbury and no room for us in the Stockbridge tea room rather spoiled it. We had real tea, not the strong milky stew favoured by English housewives, at Tiffins
in New Alresford. This is only just off our normal route.
Labels: drinking, Eating out, Travel
Monday, February 02, 2009
Today we experienced real snow for the first time in years. It was so deep at home that it was hard to get the garage door open. At least our car was snow-free, unlike every other car in the road; all left out overnight.
I predicted the trouble spot on our journey to work; a slight hill that defeated the BMWs and Mercs with their rear-wheel drive.
On arrival at Park Farm the snow was less deep but still ever-present as shown in the pictures.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Surbiton Railway Station
I have just noticed, somewhat belatedly, that Surbiton scooped the title of Rail Station of the Year at the 2005 London Transport Awards. The Royal Borough of Kingston and South West Trains were presented the award in recognition of a programme of improvements carried out at Surbiton Station during 2004 to enhance accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.
There was a period when I used Surbiton Station for trips to London. I had to stop because I could not stand the selfish mob behaviour from the regulars. The stairs were divided in two with a narrow section reserved for those coming down to catch the train when the majority were those leaving the train. Having most of the stairs available was not enough for the mob; they had to use it all, risking injury to any frail person coming down. I just cannot understand the minds of such people. Were they human beings once but lost all humanity through commuting to London by rail every day ? I tried battering them with my brief case as I came down but I was so heavily outnumbered that mob rule won and I just gave up on Surbiton for rail travel.
Labels: Grumpy, Travel
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Road vs Rail
We have been reading messages from those who extol the virtues of rail travel in place of the motor car. Clearly to use the car is grossly irresponsible of us so we should research other options. Firstly, let us be clear that working from home is best and this should be encouraged with local telecottages. However, it is not always possible to work like this, particularly those of us who work with heavy equipment.
Our 21 mile journey to Park Farm by car most weekdays takes an average 40 minutes in a car that averages 46 miles per gallon. There are no traffic jams. We carry a desktop computer in the car on Monday and Friday. To get there by public transport we will:
Buy a laptop computer (even though we don't need any more computers)
Wait at local the bus stop in all weathers for a bus that might be late or not arrive
Take the bus to the rail station on the other side of Guildford
Take the train to Wokingham
Then train or bus from Wokingham to Bracknell
Finally a brisk, healthy, 20-30 minute walk from Bracknell station to Park Farm in all weathers.
I estimate 2-3 hours so 4-6 hours of each day would be spent travelling, an increase of between 2 hours 40 minutes and 4 hours 40 minutes. Clearly the best use of time and energy. We should be fit and ready for a hard days work after this journey.
We go out at least 3 nights a week to pubs with live jazz. Berrylands Hotel is next to Berrylands railway station so let us start there. Only the slow trains to Hampton Court stop there, not the Guildford trains, but we must not be discouraged. Neither must we be put off by the difficulty of returning from Guildford station, 3 miles away, after the buses have ceased to run. A taxi is a car so that is out; we will just have to walk.
Selina, my wife, likes to get out of her unfeminine work gear when we go out and show off her fabulous legs in mini-skirts and high heels. We have to think of a way of avoiding hypothermia on the exposed high-level platform at Berrylands Station. The jazz club has no facilities for hanging outdoor clothes but perhaps we could pile them in the corner with the instrument cases. There are no changing facilities but I am sure the randy old men won't mind Selina changing in front of them.
Having succeeded with the Berrylands we must consider the Europa and the George and Dragon. By an amazing coincidence the nearest stations are also on the Hampton Court line so we will become accustomed to travelling up to Waterloo from Guildford than back to the venue. We will also be accustomed to the 3 mile walk back home so the 2 mile walk to the Europa from Hampton Court station will seem easy.
Obviously we will need to leave work early to allow for the extra evening travel time. We also have to manage with less sleep after arriving home so late. Oh, I forgot; we will be taking 4-6 hours to travel to work and back on public transport. We will have to be absent from work on jazz days. Perhaps we could work on Saturday and Sunday to make up the lost time. Oh dear, Sunday is a Jazz night; there are not enough days in the week.
Happy New Year to the rabid train fanatics.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Windsor for Selina's birthday
To celebrate Selina's birthday today (I am not allowed to say which one) we went to Windsor for much of the day. This involved kissing and cuddling in every place we visited; so I too enjoyed her birthday. We had lunch in 'The Crooked House', then toured Windsor Castle
, as pictured. We spent the rest of the afternoon in shops, coffee bars and a pub before having dinner at a new Chinese Restaurant, two doors away from the Royal Theatre. 13.50 pounds buys as much as you can eat, far more than we wanted. The alcohol license was still to be granted so we were each given a free glass of wine.
At the theatre we saw the Agatha Christie play 'And Then There Were None', advertised as following closely the original novel. It was certainly gripping, with a typically devious plot.
One warning to visitors to Windsor: DO NOT use the car park immediately behind the theatre or any other privately owned car park. They use a clamping company but do not pay them. Result is over-enthusiastic clamping to make as much money as possible, see Windsor forum
. We actually witnessed this happening.
Ideally we, the car-driving electoral majority, should have our own political party, pledged to re-introduce hanging, drawing and quartering for clamper scum, thus discouraging any others. As this will not happen, the only alternative is to starve the private car parks of funds by NEVER EVER using them. If the local authority car parks are all full, PLEASE DRIVE AWAY from Windsor and post to the forum explaining why you spent no money in the town.
Labels: Eating out, Grumpy, Theatre, Travel
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
BMEA Conference at the Southampton Novotel
Today we have been enjoying the 2008 British Marine Electronics Association (BMEA) Conference at the Southampton Novotel (pictured). The presentations were all good but we particularly enjoyed:
'Investing - the Ideal World' by Martin Hurll of St. James Place Capital, who boosted our flagging morale with respect to the financial crisis;
'Selling to the UK and USA' by Nick Heyes of Marine Electronic Services Ltd., who described in great detail the wonders of West Marine, only to provide the punch line that he found its Ts & Cs to be unacceptable.
In the bar Tamzin Matthew, legal and Company Secretary at the British Maritime Federation, explained how, as members, we can get free legal advice. She observed that we were not serious drinkers as we were sipping our wine so slowly. I explained that at 5.15 pounds per glass we felt obliged to eke it out until called to the dinner.
Labels: drinking, Eating out, Travel, Water power, Wind power
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Crown at Northbourne
Today and last Saturday we had lunch in the Crown at Northbourne. It is sad that this pub is not registered with Beer in the Evening nor anywhere else obvious. Both food and drink are good and prices are very competitive. We had the haddock and chips for £3.50 last week and the special £4.50 2-course offer today, comprising sausages / ice cream for Selina and steak pie / rhubarb crumble for me. Both were excellent. The most expensive bottle of wine is under £11.00 and Marston's Pedigree is on draught.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Moor of Rannoch Hotel
Today we drove to Fort William, up Glen Nevis and back, then to Glencoe where we lunched. Then up the length of Glencoe, through Tyndrum and Crianlarich, past Tummel and Loch Rannoch to the point where this section of the 'Road To The Isles' ends at Rannoch Moor with nothing but a railway halt and a hotel, both pictured.
We were not expecting too much of such remote lodgings as the Moor of Rannoch Hotel but we were very pleasantly surprised. The bedroom was delightful, with fine views across the moor and the lounge and bar were comfortable and welcoming. The resident proprieters were friendly and efficient, doing a fantastic job with very little hired help. The bed and breakfast rate was very reasonable. The meal and wine were good, albeit a little expensive, served in a light airy dining room with views as good as from the bedroom. We definitely recommend this hotel, particularly for anyone who wants to travel by train and then to walk.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Loch Ness, Cannich, Glen Moriston Arms, Culloden
Today we drove past Eilean Donan Castle (pictured) to Loch Ness and on to Cannich, where we lunched and then drove up Glen Affric. We are staying at the Glen Moriston Arms (also pictured), close to Loch Ness, a friendly hotel with a nice room, good food (duck and pork in our case) and wine.
For our second day we drove along the other side of the Loch to Inverness and then visited the Culloden battlefield historic site. The new visitor centre is expensive, we spent 22 pounds, but very interesting, telling us more than we ever learnt at school. For the film show we stood in the middle of the room with redcoats firing from the screen behind us as primitive tribal savages charged us from the screen in front. Holes appeared in the bodies of those hit by musket balls or grapeshot.
We returned to the hotel on main roads so we were surprised to find no petrol stations along our route. This resulted in the ultimate economy driving, coasting down even the slightest slope. We deviated to Fort William to be sure of finding fuel.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Skye, Balmacara, Plockton, Loch Ewe
On Monday morning we took the ferry from Mallaig to Skye and spent much of the day driving round the island, lunching at Portree, the only town. The sun came out and we crossed the bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh, unrecognisable from when I was last there 48 years ago. It looks almost modern now.
We are staying at the Balmacara Hotel, pictured, considerably extended since 1960. The public bar where I spent the evening of my 17th birthday is in the same place, but larger, with the footpath I took from the youth hostel unchanged.
Still in sunshine we drove over to Plockton (pictured), a beautiful little sheltered seaside village.
For our first evening we ate in the public bar, a rather more sober affair than the last time. Our bedroom was fine, with a superb view across the water to Skye.
The next day was bad weather locally so we drove north, out of the rain, to Loch Ewe, where arctic convoys gathered in World War 2. In the evening we ate in the very nice hotel restaurant. The food was great and more than we could eat.