Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sumners Ponds Fishery and Campsite, Horsham, West Sussex, Friday 26th October 2012

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Cafe bar balcony by Somners Lake

 

This is our third day at this superb campsite.  We are parked right by the shore of one of the lakes, Somners Lake, but there are 2 more lakes within the camping ground, Farm Pond and Ribbon lake, and one more just a few minutes’ walk away from the site, Match lake.  They are all very popular with fishermen, but there were still a few swims free when I walked around with Sasha the last couple of days.

 

The Cafe-bar and reception area

 

 

Match Lake, just outside campsite

 

Ribbon Lake

 

Holiday pods for those without tents

 

The facilities on the campsite are first class, and we are both very impressed with the showers and utilities blocks, perhaps the best we’ve seen anywhere, very warm units, with state-of-the-art showers, washing facilities and hair driers, with disabled and family facilities, all immaculately kept.  It’s obvious that someone is taking great pride in keeping this site in top condition, which makes our stay all the more pleasant, even in the rain.  There are also some wooden camping pods for campers without a tent or caravan.

 

The brilliant shower block and washing facilities by Farm Pond

 

Our pitch by the cafe-bar and Somners Lake

 

Our pitch by Somners Lake

There is also a café with lovely decking by Sumners Lake, just a few meters from our pitch, offering hot food, drinks, snacks and ice-cream, either to eat in or take away, and a fully licenced bar.

The site is surrounded by acres of woodland, with numerous footpaths and cycle-ways, with planned routes available from reception.  There is also a Downs link offering easy, flat walking and cycling routes, available from www.footpathsofsussex.co.uk

The weather has been mild and dry until this morning, but I’ve certainly enjoyed wandering around the site and my slow stroll to the local village, Barns Green, only 5 minutes’ walk from our pitch.  There is a well-stocked shop there and the Queen’s Head pub, where we intend to go for our Saturday night meal, as they are offering traditional pub food and we haven’t enjoyed this kind of meal for a while with all our holidays abroad.  It’s quite refreshing to have a break so near our home and still feel we are away.

The Queen’s Head Pub at Barns Green

 

So we’ve swapped our usual French baguettes for the local bread, and our Camembert and Roquefort for homely Somerset Brie and Colston Bassett Stilton, delicious too!

So, if you are in the mood for a proper English fishing, walking or cycling break in stunningly beautiful landscape, this is definitely the place for you.

 

All we need now is some sunshine!

Well, the sun did shine brightly on Saturday morning, which was perfect for a walk round Somners Lake with Sasha.  She absolutely loved that hill and ran as fast as I’ve ever seen her: Priceless!

Sasha having a great time in the sun on the hill by Somners Lake

 

Sasha having a great time in the sun on the hill by Somners Lake

 

Sasha having a great time in the sun on the hill by Somners Lake

 

 

Our traditional pub meal at The Queen’s Head turned out to be a ‘chilli con carne’ and rice, as being Halloween, there was only that dish on offer, but the beer was great and the atmosphere lively and fun, with a Halloween disco organised for later in the evening, so lots of people dressed up in scary costumes and a good night was had by all!

 

Nice log fire at The Queen’s Head

 

The friendly (if scary) bar attendants

 

The friendly (if scary) bar attendants

 

The friendly (if scary) bar attendants

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek Destination London, Saturday 20th October 2012

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My son and I booked these tickets back in May and had been looking forward to attending this event ever since.  Mercifully time flies and the day finally arrived yesterday, so we ‘beamed ourselves up’ on the train all the way from Bognor Regis to London Victoria Railway Station and then another hour or so in the tube to Canning Town, where a replacement bus service transported us for the last few miles of our long trek to ExCel Centre, where the convention was taking place all weekend.

We weren’t prepared for the size of this venue and it seemed like we were leaving the planet just to get there (a tricorder would have been handy at this point).  We were hoping to find lots of ‘alien’ looking people (Klingons and the like) so that we could follow them and make our journey easier, but these only appeared when we were almost on top of the venue itself.  There were various queues we joined in as we saw people holding their Star Trek tickets, not willing to jump ahead of other fans.  After a couple minutes somebody happened to mention that was the queue for the William Shatner talk and that if only had a standard ticket we could go right ahead to the venue.  That we did, only for a steward to tell us at the entrance of venue 8 that we had to join the shorter queue nearest the wall, which we duly did.  Again, we’d been there a couple of minutes when someone else pointed out to us that that was the queue for ‘Subway’ fast food retail and that we should join the other longer queue and thus we ended back where we started from.  Once again, the same helpful people who sent us forward earlier on told us to ignore what the stewards said, as they didn’t have a clue about what was going on and said we should go to venue 9.

A Borg at the STDL Museum

Cardasians masks at museum

Captain Picard’s Borg arm

Admiral T Kirk’s outfit

Kess’ outfit from Voyager

At last, after about 10 minutes fiddling about and feeling like a right pair of twits, we entered the official STDL venue and were greeted by the Star Trek museum first.  This was quite interesting, full of various major and minor character outfits (including captains’), props and manikins, but it could have done with more exhibits and more space to move around, as, being such a popular event (apparently 12,000 fans turned up yesterday), there was neither much room nor time to have a good look and enjoy it properly.  This small irritant was compensated by Star Trek characters walking by and being extremely friendly and happy to pose for a picture with anyone who asked, never failing to smile and making it special for you.  I loved the Borg and Klingons, especially, and that is the memory I’ll take with me.

‘Resistance is futile’ with a friendly Borg

Another harmless Borg

Once we saw all the exhibits at the museum, we wandered around the venue waiting for surprises and things to photograph.  The first thing we encountered was the autograph signing areas, divided into main or popular characters, such as the Captains, or minor ones.  We thought about having one from Kate Mulgrew, as she’s always been my favourite captain, but at £25 each was a bit too much for us.

Kate Mulgrew’s autograph signing area

Autograp signing area

And this was the main problem with the event: everything seemed to be overpriced and overcrowded.  One of the things we really wanted to do was to have a picture taken on the bridge of the spaceship, but again that came with a price tag of £15, so I treated my son to it.  We first had to queue for about 15 minutes to buy the ticket for the privilege and then wait another 20 minutes for the picture itself.  At least the result was good and it made Peter’s day (a small price to pay, you might say).

My son as Captain on the Enterprise Bridge

While Peter was waiting for his turn to have his picture taken, I wandered around the venue and discovered the wonderful ‘Klingon Zone’, where later on we spent some time talking to a real Trekky form Glasgow who knew everything there is to know about this wonderful series and had a good laugh as we waited to have our picture taken with some of the most iconic alien races of the franchise.  I was even kissed by these two amazing blokes, which actually made my day!

The Klingon Zone

The Klingon Zone

Two very friendly Klingons

Before that, we also had to queue for our chance to be beamed up in the transporter, for which it was necessary to download and application on your mobile phone, which was easily done and, we had the joy of seeing ourselves appear on Peter’s mobile: very cool indeed.  We now have a still photograph of this memorable time for keeps!

Two to beam up!

We also heard the standing ovation Patrick Stewart received when he appeared for his speech and we could have listened to it through the curtains of the auditorium as we didn’t have a ticket, but felt that was a sad thing to do and continued with our exploration of the place.

Just messing around with the exhibits

We thought we might buy a souvenir in the shape of a t-shirt, but even those came at the steep price of £20, and forget the proper Starfleet outfits, that were over £100.

So, to summarise, the event was very enjoyable and it was made very special by the people who made such an extraordinary effort to dress up and make it all look so real, but we were somewhat disappointed not to have seen any of the major characters in the flesh without having to pay extra (our standard ticket cost £20), partly our fault, as we had to leave the venue early in order to catch the train back home and allow 3 hours travelling time.  I understand that Brent Spiner’s (Data) speech was free of charge, but that was taking place at 5.30 pm and it would have made it too late for us to make our way back to Victoria Station.

Fans making an effort: wonderful!

Lesson learned:  next time stay till closing time and spend the night in London if necessary in order to make the most of the experience.

Resistance is Futile!

Wissant, Pas de Calais, 28th August 2012

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This is just a picture blog.  Wissant is always the beginning and the end of our holidays, so it’s become an important place in our travels.  This time it was a beautiful sunny day, if a bit windy as always, which made it perfect for kite flying and surfing.  The sand dunes provide a welcome natural shelter against the wind.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and that you’ll come and visit this wonderful place in the north west of France.

 

Wissant, Pas de Calais

 

Wissant, Pas de Calais

 

 

Wissant, Pas de Calais

 

Sand dunes at Wissant

 

Sand dunes at Wissant

 

Kite flying on Wissant Beach

 

 

 Wissant Beach

 

 

kite flying on Wissant beach

 

Kite flying on Wissant Beach

 

Wissant Beach

 

Old Nazi Bunkers on Wissant beach

 

 

Old Nazi Bunkers on Wissant beach

 

Old Nazi Bunkers on Wissant beach

 

 

Wissant Beach

 

 

Sand dunes at Wissant

 

Sand dunes at Wissant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, Sunday 26th August 2012

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This charming little village is part of the Association des Petites Cités de Caractère de la Sarthe and we’ve been meaning to stop here ever since we’ve been driving up and down this road from Alanҫon to Le Mans.  We are glad we’ve finally made time for it on this long journey, which is slowly coming to an end, as we haven’t been disappointed.

 

Municipal campsite at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

The campsite is immaculately kept, with generous size pitches, access for disabled people to the washing facilities and shower block.  It’s very quiet and peaceful, even though it has plenty of space and a large playground area for children.  The site is right on the river Sarthe, with easy access for fishing and just a few minutes’ walk from the shops and town centre.  The receptionist, Maria Dolores, is very friendly and chatty and speaks several languages, including Spanish, Italian and English, so we had a nice chat in Spanish for a change.  I later discovered she’s half Spanish, from Jaén, and half Italian, so I really enjoyed meeting someone from my own country and having a laugh together.

Our generous pitch at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

We arrived yesterday morning after a short drive on the A11 from La Suze-sur-Sarthe at junction 9 to J.7, which continued north on the A28, so we avoided the congested ring-road at Le Mans and came off at J.21 for Beaumont-sur-Sarthe.

 

Access for the disabled to shower and washing facilities block

 

We didn’t do much yesterday apart from walking around this lovely campsite and a gentle stroll into town to buy bread and cakes.  I think the thought of going back to work is weighing on us now and we’re trying to make the most of the good weather and tranquillity of this area.

 

Pont Roman at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

This morning, while Adonis was fishing, I went on a tour of the village and followed the guide given to me by Maria Dolores.  I slowly made my way around La Motte and Rue des Promenades to La Place de la Liberation in order to complete the recommended route and not miss anything of importance.  I enjoyed La Porte Romane of L’Eglise Notre-Dame as well as the Pont Roman, of which I took photos.  The views from the Romanic Bridge are very pretty and I spent some time admiring them.  The town itself dates back to the 10th century and it was built within a vast elliptical wall, with some openings being made during the course of history.

 

Porte Romane of Eglise Notre-Dame

 

This is certainly a quaint little town to stop in your travels and it’s well worth a visit, just for its simplicity and tranquillity.

 

I love this house at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

 

House decorated with broken pottery and china

 

Tomorrow  we’ll carry on north towards Alanҫon, where we are planning to do our big shop before we return home and thus stock up on beer, wine, cheeses, salamis and any other local speciality that takes our fancy.

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

It’s Bank Holiday weekend in England and several British cars and caravans left the site today, but I’m glad we still have a few days left and don’t have to rush for the crossing.

The weather has mercifully cooled down and we’ve only reached 28°C, which is easier to sleep in.  This is just the ideal temperature for me: very pleasant on the skin without making me feel so lethargic.  I shall miss this in the dark and cold winter months.

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

 

Making the most of the sun before leaving Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

 

Motorhome facilities at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

Large children playing area at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe