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  • Blog 200 - Exploring the Historic Charm of Shropshire: Travel Blog A Week Away in Salop

    Created by KeefH Web Designs , April 29th, 2024, 11.58 AM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No58: 22nd-27th April 2024 NOTTS-> Ludlow & Bridgenorth, Shropshire, Stokesay Castle & Boscobel House and Charles 2nd's Royal Oak -> NOTTS 278 miles MENU Introduction Diary Panoramas Friends Ludlow Ludlow Town Quiz Stokesay Castle Bridgenorth Boscobel House and The Royal Oak The Talkie Videos Campsite Recommendations Summary and Sign Off INTRODUCTION A travel blog Return to Menu DIARY Was due to be 3 days in Ludlow and 3 days in Bridgenorth for us well known motorhomies. Day one in Ludlow the Sunday was removed after 7 hours stint in A&E Nottingham for Keef and the Monday and Tuesday where we were due to meet up with friends didn't quite make it this year, must be an age thing as the assembled crew teeter on the edge of being all septuagenarians, wow that will be a lot of years, experience, knowledge and fun when we next get together around the table. Anyhow here a summary of the days away Mon 22nd April 2024 Travel to Ludlow Campsite Tues 23rd April 2024 Catch bus into Ludlow from outside the site, Town Quiz, Coffee & cake at Costa in Tesco's near the station, town quiz, 6 hours 3 miles , great fun Weds 24th April 2024 Leave Ludlow, Stokesay Castle then onto Bridgenorth campsite at Stanmore Hall Thurs 25th April 2024 Took van into Bridgenorth, parked man street, funicular railway, castle gardens, east street, then on for carvery lunch at the Royal Oak Alveley #yummy Fri 26th April 2024 Day of rest at the campsite, Peacocks, Great lake, Reading and relaxation, not really enough sunshine but we did sit out Sat 27th April 2024 Travelled home via Boscobel House and White Sisters Priory and this time the REAL Royal Oak, did you know it is the most used name for British Pubs, a great story of Daring do.... Return to Menu PANORAMAS & ART WORK These are a few of the shots KeefH Web Designs Artworks Inc shot for this travel blog. I have many more images to muse over in my Flickr Art Collection #artforartsake Note not sure about this but you may need a Flickr account (free join) to view those Return to Menu FRIENDS Such a shame we were due to be away in Ludlow with our dear friends Neil & Marice, Mandy & Colin and Chris and Allyson in Ludlow with meals at the George and Feathers restaurants booked but for various reasons this years get together didn't quite work out, but hey if you look back at Blog 198 (see bottom of blog for link, thanks) you can see what fun we had in Shrewsbury, hopefully next years extravaganza will prove more fruitful, the only thing I can say is I'm on the look out for the elixir of eternal yoof before them #friends Return to Menu LUDLOW What a lovely town Ludlow is. We travelled there in mostly total rain having rung the day before to let the campsite know we would be missing on the first day of our booking. They kindly said we could arrive whenever we wanted on the Monday. We used M42, M5 and our usual route via Kidderminster and Bewdley etc. etc. We arrived just before 1 and set up camp. Very helpful staff , a useful site shop, gin van (which sadly wasn't open #haha ) and great facilities. Bit nippy and blowy but by the time we arrived the rain had finally stopped, This year I have felt like Noah!!! Here is a video of us arriving and a site setup image, pitch number 109, last time we were here we were on pitch number 3. Want to know a little more about Ludlow and its history , well here you go! Boy there are elements of AI I love... Ludlow, located in Shropshire, England, is a charming market town with a rich history. Let’s delve into its fascinating past: 1.     Medieval Origins: ·        Ludlow’s recorded history dates back to the late 11th century after the Norman conquest of England. ·        The town was founded as a medieval walled town centered around a small hill on the eastern bank of the River Teme. ·        Key landmarks on this hill include Ludlow Castle and the parish church, St Laurence’s, which is the largest in the county. 2.     Geographical Setting: ·        Ludlow lies near the confluence of the rivers Corve and Teme. ·        The town is nestled beneath the Mortimer Forest and the Clee Hills, providing picturesque views. ·        Its sheltered location contributes to its charm. 3.     Architectural Heritage: ·        Ludlow boasts nearly 500 listed buildings, including well-preserved examples of medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings. ·        The town’s aesthetic beauty has led it to be described by Sir John Betjeman as “probably the loveliest town in England.” 4.     Etymology and Names: ·        Ludlow was known as Dinam in ancient times. ·        The British name for the town was Dinam, which translates to “The Palace of Princes.” ·        The Modern Welsh name is Llwydlo. ·        The Old English name Lodelowe referred to the site before 1138, combining “hlud” (loud waters) and “hlǣw” (hill or tumulus). 5.     Weirs and River Control: ·        Originally, the River Teme had rapids near Ludlow. ·        Weirs were added along the river to tame the rapid flows, making the area more hospitable. 6.     Ludlow Today: ·        Ludlow continues to be a vibrant town, attracting visitors with its historic charm, cultural events, and stunning architecture. ·        Whether exploring the castle, strolling through the streets, or enjoying local cuisine, Ludlow offers a delightful experience. Want to know more about Lawrence of Ludlow? Return to MENU LUDLOW TOWN QUIZ We caught the 11.01 bus into town, bus pass pleasures, nice chat with a couple and Betty the dog, from the campsite who had camped at a CL nearer the town (caravan and motorhome site) during the Covid times, which was when we last stayed in Ludlow. The bus is semi rural so there are only 3 trips per day and on the way back for the last 2, we got the latest, you have to request that it stops at the Ludlow Touring site else it goes a different way to Castle Richard. #hintsandtips We had fun doing the Town Quiz, great fun, locals were helpful on a couple of occasions and there was a young couple with a dog doing the same whom we traded the odd hint, well it did say use ALL RESOURCES. #haha We certainly could have done with the bigger gang of friends, many brains make light bulbs work as the old saying goes. Anyway this was by far and away the hardest one we have done so far, it was our fifth one and the only one we didn't get right for a myriad of reasons, Ludlow is very steep and Annie's knee was certainly playing her. It also didn't help that some questions were deeply obscure and in one particular one the building was being renovated so the answer wasn't even visible, I used google to find an old image and blew it up. 2 old lead drainpipes at the tip of the building showing the repeat year 1728. I reported this change in environment to the quiz masters to ensure future quizzers didn't have the same problem. Anyhow that all said and done we only got fooled by 1 question which meant overall we failed. How many city gates added to the century (year) the last original drum tower survived until. Boo, totally flummoxed. Would have given us TWENTY which was in the middle of Katwen Tyson #geddit Anyhow it was enormous fun and whilst it estimated 1.75 miles and 2 hours we walked 3 miles and took about 6 hours, including a fab lunch at the George and a coffee break at Costa coffee to rest our weary legs. So just in time to get the last bus back. What fun, we loved it, onwards and upwards to the next one. Here is a video of the day with Colin's traditional shots of the clue sites (mostly) and a slideshow of the salient parts about the quiz. Return to Menu STOKESAY 13th CENTURY CASTLE AND MANOR HOUSE We packed up camp at Ludlow and left by 11 a.m. We travelled the short distance , about 10 miles, outside Ludlow to Craven arms, past the lovely railway station at Onibury we had been to before. We parked in the English Heritage car park and strolled through the old church to the shop and checked in. They gave us the usual audio guided tour kit, very useful. The gatehouse entrance is an old manor house with amazing carvings. Indeed all I can say about the mistress of the house at the time is back in the 13th century they must have loved sunbathing topless #teehee We had a fabulous time going around the old castle. It was a Royalist stronghold but cleverly they gave in immediately the New Model Army arrived so unlike Bridgenorth castle , which is no more than a large stump, Stokesay survives almost in tact. The gardens are lovely as well. After seeing the castle and grounds we retired to the cafe for coffee and a lovely slice of passionfruit and lime cake #toodiefor Although the castle is 13th century built by Laurence of Ludlow the gatehouse was built by William , 1st Earl Craven. It is worth saying that William Craven never married as only had eyes for queen Beatrice of Bohemia (allegedly) and he looked nothing like the carving above the gate... you do the spot the difference, even down to the beard and type of moustache #teehee Here is the travel blog video of our fun time at Stokesay, so worth a visit #recommended It's so good to have helpful friends #smile If you fancy know a little more about Stokesay our travel blog AI pal can help here, read on descendants of Lodelowe.... Stokesay Castle, nestled in a peaceful Shropshire valley near the Welsh border, has a captivating history that reflects medieval life in England. Let’s explore its fascinating story: Laurence of Ludlow and the Wool Trade: Stokesay Castle was built in the late 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, a local merchant. Laurence had amassed wealth through the wool trade, which was booming during that period. His vision was to create a fortified manor house that showcased his prosperity and power. Unique Features: Stokesay Castle is one of the finest fortified manor houses in England. Its military appearance is deceptive; it was not designed to withstand a serious siege. Almost everything visible today was constructed in the 1280s and 1290s by Laurence of Ludlow. Medieval Treasures: Among Stokesay’s many treasures are: A medieval staircase that stands as a testament to craftsmanship. A richly carved 17th-century chamber that exudes elegance. A tiled floor that whispers stories of the past. Preservation and Restoration: In the 19th century, early conservationists sympathetically repaired and preserved Stokesay Castle. Thanks to their efforts, the castle remains remarkably intact, offering a glimpse into medieval England. Significance and Survival: Stokesay Castle’s importance lies not only in its buildings but also in their survival with minimal alteration. It stands as a living link to a bygone era, where wool wealth and architectural finesse intersected. Explore Further: If you’re curious about Stokesay Castle’s full history, consider reading a comprehensive account. The castle’s story intertwines with Laurence of Ludlow’s rise, the wool trade, and the taste of medieval England. Want to know more? Stokesay If you want to know about William Craven , 1st Earl Craven and constructor of that fine manor gatehouse, click HERE Return to MENU BRIDGENORTH & ALVENEY Annie's distant rellie Joseph Lloyd Whatmore (3rd great uncle) was Mayor of Bridgenorth back in the day and we have visited before from a genealogy perspective, but now we have the freedom of the town we explored more. #smile Mr. Mayor was a hatter & furrier with shops at both 6 and 51 high street. Between 1852-81 he was a councillor, mayor & magistrate from November 1860. We parked in the main street by the buttercross. You have to park end on which is not an issue for our perfectly formed Wendy house van. Its only 40 minutes allowed stay, which put a bit of pressure on us but we had time to use the Funicular railway, the shortest and steepest in the UK (allegedly). If you are an English Heritage member let them know, its not advertised, but that will get you the return journey for free. On the lower level, mostly sandstone, is the River Severn and Bridgnorth's quayside, lovely views. Up above beside the bridge is the oldest seed shop in the UK. We had a quick walk around and then returned back up via the funicular railway to the north cliffs. It's called the Cliff railway. After that we walked along the circular road parallel but way about the river. Some great sites heading towards the Castle and gardens. Sadly the castle is almost just a stump after Oliver Cromwell's participation. Our informer at Boscobel told us the Royalists / New Model army disputes (if I can be so understated) were more about religion than power and corruption. Who would know to challenge the expected norm. Anyhow after the gardens we legged it back just in time to avoid a parking ticket, be warned. You don't get long, but over by the park there are a lot of parking areas. The Mercian way as indicated by the sculpture you see at the start of this video slideshow of travel blog images starts at Wyre Forest which is also well worth a visit. Return to Menu BOSCOBEL HOUSE AND CHARLES THE SECOND After a fabulous "chill" day Friday at the Stanmore Hall campsite, reading, sitting out in the sun (briefly) , eating, drinking and making merry we breakfasted and broke camp (love that expression from my boy sprout days) parked up the van and tootled off to Boscobel. The campsite was lovely and we will return. Here's a few of us chilling , literally, as you can see now taken refuge inside. tee-hee So we heard a lot about Charles the 2nd at Boscobel house. I went to see what remains of the Royal Oak a bit away from the house. It was cold and quite a walk so Annie stayed back at the farm area trying to shelter. We were so cold afterwards we went and had coffee, cake and a lovely cheese scone offering in the stable block to warm up. The current Royal Oak is a sapling of the original which apparently was taken down branch by branch by trophy hunters back in the day. Indeed this sapling although very old was hit by lightening so still not much left but from a history perspective, a joint passion of ours, well worth the walk. White Ladies priory further down the road is where Charles initially took refuge. We drove to it but as it was raining and a way off the roadside and Annie's knee wasn't great we chose not to walk over to the ruins, devastated during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries . The house was very interesting and rather than use the standard English Heritage audio guides , as the folk on the till said, on entry.... "we have real people".... some of whom whilst interesting were rather difficult to get away from. The grounds have traditional farm animals, rare breed ones at that, ideal for grandkids etc. The gardens are great and the preserved stable blocks filled with much info. All in all so glad we visited, you are never too old to learn. Whilst history and geography were not my "bag" at school they definitely are now. Want to know more about Charlie's daring do? Here you go Charles II, the son of Charles I, played a significant role in English history, especially during the tumultuous period of the English Civil Wars. One of the most intriguing episodes associated with Charles II is his escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Let’s explore the story of Charles II and the Royal Oak: 1.     The Battle of Worcester: ·        In 1651, the Royalist army, led by Charles II, faced the Parliamentarian forces in the Battle of Worcester. ·        The Royalists suffered a decisive defeat, and Charles II was forced to flee for his life. 2.     The Escape to Boscobel House: ·        After the battle, Charles II found himself on the run, pursued by Parliamentarian troops. ·        He sought refuge at Boscobel House, a remote location in Shropshire, England. ·        The house belonged to the Penderel family, who were loyal to the Royalist cause. 3.     The Famous Royal Oak: ·        Charles II hid in an oak tree within the grounds of Boscobel House. ·        The tree became known as the Royal Oak and symbolized the king’s escape and survival. ·        The oak provided cover and protection, allowing Charles II to evade capture. 4.     Disguise and Adventure: ·        Charles II changed his appearance, donning country clothes and cutting his royal locks. ·        With the help of the Penderel family, he moved from one hiding place to another, avoiding detection. ·        His escape involved tense moments, close calls, and daring maneuvers. 5.     Legacy and Pub Names: ·        Charles II eventually made it to safety and later regained the throne. ·        The story of his escape became legendary, and the Royal Oak became a powerful symbol of resilience and survival. ·        To this day, many pubs in England bear the name “The Royal Oak” in honor of this historic event. 6.     Boscobel House Today: ·        Visitors can explore Boscobel House and its beautiful orchard and gardens. ·        The descendant of the famous Royal Oak still stands, connecting us to this remarkable chapter in English history. Want to know more? Charles 2nd Boscobel and the Royal Oak After Boscobel and avoiding the marching Armies in that area (Modern Model Army this time, tee hee) we spent our time trying to avoid the M6 toll (£14 last time) and used Watling Street... guess what it really is a straight Roman road, or A5 to return home and unpack after a most enjoyable 6 days away. Return to MENU BLOG VIDEOS This is a video of all out talkie vids combined. Must practice my acting voice a little more. Return to Menu MORRIS LEISURE QUALITY CAMPSITES The campsites are fab, it seems there are 6 of them. As we are now part of their Loyalty scheme and they are slightly cheaper and with good facilities if and when we are in the area we will try them all out. We stayed at Ludlow touring park and Stanmore Hall sites this time, I have included some extra details in case you are interested fellow motorhomies. #recommended if you want to know more about this lovely set of campsites Look Here Return to Menu THE END Thanks for reading folks, hope it was helpful

  • Blog 199 Travel Blog 2 Weeks in Singapore for Charlie's 9th Birthday

    Created by KeefH Web Designs November 4th, 2023, 7.24 AM A Bonfire of a Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Not The Motorhome trip No 20 : October 16th 2023 – November 2nd 2023 18 wonderful day in total spent with family MENU Overview Panorama's Diary Snapshot of a few Highlights Charlie's Birthday Slideshows Flowers and Fruit Movies - The Talkies Travel Route and Maps Audiobook Singapore, land expansion The End, until we meet again OVERVIEW This is a KHWD travel blog, Travel Blog 199 by KeefH Web Designs showing family visit to Singapore for granddaughter's 9th birthday fun and featuring Cable cars to Sentosa and Foodie fun including finally Hawker Chan's 1 star Michelin Singapore Chicken and Rice, Awfully Chocolate, Quentin's Eurasian restaurant in Joo Chatt area (our 3rd visit but no stinky bean this time but whilst we are on stinky definitely some lovely gooey Durian, yummy) and a new experience in Indonesian BBQ chicken which relegates Colonel Saunders to the bin! #smile This was our 10th visit to Singapore (so far!) Doug and Phoenix kindly took me to the wonderful Old Colonial Coastal Settlement restaurant for my 69th birthday celebrations. Another yummy! We even managed the wonderful movie "Killers of the Flower Moon" at the Shaw theatre in the Jewel centre on a revisit to see the largest indoor waterfall in the world, i 'm still wondering how they got that glass bowl into what was originally Changi Terminal 1's car park #yourspuzzled WARNING (Privacy) In the interest of protecting our grandchildren's identity on You Tube I have made any slideshow or movie "PRIVATE" that contain images of them. Clearly should you as friends or family wish to see an unprotected version feel free to contact me via the Let's Chat button here on the site providing your name and email address and I will gladly change the security authority for you to an unprotected version so that you will be able to view, OK?. I appreciate your support in this to help in what has now become sadly a rather treacherous world online in some specific cases. Much appreciated Keef x Return to Menu PANORAMAS KHWD travel blog style panoramas are fun to take sometimes however movement creates quite a weird effect, see what you think Return to Menu DIARY Here is the calendar overview of our wonderful 18 days spent with family in Singapore, maybe use the map to identify where each referenced place is, just a thought. Return to Menu A FEW HIGHLIGHTS Here is a gallery of some of the many highlights of our 2 week visit for the 10th time to Singapore. Here are some of the souvenirs we collected on our travels, especially the Mount Faber and Sentosa Island fans as the cable cars are not air conditioned, an essential item for travelling up their above the dense jungle below, a snapshot of what Singapore first looked like pre development with monkeys, snakes and monitor lizards a standard. It still fascinates me that the world famous Raffles hotel of Singapore Sling fame is on Beach Road which believe kit or not looking now was once on the beach, land reclamation is an ever changing feast in Singapore. Return to Menu CHARLIE'S BIRTHDAY Our lovely grand daughter was 9 and we celebrated with a variety of meals and the big day itself with traditional presents which were a fun challenge Lego wise. We went to awfully chocolate chosen by the birthday girl herself on the Sunday prior to her birthday, then we had presents and ice cream cake on her birthday at home. Poor Charlie she had a series of 4 school exams on and during her birthday week, but she did super well. On the Saturday it was the big birthday BBQ at ECP (East Coast Park) with all her friends, lots of lighting decorations and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner that took G&G and with Phoenix's help to quell our frustrations at the entanglement a few hours but oh so worth it. Lots of glow sticks in the dark on the beach. They all looked wonderful. We had a long chat with the South African grand parents of one of Charlie's friends. A lovely evening only marred slightly by poor Doug and Alfie's fall on the rocks. But all's well that end's well!. We also went to Quentin's Eurasian restaurant, one we have been to twice before as a denouement of her birthday. No stinky bean this time though. A great time and a privilege to be there for her birthday. This movie which is PRIVATE & PROTECTED is 8 minutes long Return to Menu SLIDESHOWS Monday 16th to Friday 20th October 2023. Packed up the car with our 2 suitcases and headed off down the UK's M1 motorway in what for the current period where storms Babet and Ciaran have been all the news was a very calm and mostly sunny day. With of course the obligatory motorway snarl up of travelling many miles at a snail's pace. We arrived on Floor 4 area B as directed by our meet & greet company and had the parking ticket for entry which naively I assumed the company would get when they left to take our car off site but no they took me over to the pay terminal to pay for it. Last time that was included, oh well thats progress #smile We then did all the usual checking in at Heathrow , dropped off the suitcases and had a bite to eat. WH Smith's meal deal seemed to be the best deal on offer , just a hint. The Singapore airlines flight left more or less on time and seeing there were not any movies , really that we fancied, we both mostly listened to music. The Last Domino tour album by Genesis for me, a true delight! Between broken sleep although I did manage about 4 hours this time, an all time record for me, I watched Titanic, so sad! Phoenix and Charlie met us at the terminal in Changi Airport, Singapore which was lovely. Taxi back to Marine drive, our new super wheelie Samsonite suitcases made the journey so much easier. After a meal and catch up it was earlyish to bed. Next few days were great fun catching up with the kids, playing, helping Charlie with her revision (allegedly!) Alfie's new seeds pre school and Charlie's ballet in East Coast Road. Here is a slideshow memory. Saturday 21st October 2023 We went of by taxi to the coastal settlement restaurant over in the Changi Point area, what used to be the old british military barracks that my Uncle Wally (bless his soul!) probably served at. Doug & Phoenix had taken aunty Linda there on her and Ian's cruise trip into Singapore so now it was Grandpa's turn to celebrate his birthday. Lovely setting so tropical but with masses of 50s etc. memorabilia. Nice meal for all I had possibly the best Nasi Lemak I have ever had. Post meal we went for a wander outside just as the heavens opened, so we sheltered viewing lovely tropical plants, a banana tree in full fruit and some quirky other stuff especially the rotting caravan. Inside both motorbikes and scooters were very interesting. Many thanks Singapore Hellingers for a lovely 69th birthday experience. Want to see more of this colonial experience?. Sunday 22nd October 2023 We all breakfasted at the "big tree" hawker centre, a tradition, dining on egg filled paratha, kopi (coffee) and OJ. Just lovely and Michael came over to tell us all about his grand kids studying at posh UK & US universities. How kind of him #smile we were yet unknown to us get a repeat of this the following Sunday. A very nice man however who clearly spends a lot of time at that particular Hawker centre and is just so friendly as indeed nearly every one we met is in Singapore. I loved being called an old uncle NOT! Folks would stop and as us if we need help often, now where would you get that in London I ask myself. In the evening for Charlie's 1st birthday meal celebration we went to Awfully Chocolate in East Coast Road. Now guess whose choice of venue that was? A nice meal and venue, especially liked my Beef Brisket infused with chocolate, well it tasted that way. The puds understandably were to die for. The Air Con how ever was a little on the chilly side, I wondered if that was "chocolate related". Monday 23rd October 2023 Took the bus to Dhoby Gault, a trip we have done before on previous trips to visit the Singapore Museum, a must if you are in the country. We went with Phoenix and visited Spotlight (the Australian fabrics chain) in Plaza Singapura, so Annie could get crochet hooks for Charlie and wool for Granny's lessons, lets keep these skills going between generations. We also got some Christmas fabrics for Granny to make then outfits for the up and coming Xmas time. We then went to the food court to finally sample Hawker Chan's Singapore chicken rice, a personal mission stretching back over the years. Approx. £4 for a Michelin starred meal, beat that #hintsandtips Tuesday 24th (Charlie's 9th Birthday) to Thursday 26th October 2023 The main images which are kept private of Charlie's birthday are available under the appropriate heading. On Thursday we headed out to do a tourist trip for the first time which in our 10 trips to Singapore we have not done before. We have been to Sentosa back in the day but never used the cable cars. So it was 16 bus to Dakota MRT, then east west line to Harbourside where rather than buy your cable car tickets online #hintaandtips it is better on the ground floor to negotiate your tickets by telling them you are seniors (if indeed you are). We saved a lot, the combined ticket for both cable cars was SG$50, clearly if you are Singaporean or local resident it is much cheaper still. Finding the appropriate building for the Mount Faber cable car is easy from the Harbourside MRT , come out at exit B and follow the signage. #doddle So we went up Mount Faber , some fab views ate the top and then down using the cable car across the Pandan Straits to Sentosa Island. A few minutes walk and you are on the second cable car which like the Mount Faber cable car has three stops. Going from the Merlion stop near the Madame Tussauds to Siloso beach, what a beach, wonderful view, we had a walk around here, shame we hadn't bought our swims with us. Didn't go to the Sentosa cove gated area though , just didn't have enough company directorships to get in sadly #smile Really enjoyed our day being tourists. See the slideshow. Friday 27th to Sunday 29th October 2023 Saturday was Charlie's big birthday BBQ with pals down at the BBQ pit in East Coast Park, such a lovely setting. The main images which are kept private of Charlie's birthday BBQ are available under the appropriate heading. Sunday we went to the Hawker centre for the trad Paratha breakfast and in the afternoon by bus to the Geylang area to dine at Quentin's Eurasian restaurant. As Charlie said to me Grandpa I'm Eurasian, sadly she didn't get to eat free there though! We counted this as the last of Charlie's birthday treats. The fish curry there is to die for, lovely Barramundi in a fab sauce. Highly recommended #yummy Monday 30th October until 2nd November, the long trip Home We revisited the wonderful Jewel at Changi Terminal 1 as we were so impressed by the world's largest indoor waterfall last time that we just needed another visit. Bus 36 outside the Roxy Mercure all the way to T2 where we walked through to Jewel. You can of course stay on the bus and get off at T1 which is where we got on on the return journey, security checks and all. We got in early as were going to see "Killers of the Flower Moon" at the Shaw theatre inside Jewel. Tip take long trousers and a jumper, Singaporean cinema's are set on air con setting "Antarctic". After looking around the fab Jewel post movie which we can't recommend enough we had lunch in one of the many eateries before returning to Marine Drive. A great last day doing touristy things! Here is a bit of a write up about Jewel. A wonder of the modern world. The Jewel in Singapore is home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex. It stands at 40 meters tall and cascades down from the dome-shaped roof of Jewel Changi Airport. The waterfall is surrounded by a five-story greenhouse and can channel 10,000 gallons of water per minute. To create that even circular flow of water down the Rain Vortex, there are structural features built into the exterior of the building. The “fins” outside the dome structure make up a network of pipes that channel water to the ring in the middle of the oculus. The oculus then distributes the water down the Rain Vortex and gives it an even complete circular effect. The water stretches all the way from the roof, down to Basement 3 (B3), where the catchment area is. The water stored in B3 is then pumped back up around the perimeter of the building to the oculus, where the cycle repeats itself. Return to Menu FLOWERS AND FRUIT This video shows many of the wonderful tropical flowers and fruits we experienced once again in Singapore. I have set the video to have a background of Clarke Quay at night and used the final Beatles single, Now and then. Although we ate Durian this time, a frozen version of the King Fruit just yummy, I only have a limited shot of the fruit at the local Parkway Parade market. On the video are frangipani, blue pea (a fascinating orchid like plant with the scent of pea shoots that Charlie introduced me to), hibiscus, angel plant, bougainvillea and many others. The fruits include dragon fruit, longan like lychee, rambutan, fresh dates and more. Take a look. King Gold Durian on sale at the local market, we had the frozen version as at this time of year (not Durian season) those on sale are both expensive and of poorer quality, so says a durian aficionado #maybe #teehee Return to Menu THE TALKIES This movie is 4 minutes long and provided a flavour of some of our 2 weeks+ fun This move which is PRIVATE & PROTECTED is 22 minutes long Thanks for viewing KHWD Return to Menu TRAVEL ROUTE & MAPS Zoom in and out using this map to locate the places referred to in the Blog, our family live in this region. East Coast park is just a fabulous area to live in. We took buses and MRTs (Mass Rapid Transport system or tube to us old Londoners) which are all very cheap and A/C-ed. An example £2.55 28 stops from Dakota MRT to Harbourside MRT for our day out on the cable cars and across to Sentosa Island. Return to Menu AUDIOBOOK Listen to the blog if it is easier for you. There is also a slideshow with audio book overview but be warned this is 17 minutes long and the individual slideshow content can be found in shorter versions elsewhere on this blog and / or just listen to the audio version here, its much quicker, thanks for looking, KeefH Web Designs. Return to Menu SINGAPORE, DEVELOPMENT & EXPANSION VIA RECLAIMED LAND Only for the very nerdy, but created by KHWD using AI (copilot - ChatGPT) from the latest MS OS version H223 to answer a question that has fascinated me ever since our first trip to Raffles on beach road. Here's what I got, it makes interesting reading. Feel free to click on the embedded link within the write up to read even more about this fascinating subject. Over and Out Kx Singapore is a small island nation that has limited natural land area. To overcome this challenge, Singapore has used land reclamation to expand its territory and create more space for development and urbanization. Land reclamation is the process of creating new land from the sea or other water bodies by adding materials such as sand, soil, rocks, or cement. Land reclamation in Singapore began in the early 19th century, when Sir Stamford Raffles arrived and established a British colony. He planned to develop a commercial district along the south bank of the Singapore River, but the area was low-lying and marshy. Therefore, he ordered the leveling of a nearby hill to fill up the wetlands and build an embankment along the river. This was the first land reclamation project in Singapore, which gave rise to Boat Quay and Commercial Square (now Raffles Place). Since then, Singapore has continued to reclaim land from the sea, especially after its independence in 1965. Singapore has increased its land area by 22% since then, from 578 sq km to 719 sq km . Some of the major areas that were created by land reclamation include Changi Airport, Jurong Island, Marina Bay, and Tuas Port. Land reclamation has enabled Singapore to accommodate its growing population, economy, and industrialisation, as well as to preserve its historical and cultural heritage. Land reclamation has also helped Singapore to enhance its coastal protection from climate change and sea level rise Singapore plans to expand its land area by another 7-8% by 2030, using different methods of land reclamation . One of the challenges that Singapore faces is the shortage and restriction of sand, which is the main material used for land reclamation. Sand is sourced from neighboring countries, but some of them have banned or limited the export of sand to Singapore due to environmental and political reasons . Therefore, Singapore has switched to alternative methods such as impoldering, which is a technique from the Netherlands that involves building a dyke around an area of water and pumping it dry to create new land. This method requires less fill materials and reduces the upfront construction costs . Singapore has also explored other innovative solutions such as floating structures, underground spaces, and vertical cities to optimize its land use and create more space for its future needs. Return to Menu THAT'S ALL FOLKS Return to Menu

  • Blog 198 - An almost Autumn travel blog, fun with pals

    Created by KeefH Web Designs  September 27th, 2023, 7.53 AM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No57: 19th-25th September 2023 NOTTS-> Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Chester, Cheshire and Castleton, Peak District, Derbyshire -> NOTTS 289 miles MENU Introduction Calendar Love2stay campsite, Shrewsbury Shrewsbury with friends, Shropshire Moreton Corbet Castle & Church Chester, Cheshire David the Town Crier Castleton, Derbyshire Travel Route and Map Audiobook Summary INTRODUCTION This is a 6 day travel blog. We left home about 11-ish and used the truck nav to navigate to our campsite at Emstrey just outside Shrewsbury. The route was torturous and should have been about 1 hour 30 minutes in duration and 77 miles in distance but for 2 reason that was not to be. Firstly trying to avoid the M6 toll and secondly a truck fire on the M54 outside Telford that created a nose to bumper diversion. Note to self next time we go to Shrewsbury use a different route #stress Anyhow we got to the beautiful Love2Stay campsite around about 2-ish and checked in. The rest of our absolutely fun time can be found under each successive chronologically order travel blog write ups below i.e. fun with pals in Shrewsbury, day out in the marvellous city of Chester and finishing in the spectacular High Peaks in Derbyshire. Only real downside was the weather, wet and windy nearly all the time. Sadly dry and sunny on the journey home from the Peaks. #typical but it didn't spoil our trip and fun. Return to Menu CALENDAR Here is a calendar entry I used to plan the trip, what is they always say prior to travel, make sure you plan properly otherwise it is the old adages "fail to plan, plan to fail" and "the 3 P's... p**s poor planning" #advice Return to Menu THE FAB LOVE2STAY CAMPSITE AT EMSTREY Arrived about 2-ish,checked in and set up camp on pitch FS1 near the amenities block, very convenient. Beautiful hill top views from this pitch, 360 degrees when the sky was clear enough to see. Checked up on buses from the site which are only every 2 hours and stopped pretty early in the evening for the way back. Our lovely friends ferried us back both nights for which we are eternally grateful. On the way in each day we used Shrewsbury's GoCarz app, very efficient and quick and they pick you up by the site reception, roughly £9 into town (dated sept23). Here is the marketing blurb! Love2Stay really has it all. The fully serviced resort is set in 22 acres of stunning landscape, with the Shropshire hills within easy reach and the Welsh border in striking distance. Love2Stay was created to make it easier to do something special with your down time, so we’ve made sure that there’s as much to do in the surrounding area as there is onsite. If you’re looking for a day off from driving, the medieval market town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, is a short bus ride or taxi away. Shrewsbury is home to timber-framed black and white buildings with steep narrow streets and alleyways to discover. The Castle and Shrewsbury Abbey are both worth a visit and the River Severn flows past effortlessly. Try the River trip on the Sabrina. We would definitely recommend the site if you want to find out more click here Love2Stay info by KHWD Here are some images from the programme, very professional I must say, that we were given when we arrived, so much so that we intend going back next year with our extended family to stay in one of the Woodland lodges. You may find it of interest. Return to Menu SHREWSBURY TOWN WITH FRIENDS, DARWIN's BIRTHPLACE After arriving and setting up the van we phoned for a taxi and had him deliver us to the Riverbank restaurant at Victoria Quay. Had a bit of a look around and the Sabrina was just coming in from its current trip. Lovely area. We arrived about 5 pm and settled down at what was to be our table for the night post cruise with a lovely (and I mean lovely, better than my prize bean to cup machine at home). Mandy and Colin arrived at about 5.30 p.m. and Neil and Marice soon after. So lovely to catch up. After some drinkies, nibbles and a chin wag we crossed the road to wait for boarding. Guess what it was starting to rain. The river trip lasted about 45 minutes and was just lovely leaving from the Welsh Bridge we headed up to the English bridge past the posh boys school , lovely riverside dwellings and the funfair. The rain intensified and apart from the endless great tunes blasting out from the speaker system and humour from the captain it was time for the Icelandic hat to ward off the elements. I think everyone had a great time and it was then back to the Riverbank for a lovely meal. Frankly I have no idea how the combined cruise and 2-course meal was so cheap. Well done colin, £25.50 per head #amazing After a lovely evening Neil kindly drove us back to the site past the abbey and the odd red light #smile The security guard , a Maori looking guy who you definitely wouldn't mess with let us in. Tip you need your barrier key to get into site after 10 p.m. #justsayin Bit of history for you about the origins of both bridges. During the 12th century this stretch of the Severn served as the frontier between England and Wales, so both the English and Welsh Bridges were fortified as they served as part of the town’s defences. DAY 1 highlights - Friends, Cruise and Meal oh and cold blue steel soundtrack by her majesty Joni! Here's the Riverbank menu , far to much food but very very nice, I would especially recommend the mushroom risotto and never fear sticky toffee pudding shared with a loved one, 2 spoons essential. Up reasonably early, breakfasted and caught the taxi from site reception to the Premier Inn where our friends were staying, we drooled from the tradesman's entrance whilst they gorged on what can only be described as a Edwardian feast of a breakfast, no scraps available for the onlookers #smile we had a coffee. The weather wasn't great so Neil, Marice and Mandy took the car to visit the Abbey and beyond on their Cadfael tour. Annie, Colin and I decided to brave the elements and started the Town quiz. It did bucket down so we often took shelter. It was a fun way to discover parts of the town and a bit of it's history that I guess we would otherwise never have uncovered. The 3 of us aren't what you may call fast on our feet so it was a fun way to travel around. Some of the cryptic stuff got harder and harder the further we were into the quiz. Colin was wonderful outside St Mary's church with the most confusing of questions. Some lateral thinking is required. We made a good team. i think it was after question 14 that we stopped for lunch and met up with the others at the Alb, a nice real ale pint and some good food. Weather very variable (ok mostly rain) we headed off in 2 groups again, us to complete the quiz, what heroes eh? The others sight seeing, we all met up at one point, in St Almond's place just up from the 3 fishes in Fish lane, grope lane and the home of John Wesley, Shrewsbury has got it all! A really fun day, back to The Premier in to rest and bask in the glory of solving the quiz. Indeed we were able to sit in perfect sunshine looking down Pike hill at the end of the quiz, self satisfied, and being curtsied to by both tourists and the police. Ok maybe that bit is fiction but the sunshine wasn't. Some famous folks of Shrewsbury beyond Darwin were Clive of India, Sir Philip Sydney, Jane Webb, John Wesley, Neil, Marice, Mandy, Colin, Keef & Annie x DAY 2 highlights - Friends, Cadfael discovery, Town Quiz, Premier Inn, Rain , The Alb for lunch and the Loopy Shrew (Screw) for supper #funtimes Here is both the cover sheet and final answers page for the Shrewsbury town quiz, answers missing of course, know smugly by Colin, Annie and Keef, you will have to torture us, me hearties to get the answer either that or it is in Davy Jones locker! The following are some memories from our Shrewsbury time Return to Menu MORETON CORBET CASTLE (ENGLISH HERITAGE) & CHURCH We drove just a little way outside Shrewsbury to Shawbury and Moreton Corbet castle and Church, a free English Heritage site. It used to be called Moreton Toret initially but changed names when the Toret's married into the Corbet family, the most famous of which was the 5th mistress of Henry 1st who bore him 2 children, one of whom the daughter Sybilla went on to marry Alexander 1st King of Scotland. You can see the family tree related to that as seen in the church. Very interesting to visit , shame such a regal manor was like many others destroyed by Cromwell's thirst for power. Corbet's Claim to Fame This extract from the Corbet family history is held in the church for all to see, as genealogists we found it all very fascinating, so worth a visit, castle and church combined, spent well over an hour there. Moreton Corbet Castle is a Grade I listed building located near the village of Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England 1. It was built in the 13th century and has been remodeled several times since then. The castle is open to visitors from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day of the week. The ruins of the castle are impressive and are the result of over 500 years of building works. The earliest surviving remains are those of a stone castle begun in about 1200, included the fine gatehouse. The Corbet family remodelled the castle in the 16th century, and the Elizabethan south wing is a rare survival from this period of a bold Italian-inspired design, which was devastated during the Civil War. Fine Corbet monuments fill the adjacent church. Especially the very well preserved crypts of both Robert and Richard Corbet and their spouses. If you’re planning to visit, please note that there is limited free car parking available in the layby next to the castle. Wheelchair access is possible to most of the site, but there are some short flights of stairs within the ruins. There are no toilet facilities at the castle. Dogs on leads are welcome. #hintsandtips. See our travel bog slideshow with special effects created by KHWD If you want to read more click here to enhance the KHWD travel blog I have created a second version of the castle slideshow here minus the Don McLean "Castles in the Air" soundtrack for the benefit of friends! Prepare to be scared Return to Menu THE CITY OF CHESTER, CHESHIRE Stayed at the Chester Fairoaks site for 2 nights, a caravan and motorhome club site, listed by us as M&CCsite tag because motorhomes are now more prolific than caravans in our humble opinion, and take far less time to set up, I would accept the use of the car by caravanners is a plus however but our little Wendy house autosleeper we can park almost anywhere. It is only 5.4 meters long. We arrived at the site about 1.30 p.m. which was a good entry time, normally at Caravan and Motorhome club sites folk are queued out onto the main roads before 1 hoping to get in early or straight away, these are probably the folk we remember arriving on site at 9 a.m. in the old days blocking the site for leavers, I could say inconsiderate but who am I to criticise? Here are some details of the site, we stayed on pitch x, it was in the wardens words probably there worst year for rain and as a clay undersoil the site was pretty boggy in places, indeed the continual rain we had whilst there didn't help either, our pitch was slightly under water at one point, nothing extreme but great for ducks. On the second day at the site we walked up the lane, not great traffic wise because of the lack of pavements and across the bit junction down to the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet mall, wrestling the winds and driving rain, hey we are on holidays. Note on the right hand side there are also no pavements to get to the bus stops mid outlet mall. The site info suggest a 10 minute walk to get the bus and I know we are slow but I would allow 40 minutes as the buses don't run that frequently and you don't want to miss one. Stand B for Chester, stops at the zoo as well, Stand A on the way back and into Liverpool. Our trip took about 35 minutes and stopped at the new Chester bus station, where you can pick up the hop on hop off bus just outside. A bargain at £10 concession, we used it to go around once before lunch and once after. Had a great dinner at Chester's near the clock in I think main street, can't recommend it enough. Here is a slideshow of our Chester stay fun. Note its about 7 minutes long but will give you a great overview of what there is to see there esp. the 2nd most photographed clock in the UK, Chester's fab fish and chip shop, great architecture, roman amphitheatre, town walls and a whole lot to do. View on. This is the talkies movie recorded mostly on the Hop On Hop Off bus, guess what it was raining a lot, no surprise there then Return to Menu THE WONDERFULLY FRIENDLY CHESTER TOWN CRIER, DAVID Tee hee maybe David should be called a city crier rather than a town crier. What a lovely man, a retired junior school teacher whom we met on the X1 bus into Chester from our campsite, who then proceeded to show us around a bit, and ring us literally off the bus "Keef and Anne are leaving the bus" #smile He is quite a tourist fixture in Chester, he helped us onto the Hop On Hop Off bus which he also went around on, just a lovely chap with a great sense of humour, hugely comfortable with the public. He even "rang" me in and out of the Bus station loos, an essential for us ageing population #teehee It is also a well known fact , by David mostly, that he is "ye moste handsome town crier in all the land" #fact Here is his calling card, maybe give him a ring if you need a guest speaker, at the very least use the Chester Hop on Hop off (HOHO) bus and you may well get the opportunity to meet up with him, you won't be disappointed, one of lives great gentlemen. PS Victoria Coren-Mitchell was nowhere to be seen (in joke!) Return to Menu CASTLETON IN THE PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK, DERBYSHIRE & WINNAT's PASS We left the Chester site reasonably late after packing up, all the water off the pitch had now gone. Not the best journey as around the Manchester airport area trying to get onto the A6 to travel through the Peaks there was an accident so we used a different route through some very nice Cheshire areas eventually going past the canal areas, the Torrs riverside park at Low Leighton and Bugsworth basin through to areas of the Peaks National Park we know well, going down Winnat's pass and eventually into our Caravan and Motorhome campsite at Castleton, not a place we have ever stayed at but one I have been to to pick up our pals Lawrence and Yvonne wo are site wardens at the Bolton abbey site so I knew where it was. A very nice site, weather not great, so we mostly spent time in and around the site and van, reading, watching stuff and generally relaxing. I like this site. Here is a slideshow of the time we spent at Castleton, with special thanks to her ladyship Kate Bush for "running up that hill" to remind us of Winnat's pass. Here are some details as well of the Castleton campsite, a lovely site I think, what do you think if you have been there? Leave comments at the bottom of the blog, thanks Return to Menu TRAVEL ROUTE AND MAP This was our route through Shropshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, a fun 6 days Here is a PDF google created for me of where we had been grabbed from my phones GPS settings #bigbrotheriswatching #smile Return to Menu AUDIOBOOK Return to Menu SUMMARY That's all folks, a fab few days away in the van initially with pals but then discovering the delights of Chester which we haven't been to for an age, city walls with the kids when they were young, was our memories and so nice to be back in the Peaks, so close to home, note to self spent more time there! Winnat's pass is a must if you don't know it #hintsandtips Return to Menu

  • Blog 197 - Travel Blog, Top 10 Campsites to Visit

    Created by KeefH Web Designs  September 2nd, 2023, 8.12 AM A Travel Blog extra by KeefH Web Designs , Hints & Tips Top 10 Campgrounds for Motorhome Enthusiasts Across the Globe Motorhome enthusiasts know that the freedom and flexibility of traveling in a motorhome is second to none. With the ability to hit the open road and explore at your own pace, it's no wonder that motorhome travel has become increasingly popular. If you're looking to embark on a motorhome adventure, we've compiled a list of the top 10 campgrounds across the globe that should be on your travel bucket list. Here is our Travel Blog best advice. 1. Yellowstone National Park, USA: Experience the stunning beauty of one of America's most iconic national parks while enjoying the convenience of full-hookup campsites. Explore the geysers, waterfalls, and wildlife that make this destination truly breathtaking. 2. Banff National Park, Canada: Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park offers motorhome enthusiasts the chance to camp amidst stunning alpine scenery. From hiking trails to scenic drives, this destination has it all. 3. Lake District, England: Discover the serenity of the Lake District in England, where picturesque lakes and rolling hills await. Motorhome-travel.net offers a variety of campsites in the area, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature. 4. Milford Sound, New Zealand: Known for its awe-inspiring beauty, Milford Sound is a must-visit for any motorhome enthusiast traveling to New Zealand. Stay at a campground near the sound and wake up to breathtaking views every morning. 5. Kruger National Park, South Africa: Experience the thrill of an African safari while camping in the wilderness at Kruger National Park. Encounter elephants, lions, and rhinos up close and personal, making memories that will last a lifetime. 6. Great Ocean Road, Australia: Drive along the iconic Great Ocean Road in Australia and witness the stunning coastline and famous landmarks like the Twelve Apostles. With numerous motorhome-friendly campsites along the way, you can take your time exploring this beautiful stretch of road. 7. Lofoten Islands, Norway: Immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Lofoten Islands in Norway. Motorhome-travel.net offers campsites with panoramic views of rugged mountains, crystal clear fjords, and picturesque fishing villages. 8. Lake Tekapo, New Zealand: Known for its turquoise-colored waters, Lake Tekapo is a visual treat for motorhome enthusiasts. Park your motorhome near the lake and take in the stunning views of the Southern Alps. 9. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: Explore the cascading waterfalls and turquoise lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Motorhome-travel.net offers campsites nearby, allowing you to easily explore this natural wonder. 10. Lake Como, Italy: Experience the charm and beauty of Lake Como while staying at a motorhome-friendly campground. Explore the luxurious villas, quaint villages, and take in the breathtaking mountain views. Whether you're looking for adventure, scenic beauty, or cultural immersion, these top 10 campgrounds for motorhome enthusiasts across the globe offer it all. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and create memories that will last a lifetime. For more information and resources on motorhome travel, visit https://www.motorhome-travels.net/. Happy camping! For more information on creating a similar (or not similar website #smile) contact us anytime via the KeefH Web Design website, thanks. PS If you have different ideas on the Top 10 leave your suggestions / comments here , we would love to hear them, many thanks #hintsandtips

  • Blog 196 A Week Away in Wiltshire, A Travel Blog

    Created by KeefH Web Designs August 5th, 2023, 17.33 PM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No56: 30th July - 4th August 2023 NOTTS-> Witley Court and Gardens, Worcestershire, Plough Lane Campsite, Kington Langley -> NOTTS 385 miles This Travel Blog slideshow of our week away in the lovely county of Wiltshire, one we didn't know that well before hand, gives some highlights of the week away. Prefer to listen to the Travel Blog than read a blog, click HERE for the audiobook. MENU Introduction Panoramas Witley Court and Gardens Plough Lane Tranquil Site A bus trip to Bath A day out with friends Seeing lots of Wiltshire in the Rain Chillin Travel Route & Map Audiobook That's all folks INTRODUCTION As our grandchild minding duties were off this week, extended family on holiday, we took the opportunity even though the weather was predicted to be "not great" to get away, the reality is apart from the Tuesday when we were with friends the weather was awful, leading up to the UK's first named storm of the year, Storm Anthoni. Anyhow we drove the 165 miles down to Wiltshire stopping about half way at the English Heritage site outside Droitwich called Witley Court. It was then onto our Tranquil Site at Plough Lane, Kington Langley near Chippenham. Whilst there we visited Bath, what a lovely city both for architecture and history. We had a day with friends visiting the lovely quaint, but touristy village of Castle Combe, can't imagine being a resident, with all those tourists (us included) peering it at us, must be like living in a goldfish bowl #help The next day although raining we visited Kington Langley village, Morrison's (the nearest supermarket to the campsite) , Kington St Michael village, Marlborough and its exclusive college (Royalists that we are, NOT apart from our fabulous old queen), Avebury and its standing stones, Silbury Hill (what is under there I wonder?) , Devizes (home of Wadsworths) and Caen Hill locks just outside, amazing, puts our local Foxton locks ( in Leicestershire) to shame. If you want to read more focus on each individual section here on teh blog, I hope that works for you? Listen to some of the Talkies videos we made whilst spending a week in Wiltshire, a fun accompaniment to this travel blog. We caught Miranda singing Nessun Dorma in from of Bath Cathedral / Abbey, what a treat, what a voice, give her a listen why don't you. Return to MENU PANORAMAS Here are a couple of panoramas we took of English Heritage's Witley Court and Gardens, which we visited on the way down to Wiltshire, you can see some more history on this place which is now just a shell after a fire in 1937 HERE Return to MENU ENGLISH HERITAGE SITE, WITLEY COURT AND GARDENS Here is a slideshow of our time at Witley Court and gardens, quite interesting to visit and obviously with a lot of history , shame it is now just a burnt out and stripped shell of a building but lovely grounds, boathouse, lake and swans with still the ornate plaster work on the walls and intricate stone masonry (if thats a word?) #smile on the outer walls and palisades. Well worth a visit even in the rain. Loved the lavender gardens, water feature and formal gardens and information boards. Shame they didn't say like other English Heritage properties that the audio apps on your phone don't work and you need the old Skool audio kit to go around with, indeed they never even offered it , you have been warned #recommendation #takecare It made a nice driving break on the way to Wiltshire, in fairness for the subject of this blog about half way. Here is a slideshow of the history of the place and a very brief summary however click on the links below for "full scale fact overload" . Witley Court, Great Witley, Worcestershire, England is a ruined Italianate mansion. Built for the Foleys in the seventeenth century (c 1630) on the site of a former manor house, it was enormously expanded in the early nineteenth century by the architect John Nash for Thomas Foley, 3rd Baron Foley. The estate was later sold to the Earls of Dudley, who undertook a second massive reconstruction in the mid-19th century, employing the architect Samuel Daukes to create one of the great palaces of Victorian and Edwardian England. The declining fortune of the Dudley's saw the sale of the court after the First World War to a Kidderminster carpet manufacturer. In 1937 a major fire caused great damage to the court, the estate was broken up and sold and the house was subsequently stripped of its fittings and furnishings. We noted that English Heritage had their own ice cream van, now that is enterprising. Here are some links if you wish to read more. Witley 1. Witley 2. Return to MENU PLOUGH LANE TRANQUIL SITE Here is a slideshow of our overview of the campsite at Plough lane, an allegedly Tranquil site which I'm afraid it wasn't the A350 outside could be heard all day and night even with the windows and blackout blinds down, so in our humble opinion that is a no no #justsayin Here are the site details and details of the Tranquil sites book we found it in. A walk down the road to the right from the main entrance will take you to the lovely village of Kington Langley, there is also a very limited bus service the 91 that will take you there but it is only about 20 minutes walk. On the other side of the A350 (tricky to cross) there is a 30 minute walk to Kington St Michaels , not in our humble opinion as nice as Kington Langley but it has a village shop and pub. Here are some campsite details, we were on pitch 7, it now has 52 pitches (2023) and I'm afraid no where near enough facilities, no matter what time of day you go the 2 showers and 1 privacy cubicles are ALWAYS full , the site when we were there wasn't even full, who knows what it would be like if it was. This is another great no-no so overall despite the price being less at £33 / night than C&MC sites at average £45-£50 nowadays we would NOT recommend. Sorry Plough lane. However getting out from it it is a great location for surrounding areas of Wiltshire. Read on McDuff! Return to MENU BUS TRIP TO BATH, VIA CHIPPENHAM PLUS QUIZ Don't forget to listen to Miranda, just amazing Here is the bus timetable for the X31 to Bath which we caught from Chippenham bus garage after a false start drop off in town, none of the buses from outside the Plough Lane campsite actually stop at the main bus station so be warned, it's all very confusing, we also found that despite the very limited time table the buses actually run longer than it tells you, however as they aren't that reliable I would not base your journey on that level of trust #hintsandtips PS Corsham and Box are lovely, the bus does however take a while to get into Bath as it travels many backstreets and housing estates. Indeed the 44 we caught in from Plough Lane (there are 3 to choose from 91,99 and 44) went through the whole estate that is currently under construction, very weird! Still, we oldies are racking up the miles on our free bus pass #jobdone Here is a slideshow of our fun times in Bath, what a lovely city. We used the town Quiz to basically guide us around. We did about 4.5 miles and by the end of pounding the streets for a couple of near septuagenarians, knackered! Here is the cover of our quiz that led us around, we have done quite a few whilst away in the motorhome, both fun and a great way to be led around all the major sites, gets you closer that the traditional hop on hop off buses you see everywhere however you could if you wish do that around Bath as well. We loved Bath! Return to MENU DAY OUT WITH FRIENDS, CHIPPENHAM, CASTLE COMBE & BIDDESTONE A lovely day with friends Julie and Martin, here is a video of our day out in Castle Combe and Biddestone. Julie very kindly picked us up from the campsite and took us back to their house where we had a lovely meal and chat and a look around their lovely garden, I am well jell at the amount of space and wild flower meadow (maybe thats a little exaggeration, but its lovely with all those fab insects as well) and especially their veg plot. After lunch Martin kindly drove us to Castle Combe, a place we have wanted to visit for ages. We had a great walk around, watched the brown trout enjoying the crystal clear stream, had fab ice creams and even a drink in the pub, my first pint of Wadsworths 6X in almost 20 years. How good was that. We even fought off the wasps whilst chatting in the pub garden. All in all a fab day and a great chance to catch up. Fun with friends #friends Return to MENU WILTSHIRE IN THE RAIN Here is a slideshow of our fun day out in the van touring admittedly mostly in the rain, but hey we saw a lot We visited in order Kington Langley, a lovely village with Manor houses just along Plough Lane, then Morrison's for provisions (oh OK lets confess - some cake as well #naughtybutnice, Kington St Michael's, then we drove along the M4 to the very busy (and I mean busy) Marlborough, there was an open day at the exclusive mixed public school there. Want to read more about the college and the Royals and alumni click HERE. Was nice to slowly go thru the town in the driving rain however because we got to see all we would have done if we had parked up (fat chance) and walked through the town. After Marlborough we went and visited the standing stones at Avebury, a Neolithic henge monument and UNESCO world heritage. Interesting in comparison to Stonehenge which is also in Wiltshire. A real area of history. Fascinating! Want to read more. After that we went to see the Silbury Hill, which is English Heritage and also UNESCO which with the City of Bath makes 3 UNESCO sites visited in one trip. #classy Want to know more ? Then it was onto the wonderful Caen Hill locks before returning to the campsite for a dry out and a well deserved cup of tea. On Route we stopped off by a weird old campervan site possibly illegally used on a by way, some of the van conversion reminded us of those we had seen often in New Zealand. Wooden horse box conversions with engines. I love quirky vans like that. Return to MENU DAY OFF CHILLING IN THE VAN & SITE After all the travelling yesterday and with a long drive back to Nottingham the next day we decided upon a day of rest, the morning weather was great, and we even managed a late trip to the ever busy showers post brekkie but the afternoon p**ssed down. Soggy bottoms oh yes! So reading, family research / genealogy and watching the Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix (we love it ) were the order of the day. Cheese and bikkies for lunch, salad for tea and a few odd drinkies during the day. We have both acquired a liking for Port and Lemon, old crusties that we are #smile No pix, it was a day off even from my well worn motto, if it moves snap it, if it doesn't move snap it! Return to MENU MAPS ETC. Here are maps of both Chippenham and Bath we collected on our travels from various tourist handouts, some from the campsite, some from elsewhere. Feel free to use this scalable map to delve deeper, hope it helps This is our travel route Return to MENU AUDIOBOOK Here is my Audiobook of the Blog number 196, all created by KeefH Web Designs for this travel blog. The first is published on Soundcloud. The second on my You Tube channel as a slideshow video with the audiobook overlay. The third is the soundtrack from the amazing Miranda performing Nessun Dorma in such a lovely setting, I have remastered it with Dolby and published on Soundcloud! Return to MENU THE END Return to MENU

  • Blog 195, Travel Blog, Day out in the Van to English Heritage's Gainsborough Manor and Old Hall

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, July 3rd, 2023, 8.04 AM Incidentally between Canada day (1st July) and Independence Day (4th July) A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No55: 2nd July 2023 NOTTS-> Gainsborough Old Hall and back, mostly to try out the very expensive fixes on our T4 engine, have to say it was a success and a great day out, including Tuna mayo sarnie lunch with Nectarine and Choc brioche, oh and a coffee in the English Heritage café -> NOTTS 131 miles Prefer to listen than read a blog, click HERE for the audiobook. MENU Overview Travel Route Videos Panoramas Audiobooks The End OVERVIEW As you can tell from Blog 194 we had some severe problems with our lovely Wendy house van based on a Volkswagen T4 transporter in the last few days in Eire. Basically the oil warning light came on whenever you accelerated or slowed down and when it starts it is accompanied by a loud warning beep, extremely annoying. Anyhow we did top up with oil as directed by the manual, but could find no oil leaks so assumed on google searching it , it was an error with the oil pressure indicators. Anyhow to cut a long story short, we managed to nurse it back home and book it into our local garage. When I came 3 weeks later (as soon as they could fit us in) to start it up, smoke billowed out of the engine and it was mis-firing like crazy. Got it to the garage who discover the bolt on a fuel injector 5 had bust and needed work and piston regrind etc. etc. (sorry right over my head, I'm an IT guy not a mechanical engineer for my sins) #help So after a very expensive repair, way more than sticking plaster, we took it out for the day allegedly to Gainsborough but after 40 miles the same oil warning light and mega beeping was happening, so guess what, we took it back, 2 days later and yet more expense we got it back again. Oil sensors inside the engine replaced plus all wiring de-oiled (if that is a word) #hintsandtips The whole affair cost £2k, way more than we had anticipated so mega poor times to come #smile All the worked was charged at £60 per hour and supposedly (who can prove it?) took 15 hours, but I guess they had the engine head off on 2 separate occasions so maybe not unreasonable, any one out there with more experience or skillset care to comment, it would be gratefully received, thanks in anticipation. So once again full of trepidation for "what else can go wrong" we set out for Gainsborough again. This time, thank heavens, all was well with our lovely Wendy House #hooray So basically travel blog 195 is all about testing out the van and visiting a slightly nearby English Heritage property. This is our Travel Blog created by KeefH Web Designs for motorhome-travels dot net site, featuring a day out in the lovely Wendy House Van to English Heritage's Gainsborough Manor and Old Hall , plus lunch in the van in a side street, and we had our own loo, what more could you ask for, tee hee oh yes a van that work!!! To get a true overview of the manor house and hall click here. One word of advice, if you are visiting Monday to Saturday there is no car park as such and limited one hour parking on nearby streets, there are of course many public car parks in town you can walk from (10 mins max) BUT if like us you go on a Sunday there are many local streets you can park on for free for as long as you like #result Through out this travel blog all images can be seen by just clicking expand on any then scroll forward or backwards thru them, hope that helps? #help There is a lot of history in this fine medieval hall / manor house. Starting in the 1400s with Thomas Burgh who served Edward IV, and was given this land for his loyalty. Richard III stayed here with his wife (I bet that was an expensive visit for Thomas) stayed here, then Henry VII made one of the Thomas' a Lord so he was entitled to make it a castle, so he added the turret end as a sort of "I think I'm richer than though" moment. One of the Burgh line was the 1st husband of Henry VIII's 6th wife Catherine Parr. The old hall then went to the Hickman's and Bacon Hickman's until it was eventually used to home the destitute, and even became a theatre and market place, as well as being used as rooms for stage coach travellers at some point, boy its seen a lot. Walking the upper area was like being on a ship as the crooked walls and floors gave you that feeling. I've even learned more about the separatist movement and John Wesley so can't all be bad, learn something new every day #fun #hintsandtips Annie bought some lovely historical tea towels in the gift shop showing English monarchs through out time, class and adds to our respective DNA journeys via genealogy. Return to MENU TRAVEL ROUTE This was our travel route to Gainsborough old hall, up the M1, M18, A1 south to try out the van at speed and pressurise the engine to check all is fixed, then back through Retford and Worksop in Nottinghamshire and all the lovely villages before rejoining the M1 just past Rother Country Park. See it graphically now on a You Tube short. Return to MENU VIDEOS and SLIDESHOWS Here are a set of travel blog videos constructed from the day , some using newly found AI techniques, created by KeefH Web Designs (KHWD) This one is the complete set of images, hope you enjoy This one shows all the historical info for you to read at your leisure should you chose to do so, just stop the video at any point to read any board in full at your own speed, maybe even make it full screen to help, click the square in the bottom right hand corner, thanks This one shows just us on our day out, 4 videos, 3 of which are short reels in portrait mode and one in landscape, they are all only 3/4 of a minute long, the first 2 are created using AI and have been done to show the art of the possible by KeefH Web Designs, the rest were manually constructed. #enjoy Feel free to run these as full screen slideshows, thanks Here is a slideshow of some of the menus that featured in this house of 120+ kitchen staff back in the 1400s. It also shows a comparison over 129 years of the contents of a bedroom. Return to MENU PANORAMAS Here are a few of the panoramas I took inside the manor house including the old hall, what a spectacular building. No wonder it counts as one of the "finest" and "best preserved" medieval manor houses. The clever use of dangly cards, info bowls, info bedspreads and tablecloths and downloadable audios certainly grabbed and kept your attention and was a great way to learn. So well done English Heritage, we were impressed. Return to MENU AUDIOBOOKS The first of which is the audiobook of this blog collecting together the text to save you having to read it, some like that! This is a full slideshow with the audiobook as its audio overlay. Here are a few of the SoundCloud audio books that are available from English Heritage, the 3 we actually listened to on site don't seem to be readily available, maybe they are private, but as I still have the links on my phone, and these were specifically what we listened to I have added links for them whether they work or not for you is debatable as I sense it is clever enough to expect you to be in the building #audiobooks An overview, very nice gardens and surrounds We spent quite a while in the kitchens, the feast menus were amazing This couple were featured in the upstairs long room Here are the 3 we listen to, good luck, they still work on my phone but not necessarily for you, sorry 1. William Rose, wrapping machine maker and legend that is Cadbury's Roses chocolates, he lived in this building until the age of 17 with his parents His Candy wrappings patented machine can be read about HERE 2. Mrs. Smith, the resident who almost set fire to the whole building, oh dear 3. Mr. Sankey, an actor or impresario who performed in the great hall (I'm guessing!) not one of the many lodgers and destitute' s who lived here for a while although mostly it was a travellers inn after being Burghs/ Hickman and Hickman Bacon residences. Return to MENU THAT's ALL FOLKS! From the manor house Return to MENU

  • Blog 194 Travel Blog, Eire Pt2, "Around Ireland with a fridge" and Cooker

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, June 9th, 2023, 8.49 AM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No54: May 10th - 31st 2023 NOTTS-> Beeston Castle, Holyhead, Dublin, Then traverse the whole of the outside of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and Eire, finishing back in Dublin port, ferry to Holyhead (again) then Home, A Mixture of Camping Europe sites, Caravan and Motorhome Club Sites (M&CC site), Brit stops and ACSI affiliated -> NOTTS 2158 miles Prefer to listen than read a blog, click HERE for the audiobook. MENU Introduction Calendar The Full Wild Atlantic Way Maps and Travel Route Panoramas Highlights / Lowlights Campsites Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland Dingle Peninsular Ring of Kerry Béara Peninsular Accident High / Low Oil pressure issue Audiobook Tom Crean Hero, a History The End INTRODUCTION A Travel Blog of our trip to Ireland between 10th and 31st of May 2023. 3 lovely weeks, 22 Days in the Wendy House motorhome, travelling right the way around the Irish "continent". So many fabulous views, almost too many to chose from but our highlight I guess overall was achieving finishing the Wild Atlantic Way. Our detailed diary of exploits is included under each of the 3 weeks travels and each day is accompanied by a slideshow with U2 music, well how could I not. It was interesting that in Dungarven town there was a picture of U2 on a visit to their favourite barber who looked more like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. #smile We travelled in all just over 2000 miles and loved every moment of it. However having traversed the whole of the Wild Atlantic Way and been all the way around it is unlikely we will sadly ever return, too many other places in the world to "discover" but you can never say never! On reflection once again it surprised us that there is no evidence or checks for border crossing between Eire and Northern Ireland and vice versa. Only an indicator on the Sat nav we have crossed over on the way up (DAY3) showing miles instead of kilometers and nothing as we crossed Lough Foyle by ferry , extremely weird when one considers Stormont parliament won't sit until Brexit issues are sorted, but what do I know? #justsayin Must say May is a great month to chose for all the lovely flowering gorse, azaleas and rhododendrons. Return to MENU CALENDAR The day by day calendar to help give an overview of the detailed given under weeks 1 to 3. One thing I can say is pre trip i estimated the travel distance just under 1000 miles, the reality was more like double, mostly because of the 3 peninsulas, Dingle, Ring of Kerry and béara but also because the Wild Atlantic Way really is the longest coastal route in the world (allegedly) although I dont know how that compares to Australia's coastal route which in fairness in many places you can't get to the edge of so maybe the boast is true! #tobeproved Created using AI by KeefH Web Designs, see what fun Annie and I had! And now a reel / short created using AI #geek Return to MENU THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY Stretching from Malin Head in county Donegal, (our favourite county for many reasons, namely lack of people and so much more wild scenery and fab sandy empty beaches) all the way to old Kinsale Head in County Cork (one of the largest counties in Eire). It is 2500 kilometers in total and therefore the longest coastal route in the world. It has been lovely to travel its full length. Its taken us two trips to do it basically either side of the COVID pandemic , you can see the first bit back in 2018 under Blog 129. The rest i.e. Malin head to Fanad lighthouse in the North and Tarbert on the Shannon River , county Kerry, to Kinsale Head, county Cork in the south. Just so so pleased to have been given the chance to do it, what scenery, what geography , what people, what food, what Guinness. This video shows all the Wild Atlantic Way (WWW) signs we stopped at, they are constructed at what they consider to be the key viewing points. Here is the complete route we travelled in a graphic, what a joy! If you feel like learning a lot more about the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way feel free to click HERE Return to MENU MAPS AND TRAVEL ROUTE This shows a map of Ireland (northern Ireland and Eire combined) which you can use to locate the places I am talking about along with a full scale map of the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) and mini WAW maps I took photos of along the way alongside a humorous small video of our route created by KeefH Web Designs using a clever app I found. #enjoy #humour If you feel like learning a lot more about the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way feel free to click HERE Taken on our travels in Downing's village Donegal by the beach and Bantry Bay town centre co Kerry but covers our route through both Kerry and Cork to the end of the Wild Atlantic Way at Old Kinsale head. Return to MENU PANORAMA Here are some of the highlights of our trip recorded as panoramas or from within the van to show off some of the spectacular scenery that is available, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way, maybe give it a visit sometime, if we have wet your appetite #hintsandtips Click on each to expand the panorama, the Powerscourt estate one will take you to their website as will the Glenveagh National Park. #enjoy Return to MENU HIGHLIGHTS / LOWLIGHTS I'll list them here, probably can't include every highlight there were just so many of them, for lowlights really the stand outs were all to do with the van , an accident (now sorted) and a system malfunction (fix scheduled in). So... Highlights: browns bay, gyles quay walk, glenvagh, powerscourt, finishing the WAW, mickey finns pub redcross, malin head, ballymastocker strand, ice cream at old kinsale head, huge ice cream at redcross, ring of kerry, valentia island, inch strand, connor pass on dingle, mount (slieve) brandon, seaborne ovation cruise ship, bantry bay views and bantry town , lunch at south pole inn, chat with master brewer married to tom crean's grand daughter, the Giant's Causeway, clever audio app for Powerscourt, bushmills whiskeys, causeway coastal route, magheracross viewpoint, Tom Crean history via south pole pub and brewery in Kenmare, stone circle Kenmare, roy island view and the Harry Blaney bridge, revisiting the apple farm, cahir Lowlights: accident, oil noise, spiddal midges, caseys rip off attempts at downings, many of the very narrow roads, parking at inch strand , endless stories about Finn McColl joining Ireland and Scotland (grr!) , headphones failing for Giant's causeway audio, Cork - what a nightmare to drive thru, barrier at the river bann marina campsite, rude german at spiddal campsite, 6amp electrics at Eagle point site, really caught us out as no one said, thought our electrics issue was to do with our accident, cold showers at the apple farm. Return to MENU CAMPSITES Here is a video showing all the wonderful, and not so wonderful campsites we stayed at. Fridge, cooker and all #haha Return to MENU WEEK 1 10th-16th June 2023 Here are the slideshows of pictures we took using 2 phones and a camera. DAY 1 - Home to English Heritage's Beeston Castle in Cheshire, then via Conway Castle in North Wales to Holyhead, a brief windy look out on the harbour front and then to our Brit stop in the carpark of the Holland Hotel. Very convenient for early morning ferry plus nice food and ale. DAY 2 - Up early at the Holland Hotel car park, short drive to Holyhead port, ferry to Dublin, it left early, quite empty, then thru the toll Dublin tunnel (3 euros) and on up the M1 by Balbriggan, difficult to get to the beach, Bettystown and onto the wonderful Gyles Quay near Dundalk which apart from a lovely American couple from the mid west who were tenting, she used to work for United Airlines so they got cheap flights and it was hugely cold in their home state, good move. Really interesting chatting to them. Her favourite band was YES so that got us off on a great footing. We had views on the bay and went for a walk down to it and its beach. Saw lads swimming off the boat launch after work. What a great place, our second fave view / site / pitch of the whole trip after Bantry Bay. DAY 3 - showered and packed up the van and rejoined the M1 pulling off again to visit the Slieve (mountain) Gullion area, before joining a coastal road to take us around the outskirts of Belfast, where we took a rest at the very nice Jordanstown Loughshore park overlooking Belfast lough. Here we went for a lovely sunny walk with great views. Even the historic Belfast shipyards , the scene of the construction of its most famous yet most unreliable Titanic. Saw the Stena ferry Belfast - Liverpool. Wonder how busy that was? We then visited the wonderful Brown's Bay on the Larne peninsular, so unspoilt, had a lovely walk on the strand (beach) even watching the young horse being trained. She had drawn up with a horse box and parked just behind us in the car park. Brown's bay was once a smugglers paradise and you could see why #haha Fab weather again, truly loving going away in May. After Browns bay we re-traversed our steps to get off the peninsular as no other way off, and headed north to the the campsite at Drumhegalis near Ballymoney, the home of the famous motorcyclist Joey Dunlop OBE. We had wondered why so many motorcyclist were on our ferry and we were to find out over the next few days. The Causeway coastal motorcycle race was on starting in Portrush. Loads camping at our campsite as well. Nice campsite on the River Bann. DAY 4 - as we had 2 days at the campsite we set off for our prebooked visit to the Giant's Causeway, tip get your tickets online in advance , it gives you free parking in the car park and boy was it busy. More tourists (us included) than you could shake a stick at #hintsandtips You get an audio, exhibition and a chance to walk down (bit steep for us oldies) and back up (easier) to the basalt outcrop that is a world heritage site for obvious reasons. Amazing views, amazingly sunny, there are 3 walking routes or if you really don't want to there is a bus at a reasonable price, but wouldn't advice it as the queue for the way back reminded me of Oxford street in the crush at Xmas #teehee After a lovely time we had lunch in the van in the car park, visited Bushmills distillery, one of the oldest in the world , got its royal charter in 1608 to buy expensive whiskey for our son Doug who is bit of a collector. Then visited the viewing point at Magheracross which gives fabulous sea views as well as views of Duncluce castle, a destroyed relic of the MacDonnell clan. I discovered that (and we are into Genealogy) my Great Grandmother who was from Galway had the surname O'Donnell which in gaelic means of Doneghal which I am extremely proud of because it is our fave county, so wild, remote, and quiet with birdlife and flowers to die for. A great day out before returning to the site for one last walk along the river Bann, even more bikers today. PS loved the Led Zep 4 inspired inner sleeve of the nymphs crawling over the causeway, what a great album that is (reminded by memorabilia in their exhibition. DAY 5 - left the campsite at Drumaheglis, under the usual barrier which required a key code for motorhomes, bit annoying and drove up to port rush and port stewart, very crowded with both motorhomes parked everywhere and bikers, it was the Joey Dunlop memorial North West 200 bike race. Lovely beaches however. Then it was off to Magillan point on the Northern Irish side of Lough Foyle (a huge prison here as well) to catch the Lough Foyle ferry across to Greencastle on the M V Stratford ferry into Eire and what seemed to be the start of the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW). Weather not great at this point but it did get better as we headed up to Malin head, the most northerly point in Ireland. We had lunch here with great views. Pretty windy makes you wonder what it would be like here in the heights of winter. The van was rocking whilst we ate. We then headed back down the Malin peninsular and around the next peninsular down to our campsite at Downing's village, a true golfing village, 3 courses, various golfing hotels and an induced upmarket feel and cost which meant when I paid old man Casey for the campsite he had inflated the price by 10 euros a night, bless him NOT!!! On the way there we passed Doe castle a WAW sign we had seen before back in 2018. It is the tragic Romeo and Juliet story where Aileen Mac Sweeney's father murdered her lover as he was from the rival clan , so she threw herself out of the castles tower in despair, not quite the Rapunzel story we know and love. DAY 6 - decided we would have a day out in the Glenveagh national park. Not too far away from Downing's village. Packed up at caseys, no need to leave our "in residence" sign as site completely empty bar us. Arrived in national park car park, visited exhibition / visitors centre and watched the film of the history of the house and gardens and owners throughout time. Quite some juicy stories here, to read the gossip click HERE. If you would like to know more about the Glenveagh national park click HERE, thanks. We loved the house and its stories, murder, homosexuality, rich Americans, and a host of visiting celebrities that had slept there especially the media shy Greta Garbo, our pal Kev's book "Greta and the Labrador" is well worth a read. Other celebs included Errol Flynn, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe. We also loved walking around the garden, just so wonderfully laid out and a world variety of plants. The blue Himalayan poppies a big plus, have tried growing myself and germinating in the bottom drawer of a fridge, all to no avail. We had a snack and wonderful coffee in the cafe before catching the bus down to the house and gardens, a 4km walk we decided to pass on as quite undulating terrain. Bus fare return was cheap and they ran often. #hintsandtips Drove back again passed Doe Castle. In the evening went out for our booked meal at the Downing's Bay Hotel, golf clubs and golfers everywhere #teehee It was also my first pint of Guinness in Ireland, what a joy! DAY 7 - Packed up after having what was in fact a luxury shower. Old man Casey had tried to rip us off saying 2 euros for a token for a shower (£1.71) , we whinged and he gave us both one for free. We then took the van down next to the Downing's Bay hotel and went for a walk on the beach, amazing sands. We then drove around the rather narrow but spectacular Rosguill peninsular stopping to get great views down onto both the campsite and the amazingly deserted yet long curved sandy strand. It was a lovely route all the way around this peninsular ending up back in downing's village. We then headed off across the Harry Blaney bridge, which we had done back in 2018. This time we actually got a view of Roy Island across the mulroy bay. We then headed up to Fanad lighthouse, we stopped short of it in 2018 because the weather was so so bad, but this time we could read the history bards and even went down to the WWW sign by the lighthouse. Great views over the cliffs from there. We then came back down through the other side of the Fanad peninsular, through Letterkenny and on down to Rossnowlagh beach and our campsite, near Ballyshannon home of Rory Gallagher (a hero of mine) stopping briefly to take in views of potentially the best beach (strand) in the whole of Ireland in our humble opinion, Ballymastocker strand. Even better than Inch on the dingle peninsular. It was an extremely hard life , back breaking work, at the turn of the century on the bleak and remote Fanad peninsular. Here is the talkies video we took. That is it for week 1. Return to MENU WEEK 2 17th-23rd June 2023 Here are the slideshows of pictures we took using 2 phones and a camera. DAY 8 - A relaxing day at the Boortree campsite here in Rossnowlagh. It should be noted that when we tried to find the site yesterday there is only one signpost to it and that is obscured by the warning sign that says road is liable to flooding at high tide, anyhow we eventually found it. No reception, you have to ring the lady who gave us the entry code for the amenities block and assigned us a pitch. The first night there were French, German and Yorkshire folks staying, the second day, i.e. today we basically had it to ourselves. A lovely walk on the mostly deserted beach. Nearly all holiday cottages empty, lovely butterflies, saw surf school and the empty life saver station. We then returned to the site to chill in the sun, sadly because of the wind that was literally true, so we ate inside. A very relaxing day. The lady hd told us , beyond her control, that the electricity was off 9-4. I pestered her at the end of the day since it was not back eventually it returned about 5p/m so not too bad. DAY 9 - Left our relaxing site reasonably early as had quite a distance to travel today from Donegal to Galway. On route kit started raining quite heavily and lasted for a good bit of the day, our only really bad day weather-wise. We tried to have lunch in Ballyhaunis. Much of Eire's towns stary with Bally meaning "place of" in Gaelic. I actually learnt 2 words of gaelic at our campsite in Spiddal tonight, every road sign in Spiddal is only in Gaelic. So my proud words are Mna and Fir (ladies and Gentlemen) #teehee Just outside Ballyhaunis we did stop at a picnic area that doubled as a memorial to Michael Coen. A bit of history for you. Michael Coen was an IRA volunteer from Lecarrow, Ballyhaunis and was captured, tortured, murdered and his body mutilated in retaliation for the killing of William Stephens, kings forces, in Ballyhaunis on 29 March. No wonder things can sometimes get tense, a little scary actually! Spiddal campsite was probably the worst we stayed at, muddy, midges to drive youw insane, and a rather rude german guy (note i like germans having lived there in my yoof) who pulled up much to close to our pitch and chucked our electrics cable out of the way without so much as a by your leave, not friendly! Showers very very average, but site as closish to anne's cousins house. Ps driving through Galway was a nightmare, almost as bad as Cork. Tuam seemed quite nice. DAY 10 - We left the Spiddal site at a reasonable time, couldn't wait to go, got bitten to death by midges whilst packing up, not great! Had to drive back through Galway so called in at a Lidl on the outskirts to get some gifts for Ralph and family. Annie hadn't seen Ralph for about 55 years. We arrived in Oranmore a little early for our meet up at 10.30 am so killed a little time doing our own food shopping in Tesco's Oranmore. If only we had known Ballynacloghy was a little further from Oranmore than we suspected, anyhow we still arrived at Ralph and Emma' lovely house in good time. It was a lovely few hours, great to catch up, what a lovely setting , we walked to Ralph's huge garden and saw views of Galway bay. His polytunnel was the largest I've ever seen with great produce growing, well jealous. We had lunch and then sadly had to depart for the long drive to Tralee , the county town of Kerry. Wonderful hospitality and such a nice man. Now what can I say about the Rose of Tralee #teehee you sing it, i'll hum it! The Woodlands campsite was really nice , especially our neighbours the rabbits. DAY 11 - Put our "in residence" sign up on the pitch and headed off to a great day exploring the Dingle peninsula, slea head drive. We started in Blennerville where we filled up with diesel, stopped at the nature reserve and took some pictures especially of Blennerville windmill. Then it was onto the Dingle peninsula. Ballycurrane was fun but we got slightly blocked in by fishermen and their vehicle / boats. No worry got out of it with a 90 point turn ;) We then climbed to Mount Brandon viewpoint, great views, chatted to a aging cyclist who told us if we thought this was steep try Connor's pass so we did after a quick walk around the very quiet village of Brandon. Interesting public houses there! What can we say about Connor's pass it was truly spectacular, a real highlight. we even had a 99 icecream at the top. It was then onto the Tom Crean inspired South pole inn at Anascaul for lunch and a bit of history. We coincided with zillions of walkers finishing their charity walk and coachloads of American tourists catching up on the local hero. But we still got fed and very nice it was too, washed down with a half of the black stuff! Not easy parking there so we parked over the little bridge and stream and walked in. Same was true parking wise at Inch strand, we had hoped to walk on the beach but boy was it busy being a weekend. Anyhow after that we went back to our Woodlands campsite at Tralee via Castlemaine. A truly great day, about 130 miles driven and lots to see in a day. DAY 12 - Packed up early and set off back into the town of Tralee to have another look around, what a very nice town Tralee is, then we set off to explore the most wonderful Ring of Kerry. We started at Rosbeigh Strand which looks over to the Dingle Peninsula and Inch strand, and you could see how in the past the two were joined by sands. Amazing views. We then visited ballycarbery castle and the old barracks, a slice of france in ireland. Then onto views of scariff island and over the far bridge to valentia island. Eventually we stopped in the wonderful Sneem for a walk through the town and across the Sneem river, oh and the statuatory ice cream, it was a very hot day. Then it was back round to Killarney to finish the truly spectacular ring of Kerry. The Muckross national park is nice, went their and to the house with my parents back in 2000. We camped at the White bridge site, the lady in charge was hugely helpful. We had a great night. DAY 13 - Up early, filled up with water, replaced their reserve sign (a nice touch for arrivers) and went into Killarney to have a look around. Parked in main street and did some gifts shopping. Then headed past house and gardens out to Killarney castle, past the many jaunting cars (horse and trap). The castle and lakes were magnificent , you can take a boat trip into the national forest. Alas we didn't have time, Set off from here to Kenmare, not the town we remember as much more commercialised, however we spent time at the Tom Crean brewery (see here for more detail) and i bought 8 unique beers. The stone circle (oldest in Eire) here and its lanteen tree surrounds were great. The Trump Loy on some of the houses was very interesting as well, no idea how they see out of those windows but maybe with the tourists that is the aim #whoknows After Kenmare we started the beara peninsula ring. Tried looking for our old cottage in Tuosist but so much changed, foolishly went off on a very narrow coastal road where our accident happened, the less said about that the better. Eventually after driving through the WAW coastal roads we reached Eagle point campsite on Bantry Bay, the best (apart from electrics) we stayed at. What views! DAY 14 - Day spent at Eagle point campsite in Ballylickey on the waters edge of Bantry Bay which is where our pitch was, very nice belgian guy next door to talk to, watched the kayakers, ate, drank, read and generally relaxed, both the long journeys of the last 3 days and the minor accident had taken their toll but it was good to just recharge the batteries. Amazing sunset over the waters edge. Went for an extended walk around the site as well. Here is the talkies video we took. Return to MENU WEEK 3 24th-31st June 2023 Here are the slideshows of pictures we took using 2 phones and a camera. DAY 15 - After packing up the van to leave we left Eagle point campsite (sigh!) and started with a stop and good walk around the heritage town of Bantry, a lovely harbour area with lots of historic buildings and boards to aid your understanding of where the town had come from. Even bought some screws in an old fashioned hardware store to try and improve the stability of the external gas flue which had been a bit mangled in the accident. The fabulous Sheep head drive is very recommended, bit scary in parts, but the views, oh the views. The Seefin www signpost view points are a must. After coming back along the easier western coast of this incredible drive we went thru the town of Clonakilty home of Michael Collins, yes that Michael Collins. Clonakilty was a very busy town. From here it was out towards Timoleague and our campsite at Sexton's. We will always remember with some fondness the old owner for (in a broad Irish accent) "flying low" whilst talking to us #smile The site didn't accept card, cash only, so they let us delay until the next morning. DAY 16 - Left campsite and found the ATM in the coop on the outskirts of Timoleague , got euro cash out at an extraordinary high exchange rate, went back and paid the campsite for our stay. Then explored both the town and the friary of Timoleague, which sadly was mostly a locals graveyard but a nice imposing building built on the edge of the estuary of the Argideen River which we then drove along across the old bridge and nature reserve to Courtmacsherry to learn all about the sinking of the Lusitania. It was then back to Old Kinsale head to complete the full Wild Atlantic way, only taken us 5 years, but I think you can blame the pandemic for that! At the head we had a lovely icecream and pie with coffee and enjoyed the sunshine. Kinsale itself was a very busy but interesting town, we strolled around many of the back streets as well as the harbour area . Clearly a tourist weekend visit for people from Cork. After that we had the mis-pleasure of having to drive right through the centre of Cork and the old dock areas, a town we have visited in the past but because of the volume of traffic a town I would be happy never to see again. Sorry folk from Cork! Once through cork we headed out to our campsite at Blarney. We had considered the Brit stop at Cobh but having met other travellers realised the 5 pitches would all be taken. Blarney is a lovely site, nice flowers, nice warden and pitch and putt course should you want attached for a fee. DAY 17 - Broke camp , is that the right expression, did the unsavory dunny man job, a little more tricky these days with the broken cassette door needing to be gaffer taped up (sorted when we return home and I have my tools). Sadly no sight of the castle these days as screened off not like back in 2000 when i queued to kiss the blarney stone, not something I can imagine was open during the pandemic. Then headed off into county Waterford and Dungarven, made sure we didn't need to traverse our steps back through Cork which was what the sat nav was trying and forced it through Mallow (where the much advertised national garden show was on at the Cork racecourse) sadly we didn't have time although I would have loved to visit, then Fermoy a nice town where we stopped for lunch and a spot of food shopping, and Lismore and Dungarven. Parked up by the sea front , still the Atlantic on this corner of Ireland. Walked along past the castle and around the town looking for ice cream, it was hot. Lovely harbour side with eateries out in the open. After Dungarven town, a real must if you are visiting, it was on up very narrow roads to our Getaway eco campsite, a very interesting site. More tomorrow. DAY 18 - A very relaxing day at the Getaway eco campsite in Kilnafrehan East just outside Dungarven. Interesting shower block, you had to be quick to the tin shed as 12 pitches and completely full. A tenting area as well. Went for a nice walk around the site, wetlands which are big for sewage etc. out in the countryside, a great idea and good for wild life, the goat island and a long chat with the lovely lady owner in what doubled as a camp kitchen and snug for tenters. She showed us some of the images of the work that had gone on to create the site. Her house was an old thatched croft that had much history as indeed was the Nook camp kitchen. We then cooked outside at lunch time and had a few tipples, well why not, after all it was a relaxing day. DAY 19 - Stayed here back in 2018 and so wanted to go back, just a lovely site and lovely people. See Blog 129 if interested in that visit. Anyhow we set off from the Eco site back to the main road and it was quite a short journey to Cahir, went into the town first but remembered it all well so didn't park up and walk around. We traversed our steps back to the Apple farm on the outskirts of Cahir. Bought apple juice (by the bucket load) , con's cider (the farm was first started in Tipparary by Cornelius Traas, of dutch / irish heritage) , strawberries, plums, and apples. So glad we got there early able to pick a prime slot and 16 amp leccie, good news. Set up the table and chairs. It became very busy and almost full by the end of the day. Had a good wander around to look at the workings of the farm, including the cider press, polytunnels and outside orchards. What a great campsite cant recommend it enough #recommended Only downside the next morning was the cold showers, tip use the one in the loos not those at the end of the barn. We also went through the wonderful tourist town of Adare, as always amazing busy but worth a visit. This shows our time there in 2018. DAY 20 - left the Apple farm amd took the very long drive up through Eire to the Wicklow's via the outskirts of Dublin and main motorways, they are quick and empty but have a few tolls on them which in fairness are not that expensive and cut your journey time. Visited the wonderful Powerscroft house and gardens near Bray with great views of the Wicklow mountains. The house burnt down a while ago but the gardens are spectacular, especially the variety of world trees, some labelled by those celebs that planted them. Princess Grace of Monaco, PM Bob Hawke of Australia to name but a few. For a keen gardener it was a delight, some pretty tall sequoias and redwoods as well as the formal bits, had a great chat with the lady gardener. Before starting our walk we watched the exhibition movie to get some background and had coffee and cake outside in the sun, just fab! after our tour with audio commentary on your phone (clever) we did some shopping in the gift shop. Then it was onto our campsite at Redcross for 2 nights. Also not very busy. Having set up we went up to the Mickey Finn pub attached to the site for an evening meal. Nice craft ales as well. DAY 21 - Spent the day relaxing at the Redcross site, a nice site and very quiet. We were in the silent garden, the adults only section. It is a very well laid out site. We went for a walk around the whole perimeter which takes you through fields of animals, we spotted, donkeys, llamas, pig, goats, deer and alpacas, maybe there were more. On return from our walk we went (again, what spoilt near septuagenarians we are!) to the Mickey Finn craft pub for lunch and chatted to a lovely family from Newry on the next table. The publican even allowed me to pose behind the bar. After that we went over the road for the largest 99 flake ice cream we have ever had and sat outside eating them in the sun, bliss! The afternoon was spent relaxing before the long drive home tomorrow. DAY 22 - the long journey home. Up at 5, quick shower, no brekkie as prepped the day before. Left before 6, it was a longer journey back to Dublin port which is north of the city than I had anticipated and the high /low oil warning light and alarm had started going off again when you accelerate or decelerate, very annoying , getting fixed back home. Lots of toll charges and tunnels to get to the port one of which you had to pay online within 24 hours. I did it whilst we queued for the ferry. A very smooth crossing, not busy, a bit of duty free shopping and then the long drive home from Holyhead. Stopped for lunch on the way back and arrived home about 5 pm so about 12 hours travelling. Sadly when we got home we found we had been burgled, not a great welcome home and the stress of police and forensics and insurance for days, we loved the holiday, just not the return, oh well S**T happens Here is the talkies video we took. Return to MENU GIANTS CAUSEWAY 13th June 2023 Want to know more about the Giant's causeway click HERE. We had a fab day there, day 4 of our holiday, there is a bit of a write up HERE. Return to MENU DINGLE PENINSULAR, COUNTY KERRY 20th June 2023 Feel free to read the write up on DAY 11. I've included a detailed map of the peninsula so you can relate to the text. It was a lovely day 130 miles all around, so worth a visit. Return to MENU THE SPECTACULAR RING OF KERRY, COUNTY KERRY 21st June 2023 To read the words of this lovely day trip click on DAY 12 The drive and exploration around the ring of Kerry is truly spectacular. It was about 112 miles from Tralee to Killarney all the way around, what sights, what memories. Return to MENU BEARA PENINSULAR, COUNTY KERRY 22nd June 2023 Read about our trip around the Beara peninsula HERE. This video will give you an insight, its good but preferred the ring of Kerry. Sheep head drive however is a remote must, get to the end. We gave way to all manner of tractors, true hillside farm land. Return to MENU ACCIDENT ON THE BEARA PENINSULAR, 22nd June 2023 Sadly between Tuosist and Lauragh on the R573, a very narrow road which on reflection we should not have taken, 2 cars in tandem on the other side, old guy and his wife in the first car and his son in the second. So wish he hadn't just stopped with his rear at an angle outwards. He expected me to get around him but we had a deep water channel at the edge of the road on the passenger side so there was no way I was going to ditch the van, hence it was very tricky for me to get around him. Sadly my gas outlet flue caught his car. I jumped out and asked him if he could move. He said no, so I had to carry on which scraped teh side of our van and completely crushed the gas flue and ripped off the loo cassette cover door. We exchanged insurance details. Since returning home I have fixed it all up myself so no real hardship, just rather annoying when you are touring, note to self don't go down narrow roads and I mean very narrow road when octogenarians are travelling on them #smile #hintsandtips Return to MENU HIGH / LOW OIL PRESSURE ERROR 30th & 31st 2023 Started after our long journey from Cahir to Powerscroft Estate, thought it was lack of oil so put and extra litre in. No sign of oil leaks though. likely to be the sensors at the top and bottom of the engine that monitor the high and low oil pressure . Maybe because of how bumpy the roads have been something has been shaken loose. Anyhow it is going into the garage for fixing, way beyond my vehicle skills. Just a tip for others, the noise is totally and utterly distracting when travelling, why would any designer worth their salt invent something like this. Return to MENU AUDIOBOOK This is an audio book of our 22 days away. Its also on Sound Cloud. Return to MENU TOM CREAN - HERO, ANTARTIC EXPLORER We visited both the South Pole inn on the Dingle Peninsular at Annascaul, county Kerry and the Tom Crean brewery at Kenmare, county Kerry. What a lovely chap Bill is , an ex London fireman who is married to the hero Tom Crean's grand daughter. We (well I) had a lovely chat with him about craft beers and he told me how the big players in Ireland like Guinness were trying hard to force the smaller players out of the market place. Now that really is unacceptable. We had a lovely meal in Annascaul. If you want to see and read more visit the Dingle peninsula DAY 11 Read more about this undoubted hero Return to MENU THAT'S ALL FOLKS Return to MENU

  • Blog 193, East Sussex Coastal Trip, A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, May 6th, 2023, 9.15 AM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No53: April 26th - May the 4th be with you 2023 NOTTS-> Brighton, Along the East Sussex Coast and ending up at Charles Darwin's house Kent, All Caravan and Motorhome Club Sites (M&CC site) or affiliated -> NOTTS 525 miles Prefer to listen than read a blog, click HERE for the audiobook. MENU Overview Diary Panorama's Brighton Newhaven, Eastbourne, Hastings, Bexhill On Sea, Fairlight Woods Campsite Pett Levels, Rye, Camber Sands, Lydd, Winchelsea Guillaume the B'stard, Battle, 1066 and Normanshurst Court Manor campsite Pevensey Castle, Crowhurst, Herstmonceux, Normans Bay Robertsbridge, Bayham Old Abbey, Goudhurst and Tanners Farm Park campsite Charles Darwin's Down House & Origin of Species Campsite Info for Others Audiobook Use of 4K UHD slideshows and Videos That's all Folks OVERVIEW We had a lovely 8 days away on the East Sussex coast and apart from the 2nd days very wet weather for about half of the day we had wonderful warm days with mostly clear blue skies. Sometimes May in the UK is a joy to behold. Keef even got a bit of a tan whilst sitting out chatting to the oldies at Tanner Farm Park on the second to last day. So to summarise this travel blog we set off on the Wednesday and travelled down to Brighton, you cannot get into Caravan and Motorhome club sites these days before 1 pm so we called in firstly at Handcross where Annie did her teaching practice all those years ago for six weeks at the primary school. She lived in digs up the road when at Brighton Teachers training college. Her view was in 50-ish years it had changed much. #smile After that we travelled to Shoreham by Sea to the west of Brighton. Parked up and went for a very blustery walk along the board walk on the sea front past what looked like an excerpt from Grand Designs, one even had an outside pool. After that we drove all the way along the sea front through the grotty Portslade to the magnificent regal splendour of Hove , then Brighton's sea front past Roedean where Annie work all those years ago up through Kemptown (do-dah!) to the campsite in East Park at Whitehawk. We set up and had french patisseries from Chef Phillippe (famous) who bakes on the site #yummy The next 2 days we had great fun with our dear pals Pete and Joy who arrived on the Thursday. Much catching up, eating, drinking and making merry. We used our old peoples bus passes to get into town on the Sunday from Whitehawk bus garage and had such fun revisiting the Lanes. No old vinyl shops for Keef these days its gone very upmarket. You can see our fun via the slideshows etc under the BRIGHTON heading. After saying our fond goodbyes we set off for Fairlight or Pett Woods campsite, another Caravan and Motorhome club site (M&CC site) We travelled through Newhaven, stopped at the harbour, Eastbourne, which was lovely and even found Keef's old paddling pool from trips with Mum and Nan back 60+ years during summer holidays, despite the pier guides at Eastbourne suggesting it must be in Treasure Island (Yuk!) it was in the Princes Park but now used as a boating lake, its even got the old metal railed bridge I remember so fondly. My little grey cells must still be working, which is a relief #smile. Fairlight is quite a nice site, full because we pensioners had forgotten it was a bank holiday weekend, we naively thought that was only going to be the Coronation weekend. Word of warning the single track and water logged road is not an easy approach, indeed we did it from the wrong end 2nd time when coming back from Winchelsea , not a good idea. My guess is that would be impossible if you were towing a caravan. Still the short side from Pett village isn't too bad as long as no one is coming in the opposite direction #hintsandtips Whilst going through to the site we went along the sea front at Hastings, very regency but impossible to park up at. Note most of these coastal town need you to download the parking app to pay and guess what the apps are all different depending upon which town you want to park in. Reminds me of the old Beta Max versus VHS era, come on councils get it sorted please! From Fairlight woods campsite we bit a circular tour along the coast , to see more please click HERE Revisited the old Pontins site at Camber sands we as a family stayed at years ago, I mean when I was a kid, it wasn't great then, its far worse now #haha Loved Winchelsea and Rye, although Mermaid street in Rye is getting a little steep for both of us especially downhill. Rye is fab. Must look up Henry James, a resident. The only book I remember is Portrait of a lady. After Fairlight Woods site we traveled onto Battle and took up where Harold and Guillaume left off, great fun. What concern us is no remains have ever been found on the site so seems unlikely it really was the Battle site but who am I to ruin a good story? With 7000 killed its hard to belief not even a solitary molar was found. Loved the fact that the Abbey was built allegedly where Harold was smote #haha After Battle, where we joined English Heritage as it was a great bank holiday deal, we went to the best campsite of the holiday at Normanshurst Court Manor. Palatial and pitch 110 had such great views. We then did a day out circular trip on our second day at the Battle campsite, shopping in our famed ASDA at Pevensey Bay (scones, tip tree raspberry seedless and clotted arteries for the 2nd time , oh dear , bad habits die hard (literally!) ) before Herstmonceux observatories, quite weird and old now , Pevensey castle, both Roman and Norman, it was invaded by french school kids whilst we were there, again restarting the 100 year way #smile Then onto Norman's Bay (the Conqueror William I guess rather than Wisdom) #funnyman NOT! before Crowhurst , a lovely village, where my Nan's second husband Harry lived and back to the Battle campsite, another great day of adventure. Our final site was at Tanners Farm Park over the border from East Sussex just into Kent. We did an early morning stop in the lovely historic village of Robertsbridge, give it some time if you are that way, you will not be disappointed. We visited Bayham old abbey on route and the village of Goudhurst, with its coronation celebration bunting everywhere and such a lovely peaceful pond full of fish and a floating wooden miniature wooden dove cote bathed in sunlight and the tranquility enjoyed by both of us from the comfort of the strategically placed town bench. The village hall sign said it was all medieval, wow! we liked it anyhow, then onto the campsite. Apple tree blossom every where, we had arrived in the "garden of England" The last day on the way home we stopped at Charles Darwin's home in Downe, Kent near Orpington, wow and was I jealous of his garden... forget the Origin of Species, that greenhouse was to die for #haha The journey back after that was full stop start, folks leaving early maybe for the Coronation weekend, who knows Feel free to read more under each travel blog subject heading, thanks, KeefH Web Designs #coronation Found this image all over the place in Goudhurst on our travels , this village was having a Kingly party to celebrate, being the ardent royalist that I am I felt the need to publish this logo for prosperity #fun #shorts #reels #fun Here is our promo short to advertise this new travel blog all in 4K UHD. It is an introduction to this Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs there is also one to advertise the Audiobook. The origin of Fun or is it species, we loved visiting Charles Darwin's house and were drawn back again to his learnings on the Beagle, the first of dear pal KJ's short stories in his 7 ships series available on Amazon (or in all good book shops, other products are available #fun) Return to Menu DIARY Here is the diary of our trip. It was constructed prior to the trip to give us a plan of the adventure and post return i have updated it and turned it into our usual travel blog diary. A slides show with one slide from each place visited is also included. This slideshow of our travel blog headlines with text is set up to summarise the diary above, it shows one slide for each of the key places visited. If you wish to see more as a You Tube video that is available in the overview, to see it now, click HERE To start this slideshow of the headlines click on the first image, thanks Return to Menu PANORAMA's Return to Menu BRIGHTON 3 days 26-28th April 2023 Great fun , love Brighton, such a classy city. Remember Chef Phillippe, pals, travellers with nicked bin and nappies outside pitch oh and that camping portable washing machine a real first. Too much port, great food and conversation, the lanes, jewelry, clocks, old weapons, no vinyl stores (boo!) , regency architecture, the new BA tower, west pier, cold, wind and rain, plus sunshine a sitting out on the table and chairs at the site for the first time this year. Whitehawk bus garage and noisy crowd as they watched their team get promoted. Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu NEWHAVEN, EASTBOURNE, HASTINGS, BEXHILL ON SEA , COOBDEN BEACH, FARLIGHT WOODS CAMPSITE 29th April 2023 Really like this coast and especially enjoyed our walk along the front at Eastbourne, what a nice place. Had a walk on the pier to the very end, hugely sunny, great views back. Very Victorian. Oh and those ice creams at the Gelato shop on the way back to the van. We also visited the food and craft stores on the promenade buying a Moroccan mesa dish set in the process. Bexhill was posh Coobden beach the usual pebble beach all the way along this coast. Hastings looked nice but far too busy and after Eastbourne which we think we preferred, we didn't have the energy and that decision was made for us as all the way along the miles of sea front there was no where, literally no where to park, so we went onto the site, quite late in the after noon. The wardens were friends of Lawrence and Yvonne, our pals and said we were the last but one to arrive, filled with water and set up camp. Nice bluebells and wood anemones in the rather damp and soggy woods on the site. Very busy with kids as Bank Holiday weekend which in fairness we didn't know about. Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu PETT LEVELS, RYE, CAMBER SANDS, LYDD, WINCHELSEA 30th April 2023 Decided we wanted to take the van out for the day, much to see and clearly not an area we had been to for many a year. Started at Pett Levels with a walk on the pebble beach and learned about the wreck of the Anne off this area. Appropriately named we thought. Then it was onto Rye a great town we have been to before but at least 10 years ago. Climbed up to the high street along the cobbled streets, learnt about Henry James, snapped everything that moved, the place is , how do we say in old English, quaint! Used the look out, visited the shops, saw the castle and then braved going down Mermaid street, not a great choice, it was fine 10 years ago, not so now with my knees. #teehee Nice ice cream at the end though, well it is summer, just! After Rye we went to Camber sands, not great and Lydd plus airport, likewise, not great and as for the pot holes and road quality in East Sussex don't get me started. Winchelsea however was lovely. The site of Spike Milligan's gravestone , in Gaelic, I told you I was ill, #haha Then it was back to the campsite Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu GUILLAUME THE B'STARD, BATTLE, 1066 and NORMANSHURST COURT MANOR CAMPSITE 1st May 2023 We left the Pett Woods campsite having done ablutions and filled up with water. Yep you really needed that detail didn't you? Remember well buying our English heritage oldies yearly membership, even we couldn't resist that deal. We "did" 4 sites on this travel trip so we are quid's in and you don't have to pay for carparks, and we can take up to 4 grand children with us for free, if only they might be interested, unlikely I know. So Battle abbey and site great, great coffee and cakes to start the day. Loads of history. Spent hours there, very educational. It was David Starkey's voice as an overview on the audio units I think. Then walked up the hill to St Mary's church to find graves of Annie's relatives Sir Anthony Browne and Alis (Alice) Gage, they choir master was rehearsing. Loads of pics today. The 1066 country trail is interesting. Then onto the campsite, nice wardens, very helpful. They were painting chickens, coronation chickens, oh dear bad joke time, but it came from their lips not mine. Normanshurst Court Manor is a great campsite #recommendation Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. I've included the Battle site plan in this travel blog to show what you can see, its provided by English Heritage Return to Menu PEVENSEY CASTLE, CROWHURST, BATTLE, 1066 and NORMANSCOURT MANOR CAMPSITE 2nd May 2023 We had a day out in the van. Went to our usual ASDA in Pevensey bay first where we bought our usual fruit scones and clotted arteries to go with our Tip Tree raspberry seedless jam, hey if you can't have a cream tea or 2 when you are on holidays when can you. After that we went onto Pevensey castle which was both Norman and Roman. A hugely interesting castle and once we had been through most of their audio headsets and finally got two that worked we were off to explore. The Pevensey gun and Trebuchet cannon balls (recovered from the moat, what a messy and heavy job that must have been) were a must as was the various exhibitions around the site, so worth a visit. The car park this time was privately owned so had to pay. We got slightly blocked in by a coach from Czechoslovakia but my 2 wheel maneuver soon sorted that (NOT!). After Pevensey we visited Norman's bay, not great area, all private roads but there is a Camping and Caravan club site there although you would have to climb uphill to see the sea. We then went onto Crowhurst a very nice village and from there back to the fab Normanscourt manor campsite near Battle. Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu ROBERTSBRIDGE, BAYHAM OLD ABBEY, GOUDHURST and TANNERS FARM PARK CAMPSITE 3rd May 2023 We left the campsite about 9-ish having , what the expression, broken camp. On route we stopped at the fabulous village of Robertsbridge. It was very sunny so we had a good walk both ways through the town, many thatched and half timbered old buildings, a lot of history here. After taking a picture of the town sign (so love those about English villages) we got an Eccles cake and chocolate brownie from the bakers and ate them in the van. Quiz time: is a chocolate brownie more likely to be eaten by male or female. Answers have already been digested. #haha After Robertsbridge we went to Bayham Old Abbey, a 12th century monastery now somewhat dilapidated but hugely interesting. The same stone masons had worked on this as those for Westminster abbey and it showed in the craftsmanship. We spent quite a while here before going onto Goudhurst, another fine English village. As the weather was so nice we decided to head onto the campsite, very friendly lady warden, we did the grand parent chat and set up table and chairs to relax in the sun. We had a long chat with the old couple from Maidstone next to us mostly about genealogy and football teams. A great day on the farm. The site facilities are a little tired but perfectly adequate and half the price of the Brighton site. So with the sunshine a true win. Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu CHARLES DARWIN's DOWN HOUSE and ORIGIN OF SPECIES 4th May 2023 & BACK HOME Had breakfast , drained and emptied everything and set off for the village of Downe near Orpington. Took ages to find Charles Darwin's house as no English heritage signs anywhere from the direction we arrived in. Even a lady villager had no idea where it was. Eventually found a workman who knew exactly where it was, thank heavens. A truly wonderful experience, so worth a visit. Spent quite a few hours here, Beagle journey, Origin of species, garden, weird experiments, how nice to be rich enough to enable your passions. It took him 20 years to publish because of the damnation he felt he would (and did encounter) from the religious word but hey it makes a whole lotta sense to a mere mortal like me. We had a lovely lunch in the café there, tuna mayo jackets and Mrs. Emma Darwin cake for me and yoghurt raspberry cake for annie, yum yum. Post this visit the long (and I mean long) journey back, stop start for over 100 miles. So boring! Anyhow it was a fab 8 days. Take a look at the slideshows, it will give you a far better picture than my words. Return to Menu CAMPSITE INFO We collected the campsite info documents on our travels for use by others should you chose to stay at these sites. I have to say I would recommend the Battle site. Return to Menu AUDIOBOOK If you are the sort of person who likes to listen rather than read this is for you, head phones on! This is a slideshow with the audiobook as an overlay, enjoy Return to Menu 4K & UHD QUALITY BY KEEFH WEB DESIGNS From the Newhaven slideshow / video onwards I have used full 4K UHD functionality, now available to KeefH Web Designs (KHWD) when creation happens throughout, initially using the latest AVSVideo 4K functionality to link together all images, separated by a standard 3 second duration, then using Clipchamp to create clever intros , and text / music tracks added where Warner Bros allows, and publishing again in 4K UHD and then uploading to my You Tube channel and publishing in 4K. Overall for a travel blog enhanced picture quality is a great technique. See what you think? Maybe leave me some commentary on the Blog. I'm persoonally quite please with the result. Its amarked improvement on previous slideshows, however one word of warning there are still issues with it, possibly based on speed of creation which means we end up with some blurred fuzzy pink / purple coloured screens. I'm sure over time this issue will be sorted and eradicated. Lets hope so! #gremlins Return to Menu THE END Return to Menu

  • Blog 192, A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs, Singapore and Thailand, Xmas / New Year

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, January 14th, 2023, 9.12 AM A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Not The Motorhome trip No 19 : December 21st 2022 – January 13th 2023 INTRODUCTION Go straight to MENU if you would prefer. Total distance travelled throughout the trip was 16562 miles, quite a way eh? and for us almost septuagenarians a bit of a bigger challenge with the jet lag but hey how nice was that trip and how lovely to spend so much time with our Singaporean family x #missingUalready The last family travel blog I wrote was for our trip to Florida and Disney with Craig & Leanne and family. Read BLOG 183. Coincidentally when we visited the Jewel, the world's largest indoor waterfall at Changi airport for the day they had a celebration of 100 years of Disney, i.e. from Steamboat Willie, our visit last year was for 50 years of the Theme parks. For us this was our first ever trip to Thailand and a great experience it was on every level. you can read in more depth about it here on the travel blog under Thailand. On reflection I think Chiang Mai, the second city was great choice in terms of culture, history, scenery and cuisine. We loved every moment of our fun time with family here. MENU Highlights Calendar Travel Blog Route Singapore Part 1 Chiang Mai, Thailand Singapore Part 2 Audiobook That's all Folks HIGHLIGHTS This video is almost 2 minutes long but gives you a flavour of what KeefH Web Designs can do with the very powerful Clipchamp and a great introductory overview of what leads onto the full highlights in the next video #enjoy This slideshow contains all the "highlight" images for the trip with a textual heading at the bottom of each slide and covers both Singapore, Thailand, Christmas, New Year and Annie's birthday in "heading" terms, a huge highlight of Annie's birthday apart from time at the art market in the morning was the B Sam Cook restaurant Phoenix had cleverly arranged beforehand from Singapore which in our humble opinion should have been Michelin starred. The owner was wonderful, the musician who played lots of Coldplay songs and the food and endless aussie wines were a wonderful experience. I chatted to the owner , "Chef Boy" as he likes to be called, he was not interested in Michelin and stardom, just wanted to carry on doing what he was doing and making people happy. His 91 year old granny's duck recipe was a true highlight, cant fault it. I attach the menu here for all to see. I think Annie had a pretty good birthday so thanks family and friends who sent her cards, pressies and messages of good will #christmas #food #newyear #welcome2023 This video is 7 minutes 50 seconds long but is well worth a watch to get an overview B Sam Cook's restaurant birthday menu. Note the restaurant had feedback left from most countries around the world pinned to the wall, they now have some extra's from Singapore, England and China #tick #michelinstarredorshouldbe If you would like to know more , it is a boutique hotel as well please click HERE, thanks If you want to see much more of our experience there and maybe hear some of the musician's music click HERE. Go to MENU CALENDAR, TIMELINE & MAPS I have created this video using Clipchamp , some of my pictures from the trip and some of my videos, and screen captures from every day of the lovely family holiday in Singapore and Thailand via Google Maps timeline which has clearly captured (as it does) my movements via GPS on my phone, which creates quite a nice visual memory via the maps plus a highlights from Google themselves of the trip on my phone. So here is that video! Its 5 minutes long. Return to MENU ROUTE MAP This video was created using the phone app Travel Boast where I drew out the major places we stopped at on route. It then draws out the route with a car driving to Heathrow then planes to Singapore, Changi and Chiang Mai, Thailand and a van we travelled in in Thailand out to the elephant poo poo park and the Elefin hillside farm to see, feed and ride elephants. I then hooked in its 3 formats I had created into one You Tube video. Landscape, Portrait and night maps. I joined them together with some relevant images and music using Microsoft's Clipchamp. See what you think, i think it brings the journey to life and adds to any travel blog #newfeature The thing I do find out of kilter though is its estimated distance which at 16775 213 miles more than the 16562 miles we recorded on the trip. Close but not close enough in my humble opinion, but way better than blog 71. I am also surprised that altering the dimension from landscape to portrait with the same data alters the mileage by 3 miles, now that is truly weird. PS love the animated transportation, cool. Return to Menu SINGAPORE PART 1 21st-27th DECEMBER 2022 From our travels, this is the full slideshow of images, created by KeefH web Designs in Jan 2023 and features amongst others Christmas wonderland by the bay , light and sound show with knobs on. Visiting Santa. Christmas dinner at Muddy's murphy's in Orchard Road. Shopping. Eating. Paddling at East Coast Park. Friends. Jet lag. Heathrow Terminal 5 meet and greet or rather not meet nor greet #disappointing Let the adventures begin. Our first visit in 4 years to family. Presents, Grandkids, and fun fun fun #tick. Eating premium Durian, being kindly given freeze dried durian from China to transport un-smelly like back to the uk. I hadn't worked out how to use AVS Video editor to rotate incorrectly inversed or 90 degree rotated images by this stage but got it right for all other slideshows of holiday images, sorry about that. So here we go, its 7 minutes 40 seconds long and features some fab music by Be Bop Deluxe, now who remembers them? The talkies video associated with the first half of our stay in Singapore, great to finally meet up again in their homeland, after 4 years mostly because of Covid restrictions and Keef's operation. Anyhow the video is 11 and a half minutes long and covers amongst others a fab Xmas meal cooked by Jona, Christmas wonderland by the bay, carols, a visit to Santa, these fake Santa's (as Charlie tells me) kept having to change due to wearing an outfit in that heat, and their height, accent, hair, glasses etc. also changed, but who cares, its all part of the magic of Xmas time #haha Christmas lunch at Muddy Murphy's in Orchard road, now a bit of a tradition, great food and atmosphere and they now brew their own beer, what more can a fella want, family, friends , food, wine and beer, great times, take a look. Created by KeefH Web Designs. Note this video is not available in Russia because of the Andy Williams song accompanying the light and sound show at Christmas by the bay but as this is the only country You tube excludes, frankly my dear I don't give a damn! #haha Go to MENU THAILAND 28th DECEMBER 2022 to 2nd JANUARY 2023, CHIANG MAI There were some 800+ images of our fab time in Thailand so I have split that into 3 slideshows running respectively for 12, 15 and 12 minutes. Note batches 2 and 3 have no soundtrack done deliberately. The first has Beth Hart covers of Led Zep stuff which I decided just wasn't peaceful enough for this blog but I can thoroughly recommend her album. She is a great guitarist. So to our travel blog image slideshows created by KeefH Web Designs, January 2023, which cover such visits as the night market, with a performance (well weird song and dance routine by the Lady Boys) , 2 riverside restaurants, warm comfortable temperatures, fab mountainside views from both within the town of chiang mai and outside it in countryside to a distance of some 50 kilometers. The Elefin hillside café and Elephant farm for feeding and riding said animals, tropical flowers, Tuk Tuks, modern day fire engine red Tuk Tuks, haggling, street food, fab thai cuisine, spicy thai sausage, garden worms, Yuk! Buddhist temples, art markets, not being able to get a taxi on new years eve back from Nic's restaurant of the city outskirts, having to pay over the odd via the Shangri La hotel to get back, but a very pleasant driver to the rescue plus grab drivers who didn't know their way. Tiger Kingdom, Elephant poo poo paper process and creative work done by the Hellingers #result Oh and listening to Charlie about how cold the hotel pool was and she had a wet suit on, the redeeming factor was the splendid jacuzzi pool side. You cant fault the hotel, it was luxurious and the help your self buffet breakfast a true plus, where they attempted to cater for every nationality which meant ones choice was great. Curry for brekkie was right up my street but don't mention chicken sausage, please. I had now worked out how to use AVS Video editor to rotate incorrectly inversed or 90 degree rotated images by this stage so I sorted that so hardly any transposition happens unless I missed them by accident #fingerscrossed not too many, if there are I most humbly apologise, but in general every photo taken by myself, annie, D&P and Charlie are here. Thai greetings สวัสดี ครับ (sawatdee khrap) Hello (male) สวัสดี ค่ะ (sawatdee kha) Hello (female) or as I pronounced it in Singlish "SAY-WHAT-TEA-CAR" (badly #teehee) Listen here to the greeting plus a bit more on Soundcloud, thanks The talkies, this is a collection of all the video recordings taken during our fun times in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is about 29 minutes long. #christmas #newyear It contains some slow motion footage. It covers visits to Chiang Mai's night market, its food hall, jacket potatoes with cheese for us, still full from Shangri La hotel lunch, a variety of Thai food for D&P, haggling over prices, travel in Tuk Tuks, eating by the riverside some great Thai food, yummy spicy, bundling into modern day Tuk Tuks those red fire engine types, they have no bus services, and watching in awe as Phoenix argued every driver down to 100 Baht #genius I wouldn't argue with her. Visiting art markets times two. Many street markets, The Elephant Poo Poo paper place outside Chiang Mai , using a lovely large van driver who spoke little English but conversed happily with Phoenix (mandarin or Cantonese I'm not sure which?), he took us to local food markets, temples, the Elefin hillside café an hour and a half outside Chiang Mai to both feed and ride the elephants, and when we were stuck took us back to the airport and our Scoot plane back to Changi. #greatbloke The time in Chiang Mai went very quickly but it was a lovely time, New Years eve fireworks and food out at Nic's with kids playground, sparklers, lit up balloons, and caps. Keef did the classic of asking the Grab taxi lady if she was a student supplementing her studies, oops she said I'm in my 40s #haha then the wonderful birthday meal for Annie (21 again!) at B Sam Cooks over the bridge. The old town walls and views of the mountain ranges are lovely in Chiang Mai and the temperature is nice at this time of year, warm but without the Singapore humidity. Anyhow don't take my word for it, see the video created by KeefH Web Designs below. Go to MENU SINGAPORE PART 2 2nd-13th JANUARY 2023 From our holiday travels Singapore Part 2 Full Image Slideshow, created by KeefH Web Designs, Jan 2023. Includes amongst others Family , friends, fun. The Jewel waterfall at Changi airport. What amazed us about this fabulous piece of engineering as Doug had pointed out was how on earth they got such a large upside down bell of glass (no seams in one piece of heavy glass) into position, it acts as the bottom chamber of the waterfalls recycling systems and we visited it on basement 2 level as well as seeing the waterfall at every level up to the top at level 5, a true experience. It looks different at each level, and the monorail running right next to it as well as the glass walk way must be fab although we didn't do either of those. Avatar 2, great, we had a whole day out here the newest touristy thing we have done in Singapore, we have sadly done many of the others in the past and this trip was about spending time with our family and playing with the grand children which Covid has prevented for quite a while and so glad we were able to spend what's that annoying phrase "quality time" with them all. we used MRT, buses. suffered humidity. amusingly Charlie always tells me she is cold when they visit us, I tell her in response we are always to hot and sweaty, what's the line, Singapore is ideal for 3 showers a day #haha grandkids back to school. BBQs on the beach. ice creams . I12 katong and ice creams, ballet aborted, busted shoes and flip flops. Alfie's 1st day at first steps. Geylang library visit. Great music accompaniment by Al Stewart, sadly Soho needless to say is blocked by You Tube in St Pierre and Mustique but I don't believe I am that worried by that, not sure how many motorhomers are on that island #smile so to the slideshow of images for Singapore part 1 The talkies, this is a collection of all the video recordings taken during our fun times back in Marine Drive 61 near East Coast Park in the Marine Parade area of Singapore and includes family fun with the grandchildren, Thomas brio is a specialty for little Alfie, eating at both restaurants, hawker centres (non air conditions) happy don don kopi food court (non air con) for paratha and BBQs on the beach with Doug & Phoenix's friends. Charlie now back at Ngee Ann Primary school (cycling thru ECP) and we had the pleasure of taking and collecting Alfie at his new nursery First Steps. We had a day out at the Jewel at Changi airport which is new since our last visit to family. An amazing world largest indoor waterfall, impressive and they ad a 100 years of Disney display up and running. We also saw the new Avatar movie, boy Singaporean cinema's are badly over air conditioned #freezing Shopping was mostly Daiso, Fair Price Xtra and Finest, plus the book shop. We used buses and MRT easily now with our own UK credit cards and fairly cheap it is too in comparison to the UK travel. D&P got us taxis and grab as need be #hintsandtips It is about 23 minutes long. Got to try out lots of slow motion stuff in this one which Charlie and I loved, we started it in Thailand, she auditioned for the remake of Chariots of fire for me , ha ha, plus sk8tr gurl. It was so sad to say goodbye to them but we will be back hopefully for Charlie's 9th birthday Go to MENU AUDIOBOOK OR THE TRAVEL BLOG Note if you are using Microsoft Edge browser you can use Ctrl+Shift+U to read aloud, there may be alternatives on other browsers, i must confess I've not found it that great so SoundCloud is the way forward for me as a published audiobook. And now with an image sideshow as well, just for good measure. Go to MENU THE END Thanks for reading folks, that's it for this travel blog featuring fun with the family and our first trip to Thailand, we especially loved that new discovery so huge thanks to Doug, Phoenix and family for a whole new experience, change is the spice of life. Go to MENU

  • Blog 191, Gertrude Whiteheads dairy of Trip to Australia, 18th Aug 1897-18th Jan 1898, Retrospective

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, December 3rd, 2022, 17.10 PM A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog Genealogy Info No 5, 18th August 1897 to 18th January 1898, 5 months 1 day at sea INTRODUCTION This is a very retrospective blog, during the winter months of November and December 2022 I decided to translate most of the handwritten diaries we hold in our Family Tree data to supplement our Genealogy info featured here under the Family tab, good website design, backing up audiobooks, videos and slideshow with text. Enjoy! MENU Diary Audiobook Video with audiobook overlay showing relevant and irrelevant areas of Australia, ships, and images from places visited, created via Clipchamp by KeefH Web Designs Trailer DIARY GERTRUDE WHITEHEAD’s DIARY: (Anne, Brian, and Margaret’s Granny) Voyage to Australia : 18th Aug 1897-18th Jan 1898 It took 154 days, 22 weeks or 5 months 1 day if you prefer, a lengthy time away at sea Wednesday Aug. 18th/97 Mother, Willie, Jeanie, and I joined the Port Stephens at Tyne Dock to go on our voyage to Australia with Father- Annie, Hilda, Bob and Uncle Bob coming to see us away. 6 pm. We left Tyne Dk. 6.45 pm Uncle, Annie, Bob & Hilda bid us good-bye and went on board the tug boat to go on shore. We then steamed away from Shields Bar & shortly afterwards we went to bed thus ending our first day. Thursday Aug 19th/1897 This has been a fine day & we have enjoyed it very much being on deck nearly all day. We passed Lowestoft at 2 o’clock in the afternoon & Dover at 11 o’clock at night. Passed lots of ships & steamers. At night had some music. Friday Aug 20th. Father tells me we passed Dungeness at 1 o’clock this morning. It is a nasty day strong head wind & sea very hazy. Passed the Isle of Wight at 1 o’clock this afternoon. All feeling a little poorly we went to bed early. Saturday Aug. 21st. Strong head wind & heavy sea. Port Stephens tumbling and pitching about & made us all sick. Mother very poorly. We all remain downstairs. Passed Ushant Isld. in the afternoon. Sunday Aug. 22nd. We are now in the Bay of Biscay & rolling and tumbling about. Mother confined to her roam sick. Willie, Jeanie & I have been on deck most of the day. Monday Aug. 23 This is my 11th birthday and such a lovely day. We have got Mother on deck to get the air. We are now across the Bay having passed Cape Finisterre at breakfast time. We have all got splendid appetites with the exception of poor Mother. Jeanie is running about all over the ship. Tuesday 24th. Aug. Very fine weather. Saw nothing today but birds & salt water & a few steamers. Mother is all right now & we are playing at quoits & other things and are quite happy. Wednesday Aug.25th. Lovely weather today but very hot had to get our summer clothes on. Had my music lesson & played about the remainder of the day. Thursday Aug.26th. We have a good fair wind today with high waves, but we are not sick at all. Friday Aug.27th. We arrived at Las Palmas at 7 o'clock this morning to take coal in. We threw some pennies in the water & the boys from the shore dived down & got them. We bought a parrot from a boy & we hope to make it talk before we get home. We got plenty of fruit grapes peaches and bananas which we enjoyed very much. We left Las Palmas at 3 o'clock in the afternoon all very black with coal dust. We did not get on shore because there was not time to go to the town & it was too hot We were up very early this morning so we went to bed soon. Saturday Aug.28th. We had a nice fair wind today & the Stephens went booming along. We played about the decks all day & had music at night. Sunday Aug.29th. Fine weather but very hot we are nearly roasted alive & have to sit under the awning all day. Had some hymns at night. Roast chickens & plum pudding for dinner and cakes for tea. Monday Aug.30th. It is blowing a gale of wind today with heavy sea & the awning was blown all to pieces. Mother is sick & we all stayed downstairs but it was a difficult job to keep Jeanie & Willie down. Tuesday Aug.31st. Strong head wind. Stephens pitching about a good deal. Passed Cape verde at noon. We have been on deck all day & saw the land & some steamers & a lot of birds. Wednesday Sept.1st. This is Father’s birthday & we had a large cake for tea. Fine day but big waves. Saw some flying fish & some porpoises & at night the water was lovely phosphorus it sparkled just like stars in the water. Music lesson in the morning & again at night. Thursday Sept.2nd This is Jeanie’s birthday. Had chickens for dinner & cake for tea. Beautiful fine weather today. Mother making pyjamas for Willie which father helped to cut out. We take our salt water bath every morning now as the weather is very hot. Friday Sept.3rd. Rainy weather in the morning but fine in the afternoon only a little windy. Saw lots of flying fish today. Willie was dressed up as Father Neptune at night & looked very funny with his big belly and whiskers. Willie got his new pyjamas on & was a proud man when he went to bed. Saturday Sept.4th. Very fine weather today but a little windy. We saw a good many flying fish but nothing close. We have been playing at houses & other games during the day. We have just come down from the deck to get bathed and Willie made Father laugh acting Bob Anderson. We had ducks for dinner and beef, tongue & fish for tea which we all did justice to. Sunday Sept.5th. Fine day but very quiet nothing to do except read. Music and singing after tea and then to bed. Monday Sept.6th. Very fine in the morning but raining at night. Cannot sit on deck as everything is overhead with coaldust and have therefore been obliged to play in the messroom. It is gradually getting cooler & is therefore much pleasanter. Tuesday Sept.7th. Strong head wind with a nasty choppy sea which Father says is the usual Weather experienced in the South east trades to make matters worse the men are working the coal off the deck & everything is covered in coal dust and we are obliged to stay downstairs. Wednesday Sept.8th. Very strong head wind with heavy sea. Ship pitching very heavily & taking seas on board we can scarcely keep our feet the way the ship is tossing about. Mother has been washing clothes today but it has been very difficult to work. Mother is now giving us a tune on the piano. We are going to have a game of cards & then to bed. Thursday Sept.9th. Another day with strong head wind & big seas breaking over the ship. Mother has been washing clothes again today & has got them all ready for ironing. Friday Sept.10th. Still very strong head wind & ship pitching fearfully. Mother has got her ironing done & is making me a dressing gown. Saturday Sept.11th. Still rough weather. Mother finished my dressing gown which is very comfortable and pretty. We had a sheep killed also some fowls. We had a good bath & then to bed. Sunday Sept.12th. Weather more moderate. Passed two sailing ships this afternoon which was Quite a treat as we have not seen any since 31st.August. Saw two birds One being a Cape pigeon & the other a Molly hawk. We have had a musical evening & are now going to have supper & then to bed. Monday Sept.13th. Weather finer. We passed another sailing ship. We then had a game of cards & then to bed. Tuesday Sept.14th. Fine weather but very cold. We saw an Albatross with wings about 6 feet long. Mother has made another pair of pyjamas for Willie & is making Jeanie a dressing gown & I am making a shirt for Jeanie. Wednesday 15th.Sept. Fine weather with strong sea ship rolling about. Saw a 1ot of Cape pigeons & Molly hawks. Lessons from ten o’clock till 11.30 then sewing and games until bed time. Thursday Sept.16th. Strong head wind & ship rolling a good dea1. Great number of Cape pigeons Flying about they are very pretty birds with black & white striped wings & are very tame. We had lessons in the morning & sewing in the afternoon & cards at night. Friday Sept. 17th. Very fine weather today but a strong swell causing the ship to roll a little. We were abreast of the cape of Good Hope this morning but were too far off to see it. Saw a lot of Cape pigeons & two albatrosses. Had a music lesson at night. Had a game of hide & seek. Father Jeanie & Willie are now having a game of cards & Mother and I are sewing. Saturday Sept.18th. Fresh wind with heavy seas. Steamer rolling heavily & knocking us all about. Saw a sailing ship & a number of Albatross & Cape pigeons. No lessons today being Saturday we occupied our time by sewing, reading & games. Had our bath at night & after supper went to bed. Mother has just finished a leather key rack for Father. Sunday Sept.19th. Light wind but still very strong sea. Ship lurching heavily. During a heavy lurch Mother rolled on the deck & we all had a good laugh at her. Mother has not got her sea legs yet, but Jeanie can go about like an old sailor in the heaviest of weathers. We saw a lot of birds today. Had music at night & then to bed. Monday Sept.20th. During the night very heavy rain with heavy squalls no sleep for anybody. During the day the weather moderated & we got a fair wind & sailed along more comfortably. A great number of birds following the ship today amongst them being some very large albatross. We had lessons in the morning, sewing in the afternoon & cards at night & we all had a good night’s sleep. Tuesday Sept. 21st. Strong fair wind & heavy sea some of them being like mountains but the good ship Port Stephens glides over them 1ike a duck. It is too cold to get on deck today so we are amusing ourselves in the cabin with our lessons sewing and games. There are none of us sick even in the heaviest of weather & we can always eat our meals with a hearty appetite. We are now in the Southern Ocean & Father tells me this is what they call running the Easting down, that is we are running due East for Australia.Lots of birds still following the ship. Mother is learning me to do a sampler. Heavy shower of hailstones at night. Wednesday Sept.22nd. Moderate wind & showery weather very cold. Had to light the cabin fire. Too cold to get on deck so we did our sewing & lessons. Willie stayed away all amongst the sailors & had to do his lessons at night. Mother has a very bad headache. Had my music lesson & then went to bed. The fowls & sheep were all shifted under the bridge deck as they suffered from the cold. At night light fair wind & moderate sea. Thursday Sept.23rd. Moderate fair wind with overcast sky & showery much warmer weather. Friday Sept.24th. Fine morning but wet during the remainder of the day. Had a game of cards at night & then to bed. Saturday Sept.25th. Heavy gale of wind right astern with mountainous sea but considering the bad weather the ship is going along very dry. We are not able to get on deck much today. The birds still continue to fo1low the ship. Had a game of whist at night then our bath & off to bed. The ship did 250 miles today. Sunday Sept.26th. Moderate weather today but very cold. Ship steamed 240 miles today. We had hymns in the morning & night also Scripture lesson. Ducks & plum pudding for dinner. Monday Sept.27th. Fresh wind & squally with rain & rough sea. Ship steamed 250 miles this day. I got my hair caught in the log line & had to have a piece cut out before we could stop the log. Tuesday Sept.28th. Moderate wind & overcast steamed 235 miles today. A great number of albatross about today, but very few Cape pigeons. Mother is washing today & being bitterly cold we all stayed down below doing our lessons, sewing & playing games. Wednesday Sept.29th. Light wind & fine weather today. Mother is ironing & I am finishing my sampler. Father says he expects we will reach Port Pirie in about 14 days. Thursday Sept.30th. This day commences with dull rainy weather. At night it blew a gale with heavy sea & the ship rocked about very much. We did not get on deck at all today. We occupied our time by doing our lessons, sewing & games.Jeanie & Willie got dressed up as clowns at night & amused us very much. Friday Oct.1st. Light wind but nasty cross sea. Ship still tumbling about a good deal. We were on deck a little today. And at night played cards. Saturday Oct.2nd. Strong gale right astern with very heavy sea. Engines racing very much & shaking the ship terribly. We cannot get on deck today so we are amusing ourselves in the cabin. Willie & Jeanie went on deck & received a cold saltwater bath as the ship happened to ship a sea just when they got on deck which wet them to the skin & frightened them very much. At night we had our usual bath & went to bed. Sunday Oct.3rd. Strong wind & nasty sea with dull gloomy weather we remained below & read scripture lessons in the morning & had hymns & music at night. We are all longing to reach Australia now as it is getting rather monotonous seeing the same things every day. Monday Oct.4th. Strong fair wind & heavy sea with rain & overcast sky. The lamb was killed today. Lessons, sewing & cards at night. Tuesday Oct.5th. Fresh fair wind & showery with rather rough sea. We were on deck a good deal today the weather being much milder. We had lamb & green peas for dinner. Lessons in the morning sewing in the afternoon & whist at night and Mother & I gave Father a proper licking. We are now looking anxiously forward to seeing land once again as we have seen nothing since we passed Cape Verde. In a week more we should be at Port Pirie all going well. Good suppers of homemade bread just like Mother's & now I am off to bed. Wednesday Oct.6th. Fresh fair wind & high sea & showery. Weather too cold to get on deck. Willie got his hair cut. In the morning we did our lessons, in the afternoon we did some sewing, & at night we had a circus entertainment Willie & Jeanie being dressed up as clowns. Thursday Oct.7th Strong wind & heavy squalls with rain & high sea. Mother laid up with a very bad headache. We remained below all day & occupied our time with lessons, sewing & games. Friday Oct.8th. Light wind & fine weather. We were on deck most of the day as the steward was painting the cabin. Mother’s headache is better today. We had the swing quoits & other games. Saturday Oct.9th. Light fair wind & fine weather with smooth sea. We are now crossing the Great Australian Bight. We passed the barque Invercoe of Aberdeen at noon who wished to be reported. Being Saturday we have no lessons we are therefore enjoying ourselves with games & other things. Willie assisted in hoisting the flags to the barque. The weather is much milder & we can now do without a fire. Sunday Oct.10th. Light wind & overcast sky with smooth sea. We had scripture lesson & then we wrote our letters home. In the evening we had hymns. Monday Oct.11th. Calm all day sea like a bit of glass. Sky overcast & showery we have been busy all day cleaning the cabin ready for port. In the evening we had a game of whist & went to bed. Tuesday Oct.12th. Light head wind smooth sea & dull cloudy weather. We had our lessons in the morning & played about the remainder of the day. Everybody are busy getting the ship ready for port. Father says he expects to make the land tonight. Wednesday Oct.l3th. Fine weather with smooth sea. Saw land all day & anchored at night. Thursday Oct.14th. Arrived at P.Pirie this morning. Mother & I were standing in the poop in coming up the creek when the tug which was to have towed us up came astern & went bang into us which gave us such a fright as she nearly capsized & we had then to take another tug but got safe into berth at 10 am. There is a population of 5,000 people in P. Pirie. Friday Oct. 15th. Very dusty, windy & warm. We went to an entertainment at night which was very good indeed. Professor Hertz was very clever with the cards & amused us very much. We had the Dr & his wife on board this afternoon also Capt. Balchin of the S/S Port Elliot. Sunday Oct.17th. Being a lovely fine morning Mother, Willie, Jeanie, & myself went to the Congregational Church also in the evening, Mother & I went again to the same church. There are a good many churches here they are all very small buildings made of wood & corrugated iron. The singing was very good. Monday Oct.18th. Very fine weather but everything is in such a mess with coke dust. Mrs. Warren came down in the afternoon & invited us to go for a drive with her next day. Tuesday Oct.19th. Very windy & dusty had to stay down below nearly all day. We went for a drive in the afternoon with Mrs. Warren & her mother. At night we went to an entertainment, Hudson’s Surprise Party which was very amusing. Wednesday Oct.20th. Fine day. We went to Doctor Stewart’s in the afternoon & they took us for a drive which was very pleasant. Had a game of cards at night & then to bed. Thursday Oct.21st. Very fine day. We went on shore to visit a Lady but she was not in, so we took a walk round the suburbs. Port Pirie is very flat country & sandy. The principal work is the Broken Hill Co. factory where they extract gold silver lead zinc etc from the ore. Friday Oct.22nd. Windy & dusty remained on board all day. Had several Ladies on board visiting Mother. Capt. J. Redford of Blyth came on board to tea & spent the evening with us. Saturday Oct.23rd. A beautiful day. Went on shore in the afternoon did some shopping & came on board. Capt. Redford came on board in the evening. We had our bath & off to bed. Sunday Oct.24th. A most lovely day. Did not go to church as we had our letters. Willie went for a row with the officers to see a model yacht race. Went to church at night. Monday Oct.25th. A lovely day. Mother Jeanie & I went visiting Willie spending the day on board the reliance a four-masted sailing ship having made chums with the chief officer who made him a model of a yacht. Paper adverts appeared on front page on Tuesday Oct.26th. Another lovely day but exceedingly hot. Willie Jeanie & I was at a party this afternoon which we thoroughly enjoyed coming back ten o’clock Jean being the chief attraction. Commenced loading sulphide ore this morning. Wednesday Oct 27th. Very fine in the morning but a little dusty in the afternoon. Mr. Warren Took us & his family out a-picnicking he had his two carriages & drove us out to a small wood where the cloth was spread & a fire kindled. We then sat down & had a good meal. We had chicken ham & egg pie, salad claret & ices scones sponge cake bread & butter strawberries & cream, bananas, oranges, tomatoes & tea & returned in the evening quite dark after enjoying a most pleasant outing. Thursday Oct. 28th. We finished our loading this afternoon & are now all ready to sail for Sydney in the morning tide. We were through the Refinery today & saw the process of extracting the silver & other metals from the ore which was very interesting. We had the Post Master & his wife down in the evening to say goodbye the Post Master Mr. Watson comes from Newcastle on Tyne & very nice people they are. Friday Oct. 29th. We left Port Pirie this morning at 5 o'clock in the good ship Port Stephens for Sydney. We felt it very much cooler after getting to sea. We had fine weather Down the Spencer Gulf & entered the Investigator Strait at midnight Father being on deck the whole night. We felt the movement of the ship & went to bed early. SS Port Stephens 1894 Milburn Line 3554 tons, Hull 310,102853 105.2 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 345 ft., speed of 9 knots, specially designed for Australian coastal service. Saturday Oct. 30th. Fine weather but very heavy swell which caused the Stephens to roll about very much & we had great difficulty in keeping our legs. Still, we managed to get on deck & have a look at the South Australian coast which reminded us very much of the coast about Blyth with its sand hills. We retired early as the ship was tumbling about so much. Sunday Oct. 31st. Strong fair wind with heavy sea but the ship is going much steadier & steaming about 11 miles an hour. Father says we passed Portland at four o’clock this morning this being the place where the first settlers landed in Australia a monument being erected there in memory of their landing. Had hymns at night & then to bed. Saw a lot of porpoises. Monday Nov. 1st. Showery but able to get on deck between showers. Port Stephens doing splendid work today she did 257 miles. We passed several steamers. Tuesday Nov. 2nd. Arrived at Sydney at 8 p.m. We saw Sydney at night with its beautiful lights & ferries running to & fro. Captain Sutherland our harbour pilot met us at the heads & took charge from Father & moored us in Neutral Bay. We came along the New South Wales coast very close in & saw some wonderful caves the scenery was very nice. After an exciting day we went to bed at 9 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 3rd. Went on shore. Met Mrs. Sutherland & drove through the principal streets & out into the suburbs which was very fine indeed. Stayed all night at Mrs. Sutherlands where we had a most hearty reception. Thursday Nov. 4th. A lovely day. Mother & Mrs. Sutherland did some shopping. We children went to see the Gardens where we had lunch & spent a pleasant day. Friday Nov. 5th. Had a good look at the shops. Some of them are very fine buildings & very large.In the afternoon a gentleman lent us his steam launch when Father & Capt. Sutherland took us all round the harbour which is the finest in the world. Landed us on Clark Island where we walked round & gathered most beautiful flowers. Again on board of the launch we went to Mossmans Bay which is very fine. Landed six in the evening & all partook of a good dinner on board of Port Stephens. Saturday 6th. Left Sydney 9.30 for Newcastle where we passed some beautiful scenery we crossed the Hawkesbury river which is a most beautiful piece of scenery. Maggie met us & they were all so pleased to see us. Sunday 7th. Went out to Durramatta & spent the day with Capt. Bird. The country there is beautiful. The oranges & lemons growing all around. He has a horse & trap cow pig & poultry. We got plenty of good milk to drink. Monday 8th. A very warm day. We all went to do some shopping & had a grand ride on the bus out into the suburbs. Had lunch in town met Mrs. Brown at the station & joined Port Stephens. Sailed 6 p.m for Geelong Mrs Brown going the trip with us. All the Sutherland family came down to see us off. Tuesday Nov. 9th. Very fine weather today. Mrs. Brown not very well. Passed Green Cape at 6 p.m. At night we all got dressed up & had a very jolly time. Wednesday Nov. 10th. Had fine weather all day but at night it blew very hard the wind being very hot. We passed Wilson’s Promontory at 4 p.m a very high piece of land. We passed that close you could have thrown a biscuit on shore; we also saw a most wonderful cave. In the evening we had games & music. Thursday 11th. At 2/50 a.m. we took the pilot on board at Port Phillip Head it is blowing a perfect gale of wind at the time. 8 a.m. arrived at Geelong pier. We went on shore in the morning to the Botanical Gardens & remained all day, the Gardens were delightful, but the mosquitoes were very troublesome. At night we had a walk through the town & on our return to the ship had some music & off to bed as Father was very tired having been up nearly all the way from Sydney. Friday Nov. 12th. Raining heavily all the morning but a little finer in the afternoon. Went to do some shopping in the afternoon got our teas on shore & came back at 6 p.m. & then went for a walk with Father. Saw a large funnel there being over 60 carriages. Saturday Nov. 13th. Fine weather today. Went out for a walk in the afternoon. Agent & wife came down in the afternoon. Geelong is a very pretty place. Today is Father & Mothers anniversary of their wedding day being 18 years married. Sunday Nov. 14th. Very fine weather. Went to church in the morning & to a children’s anniversary in the afternoon. There were hundreds of visitors looking over the ship we could not get one place to ourselves the Steward collected 18/- among the visitors for the Aged Seamen’s Home in London. Monday 15th. Most beautiful day. Mother & I visited the Agent & his wife such a beautiful house & grounds & most lovely flowers. Same day we went to see some very fine ferneries & came back to the ship laden with most lovely flowers. Tuesday Nov. 16th. Another hot day. We all went on shore when we met an old gentleman who came from Jesmond & who had been out here for 43 years. He took us for a drive to see a large wool factory & again in the afternoon his daughter brought the carriage to the ship to take us for another drive. We went & had tea with him at his house they all came to see us off. Anchored off Williamstown at night. Wednesday Nov. 17th. Raining in the morning but finer in the afternoon. Went up the River to Melbourne at early morning. We went on shore to have a look at the city. Melbourne is a very beautiful city with a number of splendid buildings & shops. Thursday Nov. 18th. Showery all day took the trem out to the Zoological Gardens which is very extensive with a fine collection of beasts & birds did some shopping & came on board. Friday Nov. 19th. A lovely day. We took tram to south beach passing on our way the government house, a large grammar school & many other places of interest. Came on Board to tea when Mrs. Redford came & had tea with us. After we had a most dreadful storm it was quite a sight to see. Had a little music & then Father saw Mrs. Redford off in a cab. Saturday Nov. 20th. Fine day. Mrs. Brown left us today to go by steamer to Sydney. We left Melbourne at 4 p.m. for Portland. Sunday Nov. 21st. Strong head wind with heavy sea. Mother & I were both sick. Arrived at Portland tonight. We are anchored in the bay. Monday Nov. 22nd. Very squally. Father & Willie went on shore. Willie caught two large fish. Father took Mother & we children on shore in the afternoon to spend the afternoon with the Agents wife where we spent a delightful afternoon their house & grounds are most beautiful with a splendid tennis court. Came on board laden with most lovely flowers & strawberries & sailed 6 p.m for Adelaide. Tuesday Nov. 23rd. Strong wind on the side & heavy sea ship rolling a good deal. Saw a lot of Albatross & other birds. Saw Cape Willoughby Lt. House at 8 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 24th. Arrived at Port Adelaide at 5 a.m. Mother Jeanie Willie & I went up to the City in the afternoon where we first went to a circus & then to the Botanical Gardens which were very good indeed we then went & had some tea & then we got the train & came down to the ship tired out. Thursday Nov. 25th. Very hot weather. We went to the city this morning went to have alook at the shops & then we went to the Zoological Gardens which people say are the first in the world we then went to the Museum where there is a fine collection of stuffed birds beasts & precious stones & other things we then went back to the ship. Friday Nov. 26th. Very windy & rainy. We left Adelaide for home this morning at 8 o’clock the ship being full of wool. At night it was stormy, so we went to bed early. Saturday Nov.27th. Moderate wind with strong sea ship rolling a good deal. Mother very poorly & remained in bed all day. We had several games & saw a number of very large Albatross. At night we had our bath & then to bed. Sunday Nov. 26th. A very fine day. We passed a steamer at 5 o’clock. We were on deck nearly all day. Had music at night & then off to bed. Monday Nov.29th. Strong head wind with heavy sea. Had our lessons again. Tuesday Nov. 30th. Strong wind with big seas had our lessons in the morning & played about until bedtime. Wednesday Dec.1st. Very windy. We passed Albany at 4 o’clock this morning & Cape Leeuwin at 10/30 p.m. this being the last Australian land we will see this voyage & all going well the only land we will see until we reach the Gulf of Aden. We had cards at night & off to bed as the ship was rolling about a good deal. Thursday Dec. 2nd. Fine weather & fair wind. We are now ploughing our way across the Indian Ocean towards home. Had some games at night & then to bed. Friday Dec. 3rd. Light fair wind & fine weather. Had our lessons in the morning sewing in the afternoon & cards at night & then to bed. Saturday Dec.4th. Moderate wind on the side weather very hot. Had a game of cards then our bath & then to bed. Sunday Dec. 5th. Moderate fair wind. Had our scripture lesson in the morning, reading in the afternoon & music at night & then to bed. Monday Dec. 6th. Light fair wind & overcast weather getting warm. Lessons in the morning sewing & reading in the afternoon quoits & cards in the evening. A large number of flying fish were caught on the deck during the night of which the firemen made their breakfast. Tuesday Dec. 7th. Moderate fair wind & cloudy with following sea. Had our lessons as usual in the morning & reading & games during the remainder of the day. No birds to be seen now but a number of flying fish were caught after dark. We are now north of the sun. Wednesday Dec. 8th. Fresh wind & showery with strong sea. Nothing of any consequence transpired today. We passed our time in the usual way, lessons reading etc. Thursday Dec. 9th. Moderate fair wind & sea with fine weather but rather hot. We had flying fish for breakfast. We spent the day as usual had a game of whist at night & then to bed. Friday Dec. 1Oth. Fair winds with heavy showers all day we kept a lot of rainwater with which we all had a bath. It is very hot indeed. We have 9 sheep, 7 were killed on the passage, 3 geese 1 turkey which we are fattening up for Xmas 14 ducks & 8 fowls & we delight in gathering the eggs. Saturday Dec. 11th. Slight showers & very warm, sewing & reading & then a game of cards our bath & then to bed. Sunday Dec. 12th. Scripture lessons in the morning which were frightfully hot. Nearly all the crew sleeping on deck at night & we could not get a cool spot & the water is quite hot what we have to drink. Monday Dec. 13th. Another very hot day. Mother was washing today. The Steward was painting Fathers room. Tuesday 14th Dec. Light head wind & hot weather unable to sleep at night for the heat. Finished painting Fathers room & bathroom. Wednesday Dec.l5th. Fresh head wind & lumpy sea with heavy showers of rain. Father & Mother very busy getting their room put in order again. Weather not quite so hot today, slept better. A lovely dove flew on board today. Thursday Dec.l6th. Strong head wind & sea & heavy rain, ship pitching. Father very poorly. Mother ironing. A very peculiar fish was found on the deck this morning called a squid. Friday Dec. 17th. Fresh head wind & sea but beautiful clear weather. The ship has had a very strong current against her for three days which has stopped us a good deal. Mother has a very bad foot & walks with difficulty. We have passed the time away as usual with games etc. Saturday Dec. l8th. Moderate wind & fine weather. Saw a number of flying fish & some large birds. Today being Saturday we were free from lessons. Had games during the day a bath at night & then to bed. Sunday Dec. 19th. Light wind & very hot weather. Had Scripture lesson in the morning & reading during the rest of the day. Monday Dec. 20th. Moderate wind with heavy showers of rain. Had to stay below most of the day. Passed a steamer at night bound the opposite way. Tuesday Dec. 2lst. Moderate wind & fine weather. Lessons in the morning sewing in the afternoon & reading & games at night. Mother washed today. Wednesday Dec. 22nd. A very hot day. We have all been busy today painting & cleaning our room out Willie & Jeanie being in their hobby with bare feet scrubbing the furniture on deck. Fresh wind & cloudy. Thursday Dec. 23rd. Moderate wind & fine weather. Finished cleaning our room & got back into it today. Friday Dec.24th. 3a.m. passed Cape Guardefui & entered the Gulf of Aden. Light wind & very Hot weather. Saw several porpoises & birds today. Saturday Dec.25th. Christmas day. Had roast goose plum pudding & mince pies for dinner. Passed Aden at 8p.m. Willie & Jean got dressed up as Indians at night & amused every one, we had snapdragon & other games & spent a very pleasant Xmas day. Sunday Dec.26th. Arrived at Perim at 7/30a.m. coaled & left again at 1O/30a.m. Perim is a very barren island in the Red Sea & used simply as a coaling station, the inhabitants being all Arabs & a very funny lot they are most of them having red hair. Passed Mocha at 3p.m. a Mohammedan town principally noted for its coffee. Passed Abuail islands at 9p.m. Monday Dec.27th. Light fair wind &. fine weather. Passed Jebel Tiera a volcanic island at 9a.m. We also passed during the morning two mail boats one from Australia & the other bound to Australia. Mother washing today. Tuesday Dec.28th. Strong head wind & sea. Passed several steamers. Saw a large number of porpoises. Mother ironing today. Father made a coach for Jeanie. Played cards at night. Wednesday Dec.29th. Strong head wind & sea ship pitching heavily. We passed a number of steamers during the day. Weather is now getting much cooler. Thursday Dec.30th. Moderate wind & fine weather. Passed a large troop ship at night beautifully lighted up with the electric light. We also passed the Daedulus light house at 9.21p.m. it being on a small reef in the Red Sea. Friday Dec. 31st. In the morning strong head wind & sea in the evening moderate wind. At noon passed the Brothers Islands. At 10p.m. passed Shadwan island at the entrance of the Gulf of Suez. Saturday Jan. 1st.1893. Moderate wind & fine weather. At breakfast time we saw Mount Sinai which is mentioned in the Bible. We anchored at Suez at 5.45p.m took the Electric light on board & pilot & entered the Suez Canal at 9.15p.m. along with the Mail boat & several other steamers as it was late we could not see much of the Canal. Tonight, we were in trouble by hearing of the death of our Grandfather. Sunday Jan. 2nd. We were up early & had a look at the Canal there is not much to see but sand. Some of the stations had nice gardens. We saw several camels, most of the Canal officials live in house boats moored to the side of the Canal. We arrived at Port Said at noon & after our dinners Father took us on shore & we had a drive round the town but we are not in love with it as it is a dirty place & the people are made up of all nationalities. We left Port Said for home at 6p.m. after taking in 550 tons of coal. We saw a large troop ship at Port Said full of soldiers from home bound for India. Monday Jan.3rd. Light wind & fine weather. We are now in the Mediterranean & the weather is very much colder. Tuesday Jan.4th. Moderate head wind & showery. Mother has a very bad headache. We passed the time by sewing, reading etc. Wednesday Jan.5th. Fresh head wind & sea ship pitching a good deal. Passed the day reading etc. Thursday Jan.6th. Light wind & fine weather. Passed two steamers today. As it was delightfully fine we spent nearly all the day on deck. Father says he expects to see Malta tomorrow morning. Friday Jan.7th. Very light head wind, sea as smooth as glass. Passed Malta harbour at about 7.30a.m. Saw a sailing ship & several steamer. Passed Pantalleria island at 10.23p.m. Saturday Jan.8th. Moderate wind & cloudy. Passed the Dog rocks at 1.20a.m. one of the rocks standing perpendicular 250 feet high & looked just like a large ship under sail, this is on the coast of Tunis. We passed a number of steamers today two of which were in Australia with us. Sunday Jan.9th. Light wind & fine weather. We passed Cape Bengut at 9p.m. The weather has been beautiful & warm today. Had Scripture lesson. Monday Jan.10th. We passed Algiers a French coaling station at 2a.m. Had light wind & fine weather during the day but at night it came away to blow strong but as it was a fair wind, we did not mind it much. Tuesday Jan.11th. Very strong fair wind with heavy sea. The steamers passing going the other way are having a hard time of it & taking the seas right over them. We passed Cape De Gata on the Spanish coast at 6.30a.m. We will pass Gibraltar about midnight & we are sorry we will not have the opportunity of seeing it. We passed Gibraltar at 11.30p.m. & met a very great number of steamers in the Straits. Wednesday Jan.12th. Passed Cape Trafalgar at 4a.m. Fresh beam wind. Passed a perfect lane of steamers, they kept coming all day long. We passed Cape St. Vincent at 10.30p.m. & met with a head sea which caused the ship to pitch a little. Thursday Jan. l3th. We passed Lisbon at 11a.m. We have had a beautiful day. Passed the Berlings at 4p.m. Mother has been packing our clothes today as our voyage is drawing to a close. Friday Jan. 14th. Light variable winds & fine clear weather. Passed Cape Finisterre at 4.35p.m. also Cape Villano at 6.34p.m. Saturday Jan. 15th. Fresh wind & cloudy weather with head sea. Sunday Jan.16th. Light wing & hazy overcast. Passed Ushant at 2p.m. Monday Jan 17th. Light wind & hazy. Passed St. Catherine’s point at 12.30p.m. being a little hazy we could not see much of it. Took the pilot on board at Dungeness passed Dover very foggy. Tuesday Jan.18th. Arrived at Gravesend at 3/30p.m.& made fast to the buoys. Father went on shore to telephone to the office. At 6p.m. Father brought the Pilot off. We unmoored & proceeded up the River & arrived off London Dock entrance at 8p.m. Got into Dock & moored at 10p.m. So ended our voyage to Australia & back, which has been a very pleasant trip. We have steamed all together about 27,000 miles including the coasting in Australia. After discharging the London Cargo, the good ship Port Stephens goes on to Dunkirk & Antwerp with the balance of her cargo. We have bet the Port Elliot home which left Australia a week before us. Wednesday 19th.Jan. Father has arranged for us to go home tomorrow. We have been to Stratford today doing some shopping & we are now all ready for our beds. Note. We passed outwards through the North Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean & the Southern Ocean & on to the Pacific. Homewards we started from the Pacific, crossed the Indian Ocean up the Gulf of Aden & Red Sea, Gulf of Suez, Mediterranean, crossed the Bay of Biscay & up the English Channel & Thames & so finished our voyage. 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  • Blog 190 - Gertrude Littlejohn's account of Army family life in India 1925 to 1930, Retrospective

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, December 3rd, 2022, 17.04 PM A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog Genealogy Info No 4, 1925 to 1930 INTRODUCTION This is a very retrospective blog, during the winter months of November and December 2022 I decided to translate most of the handwritten diaries we hold in our Family Tree data to supplement our Genealogy info featured here under the Family tab, good website design, backing up audiobooks, videos and slideshow with text. Enjoy! MENU Diary Audiobook of Indian times Audiobook, Gertie's full diary Video with audiobook overlay showing relevant and irrelevant images of life in the Army and India created via Clipchamp by KeefH Web Designs Trailer DIARY Introduction, real accounts of life in India in a posted British Army family 1925 to 1930 captured by KeefH Web Designs from a diary all handwritten by Annie’s Aunt Gertrude, just invaluable records, captured and turned into an audiobook by KeefH Web Designs in 2022 for prosperity, it would be awful to lose this history. An earlier audio book version of her full diary had been made in 2011 but the quality of text to speech voices has improved dramatically since then, hence the recreation, just so much clearer and less computerised speech on the spoken word. A full updated audiobook of her diary is also now available but it is over 9 and a half hours long, so probably not to be listened to in one go. ARRIVING IN INDIA 1925-1926, Birkenhead to Bombay We set of in March 1925. At that time, I was nine. Ralph was five. Bob was 2½, and Jean seven months. The land was covered in deep snow on the morning we left. All the neighbour's turned out to wish us well. We were all very happy. We sailed from Birkenhead on the "City of Lahore." It was a small ship with only 1st. and 2nd passenger accommodation. Officers and their wives and families travelled 1st. class and 2nd class was for Warrant Officers, wives and families. We had a small, four berthed cabin, so there was very little room and we had to get dressed and undressed one at a time. Meals were taken all together except that the children had high tea while the adults took dinner at night. I was left in charge while mother and father had their evening meal. One evening I was in great difficulties trying to change the baby's nappy when a black steward, a Goanese, looked in. He took the baby from me deftly dealt with her and restored order, and after that he always came to see if we were all right. The white stewardess’s did nothing for us. They only attended to those who had tipped them at the beginning of the voyage. Mother and father had thought that tips were given at the end. A stewardess was supposed to bring mother a glass of milk every night because she was feeding the baby, but it only arrived twice. Mother was constantly anxious in case the baby should suffer, but by drinking father’s coffee at dinner and being supplied with lemonade from the bar she got by. The stewards who cleaned the cabins were black-skinned, mostly Goanese, and they were very pleasant. The dining-room stewards were olive skinned and extremely handsome and smart, Portuguese from Goa. Every morning the baby's cot was lashed to the railings on deck. The lascars who swabbed the deck used to take a great interest in the baby and talked to her and she seemed to like their dark faces and did not mind their moving her to another· part of the deck so that they could do their scrubbing. I was always left in charge of the baby in the early morning like Miriam watching over Baby Moses. The lascar boson used to talk to me pleasantly. I liked and trusted them all. For the first few days it was very cold and we had to be well wrapped up when we were on deck. Beef tea was brought round for our mid-morning drink and it seemed very good. It was rough in the Bay of Biscay and most people were seasick but none of our family were ill. To my great disappointment we passed Gibraltar and Malta in the night and so there was nothing to be seen for several days but the sea. Deck games were started and I learned to play quoits, a big canvas swimming pool was erected and filled with sea water; there were concerts and competitions of all sorts and a fancy dress party for the children. The usual pattern for the day was to take up our positions on deck with the deckchairs which we had brought from home, keeping the same position throughout the voyage. It was a lazy life. People walked round and round the decks for exercise. One day we lost Ralph. We searched everywhere for him and were beginning to get desperate when a beaming stoker led him up from the engine room. "I wanted to see how the ship works,” said Ralph. Every evening we used to watch passengers dancing on the 1st. class deck. I loved watching the ladies’ beautiful evening dresses. This was a new end very luxurious world for me. I had never seen people dressed like that before. Mother was not so keen on 1st. class passengers because the laundry room was always full of nannies washing and ironing their mistresses’ finery when she needed to wash the baby's clothes. Officers could have a free passage for their nannies and many of the young women were not children's nurses at all. They were often friends of their so-called employers having a free trip to India where there was a very good chance of finding husbands. Marriageable girls were scarce in India. At Port Said little boats came alongside and the bumboat men tried to sell their wares to the passengers. And boys dived for pennies thrown from the ship. We went ashore. I was entranced with my first sight of "the mysterious East" but the rest of the family were not at all impressed. Mother thought it was very hot and dirty and was troubled by the crowds of beggar ch1ldren who kept following us begging for alms. Wh1le we were having cold dr1nks at an outside cafe a guli-guli man came along and did his conjuring tricks w1th chicks and cups. The main point of our expedition ashore was to buy topees. In those days it was thought that anyone who went out 1n the tropical sun bareheaded was certain to die of sunstroke. We did not l1ke wearing the heavy topees because they made us very hot. For five years it was one of mother’s many worries to ensure that the family went out suitably hatted. In India there were better topees for children, lighter in weight, shaped like hats and covered in patterned cotton. Mother always had a sunshade and refused to wear a topee. I think that she was very sensible. When we were going through the Suez Canal, I never tired of watching the Arabs with their camels along the banks. They seemed so near and sometimes they waved and called to us. The canal was to narrow for ships to pass unless one of them was right into the shore. It was exciting seeing a ship going back to England when we were manoeuvring to pass. It was very hot in the Red Sea. We saw sharks and flying fish and one day a shoal of dolphins came alongside and followed the ship for some time, enjoying the food that was thrown out to them. Aden was just as I had expected, a hot, barren rock. The ship coaled there. Three weeks after leaving Birkenhead we landed in Bombay. From the ship Bombay looked very grand with its large, white buildings. Bombay to Lahore But when we got ashore, we felt overwhelmed with crowds of people, noise, smells, and the tremendous heat. We went straight to the railway station, how we got there I do not remember and father left us in the ladies' waiting room while he went off to find out where we were to go. He had not been given his posting before we left England. The woman in charge" of the waiting room was a Eurasian. Her three daughters came in end I thought they were the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. After what seemed to us a long time father came back with a car to take us to a transit hostel for service families. There we were given a meal, had a wash, got cooled off and waited until it was time to go for our train to Lahore. I always had my atlas with me so I was able to find out where Lahore was. It had been suggested that we went to a transit camp at Deolali, a British Army transit camp in Maharashtra, India and then decided that we should go straight to Lahore. Later we discovered that we had had a very lucky escape as there had been an outbreak of cholera at Deolali and several people had died. At any time it was notoriously hot and unhealthy. Father had to bribe a railway official to get a compartment to ourselves. The porters who carried the luggage asked for a great many rupees and father meekly paid up. He never learned how to "beat them down" even when he suspected he was being cheated. It was against his principles. Meals on the train had to be ordered in advance and for five people for three days the cost was exorbitant. But nothing could be done. After that we all took our own food on journeys and a primus stove so that we could have tea end plenty of boiled water to drink. But at this stage we were novices with much to learn. The compartment was much bigger than we had expected. There were four long settee which served also as beds and two bunks which let down for the night. Adjoining the compartment was the self contained toilet compartment. There was no corridor. Our meals therefore would be brought to us at stops and the dishes collected at the next station. By this time it was getting dark so we all got ready for bed. I had one of the top bunks. It had a little window so I could look out at all the strange sights outside. To our surprise an Indian gentleman got in just as the train was due to go. He said not a word but made up his bed, put on pyjamas and went to bed. When we woke in the morning he had gone. Nobody had seen him get out a1though I thought I had been awake all night. The train seemed to have frequent stops. Every station was crowded with Indians. They settled to be camping out there. Some slept on the platform, others sat round their fires, cooking and eating their food. The noise and smells were very strange to me. I wondered whether all these peop1e lived permanently in the railway stations. But as soon as the rain started to steam out hordes of them leaped at the handles of the doors and hung on and some climbed on the roof, careless of their lives. Presumably they were having e free ride. There were 1st, 2nd and 3rd class carriages. Father's free warrant was always for 2nd class. There was no racial discrimination in travel by rail. Rich Indians travelled 1st. class but most Indians endured the rigours of the 3rd. class. Here compartments had only narrow wooden seats and the passengers were tightly crowded together. It must have been terrible for them in the heat on long journeys. Our expensive meals were far from satisfactory but we were not at all hungry. But we could not get enough to drink and were extremely thirsty. Father asked the refreshment car for more tea or soft drinks or boiled water. This was refused because it had not been ordered ahead. Even palm-greasing brought no results. Obviously we could not drink the water supplied for washing. There were taps on every station platform and Indians drinking from them. Mother wanted to get out for water but father said it would be full of typhoid and cholera germs and we must never drink unboiled water. She was also tempted to buy tea from the char wallahs on the platform but again father stopped her. Mother was feeding the baby, who was becoming very listless through lack of fluid. We did not understand at the time but, much later, mother said that she had thought that the baby would die on the journey. However the baby soon recovered after we had left the train, and all was well. There were fruit vendors at every station and it was decided that we would risk eating fruit. The oranges were loose-skinned, rather like large tangerines but less juicy and tasty. There were three kinds of bananas, little yellow ones, large greenish ones and red skinned. The two latter were rather tasteless. Then there were sweet lychee with their husky skins, cape gooseberries and, best of all juicy mangoes. There is no neat way of eating a mango. One must have a wash afterwards. I used to clean the stones and brush the hairs so that they looked like little furry animals. The journey to Lahore took three days and nights. It was a long time for children to be cooppd up and Ralph and Bob needed a lot of entertaining. I think I was the only one really to enjoy it. There was a great deal to see. When we were going through the Thar Desert and I tired of looking at nothing but sand I had books to read. The Punjab was much more densely populated and interesting. At last we reached Lahore. We travelled from the station to the Cantonment in tongae which were two-wheeled horse-drawn carriages with seats back to back. Father found out where we were to live and we went on to our bungalow. It was at one end of a block of army quarters. There were four enormous rooms, a smaller one, a big veranda and a bathroom. The bathroom contained a wash-stand, a wooden commode and a zinc bath standing in an area with a little brick wall round it and had a hole in the wall, an essential part of the plumbing. The bath was emptied by tipping it up so that the water ran through the hole into an open drain outside. We learned later to put a brick over the hole because several times we found a snake in the bathroom which had crawled through the hole. Father killed them with a stick. There was no water supply, halfway along the block of houses there was an outside tap and the water had to be carried from there. Water for baths was heated in kerosene tins in the cookhouse about a hundred yards away and carried to the bathroom by a sweeper, an untouchable. He also emptied the commode and swept the bungalow floor carrying bath water twice a day for six people was a tremendous job in itself. I think his few rupees pay was well earned. Sweepers never spoke to us and always kept their eyes down. Probably they know no English except the call of "Sweeper” so we could not communicate with them. I used to feel very sorry for them. The only modern convenience was electricity. There were big electric fans in every room. This was standard equipment in all army quarters on the plains so we never had to employ a punkah wallah. The army supplied the basic furniture, beds, tables and chairs. Soon after we arrived, a furniture wallah came to ask what furniture we wanted to hire. It was the usual practice to hire furniture by the month. So we had wardrobes, cal1ed almirahs, chests of drawers, a desk, bookshelves, small tables and basketwork armchairs all delivered that day. The chairs were designed for army living, with footrests and broad arms to hold a sahib’s chhota peg or burra peg.(2011: from british empire: chhota or chota means miniature jug for holding small alcoholic drink, i.e single scotch & soda or burra peg means double-whiskey) A man came to see if we wanted straw matting for the stone floors. He cleverly carpeted the whole bungalow, wall-to-wall, weaving the matting to fit. It looked very good and was clean and springy. It was only meant to last for a few months and was inexpensive. Each time we moved house we had new matting. We also bought dhurris, cotton carpets, and numnahs, felt rugs embroidered in bright colours. The beds had frames for mosquito nets. The nets were essential but we did not like them because they seemed to make us hotter. When we went to bed mother put down the nets and tucked them in, first making sure that there were no mosquitoes inside. During the night she always did a tour of all the beds, listening for a buzz. If there was, there had to be a thorough search until the intruder was caught and killed. On the way to the bungalow we had discovered a marvellous shop in the cantonment, owned by a Parsee family called Jamset Jee. It was as good a grocer’s shop as any in England. They also sold hardware. Adjoining the shop was a little bazaar, extremely clean because the stalls were let by the Jamset Jees, where one could, buy meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables. So we bought plenty of food, some china and cutlery and a primus stove and had an enjoyable meal in our big empty bungalow. Later on mother and father became very friendly with the Jamset Jee brothers and went to a wedding reception in their garden. Mother enjoyed it tremendously. We were told in detail of the luxurious food, Indian and English, which was offered and the elegance of its presentation. She was charmed with the good manners of the Indian guests. Long afterwards she used to repeat part of the first sermon she had heard in India. The minister had said that British army families should not judge India by camp followers. They were not likely to know Indians who were uncorrupted. They were certainly not likely to understand Indian culture. Mother always said that this was true. She regretted that there was never again an encounter such as that with the Jamset Jees. Our big oak boxes arrived some days later. When they were unpacked it was discovered that the contents of one had been stolen and it was packed with the bulky red petticoats of an Indian mill woman. Almost all of mother’s linen had gone. The box had been full of crocheted and embroidered tablecloths, sheets, pillowcases and towels, work which had taken her more than ten happy years to create. Her lovely wedding presents from her relations and lifelong friends in Blyth had also gone. Mother wept. The day after we arrived we had a cook, or khansama, a bearer, an ayah, a sweeper and a dog. Nanak, an engaging young man with a cheerful grin, turned up first and assured us that he was the best cook in Lahore and had chits to prove it. Most of his testimonials were obvious forgeries. It was common practice to pay babus in the bazaar to write them. We discovered later that Nanak had only worked, as a bobajee for privates’ families before coming to us. However, we had to have a cook. It was physically impossible for a memsahib to do her own cooking in the cookhouse for this was one of a row of cookhouses some distance from the house where Indian men servants worked over open fires, stirring their dokshis and gossiping together. Nanak would do for a while. But as time passed he was still with us. Nanak was engaged at 25 rupees a month and food.(2011: 1 rupee = 1s 4d in 1925 which is £1 13s 3d and at todays rate is £50 for a months pay) He said we must have a bearer, an ayah and a sweeper and could supply them. He went away and came back with all three. The bearer was a tall, thin, young man. His only dut1es seemed to be to wait on us at table and do a little light dusting. He thought he was going to be a gentleman's valet but father would have none of this. So when we moved up to the hills his services were dispensed with. The ayah turned out to be Nanak's aunt. She was a large fat woman who could speak no English. It soon became evident that she had never been an ayah before and knew nothing about babies, English or otherwise. Mother continued to look after the baby and the ayah's only contribution was to watch over her tenderly. So she was soon given her notice. Another ayah was engaged. This one was more efficient, but she nursed the baby constantly and never let her move about. Mother was afraid that the baby would never learn to crawl or walk. Somebody told her tales of ayahs drugging babies to keep them still and quiet, and so after a time this ayah too was dismissed, and thereafter mother looked after the children by herself. Nanak was a terrible cook. He produced his masterpieces with triumph and never knew that they were often thrown out to the kite hawks. Every day he made a cake for afternoon tea and came dashing across from the cookhouse with it steaming hot from the oven. Birthday cakes were his Speciality. These were entirely his own idea. Whenever there was a birthday in the family he would make a cake iced in brilliant red, green, blue and yellow, the bigger and brighter the better. It was horribly sickly, but a kind thought. For my birthday I was given a little gramophone. Nanak proudly presented me with some second hand records he had bought in the bazaar. The favourites were "Light Cavalry", "In a Monastery Garden" and "The Laughing policeman". They were played over and over again and nobody tired of turning the handle. In those days there were no were no record players or television or radio. We entertained ourselves and were never bored. Mother did not dare venture into the cookhouse for some time and when she did pluck up courage to do an inspection she was horrified at the lack of hygiene. So Nanak was given lessons on keeping the cookhouse clean scouring the dekahis (cooking pans) and washing the towels regularly. Sometime later we had a Valor stove sent out from England. It could be kept in the bungalow for mother to do some of the cooking and she gave lessons to the cook. We all thought that everything she made was superb. The cooks had to go every morning to collect the army rations which were bread, meat, vegetables and other basic foods. Every evening before the cook went home he came to say "Take account, memsahib." Then all his expenditure for the day was added up and more money given him for the next day’s purchases together with the orders for the meals. We used to have a cooked meal at midday and again in the evening because meat was much cheaper than in England, only a few annas(pennies) a pound. Apart from that, our food was as nearly as possible what we would have eaten in England, except for more curries and fewer salads. New dishes were stuffed “brinjals” (aubergines) and "humph" which was a cow's hump. It was good, solid, salted beef which we enjoyed very much. When buying a leg of lamb we always chose one with its foot left on because goat was often passed off as lamb or mutton. After the cook had gone and the children had been put to bed mother and father made tea with the Primus and had tea and biscuits on the verandah in the dark. It was cooler by then. After a while I was promoted to stay up for tea with them. It was a great honour! All drinking water had to be boiled ad cooled in a chatti, an earthenware pitcher standing in another pot of cold water. There were no refrigerators then. Butter and milk were similarly kept cool. The butter and milk were similarly kept cool. The butter and milk were bought twice a day from the government dairy and bread was obtained from the government bakery. Our dog Nutty had joined us on our first day in Lahore. He was given to father by a soldier who was going back to England. It was a common practice for soldiers to keep dogs as pets and guard dogs. They were allowed to sleep in the barrack rooms and food was no problem as they could be fed on beef. Nutty was a mongrel, but he was a beautiful dog, much bigger than a retriever, with a smooth, silky, nut-brown coat. He had a furrowed forehead, and so we thought there must be some bloodhound in his ancestry. The first night he was kept tied up on the veranda because he howled mournfully and incessantly, in the morning he was gone leaving a broken rope behind. A little later his previous owner bought him back, and this time Nutty agreed to stay. He gradually settled down and became as fond of us as we were of him. His favourite trick was to pull the ribbons off my plaits and run off with them, with me in hot pursuit. He chose to sleep in my bedroom. One night I was awakened by Nutty’s growling. H1s teeth were bared and the hair on the back of his neck was standing on end. This was a very different beast from the normally gentle Nutty. Then I saw a stick poking through the latch of the door, trying to lift the heavy bar which was the only means of fastening the door. I shouted for father and he ran out at once, but could see nothing. The loose waliahs(2011 wallah) (burglars) had probably reached the cover of nearby trees. These great times were full of wild life. There were tree rats, like squirrels, brilliant parakeets, minah birds, cross end kite hawks. Kite hawks swooped down on any food they could see. Cooks used to run across with the food to avoid them and the children never ate outside for fear of attack. Bob’s hand was badly gashed one day while he was holding some fruit. At night we used to hear the jackals howling, a most eerie sound. They came close in to raid the dustbins. We seldom saw them in the daytime. Animals were no trouble to us but insects certainly were.The bungalow had no ceiling and enormous spiders used to drop down on us. As far as I know, they were harmless but they were most unpleasant. Scorpions had to be given a very wide birth. One day the cook came running to mother with a scorpion hanging on to his hand. He had been wiping the cookhouse table and had not seen the scorpion until it was too late. Mother took him by the arm and rushed him to the hospital at top speed and he was dealt with immediately. He might have died if he had not had medical attention at once. There were black ants, white ants, beetles, flies, mosquitoes and other pests which had to be kept in subjection with insect sprays. When the locusts came it was an incredible sight. The sky suddenly turned black with swarms of them. Then they landed and in a few minutes there was not a trace of vegetation left, not a blade of grass. The attack was over and the ground was covered with dead locusts. After the scorpion episode Nanak brought his wife and two little boys to see us. His wife was a pretty young girl who shyly hung her head and the children were plump and jolly. Poor, incompetent Nanek was very fond of all of us. Especially Bob. "Bobbie is a teak chotah waliah”,(2011 chota wallah, another spelling, is a “little guy") he would say, carrying him about on his shoulder. The children in the family returned his affection. All the Indian servants that we had were affectionate to chl1dren. I think it must be an Indian characteristic. It was marvellous for the children but for parents there could be emotional blackmail if they were soft hearted, as ours were, and incompetent servants quickly became unsackable. Another form of blackmail was that Nanak said that he was a Christian and that Christians were persecuted in the bazaar. We felt sorry for him at first but we later gathered that he had no religion and therefore was free to eat any food, Hindu, Moslem, or ours, especially ours. We learned to accept the minor pilfering of food as a way of life. When we first arrived father had said that we must be polite to the servants, and we all were. But many people were not. They shouted and swore at their servants. I heard them as I passed their quarters. Some even kicked. I saw that too. Some of the privateers, proud of having servants for the first and only time in their lives, were the worst offenders. The cantonment where we lived was an army camp, clean and whitewashed, but unromantic. For a change we sometimes went to the city of Lahore. We travelled by tonga along the Mell, which I remember as a beautiful road with grass, shrubs and roses on either side. The gardens were well maintained by melis, Indian gardeners. We first came to the European part of the city where there were wide streets, good shops of all kinds, hotels, cafes and beautiful bungalows. We continued on to the Anarkali Bazaar, the largest bazaar we saw in India. This we all found very exciting. It was a mass of stalls and was densely populated, it was smelly and noisy and incredibly crowded, but very interesting. What we did not like were the beggars who surrounded us with calls of “Baksheesh, sahib”. Many of them were terribly diseased and mutilated. It was said that some of them, the professional beggars, injured themselves to gain more pity. At first mother and father gave some baksheesh but that was fatal because more and more of them crowded round and followed us, and, although sympathetic, theye had very little money to spare. The poverty and squalor were unbelievable to our English eyes. But there was plenty to see, stalls of all kinds, selling fruit, silks, sticky sweets, brass, carpets, clothes, everything imaginable. It was usual for the stallholder to ask for more for his goods than he expected to get. Then the customer would offer a great deal less. The seller then came down a bit and the customer up a bit, and so it went on until a satisfactory price was agreed. Mother and father could never get accustomed to this system and were never very good at haggling. Beyond the Anarkali Bazaar was the walled city. We always had to turn back when we reached the gate because the city was out of bounds British troops. It looked like a continuation of the bazaar but was even more crowded and exotic. Not very far from where we lived was the Suddah Bazaar. This was the most beautiful of all bazaars. Every stall was stacked and hung with the loveliest of materials for all purposes to suit both British and Indians of all classes. Some stalls specialised in readymade saris of rich colours and patterns in the finest of cottons and silks and gauzes, others specialised in silks alone. Striped silks were favoured at this time by English ladies and were thought to be as cool as cotton. It was a very clean bazaar and mother used to enjoy going there to buy materials. Our clothes were made by dhurzis, native tailors or dressmakers of amazing skill. They had English pattern books but no paper patterns. We looked through the books, chose the style we wanted and it was made up exactly like the pictures. Some dhurzis specialised in children’s clothes. I remember an old man with a beard dyed red who used to come round regularly with a large bundle of dresses, shirts, shorts and underclothes that he had made. These were spread out on the verandah. He sold some and took orders. He always had a tape measure round his neck and needles and pins in his turban. Then there was a very high class dressmaker who made the most exquisite dresses. When I was going off to boarding school he made me several white silk dresses w1th smocking, gauging and picot edges done by hand. Box wallahs came regularly and spread out their wares on the verandah. "You look, memsahib. If you no like, you no buy.” We bought as many Treasures as we could afford. There were brass ornaments, carved wooden Tables, trays and book rests, a carpet and rugs. Many of these were sent home to England as presents. We still have some Indian brass and three carved tables in our house. The carpet was from Baluchistan. It was full of desert and when we got it and it had to be hung on the line and beaten with sticks to get it clean. There were no vacuum cleaners then. It was immensely heavy and it took several people to carry it. It was red and blue, in a traditional pattern, and in one place the blue was slightly different, evidence, if it was needed, that it had been made by hand by skilled tribal workmen. We had our carpet for over forty years. When it was given away to a neighbour it was not worn out, just slightly shabby in the part near the doorway. The carpet wallah was different in appearance from all other box wallahs. He was very fair skinned, wore a tight fitting black coat in the style of superior merchants, but unlike any other we had seen, he wore a fez. We thought that he was a Persian. In the usual fashion, he spread his carpets on the verandah and showed them off, one by one. Mother admired them all but especially the rugs from Bokhara. The carpet from Baluchistan, however, was cheaper and seemed to be very hardwearing, and so it was bought. All his wares had been so beautiful that she wished she could have, there and then, purchased carpets and rugs to furnish her own house and to send home to all her relations, but that was out of the question. The merchant called several times and on each occasion mother said that, of course, a11 his carpets were beautiful but she had spent all she could afford. Still he spread out his wares and always she looked and admired. Then having tried her out, he came to the point; he wanted her to take his carpets to England and sell them for him; they would be partners and share the profits. Mother said that she was no business woma she knew nothing about selling; but she could steal his rugs very easily under this system. He said that he knew that he could trust her. She said that he should try the officers up the hill, who must be better customers. No, he said, he wanted no dealings with them for their children mocked him. They were "budmash".(2011: Indian word meaning a bad character : a worthless person ) Mother did not go into business, but many years later we saw in a connoisseurs' carpet shop our Baluchistan carpet in the window. We went inside and were allowed to see their eastern treasures. Like mother we coveted them all. But the prices made them coverings for the houses of near millionaires. How had they reached such prices? Who made the profit? Certainly not the makers, nor the merchant, travelling afar to buy from the vil1ages and then to sell from door to door. Other box wallahs had sad times for mother. Many memsahib’s stole their wares and the English children too were thieves and very cheeky. Ralph and Bob heard such tales with indignation. "They are stealing thieves” one of them said. Snake charmers came to the bungalows. It was said that the poison fangs of the cobras had been removed. We took no chances and kept well back. Sometimes the snake charmer had a huge python coiled round his body. In the hills there were dancing brown bears. I felt sorry for the the poor , chained animals being made to stand on their hind legs and jog about. Occasionally, we went to the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. They were really beautiful with flowers and lawns. Elegant young men used to wander about carrying books and chanting. We thought they were students from the university, reciting poetry. Our first stay in Lahore was brief because the hot weather was coming on when wives and families a11 went to the hills. It was too hot for them to stay on the plains, although most. of the soldiers had to remain in the terrific heat. I can remember that father was sometimes with us and sometimes not, but I do not know how his time was divided. He was attached to the Royal Berkshire Regiment at this time. With the help of some non-A.E.C. instructors he educated the men and prepared them for their third, second, first, and special class certificates. Some were barely illiterate and others were preparing to take external degree. He was also in charge of the education of an Indian regiment. He used to visit them periodically but as he did not know their language, he could not teach them. That was left to a ‘havilder' (an Indian sergeant) who often used to come to see father at home to report on his progress and afterwards take tea. He spoke perfect English and was a very pleasant visitor. Father was also in charge of the school for the children of the British regiments and he sometimes taught us. Our first hill station was Dagshai in the foothills of the Himalayas. We travelled overnight by an ordinary train to Kalka, where we changed to the small-gauge railway. It wound round and round the mountain, climbing higher and higher. Often there was a sheer drop on one side but the little train hung on. The vegetation grew more and lusher as we climbed higher. It became cooler and was a great relief from the heat of Lahore. We got off the train at Darempore Station where we had to take tongas for the rest of the journey. The horses went at top speed and we hung on, thinking that we would be over the khud ( steep hillside) at any moment. But we arrive safely with all our "small luggage". The heavy stuff, boxes and trunks, was carried up from Daremore by coolies. They had. bands round their heads to support the load on their backs. They did not look very strong with their thin legs but they could carry tremendously heavy burdens. The, furniture hirer had his godown ( store ) at Darampore and the furniture was all carried up by Coolies. It was a terrible sight. We were told that sometimes they fell down a precipice to their deaths. Our house seemed more English and homely than the bungalow in Lahore. There were wooden floors instead of stone. The rooms were smaller but there were more of them. We used to have wood fires in the cool evenings. There was no electricity but we had oil lamps. Nanek, had come with us, bringing his wife and children. He had been given extra money for the journey but before we had gone far he came to us in great distress saying his family was starving. So mother handed out provisions from her food box. She had learned to take plenty of food and drink on journeys. Dagshai When we arrived at Dagshai. Nanak had to get his family housed in the bazaar and we did not see him again for a week. However, mother did the cooking, to our great satisfaction. It was possible because the cookhouse adjoined the house. It was good to see so many growing things after the dust and glare of the plains. Growing wild everywhere on the hill slopes were great deoder cedars, walnut trees and great sweeps of purple rhododendrons in massive, high clumps. Single, brilliantly coloured and sharply patterned dahlias were universal. How they survived the heavy snows of winter, even here in the foothills of the Himalayas, I have never understood, I often think of it when I am carefully lifting my own English dahlias, drying them, storing them at the right temperature, and dusting them against mould. The boys were always on the lookout for a walnut tree close to the road. The walnuts, however, were never ripe when we were in the hills and all they got for their efforts was darkly stained hands. The whole family longed to leave the roads, quiet though they were. The khud could be dangerous, as all of us knew. The undergrowth was certainly full of snakes, and every child knew about them, not only from hearing about them but from seeing them in their own bathroom or crossing a path. I had once encountered a cobra on the way to school, hissing and with its hood raised. I had immediately gone home and returned with an adult. No-one at all suggested that I was cowardly; it was the correct drill known to all of us. Another snake which was common was the krait, which was a dull blue in colour and very venomous. On the khud theee were also likely to be jackals. These would not attack a human being unless they had rabies and this was a constant fear. They might, however, very well attack a dog. Even on the road it was was always an interesting walk. We saw long-tailed monkeys, although they kept their distance, and twice we saw a leopard. So every evening the whole family walked round the mountain and it could all be seen , including the little bazaar, in an hour or so. After a while father found a wild place for us. It was a very beautiful pool surrounded by rocks, but it was a long walk and so only Ralph, Bob and I went with him. We frolicked in the pool while he stood guard with a stout stick. One evening, as we were going home, an old man on a donkey offered Ralph a ride. He lifted him on the donkey's back and at once the donkey plunged and kicked and threw Ralph off. It lashed out at his hea1d. We were greatly alarmed, but apart from a huge bump he was none the worse. In India there are three seasons, "Cold weather," "Hot Weather," and "Monsoons." It was very hot before the rains came end everybody was longing for the weather to break. Then suddenly it would start to rain, not like rain in England, but pouring down in torrents which continued for several days at a time. Steam rose from the hot earth and it was very humid. Then it became cooler and we were much more comfortable. Father said that in Lahore the whole area suddenly became green in two or three days. The heavy rainfall went on for about two months. Then there was some pleasant weather before we moved down to Lahore again. Winter in Lahore was best of all. It was just like an English summer but without rain. In the evening it turned cool and we had wood fires. They were not always necessary but seemed cheerful. There was hardly any twilight in India. It changed quite suddenly from bright sunshine to darkness. I think it was at this time that we nearly lost Jean. She had been playing on the verandeh and somebody suddenly called out. "Jean as amongst the buffaloes." There she was, a tiny figure in a white dress in the midst of herd of huge, black buffaloes. They were grazing peacefully, and she was going amongst them , patting their legs. We were all aghast. Poor Nanek threw his tea towel over his head and wailed "Chotah Jean Baba will be dead." We did not know what to do. If we went near the buffaloes they might have stampeded and trodden Jean underfoot. Father said 'Keep still and quiet." So we did and hoped. After what seemed like years, Jean decided that buffaloes were not much fun to play with and came wandering back. She must have been about eighteen months at the time. Father and mother were unusual in their now established pattern of walking, and seeing the sights, always in the company or their children. Some couples, confident that there were servants to attend to their Household were always ready for social life. This usually began in the regimental tennis club and in dances in the mess. Neither father nor mother played tennis but we all watched regularly. Father attended mess dances; he liked conversation, he considered it a social duty, and he had taken on the supervision of the bar where he took pleasure in straightening out mess funds and thereafter keeping them immaculately. There had been a suppressed scandal about his predecessor and some misappropriation of funds. Father was confident that he would be more alert than some because he was virtually a teetotaller. So these occasions for father were quite interesting and enjoyable. Mother, however though quite as convivial as father, refused to attend any evening functions. She would trust no-one to guard her brood, espec1ally at night. Then came news of a high spot in the social round. This was the annual Regimental Shoot for Ladies. Officers' wives were particularly enthusiastic. They practised regularly on the regimental rifle range which was periodically cleared for their use. Father, who was a good shot himself, persuaded mother to enter. She agreed. Although she had never in her life held a rifle or any other sort of firearm. As she went into the rifle range she was not worrying about the shooting itself; her secret anxiety was that she might look undignified when lying down to shoot. But all was well, she discovered, for the legs of each competitor were carefully shrouded in a blanket. Mother’s turn came, and father went with her to tell her how to hold the rifle, take aim and fire it, was time someone told her. She turned and saw that the worst had happened: she had scratched her smartest English shoes. At the end it was announced that mother had won the competition end that she was the best Ladles' Shot in the regiment, and she had won two silver gilt serving spoons. We were all bursting with pride. Mother could do anything, if only she put her mind, to it. Nowshera Then father was posted to the Seaforth Highlanders in Nowshera. Nowshera was on the North West Frontier near Peshawar. Consequently we had to pack up again. Nenak came to us in tears, saying that his father would not let him go so far away. It was decided, reluctantly, that it was too long a journey for Nutty, and so he was given to an unmarried sergeant who admired him. Nutty knew him and went peacefully. Ralph and Bob were quite upset at losing both Nanak and Nutty. When we said goodbye to Nanek Bob clung to his legs and cried. It was a long journey to Nowshera but not unpleasant. By now we were seasoned travellers. Father was pleased to be posted to a Scottish regiment and the Seaforth were splendid in every way. They treated us very well and made us fee1 welcome. The schoolmaster in a regiment was often thought of as an outsider. It may have helped that father himself was a scot. Mother became especially friendly with Mrs. Mar the Regimental sergeant Major's wife. Mrs.Mar had come from Scotland as the nanny to the children of the a commanding officer and had been married from his house. When she told mother about her wedding I was listening and found it most romantic. She said that the colonel and his wife had treated her as a daughter. They were still very fond of her and she of them. Mr.Mar was very young to have become a R.S.M and was reputed to have been a very good one. He was a handsome Highlander with golden hair, and their baby Spenser, was exactly like him. They were an extremely pleasant couple. Mrs.Mar was very efficient; she had excellent servants and her house was run like clockwork. She was exceptionally gentle mannered. Mother said she seemed like the wife of a minister. I was asked by Mrs.Mar to sell poppies for Remembrance Sunday and, much against my will, since I was very shy, I agreed. I was to go round the married quarters. At the end of the morning most of my poppies were gone but my collecting box was very light. Several women had given me one anna and taken poppies for the whole family, and some of them had very large families. As I was going, disconsolately home an Indian Ghurka officer stopped me and gave me ten rupees for one poppy. I was overwhelmed. It was about one tenth of fathers weekly pay. Nowshera was a hot and dusty place. It left no lasting impression on me.We found a very superior cook who wore a fez. All went well until an ice-cream machine was bought. It had to have ice put in it and the cook turned the handle until the custard turned into ice-cream. The icecream was so popular that we wore out the cook. He gave in his notice, saying he could do it no more. Then we had Nanoo. He was a delicate looking man with a sad, gentle face. He was a very good cook, perfectly clean, and most satisfactory when he was working, but periodically he disappeared for weeks on end and then returned and resumed his duties without any explanations. It was assumed that he lost himself in the bazaars for long bouts of alcohol and drugs. He had his own dog, Punjera, who stayed outside the cookhouse all day Jean, the baby, was devoted to both of them and she,of course, was Nanoo’s favourite. Punjera was the ugliest parish dog she could ever see, but he was very affable and Nanoo kept him clean and free from fleas. Nanoo’s departure was as sad as that of Nanek. Nanoo was dismissed for stealing from the school. There could be no doubt of his guilt. I heard my parents discussing, very seriously, what they should do. They liked Nanoo, they were sorry for him because there must be something very far wrong with his private life, about which we knew nothinq, and he was going downhill fast. But they concluded, a theft from us could have been overlooked, with a warning, but a theft from the school had to be reported. So he was sent away. Jean ran after him crying. It was very distressing. We had to have a chokidar or night watchman, while we were on the North West Frontier. His job was to guard the house against raiders during the night. He kept his charpoy, a wooden framed bed with webbing, on the verandah, and as soon as it was dark he lay down and snored loudly all night. To make a good show he kept a big axe under his pillow. By paying a chokidar we ensured that his friends and relations did not rob us. He was a tribesman, a Pathan, a tall, handsome man with a fair skin , hooked nose and blue eyes. His beard was dyed red. The pathans were fine looking people, very proud of themselves and fierce fighters. British soldiers had to sleep with their rifles beside them to prevent their being stolen. If a man lost his rifle he was in serious trouble. The raiders were clever thieves and we heard stories of barrack rooms being entirely looted while the men slept. There was sporadic tribal fighting on the North West Frontier but nothing serious whilst we were there. While we were in Nowshera I learnt Scottish dancing. The young private who was caretaker of the gymnasium invited all the children of the regiment for lessons. He played the bagpipes. I enjoyed it and went regularly. It was useful to me years later when I went to school in Scotland and knew the dances already. My teacher, Mrs. Macrae, went with her husband, a sergeant in the regiment, to see the Khyber Pass. They also had splendid holidays on a houseboat in Kashmir and in Simla. I was very envious when she told us about it and showed her photographs. But a family of our size had no money for holidays. I think it must have been the heat and dust that made father think of emigrating to Canada. At that time it was possible to buy land in Canada extremely cheaply. In the less favoured parts lend was given away free to settlers. Father sent for all the information and got lots of books on farming. We decided that we would go to New Brunswick and build a log cabin and be highly successful farmers. We were all very enthusiastic, all, that is except mother. She said nothing, but let us go on with all our talking. She knew father was not really serious about it. But it was good entertainment for several weeks. We got a second dog while we were in Nowshera. An Indian sergeant gave him to father as a present. He had been stolen by an Indian soldier from a camel caravan and was confiscated by the sergeant. They thought this was an exceptional dog. His name was Tiger. He was a big, grey and white dog, strong and fearless, but gentle and tame with the family. We did not know what breed he was, father thought he must be part timber wolf. He certainly looked like a wolf. All other dogs were afraid of him but he only once attacked one and that was not his fault. We were all out walking one evening when we met a young officer with his bull mastiff. As we were passing them he deliberately, with complete contempt for all us as low orders, set his dog onto Tiger. The bull mastiff sprang, but Tiger was too quick for him. In a second the face of the English dog was ripped open and pouring with blood and Tiger was sitting silent and grim amongst us. We were all horrified. Mother in particular grieved for the poor English dog, so beautiful, so well-trained, so basically tame. The young lieutenant, however, felt no shame, and tried to intimidate father, saying that he had not heard the last of this and dogs like ours would be better destroyed. We all stood our ground and father told him that he did not deserve so good a dog. Finally we went our separate ways, Tiger, as ever, walking with us, not on a lead, not at heel, unferocious, returning home with his family. "Sit! Stay! Heel!" Tiger walked with us, not behind us, and never on a lead. I did not know until much later that dogs have only one meal a day. Tiger ate when we did. The cook brought his food after he had served our meal. He enjoyed tea very much. On two occasions it was reported to us that Tiger had been seen chasing leopards in the hills. We were not surprised. One day when we were up in the hills we met an old hill woman with a yoke on her shoulders to carry two pots of wild honey which she had collected to sell. She was wearing unusual pantaloons and had very bandy legs. Those legs were irresistible to Tiger. He darted through them sending the old dame and her honey flying. Then, if dogs can laugh, he did! The old woman was ,naturally, most indignant. We picked her up, dusted her down and paid her for her honey and loss of dignity, and she went off mollified. Jean, who was just a toddler used to roll about on the floor with Tiger and ride on his back, and we were afraid that he would hurt her. The teacher at my school, however, was afraid of him. He always came to school with us and sat quietly at my feet. At playtimes he frolicked with the children and was given titbits from their lunches. The teacher asked for him to be kept at home and so he was, but ten minutes after we had started, there he was in his usual place. This went on for several days, and so she gave up and tolerated the extra pupil. Cherat The hill station for Nowshera was Cherat. It was not far away and not very high and seemed little or no improvement on Nowshera, equally hot and barren. There was a double wedding while we were in Cherat. Two young women came out from Scotland to marry Seaforth sergeants. They had been engaged before the regiment left for India. I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding and the reception which was arranged by Mrs.Mar. It was rare for soldiers to marry while they were in India. They did not get a marriage allowance and quarters until they were twenty-six, and they had to ask the Commanding Officer’s permission to marry. If the girl was Eurasian, the permission would almost certainly be refused. There was little or no chance for ordinary soldiers to meet British girls. Sometimes Eurasian girls attended the regimental dances, but before they could be invited their names had to be submitted to the Commanding Officer and they were carefully investigated to make sure they were respectable. Eurasians were usually referred to as “chee chee” or even worse as “chilli crackers”. We were delighted when we heard that the Seaforths had been posted to Lahore. We had not expected to see it again. For the rest of our time in India we were stationed in Lahore for the winter months and in Dagshai, Sabathu and Kasouli (2011: Kasauli)for the summer. The hill stations were all much the same, but Kasouli was more beautiful than the others. News had somehow reached nanek that we were coming back to Lahore and he came to meet us. He was delighted to see the children, and they to see him. He thought he was bound to be reinstated as our khensama (2011: a male servant who cooks and often is also responsible for taking care of the house and organizing other servants) but we had brought our cook with us and Nanek was working for a private’s family nearby, so it was not possible. He was disappointed, but thereafter he made periodic visits bringing sticky sweets for the chotah wallahs (children, lit. little people). We were very proud to belong to the Seaforth Highlanders. It was a great sight to see them on parade, so smart in their kilts and with the pipe band or regimental band playing. It was mostly the pipe band. The regimental band was often away on engagements. The bandsmen were paid extra for this, and so were much more prosperous than the other men. This caused some ill-feeling in the regiment. Father, however, liked them very much because he found a number who were intelligent and genuinely ambitious to improve their education in preparation for civilian life. They were already skilled musicians. Now, with father’s help and their own correspondence course, they were working for external degrees of London University, usually in Economics. Church parade was compulsory for the men. There were special racks in the pews to hold their rifles. We always went to church. Mother liked being able to attend a Presbyterian church again. The families had to sit at the front and the troops behind them. What we did not like was seeing defaulters doing ‘jerkers’. As a punishment they had to march up and down, in full uniform, with packs on their backs. This was sometimes in tropical temperatures. Father always told us to avert our eyes when passing them to save them embarrassment. Mother, of course , was shocked and indignant. "They are only lads" she would say. "Some day they will kill them." Every New Year's Day there was a big parade in Lahore. All the British and Indian troops of the district took part and the Governor General took the salute. The Indian Cavalry regiments, with their magnificent uniforms and with pennants flying from their lances, rode past on their beautifully groomed horses. Then there were the Camel Corps and the smart little Ghurkas and other picturesque Indian troops. The British soldiers were extremely smart, but plain in comparison, except, of course, for the Scottish regiments. There were military bands playing and tanks rolling along. It was a most splendid occasion. The Seaforths had celebrated Hogmanay the night before but they showed little sign of their carousels. Father said that some of them did not go to bed at all; they continued their jollifications until it was time to be smartened up from the parade. They were kept standing for hours, long before the inspection was due. For spectators it was a magnificent sight, but should a soldier faint on parade it was literally a crime. In the regiment, however, the ordeal was considered a joke because it was assumed that any who fainted had drunk too deep and too long the night before. Father could enjoy all parades because the Seaforths excused him from all strictly military duties. Splendid Christmas parties were given for the children of the regiment. Every child was given an expensive toy or book and a dress or jumper and the ladies had a silk dress length. Mrs. Mar chose the presents with great care and they were always suitable. One Christmas in Lahore stands out in my memory. Grannie wrote to say that a Blyth woman and her Indian army husband were home on leave and had offered to bring us our Christmas presents to save posting them. But they lived somewhere beyond Lahore and we were to meet their train when it stopped at Lahore station. We were later given the time of the train. Mother and I got up very early that morning – it seemed like the middle of the night to me- and went by tonge to the station. It was very dark and cold and I had a rug to keep me warm. It seemed a tremendous adventure. We arrived at the station in good time and when the train pulled in the people were looking out for us. They gave us our parcels and after they had departed mother and I went to a smart restaurant in Lahore and had breakfast. Then we went home with the presents which were bound to be lovely. The rest of the family were just getting up.We were allocated a much better bungalow that our first one. It was detached and stood in its own compound. Father made a garden and grew annual flowers and lettuces. They did very well because he dug irrigation channels which he filled with water. He worked hard on the garden and it gave him great satisfaction. There were some scrubby baobabs around the compound and there lived a mongoose. We were very pleased about this and put out food regularly for it. We would have liked it for a pet but we seldom saw it. It certainly earned its keep because we were not bothered with snakes there at all. We had had snakes in the house before this, some of them cobras. Father kept a big stick ready to deal with them. Schools were provided for the children of British soldiers. Each regiment had an army schoolmistress attached to it as well as an A.E.C (2011: Army Education Corps) Warrant Officer. The small places like Nowshera , where there was only one regiment, it would be a one teacher school with perhaps some assistance from the A.E.C men , and in larger military stations, such as Lahore, the teaching staff gathered together to make a big school. The age range was from five to fourteen. This was the normal pattern in British schools at that time. Children left school at fourteen unless they attended grammar schools. These army schools were just as good as schools in England, better in fact, because theye were so well equipped. Our family all went to them. We were constantly changing schools but it did not seem to do us any harm. Mrs. Macrae was the Seaforth teacher. She was a very strong-minded lady with aloud voice and a habit of calling children, silly little rabbits, bit I got on very well with her and liked and respected her. She was married to a Seaforth sergeant, a gentle, mild, handsome Highlander. He was very fond of children, especially our family, but they had none of their own. After we had left India we heard that at last they had had a baby and we were very glad for them. The army gave scholarships for children to go to boarding schools of their parents’ choice. When I was nearly eleven I took the examination. I had been well prepared for it. Father coached me and Mrs. Macrae gave me extra lessons in the evenings. Mother thought it was too much for me and I was being overpowered by a dominating personality. She could hear Mrs. Macrae in her house next door but she could never hear me. In fact I was having a most enjoyable time. Mrs. Macrae always gave me smart refreshments at half time which made me feel quite adult. The examination was held in Father’s school. I was the only candidate. Father was in attendance to hand out the papers and the invigilator was 2nd. Lieutenant The Viscount Tarbet. He was the education officer for the regiment, which meant he was the liaison officer between the regiment and the A.E.C. I knew him well because he often came to the house to see father. I thought he was the most charming and handsome young man I had ever known. Bonnie Prince Charlie should have been exactly like that. In honour of the occasion he wore his kilt and full dress uniform. Whenever I looked up he smiled encouragingly. It was a pleasant examination. A few weeks later a young soldier from the adjutant’s office came up to me on the veranda. He was carrying a note and smiling broadly. I said “I’ll fetch my father”. “No” he said, this is for you. I opened up my letter. It said that I had been awarded a scholarship of so many rupees a year and that I had come first in the whole of India. I could not believe it at first. The young soldier said it is true, congratulations. I’m very glad for you. That was the first of many congratulations. Shortly afterwards there was a telegram of congratulations from the Governor General. Then the Seaforth’s commanding officer and father’s A.E.C captain and Viscount Tarbet and all sorts of other people came. It was overwhelming but enjoyably so. The first thing to be done was to choose a school. Most of the boarding schools for Northern India were in Simla and so we had all Prospectuses. We were told that convent schools were the best and so, although I was not a Roman Catholic, it was decided that I should go to the Convent of Jesus and Mary. There were two schools on the same campus, the Boarding School and the St. Francis School. My scholarship would have more than covered the keep for the St. Francis school but was not enough for the Boarding school. Mother thought I should have best and decided that she could just manage to pay the difference. After I had been at Simla for a year I took the Punjab Middle school examination and won another scholarship so that my school fees were more than covered. I was glad to feel that I was almost self-supporting for the next two years. The list of school uniform and equipment required was enormous and mother, amazed, supplied everything on the list. I found later that most of the girls did not have so many of each item. But mother was determined that I should be provided with all that the school demanded. I had to have warm gym slips, blouses and dresses for cold weather, cotton gym slips and blouses for warm weather, white silk dresses for best, white silk dresses for Sundays, and colourful dresses for Saturdays. There had to be dozens of underclothes for two kinds of weather, a blazer, a warm coat, a dressing gown, black shoes, brown shoes, white shoes, slippers, tennis shoes, black cotton stockings, brown cotton stockings, white cotton stockings, white silk stockings, black woollen stockings, white cotton gloves, brown leather gloves, bath towels, hand towels, a mattress, pillows, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, white bedcover, serviettes, silver serviette ring, shoe cleaning equipment, mending equipment, hair ribbons, navy, white & mauve, English & French dictionary, mathematics instruments, sponge bag, soap dish, soap, brush and dish and an enamelled mug. We were not allowed to wear socks, and all dresses had to have long sleeves. We could not understand why it was considered immodest for little girls to show their arms. It was very uncomfortable in hot weather. Mother went to the dhurzi’s cotton mills for a great quantity of material which was made up by the ordinary dhurzi. The grand dhurzi made my silk dresses most beautifully. Then I had to have two metal trunks to contain my vast trousseau. Mother’s contribution was to print my name neatly in marking ink on yards and yards of tape. I stitched the names on - a very long job. SIMLA 1926-1930 The school year started on 1st. March and finished on 1st. December. It was too cold for the girls to remain in Simla for the three winter months. There were ten days holiday in the summer for girls whose homes were near Simla. Fortunately my family were in the Simla Hills at that time. Father took me in the train as far as Kalka, the terminus for the mountain railway. There all the girls gathered up in the charge of some teachers, and we all travelled up to Simla together. At Simla there was a fleet of rickshaws waiting and we piled in, two or three to a rickshaw. I had never ridden in a rickshaw before and it was a strange sensation to be jogging along pulled by a coolie. The coolies did not walk, they ran all the time. I was amazed to see deep snow and brilliant sunshine. It was just like Switzerland. I had not seen snow since leaving England. The school was some distance away and we passed through Simla town. Its houses, churches, shops and hotels looked extremely English to me. In the next three years I saw very little of Simla, but I thought it was a beautiful place. It was very fashionable. All the "best" people, including the Viceroy and his staff, spent the summer there. I had read Kipling’s stories of Simla and it was just as I had imagined it. The school was a very long, low building with a veranda running its whole length. There was a big compound and trees and flower beds and a khud with a path leading down to the netball and tennis courts. It looked very attractive. The dormitories had white curtains, which were never drawn, round the beds. They were tied with red, blue, yellow or green bows and the dormitories were called the Red Dormitory, the Blue Dormitory and so on. Apart from being new to a boarding school I had never known nuns before and the girls were different from any I had ever known. I felt very, very strange and suddenly wished I were at home with mother and father and my brothers and sister. I cried myself to sleep that night. In the three years I was there I never really got over my homesickness. Many of the other girls were the same. We used to make calendars and cross off the days till it was time to go home again. "Only another so many days," we would say to each other. The St. Francis School was at one end of the long building and we were near the other. Between the two were classrooms and dining rooms. At our end were the nuns' common room and the "parlours" -sitting rooms for visitors and the music rooms. Beyond them was the church, and, some distance away, a teachers' training college run by the convent and a monastery. We were not allowed to go beyond the church except on special occasions. St. Francis' School was just the same as the Boarding School, so far as I could see, except that they did not have the curtains and bows in their Dormitories and they did not use serviettes. But there was a great deal of snobbery and the girls of my school considered themselves vastly superior to the others. We had lessons together but were not supposed to fraternize in our spare time. We kept to our end and they kept to theirs. Later on my best friend was a St. Francis girl. Her name was Catherine Braganza. She was a Goanese and quite black. I found her intelligent and sensitive and I liked her better than any of the other girls. We used to sit together in the no-man’s land between the two schools. This was not stopped, but I was asked several times by nuns why I was so friendly with Catherine. "Weren't there better girls in my own school?" I said, "No. I like her." And they left it at that. When I started school I was put in a class of girls of my own age. After a short time it was evident that I was wrongly placed and so I was moved up two classes. The other girls were thirteen or fourteen and I was eleven but I seemed to fit in. All the way through I was top of the class. I wish I could say that this was due to my natural brilliance and that it was all effortless but it was not so. I tried very hard and was determined to do well. I felt I owed it to my parents who were sacrificing so much to keep me at what they thought was the best school possible and so I always did my very best. Domestic science was most peculiar. We cooked on a long charcoal stove with holes along the top and little ovens below. There was no way of regulating the heat. Whatever we made was taken away to the big kitchen and what became of it I do not know. We certainly did not have it. In laundry work we sometimes starched and ironed the nuns' collars and caps. The ironing was done with box irons filled with hot charcoal. The caps were corrugated round the front, with a soft cap for the head, and were crimped with goffering irons. Some of the girls used these to wave their hair when they were unobserved. Most of the girls had piano lessons. This was an extra and so I did not have them. The sound of scales being practised and the click of metronomes seemed to go on all the time. The nuns were of various nationalities. English, Eurasian, French, German and one was Spanish. Rumour had it that she had been a Spanish Countess. Those who were not teachers ran the domestic side of the school. The nuns, I think, taught efficiently, but they showed no warmth or affection to us at any time. I, in turn, obeyed them and worked for them; but I did not like them. All the time that I was at Simla I knew that this relationship was unnatural, and I never understood it. Two nuns were quite different from the others. They were Sister Rosie and Sister Lily. They were very pretty Indians and lay sisters. They both worked in the school hospital under the supervision of an old nun. We were expected at all times to stand when a nun passed, and if one was engrossed in a book and happened not to see her one was in trouble. Otherwise the nun always passed without a smile or any sign of recognition. When I was new in Simla I stood for Sister Rosie. She laughed and said that I need not stand for her. Thereafter I always stood for them both with pleasure and always received a warm smile in return. Every morning there was a surgery at the school hospital. There were always a great many candidates for admission. It was most enjoyable to be kept in as a patient. We were looked after by the two lay sisters. We all thought they were the loveliest people we knew, so kind and cheerful and homely. They made us feel very comfortable, tucking thick red blankets round us. My ailments were very minor and so I could enjoy my few hospital visits. Most of the morning queue, however, was returned to duty after a dose of salts or castor oil. We were given the choice! The girls were mostly Anglo-Indians. There were hardly any who had come from England as I had. Army officers and senior Indian Civil Servants usually sent their children home to England when they were of school age. The girls in Simla were the daughters of railway officials, oil men, shop keepers, and merchants. They had always lived in India and expected that they always would. Most of them were Eurasians, although this was never admitted. It was considered shameful. Most British people in India despised Eurasians, as did the Indians, and they themselves had no pride in their ancestry and pretended to be entirely British. I could never understand the British attitude. Many of the girls were strikingly beautiful with their dark hair and olive complexions. But fair hair and fair skin were considered the quintessence of beauty and I was much admired by all. In fact I was a very ordinary looking, healthy girl such as one would have seen by the thousand back home. The girls secretly tried all sorts of creams and lotions to make their skin paler. When the nuns discovered them using talcum powder on their faces they were in serious trouble. One day, when we were being inspected before going on an outing, one girl was called out of line and denounced for wearing rouge on her cheeks. In front of us all her cheeks were vigorously scrubbed with a flannel by the nun. In fact nothing came off on the flannel. She just happened to have particularly nice rosy cheeks. No apology was given. It was very cold when we arrived in Simla and remained so for several weeks. It was very cold again before we went home for the winter holiday. But there was no heating whatsoever in the school. The nuns had a fire in their common room but that was all. We used to be absolutely frozen and wore our overcoats all the time, even to lessons and meals. Some of us put warm water into little bottles which were kept in our pockets to give a few minutes warmth to our cold hands. Bath mornings were worst. My dormitory was a long way from the bathroom. We had to go down some open stairs and along a very long open verandah, dressed in a dressing gown with a coat over it and carrying our bundles of clothes. This was no joke at six o'clock in the morning and with deep snow on the ground. We had only one bath a week. This was quite enough in the Winter, we thought, but not enough in the hot weather. At home we bathed twice a day and would have liked more; only the colossal labour of preparing a bath prevented this. The bathing arrangements were peculiar. There was a huge bathroom with shelves all round on which stood our enamel basins and jugs with our names on them. On ordinary mornings we washed there. On bath days the room was filled with zinc baths. Coolies kept coming in with hot and cold water to fill them and to empty the used ones. Before we left our dormitories we had to put on long robes made of ticking. We got into the baths wearing them and washed ourselves with complete modesty and yet in public. It took great skill to get dried and dressed and to get rid of the wet gown. We were taught how to do it with decorum. The older girls bathed in private in cubicles. I envied them. I found that all the girls in my class had this privilege and so I plucked up courage and asked if I could have a cubicle. I said that I was in Standard VII and by virtue of my seniority in studies I was entitled to it The answer was ,” No. You are only eleven. Not until you are older.” I waited a month and asked again and had the same reply. When I was a week older I repeated my dignified request and this time the nun weakly gave in. I thought it was only fair because I knew that big, fat, stupid girls had cubicles. I was small, admittedly, but I had my dignity. It was a great struggle to wash my long hair and even to plait it. Mother had always done it for me. On one of my holidays I told her of my difficulties and she immediately had it cut. When I went back, to my surprise, all the nuns exclaimed that it was a terrible thing that my long hair was gone. Later I tried for a locker. Only the older girls had bedside lockers to hold their possessions. I put forward my argument that I was in a senior class. It was just as before and I won in the end. But I was told that first I must get a cover for the locker and some ornaments and photographs to stand on it. Of course mother sent something suitable by return of post. Breakfast was always thin, sweetened porridge without milk and dhal( lentils) and rice. The main meal usually consisted of curry, mostly vegetable, and rice, or dhal and rice, followed by semolina or sago or rice pudding. Tea was a cup of tea and one slice of bread with either butter or jam. Supper was cocoa and one slice of bread. We lined up and collected our food which was served out by an old bearer with a red beard and a severe manner. When everybody was served we could go with our plates for a second helping if there was any left. All eyes were on the serving table when the queue was coming to an end. One day there was a near riot. Everybody rushed forward with their plates and spoons, desperate for more. The little French nun who was in charge could do nothing but wring her hands. The old bearer made for the door carrying his dish, hotly pursued by the hungry horde. Then he turned, lifted his dish above his head and said loudly and clearly, "You are supposed to be young ladies, but you are behaving like savages. Sit down! ". We all slunk back to our places, bitterly ashamed. Nobody had ever heard the bearer speak before. One night I was so hungry that I ate a whole jar of vaseline that I had to put on my chapped hands. We used to eat nasturtium seeds and leaves that grew in the garden. Some of the girls had food parcels sent from home. I did not have them because mother naturally thought that I was being well fed and I never told her otherwise. I never complained to mother and father about anything at Simla. Some girls from Karachi became friendly with me and asked me to sit at their table. They often had parcels and they shared their good things with me. I was not a cadger but I was glad to have kind friends. These girls, about ten of them, were all sisters or cousins or close friends. Their fathers worked for the Iranian Oil Company. They all had Irish names and so, although none of them had ever been anywhere but India, their forbears must have come from Ireland. They were good girls, pious Catholics and well thought of by the nuns, but they were not at all academic. One of them was nearly twenty when she left school. She was a very nice girl but she kept coming back to try to pass her examinations and never succeeded. When eventually she did not return after a holiday I asked what she was doing. "She got married last month," said her sister. On Sunday afternoons the tuck shop was open. Our pocket money was kept for us so we did not know how much money we had or if we had any at all. Most of the girls seemed to be very well off and were able to buy sweets and chocolate every time. I was not so affluent. We had to buy our own soap and toothpaste at the shop. It was very hard if, after queuing up in eager anticipation, there was no money or only enough for toothpaste. On Saturdays we had school in the morning and were free in the afternoon after we had done our mending. The mending was in big clothes baskets and as our names were called we went to collect it. The lucky ones who had none could go free. The other's had to mend their clothes and have them inspected before they could go. Nothing was ever condemned as worn out, it had to be mended time and time again and darned properly. Drawing holes together would not do. Mother exclaimed in horror when she saw vests and stockings which were darned all over and said she should have been told that I needed new ones. Some of us had very little playtime on Saturdays. If, to make matters worse, there were no sweets on Sunday, life seemed very hard. We went to church every morning before breakfast and on Sundays in the evening too. The few Protestants had to go to church with the others because there was nobody to take charge of us. There was no pressure on us to be converted to Roman Catholicism but we were made to feel that we were different from the others. A nun once said to me, “You are a good girl in spite of being a Protestant." I am sure that there is more tolerance nowadays on both sides. I always took my Bible to church and read it solidly. There were hymns at the back which I sang silently to myself. One day I got into trouble for letting some girls read my Bible because they were allowed to read it for themselves. I read the Bible from end to end several times in the three years that I was there. On Sunday there was a sermon and I listened to that. At first there was a German priest who spoke very poor English. His sermons were always about what bad girls we were. We thought this was unfair because we were not bad girls. Then there was a young English priest, handsome and charming. He gave good sermons and talked to the girls pleasantly. We all liked him. The Bishop of Simla, came for special occasions. He was a most impressive figure, tall and stately. I had never seen a bishop of any kind before and he was just as I had imagined a bishop would be. The papal legate from the Vatican visited the school once on his tour of India. He was Italian and spoke no English. Later he became Pope Pious XII. During Lent the nuns and girls went into retreat. It seemed to me to be for a long time but it was probably only the week before Easter. They went to church, had religious instruction, read religious books and did not talk. The non-Catholics were given some school work to get on with and told not to speak to the other girls. We could speak to each other of course. The school seemed very silent. When Easter Sunday came there was great rejoicing. We wore our best clothes and had splendid meals. May was a special month. It was the month of Mary and we had to be especially good. If we did anything wrong we were given a black mark and these marks were added up at the end of the month. It was very difficult to avoid them. They were given for being a minute late, for having untidy hair, for not polishing our shoes well enough, for spilling food and many other peccadilloes. On the last day of May, there was a special service taken by the Bishop of Simla. We proceeded to church, wearing our best white dresses and each carrying a candle. There our names were called out, first the girls with no black marks, then those with one, then two, then three, then four. We went forward and kissed the bishop's ring and he put crowns of flowers on our heads, gold for no black marks, silver for one, white for two, blue for three and pink for four. Most of the girls had no crowns. I had a gold crown each time. Although I was always well behaved, it took a great deal of effort to avoid those black marks. After the ceremony in church was over, we lined up outside in order of merit. There we were joined by the monks from the monastery and the students from the college. We walked in procession to the Grotto, carrying our candles and singing hymns. The Grotto was in the grounds but some distance away from the school. It was beautiful. There was a big statue of the Virgin Mary, and in front of it were flower beds and many little paths and rockeries, with holders where we put our candles. There were roses everywhere, mainly creamy buff ones which were possibly Gloire de Dijon. Even now I can remember the scent of the roses and incense and candles. When we had sung some more hymns and the bishop had addressed us and had prayed, it was getting dark. The hundreds of candles were left softly glowing as we walked back. Once a year we had our feast day, the day of Saint Ignatius, our patron saint. After a later start than our usual six o'clock rising we went to church dressed in our best clothes, our hair curled and tied with mauve ribbons, and with bunches of artificial violets pinned to our dresses. There was a special mass and we went back to a splendid breakfast. We then changed into non-uniform dresses and went down the hill to the tennis courts where we played games for the rest of the morning. We were given refreshments of Indian sweets and lemonade. I had never tasted Indian sweets before. They were fried in ghee, boiling butter. Some were sweet and sticky and others were spicy or savoury. Most of them were delicious. For dinner we had chicken curry and trifle, as much as we could eat. Then we changed our dresses yet again, this time into party dresses. One year it was a fancy dress party. I was a Dutch girl. The party went on until bedtime. There was an orchestra from the town and we had dancing and games, non-stop. The Charleston was the popular dance of that time and all the girls did it. But the Black Bottom was banned because it was said to be vulgar. The buffet was marvellous with all sorts of luxurious food and there was claret cup. There surely could not have been any wine in it. We smuggled out some food to our friends of St. Francis' School and when it was their feast day they did the same for us. The day after the orgy we were back to normal, though some girls were rather bilious. Feast or famine. In my first year at the school there was a concert to raise money for the Church. We prepared for it for months ahead. Professional painters came to paint the scenery and a stage was put up with footlights. No expense was spared on the costumes. I was with a group singing Irish songs and dancing. I cannot remember much about the concert but it was a great success. The college students took part as well as the girls. The general public came on the first two nights and each time the hall was packed. The audiences were very enthusiastic. The third night was reserved for Indian ladies. We did not know who they were but thought they must all be princesses. Their saris and jewels were magnificent. They looked as if they had come out of the Arabian Nights. There was a great deal of chattering and giggling as they took their seats. The concert started and the talking and laughing went on and continued throughout the performance. They took no notice whatsoever. The concert went on as usual but everybody was disappointed. There was not even any applause. The Hindu Festival of light, Diwali, was in the autumn. Hindus used to light many little lamps in clay dishes and put them outside their houses. From the wall at the back of the school we could see all the little lights twinkling in the village nearby. The festivities ended with fireworks. We found it very entertaining. There was some trouble about this same wall. Down a slope was the road leading to the town. Some girls were caught talking to soldiers who were on the road. It was the scandal of the century. It was kept very hush hush but of course it leaked out to the rest of us. I could not understand why it was such a criminal offence, nor why anybody should bother to climb onto a wall just to talk to soldiers. I was used to seeing soldiers all the time. We went to the pictures twice while I was there, first to "Ben Hur" and then to "The King of Kings". The whole school went in rickshaws. These were great treats and we talked about them for weeks afterwards. Other outings were for the select few. There was a music festival for Simla schools. I was in the school choir. A party of us went to another convent school to a garden fete. I was amongst them. I was also one of the chosen few who went to the Viceroy's garden party. It seemed to me to be most unfair that I should have the few treats that there were and others had none. I thought that I was preferred partly because I was always well behaved but also because they liked to show off my fair hair and complexion. The garden party was for representatives of all the boarding schools in Simla. We were dressed in our very best, complete with violets and mauve ribbons. The inspection before we set out was even more stringent than usual. Not a hair was out or place. We had to ride two to a rickshaw instead of the usual three so as not to get our dresses crushed. Vice Regal Lodge was palatial, with beautiful grounds and flower beds. There were marquees on the lawn with little tables set for tea. We were entertained by charming, young aides-de-camp who showed us round and then plied us with exquisite refreshments. None of us needed much persuasion to eat! Then there was a film show followed by ice-cream and lemonade. We were disappointed not to see the Viceroy or his wife, but we had been entertained right royally. One morning I was summoned to the parlour. There were the Reverend Mother and, to my amazement, my old teacher, Mrs.Macrae. She was having a short holiday in Simla. I was delighted to see her but felt somewhat inhibited by the presence of the Reverend Mother. Mrs.Macrae asked if she could take me out for the day. 'No, "was the reply, "because her parents have not told me that you were coming. She cannot go without their permission." I was not at all perturbed. I knew Mrs.Macrae would not take "No" for an answer. She would get her own way even if it meant standing up to a Reverend Mother. And she did. I was sent off to get changed and I did it in double quick time. When I got back Mrs.Macrae was alone. She said that she would like to have a quick look at the school. Lessons had started and so we kept well away from classrooms and I took her to see the dormitories, the bathrooms, and the dining room. The next day I was reprimanded for taking her round without permission. It had not occurred to either of us. "And did you even show her the bathrooms and lavatories?" It seemed that this was the worst thing that I had done during my entire stay in the school. I had a splendid day out. We saw the whole of Simla. I had only seen it in passing a few times before. It seemed a most elegant place. We looked at the shops and Mrs.Macrae took me into a bookshop which was just like a shop in England. She said that I was to have some books. I had a good look round and chose one. "You must have some more” she said, and so I came out with four lovely books. We had meals at the hotel where she was staying. It seemed to me the most luxurious place I had ever seen. Of course she plied me with food. I remember that there was a plate of strawberry tarts with cream which seemed to disappear very quickly and she asked for another plateful. But best of all was the talk of home. She spoke of mother and father, and of how the boys were getting on, and of Jean's latest sayings, and of children whom I knew. She even talked about Tiger whom she did not really like. I wished I could have gone back with her. No time limit had been set and so she said that I might as well have as long a day as possible, and not go back until bedtime. When we got back I was carrying my four books, a big box of chocolates, and two large boxes of cakes. Mrs.Macrae embraced me warmly and said ”Keep your pecker up. You are doing all right. I will go to see the family as soon as I get back.” After she had gone I had a nice warm feeling inside me which was not just a full stomach. A nun who was standing by said “Was that your mother or your aunt?" "No, she used to be my teacher”. “But she has given you all these things, and she kissed you," she said in surprised tones. "Yes," I said, "She likes me." That night I could be Lady Bountiful with my cakes and chocolates. In the summer we had ten days holiday. I was lucky that Dagshai, Sabathu, and then Kasauli were near enough for me to go home. It was lovely to be home and the holiday seemed much too short. But we had three months holiday in the winter. That was the best time of all. The checking and packing of clothes had to be started several weeks ahead. It was a great thrill to be summoned to the linen room to pack. Excitement mounted as the day of our release grew nearer. Most of us hardly slept at all the night before. When we looked out in the early morning darkness there were the lights of hundreds of rickshaws waiting for us. After church and breakfast we were given sandwiches and our own money for the journey. Then we were off. A few nuns came to the station to see us safely on the train. Probably they were glad to see us go. We were all together on the first lap of the journey on the mountain railway down to Kalka. It was traditional to sing all the way in the little train. We used to sing to the tune of “Riding down to Bangor" Riding down to Kalka, On the homebound train, No more awful lessons, Isn't it a shame. No more watery porridge, No more rice and Dhal, After this long journey, We'll be home again. There were numerous verses which I do not remember. The nuns would have been horrified if they had heard us. At Kalka we went our several ways. Some of the girls had very long journeys to Southern India. My journey to Lahore took only part of a day and one night. There were quite a number of girls who lived in Lahore and one teacher, and so my travelling was no trouble. At Lahore Station I was handed over to mother and father and three months of happiness started. When I went back on 1st. March the homesickness began all over again. Home to Kasauli then England We had had five years in India and were due to go back home in the spring of 1930. So 1929 was to be my last year at Simla. Soon after my fourteenth birthday in November I was sent for one day and the Reverend Mother said that I had to go home to Kasauli at once. She said that my mother was in hospital and I was needed to look after my brothers and sister. I was most alarmed and asked what was wrong with mother. All she would say was that I would be told when I got home. I was to go and pack and then go for a meal, and a rickshaw would be waiting to take me to the station. I got ready in a daze. There was no time to say goodbye to my friends. The more time elapsed the deeper grew my panic. Before I got home I was really afraid. I was accustomed to mother having babies. That was something pleasant. I was sure that the mystery meant she was desperately ill of some illness that the nuns could not mention. The truth of it was that mother was having a baby, but this time as she was over forty they wanted her to have a longer time in hospital. I was to help at home until the baby was born and as soon as mother was fit to travel, we were all going back to England again. Nearly everybody had left Kasauli by now and gone down to the plains. Father had been granted leave to stay on until the baby was born. It was strange living in such a deserted place. There were not even many stalls left in the bazaar. The only people living near us were the barrack warden and his wife who stayed in Kasauli permanently. She had not known mother before, but kindly visited her every day in hospital. We all went to the hospital every afternoon. There was no school for Ralph, Bob and Jean, of course. I would get them all washed and in clean clothes to face mother's inspection and before I had finished off the third one the other two would be outside and dirty again. I found it was best to get Jean done first, as she was less insubordinate than the boys and more likely to stay put, and then the other two simultaneously so that they could not escape. Another of my duties was to give the cook his orders and "take account, miss-sahib”. I found this very difficult. I was not good at planning menus and often had to appeal to the cook for suggestions. There was a great deal of washing and ironing, not only for the tribe at home, but for mother and later for the baby. Washing was no trouble but ironing with flat irons heated on a primus stove took me hours and hours of toil as everything had to be perfect. The domestic science I had learned at school did not seem to be of much use to me. I asked father if he could iron and he just said, "Why bother. Just give them a bit of a smooth down." I cannot imagine what he was doing while I was struggling with my chores. Perhaps he was packing. One day a letter came from the Reverend Mother in Simla. She asked if I could be left to finish any schooling there and then go on to their teachers' training college. I could stay with them throughout the time at no charge and they would take good care of me. Father wrote straight back declining the kind offer. There was no need for consultation. The idea of abandoning me was unthinkable. Besides, their qualifications would not count in England and I would have been there for ever. I knew that there could be no question of my being left behind but at the same time the letter was a shock. Before we left India the Reverend Mother wrote again to wish us a safe journey and gave a most glowing account of my work and character. I felt rather confused. It seemed that I had not understood the nuns at all. Anne was born on 23rd. November 1929. She was a beautiful baby weighing 8½ lbs. We all thought she was lovely. Mother was the only patient in the hospital. The staff consisted of two army sisters and an ayah. They were glad to have a patient and enjoyed the baby. There were always a great many monkeys in the hill stations and they became very bold when there were so few people about. Mother said they scampered about on the roof and came on the veranda. She was afraid that they would harm the baby when the door was left open and she was confined to bed. Their chattering was very disturbing. Soon after the baby was born father was recalled to duty in Lahore. The Seaforth’s had been very generous in granting him so much leave. Mother and Anne had to be left until mother was fit to travel. Father and I unpacked only the essentials as it was going to be for such a short time. We went to Lahore and bought a cot and a bath for the baby, and some thick tweed for a coat for me. The cot folded up and it had a white muslin valance and canopy. It was very pretty. The bath had a lid so that it could contain the baby's clothes for travelling. Mother was pleased and surprised at our purchases. It was unusual to find warm material in India. My coat was warm enough for Scottish winters and I wore it for several years. When it was time for mother to come home father tried to get a few more days leave to go to Kasauli to collect her, but it could not be granted as he had already had so much. So she was escorted on the journey by a young Royal Army Medical Corps orderly. Mother said that he was most kind and helpful. He held the baby throughout the journey. She was amused that a young unmarried man should be so experienced with a new baby. Father went with a car to meet them at the station. I got the family spruced up for her arrival. They insisted on going to the end of the road to watch for the car. When it came along they ran behind it and got covered in clouds of dust, so that when mother saw them they were filthy. I do not think she was convinced that they had been perfectly clean and tidy a few minutes before. There was not much time to get ready for embarkation. We were to sail in January. Mother could have delayed going as the baby was so young but she wanted to get home. Before the baby was born mother had been informed about this embarkation. "Tell them I will be on the ship," she said. The nurses pulled comical faces behind her back, but she met her deadline. The serious preparation for this trip was to get us all kitted up for the rigours of a Scottish winter. Fortunately Kasauli, by now, was quite cold and so the change was not as abrupt as might have been. The Seaforths sometimes legitimately sold surplus kilts and mother bought one. There were many yards of material in it, enough to make skirts for the girls and trousers for the boys. When families were going home, the army gave them so many yards of cream flannel for each child. As there were five of us there was a vast amount. The clever dhurzi made vests and pants for the boys, combinations for Jean and me, his own invention, and pyjamas for all. It was very comical because it was not thought seemly for the dhurzi to see us in a state of undress and so mother measured us and tried the garments on all the children in the bedroom, stepping out onto the verandah to report her findings to the old dhurzi. I can remember one day, when he came for a fitting, mother was holding the baby who was crying. Without a word he took the baby from mother. She stopped crying immediately and mother was free to take us into the house for the trying on of the underclothes. One of mother’s friends knitted all the baby’s clothes. She was kept in jumpers and pants instead of the usual fancy dresses and petticoats for ease in travelling. We were all very sad that Tiger had to be left behind. He was given to a soldier, but not until the night before we left because we thought that he might come home again. Just as the train was pulling out of Lahore station, Tiger dashed onto the platform. He ran alongside the train at tremendous speed, dragging a great chain behind him, while the cook, who had come to see us off, ran in pursuit, trying, in vain, to catch him. We hung out of the windows, afraid that he would be run over by another train. He ran until he was exhausted and dropped out of sight. It was harrowing for all of us. How our clever Tiger knew that we were at the station and on that particular train is a mystery. But we all knew that there would never be another dog like Tiger. We were to sail from Karachi on the troopship “Devonshire." It was a long train journey from Lahore, two days and nights, but it took three days and nights to Bombay, and so it could have been worse. We were now such seasoned travellers that the journey was easy and quite pleasant, The picnic basket with all its contents and the Primus stove were given to coolies on the quay as we embarked. The “Devonshire” was a much bigger ship than the one on which we had set out for India. There was third class as well as first and second. Sergeants and other ranks travelled third. Father thought that it was unfair that sergeants travelled in inferior accommodation from ours, and he was particularly embarrassed since he knew a number of sergeants socially, having belonged to the same mess. I do not think that third class accommodation was bad but it was crowded. The men had P. E. sessions to break the day and father and other A. E. C. men offered light weight courses as entertainment. But for the most part, from their deck came the interminable chant of housey-housey and crown and anchor. We had to get to our deck through theirs. Men always spoke to father. If I went alone they spoke to me, kindly and pleasantly. I did not know what to say. Once I dropped mother's button box and buttons rolled all over the deck. Immediately men were scrambling to pick them up. I was so embarrassed that I wished I could have vanished into thin air. There were social graces that I had not learned at Simla and I knew it. However, it was a perfectly comfortable voyage and we all enjoyed it. Mother, Jean, Anne and I had a cabin to ourselves and father and the boys shared a cabin with one man. Everything was most smoothly organised for our comfort and entertainment. The children had their meals separately from the adults and were supervised only by the stewards. I was fourteen and so ,to my delight, I was classed as grown up. I used to put on a party dress for dinner. The boys ate tremendously. With no parents to check them, instead of choosing from the menu, they went right through it regularly. The stewards must have been very indulgent to them. Nobody was seasick or bilious. When we left Port Said we all threw our topees into the sea. We were told that this was always done as a final farewell to India. It was a strange sight to see them all bobbing about in the water. We were always demanding to be measured on birthdays and other important occasions to see who had grown most. I am certain that there would be no pencil marks on cabin walls from our parents. But I can record that we landed at Southampton in February 1930 when I was fourteen, Ralph ten, Bob seven and a half, Jean five and a half years and Anne two months. It was bitterly cold, but the sun shone brilliantly. It was good to be home. THE END Return to MENU AUDIOBOOK of INDIA Return to MENU AUNT GERTIES FULL DIARY Return to MENU VIDEO Return to MENU That's all Folks

  • Blog 189 - Jones Family Labour Day Weekend Road Trip to Kiama, 4th-6th October 1970, a retrospective

    Created by KeefH Web Designs, December 3rd, 2022, 16.56 PM A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog Genealogy Trip No 3 & Not the Motorhome trip No 22: 4-6 October 1970 INTRODUCTION This is a very retrospective blog, during the winter months of November and December 2022 I decided to translate most of the handwritten diaries we hold in our Family Tree data to supplement our Genealogy info featured here under the Family tab, good website design, backing up audiobooks, videos and slideshow with text. Enjoy! MENU Diary Audiobook Video with audiobook overlay showing relevant and irrelevant areas of Australia, images from places visited, created via Clipchamp by KeefH Web Designs Trailer DIARY Jones family long weekend break to Kiama New South Wales Australia, 4th to 6th October 1970, Written by Jean Jones. Note Labour Day was on the Monday, and this meant we could have a long weekend away. Saturday 4th October 1970 Packed up the car the night before with camping gear and left early morning to get through Sydney before it got busy. We arrived at Kiama, but it started to rain. Kiama is a very small, pleasant seaside town. We looked at the blow hole which was not very high as there was not much wind. It must be spectacular at times. First campsite was caravans only, so we proceeded to the next one around the corner, which was very pleasant and was overlooking two beaches and was well grassed. We had to be careful as it was not a flat site. Car was jacked up. We pitched the tent which cost one Australian dollar. Wilfrid rested and we walked along the beach and explored. I prepared the picnic, a boxer dog made friends with us, cupboard love we suspected. Wilfrid and I slept in the car which was not too bad as we had liloes and sleeping bags. We were concerned about the weather but after thunder most storms passed over, but a sudden wind got up. Sunday 5th October 1970 Decided to visit the Minnimurra Falls, we passed through some very pleasant country. Jamberoo was a nice little town on our way to the rain forest and we had a climb up to the falls. There were fantastic trees and ferns, and it was well worth the climb, the whole ascent was an Australian mile! One of the trees was known as a cabbage tree. We then proceeded back through Kiama along the coastal road to Nowra and camped by a lovely wide river. It then turned very cold. At the site there was water skiing in our section and yachting further up. As it got very cold turned in after tea. Brian made some noodle soup; it took ages to heat up. We were lucky as no rain again. Wilfrid saw a glorious sunrise through the bridge. Monday 6th October 1970 (Labour Day) Today we visited Nowra, we fossicked along the river and saw some magnificent views from above the river and valley. It became very hot by 11 am. We saw what we named Hanging Rock. There is said to be diamonds, emeralds, and topaz to be found in the Shoalhaven River, although we had no luck. We decided to find the Cordeaux dam to have lunch. We took the wrong turning and found ourselves in Mount Kembla, which was very steep climb, but a nice little place up in the hills. It had an iron ore mine which presumably feeds the steel works at Port Kembla. We did eventually find the Cordeaux dam. It was very pleasant there, with hundreds of people but plenty of room. We all walked over the dam and saw a heron fishing. Not quite so beautifully laid out as Woronora which is prize winning but very pleasant. It was the end of our trip so we headed home, very busy roads, we feared traffic jams at Campbelltown but to our surprise we could keep going all the way. Jean noted the Rockhampton trip in 1969 there and back was 2500 miles, she also noted that the trip was now on tape, which is maybe the tape Brian mentioned to Annie & Keef on their visit in November 2022. Return to Menu AUDIOBOOK Return to Menu VIDEO Return to Menu

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