Cafe Suliko

St Petersburg – Кафе «Сулико»Agent Romanova lured our unsuspecting heroes from Nevsky Prospekt into Nabezhnaya Kanala Griboyedova and then into the less lit Pereulok Sergeya Tyulenina.Following instructions to the letter, the party descended stairs into a basement and entered Cafe Suliko.  A Georgian waitress acknowledged Romanova, but hardly gave mention to Boris and Timofei.  They were led to a dimly-lit table at the side of the restaurant.The menus were shoved in front of all.  None were in English, so Timofei struggled to find borshch.  It wasn’t on the menu.Romanova suggested a cheese pizza.

Georgian restaurant

Georgian restaurant

That seemed a bit simple, so some good Georgian dishes were found. Timofei opted for a beetroot soup (sound too much like his favourite borshch) and Boris had a lamb casserole.  This was all served with a tasty Georgian red wine, reminiscent of an old claret.After many jokes and some banter with the официантки, it was time to leave.  A plan had been hatched for tomorrow. The food was good. The wine was fine. The atmosphere was interesting.The owner of the establishment emerged and gave Romanova a huge embrace.  Timofei demanded likewise, so the owner (a great bear of a man) gave Timofei an embrace too.  (The owner seemed a little embarrassed).  Out on the street, Boris and Timofei headed for the bright lights of Nevsky Prospekt.  Romanova dissolved into the shadows.

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Sapsan – Moscow to St Petersburg

Comrades!Be alert. It has been reported Boris and Timofei have been seen in the vicinity of Leningradsky Vokzal.These photos were taken on platform 7 adjacent to the Sapsan train 758 destined for St Petersburg.

Tim getting on the Sapsan

Tim getting on the Sapsan

Ian about to get on the Sapsan

Ian about to get on the Sapsan

It is further reported that our duo boarded the train, carriage (wagon) 4 and occupied seats 55 and 56.During the journey Timofei had to restrain Boris. He had a great desire to do harm to the child in the seat behind. It is believed physical violence is not appropriate even when the child has been determined to be a little shit. Kicking the seat, throwing tantrums and abusing his mother may even make him John McEnroe. However, his arm lacked the skill of a tennis player.

Timofei observed the train travelling at great speed. The train arrived on-time at the Moscovsky Vokzal in St Petersburg. All is well. No horrid children were hurt in the making of this film.

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Moscow to St Petersburg – 5 September

Quiet morning this morning. After a good sleep we got up and packed our gear ready for the trip north on the Sapsan. Out of the hotel with the aim of dropping our stuff at Leningradsky Vokzal and then wandering off to check out Red Square. A few glitches with trying to get out and back into the station and we just decided to skip Red Square as we still have 6 hours spare when we return later in the week. Traveled north reaching 226 kph at times passed some dachas and over the Volga River,

through some luesh green countryside with plenty of trees which looked similar to birch. At 1435 we arrived at Tver but have been asked not to alight unless we are getting off (for our safety).

Train speed details etc.

Train speed details etc.

Finally got to St Petersburg right on time at 6 pm and were met by Luba who escorted us to our hotel where we had a coffee and went across town to check out the beautiful church built where Alexander II jumped out of his carriage to help one of his guards who had been shot. Alexander was apparently a really nice Tsar who had done a lot for his people but that did not stop him being shot and killed as well. The church was built on the spot. We returned to the hotel for a sleep before a big day tomorrow.

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Park Pobedy in Moscow

The Great Patriotic War – Великая Отечественная Война
 
Sometime things are too serious for Boris and Timofei to be seen or with which to be related.
 
Tim and Ian went to the war memorial in Moscow – Park Pobedy – Парк Победы
 
While it commemorates more than one war, the emphasis is on the Great Patriotic War 1941-45.
 
It is a moving tribute to the contribution of the Soviet Union to the Second World War.
b20140904_144800

 a20140904_144847a20140904_145024

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Borodino

Date: 4 Sep 2014Moscow, Thursday: Borodino PanoramaThe Battle of Borodino, 7 September 1812, was perhaps second only in importance to Waterloo during the Napoleonic War. As

Borodino

Borodino

many as 80,000 in total lost their lives in a single day at Borodino, a field near Mozhaisk, west of Moscow.Fili

, now a suburb of Moscow, was a farming community in 1812. Kutuzov and his council met in a farmer’s hut there to determine the fate of Moscow and the course of the war.

(The farmer, nor Boris nor Timofei were invited to attend)The Borodino Panorama is a memorial and museum, located at Fili.It is set on Kutuzov Boulevard, a busy arterial road in modern Moscow.At

Borodino

Borodino

the entrance is an equestrian statue, honouring Kutuzov.

Kutuzov

Kutuzov

Borodino

Borodino

It is fitting that it also represents soldiers and peasants, who contributed to the Russian war effort.After

Fitting statute for the whole community

Fitting statute for the whole community

passing through the ever-present security screening, our travellers were directed to the Kassa. They parted with 200 rubles each and were permitted entry.On the first floor there were extensive displays of memorabilia, uniforms, equipment, maps and battle plans. On the second floor is the panorama of the battlefield. And it is spectacular.After returning to the first floor, our travellers departed. And they voiced the belief that they could have helped. Such delusion!

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Park Pobedy in Moscow.

The Great Patriotic War – Великая Отечественная Война
Sometime things are too serious for Boris and Timofei to be seen or with which to be related.
Tim and Ian went to the war memorial in Moscow – Park Pobedy – Парк Победы
While it commemorates more than one war, the emphasis is on the Great Patriotic War 1941-45.
It is a moving tribute to the contribution of the Soviet Union to the Second World War.

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Space program

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Moscow, Wednesday: Мемориальный музей космонавтики The Russian Space Program has suffered a huge set-back. Our incompetent heroes have sought to provide their expertise to the program.Sergei Korolev, from his deathbed, strenuously advised against seeking assistance from these fools. His last … Continue reading

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Moscow Kremlin

The traffic in central Moscow is constant. Whether it be on the seven lanes across Okhotny Ryad or in the narrow streets behind Lubyanka, pedestrians cannot let their attention lapse. Boris and Timofei made their way through cars and traffic control bollards to the Biblio Globus bookshop. What had once been a bright sign on the facade was now a faded almost illegible announcement. It was a mark of red against a grey background. With the rain, the sky was grey, the building always will be grey, and the faces have no sunny disposition. Inside the store they hoped to make contact. At the information desk. Timofei pushed Boris forward. He asked the code question, “Can I ask you a question in English?” To which he got a very forceful “No!” That was not the coded answer he had expected. In Russian he asked for directions to the English books, and on the second floor he found a Russian book instructing the reader on the English language. Upon return to the first floor they paid 103 rubles for the book and left the store without further contact. They rushed to Tsum department store, as Irina had shown them where to find a free toilet. Time was important, so they also hurried to Kutafiya Tower at the Kremlin. It was raining again so they pressed themselves against the Kremlin gate, only to be jostled by people leaving the Kremlin. After 2:00 pm Irina arrived, but she was accompanied by an unknown man and woman. They introduced themselves as Igor and Nataliya (not their real names) from Crimea. (He told Boris he is a jurist and she is a housewife) They were very happy that Crimea had now been incorporated into the Russian Federation. Boris and Timofei acknowledged the comment, but said no more. After Irina paid them a large sum, they departed.

Irina

Irina

Irina then led our heroes to the Kremlin office in Alexander Garden where they were met by the Kremlin official, Vera.  Both

Tim, Irina and Vera

Tim, Irina and Vera

Boris and Timofei misinterpreted Vera’s role and expected to be arrested. It was not to happen. The group walked through the Trinity Tower gate to the Arsenal. However

Cannons left behind by Napoleon in 1812

Cannons left behind by Napoleon in 1812

their attention was drawn to the glass and concrete Kremlin State Palace. After seeing the flag on the Senate building (home and offices of the president) they realized he was not at home. Again they had missed an opportunity. Timofei was greatly interested in the Tsar’s Cannon and the Tsar’s Bell. Irina

The bell with 11chopped

The bell with 11ton chip

said she likes big things. The cannon has been fired once, but never in anger. The

Ian and that little cannon

Ian and that little cannon

bell always has been silent, probably because of an eleven-ton piece that broke away when it was made. After inspecting some churches, the team left the Kremlin grounds. Timofei2014-09-02 13.12.21 and Boris headed for a restaurant in the Alexander Gardens where they had pizza. Borshch was not on the menu. During the day, they had passed through Red Square, but it was not really visiting the place. That will wait until tomorrow.

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Order of the Koala

Moscow: Paveletsky Vokzal

Every morning in Moscow, Boris and Timofei have made a practice of having a coffee at Costa Coffee shop in the lounge. They have used a spatula to apply the charm to Valya, the unsuspecting barista. The poor girl didn’t see it coming. She was presented with the Order of the Koala for services to our servants abroad in RussiaOrder of the Koala

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Moscow Parking

Russia is the largest country, but it impossible to find a parking space in Moscow. According to Boris there are 3.5 cars owned by residents, per authorised and marked parking bay. However, all know that his statistics are totally unreliable.

Relocating a parked car at the shopping centre

Relocating a parked car at the shopping centre


Despite the statistics, Timofei and Boris supervised the stacking of cars at VDNX. When there is no marked bay, a truck arrives to put the target car in a place above the ground. All works well until the owner returns and asks how he is supposed to drive to the shops. Boris and Timofei were silent on this question.

(Author’s note:

Parking is a severe problem in Moscow. Some people have taken to parking on footpaths for a lengthy period.

Consequently the city administration has started impounding cars. Under the supervision of a city parking official a “tow-truck” operator lifts the car onto a flat-bed truck and the vehicle is taken to an impoundment.

According to a local resident, the recovery fee is 8000 rubles ($230), and this amount has to be considered in comparison with average earnings.

With further consideration and observations, the actions of the city parking officials have not provided a sufficient deterent. Perhaps it will take time.)

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Moscow and the Cosmos Museum

This gallery contains 3 photos.

We were going to go on the Red Bus today but changed our minds because the sun was not shining so headed towards the Cosmos museum at Bdnx where there were statues of Yuri Gagarin  and other astronauts in Russia’s … Continue reading

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Tuesday in Moscow – plus Kremlin

Met up with Irina, the nice young tour guide who guided us through the Railway Stations and the Communist Walk yesterday. She only does tours for groups that speak English and she is excellent.

Ian &

Ian & largish cannon

Entrance to the Kremlin

Entrance to the Kremlin

Ian and I were the only two on the 2 hour tour.  There are 5 churches inside the Kremlin that were all very ornate but typically Russian Orthodox. We got to see 3 of them, Necropolis of the Archangel, the Dormition Cathedral and the Anunciation Cathedral.

Outside the Kremlin

Outside the Kremlin

2014-09-01 16.45.56

Bolshoi Theater

Plenty of gold leaf on the domes not solid gold as the west believe. Many old Napoleonic cannons which he left behind in 1812 because there was no food for his troops and he had to kill the horses to feed them.The railway station tour has certainly got to be the best.

Inside the Kremlin

Inside the Kremlin

Tomorrow we will probably take the Red Bus around the city and just have a slight relax rather than walk all day. May also go back for a better look at Red Square but we will just see what pans out.

Plenty of guards around Moscow, police everywhere as one would expect but they do look bored, some will give you directions when asked but there are always those that don’t.

These people do look like they have a hard life, probably the weather and maybe the drink but it all has been very pleasant for us.

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Moscow Metro

This gallery contains 9 photos.

As dawn broke over Moscow on this autumn day, young people scurried about, wrapped against a slight chill, going to work, going home, jumping onto crowded trams, marching to the beat of the city. Traffic snarled, trams clanked a blacksmith’s … Continue reading

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Taxi rip off – mafia at it again

Continue reading

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Incheon

Report 31 August 2014 Comrades! Boris has found his way to Incheon. Kim Jong-un want to know, “Why wasn’t I told???”*** Undera20140831_075347 wonderful grey skies in South Chosen, all is well. Boris is taking photos of view from hotel window. Nothing strategic in photos. Distribute this notice to all party members! Keep vigilant! Viktor *** (Kim Jong-un is big fan of basket ball and television show, Number 96) a20140831_075339 a20140831_072246

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Last day in Grenoble

Feeling a little better this morning but still rather tender, had small croissant for breakfast as we needed to travel via Tournon to collect my jacket which had been placed in a wardrobe rather than with the rest of my stuff. Traps for young players I guess but good that the lesson has been learned early in the holiday as there will be no going back once we are in Russia. We went off to Valence TGV station and had a coffee whilst waiting and took a nice photo of the family. Good single seat in the train facing forward so, although no good for photos at this spread, they is a brilliant view of the countryside. Sun is shining with just a few clouds, perfect summer’s day which is likely to change overnight as I go further north. Also noticed something different to home, we have a pet cat at one end of the carriage and a dog at the other, totally under the control of the owners, sorry, that was two dogs on the train, and as we are about to get out there seems to be a third dog on the train – nearly more pets that people.

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Just a quiet day at home

Still suffering from dinner and spent most of the day in bed. Went off to the local lake up in the mountains but as I was so uncomfortable, was transported back home and they went off to the 30th birthday sans me. I will have a few dried biscuits for dinner and pack the bag so I can head off to Paris, Riga and Moscow tomorrow. The big journey is about to begin.

Pierre & Sylvie's home in Grenoble

Pierre & Sylvie’s home in Grenoble

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Onion Festival in Tournon of to Grenoble

Onion festival day outside the window early morning. Had a little bit of fun with the guy selling mops etc outside the window and tried to get him to wash the 1st floor windows of the flat but to no avail. Did a walk around some of the markets but they had spring up all over town and time was not on or side. Started to head of towards Grenoble top stay at Pierre and Sylvie's 2nd house but will have dinner in town with an old friend of the family. I ended up having unskilled cod and shell fish. Not sure what it was but I ended up incredibly bloated and have not eaten for the last 24 hours – proves you can't trust a Frenchman.

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France challenges Australia to a game of Petanque

Slept in rather late, think exhaustion probably got to me but certainly feel much better than I did when I arrived. Went for a stroll around the city and found out where we would be playing petenc this afternoon. Collected Romane from kindergarten and home for lunch. Romaine had her afternoon sleep them off to petenque where the the French were soundly beaten by 3 points

Mathilde, Julien & Romane in Tournon

Mathilde, Julien & Romane in Tournon

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Sydney to Valence in France

24 August – Getting out of mascot was pretty pane free and there was plenty of time to spare. Good flight to Abu Dhabi where we enjoyed temperatures up round 39 which would have been great if not just coming out of negative numbers at home.

25 August – Caught the TGV to Valence France Map with just 7 minutes to spare due to the plane arriving in Paris about an hour late and mine was the last piece of luggage to hit the conveyor belt. Bus took just over the hour to get to Gare de Lyon rail station which was just excellent as the driver assured me I would be there on time. Had to get the tickets reprinted as the carriage number could not be read. Train reached 297 kph and yet the view from the window was quite easy – will be interesting to see how the Sapsan from Moscow to St Petersburg fares. No point taking photos out of train window due to the speed – image is just too blurry at this speed but the girls are very green and lush.

Train travelling at 297 kph - hard to take a photo

Train travelling at 297 kph – hard to take a photo

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FRANCE, RUSSIA and CHINA

Russia – September 2014 – overall travel map

Trip to RU 2014 mapIan

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Where is that fellow Parminter – Lost again

Comrades There is a rumour that a fellow, named Parminter, is trying to disguise the fact that he really is

Boris Beware!

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London – Munich – Canberra

Headed out of Heathrow today, 6:00 am out of bed and off to Munich where we had a good tour of Hitler’s part of the country. All the more interesting because yesterday we had checked out Churchill’s bunkers in London. Thoroughly enjoyed running round the city on the blue on-off busses. Visited the markets where we bought some nice fresh food (including some nice gorgonzola cheese) for dinner after booking back in at the airport. Caught the evening plane to Singapore, Sydney & finally on to Canberra.

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Last Day In London

Left the hotel at 9:30 so we could try and pick up some cheap ticket for a show this evening. Arrived in Leicester Square and came up with some options for Janette & Bruce when they arrived at 10:30. They agreed that Chicago would be interesting so we picked up some ₤38 tickets for the 8pm session. We then headed off for the Imperial War Museum – Churchill War Rooms which follows Churchill’s career as a ‘Cold War Statesman’ statesman from 1945-65 concluding with footage of his funeral in 1965. It then explorers his early life from 1874-1900, his developing political career as a maveric politician from 1900-29, his wilderness years from 1929-39 before returning in 1940 and then again in 1951 as the Prime Minister. We were in this museum enjoying the history lesson for about 4 hours before taking a walk over Westminster Bridge, passed the London eye and on to the Blackfriars Bridge. Caught the train from Temple underground to get to the theatre and have dinner before the shows started. Had a wonderful seared salmon and salad whilst Janette & Bruce had a pasta spagetti dish. Arrived at the show in plenty of time and had a wonderful evening. What a brilliant way to finish off our English holiday.

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London & Addlestone

Had a little sleep in this morning after the latish night out and went off towards Waterloo, then Addlestone to see Charlotte and Ben who had visitied us in Australia some 8 years ago in Aus. Had a lovely afternoon with them both but went back to town early so we could check our bag weights for the plane flight on Tuesday to Munich and Sydney. Quite amazing that we met the Roes at Waterloo on the way home, shared a nice thin crispy pizza together before going back to our hotel for coffee. Funny how one has to go across the other side of the world to get the time to have dinner with friends from around the corner at home. Saw them to the station about 10pm so they could go home and we could sort out our bags.

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Brum to Bushy & London

After a nice sleep in a big bed we had a typical Swiss breakfast of croissants and rolls with cheese, jams, coffee & tea. Played with a bit of familiy genealogy with 3rd cousin Terry and did a bit of PC refreshing on his notebook and PC. After lunch we headed off to New Street Rail to catch the train in to London which will take us about 1½ hours and will get us to Euston by 4pm so we can book into our hotel for the next 3 nights. Headed off to Bushy Watford Junction to have dinner with the Andrea, Graeme, Harriett & Grace. Text’d them from Bushy to say we had arrived and they went of to Watford Junction to pick us up. Eventually got the misunderstanding sorted before going for dinner then returning to their new home for coffee via a shop to collect essentials for breakfast tomorrow at the hotel. Caught the train back into the city at 00:17 but we arrived just as the last train was departing for our final stop. Tried to catch a bus to no avail and ended up in a taxi which got us home nice & safely.

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Market Harborough to Brum

Left the boat and Rosie & Rob drove us and all the gear to Market Harborough Rail where we caught the train through to Leicester and then changed for Birmingham. Terry collected us and took us to his home where we had a nice cold lunch. Jennifer had quiet time in the conservotory doing her needlework while Terry and Tim did work on the genealogy whilst waiting for Susanne to arrive home from work. Had a traditional Swiss dinner of ‘Raclette’ which is a solid cheese square slice with various condiments added to it on a heating tray of the same name. Each ‘frying pan’ was about 4″ square. A brilliant meal and most different.

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Foxton locks to Market Harborough

Early morning was dead quiet and we realised that it was already nearly 8am. The frost was on the grass, but the sun was shining with a little bit of warmth so went and talked to the Lock Master with a view to queueing up to take our turn. There was a boat already on its way up through the 10 locks and we could not move until after 9am when he arrived at the top. We had a quiet relaxed breakfast and the locks were ready for us about 9:10. We headed off down the locks and after mooring at bottom lock walked back up to top lock for our hot chocolates and clotted cream ice-cream then continued on our way towards Saddington. We arrived at the 2nd winding point where we turned around and moored up before heading off to walk into Saddington (about ½ a mile) checking out the old and not so old headstones in the churchyard, admiring the manor house and the converted stables. Into the Queens Head pub for an Everard’s beer (because, as they say; you’re never ‘ard after Everard) and crisps then back down the hill for an on board lunch of fried halloumi cheese, tomatoes and toast. Very Yummy.
Unfortunately, it is time for our return journey to Market Harborough after a most enjoyable narrow boat week. Our Final evening meal together was at the Waterfront Restaurant & Pub at the Marina – and what a long walk home it was – must have been at least 7 metres from the rear of our Narrow Boat. What a brilliant week it has been.

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Crick to Foxton Locks

Headed off from Crick this morning rather early. The sun shining brightly and warming our backs. – needed to get a fair distance down the canal to be able to go through the Foxton Locks either last thing this afternoon or first thing tomorrow morning. Being realistic we would rather have a walk on the way. On the seas by 8am and the girls ran us in shifts to get through breakfast. Kept going until we arrived at Bridge 39 where we tied up and walked along the bridle path over the local fields to Welford. Feet totally blocked up with mud and we grew a little on the way. Arrived at the village and checked out the pub situation. Headed to “The Wharfe Inn” for a coffee & lunch – a nice tomato soup with a couple of slices of bread right beside the canal wharf. When we were done, we headed off along the tow path of the Welford Arm towards the Leicester Junction and then turned left with 2 bridges to pass before arriving back at No 39. Headed on again and collected Jen along the towpath and came back to the Welford Junction but turned left toward Foxton. We motored to the Foxton Locks arriving just before 6pm and moored for our early lock attack in the morning. We ate in, enjoying a home made pasta dinner and fruit salad & custard for dessert. Did a bit of genealogy work with Rosie and Rob before heading off to bed for a possible early start in the morning.

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Braunston to Crick

Today we had an easy day on the narrow boat – started off from Braunston rather later than normal and headed back towards Norton Junction. It was a lovely warm and sunny morning. We travelled alongside a volunteer group that was working with some young, underpriveledged teenagers and we helped them as they learned to work the locks. It was an interesting 1-2 hours. They headed off right and we left at Norton Junction. We then went back up the Watford locks. The cloud was getting heavier, the wind stronger and halfway up the locks the rain poured heavily. We then had a reverse shot at the 2 Km Crick tunnel and obviously followed a wood fueled boat because we had to breath in his smoke throughout the tunnel. Finally arrived at Crick where we moored for the night. Checked out the local eatery near the tie up point to find that they would probably be closed for the night following a funeral lunch and the family refused to go home. Probably just as well as the menu pricing was rather exorbitant. We ended having a beer and drying out by the fire at The Wheatsheef before moving to the Red Lion for an excellent dinner and had Bumpy Lumpy (caramelised toffee sponge with cream cheese & served with ice cream) for desert. Arrived back at our boat and taught Rosie & Rob the card game we learned with Andrew & Susan Lodge.

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Watford Locks to Braunston

Headed off (again) from Watford Locks and when we arrived at Norton Junction, we then turned right towards Braunston. Weather fine and sunny with periods of cloud. We had a pleasant walk around Braunston after emptying the sullage pump on the boat and picked up pork pies etc from the local butcher for lunch. The Church bells were ringing for the confirmation service as we walked to The Old Plough for dinner.

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Watford Locks towards Watling Locks

Got out of bed by 8am and headed towards Watford Locks to meet up with Merv, Mike, Julie & Paul who would be coming for a day on the Narrow Boats.
They eventually arrived as we were heading down the locks and joined us for the completion. It was great to see them all again after 5 years and they seem most interested in our type of holiday. After the locks we floated towards Norton Junction before ring left in the direction of Watling street bridge. We found ‘The New Inn’ at Long Buckby Top Lock where we had lunch (anly pub lunch so far which left something to be desired) and an interesting desert – a banoffee pie (banana & toffee – bit sickly). After moving on down to Norton Junction we turned left and went through a number of locks & bridges towards the Whitton Bridge. We finally had the chance to turn round and headed back to the bottom of Watford Locks where we bid farewell to all the Franks so they could return to Manchester – some 3 hours north.

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Foxton Lock through the Husband-Bosworth Tunnel

Talked to the lock master at Foxton Locks whose job it is to schedule who passes through the locks and when – we were added to a queue which would see us going up through the locks in 1½ hous time. The reason for this is that there are 10 locks connected to each other with no breaks in between so there is usually 5 narrow boats which come down the lock behind one another and each seperated by a 1 lock gap and then we lined up in the same way to go up the locks, 5 at a time. At the top, we found a little shop which supports the lock historical society – we all had hot chocolates and a couple of clotted cream ice creams (just beautiful). We continued on our way but will have no locks for the rest of the day although we did go through the Husband-Bosworth Tunnel which is 1070 metres long and wide enough for 2 boats which could pass in the middle. A walk into Husbands Bosworth stretched our legs and the local store gave us some essential provisions. The weather is chilly early morning but the sun is there and warms up even if there are small showers during the day. We have seen some lovely wildlife and we had some swans with 3 cignets chasing the boat hopeful of getting any little tid-bits we might have. Bread was quickly found for the babes.

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Leek to Market Harborough & the Canal Boat

Eventually got going after breakfast and back towards Derby and Leicester where we returned the hire car and caught the train down to pick up the narrow boat from Market Harborough canal wharf. Received the run through about the idiosyncrasies of the boat and the canals before Rosie & Rob arrived from Filey. Jumped on and loaded up the narrow boat with all our necessities for the next week before placing the bags in Rob’s car as the space on board will be rather limited. Motored off towards Foxton Locks where we moored for the night right outside the Foxton Locks Inn. A great 2 course meal and then back to the boat where we had an early night.

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ALERT: Boris is away again

Brisbane, 14 October 2010

All are to be awake and alert. There are reports that Boris is off again. He has been seen heading in the direction of the airport.

It seems the situation has been escalated. Someone in authority accidently signed a travel warrant. He is believed to be traveling to Paris. Sources reveal he will be departing on EK433 from BNE at 02:30 – surprised he is out of bed at that time – bound for DXB. From there he will transit to CDG on EK075.

It is believed he will be meeting with agents of that secret organisation, Alcatel, in Paris. Actually this resembles a dessert, commonly known as junket.

If he is seen sneaking into the Alcatel Dynamic Enterprise Tour as a representative of something important, all are to call the gendarmes.

That is all. More reports to follow.

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Roundhay Park

13th October
A late start for the day due to essential washing etc but after collecting Violet and Doreen we drove up to Roundhay Park and enjoyed lunch in the sunny conservatory. We followed this with a lovely sunny walk around the lake and then went to see Anne and Vernon for afternoon tea. We shared a lovely salmon dinner with Jill and Andrew with many laughs.

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Bolton Abbey

We headed off to Bolton Abbey and collected Violet & Doreen on the way. Started with a coffee after locating a book on ‘Brit Wit’ which has been a good laugh and then headed off on a bush track walk for 2½ hours beside the Wharfe River which ran along the valley from the abbey. Climbed the hill before dropping back down ready to cross the fjord which would have created very wet feet for most of us but we discovered an elevated footbridge which saved us this time. We went to the cafe beside the river Wharfe which was a brilliant outlook to peruse whilst we ate. Returning to the car via the road only took about 20 minutes (why did we not come this way in the 1st place?) and we travelled in the direction of Burnsell where we had a wonderful ice cream on the River Wharfe and on to Grassington where there were film crews filming a new show called “The Village” about pairs of couples who will be brought into the village to compete for a free house as a prize. They will be competing against the local village community. I was chased down the street by a huge tractor that is part of the show due to go to screen in February 2011. We finished of the day by coming home over Blubberhouses to Leeds.

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Scarborough

Collected Violet and Doreen and headed off to Scarborough after much discussion. The sun was shining and warm but as we neared Scarborough there was this cloud cover descending on us. Walked along the beach and had a fresh fish & chip lunch – great to be eating fresh fish over frozen fish any day. Because the day had turned rather cold, we headed back to Leeds via Pickering enjoying the sunshine once again. We all shared a lovely dinner together at the Lawnswood Arms where Doreen told us many go for their “funeral teas”

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Wentworth House

Headed off to see Malcolm & Carol for a mystery tour. They took us out to Wentworth House where we had morning tea and good look around the fake castle that was built for the children plus other buildings on the property and also a walk through the fields and woods filled with deer which were rutting around because it was the season. Down to the Fox and Hounds pub about 3pm for an excellent lunch and desert before heading off back to Leeds.

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Ilkley in the Yorkshire Dales

Picked up the car in Hunslet and was lucky enough to receive a double upgrade because the previous hirer had failed to return the keys for the Ford Mondeo. Drove out to Ilkley in the Yorkshire Dales to buy a butter dish to replace the one that Jack the dog stole just days before we left home. We are yet to find the bottom of that old dish. Walked through the town and helped an 87 year old lady following a hard fall on her face until the ambulance arrived and then off to the “Cow & Calf” for a fish & chip lunch. Walked off some of the lunch on Ilkley Moor by going to the rocks and then returned to get ready to go out to see the ‘Merry Widow’ at Mirfield. Tried to leave the house at 6pm but the door handle just swivelled when turned. We had locked ourselves in as we knew the front was jammed and so we spent a quiet night watching the Olympics at Jill’s. Left a message with Malcolm & Carol about our predicament and we would see them the following morning. Malcolm called about 10pm to see if he could comeand ‘pop’ us out.

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Leeds & York

Off to York with Jill by train and many lads going to either the York races or for a buck’s night. Had a good look at the National Train Museum and had lunch. The museum was great as was the one we saw in Denmark but different. Went off to do some shopping (I was with 2 girls afterall) and then to “The Coffee Shop” where I was presented with a menu showing all the teas sold but had trouble locating which variety of coffee I might like (was able to buy one anyhow). We returned to Crossgates on the train for dinner with Jill. (Andrew had gone for 3 days walking in the Lakes District with about 16 of his friends.)

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Paris & Sacré-Coeur Basilica

After watching the news and finding that there was an accident on the road in to Paris, we held off our departure time to go and see the Sacré-Coeur.
We drove towards the Arc de Triomphe and of course, this particular roundabout has 5 lanes but there are no line markings at all – cars come at it from all directions and just push their way across the intersection – no wonder insurance companies will not cover any accidents that occur on it. An exhilerating experience but surprised we got through in one piece.
After parking the car under the building where the Mirage Jet is parked in the front yard within the centre of Paris we headed off and had a coffee. Julien had decided that carting our cases with us all day would be a good idea so there was to be a challenging walk with luggage up the hill to the Sacré Coeure
As I was taking photos I realised that this spot was the final scene for the film ‘Rendezvous’ which was filmed in 1976 and followed a car racing across Paris early one morning and the driver meeting his girlfriend at the top of the stairs.
Wondered off for a nice lunch and just inches away from the pass through traffic before wandering around the corner to have a look at Place de Tertre where the local artists hang out and ply their trade. Some most interesting paintings and what a variety of styles.
After coffee and sad farewells to all our French friends at Paris Norde station caught the Eurostar to London, St Pancras which ran the track at close to 300kms per hour and it only took about 2½ hours to arrive at London St Pancras. Waited for less than an hour before getting on the train through to Leeds where we were met by Jill and Andrew who took us to their home which would be a luxurious base from where we could go out each day to connect with the local area.

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Mini France

Went to Mini France for the day – just fascinating. Silvie, Pierre, Mathilde & Julien had also not been here previously so it was extra special for them also. This village is just like Cockington Green in Canberra, only bigger (some 116 model replicas) – enjoyed hot dogs for lunch and were able to take our photos as if we were in a helicopter – see the ‘photos taken from the helicopter’ in the photo blog section for photos.
Yvette (Sylvie’s Sister) and Alex joined us for dinner – it was Yvette’s 65th – what a wonderful dinner yet again and a lot of fun as the birthday cake slipped down Silvie’s arm as she was taking it to the table. Pierre did his party trick and rescued it before it had to be eaten 🙂 😉

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Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher

Up early and into a lovely big people mover with Julien behind the wheel. Lots of rain as we drove along the freeway but the skies cleared as we arrived at The Château de Chambord: What a great place it was. We started with a blacksmith demonstration and a smithy who was just brilliant at ramping up the crowds – very well done before going in to see the show horses with demonstrations of jousts, coronations and acrobats on the beautiful show horses. A lovely lunch followed and then we went for a horse drawn carriage ride for an hour through the woods and the forest, seeing a wild boar and deer. Im enjoyed his afternoon siesta during the ride.
We then went into the château created by Francis I in 1519 when he was 25 years old. The château was set up as a hunting lodge but Francis died before its completion and what we see today was put in place by his son and grandson (Henry II & Louis XIV). The château had a coach room, chapel, the King’s chambers, State apartment and the Queen’s apartment and a double-spiral staircase in the centre which wind independently of one another, all in an estate of 5540 acres – the same area as inner Paris.

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Ireland

1st October
Left our B&B in Bray after a pleasant night with internet access provided and all email etc. was up to date by the time we had gone to bed last night. Arrived in Roscrea and continued down the N62 but nothing looked familiar from 5 years back – road was too wide and well kept. Eventually we found a farmer and asked for Jean Talbot’s location. After a blank look I asked for Anthony Whitten. “Is he Frank Whitten’s brother?”, Yes – oh, that’s easy so we went back in to town and turned left at the lights and out the Limmerick Road, finding the turnoff to ‘Fancroft’ at the 3Km mark. We continued on for another 2Km and turned left at the pub then recognised Jean’s house and driveway from a photo supplied by Mary & Wes Whitten some 3 years ago.
We knocked on the door, and there was Jean with her brother Joe behind her (I had met Joe 3 years ago in Dublin). We had a nice cuppa and chatted for a while before being shown our room and getting our luggage in from the car. Sat down to a beautiful home cooked farm dinner before retiring to the loungeroom and Jean’s son David came in for a late lunch. Daughter Heather and her boy David came in for high tea which was served about 6pm but proceeded by a walk with David around the local streets looking at the cows etc.

2nd October
On Saturday evening we had Ned, Florrie and son Lester , along with Frank’s wife and son, Evelyn and William and we all chatted along with Anthony

3rd October
On Sunday after we had been to the Aghancon Irish Church and seen the most haunted house in Ireland we returned with Henry because Joe needed a quick lunch to catch the 2:30 bus back to Dublin. Went of to the Dungar Cemetary at Roscrea and returned via Billy’s where we spent a pleasant hour before returnng for tea with Henry, Heather and her David. Ned and Betty also joined us for supper.

4th October
Left jeans about 10am bound for Newbridge Silverware Factory & Dublin to see the Book of Kells in Dublin. Spent extra time at Newbridge because it was so fascinating what can be made using silver and then we enjoyed lunch using their silverware. Headed off to the Book of Kells and landed in the middle of Dublin before reslising that we just did not have enough time available to do the visit justice. Decided to head for the airport by fllowing the aeroplane signs and I think we went down every street and over many bridges because they all seemed to have one. We eventually succeeded but had to go right round the airport to fill up with fuel and then return the vehicle.
Caught the plane to Paris CDG where Julien & Mathilde collected us as promised. They had been driving for 7-8 hours to be able to get to Paris from Grenoble. Went home and finally met Syvlie and Pierre after numerous meetings via Skype over the last few months. Had a lovely dinner of Soup Feuilleteé (which was made up of Lotte fish – , wild duck with a follow up of a cheese board and some nice wine. We realised that it was 01:15 and very quickly had showers (Jen used the broken toilet which I guess is better than me breaking beds) and headed off to bed. Tomorrow looks like it will be a big and exciting day.

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Bray to Roscrea

1st October

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Leeds to Leek

Left Andrew & Jill’s home in Leeds and headed of towards Leek. We went down the M1 and branched off towards Derby finding accomodation beside the Black Sheep Baa in Ashbourne. With our bed sorted we headed towards Stoke-On-Trent where to have a look at some of the potteries’ sale houses. Not really impressed but picked up a few items to bring back home as a momento. Travelled through to Leek where we met up with Si & Julia, David & Lyn, Ben & Kimberley before going to the local pub for dinner. Also at the pub were Alan & Maureen and cousin Peter was noticed listening to the band a little later in the evening. After a lovely night we headed back to the motel for a good night’s sleep.

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London to Dublin via Wales – 24-30 September

24th September – on our way to London
Arrived at Andrew & Susan’s home early evening with the wonderful Lodge taxi service waiting at the station for us.

25th September
Jennifer & Susan, along with Harry went off on the train to Brighton to shop for some size 13 shoes for Harry (amongst other things) and walk on the ‘sandy’ beaches and also to the end of the Brighton Pier before returning home to do some baking. Andrew, Toby & I went swimming or to the gym, then off to lunch in town whilst waiting for the girls to return so we could have a quick 9 holes @ Cuckfield Golf Course. Enjoyed a lovely family dinner including two of Toby’s friends who stayed overnight. Enjoyed learning a new card game like whist during the evening.

26th September
Jen, Susan, Harry & Toby disappeared early with Harry off to a theme park for the day and the other 3 off to church. Andrew & I had a sleep-in before getting up and starting to prepare the roast for lunch. Toffee (the dog) and I had an hour walk around the farmer’s field perimeters – the fields still beautifully green and Toffee just enjoying the chance for a run and chasing twigs. The opportunity of another 9 holes came up so I guess it just had to be taken :). Jennifer & Susan had a quiet afternoon with Toby but Toffee missed out on another walk.We all enjoyed the evening together

27th September
Andrew & Harry off to work & school, Jen and I headed of to Carshalton, south of London where we connected with Michael & Rosalind. Joyce, Margaret and Terry joined us for lunch with the younger members all joining us for dinner at the pub.

Jennifer, Rosalind, Michael, Tim, Catherine, Terry & Joyce having dinner at the pub

Unfortunately Jenny is at University in Bristol so was unable to join us. Chased up more stories about Dad and Bob and their cycling days in England, Germany and France during the 1930’s and 40’s.

28th September
Jumped on the train heading for Victoria where we ventured the underground to Euston. Caught the Virgin train to Chester and were greeted by our dear friend Doreen and introduced to her new partner John. We had a lovely time together staying with them in their new home in Connah’s Quay. We spent the afternoon together catching up on old times and seeing the latest photographs. Enjoyed a gorgeous apple pie for tea , made with apples from the garden.

29th September
Started off with a rather damp morning but this was breaking up and looked promising for the rest of the day. Headed off south into inner Wales by first visiting Llantwst Church and having a look at the Horseshoe Falls followed by a coffee at the Chain Bridge Hotel. Whilst there we noticed an old steam engine coming in to the Berwyn station on the other side of the river Dee. From here we went on to Llangollen and a good wander around the village before enjoying lunch up at the canal station kiosk on the Shropshire Union Canal.

The Card Shop near the Bridge in the town of LLangollen

It is most interesting that all road signs and place show both Welsh and English language. We found the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which is 1007 feet

John, Doreen & Jennifer on Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

across and 123 feet high above the river so we went across on the walking path and were able to cadge a ride back on an empty tourist narrow boat. It was Doreens first ride on a narrow boat. The captain gave us a quick history of the aquaduct and explained about the plughole to drain the excess water from the canal when necessary. Thomas Telford built the aquaduct over ten years from 1795 out of iron and steel sealing it with lead and boiling sugar. After driving back up the horseshoe pass we had a stop at the top and checked out the sheep that wagged their tail behind them and the magnificent view of the Llangollen valley as by now the sun was shining. The mountains here are very old and rock faces grey with slate.

John, Jennifer & Doreen on the Betws-y-Coed bridge


We continued on to Betws-y-Coed arriving as the shops were shutting so we enjoyed the window shopping and a look at the gushing water over the rocks/falls and saw a salmon jump. We enjoyed fish for dinner together and then John drove us all safely home after a wonderful day.

30th September
Up early, washing done and then the drive to Chester. It was now time to take the train to Holyhead and board the Stena Line Adventurer for our trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin.

We picked up the hirecar and travelled down to the Old Rectory in Bray where we stayed for the night after a wonderful salmon dinner on the waterfront.

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Heathrow to Haywards Heath

24th September

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Denmark – 17-24 September

17 September
After getting a taxi at 6:30 we jumped on a train from Junkerath and headed off to Köln before transferring to the train to Hamburg. It was delayed due to ‘malfunction’ and could not reach top speed. Because of this we were 40 minutes late with our connection to Denmark and hence missed the ICE train. We arrived at Odense about 2 hours late and were greeted by Vivienne on the platform whilst Eskil was at home preparing a traditional Danish dinner.

18 September
Back to the town centre on Saturday we explored an old style hardware store where there were many knick-knacks no longer found in the stores of today replacing our special string and leather belt hole puncher. Went off to the fruit & veg market and found some flat white peaches. The taste was better than expected and they looked so different.

Vivienne & Jen with Hot Dog & flat peach


19th September
Danish Railway Museum – experienced the 3rd class carriages for the poor through to the rich and Royal Family plus the big locomotives and the rail fixing & inspector/superviser vehicles. Saw the ferries that transported the trains acoss the Danish islands prior to the long bridges and under sea tunnels being built.

20th September
Went off to the Fjord&Baelt porpoise & seal research centre – a wonderfully presented exhibition and education on what is being researched and walking through the underground tunnel and watching the sea life. Watched the training of fur seals and porpoise and learnt about the salt waters of the great belt that divides the Salty North Sea and the less salty Baltic Sea. The great belt runs down through the Danish Islands. Research is even being completed on the influence that the oversea bridges between the islands has on the sea currents of the great belt. Research is also being attended on the sonar ability of the porpoises to avoid being trapped in the fishing nets by attaching noise machines to the nets.

21st September
Up early and went on the train to Copenargen travelling 1st class. Included was breakfast and free internet access. We walked down the main shopping Mall after passing the picturesque town hall and square, buying danish quiches for lunch. We sat in Kings Park for lunch basking in the 20° sunny day. We walked to Rosenborg Palace enjoying the well kept grounds and exploring the history of the kings and queens inside. The furniture and displays were all authentic and interesting especially some of the tapestries on the walls.


We walked back to the city centre through the Boatannical Gardens and park. As we were weary we hopped on the city sightseeing bus and did a round of the city, most interesting. Even found that the little mermaid was missing as she is visiting China for the world trade show.
During our stop for Danish pastries and coffee we decided to surprize Jean and check out her new appartment. We walked for ½ hour and found her new home. After the grande tour we all went out for dinner together and then back to the railway for our 1st class rail trip home to Odense.

23rd September
Headed off to Kværndrup Station and then walked the 3 kms to Egeskov Castle (supported by oaks piles) and it is said that the castle got its name because the entire oak wood was used to provide all the piles under the castle. The water level is consistently monitored so it does not get too low and let air get to the piles which would cause the castle to sink. The moat goes right up to the castle walls and the castle consists of 2 longhouses joined by a metre thick double wall which among other things, includes a staircase by which the user could move unseen between the cellar and the 1st floor. The castle of today was created in 1554 following the “Count’s Feud” whereby the local peasants attacked many manor houses and this one was updated to make attacks difficult. The castle was opend to the public by a Count Claus Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille (what a great name).

Spent the day checking out Egeskov Castle, the vintage cars and motor bikes, a couples of mazes (one dating back to 1730), the fairy dolls house (Titania’s Palace – and is on loan from Lego Land) which took 15 years to build, museum of horse drawn vehicles and kids playground areas and tree walking bridge.

24th September
On our way to Haywards Heath, just south of London

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