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Holiday Day Five – Midland Air Museum & Baddesley Clinton

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For the final day of our holiday, we didn’t really know what we wanted to do, so I googled things to do in Coventry and the top result was the Midland Air Museum, based at Coventry Airport. At only £6.50 per adult, it was an absolute bargain!

The main exhibit is all about Sir Frank Whittle, the inventor of the Jet Engine. His story was fascinating, and I’m really glad I got to learn all about him. There was a hangar full of old planes, including a couple with steps up to the cockpit so you could sit inside. Around the edge of the hangar were display cabinets full of information.

Once we stepped outside, I got a big grin on my face to see a Vulcan parked outside! You could even climb up into the cockpit if you wanted (although the ladder looked a bit rickety for me!). There was no charge to do so, although they do say you can leave a donation for the upkeep if you want to. The outside exhibition area contained a lot more planes on display, with a few people hard at work on restorations.

I’d really advise people to go for a quick look around, we stayed there a couple of hours and we learnt a lot. You could also combine it with a trip to the RAF Museum at Cosford which is nearby. I’ve not been there, but I’d love to go!

After we’d left the air museum, it was a bit too early to head back to the hotel, so we decided to visit the nearby National Trust property that my uncle had been telling us about: Baddesley Clinton. It was a beautiful medieval moated house, with fantastic gardens. The interior is Elizabethan, showcasing the priest holes which were necessary to hide the priests from the persecution of Catholics at the time. The house contained some beautiful stained glass, although I wouldn’t call the mounted foxes head above the door particularly beautiful – quite horrifying really!

Outside round the moat were lots of little ducklings, and some ducklings that were obviously not so young and halfway between fluffy down and grown up feathers. They were very tame though and not scared of coming near us! Just like the ducks in the café courtyard, who were not shy about trying to demand some food, pecking at our legs until we shooed them away to bother another poor family!

Holiday Day Four – Castle Drogo

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Day four of our holiday involved a drive partially home for the next stage of our holiday in Coventry. We didn’t want to lose an entire day to travelling, so we decided to pick a National Trust property on our way and stop off for a look around. We picked Castle Drogo in Devon completely at random, and it was quite an interesting choice to make.

Castle Drogo was the last castle to be built in the UK and it was built will full electricity. But despite only being finished less than 100 years ago, the roof has never been watertight and there is a lot of water damage.

We didn’t know this until we got there, and neither did we know that they are currently in the process of a multi-million pound restoration of the castle, which involves taking it to pieces and rebuilding it again. Most of the castle is covered in a big plastic sheeting covered scaffolding structure to keep the weather out, so you couldn’t see what it was supposed to look like.

One condition of the funding that they received for the restoration was that the castle had to remain open throughout. None of the regular exhibits are on show as the castle is in such disarray, so each room in the house which remains open contains a different theme, for example the ‘Room of Time Passing’, which was storing every clock from the house.

It was fascinating to see how the restoration is completed, and I’d love to go back there once it’s finished to see the castle in it’s true glory!

After we’d walked around the castle and the gardens, we stopped for a quick Devon cream tea, during which we were joined by a very friendly little bird who just wanted a few crumbs!

Cornwall Day Three – Lands End & St Michael’s Mount

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No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a trip to Lands End, so we decided to venture down there on day three of our holiday. We arrived quite early, but it was already packed with visitors! There were quite a few shops to go in, then we ventured out to the actual end of the land, with spectacular views!

Surprisingly, after having no phone signal in pretty much the rest of Cornwall, we actually got a really good signal out there, go figure!

We were initially undecided about whether to pay to get our photo taken with the famous sign post, but eventually we realised that we’d paid so much to get there that another tenner wasn’t going to hurt, and it would be a nice memento of a lovely day!

After eating a proper traditional Cornish pasty, we left Lands End to go to St Michael’s mount, but after seeing the boats that were going out to the island, and then reading that the path up to the top was steep with no hand rails – with no proper shoes with us, we decided to just sunbathe on the beach instead. Unfortunately, we didn’t put sun cream on, so we both ended up quite sunburned since it was such a lovely sunny day!

But Cameron had fun digging a big hole, and I had fun walking around in the cool water, so it was a perfect end to a great day!

Cornwall Day Two – Holywell Bay

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On the second day of our holiday we decided to go for a drive and find one of the National Trust car parks on the coast which are free to park in for National Trust members like us. We picked Holywell Bay randomly from the map and boy did we make a good choice.

The car park was a (slow) ten minute walk /stroll from the beach, although you do have to take your shoes and socks off to cross a stream that flows into the river. Not that I wanted to put them back on after because the sand was so soft and golden white. And the sea, I’ve never seen anything like it! I’m used to the slightly murky looking seas of Scarborough and Bridlington, but this sea was so crystal clear and blue it was almost Caribbean!

We sat on the beach for quite a long time before taking a slow stroll down to the sea and then back round up the stream back to the car. Unfortunately, Cameron couldn’t get his jeans to roll up over his calf muscles, so as you can see he got his jeans quite wet!

As it was Sunday, everything was closing quite early, but we stopped off at the Cornwall Gold shop for a look around at some very nice (and expensive) jewellery and then a scrumptious cream tea!

HM2014 – 6th May

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Yesterday was the first day this week that I managed to get over 10,000 steps!

To start the day, we went to Beningborough Hall, a National Trust property near York. Twinned with the National Portrait Gallery, they had an exhibition called Royals: Then and Now, with portraits from Charles I right up to cute Prince George. As well as walking around all three floors of the house, we also walked around the gardens and to the nearby farm shop, taking us to about 5000 steps in total.

After all that, we treated ourselves to tea and cake sat outside in the garden. At £9.50, it wasn’t cheap, but since we get in to the property free as National Trust members, it’s worth it really!

After that, we went to Asda to get some stuff for tea, and that tagged on another thousand or so steps, but after we’d eaten tea, I was feeling restless and didn’t feel like we’d walked enough, so I dragged poor Cameron out for a walk in the rain around Golden Acre. Since all the benches were wet, we couldn’t have our usual sit down half way round, so we pretty much power walked the whole way!

Walking in the rain at Golden Acre!

 

I have to say, I’m really loving going out for these evening walks, especially since all the extra calories burned means I’m getting nowhere near my calorie limit for the day!

Nostell Priory

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Since we just renewed our National Trust memberships, and it’s been a while since we went for a walk anywhere, we decided to stay close and go to Nostell Priory. We took a picnic with us which we ate in the car before our walk (still slightly too cold for eating outside!), then went for a walk around the lake at Nostell Priory. There’s a few different walking routes around the grounds, so we’ll probably go back and explore some more later in the year! By the time we’d finished, we were just ready for a nice cup of tea and a big slab of cake, rounding off a pretty awesome day!

While we were there, we picked up a big map of England with all the National Trust places marked on it, so we’re going to try and get to as many as possible this year! Not quite as grand as exploring the world, but much cheaper and still extremely fun!

Brimham Rocks: 5th January 2014

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As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we went for a rather cold walk around Brimham Rocks, a National Trust property in North Yorkshire, near Ripon. Cameron had never been there before, but I went many many times when I was younger. It was a fab afternoon scrambling up and down the smaller rocks, although it was too wet and I was too scared of falling to get very high!

Holiday to Ashington

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Well after a hard couple of months at work, we decided to take ourselves away for a long weekend, heading up north on Friday afternoon and coming back late Sunday evening. We stayed in a Premier Inn in the Queen Elizabeth II country park in Ashington, which is kind of in between Newcastle and Alnwick. It’s recently been refurbished and it was really lovely.

On the Saturday, we started off by going to Barter Books in Alnwick, a huge second hand bookshop complete with roaring fires and a miniature train set running around the top of the book shelves. We spent over an hour looking round the books, and I think I managed to restrain myself pretty well, although I don’t think Cameron would agree! After we’d been there, we headed for the beach at Alnmouth for a bracing walk along the water’s edge. We were both glad to get back in the car after that! On Saturday evening we headed down to a local retail park for a bit of shopping and then a lovely romantic date at Bella Italia.

On Sunday, we stayed in bed a bit later (checkout wasn’t til 12), and after we’d eaten breakfast we decided to head up to Hadrian’s Wall. Cameron had never been there, and I’d only ever been inside the visitor centre, so it was a new experience for both of us. We headed for a National Trust visitor centre so we could get in for free with our memberships, and spent quite a while wandering around the museum and the ruins. We could have driven back across to Newcastle and headed down the A1, but we decided to take the long route and continued across the country to Penrith and then a hairy drive back down through the Yorkshire Dales in complete darkness. I was very glad it was Cameron behind the wheel and not me!

Recent Pictures – Golden Acre, Fountains Abbey and others…

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I need to get better at keeping up to this, so there’s a few posts rolled into one here. As part of my new year ‘get fit’ resolution, I’ve been going to the gym for about 90 minutes five times a week. On one of the other days, Cameron and I have been going out for walks at various places. It started off at Golden Acre Park, followed by Harewood House and Roundhay Park. We found out that it only costs £20 a year to join the Scottish National Trust, but membership of the Scottish National Trust gives you access to all the English places too, so we visited our first National Trust place (Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal) this weekend. We’re hoping to visit many more this year, but the fresh air is great, and it’s a cheap day out (if we remember to pack up a picnic)!

It was also my Mum’s birthday yesterday, so if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you’ll see some pictures from the meal that we went out for. I’ll definitely try to keep up to this better so there’s no quite so many pictures next time!

Golden Acre

Roundhay Park


Pudsey


Fountains Abbey

Mum’s Birthday