Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Whitby part 2

Lovely bright sunny morning, and we went to a workshop on songs of the North East. Ably and hilariously compared by Johnny Handle, it featured several singers from Tyneside and Teeside explain gin how they'd got into singing local songs, and giving us some examples. The Mighty Wilsons were there again, and it was a great concert. At the end they gave a joint rendition of Union Miners, a great way to finish.

On the way out we spotted our local dance team, Sheffield City Morris Men who were dancing at what used to be called the Scoresby Monument until it blew down a couple of years ago.

With them were Mortimers Morris, another of my favourite teams

So I stayed and watched and chatted to friends in the sun. then off to the Station for a pork pie and a pint!
After that I did a bit of concert dashing. Up to the Rifle Club to see Jim woodland, a singer songwriter who I remember from many years ago when he used to come to the Hefts and Blades folk club with the Salami Brothers. he was an absolute joy to listen to.

Then a dash to the Spa Theatre where I caught Tich Frier, who was excellent and gave a passionate tribute to the centenary of the First World War singing some great songs from the trenches, including When This Lousy War is Over, and At The end of The Road.
The Foxglove Trio were up next, and I really enjoyed them. A singer, and guitar and melodeon player, and a wonderful cellist.

Then it was back to the flat for dinner, and then out to the Spa for another dance.

This morning's workshop was on Songs in South Yorkshire Customs from Ruaridh Greig. He'd done a lot of research on "house visiting" customs including the Tup, Old Horse, Wassailing and Caking. Unfortunately most of them have died out know, but I was surprised how prevalent they used to be in villages around Sheffield, and how local they are. I'd always assumed they were fairly national ones. A great talk.
Up to the Rifle Club again for lunch, and then down to The Coliseum to Cath John Kirkpatrick, who gave a great performance as always.

I came straight out and got in the queue for the next concert which was the April Verch Trio. A Canadian fiddle player and step dancer with a bass player and guitarist. Wow, they were fantastic. Lots of bluegrass, Appalachian, old fashioned swing, and some amazing step dancing. Have a vide which I'll post when I get home, too hard on the iPad!

Back into the queue again for Dance Adversity Challenge, two dance teams in a spoof of University challenge.

Back to the flat for a rest and some fish and chips ( second so far, good job we get plenty of walking in!), then we all went our different ways to concerts, and I went up to the spa to see April Verch again. Unfortunately as I left the flat, the heavens opened and I got thoroughly drenched. My jeans were soaked, and were still wet four hours later. Despite sitting steaming int he audience, I Really enjoyed it, and her step dancing was some of the fastest I've seen, even whilst playing the fiddle!
The the welsh band Calan were on, who were also very good.

And they had some clog dancing to accompany them

All met up in the late night extra for more dancing, and a spot from another Sheffield team, Boggarts Breakfast, who had decorated themselves with blue lights for the occasion.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Whitby time again

It's Whitby time of year again, Folk Week is something we don't like to miss! As usual, it took us 2 days to get here :)

Set off with our fiends Andrea and Donald, stopped for coffee in Tadcaster, home of many good breweries,where we learnt that the water, so important for brewing, comes out of "popple wells".
Arrived in Pickering at lunchtime and checked in to our lovely but rather quirky hotel where there were sweets and biscuits in the rooms, and the tea and coffee were in empty herb and spice jars. Lunch in the Black Swan, and then a walk round town which is really pretty.
Dinner in the evening was in the White Swan.

Up bright and early, and off on the steam train to Goathland

Half way there we heard the engine getting slower and eventually it stopped, having run out of steam. We had to wait for about 20 minutes whilst presumably more coal was shovelled in and steam built up again. Goathland of course was the setting for Hogsmeade, and is also Aidensfield in the Heartbeat series.

We had a pint in The Goathland Hotel, aka The Aidensfield Arms, and then walked to Beck Hole, where there is the wonderful pub, The Birch Hall Inn, home of good beer and pork pies and pickle. To our delight, this time we were treated to a corned beef and pickle sandwich!

A lovely walk then to Grosmont, which involves a bit of hill over a tunnel, but you get a great view of the town.

Train back to Pickering, this time a diesel, and dinner was a curry in a local Indian restaurant which was very good.

Checked out , and drove to Thornton le Dale to get some chocolate from the lovely little chocolate factory in the village, and then off over the moors to Whitby. Normally the heather is bright purple, but a lot of it looked dead this year. Still got the wonderful view of Whitby as we came over the moors though.

We have a bit of a routine form this point:-)
Coffee in Sherlocks

Shopping in the coop, lunch in the Duke of York

Which for me, has to be a Whitby crab sandwich

Then pick up the tickets, which this year a wristbands, horrid!! Have to fasten mine so it's easy to remove. Can't abide wearing them all the time.
Then of course the parade of all the dance teams. Gog Magog Molly were the most colourful

And Sheffield City Morris the rudest!

Back for Whitby fish and chips in the cottage, then out to the Spa Theatre to see the Doonans and The Wilsons in concert together. Missed the first bit because it was full, but managed to get in to see The Wilsons, and then the best bit, both families together. What a sound!

Into the ceilidh for the last hour, where the band were Steamchicken, excellent. Then the shortish walk home for a nightcap before bed. We've got quite an assortment of night caps in our drinks cabinet this year.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sheffield peregrines in Provo

Woke up on Tuesday to a familiar sound, I though it was one of our peregrine falcons from Sheffield outside of the window. Looked out, and there it was, tearing a smaller bird to pieces. By the time I'd got my camera, the smaller bird was gone and the falcon was having a rest. Got a reasonable picture of it on my camera, this ones not so good form my phone. From a quick glance at Wikipedia, I think it's an American Kestrel.

Went for a walk along the beach. Really busy, as you can see.

And the sea really is that colour. A pelican thoughtfully stopped to fish right by us.

Then back to the pool for Stuarts daily 40 lengths. Went to see Helen for lunch and delicious tuna sandwiches, and when Owen woke for his nap we tried out their pool which is lovely. Owen enjoyed kicking around and splashing.
Lots of fun time playing with Owen later, who loved Grandpa's car keys.

Another fab meal cooked by Toby at the BBQ, mohito chicken, washed down with mohitos of course! Came back and thought we'd have a nightcap at the resort bar, but it was shut. They obviously go to bed early here.

Wednesday we went for an adventure, and drove to North West Point, most of which is down an unmade road, and the last couple of miles down a sandy track. Probably best if we don't tell the hire car company where we've been. Luckily the tyres stayed undamaged and we didn't get stuck in the sand. Another glorious beach.

And more bird life, an egret and an osprey. The osprey has made its nest on a pole which had think has had a light in it in the past, and the nest is made from all sorts of rubbish it has picked up, including some bright blue rope from Fisherman's nets.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Da Conch Shack.

Stu had conch, I had jerk chicken and rice and peas, washed down with local beer. Another day, another beach, another beer.

I bought a conch shell from a local seller, and also found a couple in the sand which will look good somewhere at home. Not sure where yet.

Back for a swim and a read by the pool. Then off to see Owen again before bedtime, and dinner at the Tiki Hut with Toby. It was chicken and ribs night. So, we had chicken and ribs. Plus a couple of mohitos of course.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Provo adventures

Off on our travels again. This time back to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands to see Toby and Helen. Drove to Heathrow Saturday afternoon, with our suitcases and big box of assorted stuff, mainly presents for Owen and some treats! We did get comments when we posted this on Facebook that it looked like we'd packed a light sabre.

Decent meal at the Sofitel and an early night and early start. Great news on the plane, headsets are allowed during takeoff and landing. I.m not a brilliant flyer, and hate takeoff, so to have loud music in my ears while we took off was great, drowned out the noise of the engines.

Bizarrely we got our first gin and tonic at 1030, and lunch at 1100, but I always think time isn't real in a plane! Then I fell asleep listening to random songs from my iTunes. Everything for folk to musicals, classical to reggae. Think I slept on and off for about 4 hours. Then read and watched TED talks. An hour stop over at Nassau, and we arrived.

Met by Toby and Owen, a short drive to theirs where we met Helen, and unpacked the box. Owen loved his new chair sent to him by his Granny

And all of his birthday presents form is, including his first bike

Had a lovely meal of BBQd chicken, cooked on the communal gas BBQs they have, great idea, and then checked in at our resort, very tired we intended to go straight to sleep, but realised the Oscars were on, and we were for once in the right time zone to watch them, so we did!
Then a very long jet lag induced sleep.

Woke up to glorious sunshine, and had breakfast by the beach. The view whilst we were choosing breakfast was pretty impressive.

It was nice to see the resort in sunshine, having arrived in darkness last night.

Stuart needed to get him swimming, a good 40 lengths, whilst I watched and listened to music. And floated in the pool occasionally.

After a quick lunch. Helen and Owen met us on the beach where we had a fun time building sandcastles so Owen could jump on them, and even made it for a paddle. The sun was going down by now but it was still warm and the light was fabulous.

After a quick swim in the pool to get rid of the sand, we ate in the restaurant on the beach, where Owen was completely transfixed by the live music, and amused the whole place by dancing to the reggae music. Finally, my favourite drink of the islands, a mohito.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Lazy holiday in Jamaica

Last year we went to Jamaica for our 10th Wedding Anniversary, but got hit by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily they gave us a free holiday,  so we took it. Here's a blog about what we did. Which was very little :-)

Get up 5am for taxi. Accident on M1so lots of queues. Cab driver goes off piste and we have to use my phone as sat nav to get to Gatwick after 5 hours.
After check in priority pass gets us into lounge for coffee and breakfast.   Nice.
As we board we notice staff are checking everything manually. Told on plane that power cut affected part of terminal, all systems are down. Flood in server room?
On tarmac for 3 hours, watch staff manually checking every bag. Watched a whole film before take off.
Good flight. Watched Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and Alan Partridge.  After landing, straight to Sandals arrivals lounge for first Red Stripe of holiday. Yay! 100 min bus journey to resort. Arrive too late to meet butlers, (yes, we have butlers).
Up to room. Towel art on bed

Unpack. Order room service. Burgers, chips, beer. At 6 am UK time. Does wonders for resetting clock.

Up latish. Phone butler on mobile phone left in room. Collect us in golf buggy to take to breakfast. This was view from our table

Then beach, swim. Rum punch. 
Jerk chicken, rice and peas, beer for lunch, in sun. Unlike last year. 
Afternoon in pool bar sampling cocktails. Dirty banana, White Russian. Pink lady. To name but 3. Forget rest.
Back to room for nap!  Buggy to dinner. Kelly's Dockside. On pier, in ocean, beautiful, mixed starter then Surf and turf.

Walk up to bar. Couple of drinks. I fall asleep. Narcolepsy or jet lag?

Up late, again. Buffet breakfast. To pool. Very hot. Spend morning relaxing on floats, drinking champagne. 

Back to villa. 
Lunch of club sandwich, salad, fries, brought by our wonderful butler  Damian and Oshane together with bottle of Jack Daniels because it was about the only drink not in our room and we'd said we liked it!

Afternoon by our private pool

 trying to watch my son Dans play which was being streamed from Drama Studio. Wifi not really up to it, but managed to hear the sound from most of it.  
Various cocktails, all home made.
In evening went to beach club for beach party. Given a coconut filled with rum as we got there

Good food,  had steak and lobster. 

Entertainment began with a fire eater, then two pirates, called "One Pair" because they each had one leg, but a different one, so they only had to buy one pair of shoes....  Got more cringeworthy after that - drunk Americans in a dance competition.  Lots of twerking. So, up to bar for drink. Awesome fiddle player entertained us there.

Back over road to Polo bar. Very bad piano player. Not our night for entertainment.  Back to room to find towel turtle on bed. Which was nice.


Up late again. Butler took us to buffet breakfast. Here he is coming to get us

Getting used to starting day with Bucks Fizz, or Mimosa as they call it here. Back to room, read reviews of Dans play. All good. Watched a video review. Also good. Walked down through lush gardens and took bus to Rivera side. Short walk to pool. Hot. More lounging. More cocktails. 
Lunch by pool of fresh cooked pizza. Very good.
Then more reading, more lounging, more cocktails. Back to room for well earned rest after a busy day.

Over to seaside for dinner in Reef Terrace. Fantastic Caribbean restaurant overlooking sea. Great moon. Lots of jerk chicken, coconut shrimp and tamarind beef.

Over to pool bar for more cocktails, including a red yellow and green Bob Marley. Looked good, but was too sweet. Think its the only one I've had that I've not liked.

Spent an hour chatting to other tourists and barmen.

Then up to amphitheatre for steel band, but had to sit though some games first, men vs women, although it was quite funny. 

Steel band were amazing, not sure how they play and dance at same time. So energetic.

Even Michael Jackson turned up. Didn't get video, but he was great and moonwalked sideways. Better than MJ,

Back to our bar for nightcap and listened to some good piano playing.

Buffet again, this time had a freshly cooked omelette.
Watched 3 huge birds circling, looked like buzzards. No-one seemed to now what they were. Described to us as John Crows, but they weren't crows, and vultures. Think they were definitely buzzards.

Sat by our pool for a while, then down to main one. Decisions, decision, pool or beach. And if pool, which one? Several to choose from, and all in amazing surroundings.

Main pool for most of day. A few cocktails, lunch in buffet, and read most of new Bridget Jones book.
Cocktails and more reading in villa, then dinner in China Doll which is the Chinese restaurant, in Jamaica, with a French chef. Drinks in bar with couple from Kent. Discussed tricky subject of tipping butlers!

Same old...
Breakfast, pool, lunch, reading, swimming, cocktails.
Got pictures of Johncrows which we can now definitely say are Turkey vultures

Dinner in a Kimonos for tappenyaki. Excellent food, but not as much showmanship as you'd get from a Japanese tappenyaki

Drink in pool bar, and then to auditorium to watch Jamaican drummers and dancers. Good show. 

Back, nightcap, bed. So tired again. Wondering if its the anti-histamines I'm taking to calm the insect bites I picked up when we first got here. Maybe need to cut down on them.

Breakfast, beach. Sea. Rum punch.

Lunch in Kelly's looking at the ocean. 

Bit of a walk along beach, looking at fish, sea urchins.
More beach.
Pool for cocktails
Back for rest

Dinner in Valentines which is Italian.
Reggae night in auditorium. Excellent singer. 

Pianist in Polo bar, good player but can't sing! Remember him from last year.

Breakfast, then to Riveria pool

More reading.
Pizza for lunch.
Thunder, rain, lightening whilst we eat lunch under an umbrella. Soon clears up. 
More cocktails. The barman tells me it "tastes like chicken" as he hands it to me. I'm glad to say it didn't.
Dinner in Neptunes which is  on beach. Really good fish stew.

Back for amazing chocolate buffet - so much chocolate in one place. Even had chocolate cocktails.

Pool. Reading. Cocktails Swimming. 
So many wasps (or bees) round the pool bar it was getting a bit dangerous to go too close. 
Lunch in buffet
More pool
Dinner in Manor, a Caribbean restaurant. Managed to eat in a different place every night, and all excellent.
Said goodbye to Damian as he wouldn't be on duty tomorrow.

Finished packing, had breakfast and checked out by 11
Had great tour of grounds from Oshane - he used to be a gardner and knew all the plants, and took us to some places on the report we hadn't seen before. We saw mango trees, avocado trees, and amazing flowers.

Then spent some time by pool, followed by lunch in the grill. 
Back to pool and Oshane brought us a cocktail and a dish of coconut shrimp which was delicious. 

And that was it. Bus to airport, and hour in lounge, and we were off. And our flight was 90 minutes shorter because we had a storm behind us giving us a bit of help!

Fabulous holiday. And as you can see, it was hectic!