Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Wednesday 23rd September 2015
I returned to London from Bournemouth and headed back to my flat in Crystal Palace. To celebrate the end of conference we ate out. It was mid afternoon and we weren't after a big meal so we went back to the White Hart on the Crystal Palace Triangle. We had a 3-dish platter for only £12. Good value. Good food.
Tuesday 22nd September 2015
Final evening in Bournemouth and I met up with about 20 friends for a meal in Valentino's Restaurant, an Italian on Exeter Road. There were other groups of large numbers of people in the restaurant at same time and it seemed set up to deal easily with them. Food was reasonable and prices not too bad.
I had some time to kill on the morning of Tuesday 22nd September 2015 before conference started so I decided to take a walk along the pier. Few people were around though some surfers were making use of what waves there were. A tractor was busy clearing any litter from the beach. And the air was bracing!
Monday 21st September 2015
Behind the Marriott Highcliff Hotel in Bournemouth are cliffs from which you can have a great view out over the bay. To the left, you can see as far as the Isle of Wight. To the right you can see as far as Poole. Worth a visit just to enjoy the view.
Monday 21st September 2015
In the Bournemouth Gay Triangle is a cafe called Flirt. I arranged to meet a group of friends there. Prices here, I discovered, were cheap for an establishment in a tourist area. Sadly, I was not impressed by the quality of the food.
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Sunday 20th September 2015
West Cliff Road in Bournemouth seemed to be something of a magnet for me in terms of eating out. A couple of was doors up from my hotel the Indian Ocean restaurant.
The food was reasonable but one of the waiters had a touch of the Basil Fawlty school of customer service.
19th September 2015
I gathered together some friends at the conference and persuaded them to join me for dinner. We found Cristallo on West Cliffe Road, conveniently just across the road from my hotel. The restautant was run off its feet when we were there, full of people from the conference. They still found room for us, first outdoors then, when space became available, indoors. Food was reasonable and not overpriced.
19th - 23rd September 2015
My hotel whilst in Bournemouth was Marlins, on West Cliff Road. It is a small bed and breakfast with, I think, 12 rooms. This was mine:
The price included breakfast. I had full cooked English on most days though on one morning when I turned up early, they still served me and I opted for a bacon buttie.
I've stayed in 8 hotels this year. Marlins was the only one that was not part of a chain. And in my humble opinion, it was the best of the 8.
Monday, 28 September 2015
19th - 23rd September 2015
I was back in Bournemouth for the first time in 7 years. The purpose of the visit was to go to the Liberal Democrats' autumn conference, a 4 day affair that meant I was in the Bournemouth International Centre for most of my time in the town.
Not a great deal has changed, though a few building sites are throwing up new hotels and office blocks and the BIC had had a makeover.
We were fortunate with the weather however. Sunny and warm with only one night when it rained. As my time was occupied mainly with politics, I was not able to see much on my visit, though I did get down to the pier and visited a small number of restaurants. More about that later.
Saturday 19th September 2015
Tucked away on platform 11 of Clapham Junction station is Longitude. I was on my way to Bournemouth, changing trains at CJ having started my journey at Crystal Palace. I normally try to avoid station cafes as prices are often, in my humble opinion, far in excess of the quality and service on offer. However, I had had no breakfast. A cup of overpriced tea and a muffin beckoned. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they were merely expensive, not massively overpriced. I had 10 minutes to consume them before the train arrived.
I was in London on Friday 18th September and I did what I occasionally do when there - I went to the Ghurka Cottage in the Triangle in Crystal Palace for dinner. Usually it's fine but I was a touch disappointed with the starter. The onion bhajis were a bit dry and too floury. Main course was fine.
Sunday, 27 September 2015
12th September 2015
The Bowes Show is an annual event and for the past 4 years we have attended it. It is near Bishop Auckland and requires an hour's drive to reach it from our house on Tyneside. One reason we go is because I enter the preserve-making competitions, some of which I win - I therefore have titles to defend!
There are various displays of skills - this year included wood carving using a chainsaw - and sheep, cattle, donkey, horse and pony competitions.
Sadly this year the weather was awful. It tipped down for much of the day, turning large areas of ground into mud. It won't put us off going back next year.
Friday, 25 September 2015
The world's longest running steam railway is right on our doorstep. The Tanfield Railway dates back to the start of the industrial revolution as a steam powered rail system and goes back even further as a horse drawn wooden railway. On 11-12 September, a number of heritage sites in the area had open days as part of Heritage Weekend. I spent 12th September at the Tanfield Railway, running a stand for the Sunniside History Society. It also gave the the chance to look behind he scenes at the locomotive workshop which was fascinating.
31st August 2015
Bank holiday Monday is a favourite day for agricultural shows. We decided to go to the Glendale Show near Wooler in Northumberland because it has a goat section. I keep goats and am considering putting mine into a show in the future. This was a chance to have a look at what would be needed and what it all involved. We also had a look around the other competition tents and activities.
Overall we enjoyed the show and we're expecting to make a return visit next year, with the goats.