Isles of Scilly, St Martin’s (Part 5 of 5)

Jude and I had a fabulous time staying on St Agnes, but I have to say that St Martin’s was probably my favourite, certainly of all the other islands. Like St Agnes, it had a very relaxed and unhurried atmosphere but it had the best beaches of all those we visited.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual journey around the Scillies. 😊

Isles of Scilly, Tresco & Bryher (Part 3 of 5)

I said I wouldn’t post any pictures of Bryher but, in the interest of fairness and balance (since I don’t want you to think it never rains in the Scillies), I’ve added a ‘bonus’ gallery at the end. Not that you will see much. I’m sure it’s a beautiful island, we just caught it on the wrong day, because…

As I think I mentioned, St Mary’s is the main hub of the islands, so when you stay on one of the other, outlying islands, you are known as being “off island”. When you want to travel from one “off island” to another, you are at the mercy of the boat schedule, in our case, the St Agnes Boat company. During our stay, they only went to Tresco once and Bryher once, so we had to go on those days. In both cases, it rained and rained – less so on Tresco thankfully… (It was a beautiful day when we went to St Martin’s, so don’t worry…)

The pictures (in the first gallery) below are therefore mainly of the Tresco Abbey gardens, which incorporates the Valhalla museum. Amongst other things, it contains 30 figureheads, collected from the various masted sailing boats which have been shipwrecked off the coast since the 1830’s.


Isles of Scilly, St Agnes & Gugh (Part 2 of 5)

As mentioned in my post yesterday, we stayed on the island of St Agnes, which is not much more than a mile (1.5km) long and around 0.75 miles (1.2km) wide, though that’s 1.25 miles (2km) if you include Gugh, which is attached via a sand bar at low tide. (See map). However, to walk all around the coastline of both it’s around 5 miles (or 8.5 km). There is a resident population of less than 100 people – mainly involved in tourism, agriculture and the production of the most delicious ice cream (fortunately for us, at Troytown Farm! 😋)

The gallery below is a rather random selection of photos taken over the 12 days that we were there.

Chelsea Flower Show

A few weeks ago now, my wife, Jude, had a rather pleasant surprise when she was offered two tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show – for free! Our ex-neighbours in Switzerland, Cecile and Olivier, had ordered them for the wrong day and they decided to give them to Jude. I don’t think they knew, but it was also for the day of her birthday, so it was an especially nice gift.

This post, therefore, is to say a huge THANK YOU to Cecile and Olivier, as we had a wonderful time exploring the various show gardens and exhibits in the Great Pavilion.

You will note that I’ve not tried to name each photograph as, not being much of a gardener myself, I didn’t want to make any mistakes, but I think the huge variety of colours and shapes speak for themselves.

And, if you’d like a nice Mad Hatter’s tea party water feature (see last pic), it’ll set you back a cool £75,000 (or $92,500) ! 😲

The Royal Yacht, Britannia, Edinburgh, Scotland

As mentioned in my previous post, our main reason for going to Edinburgh was to see the Royal Yacht, Britannia. The ship was ordered in 1952 and launched by Queen Elizabeth II herself on April 16th 1953. It was decommissioned in 1997 and is now moored as a visitor attraction in the port of Leith in Edinburgh.

As you will see it was a pretty wet and grey day for, certainly external, photography, but hopefully the images give you a flavour for what life must have been like for not only the Queen and Prince Phillip (& their family, when on board) but also the officers and crew.

Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

While we were in Northumberland, Jude and I went for a day trip to Edinburgh on the train. Our main aim was to see the Royal Yacht, Britannia, but our appointment wasn’t until the afternoon. So with drizzle in the air, we opted for a wander around the Scottish National Gallery (at least one part of which is free to enter btw).

I’m always amazed by the skill of any artist, but some of the paintings (shown below) just blew me away – particularly the level of detail on some of the larger works. You’ve got to love the look on the dog’s face in the last image.

Note: For the best ‘gallery’ experience, please click on the first (or any) image and page through… (The title of each piece and artist is noted underneath each image, though I’m afraid WP doesn’t like to include capitals and apostrophe’s, etc).

Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk, Northumberland, England

Jude and I spent last week on holiday in Northumberland. We went for a number of walks along the fabulous beaches along the coast and this was the first, around (most of) the island of Lindisfarne or Holy Island – so called because, in 635AD, St Aidan travelled there from Iona to set up a monastery.

The island is cut off from the mainland twice a day due to the tides, so you have to time your arrival and departure carefully. Luckily we were able cross around 10am and drive back again before 5:30pm. Just enough time to make the most of the glorious sunshine! 😊

Chateau D’Oex Balloon Festival (Take 2)

With various ‘balloons’ featuring in the news of late, I thought I’d re-post these images, taken at Chateau D’Oex Balloon Festival, way back in January 2006 and 2008.  To my amazement, it’s almost 3 years since I last posted them, which was during the first lockdown period.  How times have changed….!

With my apologies to long time followers, who will have seen these before, but I just love the colours and it reminds me of what we’ve been missing these past few weeks – pure white, crisp snow!  (We’ve had some blue skies recently, so I can’t complain about that!)  Enjoy!

Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales

I’ve mentioned a few times that our house looks over an estuary towards the tourist village of Portmeirion. (See banner picture at the top of the website – which now includes a winter view taken this morning). I went there many years ago, but have not been since arriving back in the UK. That is until last weekend, when they were hosting a Food and Craft Fair. Entry to the village was a tad cheaper than normal, so I thought I’d take advantage and have a look around (not to mention taking a few photos to post of course! 😊).

Portmeirion was the brainchild of Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis. He was an architect and he essentially designed the whole village, often using bits and pieces from other dilapidated or demolished buildings. The land was acquired in 1925 and the village was pegged out and the most distinctive buildings erected between then and 1939. Between 1954 and 1976 he filled in the details.

Though, I have to say that it’s not all about the buildings, as the grounds, “The Gwyllt”, are also a delight, with woodland trails set out for visitors, both young and old, to enjoy. Many of the trees and shrubs originate from all around the world. (See pics 23-27).

The village is recognised worldwide as the setting for the cult 70’s TV series The Prisoner. The Round House, where No. 6 lived, is now a shop selling memorabilia.

As you will see, it wasn’t the brightest of days for photography but, given the huge number of visitors that day, I’m amazed that the images are almost people free.