Saturday, 31 July 2010

St.Albans Gardens of the Rose

Here are a few photos of the Gardens of the Rose in St.Albans.
Ten times better than in recent years.

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Friday, 30 July 2010

Alliums and lilies

These are the spectacular Allium Christophii which I planted in the autumn, in our front garden. With all those conifer roots it was a bit of a task I can assure you, but I've wanted some of these for a long time and bought them at a bit of a bargain price.

They ended up being about 10 inches in diameter.

As usual, the waterlilies put on their annual display.

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Sansevierias flower - surely not!

O.K. 'Mother-in-Law's Tongue' to you and me.
Or, 'Snake Plant' apparently.
Either way, we have a pretty rare event here according to t'internet.
Has anyone else had a flower on their M.i.L.T.?

Unfortunately the flower was at its best while we were away for the weekend visiting Monet's garden in Giverny near Paris, so this is not a particularly good photograph.
I wonder if Monet ever had a flower on his M.i.L.T.?
(Full report of our trip to follow you'll be surprised to hear)
The flowers drip masses of sticky sap which can attract pests due to the strength of the scent which is 'strong and pleasing' apparently. Don't ask me.
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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Not so Great Western Railway

This is Cardiff indoor (obviously!) market, and very good it was too.
SWMBO liked the look of some of the kittens for sale but managed to resist the temptation.

Now, this is where it all gets a bit messy and the thoroughly enjoyable trip to Cardiff goes a bit wrong.
There were lots of passengers waiting at the station - on our platform! It turned out that there had been a lineside fire which had destroyed vital (isn't it all vital?) signalling equipment and these good folk were squashing on to 'our' train to get to Bristol. Luckily we had reserved seats so it wasn't a great problem. We did, however make extremely slow progress to Bristol as we were virtually being waved through manually.
After Bristol we made decent progress before coming to a halt. Someone was threatening to jump off a bridge right in front of 'our' train! He did actually kill himself, so we won't go any further with that rant.
We finally got to London after four hours instead of the usual two.
It gets worse...
Next we caught the underground to Farringdon, which we often do to ensure getting a seat before the train gets to St.Pancras and the hoards get on. Well, as we were so late by now, trains had stopped running through London due to overnight engineering work! So, back on the underground to St.Pancras accompanied by the smelliest vagrant you have ever come across. Mr Smelly from Smellytown.
Not finished yet...
The next train to Harpenden was absolutely packed - and was an 'all stations' stopper. Just what we needed.

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Saturday, 24 July 2010

Last photos of Cardiff Castle

Stained glass window in the entrance hall.

Few 'arty' ones taken from the Keep.

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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cardiff Castle 2

View of the castle from the ramparts.

The famous clock tower.

Nice fireplace!

Told you we went to the top.
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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Cardiff Castle 1

We spent quite a lot of time exploring Cardiff castle on our second day.

The grounds were being prepared for a weekend of polo matches. We were intrigued by the huge square water containers which were dotted around the site. On enquiring, we found they were weights to keep the marquees in place! Our best guess had been that they were there in case of fire - wrong.

Here's the Keep, Castle and Millennium Stadium all in one photo.

Yes, we did climb right to the top - and it was hot.
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Sorry to interrupt the story of our SUMMER visit to Cardiff.
We have just been to our local Chef & Brewer, The Chequers, and discovered that they are taking Christmas Bookings!
I'm sure that I've never seen this prior to my July birthday before.
Looks like a nice menu though. I guess that at £54.99 per person, you will need five months to save up?
I like a traditional Christmas lunch at home.
Although...we could walk to The Chequers I suppose. No.
Click on the menu to enlarge it - if you're interested that is. No.
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Monday, 19 July 2010

Cardiff's Mermaid Quay

This is the strangely shaped visitor centre at Mermaid Quay.
When questioned, the staff suggested that the view from the centre across the bay was like looking through a telescope. Hmm.

The Norwegian Church with tenuous connections to Roald Dahl.

Whilst at the bay, we had an excellent meal at "Garcon!" which I had booked through TopTable and this earned us points towards another free meal at a restaurant of our choice. What a good scheme. Booking through TopTable is very reassuring as you get to read 'real' reviews by 'real' diners, and we haven't been disappointed yet. Ooops, shouldn't have said that as we are having a free meal at The Albany in St.Albans next week!
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Saturday, 17 July 2010


A few weeks ago (still catching up!) we went to Cardiff for a couple of days.
I got return train fares from Luton Parkway for £32 each and a Travelodge family room right by Cardiff station for £11.50 each. Bargain!
On arrival we found the water bus stop in the park next to the castle and made headed for Mermaid Quay.

Past the Millennium Stadium.

Past Brains Brewery.

And off towards the sea.
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Thursday, 15 July 2010



This evening I received notification that I had won an award for posting one of the best retirement blogs in the world. It's from in the USA and I'm a bit stunned right now.
More red wine is called for...NOW!

Models too!

The St.Albans Model Engineering Society also came along as usual and put on an impressive display of models, as well as giving train rides to children - and some adults too!

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Museum Steam Day

Our annual steam day at Redbourn Museum was again held on Fathers Day and attracted a lot of interest. It's surprising how many locals now associate Fathers Day with the steam day.

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