Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunshine and sea

I can always find things to make me smile especially when the sun shines!

A cold wind was blowing so the deckchairs were not being used!

This is Bournemouth which is further along the Dorset  coast. It's 7 mile (11km) stretch of golden sands were voted the fourth most popular beach in Europe in 2012 by Trip Advisor Travellers.

  In Weymouth we have also seen the sun, we even treated ourselves to an ice-cream, the first one this year!


  I recently saw these lines painted on a wall -  I have already quoted the first verse in a previous post - the second one made me smile!

Wishing you a fun week, hope you find lots of things to make you smile!


Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Her Majesty's Royal Yacht Britannia was the former yacht of Queen Elizabeth and is now a tourist attraction. It was decommissioned in 1997 but during it's working life it carried out 696 foreign visits and 272 in English waters carried the Queen, other members of the Royal family and dignitaries. It could also be converted to a Hospital ship in times of conflict. This weekend is  60th Anniversary of it's launch when we visited Scotland last June we visit its and I suddenly remembered I had not shared this with you! 

It was a very wet day in Edinburgh and I have always been curious to see the ship, my OH wasn't that keen but agreed to tag along! It was so wet that this in the only photo we have of the outside of the vessel!

We were surprised how homely and welcoming it felt. Maybe it was because the decor was very 50's and  60's (classified as vintage these days!)

The lounge

The dining room where state occasions were held while aboard
Cocktail bar

The Queen's bedroom

Accomodation for the Royal Marines was a bit more cramped!

The laundry room - where lots of washing took place - the staff had to change their uniforms up to 3 times a day!

The operating theatre
My OH did end up with a smile on his face!
 I couldn't resist adding another picture of Scotland to finish the post. This is Loch Garry and the shape of the loch looks very much like the shape of Scotland.

I have a best week ahead so I apologise if I don't get around to visiting and commenting on other blogs. Wishing everyone a good week ahead.
Sarah x

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A fresh outlook

The lighter evenings mean evening walks along the sands..........

The swing boats wait for new customers and at sea a boat sails by .......

  Sunday afternoon walks in the sunshine

Blue skies and beach huts

  In the garden the "Thalia daffodils" have started to bloom

 The heavy rain over the weekend left water droplets on the primrose, another flower reminder of Spring!

It's nice to see and feel the change in the seasons .Sadly again this weekend more birds have been washed up on the South West Coast covered in more of the glue like substance, as mentioned in one of my posts in February. It appears that ships have again been cleaning out their tanks at sea.

Welcome and hello to my new followers Rusty Duck, Swallow barn and Andamento thank you for joining me and also to everyone who reads the blog or leaves me comments.
Hope you are all having a good week,
Sarah x

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Taking the train to the beach

When we visited Topsham in Devon recently (see previous post here). Our car did not move for the whole week that we were away! One day we took the train to visit this beach.  It's not often that you find a whole tree washed up like this!

And for once you could almost feel some warmth from the sun.

When I was a child when I travelled on the train from Shrewsbury down to Cornwall to visit my Granny. I  remember looking out at the sea through the train window.....I have wanted to walk along this stretch of beach ever since.

It's only taken me 40 years to realise this dream! This is the main branch line between Exeter and Plymouth and the railway was initially built in 1843 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The line follows the water for 13 miles (20km).The scenery out of the window is spectacular.

 Around Dawlish it passes through five tunnels dug out from the Devon red sandstone. If you look closely at the picture below you can see it shows some of these tunnels.

The beach and view of one of the tunnels.

The station beside the beach

We took the train to Dawlish Warren and then walked along the beach, to the town of Dawlish and then caught the train back to Topsham.The waiting room was warm and welcoming after the cold wind and looked so cheerful with these wonderful paintings of local scenes painted by local school children.

In stormy conditions the waves crash over the sea wall and onto the rails and passing trains. I don't think I would like to be in the train when this happens! There have been many discussions about re-routing the route further inland, but the cost would be huge.

Luckily the tide was out and the weather fine when we visited. 
View from the train travelling back to Exeter

Do you have a favourite train journey? On my wish list for Britain -I still have the Cambrian Coast line in North Wales between Aberystwyth and Pwllheli and the West Highland Line in Scotland to complete! I would also love to take a ride through the Rockies in Canada too!

There seems to be a problem with two of my favourite blogs Val's Alentejo and June at Cats, Dogs and Eiderdowns - their reading lists are not updating on some blogs, they are both still there so do pop over and say hello! If anyone else is affected by this too do let me know. This gremlin seems to have appeared about 3 weeks ago!
 Hope you are having a good week.
Sarah x

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Waiting for spring

Could there be a hint of spring in the air?

I think these ducks still need some convincing!

Although there is still some ice lying around, emerging buds are appearing on the branches.

And the sky is very blue and for once that bitterly cold wind is absent.

Can you hear the birds singing and smell the new growth?

  I discovered the first cow parsley in flower in a sheltered spot!

  Back in the garden the daffodils and grape hyacinths have recovered from the cold.

This weekend we managed to get into the garden and sort out  the vegetable beds. We also picked our second crop of rhubarb - the terracotta rhubarb forcer works so well  - elsewhere in the garden the rhubarb leaves are only just emerging.

I hope you found promising signs of spring/autumn  this weekend too! I know we British are notorious about talking about the weather, but it seems such a long winter!

Welcome to my new followers Sarah, AnneSeagull SuzieRoberta, CJ Quilter, Wandering Minstrel, and Arietia it's lovely to have you all on board!

Sarah x

Monday, 1 April 2013

A change of scene

We have been away for a few days break and had a good time despite the cold!

The old buildings here are so attractive......

 As you all know me well by now-  I always like to stay in a town where there is sight of some water!

Despite some of the buildings having a Dutch style, we are still in England!

This is Topsham by the River Exe, just outside Exeter in Devon.  In years gone by (around 1700's) this was an important trading port. Topsham ships took wool and cotton to Holland and returned home with Dutch bricks and tiles. The Dutch architecture was so admired that it was copied when building some of the houses.

A mural on one of the buildings depicts the salmon fishing in the Exe estuary which is still done on a much smaller scale today. A salmon was once caught here that weighed 61 lbs (27kg)!

The shops here are small, independent and unique and the features of the old buildings are retained within the  shops - old fireplaces, cellars and small rooms.

The views across the  estuary and nature reserve were wonderful.

Daisy enjoyed the change of scene too!

Another highlight to a visit to Topsham is the free museum. To celebrate it's first day of opening for the 2013 season, a theatre group from Exeter University invited us to a tea party. They took us back in time to 1941 as they acted out the lives of previous residents of the town. Below is the nightdress worn by Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O' Hara in the film Gone with the wind. (Vivian lived briefly in Topsham when she was married to her first husband Leigh Holman.)

The museum also had a 1940's - 1950's kitchen.

Back home the Easter branches we had picked prior to going away had started to open - the cold outside seems to have put everything back in the garden. The magnolia is usually out by now!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter too.
Sarah x


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