Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Gone West...

We've just had the loveliest weekend! it all started on Friday, with my trip to the Clacton Airshow - no Ben along for this one as he sadly had to spend his Friday in a stuffy office. Glad I didn't as it was a lovely bright day, just perfect for watching the Red Arrows and others....

The "Reds" did a super display - one of the best I've seen in a long while in fact, with some old formations....

...And some new moves.

And finally a little fly-past over the display site trailing red, white and blue smoke.

A really great display - thoroughly enjoyed by all, I think!

The on Saturday, off we went to Cardiff for the British Speedway Grand Prix. Held annually at the Millennium Stadium, it's a fantastic occasion which is far more about the social aspects of meeting up with - and having fun with - friends who in a lot of cases, you only see once each year! A whole group of us were sitting together in the "cheap seats" this year - which massively added to the social aspect, and the view of the track (in fact, the entire stadium!) was superb! We had the very cheapest tickets available, and Ben & I spent the night in student accommodation which cost us just a fraction of the price of other people's plush hotels - as we were only using the room to sleep and shower, that was just fine!

As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had decided to make the most of the extra day by staying across in wales - using a discount code to book a Budget hotel room for the Sunday night. camping would usually be our preferred option as you know, but with campsites in the area looking at being anything up to £25 per night, and the hotel available for £29 with the discount, we decided the extra few £'s were well spent to gain us the time usually spent pitching and breaking down the tent, and give us additional time to enjoy the area.

Sunday saw a trip to an area I spent a bit of time in some years ago - the Gower Peninsula. This is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, the high spot of which is the stunning beach at Rhossili Bay - the equal of anything in the Hebrides if a little more populated!

A walk along the coast path to Worms Head - an island only accessible at low tide - which it wasn't...

Before we got as far as the Gower we made use of our National Trust membership again, stopping off at Aberdulais Tin works & Falls...

A fascinating place with a long industrial heritage - before it was a tin works it was a mill, and now, that waterwheel you see there? The largest in Europe producing electricity! It also has a rather fabulous little tea-shop in the old schoolroom so naturally we stopped for tea & cake - well if people are polite enough to provide such things it would be rude not to, eh?!

Those are welshcakes, in case you were wondering - priced at a very reasonable 50p each - full marks to that tea shop!

Bank Holiday Monday dawned a bit grey and dreary, making our decision not to use the tent all the more justified. Another sound reason for deciding against using it was that last time we camped, on taking it down we noticed that another of the fibreglass pole sections had split, and others were showing signs of going the same way. We have already replaced one section on this tent, but as it is now on its third season, having had heavy use, and is beginning to let in water in a few spots, we decided that the time had come to replace. A lot of research for a suitable replacement proved that the best for our needs was going to be the current one's "big brother" - the Vango Beta 450 - and the best place to get it was going to be Taunton Leisure down in Somerset, by coincidence not far from where we were going to be over the weekend! Credit where it is due - this was the first time we had bought a tent from a specialist provider, rather than from a big outdoor warehouse, and the difference was amazing. I enquired which footprint would suit the tent best, as Vango don't make one for that model specifically, and after some debating, the three chaps in the store agreed that we would be best simply "home-making" one from a tarpaulin. Just think of the number of places who would have just flogged us any old one for the sake of getting our money?! Impressive stuff, and their price was the best of the bunch, too - we'd happily shop there again.

Final stop of the weekend was Glastonbury - not the festival, but the Tor itself. Somewhere that had been on our "to go" list for long while, so it was fantastic to finally get there.

As is so often the case, the view was worth the climb as well....

...although we might have to return at some stage on a slightly clearer (and drier!) day!


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