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Home Page < Jan to Sept 2014 in 3D

January to September 2014 in 3D

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The dongle of 3D photos has 35 subfolders, and this commentary takes them in alphabetic order.

A la Ronde
An 8 August, during our caravan visit to Exmouth, we visited A la Ronde a quirky 16-sided house built in 1796.
For more information see Wikipedia - A la Ronde
The house has wonderful views as far as Dawlish, and up the river Exe. It is filled with mementos from foreign travels, especially sea shell collections.
As with all National Trust properties, the restaurant is excellent, and it was great to sit out and enjoy a coffee (photo 3). Not having mains water, the owner built his own water tower on top of an adjacent building (photo 23) , in order to luxuriate in a hot bath upstairs in the house.  

Abbey House Garden, Malmesbury

We had intended to visit the ‘Naked Gardeners‘ garden
in Malmesbury for many years. Having found a ‘promo‘ offer on Google, we paid a visit on July 16
Ian and Barbara Pollard started work on the garden in 1996, and by 2002 had achieved so much that AlanTitchmarsh dedicated a whole episode of Gardeners World to their garden.
Photo 7488 shows Ian giving a talk to a group of German visitors. They look a bit glum, but that is probably how Germans look when they are enjoying a cultural experience. The gardens are absolutely beautiful, Sadly the mansion (photo 7495) is now up for sale, and Ian and Barbara are going their separate ways. Hopefully the garden will be kept open to the public by new owners.
We hope to visit again late spring next year, to experience the garden in its full glory. 


On 21 June we took the bus into Bath, walked down Walcot Street (where all the interesting old shops are), looked round Walcot street market, and carried on to wander around and enjoy a coffee and snack. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday. Bath is always a pleasure. 

Bath and West Show

This year we avoided the hassle of driving to the show by taking a coach trip on 28 May.
The day was chilly and slighly drizzly, and the show was an ‘economy job‘ compared to previous years.
The flower show was a shadow of the glory of previous years, and there was a lack of marquees full of food and goodies.
However, we enjoyed a gardening competition between three local teams, were amused by the wacky bicycle adapted to make milk shakes, and were amazed at a demonstration of a vintage machine which was slicing up tree trunks (photo 7194).  

Bristol Harbour Festival

On 19 July we took the train to Bristol with Simon and Judith for the Bristol Harbour Festival.
It was a wet and chilly morning, but it brightened up in the afternoon. We enjoyed a meal together in one of the harbourside restaurants, and walked the length of of harbour in spite of the weather.
The most interesting part of the visit was watching the flyboarders hovering and diving from 20 feet above the water. That looked fun. 

In 2013 we found that tent camping was becoming physically impractical. On visiting Swindon Caravan Centre we took a peek into a small 2 beth caravan and were very taken by the facilities it offered, the level of comfort, and the thoughtful layout which made the most of the space available.
By 29 July we had bought our secondhand Lunar Arriva and a car capable of towing it, and were off to a camp site in Halford, about 14 miles from Bridgewater on the Minehead road.
We soon learned the ‘ins and outs‘ of towing, and had a very pleasant three nights getting used to our new lifestyle. We visited Dunster Castle, the Coleridge cottage right on our doorstep in Nether Stowey, the Cannington Walled Garden
near Bridgewater, had a quick stroll aroundTaunton, and in the evenings ate out in Minehead.
See folder Somerset for pictures from the visit.

On 7 August we took the caravan to Exmouth for 5 nights, visiting A la Ronde, Budlake Post Office, Killerton House, Clyston Mill and Castle Drogo during our stay. Whereas Halford had all the facilities of a more established camp site, in Exmouth we had a water tap, an electric hookup point, and a chemical toilet disposal point. However, the views were incredible, situated on high ground overlooking the Exe extuary, with views clear across to Dawlish. We soon discovered that in our own self-contained world we could be cosy, comfortable and peaceful.
See folder A la Ronde, Castle Drogo, Killerton house and South Devon for pictures from the visit.

Encouraged by our experiences we decided to exploit the caravan‘s easy mobility by visiting the Lake District, and having a 2 day break in Southport en-route there. By this time we had learned that you need somewhere sheltered (other than the caravan cabin) to put things when it rains, so we bought an awning. It slides into special runners in the caravan, and erects by pumping it up. Quick, snazzy and roomy!
While in Southport we visited Rufford Hall,  which was on our doorstep, the excellent  Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston (which was quite close) and Tatton Park, south of Manchester- a place we had always wanted to visit. We ate out in Southport - a magnificent Chinese restaurant the first night.
See folders Lancashire, Rufford Hall and Tatton Park for photos from this visit.
We travelled north from Southport on 28 August for a 4 night stay in Troutbeck, which is 8 miles from Keswick on the road from Penrith. This is an ideal location, allowing us to visit Keswick for Derwent Water and our evening meals, and also being handy for Kirkstone Pass, Ullswater, Windermere and Coniston Water.
See folder Cumbria for photos from this visit.
We travelled home in one hop, the M4, M5 and M4 being fairly clear.

On 22 September we visited the Parkdean Holidays site at West Bay, Dorset for 3 nights. It‘s a massive static caravan holiday site, with a touring area behind and above the statics on the hillside, with wonderfult views of the hills and coast. Being large, it has a very nice cafe/restaurant with a patio area just opposite the harbour, and a beautiful heated swimming pool! We spent a lot of time just wandering about the harbour area, chilling out (along with lots of others) and enjoying the late summer sunshine. We took the opportunity to visit Lyme Regis, for a nice wander along the beach front and harbour, and a lunch of prawns and lobster tails from the seafood stall.
See folder Lyme Regis, West Bay for photos from this visit.


Having the urge to take a ‘city break‘, we booked train tickets to Manchester and 4 nights in the Travelodge starting on 2 June. Mary prepared picnic lunches and the train journey (more leisurely than fast) was relaxing. It was nice not to drive. Manchester has really good public transport anyway!
We did a bit of research beforehand (see our web page Manchester ), and the highlight of the trip was definitely our visit to the Lowry Art Gallery in Salford Quays. To stand in front of Lowry originals is an awe-inspring experience!
The weather wasn‘t too good at times, but there is so much to see in such a small area - the Cathedral, the Art Gallery ( see folder Manchester Art Gallery ) and the Arndale shopping centre that this wasn‘t a real problem. Several Wetherspoons and a choice of authentic Chinese restaurants in the Chinese Quarter for evening dining added to the ‘completeness‘ of this city experience.
Our planning paid dividends because the Police Museum ( see folder Manchester Police Museum ) only opens on Tuesdays, so we set the morning aside for a visit. Absolutely fascinating!
On Wednesday we walked from Salford raiway station to the Museum of Science and Industry  ( see folder Manchester MOSI ) for an absolutely fascinating 6 hours (including several visits to the restaurant) admiring machinery and gadgets of yesteryear from some of Manchester‘s famous industrial names. It‘s the kind of place you can visit time and time again, fitting together the picture of the city‘s industrial past.
I got quite a buzz sitting in the central Piccadilly Gardens (just a name, not much greenery!) in the late afternoon sun watching shop and office workers make their way home, and layabouts like us laying about. A living, breathing city with life, change and development going on all around.


On 1 April we took an early break in Brixham, spending 4 nights in a Hoseasons holiday chalet there. With hindsight, we would have done much better finding a B & B anywhere on the No 12 Stagecoach Torbay bus route from Newton Abbot to Brixham. This is because this year Torbay Council have completely obliterated all free steet parking in the whole of Torbay! You pay punitive parking fees everywhere (Pay and Display car parks, On-steet parking meters)- even in early April - vistors and shoppers - go somewhere else!
Apart from this whinge, we enjoyed an early-season get-away. The coast walk from the chalet to Brixham is very pretty, but Mary could barely cope, as it is steep and often uneven. Even so, it was nice to see the sea and explore Brixham harbour and town again.
See folder Railway for pictures of the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh.

Weir Garden

This year I‘ve been tidying up the footpaths from Charter Road down to the river. In mid-May I got as far as the triangular patch of ground near the weir, leading to Lovers Walk. I found the tangle of briars and nettles impeding pedestrians progress to be quite offensive, and became a ‘gueurilla gardener‘. By the end of May I had cleared the ground, and used buried concrete blocks I dug up to provide a soil-retaining border along the lower side.
I posted some notices (using my web page Make Chippenham Smile ) to appeal for plant donations, which have been duly arriving ever since.

Weston super Mare

On 14 May we took a train ride to Weston to visit the Sand Sculptures exhibition.
There had been some very high winds which had damaged many of the exhibits, and sand artists were working away at restoration.
The theme this year was ‘Once upon a time‘. Visit the  Sand Sculptures web site, which includes an amazing gallery of past years masterpieces.

Wilton Fair

On 16 August we visited Wilton with Simon and Judith. It was just a simple affair, but most enjoyable. The highlights were seeing the Wilton House Palladian Bridge, and a demonstration by the Wilton Hunt. We visited Wilton Shopping Village on the way home

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