Padstow, Rick Stein’s & Newquay

Padstow has a large influx of daily tourists, partly thanks to the popularity of Rick Stein’s TV shows. He has a big presence in the town, with 5 eateries, a deli, fresh fish outlet, cooking school and accommodation and other business interests. Known locally as ‘Padstein’, it is a lovely small fishing village on the Cornwall coast.

High on the ‘to do’ list in the UK was lunching at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. To ensure we didn’t miss the opportunity we made our reservation on-line back in April. As you can see we were the first to arrive, but it didn’t take long for the restaurant to fill up.

Our entrees were:
* Fish and Shellfish Soup with Rouille, Parmesan and Croutons
* Char-grilled Sea Bass with a Mango, Avocado, Prawn and Chilli Salsa

And the mains:
* Seared Cod on reduction of red wine and shallots
* Indonesian Seafood Curry with Sea Bass, Hake, Prawns and Squid

Excellent food, service and setting. It was everything we had hoped it would be.

We also visited nearby Newquay today, UK’s surfing mecca. The town sits high on the seaside cliffs and below is a wide beach with the surf rolling in.

What a great day we have had – we even had sunshine for most of the day!

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Dartmoor National Park

The weather at the moment is being very uncooperative! After consulting the weather app we decided today was the best day to explore the Dartmooor National Park in the county of Devon. Perhaps the app needs a new setting to advise the visibility!

As we entered the park we were lucky to see a few of the Dartmoor ponies that roam the countryside.

Before we drove into the fog the moors looked lovely and green.

Along the way we passed these two gorgeous little bridges.

On the edge of the Dartmoor NP the exclusive golf club at Bovey Castle looked very elegant.

On the eastern side of the moors we stopped for lunch in the little village of Chagford, a historic stannary town, with buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th century. The town was quite somber as we believe a funeral in the local church was taking place.

On the way back we stopped briefly in Tavistock on the River Tavy. The busy Pannier Market was a great find.

I wish we had had more time here but once again the afternoon rains sent us homeward bound.

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The South West Corner of Cornwall

We have been really looking forward to our visit to Cornwall and so it was with great anticipation that we headed off today.

First stop…St Ives. We parked out at the ‘train park and ride’. These first glimpses of the West Cornwall coast are taken from the moving train.

From the train station we strolled down to the waters edge.

We arrived quite early so it was pretty quiet and easy to get around.

From here we travelled to Lands End. Unfortunately rain and wind meant we didn’t get out of the car.


Next stop was Porthcurno to visit the Minack Open Air Theatre which sits right on edge of a rock outcrop overlook the sea. But…..closed, performance on and we could not get near the place! I wonder if they go wet!

Next stop – St Michael’s Mount. Although we arrived on a high tide the walk had been cancelled today due to inclement weather!

Our final stop was Falmouth and the weather was good. A walk around the main shopping streets and the harbour was very relaxing.

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Hereford, in Herefordshire in the West Midlands, sits on the River Wye. It has been a great base for the past week.

The Old House is a timber-framed Jacobean building, built in 1621, and is now a museum.

We enjoyed a coffee down on the River Wye.

Hereford Cathedral, which dates from the early 12th century, has architectural style from Norman times to modern technology in recent renovations and repairs.

Indian restaurants are very popular over here so after a drink at the Barrels we dined at Marygolds.

Our apartment, The Flat 72, is on the second and third floor above Guy Patience. Guy & Laura rent out the apartment above Guy’s barber shop. Very comfortable.

From here we are moving down to Cornwall for the next week.

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A Family Connection

Jim’s brother, David, has researched their family history and this story begins in the Staffordshire and Shropshire areas. David and Lynette visited in 2015 so we followed in their footsteps to see the villages as well.

David had the information on the burial site of their nanna’s grandparents, Josiah & Elizabeth Prince; both are buried in the Cannock cemetery in county Staffordshire.

Amazingly, the house in which they lived on Newhall Farm, 2 miles from Cannock, is still standing. It is the three story building in the following photos. Next door the Newhall Farm Hotel has been built to replicate the style of the old stables.

Both grandparents were born in the UK.

Nanna, Ivy, was born at Bridgnorth in Shropshire. It was market day when we visited so very busy in the village square.

Pop, Bill, was born at Newport in Shropshire only 20 miles north of Bridgnorth. It is another very pretty little village – but rain forced us into The Barley for lunch!

Thanks for sending us the information David. We had a great day visiting the sites you suggested.

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Beautiful Bath

The lovely city of Bath is located in the Somerset countryside. Local honey-coloured Bath stone has been used extensively in the Georgian architecture. The many chimney pots can’t go unnoticed.

Built as a spa town, Bath still draws many visitors to ‘take the waters’. The Roman Baths still flow with natural hot water but bathing is on longer allowed. More modern facilities are now in use. We didn’t join the queues to see to see the Roman Baths – several tourist buses had beaten us to the ticket line.

The Bath Abbey, which was restored in 1616, is noted for its fan-vaulting, tower and large stained-glass windows.

Completed around 1775, The Royal Crescent and The Circus are curved streets with Georgian style houses. Today it is still mostly private homes, with the exception of a small hotel and museum.  

Pulteney Bridge was completed in 1774 with shops across its full span on both sides. The curved weir below was built across a river in the early 1970s in order to control the water level. The nearby garden offers a lovely place to enjoy some green space.

On our way down to Bath we crossed the Severn Bridge near Bristol which was completed in 1996. The bridge allows easy access between Wales and England and is 1.6km long, 136m high and has a clearance of 47m. The longest span of the bridge is an amazing 988m long.

The weather was lovely for us in Bath. We enjoyed the views from the open top of the sightseeing bus.

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Malvern, Tewkesbury and Ledbury

Leaving North Wales we are now staying for a week in Hereford, a great base in the Midlands to visit the West Cotswolds and surrounding area. The rolling hills in the countryside are beautiful.

On our first outing we visit Malvern, Tewkesbury and Ledbury.

Malvern is in Worcestershire and lies at the foot of the Malvern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Malvern is also the home of Morgan Motors so Jim toured the Morgan Factory to see how these sport cars are handmade by very skilled craftsmen.

Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, lies on the meeting point of the Avon and River Severn, giving it a lovely riverside setting for visitors to enjoy.

It’s 17th century black and white half–timbered buildings, overhanging upper-storeys and narrow alleyways make it a very popular tourist attraction.

Ledbury is a market town in Herefordshire, and again has the black and white half-timber buildings. The central Market House, which had originally served as a grain store was completed in 1653.

Whilst the hedgerows can inhibit the views of the countryside at times, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the lovely scenery. Except when travelling to longer destinations we are using the quieter backroads and avoiding the motorways.

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Caenarfon, Anglesey and more

Caenarfon Castle was built on the southern end of the Menai Strait which separates North Wales and Anglesey. The construction of the castle began in 1283 and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During Edward I’s invasions of Wales, its location was a strategic stronghold in the region. It is also the castle in which Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales in 1969.

Crossing the Menai Strait we did a short drive around part the Isle of Anglesey.

The surprise of our days travel was driving into Llandudno back on the mainland. With it’s sweeping waterfront promenade this seaside resort town has long sandy beaches and a pier, the nearby wilderness of the Great Orme has views inland to Snowdonia National Park.

The waterfront buildings are all B&B’s and boutique hotels offering upmarket holiday accommodation all year around. I don’t think we saw a private residence on the Main Street.

We had driven this way to see Rhos On Sea and the huge wind farm off the coast. The huge ocean wind farm has 160 wind turbines of 150 metres (490 ft) tip height above mean sea level and is the fourth largest operating offshore wind farm in the world. The offshore substation is also visable from Rhos on Sea and is capable of providing power to 30% of homes in Wales.

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Beddgelert & Snowdonia NP

After leaving the Yorkshire Dales we are in North Wales for a few days to visit the Snowdonia National Park.

Our accommodation is in the very pretty little village of Beddgelert.

The name Beddgelert means in Welsh ‘The grave of Gelert’. Legend has it that in the thirteenth-century, Prince Llywelyn the Great went out hunting and left his faithful hound, Gelert, to guard his young son. An enormous wolf entered the house and Gelert attached and killed the wolf in the baby’s room; knocking over the crib and bloodying the surroundings. On his return, Llewelyn entered the room to find Gelert covered in blood and the child missing. Enraged, he stabbed the dog and as Gelert was dying, Llewelyn heard his son crying nearby. Pulling back the crib he found his little boy safe and well; lying near the wolf’s torn and bloodied body. Llywelyn, filled with remorse, realised his mistake and so buried his faithful dog in the field near the village.

Travelling from Beddgelert to Llanberis we cross the mountains on the Pen y Pass. This area has several slate quarries. The views are stunning.

One of two things we prebooked from Australia was a ride up the to the top of Mt Snowdon, 1085m above sea level, on the little tourist train.

On a good day this is what we would have expected to see of the Snowdonia National Park – I sourced these two photos from the Internet.

This is what we did get to see.

Rain! Fog! Cloud!

Never mind – it is such a beautiful area that we have enjoyed it anyway.

Like the Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia is a very popular walking and hiking area. Every path and trail we pass is dotted with people – no matter the weather.

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The Lakes District

From Kirkby Stephen the Lakes District was only 45 minutes drive away. We visited twice and both days we had intermittent rain then sunshine. We have visited the area before and loved the very pretty villages so wanted to reacquaint ourselves.

In Keswick it was market day so we decided to explore the gardens over near the lake. We have spent some time in town on a previous trip so it was nice to look at the gardens instead.

Grasmere is one on the prettiest towns, in our opinion, in the lakes area. It is only small but has many lovely buildings.

Ambleside and Bowness are ideal villages to explore the lake from.

As the afternoon rains dampened our trip, we called it a day and returned to the castle to relax.

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Although it was a gloomy day we decided to visit York anyway. From the York City Sightseeing bus (similar to a Hop On Hop Off bus) we did the tour around to take in the sights and hear the commentary on the history of York.

Clifford Tower is a pretty good spot to get a view over the city. The tower stands on a raised earth mound made for William the Conqueror’s army to view any invading forces.

The narrow cobbled street of The Shambles has Elizabethian buildings dating back to the fourteen century.

We haven’t had a great deal of luck on the two times we have visited York – especially when it comes to the York Minster. In 2013 it was closed completely for renovations and this time the central part of the cathedral that houses the enormous organ and its pipes is undergoing a two year renovation.

Jim visited the Jorvik Viking Centre. He enjoyed it but it was too dark inside to take any photos. Meanwhile I had a little retail therapy at Marks & Spencers.

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The Yorkshire Coast

Crossing County Durham (we are staying in Cumbria) we drove over to the North Yorkshire Coast to visit the lovely coastal villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby.

Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing village a few miles south of Whitby. Considered one of the most picturesque coastal villages in England, its cobbled streets and and lovely cottages make it a very popular destination for both locals and tourist.

Parking at the top of the village we walk down the very steep hill to the harbour – the only way down.

Whitby faces the North Sea at the mouth of the River Esk.

The fishing fleet and tourist boats rely on the swing bridge, with a 75-foot span, to navigate between the upper and lower harbours.

We had lunch at the Magpie Cafe, a fish and chip cafe, which we had seen on a TV show back in Australia. Well worth the wait in the queue! Sorry no photos….we ate it before I remembered to take a picture.

It was quite a gloomy day and unfortunately didn’t get a chance to walk up to the abbey ruins. The rain set in so we decided to head for home.

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The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales landscape is ever changing; from lush farmland paddocks bound in dry stone walls and hedges to the treeless windswept dales and heather morelands. Absolutely beautiful!


Our drive took us to the pretty market town of Hawes, home of the well known Wensleydale cheese.

We of course visited their Creamery and Cheese Shop to sample some of their mouth-watering selections.

When we visited Hawes, the weekly sheep sales were nearing the end and most of the lots had been sold. Speaking to a local chap he told us that the upcoming market next week would see around 65,000 sheep sold over a few days – their biggest for the year. He said that all accommodation is booked out completely in the area and the town thrives on the markets.

We stopped at several other towns to have a look around.
Kettlewell, Leyburn, Reeth, Asygarth and Richmond.

This unique landscape will be forever etched in our minds…..absolutely amazing countryside.

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Kirkby Stephen

After overnighting in Dubai we flew into Manchester, picked up our hire car and drove to Augill Castle in Kirkby Stephen, our accommodation for the first week of our holiday. The castle is between the The Lakes District and The Yorkshire Dales and in an ideal location for setting out to explore the areas.

Built around 1840 by a local family it was a grand house of the time. It has had its share of colourful owners including Dr Abercrombie, surgeon to Queen Victoria, and it is reported that she once stayed here on her way to Balmoral.

The current owners purchased the property in 1997 and set about a major rebuilding project which took them 15 years to complete. It has since been run as a B&B and small wedding venue.

Kirkby Stephen is a traditional market town and is ideally located in the beautiful Upper Eden valley of Cumbria. Surrounded by pastoral rural scenery and wild uplands there are breathtaking views in every direction and it is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The town has a great variety of shops, restaurants and pubs to satisfy their visitors. It has been a great place to base ourselves for the first week of our holiday.

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Big Seas

Although we live about 10km from the coast “as the crow flies”, this morning the sound of the waves crashing into the coast could be heard from here. The forecast of 20ft waves hitting the coast was spot on. From the lookout at Gracetown the waves don’t seem too big, but trust me they were enormous.

The weather was pretty good to the south but to the north the conditions were changing.

Although it looked really messy out at sea, crazy big wave surfers have been towed out about 2.5 km by jet ski’s and are surfing the huge waves. We spoke to an experienced local surfer who was watching from the lookout and he said they were probably the biggest waves he had seen down here – certainly bigger than the forecast was saying. I think he said they were ‘raw’ – or would that be ‘roar’!

I zoomed as much as I could with my camera and found the jet ski’s out there but could not see the surfers. You will spot the jet ski’s on the left of the photo below.

Up at Moses Rock where you can get down onto the beach the power of the crashing waves made you very aware of the dangers of such wintery conditions.

The usual array of flotsam and jetsam could be spotted on the beach and the sandhills are being held together with succulent greenery.

I don’t image too many surfers would be brave enough to get on their boards in such conditions.

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Winter has arrived

We have had some really awful weather here over the past few weeks so we decided to go for a Sunday drive, as the sun was finally out, to see if there was any noticable wind damage in the area. And there was, as you can see from the photos. Large branches, and in some cases, trees have fallen on roads and fences.

The vines have all but lost their leaves now.

Lambs were enjoying the midday sunshine.

An inlet down on the south coast was the perfect place for a picnic.

The forest really is peaceful and beautiful.

Saturday morning we had a heavy fog, followed by a few hours of sunshine and then the clouds started rolling in again. More rain on the way!


We are not really complaining though as the rain has already filled our 25,000 ltr rain water tank, so we will have plenty of lovely drinking water for the rest of the year.

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Looking West!

The winter weather is still no where to be seen here in WA so this morning we headed over to the beach for a look.

We walked a short distance on the Cape to Cape trail and took in the views of the beautiful Indian Ocean. The water was a gorgeous colour with gentle waves breaking near the shore.

Surfers always find the spot where the waves get a little larger.

Fishing boats bobbed in the water.

We are very lucky to be able to enjoy such a spectacular coastline.

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Dardanup – what a surprise!

Dardanup is just up the road (only 95 km away) and yet we never stop to have a look around. It is close to Bunbury, which we pass through every time we go to Perth, but it’s just one of those things …. always rushing to get up to Perth and back home again.

With a few spare days on our hands, we decided to take the caravan out and spent three days in and around Dardanup, staying at a farm stay caravan park. Taralea Farm, who grow macadamia and limes and run a small flock of Sams, was a great base to enjoy the area.

On one of the days we enjoyed lunch at Ferguson Falls Winery in the nearby Ferguson Valley. The weather here at the moment is unseasonably warm so it was a lovely day to take in the beautiful scenery in the valley.

But the highlight of the trip was our visit to Heritage Park in Dardanup West. It must be the best kept secret in WA; if you enjoy our pioneering past. A fabulous display of restored machinery and collectibles is presented in over 7000 m2 of undercover display buildings. Collections include tractors, farm machinery, traction engines, sawmills and trucks, most restored and in working order, along with military displays, a working print shop, gemstones….and the list goes on. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

If your interested in further info the links are:


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Bee Hotels

After some research on ways to attract bees to the garden and vege patch, we decided that one fun idea was to build a bee hotel out in the backyard.

Bee hotels are designed to attract a variety of bee species into the garden by using a selection of wood and hole sizes.

Here is our masterpiece!


We currently have bees buzzing in the autunm blooms and hope to attract them all year around.

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Auckland – the City of Sails

Once again we passed beautiful countryside on our way to Auckland, NZ’s largest city.

This scene reminded us of our Tuscan adventure.

On the way we stopped in Cambridge to catchup with friends Lesley & Ian. Lesley is my lovely friend Jill’s sister and she has lived in NZ for about 35 years. The girls cousin Dayle was also visiting from WA.


Auckland has been a bit of a eye-opener for us. Perhaps it is the location we have chosen to stay in; right near the Sky Tower and Casino. Rubbish is littering the area and construction sites are untidy. The area also has a lot of homeless sleeping in the street, a social issue which is being addressed.

Having said that, we have been on a bus tour and the inner suburban areas are very classy and expensive, perhaps adding to their social problems.

Auckland is know as the “City of Sails” and reportedly has the highest boat ownership rates per head of capita in the world. It also has a huge traffic problem with the city also reportedly being up there as having a very high percentage of motor vehicles per head of capita.

We dined up on the 52nd floor of the Sky Tower in the revolving restaurant. WOW! The views and the food were equally fabulous.