Monday, 23 June 2008

Ocean Fest

Ages ago, Nimmy came up with the great idea of going to Ocean Fest in Croyde and watching some bands and some surfing. And it turned out to be a truly superlative idea!

On Saturday we watched the total lack of surf and the dualathalon (with commentary by Pam), got amazed at mountain biking, ate yummy food and saw bands. We've all seen good mountain bikers, so I think we were all surprised at how impressed we were the the bikers doing bunny hops over bars at 1.10m (handle bar height!) and back flips in tiny spaces.

Mountain bikers being impressive

The bands on Saturday evening were great. We really enjoyed the Rupert Oxlade band who were really upbeat and fun to dance to. Then Donavan Frakenreiter came on and totally blew everyone away. He did some really chilled out stuff with another guitarist and then got he Rupert Oxlade Band on with him and blasted out a couple of brilliant numbers. The whole crowd was dancing around, and Donavan walked through the mosh all the way back to where we were! It was so cool - if we had been at reading of some other giant festival a) he would never have got there and b) if he had, he would have had his mike (and no doubt half of his clothes) nicked off him! As it was, people were just hugging him and he was offering the mike to people to sing along! It was so great and apparently Ian and I were on the big screens, only we weren't looking at them - we were watching the singer hugging the audience two feet away from us! We were still on such a high when we got back to our (rather refined) caravan!

The wind got up on Sunday and although the sun was shining, the wind was so strong that it kept everything chilly, made the surf ridiculous and rendered the main stage unusable. But despite the lack of bands (some were in the beer tent, but it was a bit squashed to say the least), or surfing to watch, we had fund playing on the beach, eating more yummy food and generally chilling out. It was the most relaxing weekend for ages!

Nimmy, Ian and Rob seeing who could make the wettest splash

My rather superb new wellies

Monday, 16 June 2008


The problem with living in the north is that people keep insisting on moving to the south! What an error! First of all it means that they have to live with crazy motorists, and then it means that we don't get to see them all that much!

So this weekend we made the trek to Dunstable to see Neil and Emma via Sue in Fenstanton. The weather was uncharacteristically pleasant for June(!) and so after a day sat in the garden polishing off a box of wine (except me), we decided to spend Sunday at Whipsnade.

Its only just down the road from Emma and Neil, so they have a season ticket, and I bet that that means that Ethan is more familiar with hippos than I am! We saw rhinos and lions and cheetas and sea lions and red pandas and otters and elephants and bears and bison and zebras and lots of wallabees and maras and other things. Most of them were sensibly snoozing in whatever shade there was in their enclosure.

But the best bit was seeing the giraffes! I have never seen a giraffe in real life before and they were so cool! Their skin looked much tougher and leathery than I was expecting, and the grown ups had saggy bits of skin just like rhinos and hippos. They managed to look so totally aloof and superior - I was most impressed. I got really obsessed with their bendy necks which always bend in odd directions - I could have watched them for days! As it was we came back a second time and I took far too many pictures!

Small things......

My homage to giraffes

We saw some other animals too

Monday, 9 June 2008

Abbey Crawling

After the sucess of our trip to Fountain's Abbey, this year we gave Mf an abbey crawl for her birthday! First we went to Byland Abbey, which was much better than we expected. Having walked past it a couple of times, we had it down as a sort of drive-by - just a quick one with some bits of stone to look at. We hadn't realised that there was quite so much left. In the end we decided that we could quite happily go around it once trying to work out what was what, then again with the book to "see the sights" and still find it fun to run around and play in it! We spent much longer than the 45min English Heritage recommended we needed, and then retired to the Abbey Inn for the fanciest toilets in any pub ever, a very fine steak sandwich and the finest coffee this side of the channel.

After lunch we continued to Rievaulx which accomodatingly emerged from the drizzle, did the whole thing again!

Two abbeys, pretty much no groccles, some spectacular scenery and just enough bleak isolation. Couldn't ask for more really....

Click on the image below to see some more of the photos.....
Abbey Crawling