D4D

And when there was one set of footprints, that's when I was on my pogostick.

Archive for the category “Travel”

Whitstable Day-Trip

The day trip to Whitstable was thoroughly pleasant, and much needed.  Among other things, I’m coming to the conclusion that I really need to have more sea and seaside in my life – it’s something that’s been missing for way too long.

Having written last week about feeling down/flat, wondering what’s going on and so on, I found myself feeling far, far better as soon as I got out the car and heard the noise of waves on the beach. I don’t know why it works like that on me, but it does.

Anyway, as a result, I walked along a large length of the seafront. What the hell, I was there early, and most places weren’t even open, so it was pleasant – and I got to meet a huge Irish Wolfhound as well, for added bonus points.  Mainly though it was about just walking and appreciating the noise of the sea. (Such a bloody hippie)

The BeachThere’s also a load of beach huts along the front, all different – not just in paintscheme, but in style – and I ended up taking photos of a number of those, too.  Again, no-one else around, and it was a pleasant way to spend a morning.

Whitstable Beach HutsIt was just what I needed as a ‘day off’ activity, and I ended up walking 5km along the front, taking the odd picture, and just relaxing.  I stopped off at a few places as well, and also spent some time sat in wind-free areas – of which there were few – just reading amid the sounds of the waves.

More Huts at WhitstableThe weather wasn’t perfect – it was grey and blowy – but that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t going there to soak up sun, but instead to just have time out from lots of stuff. And I got that in swathes.

Groynes on the beachWhitstable’s definitely one of those places I’ll be going back to, and could easily consider as a place to live. It’s not ideal – some of the travelling would be more problematic than it is currently, for example – but at the same time it’s a place I like. It’s on the list when I finally do decide to move on, and let’s leave it at that…

Too Long

While writing stuff last week, and looking back through D4D™, I realised it’s now very nearly seven years since I was last in Ireland.

That’s too long – I feel the need to return.

Something else to organise as a break for this year, then…

Slowtime

Following on from yesterday’s notes about being a bit flat/tired, I’m taking this weekend as being a bit slower, a bit calmer – well, by my standards, anyway.

Saturday is going to be a cinema-day. There’s a couple of things I want to see, the timings gel nicely, and the weather forecast is mediocre, so sod it, that’s the plan. An afternoon of cinema.

Sunday though is likely to be a bit sillier. Because all I want to do is curl up and do nothing, I’m going to do another day-trip. I’m unsure of exactly where yet – the main options being Reading, Whitstable or Brighton – but all are within a two-hour drive.  I’m quite tempted by Whitstable, to go and sit by the sea and generally chill out a bit.  I used to work near there many moons ago, so a bit of a revisit too. I did go back there a while back – although a site search has revealed that ‘a while back’ actually means 10 and a half years – so it’ll be interesting to see what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same) in that time.

And that’s the plan for a quiet weekend…

MOT – Passed

The car passed it MOT with no problem at all. Needless to say, I am very happy with this news.

I had been getting a bit stressed about it, as I hadn’t heard anything from the garage by 4pm. In fairness, they’re normally pretty good about letting me know if something’s going to be expensive, so I knew it was likely to be OK – but all the same, it was a bit worrying.

Anyway, I called them just after 4, to find out what was happening. And all was well – it was just that the garage had forgotten to call me. Bit annoying, but far better than “Oh yeah, we had to do a load of work, here’s the bill”

As it turned out, it passed with flying colours. One advisory (an out-of-balance parking brake, of all things) and that’s it.  I’m quite surprised by this – it’s a Y-reg with 125,000 on the clock, after all – but pleased.  And considerably better off than I was expecting…

What Kind Of Year Will It Be?

As regular readers know, I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. It’s partly my knee-jerk response to the whole “Everyone else is doing it” ethos, which means I won’t. But also New Year is just an arbitrary day for making plans – and I tend to do it from birthday to birthday, for no better reason than that it’s an easy day to remember as a start/finish date.

Anyway, with that said I do have plans for 2015. Sometimes plans work better on a calendar year instead of birthday-to-birthday – although there’s also a couple of ideas and plans this time that would also work better to a fiscal year, April to March. But for the sake of argument I’ll stick (for now) to my usual resolution/plan structure, while also acknowledging the whole 2015 thing.

What I won’t do is go into reams of details – I know what I want to do, and I’ve got most of it written down in to-do lists and the like – but it can all be summed up in four key points, which can be summarised as:

  • Create More – includes writing, photography, and web-based work/business plans
  • Do More – includes activities, day trips, longer weekends, and perhaps even a holiday or two.
  • Save More – working to rebuild finances, build up some backup savings, and restore the credit score.
  • Weigh Less – the goal is to lose another two stone in 2015, which is what I also lost in 2014. So it’s feasible.

And that’s “it”. Obviously there’s details, sub-plans and sub-goals in there as well, but they’re the key points. They’ll do me for now.

I’m hoping that 2015 will continue in the positive direction that started in the last quarter of 2014.  I’m quite sure there’ll be some hiccoughs and roadbumps along the way – that’s realism rather than cynicism, my life is never a truly smooth process – but with any luck at all it’ll be a positive year, and lots will get done.

And if not, if things go wrong, then I’ll just do what I can, and keep on in the same way as I had to with 2014.

But I do hope that 2015 is positive and constructive. That’s the intention, at least. But we’ll see.

Travel Costs

Currently, I’m in a dilemma about a bit of travelling I’m doing in April. (See, told you I was feeling all organised)

Come the end of the next contract in mid-April, I’m treating myself to a weekend up in Edinburgh. It’s not a proper ‘holiday’ as such – but it’s a break, and it’s something I want to do. I haven’t been up there since the days pre-D4D™ and I want to go back.

The dilemma is about the method of travel. Looking on Google Maps, it’s about a six hour drive – on a good day, with no jams etc. A Friday afternoon/evening is not going to be a good day.  So I’ve also looked at train times/costs – and they actually pretty much balance out.

The full journey will be pretty much two refills of the fuel tank, which’ll be around the £65 mark each time. The train, looking at current prices, will be £120.  It’s close enough in price to make no real difference – even less so when I also factor in car-park costs – and the timing is much the same for a direct run.

I haven’t done a long train journey in ages – really not since doing the regular run between Manchester and Bracknell – so it’s pretty tempting.  Plus it’ll give me the opportunity to look out the window and appreciate the views without the hassles of driving – and perhaps even the chance to write more.

It’s just that whole “Paying the train company to do it”. I don’t know why it’s an issue in my head, but it is. I’ll figure it out and make a decision, it’s just annoying at the moment.

Bath DayTrip

Continuing on from the last couple of day trips, this weekend I decided to go cross-country, and head to Bath. Still a two-hour drive (although the trip from Park&Ride to city centre was another twenty or so) but no coast. I lived in Bath for a period back before D4D™, but haven’t been back there since, so it was interesting to see what’d changed and so on.

I’d also decided, as part of the Solo Dining project I wrote about yesterday, to go and visit Grillstock in Bath and have one of the burgers that I’ve been interested in, but not got round to trying (because they’re only in Bath and Bristol)  So that was part of the plan, but really it was more about visiting Bath in general.

The drive was pretty rotten – it started with fine weather, but got progressively wetter as I went on, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

I got there early – indeed, the first bus in from the Park and Ride – and wandered around most of the city centre, which turned out to be really pleasant.

bath_weir_landscapeDue to the time of year, it got pretty busy, but I spent most of my time avoiding the majority of people – I wasn’t interested in shopping, so didn’t have to hit those bits too hard, thankfully.

edward_the_peacemakerEven better, I got to wander around bits of the city I hadn’t seen before – in my previous time there, I’d more been focussed on getting from train station to home, and didn’t really get to explore the place that much. It wasn’t a great time in life, but there we go, I could’ve done more.

bath_church

And as for that burger from Grillstock, oh hell yes, it was worth it…

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

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