D4D

It's better to stay quiet and be thought an idiot than to speak up and leave no doubt

Archive for the category “Travel”

Another Visit to Brighton

On Sunday, I did another day-trip down to Brighton. I’d known I wanted to go somewhere coastal, and it was really a toss-up between Brighton and Whitstable (although I could also have chosen Somewhere Else, but couldn’t decide where I wanted to go) as both were known quantities, and a dead easy two-hour drive to get to them. There’s only about five miles of driving distance between them, so it really was a toss-up.

It was also somewhat dependent on my insomnia – if I’d had the rare event of actually sleeping well/late, I wouldn’t have bothered, and would’ve done something else instead. But as I was awake by 5.30 – thanks body-clock, you bastard – then the day-trip was Go.

Anyway, for whatever reason – and I’m not completely sure myself what the deciding factor was, other than “Fuck it, that’ll do” – I ended up opting for Brighton. It’s still not somewhere I know super-well, although I’m familiar enough with it that I’ve a rough idea of where I’m going and what I’m doing.

So – a two-hour easy drive down, and I was there by 9am, when it’s still nice and empty. I ended up walking a large section of the seafront, hindered only by a number of joggers, runners and cyclists. (Although it’s always amusing when I’m walking and overtaking joggers – they really don’t like it)

Yes, the weather was that changeable...

Yes, the weather was that changeable…

The weather was pretty good – although changeable – and despite dollops of cloud and greying over, it was still warm and sunny for the most part. I’d walked a lot of seafront, and ended up finding somewhere slightly sheltered – it was also quite breezy – to vegetate and read for a while. Sadly, I’d chosen a place that seemed to be on a main walking route for people from the Marina end of Brighton, with a constant stream of people saying “Oh, is that a mile already?” (thanks to a sign on the esplanade) and commenting about the weird Gaudi-esque construction that was on the beach in front of me. So after a while I decided to wander back towards the car, and probably stop for lunch along the way.

Cue a bit of a furkle on the phone, and oooooh, look, there’s a MeatLiquor. That’ll do as a target!

And that’s what happened.

Now that's a lunch

Now that’s a lunch

Wandered round a bit more afterwards, and then another drive home – managing to avoid all the people getting up later, who’d decided to spend the remains of their day by the sea.

All told, a very successful day.

The next day-trip will be somewhere different, although I don’t yet know where/when. But they’re certainly being good for the soul…

Three Years In One Place

It’s now three years since I moved into the current house – which also means I’ve been single that long.  How time flies, and all that rot.

I’m definitely still here for another six months (that’s when the current tenancy expires) and I’m still undecided on what I do from there.

I suspect I’ll stick with it for another year’s tenancy, to be honest – unless anything in life changes radically in that period.  That’s quite scary in some ways, it’s almost like I’m feeling more settled and (almost) putting down some roots.

That’s not the case though – the current place isn’t where I want to stay longer-term, but at the moment it’s just convenient, and – as I’ve said before – makes travelling easy to just about anywhere else.

Creatively Becalmed

This year so far – and probably for a bit longer than that, if I’m honest – I’ve not been getting all that much done on a creative front, and I don’t really know why.  It’s more a feeling of being bogged down, uninspired, and just not in the mood.

Writing is going better than anything else – lots of ideas, but nothing is particularly gelling at the moment. I’ve got a couple of things started, but it’s still bogging down, and not flowing.

Photography-wise, I haven’t even taken my camera out in ages. Really it’s been since I did the NCFE course, which is a bloody long time now. I don’t know why that seemed to flick the ‘can’t be arsed’ switch, but it has.  I’ve tried a few things and ideas, but it’s just all a bit “meh”, with no real desire to take the photos.

In some ways, the day-trips over the last few months have helped on that – I’ve taken photos, even if ‘only’ with the phone (although that’s a surprise, considering how good they’ve come out) but still can’t really bring myself to take the actual camera out for a day. A lot of that is also because I can’t be arsed with lugging it around and faffing about, but mainly it’s just the faff of it all at the moment.

I’m sure things will change again – I certainly hope so – and that the changes will be positive for once. The rest of this year to date has been positive, so I’m hoping that once I have some headspace and time, I’ll be more prompted.

(And I’m sure I’ve written about this a couple of times this year already, so forgive the repetition. It’s just something that’s bugging me at the moment)

Burger Crawl

Over the weekend, I took part in a very silly event that I’d discussed and come up with – a Burger Crawl in London.

It started off with a conversation about alternatives to pub crawls – I can’t even remember why it came up – but it seemed like a fun idea.

Originally it was going to be four of us as a trial run, but two dropped out, so it ended up just being one friend and me doing it, but that was fine.

Because it was the first one, and my idea, it ended up being my plan for where to go. So I made the choice that it was going to be all new places, nowhere we’d been before, and all in a similar area of London, rather than roaming all over the place.

As it turned out, it almost started badly. The place I’d picked for the first one – breakfast at Honest Burger‘s place near Liverpool Street – wasn’t open, they only do breakfasts Monday to Friday.  So, a bit of a trip on the first hurdle, but we had other places on the list of possibles, and went for one of those instead.

So the final list was

We did well – much more food and it would’ve involved exploding stomachs – and was a brilliant day with all the new venues being excellent. I plan to return to all of them – just maybe not all in one day again.

Oh – and we covered a fair amount of distance as well, which probably helped in dealing with the amount of food…

Distance Covered

There will be more BurgerCrawls in the future – and we’ve had a couple of other related ideas too – but for a first go, it all went really well, and definitely a success.

Overtaking – On the decline

Over the last few weeks of driving, I’ve been noticing more and more that other drivers seem to be quite averse to overtaking, even with miles of clear and visible road ahead.  I don’t quite know why it is – maybe it’s about how generally risk-averse we’re becoming – but it’s bloody annoying.

I do overtake – so long as it’s safe, and the road is clear. (That should go without saying, but still) But I now seem to be in the minority.

Of course, the irony is that when you’re then on a multi-carriageway road, every single one of those motherfuckers is sitting in the outside two lanes, overtaking fuck-all. But I digress.

The thing is, if you’re behind five or six – hell, even two or three – vehicles who aren’t overtaking whatever’s holding everyone up/back, then my own overtaking manoeuvre becomes difficult, if not impossible. So you just end up sitting there, because no-one else is prepared to do anything.

It’s an odd state of affairs – and sometimes bloody annoying. But there’s not a lot that you can do, except accept that it’s just going to be one of those days…

Edinburgh Trip

All told, the Edinburgh trip was fantastic. Thoroughly enjoyed all of it, even though I’m knackered by the end of it.

The travel itself was exceptionally smooth – and all on-time, which made it even better. Coasting past jammed traffic on the M1 (which I would’ve been using otherwise) was a particular high point.

The hotel was great (with the minor exception of a 2am fire alarm on the Saturday night, but these things happen) and everything generally went well.

Over the weekend I walked about 25km around Edinburgh – including being too lazy to wait for taxis and buses, and walking from Leith to the City Centre (and back) – as well as visiting two galleries, which was the kind of thing I wanted to do with the weekend.

Finally, the restaurant was absolutely brilliant. I really enjoyed the entire thing, and really want to go back (as well as going to other similar places) for a different menu and different choices. It also helped that the first person I saw as I went in was Tom Kitchin himself, which I figure is a pretty auspicious start.

So yes – a great weekend, and a great break. More will follow.

Travel Time

The trip to Edinburgh this weekend is also pretty much the first time I’ve taken a long-distance train journey since I lived in Manchester. I was considering driving, but looked at a minimum of six hours each way, as well as the consideration of fuel costs etc., and thought “You know what? Eff that”.  (Which is pretty novel in itself)

So I checked out the train costs – the journey’s about 5 hours each way by train, and the ticket price is pretty much on a par (within £10 or so) of the expected fuel costs. Plus it’ll mean I get to read, write, or just look out of the window, rather than being stuck having to concentrate on driving the entire way.

All told, it’s really been quite a sensible decision.  I’m not sure how it happened – I normally see a sensible decision and run in the opposite direction.  I’ll write more about it once I’m back, and know how it all went.

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