Sunday, 7 September 2008

Very very belated holiday blog...

So the last saved draft of this was at the end of July. I am such a slack blogger that I've only just got round to finishing this! Oh well. I'm trying to get more of a pattern to my life so hopefully I'll be able to slot in a regular bit of blogging...

So, picking up as of 20somethingth of July...

We've been away, and back a couple of weeks now, but due to complications which I will most likely go into later, I've only just got round to blogging. We went up to Scotland, house sitting for Lucy while they went to France. So here's a bit of travelogue and pics...

I'll start with a bit of a rant (rant? moi? never...) about online train ticket booking. I'd thought about dh and I travelling separately, like we've done before to Filey, one of us driving and the other on the train with the children. SO... I looked up ticket prices on a couple of sites and discovered that there was an 'advance' ticket available. But it wasn't showing me the advance price when I selected more than 1 traveller at a time. Being Yorkshire born and bred ;-) I didn't want to have to pay 4 booking fees, also I didn't want to have to faff around with getting the seat reservations and being the proud owner of the Family Railcard from the special offer in the Daily Mail (must get the follow-up offer sorted out actually) I looked up the conditions on Advance tickets and Family and Friends Railcard discounts are applied. So I think 'right, I'll ring up and see what I can do' and of course by the time I ring up the advance tickets are all gone.

All because the online systems don't work in accordance with the ticketing rules. Twonks.

Anyway... so we drove up together on the Saturday (because £90 was too much extra) and actually it was really nice, even though we were late setting off due to the usual faffery with laundry and packing. Stopped at the services outside Durham as we'd checked it out and there was a Costa, lol. Ooo'd at the Angel of the North, waved at Ikea, drove into Alnwick seeking somewhere reasonable and family-friendly-looking to have tea and drove out again. Wandered off the A1 into Belford where we found The Belford which despite being a golf club (sorry, dh's prejudice is seeping through) was family-friendly without being patronising and reasonably priced. We were forewarned that they were busy and we might be waiting a while, and we were, but when the food came it was top quality and very well cooked (as in they'd done a good job, not a euphemism for burnt, lol.) Definitely recommended.

Got to Lucy's to find out that her 3 bedroom house woud fit at least 1 and a half of my 3-bed house in it. It's just as full of stuff though, lol.

So on to the pics :-) They're all taken on dh's or my phone because I hadn't, and still haven't, got round to getting my camera sorted out.

Taken at some point by someone who had been given my phone to take pictures with to keep them occupied in the car. It worked, for the most part. That and playing Worms on it...
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The Forth Bridges. Thanks so much to Jayne (mummybuttons) for hunting online for a postcode for a Pizza Hut so that we could find a relatively child-friendly and reliable place for a very late tea after our trip into Edinburgh. We didn't take many photos as really we were there shopping. And bizarre (and saddening really) as it is that there are so many mobile phone shops, and 3 branches of Boots, on the same road, we didn't really feel the need to record it.
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Hermit crabs at North Berwick
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more hermit crabs

North Berwick is a lovely place and would be fab for a seaside holiday, nice little town centre, nice sandy beach...

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with fab rockpools...

Oh phooey I thought I'd taken more photos of the rockpools. Oh well, this one gives you an idea...

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and this nifty man-made lagoon thingummy...

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The rockpools were well populated with hermit crabs, fish and shrimps, which was cool. We picked a really nice day to go and the two ice-cream vans by the beach were doing well, the bigger, flasher 'whippy' van got more trade than the small, old, less ornate local icecream van (M Luca of Musselbrough) so I figured I'd give the local dairy some trade, it was really nice. Not quite a Dixon's Milk Ice but still good. The one thing I was surprised I didn't find was the kind of beach tat shop that Filey has several of, with flipflops and buckets and spades and hats and kites and cheap, naff sunglasses and bats and balls and all that, I ended up buying buckets and spades from the RNLI shop, which is fine of course, it's a very good cause and I'm happy to support them, but there wasn't much choice and it's not the same. But then we were there on a beautiful day in the middle of the first week of Scottish schools' Summer holidays and it was surprisingly not-busy so maybe there just isn't the trade to sustain it. But then where do people go? Were they all abroad? Or just not gone to the beach that day?

East Link Family Park was fun (and sunny, am glad all mine are old enough now to say 'you stay here' to one and 'you watch these' to another, lol, while I dash back to the car for hats and suncream...) Lots and lots of photos on flickr of this so I'll just post a couple here:

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What else did we do while we were away? We mooched round the local shops in Dunbar, which apparently has the most sunshine hours in the UK. It lived up to it that week, we did get rained on but not as much as the rest of the country I think! There's a PYO strawberries place (with the strawbs in growbags on stilts, very odd but much easier on the back!) and a smokehouse just off the A1 outside Dunbar so we went there, oh and we had locally-caught langoustines bought in Dunbar for tea one day. When Lucy's cooker decided to cook them for us. On the Saturday, before coming home on Sunday, we drove to Bamburgh to look at the castle (and found a nice little deli, impressive range for such a tiny shop!) then to Lindisfarne for the fun of driving over the causeway and back, though it was too early to watch the tide rise over it. And then to Berwick-upon-Tweed where we got totally soaked and didn't find a replacement for dd2's worn-out-at-the-sleeve-cuffs zip-up hoodie but still felt like we'd had a good day.

Home the next day via Alnwick to look at the castle, where, in case there was anyone who wasn't aware, some scenes in the early Harry Potter films were filmed.

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From there we went straight home apart from calling at Durham services again, for Costa and a 'win every time' £1 teddypicker machine that dd3 had been promised a go on if we didn't find another while we were away. Which we didn't.

Never did get round to sorting out that half price railcard offer.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I have to agree with you here, Berwick is a beautiful place and the beaches are stunning when the weather is right. My husband and I went to Berwick not long ago for a weeks holiday and had a great time. The caravan site and the surrounding areas were superb and great for the kids.