Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 52
  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane

    After a bumpy start already described when Scoot brought my flight forward by 4 hours without telling me, I did get away after a couple of unscheduled nights in Bangkok.

    Scoot is basic. No inflight entertainment and just one little serving of food, I wouldn't call it a meal. That isn't much sustenance for 12 hours. On the other hand, there aren't a lot of choices non-stop to London. The view for half a day:

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-scoot2-jpg

    After an hour's wait at Gatwick the suitcases appeared and I was on the road. Not in my friend's car, he had promised to pick me up but later decided he'd rather go to Paris to watch Liverpool get beaten. So it was GBP150 in a taxi.

    No trip to the UK is complete without visiting at least one stately home. This time it was Blenheim.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-blenheim2-jpg

    Feel free to go and make yourselves a cup of tea whilst I try to clear the TD hurdles between my phone and posting pictures.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-scoot-jpg  

  2. #2
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Home
    Posts
    28,108
    The grounds at Blenheim are amongst my favourite places anywhere.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    There is a lot to see at Blenheim. The house

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-uk-travels-jpg

    The grounds

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-blenheim-lake-jpg

    The maze
    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-maze-jpg

    The Butterfly House

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bfly1-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bfly2-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bfly3-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bfly4-jpg

    The Rose Garden

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-rose-garden-jpg

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-rose1-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-rose2-jpg

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Near the Rose Garden is a grotto where Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine. I know I took a pic, no idea where it is now!

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    The main purpose of this trip was to attend the wedding of my youngest son. To get there I needed to cross London. Years late and squillions over budget, they still haven't found time to add directions to the Elizabeth Line to the signboards on Paddington Station..

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-paddington-jpg

    Found it eventually and took my maiden trip on the shiny new line.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-elizabeth-line-jpg

    I arrived on schedule. The sun shone and the day turned out perfectly. I even managed to sit beside the ex in the church and at the dinner without any blood being spilt. The wine flowed, despite which and to the great relief of my children I managed to refrain from my legendary displays of Daddy Dancing.

    This might turn out be the only day in history when my ex and I were together with all 4 children and their partners plus all 3 grandchildren, so it was quite special.

    There has been a church at Pleshey since at least the 12th Century. It has been rebuilt a couple of times and the current church is about 200 or 300 years old, depending on which plaque you are reading.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-pleshey-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-pleshey2-jpg


    I was chatting later to the Maid of Honour, an attractive, intelligent and very lively young woman. It turned out she is a Classics master at my old school. Perhaps if she had been around a few decades ago I might have applied myself more diligently to Latin.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    From the wedding it was off to Swansea to visit family. There is a park nearby where Dylan Thomas passed many hours as a young boy.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-cwmdonkin-jpg



    And another park with swans. It's always a joy to see cygnets.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-swans-jpg



    It is not too far from there for a trip out to the small Welsh village where my parents lie in the churchyard. A few moments of contemplation there.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-llanf-jpg



    And on a more cheerful note, some late spring flowers

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-meadow-jpg
    Last edited by Shutree; 12-07-2022 at 04:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    The last part of my Swansea visit involved lunch out on The Mumbles. Or if you prefer it in Welsh without any vowels: Mwmbwls.

    I was paying, the only way I could make sure we got a decent bottle of wine. The food was fine, standard fare. The apple and rhubarb crumble was a rare treat.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-crumble-jpg

    In the car park was this one for people who know about such things. I have no idea what it was:

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-car-jpg

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    malmomike77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    7,814
    Its a Polestar, basically an electric volvo the Chinkies own.

    Your family are just up the road from my mums side of the family.

    Sounds like you had a good time and the weather was fair for you.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Last Online
    Today @ 11:39 PM
    Posts
    1,801
    I am envious. Thanks for the pics!

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Quote Originally Posted by malmomike77 View Post
    Its a Polestar,
    Thanks. Never even heard of them before.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Before leaving Swansea I popped into M&S for some baby clothes for the new granddaughter. Whilst there I passed the glassware, where they were selling alphabet glasses. I was pleased to see that some great wit who enjoys my own sophisticated form of humour had got there before me.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bum-jpg

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-mns2-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-mns3-jpg

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    From Swansea it was back to Oxfordshire. The grandaughters were thrilled to find a hedgehog in the garden. It had a bit of a limp and it was later whisked off to a hedgehog sanctuary.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-hedgehog-jpg

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    I went to visit an old Hong Kong friend in Reading. We went to London for a larger get together of old colonialists. Only one choice of venue:

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-chinatown-jpg

    The lunch wrapped up early enough for us to get back to Reading and take an early evening stroll to a local brewery. A barn on a farm, basically. They have worked hard to make it a very pleasant venue and the beer was top quality. Highly recommended.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-loddon-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-loddon2-jpg

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    There were more day trips into London. One was to catch up with old friends from uni. Well, they'd have to be old by now. An old haunt first:

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-yeold1-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-yeold2-jpg

    There was a long, long lunch at a very good Italian restaurant. Super wine list. I thought I had pics, if I did they are lost to history. We couldn't decide after the wine whether we preferred grappa or limoncello, so the waiter just put a bottle of each on the table and told us to get on with it ourselves. Which we did.

    Another day I met a HK Chinese friend who recently retired and relocated to UK. She is born and bred and lived all her life in HK and has hardly a good word for the current regime. Don't even mention Carrie Lam.

    On the way to meet her at Covent Garden I chanced to happen by the Lamb and Flag. Those of us who are of a certain age remember when Covent Garden was a real market and in those days the Lamb and Flag had special licensing hours specifically for market workers, I think they opened at 0400. This being half a century later the pub was, ironically, not yet open when I passed that morning. It was still a good pub when I last visited on a summer's evening some years ago, plenty of customers spilling out on to the street.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-lambflag-jpg

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Of course, wine, spirits and beer were not the sole focus of my visit. I also found time for some cider. I am not usually a big cider drinker however I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are some good quality options now. A few that I tried as I travelled about, all good.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-cider1-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-cider2-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-cider3-jpg

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    I made a day trip to visit my middle son, his wife and my youngest granddaughter in Bath. She was just 7 weeks and I didn't invite myself for an overnight visit.
    I was determined to make this trip without a hire car, partly my contribution to the environment and partly because UK parking restrictions are more complicated than Brexit. So I travelled to Bath on the train and found myself at Bath bus station where there were no buses and no drivers for the few buses on site. I was not the only person struggling in the milling crowd and the post-Covid somewhat socially distanced queueing system made it tricky to know who was queueing for what. As a result of which I found myself beside a young Chinese woman who asked If I was in the queue. She had a bottle of wine in one hand and an overnight bag in the other, a low cut T-shirt with tats across a fulsome chest - my kind of woman. Yes I am in the same queue as you, whatever queue it might be. Turned out she was from Shanghai, working in London and was travelling to some kind of rugby tournament. We had a good chat and took the same bus. No pics, I could get arrested for that sort of thing these days. I was too polite to ask about her tattooed bosom.

    The return trip was less delightful. I went for the 2113 train to Paddington, which was delayed then delayed then cancelled. That left only the 2213, the last London train of the night. Of course the platform slowly filled up with clubbers and party-goers who all planned on that last train. It had been a very hot day and there were lads in nothing but shorts and sunburn, ladies in not much more, mostly drunk. It was all fairly jovial until some jobsworth turned up to lock the toilets at 2200. (Because the toilets are locked at 2200. Regardless of customer demand.) There were some desperate people full of beer with nowhere to go as the last train was delayed then delayed then finally arrived about an hour late. It was a bit of a smelly crush on the train.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-bath-jpg

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
    Mendip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Last Online
    Today @ 09:18 PM
    Location
    Korat
    Posts
    7,339
    ^ Rhubarb cider, well I never.

    Great stories Shutree. I'm the opposite of you and try to do all my travel using a hire car and avoid public transport at all costs... mainly because I just don't know how to do it any more. Also, my mum's village has just two buses pass through per day; one headed to Bristol from Weston-Super-Mare and one vice-versa. It would be a bit grim to rely on those.

    I have trains booked to and from Paddington in a couple of weeks because I don't fancy driving through central London and trying to find parking, but am meeting up with a guide in London to help with buses, tubes and stuff.

    But anyway, Bath is on my list... this Chinese girl with the tatted breasts... I like that kind of thing. I don't suppose you got a phone number?

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
    malmomike77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    7,814
    Decided to have a look at Scoot purely out of interest as i'll never fly with them and their website is terrible, or perhaps its just me and i can't find where you do a fares search.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
    Mendip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Last Online
    Today @ 09:18 PM
    Location
    Korat
    Posts
    7,339
    I've flown Scoot between Swampy and Singapore a couple of times and thought they were ok, I seem to remember they used a Dreamliner as well. But then again the flight is only a little over two hours so any airline would do.

    I don't mind a lack of inflight entertainment because often I watch stuff on my phone or laptop anyway... flying over to UK this week I did Season 3 of Cheers.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Rhubarb cider, well I never.
    Very much better than it sounds.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    It would be a bit grim to rely on those.
    This saga is not yet finished.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    London to help with buses, tubes and stuff.
    Just get yourself a Travelcard for all zones and you can go as you please on the transport system. That is Off Peak, I think it starts at 0930 then there is a blackout on mainline trains about 1630 to 1930, I'm not sure what happens if you are staying in Zone 1. The information must be out there. I rely entirely on the tube in London, it is so straightforward. Buses are another story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    I don't suppose you got a phone number?
    I did ask her if she used Line, which she did. She didn't volunteer her Line ID though. Maybe because I am 40+ years older than her?


  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    This is Paddington, Platform #1. I took the pic for myself really. I still have vivid memories of a family holiday to visit grandparents in south Wales. We took the Swansea train from Platform #1. Those were the days of steam and I was small, maybe 4 or 5 years old. The locomotives were giant things of great beauty and I have never lost my interest in all things Great Western Railway.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-paddington1-jpg

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    The one person missing from my son's wedding was my brother. Somehow he has changed from the cheeky chappie he used to be. Despite great qualifications and experience he cannot find any employment these days and I guess he is still struggling to come to terms with that. Anyway, my final side trip was to meet him for lunch in Oxford. I have done a lot of the tourist stuff before so I didn't bother with a lot of pics. After lunch we went to the Ashmolean, which I always enjoy and like the best museums it is free.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-ashmo1-jpg

    I always head for the Chinese art. They have some interesting pieces. I very much like some calligraphy, having zero artistic ability myself I am fascinated by the way that people can produce such flawless work. This piece is not so old (1987) and the artist Fang Zhaoling was already in her seventies when she painted it. There is a particular name for this style of calligraphy which I should probably remember, it is still popular with students because of the clarity of the text. I have no idea how to read it.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-ashmo2-jpg

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    On what was supposed to be our last day together in Oxfordshire I joined the granddaughters on a trip to the park. Wonderful to spend time with them, best part of the trip.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-last-day-jpg

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    I was ready to move on from Oxfordshire. By this time I had sorted out my Thailand Pass and a ticket back to Bangkok and I had a few days to spare. Some time in the past my ex told me I was welcome to stay at her new home in Shropshire. I ducked that offer at the time, then in the warm afterglow of our son's wedding I suggested that maybe I could make a brief visit, we could have lunch around Ludlow and I could leave the next day. She agreed and so a plan was made.

    I was to travel up on the Monday, lunch on Tuesday, leave on Wednesday. Simples. What could possibly go wrong?

    The first problem was that Shropshire was closed on Tuesday. I tried about 6 restaurants and none was open that day. Never mind, I had a train ticket.

    I never thought about the geography before. From Oxfordshire you take the train West to Newport in Wales before taking a smaller train North along the Welsh borders. It is a very scenic ride, first stop up the valley is Cwmbran. It suddenly dawned on me here that I was looking at the lump on top of Twmbarlwm, an Iron Age remnant that I used to walk up from the other side when holidaying with my grandparents in my youth. On a sunny summer's day there are fantastic views from the top. Memories came flooding back and I completely forgot about taking any pictures. This one is from Wiki:

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-twmbarlwm_hill_fort-jpg

    The train continued through Abergavenny, Hereford and Ludlow before arriving at the sleepy town of Church Stretton. Really a very pleasant ride through some fine English and Welsh countryside.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
    Shutree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:47 PM
    Location
    One heartbeat away from eternity
    Posts
    3,174
    Now I had arrived in Shropshire. The ex has a house on the edge of the Long Mynd and the scenery is wonderful. Then two things happened that messed with my plans. The first was that the railway workers went on strike, there were next to no trains for the next six days, including the day on which I had a ticket out of Gatwick. The next was that my mate, who had ponced off to Paris instead of picking me on arrival, up had promised instead to take me to Gatwick after a couple of days carousing together at the end of my trip - but - he went into A&E with DVT. He couldn't walk and certainly wasn't going to be driving anywhere for a while. A week with the ex beckoned.

    I live in Thailand. I am used to disappointments and coping with the unexpected. Just smile and wait for things to get better.

    (The train strike was not called off but my mate is slowly improving. Maybe he'll be up for some wild excesses next year.)

    She suggested a trip out to Powis Castle. We had last been there together with the children years ago so it was another trip down memory lane. The yew hedges at Powis are famous, they were planted in the 1720s and are almost exactly 300 years old.

    After nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-powys1-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-powys2-jpgAfter nearly 3 years: Back on a plane-powys3-jpg

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •