Manatu

Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Month: June 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Cyprus and Nigel Kennedy

had a nice time in cyprus, with Catherine, Bernard, damith, Ceecee, Possum, hilary, Hyper, Jimmy ,leo, CEO, Motley, may have missed one, yes the light gray and the coon cat who wander by….
Everyone after Damith is feline. They lead a royal life being pampered by c and B, Ceecee the cat from taipei vis AbuDhabi is queen of the roost….the rest are the long legged local variety in all colours. jimmy was my favourite, son of the next door coon cat and very ginger!!!!
The first day in cyprus was very hot but cooled down after that, even put on a cardy. was just getting hot again as i left,now a heatwave with 40c temps.
Spent a lot of time nodding off, reading and eating and drinking.
Went to polis and walked along souli Beach for F and G…lotsa hotels there now but i can see why it appealed.
Went on a walk with the local walking group, up hill and down dale around the local village, about sixteen of us then back to c and bs for a pot luck meal. very pleasant evening.
Swam a bit as well, nice pool and nice garden, very quiet in the village and lovely at night, no traffic or trains.
landscape is very dramatic, lots of mountainous valleys, limestone everywhere yet good fruit is produced. C and b are pretty self sufficient fruit wise and have loads of thier own olive oil and eating olives, very good ones too…

Arriving back at southport at 2 am in the morning was a bit sobering, good old David picked me up and it was sooooo appreciated particularly as he was starting a new contract at 8 the next morning.

weather has turned drear since i arrived back so have mooched about, washing, eating, sleeping etc.
yesterday we went to Liverpool to the newly and beautifully refurbished public library, busy as anything. a guitar recital was on plus there was a protest!
We were sitting have coffee in the nice foyer cafe when in burst about forty people singing, they trotted up the stairs, sang a few more songs then trotted back out again. i nabbed one of them and asked what and who it was.,
Well, it was the Liverpool Socialist Singers of course, protesting about the shutting of small libraries in the area. songs they sang were old socialist favourites, the red flag, political words to the tune of Hokey Tokey, e.g They build the central library and keep the change thats why we want them out!!!!Chorus, OHhhhh-Tories are pollution, we’ve got a cool solution, bring on the revolution……etc etc… John Browns body got similar treatment, sample…..we must defend our services and make the bankers pay…,

I would have been with them!!!!!
We then went to a temple of consumption called Costco, a huge version of Gilmours but this one has everything from 20k diamonds to recycled string. most things have to be bought by the dozen, not the diamonds though and fresh food is bought by the item and vat free!!!! Food variety was great, i was slobbering …kg of stilton for 16 dollars….sigh….

Home and out to Nigel kennedy. My hero from way back. He played along with his polish Double bass player, polish drummer , polish acoustic guitarist and a single english guitarist a variety of music, from Bach to fats waller.
he is a consummate entertainer and can make the violin sing!!!!
Nowadays heavily into deconstructed music but great to hear just the same. i am looking forward to his soon to be released new version of four seasons. bound to be controversial.

Off to Litchfield to old friends next week then the cruise for two weeks to icy climes. i was casting around for something to do for the last ten days, London ? almost booked another cruise to Norway then Gill came up with the bright idea of the isle of man. So i am going to walk the 100 mile Raad ny Foillan, or the way of the gull or more boring still, the coastal path..
Will take about seven days and has many uppsys so will be a challenge. Will have to mend my slothful ways and get the wretched poles out again.
Today we are all going to clitheroe to do the In the footsteps of Tolkein, a ten k trot….

Back by request…

Thanks to all those who have asked’ where are you?’
No, not in a looney bin, heaven’t run off with a gigilo, been knocked on the head etc…..just been lounging around really…

David organised an intensive programme of activiies, ranging from the BBC garden and Food show in Birmingham to torturing me by bicycle…
The garden and food show was great, loads of RHS gardens of a really high standard and loads of displays by various nurseries featuring everything from bonsai to pelagoniums. the poor old dahlia hardly got a look in….
The food component was great with lots of exotic gin being offered. we had a glass of the worlds most expensive champagne for lunch along with a crepe, both could have been better!!!
i was walked into Southport a couple of times, it is a pretty town, was/is a seaside resort that has its genesis in edwardian times…d lives in an edwardian mansion. Gill and Ilaria live there also, as well as Barry , a seagull killing machine cat….
Gill and ilaria would head off to thier respective schools then d and i would head out, often for lunch. in the evening we would torture Gill with fictitious menus that we had consumed that day at places she wanted to visit!
The weather was pleasant so it was a very enjoyable interlude UNTIL I was dragged out kicking and screaming onto ILarias bike…well not quite the above, but i did manage to avoid the bike until the day before i left for cyprus…
i wobbled down the road, think it is about twenty years since i rode a bike… got off to turn it around, after a few more wobbly rides down D ‘s street we set off.
Went out along the sea front, and thru a forest, very nice. my confidence improved but was somewhat dented when i hit a large bolt on a metre plus wide gate, have a stunning bruise…
every now and again when the going got tough, i threatened to disinherit david, he just ignored me…we did about 15 ks.
We caught the train back from Freshfields, they even have space on their trains for bikes. I did a bit of last minute shopping in Southport then wobbled back to davids, feeling very pleased with myself. D was not so pleased as he got a puncture, so proceeded back more slowly.

wednesday we were out and away to manchester where i caught a sumptuous Ryan air flight to Paphos.
Had a Scots couple next to me, they could not understand me and i could not understand them…
Catherine and Bernard collected me, and by 9 pm i was drinking wine in the balmy warmth of kappelia …
Mooched about thursday, hot as hell, about 36 c, even had a couple of swims…
Cooler yesterday, no swims, today ,still overcast but warm… i am overcome with warm weather inertia and doubt if I will stir from here till Wednesday when i go back to UK.
c’s hip is healing well and i am enjoying life with the luxury of a house servant….
Today, Owens we are going to Souli beach for a look….
i am only here a week as Nigel Kennedy is playing in southport next saturday….

Serious cuss words here…..

We decided to catch a taxi to Cee then a bus from there to Santiago, still showery weatherwise.
All fine, but the 10 am bus was late in and the twenty italians from Lires were all volubly waiting…going to be a crowded bus…Bus arrived forty minutes late…
Lovely trip around the coast, some great beaches and not many people plus a few good sized towns. Bus nearly wiped out a car at one point but thought nothing of it….
Going inland there were some huge high bridges, one not quite finished, 400m was the cost on the project board.
Noticed we were careering around a bit, then a bit more, bus kept lurching to the right and the edge of the high bridge, then to the edge of a high pass, see title….
Someone went and checked on the bus driver to see if he was OK! yes, bus wasn’t though, oil problems, which was affecting the steering….
Half the passengers craned their necks to see the road, the other half , me included looked out the window..
very scarey last 70 ks as we crept wobbily along….very long 70 ks too.
When we finally arrived, d asked the driver what the problem was, told oil thingy etc driver was looking very shaken!!! ,

So , into Santiago,to get my certificate of distance, took forever, gave me one that said 990 ks, wrong! 705, finally got it sorted. D decided not to waste his time as there is an issue around santiago as a starting point for the Finistere camino, NOT an ending point. they are going to have to sort that out as the tourism industry on the point is becoming quite reliant on pereginos…
So after a bit of shopping, we headed for the yummy Parador alongside the cathedral…
Correct, no booking, see title… we walked around the corner to the other ‘hotel’ facing the cathedral, nice entrance, nice reception, got our keys, no luggage, never mind it will arrive.
went up to our rooms, minute, just room for a single bed, no bath, no tv, no nuthin, see title….
I stormed back downstairs, hissed and spat, no avail, walked off, heard the receptionist sniggering, stormed back told her not to be so damn rude as i am not deaf…
D phoned that travel agent, oh no, there is another part of the hotel, much better, lies, no other part. we gave up that battle but still no luggage..Oh no, you don’t get it transferred today as you are not walking!!! Cost 80 euro to get our bags to us!!!!
We were so …see title….man serving coffee in the communal dining roo, told me to smile, he got snarled at….
Place was full of pilgrims, all there for a cheap night. We had paid and paid and paid for a last expensive night and the booking description from the agent, said enjoy the parador!!!!
So funny really as i had told the irish we were staying in the parador, would love to have met up with them again to tell them what really happened!!!!
From five star expectation to one star reality….having paid for the former, cock of the walk to feather duster!!!!
Oh yes, and the shower did not work!!! All very clean, but lousy breakfast as well. we went out!!!
Caught a taxi to the airport slept across the channel, did a marathon run on train and tubes, d carried my heavy bag and his, THEN we hit London, walked from Euston where we left the luggage.
Went to the Portrait Gallery, my favourite, great WW1 exhibition on, then went to the top of Selfridges where there is a new BBQ bar on the top, receptionist took one look at us and said they were full, but D charmed her into letting us in for a look. Like a roof garden, and full of beautiful people.
Then we found St Christopher’s place, a little opening off oxford St that opens into a very sexy little shopping area, restaurant area etc, very old and nicely restored. large glass of wine then back to Euston on the train to Liverpool. A very full five hours, London was looking beautiful, lovely sunny day, royal garden party on so a few ladies in funny hats around.
arrived in Liverpool two and a half hours later , very fast train, to be met by gill and Ilaria, bot knackered…..
We weighed ourselves this am, d lost 2 kgs, i lost 500 grams!!!

Last day walking

After a reasonable nights sleep and a good meal, razor clams and octopus, both sleep and food being OK was quite rare so all was good.
BUT it was hissing down with rain again. Sod it on with the gear and i set off, leaving david to catch up..
Got lost twice getting out of lires, walked to the trout farm, thinking going out would be on the same road as coming in, wrong! roads were creeks with water sloshing around my boots, back up the hill to lires, another wrong turn, and forty five minutes wasted…Pooh sticks!!!!
Eventually headed out, nice and quiet road, tree lined walk, over a bridge which used to be just stepping stones, way, way under water today…David caught me up just after the bridge, very surprised to see his hobbit bobbing along. he also took a wrong turn getting out of that tiny town and we later discovered the Irish had too… blame the rain.
I t eventually cleared up into the sunny day that had been promised. we walked thru little hamlets and passed pretty little valleys, lovely part of the country. Not a coffee shop to be found.
We came back to the sea, about 2 pm,i had started out at 8.30 am, lovely beaches and nobody on them.
Saw fifty Fiat bambinas on a rally, painted all colours with wild horns, very funny…
J ust after that a tall woman with a large pack stamped past and made comment about davids small pack, His response, “its OK , my mother carries our luggage,” i still had my cape on and looked like i had a huge pack underneath… she never replied.
not long after got too warm, so cape came off. i am still carrying the umbrella i bought in ponte de lima, keep it dry under my cape!!!!!

Finally fell into Muxia, surrounded on two sides by the sea, one side wild ocean and the other calm harbour. We are staying on the calm side in a hotel looking over the sea…sounds nice but run by two really weird people, who outdo john cleese.
i was charged twenty euro extra for a room with a bath big enough, almost to bath in, then when we went out for a walk, was given it back….
Again this town was ravaged by boney so mad architecture…
Also, strange but trues, lots of pohutukawa trees planted in the civic plantings, one even in flower. saw one in Porto as well…
so all over bar getting back to santiago and london then liverpool.

I feel much calmer than when i started but still have heart stopping moments when i realise T is not there and never will be again.
It was a really good thing for me to do, loved the church of christ in tomar, like to go back to coimbra, loved the quiet walks thru forests, when i knew where i was going…
Enjoyed the camarderie of people i met along the way. Tolerated the food, got to love chips, disliked many of the hotels, but overall a positive experience.
Also really grateful to the people who emailed me regularly, joss, joan, jackie, i know at times my replies were very grumpy , but i would have been worse without your support, keep on doing it!!!!!!

Luck of the Irish

….not really, we walked all day with an irish father and son who we have walked with before…it hissed down with rain, but not all day. lulled one into taking off the top layer then bucketed down again.
I had a nice walk into finsiterre from cape finisterre, about 3 ks but took the kind to motorists route which was on the other side of the barrier, fool, was wet and barrier too high for me to climb!!!!
Almost had wet feet before i began. met david in town at almost appointed time. he had pizza for dinner i had stuffed cuttle fish which tried to reincarnate about 3 am….
So a bit tired today, do not know spanish for electrolytes….
Walk today, about 17 ks was very pretty, a few damp pilgrims about but not many. very rural and some nice foresty bits thru trees.
franco planted all the gums, after cutting down all the oaks which had been there for centuries.
Both cee and finistere have architecture that is different to what i have seen, napoleon burnt the towns down so what is there now is early 1800…Quite austere, not quite georgian , just plain three storey houses…

david and gavin the irish son walked together and eddie? the irish dad and i walked together, behind…..I think we understood about one word in three each other said!!!

we were happily chatting away when a motorbike roared out of a drive and did a slow keel over. Young boy, big bike, Eddie has had open heart surgery so guess who helped idiot young spaniard lift up his bike….suggested he put the bike back in the garage until he grew into it….two minutes later he roared past us. a minute later we found the two sons waiting in a bus shelter. gavin could have lifted the bike with finger, has size 14 feet!!!!

onward to the hotel, have a room at the top of the house, really it is an overgrown house in the middle of a tiny town,only room with bath, but the water was cold!!!!!
sole source of industry in the town is a trout farm! just beyond that is the sea….Town is called liras

last walking day tomorrow to Muxia about 20 ks which will make a total of about 700 ks. not a blister and my shoes are still intact.
…and i still dislike most hoteliers and their ilk, have certainly not learnt to deal with them charm and diplomacy!!!!!

dodgy tums and other things

another white meal last night,however one of the group from last week was at the hotel- can you call them that? So that was nice.
So cold, must have been about 4 C, this am absolutely chucking it down. walked for about three hours in pouring rain, d was not happy, T’s vietnamese gore tex leaked at the seams.My four pound cape was a treasure..
arrived in finnstre, beautiful dramatc landscape and just starting to clear, to discover that we were boOked in right out By the Cape by the lighthouse, another 3 ks…taxi !!!! 5 euros, only to find that only I was booked in, D was back in town.
Phoned the travel agent from hell, tough luck…David stamped back to town…I have a room over the kitchen with the lift and the kitchen vent competing in the noise stakes. Shit oh bloody dear…

anyway , we saw a robin on the way into town and yesterday i heard another cuckoo and Loads of skylarks…
Tomorrow is another short day, about 14 plus the three from here , to Lires, then to Muxia, Santiago and back to UK.
d has dodgy bowels, and my stomach is saying ENOUGH of this crap food, so english food will seem quite appealing.
I have just had a plate of expensive mussels and that is all they were, mussels in the shell, no dressing, no nuthin…
dinner tonight could be interesting, think it is at 8 pm, hotel is full of Americans, just too good to be out here don’t you think, nah, i x<#%%|| don't think that.

CEE you in Thee

that is how it is pronounced.
I took the slow road today, well the short road really….
Only walked about 16 ks, gosh it was good, one of the best walks i have had.
David started from the hotel but I took the offered liftto a town called olly something.
felt fit, bag was light and the wind was to my side.
Rapid climb up to a moor, much like the desert rd…12 ks of this and the pereginos stocked up at the cafe prior to it as though they were never going to see a shop again.
Met a very old spaniard, who walked even slower than me, left him in my dust, most unusal.
happily marching along, saw a stone shelter, thought how nice, as I got closer, there was a church, small , on the other side. There was also a mini bus and bunch of old people like me, all out for a walk, maybe a local Probus group.
i said mean things about them and even took their photo, they all wore matching turquoise jackets….
let them head off, then carried on.
Great walk, high up, long misty views and THE SEA!!!!!
The last part was 500 m straight down a rocky incline, not that nice but OK.
arrived in CEE did the waltz of the rooms, small baths!!!
Even my knees were under my chin…
tomorrow out to finisterre , supposed to widdle down.then only four more nights.
today was highlight though.

Who knows where I am…

this was a supposedly long day, well it was..at the end of it we were to be transported to somewhere that sounded like a house in the country..
not with this travel agent, it is a smallish hotel somewhere between where we should have been and will be…
i despise being transferred anywhere and after seven hours walking thru pleasant rural countryside, some uppys only one cafe , i had had enough.
done about 23 ks mainly up, so told David to ring the hotel to collect us. Mistake, should have told them to collect me and let him walk on…had to wait thirty long minutes for the vehicle operating as a shuttle, had been waiting somewhere else.
we got two mexican girls to tell the hotel where we were…hotel no speaka english..
We finally arrived, room choice by me based on biggest bath!!!
now have a lovely nest made up, found a feather duvet in the wardrobe…
not that many walkers, about thirty, plus a number who have walked to finistere and are now walking back to santiago….
we ordered what we thought was fritata for lunch, came out, chips, jambon and an omelette.
civil war for the afternoon in my interior….
tomorrow, walk to Cee, about 20 ks but down to sea level then up to 500 m…Weather is ok but probably wet fri and saturday.
Saw friesan cows today, big mothers..lots of muck being spread, lotsa smells…..
The sea comes into view tomorrow!!!!!!!!

AND ON WE GO….

Left Santiago at 8 30 am and got to Negreira on the way to Finistere, a distance of about 125 ks and lotsa uppys…at 3 pm
My word there was one today that went on and on and there is another tomorrow that is a 2.5 km stretch upwards and upwards .

However, the scenery was nice, oak and gum forest and very little traffic on the few bits of road we had to walk. plus, there are very few that walk this route, only the truly mad….
The weather was kind and we had our first coffee , our only coffee two hours out. other than that we ate stolen breakfast rolls, muesli bars, almonds, dried apricots, and peaches and yes, more cherries.
lovely big cherries, bought yesterday but david is right off them.. he is much better on hills than me, a few years younger, I remain the feel good factor with everyone passing me. except for a japanese girl who had a huge pack and one of those small circular clothes drying thingys attached to her shoulder from which hung, socks, knickers, bra and towel….see the truly mad…
weather was good,about 22 but cooled off as the day went on, promising rain on friday.
on our arrival in this most salubrious town, no idea what it is like,had a bath and a snooze, D went exploring AFTER scoffing a large plate of pommes frites with mayonnaise. David had a sald, I don’t eat healthy stuff anymore, why bother… I will see what i need to see on our way out tomorrow.
nearly 30 ks tomorrow…then a few days later, a 12 k day, oh the rationality of the worlds worst travel agent..
hope tomorrow is a bit easier, quite hard work today, think a two day break may not be a good idea!!!!
PS hotel is definitely communist state circa 60s, same architecture as my flat in china….
david has agreed that due to seniority I get the best room!!!!
last night at dinner, chinese hotel conference room style, seated about 300, there were eight of us, we had a true Manuel waiter. he scuttled, he muttered, he ran now and again, hilarious. we had green soup and roast pork, there was actually brown gravy on the pork thus breaking the monotony of white,,,
Also you will all be pleased to know that i have maintained my standards, wear my diamond earrings and make up – every day!!!,
PPS This pilgrims route dates back to the 1100’s…
Really it is because i want to see the sea!!!!

Laundry day

actually washed my sheets today and hung them out the hotel window, plus assorted socks, knickers etc…
nice sunny day but a little cool. Rain, heavy is forecast for Friday.
We set off tomorrow for negeria, about 22 ks away. just looked at the profile, my heavens there are a lot of uppys. may take some ibuprofen in the morning just to prepare.
two much needed relaxation days here in santiago, sense david would like to have left today but fear I would have been naught but a bag of bones on the road.
last night we had dinner, average, with brian, a german couple and two nice german women whom I have travelled with for the last several days. You do not always walk together but tend to meet up for coffee at the various cafes, they are usually leaving as i arrive.
It was very nice to have a final get together and everyone felt quite sad about parting. interestingly we were all coughing, little dry coughs. i also have a runny nose, dust.
that is the odd thing about the camino, the short but intense relationships one has with other walkers…
Did not have that down south but it gave me time to think about and resolve lots of things which I would not have been able to do in company. Too much energy spent just walking and talking no energy left for introspection.
So, mass yesterday, left before the swinging of the senser so after a late breakfast we went back for that today, great, such a spectacle as this buge, about a metre high and probably a metre diameter large silver salt shaker thing full of incense is swung higher and higher and in a wider and wider arc across the nave of the cathedral. takes about six men to get it swinging,
the church police give up on the camera ban at that point. Not quite so many people around today. The town was heaving last night.Must be an odd place to live with this huge i flux of new people everyday…population is 100,000 with 20,000 students.
David went out sightseeing this pm while i returned to the hotel for a nana nap and more washing.
now about to go out and get me another certificate from the church of St Francis as it is 800 years since he did a pilgrimage here….then off out to dinner, yellow soup probably plus something with potatos….

later…..got the St Francis cert, very nice, walked thru a very well mannered protest about the monarchy and things in general, King notified us all today of his abdication and there were protests today in many cities. Santiago’s was very polite.

had a pleasant meal, mussels, veal steak, chips of course and almond cake… Must be getting accustomed to low key food…..
David uncovered a very large beetle thing resting in my bag!!! very humane, he never killed it….

p

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