Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Nottingham Drinkies

Later that week we are off to stay a couple of nights with Mick & Deb at their home in Mansfield Woodhouse. 'Max' is packed to brimming with our travel items and we arrive for more of their 'tucker' and make ready for the trip in to Nottingham that morning by local train

What fun!
Having never used this long established train to visit our next nearest big city we are like a pair of school kids in their company
Mick & Deb are bemused at our swivelling head routine as we quickly try to work out the route of the train as it passes through the 'bowels' of Mansfield and following towns

We soon arrive at the canalside world of modern Nottingham and are quite impressed by the array of cafes and bars that benefit from the glorious sunshine of the day

Refreshments are soon ordered at one of the bars and we just chill...

Our ranks are swelled by the arrival of Mick & Deb's daughter, Leanne, and her partner Paul and we are soon lubricated enough to take on a late lunch at Prezzo Italian restaurant. 

Superb food here I have to say with lovely thin crust tasty pizzas that take us back to our recent trip to Italy

The crawl is underway with us visiting numerous bars including Brewdog, The Piano & Pitcher, Crafty Crow, The Castle and the Bear & Lace

This was the Stone IRS in Brewdog and thats the most they'll sell you in one hit as its like treacle but has the same kick as drinking petrol I imagine….
I thought it was the Biz

Paul, our guide for the day, looks on as we sample an array of beers with Leanne trying a few favourite  mind altering cocktails...  

Congregations here have never been higher

Late on (for us Duddies) we are still at it but eventually see reason and finely tune our departure time around that of the 'last train' 

Back in M/W we are straight in to the nearest open Chippy and haggling for scraps as our tummies crave some beer absorbent food
The chips were lovely and Mick spent most of the walk back wrestling with a bag that didn't get any smaller it seemed whilst various sausages and fish cakes were devoured by the rest of the Team
These simple things are what we miss whilst overseas….

Next day is spent chilling around the house with Nina & Deb gassing away (talking) and Mick doing a great job on my sat nav electrical feed for the Scoot
More beers, but at a slower pace, are involved and we settle down for an evening of hospitality courtesy of Mick & Adam's (their son) culinary prowess 
The Katsu curry & chicken meal was scrumptious and dished up by the two chefs with grinning faces...

To top that Mick produced his forte pudding, Tarte Tatin

Tense moments as it time to either flip the pud or drop it on the floor, either way the camera's ready!

Complete success and damned tasty…
I was left however with the thought that not all such occasions may have been this successful and wondered how many have hit the floor in the past!
Always lucky that Lad...

Slighly harder beverages appear and we are soon suppin & croonin as Adam strums away, even taking time to instruct Nina in the finer art of guitar playing

Please Adam, take it off her!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mick & Deb do Dethick

A weekend spent catching up with family is followed by a mini invasion to the tranquility and calm of Dethick by the Clarke duo

In space no one can hear you scream…so the emptiness all around is a perfect environment for Deb & Me to go head to head with our version of the 'Chatter Olympics'
Medal table later….

Very misguided men behaving oddly….

A short amble down the lanes breaks up the bouts of camper banter

Beermeister Mick insists on us helping him deplete his extensive 'Home Brew' stock
Good Man….

Deb thinks the AA (not roadside recovery) are on to us and goes in to hiding

Next day we are off walking in the glorious local countryside amid fears that Mick's nagging back issues may raise their heads...

This peaceful towpath walk along the Cromford canal was preceded by some bizarre 'off piste' orienteering from yours truly. Much moaning from my nearest and dearest made worse by the trek to the  strangely 'closed' tea room which was having 'an exam' (at lunchtime on a summer's weekday)
Oh well, our impromptu lunch was had canal side on a bench with Deb's Baps (homegrown bread rolls) and some school outing-like tucker
A chance for Mick to rest his back...

Caged mud wrestling women, or so my imagination lead me to consider...

Max, the soon to be smelly dog, just cooling off in the stagnant canal water

Just three level miles takes us..

to a mini pub crawl around cromford village
(we were tired at this stage)

Mick is confident of his sense of direction, totally forgetting its me who's in charge of getting lost..

Short route back then…
Fuelled by real ale and a walking App that sends us up a 1 in 3 hike the team keeps smiling and press ever onwards…..fools!

The 'walk' takes in the 'Jug & Glass' at Lea where we have to wait a while to be let in (sad or what?)
We study App data and discover Mick's identical App has us down as walking further so the paltry 17km is the least we'd done.
Still way too much for dikky backs though

Yours truly makes amends next day by helping to serve up a 'Big Breakfast'

Mick is in 'Painkiller mode'

Daft grinsRus and the grease is served….yum yum

That medal table:

Deb 1st Place, 4 golds, 1 bronze
Gold - Conversation Marathon
Gold - Drinking steeplechase
Gold - Underwater talking
Gold - Not drawing breath (LOL)
Bronze - Alcohol abstention

Pete Runner-up, 2 golds
Gold - Letting Deb talk
Gold - IPA consumption
Silver - Orienteering
Bronze - Getting a word in…

Best Amateurs..
Nina & Mick 
Gold - sharing what oxygen was left in the room

Its take two in a few days time back at their gaff for more frivolity...

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Co Durham, The Cathcarts & Coughing

The coughing bit first….
Nina's been coughing for England for many weeks now and a trip to the quacks reveals a probable viral  cause. I've been thinking six weeks is a pretty long time to go without getting it off her so was quite disgruntled when I eventually display her symptoms and just a week before our RV with Pat & Jane in Co Durham at Sedgefield
Hey Ho, cheers Nina…

Parked up nicely just out of town on a CL we all embark on the short walk in to Sedgefield

The sun is shining and we soon find ourselves a quiet beer garden to start our catch-up and try out our synchronised coughing on our poor chums…

The lovely Dun Cow Inn where we later availed ourselves of some fine tucker and quality beers

Pat at work...

What a really nice English village this is. Lots of common areas given over to trees and greens, an array of boutique shops for the girls, and several decent old pubs for us thirsty guys

If you bring your cow to town why not park it here!

Next day morning coffee is taken on our private lawn (which later doubled as a Boules pitch)

Pat, as ever, has the local bus timetables at the ready and plots our route to nearby Durham City

The castle looming over the River Wear

Tour guide Pat lures the girls away from the shops and suggests a ramble along the riverbank. Surprisingly they fall for this trap easily and once again our wallets breathe a sigh of relief!

The Cathedral where we were pleasantly surprised by its free admission policy and more so by the stunning interior which was vast to say the least….
No photos unfortunately as its taboo to release the shutter within its walls

Hardcore fishing

So many bridges here offering lovely views of the riverside

Grow up you two!

Several shops later we slump in to a little bar that Pat spotted earlier and rest our tired feet
The day was topped off nicely with a quality Indian meal back in Sedgefield and merriment back at the vans….

Right then! Boots on!
Time next day to go visit the nearby Hardwick Park on foot. 

The sun breaks through for what was to be a very pleasant day just strolling the park and of course lubricating the whistles...

The Hardwick Hotel in the grounds provided the refreshment stop where we entertained our chums with yet more coughing duets..

Back in the village a huge magnet pulls us spookily in to our first watering hole from Day 1 and Pat & Jane succumb to our insistence to buy a scratch card as he's been pooped on today by a bird and was attracting money spiders all day
Result was a £5.00 win!

Back at base camp tinnies are pulled and a game of Professional Boules is commenced..

Enormous fun this, and several hours were passed in the lovely sunshine with wine, beer & nibbles
Jane & I narrowly beat the other two having had the benefit of lubrication and Pat's magic tape which went well for us (most of the time)

Nina & Jane served us up a hearty pasta dish and apple pud to follow then we all retired to our van to chew the fat and sink a few more Spanish Vino Tintos

Another great time with the Cathcarts. Thanks for organising the trip and we both look forward now to our regular Bingham jaunt coming up next month….