Wednesday, November 27, 2019

60 Today, tomorrow and the next day!

We woke up at the Hard Rock Hotel in London's Oxford Street and Del opened up his presents and cards Al had brought from Derwent6. We then took a walk and did a bit of shopping and Del brought a couple of T Shirts. It was then check out from the hotel and a black cab to Victoria station where we got the train to Otford in Kent.. There waiting was a hire car and it was off to friends Bernie and Sarah, where David had brought us pie and chips to line our stomachs for a session later that evening..
At 6.00pm we made our way over to Maxine and Grahams at the Moody Mare where Del knew they were having a small gathering, but 40 people turned up and it turned into a bit of a party..
Al had arranged some food with Ben the manager running the restaurant.
Terry (Del's stepmum) had made a fantastic Birthday Cake and cup cakes with a picture of Del on them..

Ron had stuck up some old pics around the room and also they had brought some lovely 60 balloons. Thank you both of you!
 Also a thank you to my sister Deb for supplying some of these..

It turned out to be a great venue as it allowed you to sit down and chat if you wanted and the live music in the other bar was great background noise..
 Del had five cousin's turn up and it was just lovely before Christmas to catch up on the year..
Del had all his best mates round him and with a beer in hand you can't ask for more than that..

Most stayed right until the end, which just shows how much people enjoyed it..

We were lucky enough to be staying with Maxine and Graham so it was a short walk up stairs where we crashed out..

In the morning we chatted with Maxine and Graham and then Zoe and Greg showed up as they had camped in the car park in their campervan. We then all went down to the greasy spoon for a good fry up and bring us back to the land of the living.. It was then back down to Bernie and Sarah's to get ready for another surprise..
We ended up going to an old haunt in Seal, the Buck's Head, where we did some courting many moons ago.. Del was given his present by the boys, which turned out to be a small R/C carbon glider for Del to build on Derwent6..

The following day, we then had a lovely meal together just like old times (with our sons and daughters)..
The next day we went to friends Richard and Lisa who had arranged a Sunday lunch for us both.. It was lovely to see them and catch up, with a little reminiscing over old times.. Del also got a nice little Colin the Caterpillar birthday cake...
We drove back to Derwent6 on the Monday and picked up Tooty. Del warmed up Derwent6 and Al did the food shopping before we snuggled down to recover from a fantastic week...
A massive thank you to everyone involved but most of all my wonderful wife Al. Without her it would never had happened.. ((((HUGS))))

Another HRH Pre Birthday Surprise

Del's birthday was on the Friday and we arrived back on Derwent6 the Wednesday before. Al had arranged for Del to be down in Kent on Friday for a gathering of a few family and friends.
When we got the train down on Thursday Del thought he was going to Kent, so imagine how weird it was when we got to Oxford Street and went west. We got off at Marble Arch and to Del's surprise we were booked in at the brand new Hard Rock Hotel.

You get your keycard and flash it across one of the screens and it calls a lift to take you to your floor..
We went into the room and classic tracks were playing and a bottle of gold prosecco was waiting to kick of the afternoon..

We then went down for eats in the café, classic burgers of course.

It was then a lovely shower and out in the evening..

Again we went north, and got off the train at Wembley, Del still confused. It soon all become apparent when he saw the theatre with the signs "Warhorse" as the play was on its penultimate night and Del had always wanted to see it..

It was amazing, four rows from the front, right in the middle.

This moves you to tears and it isn't always the horse, the war scenes are amazing..
Afterwards we went back to the bar at the Hard Rock Hotel for cocktails before bed..

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Castle and back on a boat

It was another beautiful cold but sunny day in Edinburgh, and the sun on Edinburgh Castle was a sight we will never forget...
As it was a Monday we thought it would be a good time to go to the castle and miss the crowds after the weekend.

We managed to get our tickets with no queues so this was a good sign..

The first thing you see is the row of cannons on your right as you wind your way towards the main courtyard.
There are loads of things to see including the heritage of the Scottish Army's and of course the Battle of Waterloo. You can see the prisons and a lot of Scotland's history with our King's and Queen's who were born in the castle..  There are some good models of what went on in those times.

The views were also amazing over looking the City.
You can also imagine what the Tattoo would be like here. Everyday (except Sunday) a cannon is fired precisely at 1.00pm.

If you look closely you can just see Del's head over this cannon, the big one in its day.

We had a fantastic time here and its well worth the money to see it..

We then walked down the hill to get the bus to Ocean Terminal via Leith. A nice bus trip which took about half an hour.

Here berthed is The Royal Yacht Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997.
All the clocks show 3.01pm as that is when the Queen last left the vessel.
You cross the bridge and then enter the Admiral's cockpit where Del got to sit in the seat and take control.

The Yacht is amazing and although just a tad better that Derwent6, we feel she's fit for a Queen lol
You get a self guided tour of the boat which takes an hour and a half to complete.

There is not a speck of dust or a cobweb in site..

Built next to it now is a shopping and entertainment complex and we grabbed a coffee and then got the bus back to the city centre. By this time it was rush hour and it took a bit longer going back, but as the sun faded all the lights came on and we had a top view from the top deck of the bus.
We then got back to the Christmas Markets and it was in full swing and a good atmosphere here. We were slowly getting a bit sore from walking and climbing stairs, so we made our way back to the hotel to recover and freshen up. We wanted to try another area of the city so got the bus out to Haymarket, a place with loads of foody places.. We fancied a steak and had two to choose from, we ended up going to Los Amigos and the food was just fabulous, good choice!!
Tummies full it was back on the bus to Grassmarket for more drinks and live music.. The music here goes on to 1.00am everyday of the week, so it was no problem finding a bar on a Monday night. A Scottish guy was playing loads of different instruments and singing Scottish, English and Irish folk and even threw in some American Country. Slowly all the kids turned up at around 10.00pm and before long it was packed. We had just the best night, laughing and singing as the whiskey went down..
  Again it was lucky that we could just cross the road and fall into bed..

In next morning it was a case of make the most of our last day, so we checked out and left our bags at reception.. We had some breakfast from the buffet and then as we still had the taste for Scottish Whiskey thought we would do a bit of a tour and loads of tasting. When given our ticket Del managed to get his first concession discount and also got a smiley face on his ticket which meant "Special guest" It also meant you could try more Whiskey and we both made the most of it.. This place had one of the most selection of whiskeys in one place..
It also had the oldest and the priceless bottles of whiskey.

We came out at lunchtime and wanted to recover a little by having a bite to eat (in a pub of course). We did run out to watch the big gun go off at 1.00pm for the last time and then had another drink to celebrate our fantastic weekend.. We then had something weird happen as we walked over the road to see Giles Cathedral. At Al's Dad's funeral you might all remember one of the things he had always wanted was a piper playing Amazing Grace. As we walked past a guy playing the bagpipes, he changed the tune he was playing to Amazing Grace, and as we entered the cathedral he stopped and played something else..
It put a tear in both our eyes and we knew we were in good hands..

We still had a ten pound voucher to use in the hotel bar and we had left our bags there to pick up before going to the airport. After a relaxing free Bailey's and G & T we grabbed our bags, and jumped on the bus, and in half an hour we were standing in the short security baggage queue. It was so easy. We walked around duty free and then jumped on the plane. After a 50 minute return flight we arrived at Birmingham International. It was then on the little tram to the Train station and before we knew it we were in a cab back to Derwent6..
In Edinburgh it had been minus 3 and it was four degrees when we got back. So it was light the fire, start up the central heating, and put the kettle on.. We were soon warm and toasty as we caught up on some telly.. 
Wow what a fab long weekend and another tick in the box that Del has now been to Scotland, and we would both go back in a jiffy...