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Friday, 20 June 2014

A trip south and a new arrival.

Saturday the 14th of June
That was two weekends on the trot I missed walking with the Wigtownshire Ramblers.
Instead I took to the road and drove down to


I was here to join up with fellow Sons of the Desert for 'Another Fine Fest', a day of celebration to celebrate Stan Laurel's birthday.
I was here October 2013.

Local volunteers were handing out programmes of events and helpful information.
These guys were certainly into the spirit of the day.  

The town was already busy when I arrived just before midday.
The 'Crew' wore appropriate Tshirts. Someone had knitted a woolly hat for Stan's birthday.
 I was the first of Our tent 'Their Purple Moment' to arrive.

The boys asked me to join them for a picture.

Much of the day's activities were centred around Ulverston's Laurel and Hardy Museum.
There's a 1990 BBC/Youtube interview with the late Bill Cubin about the Sons of the Desert.
It was Bill who put Ulverston on the map as a place of pilgrimage for all U.K. Sons (and Daughters). 

All day long an artist worked on a wall painting.
As the day progressed so did Stan

The artist worked off a group of photographs he had.

After I met up with my fellow tent members, we headed to the Rose and Crown for lunch and liquid refreshments.

As well as our tent, we met up with familiar convention faces from Southend, the Wirral, Manchester and Sheffield to name a few. 

A walk around the town helped to counteract the effects of the lunchtime over indulgences.

My fellow tent members get in the picture.
We hadn't planned an overnight stay, so we were destined to miss the evening showing of Paul Merton's Impromptu Show. 
After saying our farewells, these guys headed back to Scotland while I headed to 

Caton near Lancaster

The collage above shows the house, garden and chickens where i'd be spending the night.
After my very good experience with Airbnb on my american trip, I'd decided to use them again.
My host were Janet and Laurence, and as well as being nice folk, my bed and breakfast deal at £23 was excellent value for money.

After a welcoming cup of tea, I headed down to the village of Caton for a few provisions and a walk.

An old railway track took me down to the Crook O' Lune and the very scenic River Lune.

Had I been here earlier, I'd have continued the walk into Lancaster, but by now the sun was now getting low in the sky.
Back at Denny Bank, I switched on the football on the TV in my room, but managed to sleep through England's first half against Italy. I woke up to watch the second half, and I didn't laugh when they got beat. I thought they'd played well. (rubbish since mind you!).
In the morning Janet set me on the road with a delicious breakfast and six of her free range eggs for 80p.

I headed down the M6 and M5 to arrive just before noon in


Above left in this 'Optical Oddity' are Sarah and Marie, my youngest daughters.
I've a feeling that the E-type Jag owner is a teacher at the nearby Cheltenham Ladies College.

We headed to the town centre pub, the Vine
What's that small bundle Sarah's holding ?

It's a Vine-L day at the pub, and here's me with the one and only Phil G Vine-L DJ

Also joining us today is Marie's partner the multi instrumentalist (in the middle) Mr Chris Cundy.

Now, going back to that little bundle Sarah's holding and a reason for my visit...........
..............she's Audrey Cass, the three week old daughter of Phil and Sarah and my fifth grandchild (my third lovely granddaughter)
I've now managed to group my grandchildren into two short abbreviations, ACE and CJ.
ACE = Audrey, Charlotte and Erin.
CJ = Callum and Jack.

I love all my grandkids, but at the present time I've got a favourite. (she's probably their favourite too)

She really is a beauty.

At this point, this post jumps forward a day. On Monday the 16th we had a day at the amazing Slimbridge Wetlands Centre and I'll be uploading a separate post in due course.

So, I've said cheerio to Marie and Chris, (I loved your breakfasts Marie) gone up to Phil and Sarahs and cuddled Audrey, more cheerios and I'm on the way down the M5 and M4 to the far side of Bridgend.

I'm visiting my brother Andrew and his wife Anne.
After settling in, getting well fed and a village walk we're visiting some folk I haven't seen since 2003.
Not changed much then !
In the pictures are my niece Jo, and her girls, my great nieces Lucy and Caitlin.
It's a delight to see that they've developed into fine young level headed young ladies. They'll do fine. Loved seeing you again girls.

Below's collage includes a couple of pubs, a millionaire's daughter's house, a pub cat and castle towers. 
The next day I accompanied Anne and Andrew to a hospital on the outskirts of Bridgend where Andrew has just begun radiotherapy treatment. 

After returning home for a caffeine intake, we headed out to Porthcawl.  
There were lots of holiday makers and the sun shone.
Until I zoomed in, the head bottom left kept disappearing under the water giving the impression of a seal. I got that wrong ! 

There are some very nice apartments here. 

Down at the harbour we witnessed a lifesaving exercise by the Rest Bay Lifeguards.

Just opened officially earlier this year, the marina is full of boats. A worthwhile investment by the look of it.

We had sandwiches and drinks at Pietros. A handsome classic car stood in the street.

Out to sea was the fishing boat SA 524, the Billy Joe.

After just missing being booked by a traffic warden we drove out towards the golf course.
I'd said to Andrew that I could name every golfer in the picture, but when it came to it my memory played tricks on me. As you can see above, I've since added the names !

It appears that the former miners convalescent home may well be turned into luxury apartments.

While Andrew and Anne sat to enjoy the sea views, I did a little rock exploration.
There are now three Porthcawl stones outside my back door.

Walking back to the car we noticed that the filming we'd spotted earlier was still continuing. They seem to be focusing on the chap in the wheelchair. Maybe someday, someone will spot this and answer the question.

Back at Andrew and Anne's I had another coffee before taking my leave. Sorry my visit was so short folks, I should have stayed longer. I hope tomorrow's Rambler's outing was worth the dash.

I hadn't looked at my map, but I'd planned to take the M4 back to the M5. However, just east of Newport I noticed the A449 and a sign indicating the M50 so I took it. A lovely drive took me up to the A40 bypassing Monmouth. When my traffic alert told me of a delay on the A40 at Ross-on-Wye, I thought I was in for a long delay. Luckily I was through the problem and on to the M50 in twenty minutes.

I had planned to book in and stay overnight somewhere around the Potteries. Congestion on the M6 between Birmingham and Manchester was really bad. We were stopping and starting at every other exit.
I persevered on until the traffic had eased and I made it to Preston and the Tickled Trout .
After some food and drink, I decided I didn't want to spend £52 for a room only.
I got back in my car thinking I'd go back to Janet and Laurence another half hour up the road. However I'd have a cat nap first. After tilting the car seat and getting comfortable I closed my eyes.

I woke up two hours later !
After grabbing my towel and having a wash, I felt much better and made the decision to continue home.
Three hours later I was in bed. I slept well !

That was one busy, fulfilling and very enjoyable trip.

N.B. Getting back early gave me a chance to catch the Queens Baton Relay Cavalcade through the town.
Another reason for being pleased about getting back early were the reports of long delays on the M5 and M6 and the A75 road closure all day. 



  1. Looks like a great time. Lovely views, nice wall art, cool buildings and that little darling is one of the most beautiful and photogenic babies I have ever seen! :)

    1. Thanks Linda, she is one precious little baby.

  2. Great photos Jim. You fairly get around. That's like a whirlwind mini tour of the UK in one go so far! Full marks for stamina.

    1. I'm gettin too old to be runnin round like this though Bob, I need a week to recover after this.

  3. Audrey Cass is thriving Jim and so obviously giving much joy to the whole family!
    I vote you go off on these mini trips more often. I really enjoyed this post! So much to read about and look at through your images. Well done!

    1. Hi Rose, see my reply to Bob. I loved seeing some of the family, but when you have a tight schedule it takes it out of you. The way I need to do it, is to have no schedule and just take my time. Maybe I'll manage that on my next trip.
      Have a great evening.


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