Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Example of Computer Hooked

                                                                         Computer Hooked – Me??

I know when I have had enough of the computer because I say so, usually after I have been trying to find some information. My immortal words are “sod it that’s enough dam computers.” It’s around this stage the call of the sea gets me so after a good old winge and a cuppa I have a re-think kiss my wife grab the keys and we drive to the beach.

Some of our best ideas have come from these drives. Got a problem we cant get the answer to, we get in the car and head for the coast. Usually by the time we arrive ideas are flowing and often a solution has been found, and I can have a relaxing swim quite possible I’ll get one today thanks to Kindle….

Writing Frustration

But its the times when I’m struggling with my writing and get frustrated that I utter those immortal words.  Times when I can’t get the story to flow or find the information I need, then realise that it wasn’t there in the first place. I think  this all stems from the days we used to drive back and forth to visit my dr. Twice a year we would drive through France on the way to a port, talk about anything and everything. Problems both real and imagined, health, life and my writing and generally put the world to rights, and we still do although admittedly the longest journey we now make is to Barcelona airport.

Computer Hooked?

So why, I wonder, do we seem more able to talk in the car, or walking or having a coffee etc.,  the answer is simple NO BLOODY COMPUTERS!!!  Being a writer I spend a lot of time on one, most of the day in fact.  During the summer when it’s too hot to do anything (like today) if I am not writing I have the cricket on-line and sit in front of my computer either working or reading the reports that come in (and yes I am listening to it).  If my wife is not pottering around the house she is also on her computer talking to her gardening or FB friends whilst doing research or trying to put the wine book together.

It’s not that we don’t talk we do, but with these distractions it’s a bit disjointed.  So come the evening – like tonight – we look forward to petanca.  My wife goes to play bingo with her Catalan friends two nights a week and I go to petanca then we meet up and either go to the club Nautique for a drink by the river and see friends or Reiner’s if we are hungry.

In the early hours of the morning (well they are to us) when it gets light -6am here  5am UK time – and its cool we can now be found in the garden tidying up or watering.  We don’t water at night because the cubes have warmed up and hot water is not good for plants so they have around 3 hours before the sun get up here to enjoy a cool drink.

So with everything considered I suppose I have answered my own question. For some reason the sea is in me and a trip to the seaside is always sitting there at the back of my mind plus there are no computers ANYWHERE.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

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Road Trip Part 3 – The Final Day


On the last day of our trip I suggested that instead of visiting Marseille  we spent it wandering around the small historic island which sits in the middle of the river in Martigues.  So my Navigator thinking  a day of gentle strolling around,  cafes, Romanesque churches, archeological digs etc., decided to go ‘girly’ put on a dress and dressy sandals then we set off.  On the way into town Driver to Navigator: “you look nice think we’ll go to Marseille for lunch”.  Now you would think this wouldn’t be a problem but she had changed into sandals that were not meant for walking round a city, they were only meant for short walks like from car to bar then back to car,little did we know she had hit an ooops moment…..   So we  arrived in Marseille to find a built up city very touristy and nothing like I had imagined it would be, why I was both surprised and disappointed I don’t know but I was.


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On arriving in Marseille we parked in the underground parking which is quite something to behold.  There are several levels, all underground,  but despite this they are well lit, clean and surprisingly airy.  Returning to the surface via a lift we found ourselves in a vast open area and facing us was one of the grand ornate churches.  On the side bordering a small basin is the museum and art gallery.  Clean and modern with various exhibitions happening both here and in the old renovated defence turret.  Even this was an experience as they have linked the two with a walkway out over the wáter.

The theatre is a modern cantilever construction which hung over a small pond lit at night by coloured spot lights.  The church is quite a focal point no matter where you are in the square, by looking under the cantilever  part of the theater in the evening you view the church through the coloured lights.

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I first viewed Marseille when Rick Stein was cooking here. The inner harbour had small fishing boats with a few yachts here and there, now it totally yachts with a small free ferry to take people from one side to the other, to me it felt like something was missing.  Each side of the yacht marina is lined with bars and restaurants, all vying for customers.  What I had wanted to do was to sample the bouillabaisse for which Marseille is famous.  But although we looked at several restaurants I didn’t fancy any of them, perhaps it was the smell, it really was a hot day.

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Anyway we took the ‘road train’ or ‘chug-a-lug’ as we call them round the old part of the town. Unfortunately there isn’t much of that left and what there is was spoilt by cars parked in streets that were basically just wide enough for passing.  The ‘Artisan’ quarter didn’t hold much either so we were rather disappointed, still the Chug-a-lug ride was interesting and saved my Navigators feet.


By this time the Navigators feet were beginning to hurt rather badly, so we found a café along the shaded side of the basin and stopped to enjoy a refreshing beer. By now it was getting on so we decided to return to the car and the hotel, so I slowly wandered back with my Navigator hobbling along beside me.  This ended in a dash to the chemist for foot plasters and her nearly being run down by ‘cops on skegways’  well at least they were having fun.  The return was simple and after a shower, rest, drink and change of shoes I decided that on our last night there  we should have a meal in town. We went to one of the water front restaurants and enjoyed a typical French fish menu.

Next morning after a good breakfast we set off for home. No detours this time, it was as if the car knew the route so by 4pm we were sitting in a bar in town enjoying a beer and tapas.  Then off to the shops for food and finally we arrived home.  There is nothing like your own bed!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have a few more in mind, but not sure if I like one or two of the Navigators ideas  the Alps are ok, but by car in mid Winter????  brrrrrrr……..

(c)   Michael Douglas Bosc




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DSCF3834 (640x480) We all have our favourite places and in regards to hotels this is ours. I have written in the past about the Hungry Horse and Lodge Inn in Portsmouth, well we were back again last week.  It was like coming home, friendly smiles and whats more the staff actually remembered us, and when you consider that they have hundreds of people walking through their doors that is no mean feat. BLESMA (3) After our journey from Torquay it was nice to be able to relax between travelling and stay somewhere you not only had clean rooms but a good menu.  I can honestly say that their curries are some of the best we have eaten, so much so that we had them two evenings running. DSCF0006 (640x480) (342x445)[1] We decided to do the tourist things again so bought a day ticket and rode round Portsmouth looking at the various attractions. The dockyard was very busy with groups visiting not only the Mary Rose exhibit but Victory and Warrior as well.  The University was heaving but it was the Spinnaka tower that took the night. During the day you can go up to the top and the view is spectacular but at night when it turns blue you get to see it at its best – well I think it is – as all you see in daylight is a concrete building.

But it is to the girls who keep the rooms at the Inn Lodge clean and tidy that I would like to extend my thanks and apologies for not mentioning such important people before.  Everything was in order and when my wife asked for extra milk, sugar etc.,  they were given with smiles and the question “was there was anything else she needed?”, this is why we like staying here when we visit.

Thank you ladies, see you next year.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

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Travel!!  Normally I don’t have a problem but this time we (my wife) decided we should take a case with us when we visited our relatives in the UK. Based in Catalunia most of the year it means we fly back for a few weeks, visit and do some shopping.  So everything was booked flights, car parking umm hotels????  But I digress, lets start with last night.


As the fridge and freezer had been cleaned and turned off  we went out to eat arriving home in the dark under a starry sky with a big moon lighting our way. This then was the start of our little adventure.  Next morning we were up bright and early and off to Barcelona to park the car. Now we had booked the car into a very reasonable parking place but finding it – even with their maps – was not easy. We followed the instructions but somehow ended up lost – not that that’s unusual – so we stopped to ask a garage who gave us directions plus a map.  Easy I hear you say NO…. we were miles to the south and had to head back the way we came only to find we must have passed the car park at least twice but finally we got there.

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Our flight with Easyjet was fine, no problems. But then came the journey from Gatwick to Cosham on South West Trains.  We left Gatwick arrived at Three Bridges and stopped.  Trains came and went there were announcements about the delay and possibility of changing to other trains, none of which went to Pompey. I just knew what would happen, they would turn off all the passengers who wanted to go to Pompey then cancel that service  AND THEY DID…. The train was supposed to divide at the station, however first they said there were electrical problems, then no driver for the rear part, I just wondered why the front of the train could not continue and the rear go into a siding  – oh well now I can see why they run at a loss. At least THIS train ran not only on time but it was fun as well..

By now it was raining, again and I had missed my appointment, it also meant that we had to find a hotel.  So we headed for the Red Lion in Cosham, arriving wet and bedraggled only to find there were no rooms to be had ANYWHERE.  Seems we had arrived on Fresher Week, Southampton Boat Show week and Goodwood.  But the landlord of the pub eventually found us a room for the two days for which we were grateful.

So next day I saw the Doctor, phoned our daughter to let her know when we would arrive, then went shopping and did the tourist thing.  After all this excitement we settled down in the bar to watch some football while I enjoyed a steak and my wife had a curry.  Next morning we were up and away to Torquay.

This then was the first part of the adventure. Oh and the moon? well it’s romantic…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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The day began as normal, we woke around 6.30am to a cool bright morning and the birds making a racket in the tree outside the window. The sun not yet up but it was promising to be a hot day – again.  I decided to do a water run so an early start to miss the midges and heat was on.  With the little bowser hooked on, pump and generator in back of the car off we went.

Down at the river all went well, everything hooked up genny running the bowser was filled in no time. Home we trundled intending to empty the bowser then go to the village to collect the post.  Ummm, here’s where  ‘of mice and men’ springs to mind.

We arrived home no problem, took the generator, pump and hose out of the car and started to empty the bowser.  My wife loaded the rubbish into the car we then got ready (so far so good) however, when I went to unhitch the bowser I found the car would not start.  Not good, we live in a forest 4klm from the nearest town so need our 4×4, if this goes wrong we are up the proverbial gum tree.  We have a good garage who look after the  car and normally my wife takes it in to get things sorted out.  So when I tried to start it with no response from the engine, there then ensued the following conversation:-

Wife (W) ‘Whats the problem’?

Me Expert (ME) ‘Flat battery’

W: ‘Can you get it started?’

ME: ‘Dont worry soon have it going, just charge battery then we can go get a new one’.

W: ‘You mean into Carrefour’? with gleam in her eyes – shopping does that…..

Well after 2hrs of trying to get it started I started to think it might be the starting motor.

W:  ‘Get it going and I’ll take it to the garage, they’ll fix it’

ME:  ‘No need it’s definitely the battery’, I had managed to get the car on the drive slope and in 2nd gear ‘Give me a push’.

Wife duly pushes, car rolls down drive, I let clutch out car starts.

W: ‘Dont turn engine off’!!

She then dashed indoors for bag and keys to return a few minutes later locking the front door and we were off.  In town she went to the bank while I got rid of the rubbish, then off we went chatting and laughing about the situation.  When we arrived at Carrefour I stayed with the car as I had to keep the engine running, my wife dashed into the store reappearing with a new battery.  I had decided to drive to the back road which is on a slope here I changed the battery turned the engine over and surprise, surprise nothing.  ‘Garage’! said my wife, ‘Ok, but look up the words for ‘starting motor’ said the expert. I then repeated the hill start and we headed for home and the Garage!!!

When we arrived outside the garage,  I left my wife with instructions such as ‘dont forget to tell them the new battery does not work either’ and ‘it could be the starting motor, did you look up the correct name’? and duly strolled off to play petanca. Imagine my surprise when minutes later she arrived at the petanca courts with the car and turned off the engine…..  ‘Dont do that’ I screeched approaching the car.  I should have known better, because in reply she turned the key and the car started, as if to prove the point she did this about 3-4 times. With a big grin on her face she looked like the cat with the cream.  ‘What was it’? I asked ‘The wire on the starting motor had come loose. Told you I should have taken it to the garage’.  You are good at most things but where ‘Kate’ is concerned the boys know best’.

Looking back I suppose she is right, but all the symptoms pointed to the battery. However I have decided to leave the car to her as I usually do, and the reason we call the car ‘Kate’ is when she goes into the garage she costs me…..

Experts who need ’em.

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We were booked on the ferry to England on Monday morning, so we decided to travel up to St Malo EARLY on the  Sunday to ensure a relaxing unhurried drive. EH??   So at about 2am (yes 2am guess who forgot the clocks had gone back?? Things you discover at petrol stations) we were up and away from home.

The route we had decided to take was across country to Zaragoza where after a short journey on the motorway we would head for Pamplona. We had decided to try the route round the Pyrenees past Biarritz and then up to St Malo, after other Brits had said how easy it was (never travelled with us had they).

Now we knew we had to head for Pamplona,  however we forgot which turnoff we needed, then discovered the road map was on the table at home so, as is our want,  decided to ‘wing it’….. that’s when I knew it was going to be one of those trips.

If we travel anywhere there are usually detours or ‘getting lost’ bits this trip was to be no exception. So this time found us taking a longer route than necessary (discovered when we finally bought a road map, original is back in the car – I think!!) but as it turned out, we had done the right thing as unknown to us St Malo had been packed all weekend with the yacht racing crews and their well wishers (the race goes from France to the Caribbean) so there would have been ‘No Room at the Inn’. The journey was through some of the prettiest countryside seen all autumn(fall) my wife would occasionally gnash her teeth when a particularly colorful section came into view no camera and she was taken with the leaf peeping photos from the states that had been posted on Facebook.  As we arrived the town was emptying and we managed to find the all important parking space and a hotel room, and a nice restaurant so all was not lost.   

The trip home was a little easier, we were fine untill we arrived at Bordeaux. Here we found heavy rain, black skies, thunder and lightning, which, when we were climbing into the Pyrenees and the Vella tunnel sleet first then snow, memories of last years trip sprang to mind. We emerged from the tunnel and made a safe, quick decent as was possible on this twisting pass, as we descended things got easier and it stopped raining snowing. We saw about 2 snow ploughs on the road and we  finally arrived home around 11.30pm. 

 We have decided to fly in future, it is getting a bit too much to tackle in one go even if its only 14hrs plus I do not sleep well in hotel beds.  My wife will miss it she likes France, but even she agrees there’s no place like your own bed!

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