After our holiday it was back to work and also time for more expense, it was service and MOT time for our BMW R1100S, it passed of course but did need new tires. They only lasted 3000 miles, must have been that day on the track at Cadwell! Now we have both Bikes sorted for the summer we need to sort out a biking holiday, so far we have done Scotland, Wales, England, France and Spain on the Bikes, where to next? Still its only May and we have had three holidays already! Have to work hard to earn some money and build up some flexi hours to get extra days off work!
Day One: Friday
Today was a gentle start. First we packed the car, not forgetting the camera gear and the 12″ Apple Powerbook, then set off to pick mum Brown up. Mum safely in the back with her bags in the boot it was off to pick up Caroline’s dad. Once all loaded up we set off. First a gentle cross country drive to the lovely town of Buxton in Derbyshire. Here we stopped for a bite to eat in a local cafe.
We swopped drivers and set off again. Again we took the scenic route and soon found ourselves in the Snowdonia National Park, we took the back route, one I know well, having ridden it many times on both the Honda and the BMW Motorbikes. Soon we were in Canaervon and settling into our hotel.
Day Two: Saturday – a Sea Voyage
A large cooked breakfast was had then it was off to Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey. Half an hour later we were there waiting for the ferry.
A two hour wait and we were on our way again. Two hours and ten minutes later and we were pulling into Dublin Harbour. It was not long before we were driving off the ferry and looking for the M1 signs to Belfast. The tunnel was closed and in the confusion we took a wrong turn. Time for TomTom. I grabbed my PDA and fired up TomTom, switching on the external GPS receiver I soon had directions to take us safely through Dublin and onto the Motorway. It was near Drogheda when we came to a toll booth. Û1.70 euros later and we were back on our way. Soon we were in Northern Ireland and as we had passed the mountains of Morne the country became gently rolling hills and very green. Lots of horses in the fields as well as black and white lambs and a few cows.
As we came into Ballnahinch we spotted the turn and soon we were at our holiday home for the week, The Sycamores. We were welcomed warmly and shown around. A very nice four bedroom two story house, on its own in the country side. We unpacked and then went shopping.
After tea we set off in the car again and went to see Aunty Becky. We all had a cup of tea there and left mum Brown there to spend a few days.
Day Three: Sunday – New Grange
Our first full day in Ireland, well Northern Ireland to be precise. Alan suggested a trip to New Grange. The weather was reasonable if a little overcast so we though we would give it a go.
New Grange is a 5000 year old burial site and a World Heritage site, and well worth a visit.
We found it after a short drive, not sign posted as well as we thought it should be but we were soon at the visitors centre which is actually a few miles away from New Grange. A bus takes you to New Grange from the visitors centre.
New Grange is very impressive, the white quartz wall was rebuilt via an experimental archeologist it give you an idea of what it looked like 5000 years ago.
To get inside you have to use the steps to get over the stone blocking the doorway. It is quite intricately craved as you can see.
Inside the main chamber the layout is very similar to Maes Howe which we visited on the Orkney Isles. Both worth reading about and visiting if you get the change.
Day Four: Monday – Nendrum Celtic Monastery
Day four was a bit of rest and a gentle drive round the local loche. Stopping to see the sites. A ruined Monastery, a National Trust Village and a castle.
Day Five: Tuesday – Up North
First we had to pick up mum Brown, then a drive through Belfast, past Stormont and onto the coast road for a scenic drive to the top of the county.
After a nice lunch we got to the top of Ireland and visited the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. We had first seen this on Billy Connellys DVD, his tour of Britain and Ireland.
Once across the bridge the views, as you can see were amazing! Some people having got to the other side have had to be air lifted by helicopter back. It can be scary.
Next we headed west a few miles and came to the world famous Giants Causeway.
Its a steep climb down from the cliff at the top but we cheated and took the bus down. Once down you can see the blocks, even the most exposed blocks still look like they have been chiseled to make such straight lines. Its not something you see in nature very often.
We continued along the coast as far as we could seeing the sites. Eventually we could go no further. It was the start of the North West 200, the famous Northern Ireland road race. It was practice day and the roads were being closed at 17:00. We headed back taking a slow inland route round one of the big loches.
Day Six: Wednesday – Gardens of Rowallane
Yesterday we had joined the National Trust, so today we checked the guide book and looked for a local site to visit. We decided to look round the Gardens of Rowallane.
We had a good look round and Richard took lots of photographs of the gardens and flowers.
Day Seven: Thursday – West Coast
After our lazy day yesterday, today was going to be very long day. We decided to drive over to the west coast and have a look at the Atlantic Ocean Coast of Ireland.
Our destination was Moyteoge Head on Achill Island one of the more westerly parts of Ireland and a place to visit by keen surfers.
The weather went downhill once we arrived but once Richard had packed away the camera gear the sun came out and we got a glimpse of the sun. Quickly grabbing the camera Richard took a few shots.
Its a very beautiful area and also quite popular as a destination for bikers. We spotted a couple of riders from Germany in the car park as we headed back.
Day Eight: Friday – Rest Day, off for a walk.
Yes as the title says, a rest day. We popped into town had a look round, had a coffee and teacake in the local cafe then back to the cottage.
In the afternoon, Alan and Christine stay and rested while Richard and Caroline went to the coast and had a long walk in the rain. Yes we are strange.
Day Nine: Saturday – Ferry to Wales
A sad day. First we had to say goodbye to the cottage and pay for the oil and electricity. Then it off to jump on the main toll road to Dublin.
Once in Dublin we took the tunnel direct to the port. If you know where your going do not take the tunnel it costs way too much!
We arrived at the ferry terminal we hours to spare.
Once the ferry we settled down for the two hour trip across the Irish Sea. At about two hours later, just off the coast of Wales we stopped. The Captain explained we had taken something into the engine intakes, so we would be going backwards for a while until they cleared. Ten minutes later we were back on our way and soon in port.
Thirty minutes after we had docked we were back at the hotel and went out for a meal. The food was good, in fact judged against what you normally get when eating out, excellent but compared to what we had at the restaurant in Ballnahinch it was disappointing. Still it was good and so was the beer.
Day Ten: Sunday – Back Home
What can we say. It was a great holiday, the cottage was lovely, the people friendly and the food fantastic. Lots of places we would love to go back to.
April Showers! Nope not this year. This month has been wonderful. Horse riding and flying have been the priorities for this month, with the good weather we have even fitted in two barbeques.
Flying consisted of more cross country work, trips to Boston and Retford. Caroline has started to get the hang of the canter and we also started to plan our next holiday.
It was are annual works dinner party. This time we also had an awards ceremony, and my team won the customer services award for all the out of hours back end support we do. Nearly makes those two in the morning server rebuilds worthwhile.
And one last piece of good news, Caroline’s Bike (Honda 650) past its MOT.
Well its now March and time for our second holiday of the year. Once again we visited one of our favorite places, Southwold, in Suffolk. Richard went with a plan in mind. To get a picture with the sea in front, then the seashore, with the town and lighthouse in the background, just after sunset. Unfortunately they locked the pier at sunset so he could not get the picture he wanted, so had to make do instead, but still not a bad shot.
The weather was lovely and warm, not bad for March, and we took the opportunity to visit a few English Heritage sites in Suffolk.
Mothers day was also the day Angela and Martin were due to visit and see Sofia for the first time. We decided to all meet up at Caroline’s fathers place and we cooked up a big pot of chilli and a shephard’s pie for everyone.
March was also the month that Richard finally did his first ever flying solo cross country and Caroline managed to horse jump two poles high.
Lastly it was Alan’s birthday, so we all met up at Alison’s and Declan’s place. On the last day of March we got into the garden and spent all day getting it all tidy.
The big event this month was Ethan’s Birthday, Sofia’s big brother, now 4 years old with a growing collection of Dinosaurs.
Mum Brown also gave us a fright when she was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack. Luckily everything was alright, it was just a very bad cold which brought on an angina attack and low blood pressure.
Both of us have also had very bad colds this month, requiring us to have days off work, and worse, causing Caroline to cancel horse riding and Richard to have to cancel flying lessons!
Work was also important this month; as on the 27th February the last of 120 Novell NetWare 4.11 Servers spread around the county of Lincolnshire was decommissioned. These systems were designed by me and have been in sites all over Lincolnshire, England running happily for over 8 years. Whilst the replacement system was co-designed by myself, my colleagues and our partner company, you don’t get quite the same feeling of pride as when it was all yours. Lets see if the new Windows 2003 systems with AD last as well as the NetWare 4.11 systems with eDirectory.
As someone who uses LINUX, UNIX, NetWare, Windows and OSX, all operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages but the old system is I feel something that I and Novell can feel very proud of! I have to admit I am a much better Network designer then html writer (as I am sure you can tell looking at these pages)!
After a lovely few days away it was back at work and back to the normal routine of work and gym, oh and a bike breakdown. Our bikes have never let us down before and to be honest we had been given notice of what was wrong, but I had just put up with it. Finally one morning going to work the bike engine died. The side-stand has a cutout switch which prevents you from riding away. Unfortunately the switch died and so did the ability to have the engine running. A new switch soon sorted it out but it was a little embarrassing.
Lastly but most importantly we had a new addition to the family. A new niece for us to lavish attention on.
Welcome, Sofia Marrows.
The highlights of this month was the first holiday of the year. As we had worked between Christmas and New Year, we booked the first week off in January. We started the week with a visit to the gym. We also met up with Duncan and Michelle who are back from the Middle East and a nice meal out.
Our holiday was just a few days away and we went to Whitby in North Yorkshire. One of our wedding presents was membership of English Heritage, so we took the opportunity to visit Whitby Abbey. We were lucky with the weather, lovely low warm sunshine kept peeping out, and every time it did I took more photographs of the abbey.
Finally we got to the end of the year! A very busy year for us both, also our first year of marriage.
Christmas day was spent at Caroline’s father’s house, together with Declan, Alison and Ethan. Ethan had lots of fun opening all his toys.
For Boxing day we all had a trip to Angela’s and Martin’s. All the Turner/Marrows clan descended, filling the house with noise.
Tom and Alex spent there time programming their new mobile phones. Richard was most jealous of Alex’s as he has the new Symbian 9.1 OS on his phone. Ethan told everyone about his Dinosaures, and everyone else spent there time trying to avoid Richard’s camera and get hold of Hannah’s Nintendo Dogz!
This year has been a transition year for me. My real joy in photography is black and white, Studio Glamour Photography and Architecture. As with most people I do not have room for a full time darkroom. In the last few years I have done very little photography except for a little landscape and a few friends weddings, but this year I really got back into my main three photographic loves. What spurred me on was my introduction to digital.
Over the last few years I have occasionally tried digital cameras and been generally less then impressed. Slow, poor battery life and hard to use. Then last year I had the opportunity to use a Cannon EOS 1D (the latest model). I finally thought that digital had arrived, it was fast responsive and produced fine quality images. Of course going digital is a big step and you need to make a number of adjustments. Are you going to shoot RAW, JPeg (JPG), how are you going to handle your storage requirements, backup, Image processing and work flow.
I decided on two approaches, first read all I could and talk to photographers who had made the jump. Second buy a small digital compact and try different things. So for the past year I have been shooting film on my SLR’s and digital on my small Nikon S3 compact. Its been a lot of fun and really inspired me to take more pictures this year then I have for the last three. A few months ago, I made the jump and bought myself my first digital SLR. I look forward to the next year and many more photographs.