Colds and more colds, oh and the video Long Way Down

December was the month of colds. First Richard had one and had to have a couple of days of work, then Caroline got one and also had to have a few days off.

It was Alison’s Birthday this month so we had a family get together. It was also Richard’s birthday and he got the DVD ‘The Long Way Round’ so he is all enthusiastic about getting the new bike soon and doing a long trip. We managed to go as far as Spain on the Honda, so how much further will we try on a GS!

We ended the month with colds again and both having to have a few days off again. Lets hope the new year brings good weather and good health.

iPhone Launched in UK and a Trip to see the Seals

Caroline worked hard to finish another quilt this month which see is calling ‘Minerva Spools’.

The Bike GP season finished. Poor Rossi came third in the championship. If not for engine failure in the last race he would have come second. You cannot fault Ducati and Casey Stoner they had a great package. The Ducati has always been fast but now it handles too!

Richard is starting to think about his next bike. Maybe next year. We took a BMW R1200GS out for the day a few months ago and really liked it.

This month was also gadget month. Richard is very lucky in that he gets to play with all the latest gadgets, Smart Phones, Windows/Palm PDA’s. He has always liked Psions but as there not available any more switched he switched to Palm, occasionally replaced with Windows Mobile.  Richard has a Windows and a Symbian 9 mobile phone and is testing a new Blackberry for work. The Windows device makes a great GPS as we have the TomTom software on it but as a phone its not so good. The Symbian device is good and stable but is slow. The blackberry for companies is certainly the best mobile email device and from a IT perspective its very supportable.

The big event in smart phones for the UK is that the Apple iPhone was released this month. We had both managed to test one at work for a week many months ago and was very impressed. It may not have all the features of a Windows smart phone or say a Symbian device, eg Nokia N95, but the key point is, it actually works as a great phone, has the best browser in the business and the OS is very good. All it needs for us, to make it perfect, is the ability to edit MSOffice documents, support Microsofts push email standard and run a Citrix client. So lets hope third party developers meet our needs. Lets see what happens in February when the Software Developers Kit is released.

So yes Richard bought the Apple hype and got himself an iPhone. Yes it was expensive. Not how you think, but that Caroline insisted on getting an iPod Touch. Only fair don’t you think. At least now we don’t have to worry about Christmas presents for each other!

We also made a quick visit to the coast. At Donna Nook the seals were giving birth. Lots of photographs were taken.

Sofia’s Christening

Caroline was one of the God parents, along with Robert, Vincent and Claire. Farther Michael officiated at the local Catholic Church. Then we all popped next door to enjoy the cake and buffet. It all quite fun, especially as we also had a power cut so the buffet was by candle light.

With all the power issues we have had recently, we have had to do a lot of extra work to do in the server room.  Caroline has continued with her horse riding, and now seems to have mastered the canter. Richard has still not done any further flying, but has started to concentrate on his exams again with the hope to have them all finished by the end of March

North Yorkshire Holiday and a Portrait Session

The start of this month found us still on Holiday. Enjoying the good weather in North Yorkshire.

Unfortunately it could not last, and we had to go back to work.

This month was more stress and long hours. Power issues in the server room. Then the gym went and cancelled the Yoga classes without telling us. Good customer service there! At least with us all complaining it looks like there going to address that. We will see, if not there are plenty more gyms in this area.

I also got to do a family portrait session for people at work.

Many months ago we had a charity auction for comic relief. I had offered a portrait session. With the nice weather once again with us the winner came to claim her price.

Much to do about nothing – Oz’s birthday, New Harry Potter Book, Church Photography

Now I am really starting to repeat myself in this section. No new news, about the same as last month, work, Caroline’s horse riding is progressing, Richard has been unable to go flying with the weather.

It was our pet, snake Oz’s birthday this week, and Richard did have a day off to on a photography shoot in the village of Spridlington. Oh and we read the last Harry Potter book!

We really must do something a bit more exciting soon or you will all stop reading! Oh well its another holiday next month, time for some serious walking.

Flood and testing the BMW R1200GS

A steady month for us, no holidays, just work, horse riding and a day spent test riding a BMW R1200GS Motorcycle, I had better start saving!

Oh and rain! The houses at the bottom of the road got flooded but we were lucky being up higher. The patio was underwater but no damage. People in Louth and Sleaford were not so lucky.

BMW R1100S – New tires

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!

Ireland Holiday

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

Rowallane Gardens

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 – Not

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.

a Busy March, Photographs, Holidays, Flying and Horses.

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.