Monthly Archives: February 2015

Copenhagen, capital of the happiest country on earth

Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen

Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen

Copenhagen, capital of the happiest country on earth.

Wow, this should be an amazing place to be, as well as probably also being the center of the designer goods universe, it is the home to some dear friends of ours from the UK – and a visit to them in their beautiful Copenhagen home is always a joy!

If you are thinking of heading to Copenhagen, then here are ten things you need to know, courtesy of CNN

1. The Danes are the happiest people on the planet.

According to the UN’s 2013 World Happiness Report, Denmark, with a score of 7.6, beats every other country on a global happiness scale from zero to 10.


The United States, by contrast, isn’t especially happy. It came in in 17th place, between Mexico and Ireland. But don’t despair if you think Danish despair has been lost. There’s always Hamlet — and Kierkegaard (see below).

I can guess this is true as our friends who live here think it is amazing! (as do thir mates, above!)

2. A lot of Copenhageners cycle — fast

Ever tried commuting to work by bike in a frenetic city such as London, New York or Beijing? Do it and you realize cyclists are still second-class citizens in many cities. The situation is reversed in Copenhagen, where half of the people pedal to work.

Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the city, and you can take bikes on trains. Public transport is efficient. It takes 15 minutes to travel from the airport to the city center by metro, and trains run 24 hours a day.

Copenhageners are also law-abiding.

Even at 3 a.m. on an icy cold night, with no traffic in sight, they’ll wait for the green light at pedestrian crossings.

3. Copenhagen is glittering with Michelin stars

It’s still hard to get a table at Noma, the “new Nordic” restaurant that’s been named the World’s Best Restaurant three times.


This small city boasts 15 Michelin stars, and several Noma chefs have gone on to set up their own outfits with equally stimulating menus. Copenhageners tend not to dine late, meaning not a lot of places keep late hours.

or you can eat round at Geeta’s, my old school mate….

4. “Hygge” is highly desirable

This Danish word (pronounced “hooga”) loosely translates as “coziness.” It’s a warm, sociable feeling that comes to the fore in autumn and winter and that, for Danes, is one of the highest states to which humans can aspire. Wool sweaters (preferably organic), hats with earflaps, blazing log fires, strong ales in old wood-paneled bars and candles galore, even at breakfast, all conjure “hygge.”


5. Home is where the Danish designer goods are

Copenhagen is rich with design-led stores selling trendy lights, ingenious kitchenware, cheerful home furnishings and exquisite glass and ceramics.


6. Copenhagen is extra-green

The Danish capital has electric buses, recycling-crazy citizens, clean harbors and shops selling clothes made from organic bamboo. A full 64% of the city’s hotel rooms are certified as eco-friendly.

Three-quarters of the food served in public institutions is organic.

Copenhagen was the 2014 European Green Capital, an award that recognized cities with consistently high environmental standards.

This is only the beginning: By 2025, Copenhagen plans to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital.

7. Tivoli will suck you in

Opened in 1843, Tivoli is the world’s second-oldest amusement park and a much-loved attraction in this family-friendly city.

Not Tivoli, but a very famous art instalation that made me smile...

Not Tivoli, but a very famous art instalation that made me smile…

Set inside mature gardens with a lake and playgrounds, it’s a schmaltzy but happy place with roller coaster rides, pantomime shows, treat stalls, amusement arcades and more than 40 places to eat and drink.

Tivoli is open in summer from April 10 until September 21, then again for Halloween (October 11-27) and Christmas (November 15-December 31), when it sparkles with 2 million fairy lights.

Children under 8 get in free

8. The Danes are clever clogs

The Danes invented lots of things we didn’t know needed inventing.

Like the pedal bin, created by Holger Nielsen in 1939 for his wife’s hairdressing salon.


You can pick one up at the family’s Vipp flagship store (Ny Østergade 34) — your trash will thank you.

They also largely invented existentialist angst — the flip side of all that happiness.

Professionally gloomy philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was born here in 1813 and the city is busy celebrating with a host of bicentennial exhibitions and events.

Finally, of course, Lego. A marvelous Danish idea — until you step on one with your bare feet.

9. Denmark doesn’t have the euro

It’s a surprise to many, but Denmark isn’t on the euro, but the krone (crown).

Bank notes bear more pictures of bridges and historic finds than famous people — typical of a nation that values construction and craftsmanship over ego.


Tipping is minimal. Restaurant bills normally include a service charge and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip, although it’s customary to round up the amount.

10. Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to go

The holidays are when Copenhagen is in full festive mood — and of course it’s all done very tastefully.


The Danes prefer white lights on their Christmas trees, rather than gaudy colors, and the Christmas markets, which start in mid-November, aren’t as tacky or commercial as elsewhere.

Alongside the expected designer candle holders and licorice candies (a national obsession), you’ll find stalls selling wholesome gifts such as Inuit jewelry, high-tech kitchen utensils and sensible wooden toys.

Thanks for reading, and thanks CNN for the tips – my own pictures from various trips!

Morecambe; bring me some sunshine

Poor Eric Morecabe, I don’t think he would be too pleased about what is all around him right now in his seaside birthplace.

Eric Morecambe Statue by Grham Ibbeson, Morecambe June 2011 Nikon D40 1-24mm f3.5, 10mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 360, flash

Eric Morecambe Statue by Grham Ibbeson, Morecambe June 2011
Nikon D40 1-24mm f3.5, 10mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 360, flash


Morecambe open top bus

Morecambe open top bus – ominously empty, with no sunshine today


Morecambe; bring me some sunshine

A lot has been written about the recently restored statue or Eric Morecambe standing proud on the sea front of this famous run-down seaside spot. This famous landmark commemorates one of Morecambe’s most famous sons, Eric Morecambe and was created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson ans unveiled by the Queen herself.

What do you think of it so far? Ruggish.

What do you think of it so far? Ruggish.



Ibbeson has also created bronze sculptures in towns and cities across Britain including Leeds, Cardiff, Dover, Barnsley, Doncaster, Northampton, Chesterfield, Middlesbrough,Perth, Otley and Rugby – but I guess none of them look out over a more sorry landscape than poor Eric.

Morecambe needs some serious investment.

Here are some of the moreexclusive shops on the front; clearly somebody needs to bring some more sunshine to Morecambe.

A warm welcome to be had...

A warm welcome to be had…

Two Latte’s please and a biscotti?

Not sure if Gypsy Sarah would have read Eric’s palm to tell him what urban decay awaited his beloved hometown.

Clearly the Fun Facrory ceased production a long time ago.


And Eric Morecambe is not on his own for being famous round here.

The Yorkshire playwright and author Alan Bennett has enjoyed a long association with Morecambe and has often referred to the town in his work and writing. One of his early TV plays, Sunset Across the Bay (1975), is about a couple from Leeds who retire to Morecambe, leaving their old home with the words “Bye bye, mucky Leeds!”. [13]

Anyone for a freshly made DO-NUT?

The Sea wall and Prom have been recently updated, you can get a better class of ice cream here at least.


What would Alan Bennett think?

He based the play on memories of the many holidays he spent in Morecambe with his parents. In his essay “Written on the Body”, collected in Untold Stories (2005), he even suggests that his association with the town is pre-natal: “[I]t had been in a boarding house that I was conceived, sometime over the August Bank Holiday of 1933 at Morecambe or Filey.”[14]

A nice Guest House on the front maybee?

A nice Guest House on the front maybee?

In the same collection, Bennett pays tribute to the Morecambe-born actress Thora Hird in the essays “Last of the Sun”, about the final play he wrote for her, and “Thora Hird 1911-2003”, a memoir of the work they had done together since the 1960s. Earlier in the book, he discusses his (maternal) Aunt Kathleen, who married in Morecambe and lived there until her death in 1974.

I love a neglected seaside town

My images below were taken on a Nikon D40 borrowed from my son, with a Tamron 10-24 wide angle lens, I would like to pop back some time with my Leica and give Morecambe the monochrome moody treatment.

I hope that by the time I do, somebody has spent some money on this place; Eric, Alan and the locals all deserve better.

B&M Bargains

B&M Bargains

This Office closed a while ago...

This Office closed a while ago…



Bless Him!...

Bless Him!…

Feed the birds

The Lubin Guest House

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Waterstones by the seafront...

Waterstones by the seafront…

Still a beautiful beach if you can find a quiet spot on a sunny day.

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Still a lovely beach if you can find a quiet spot on a sunny day

Still a lovely beach if you can find a quiet spot on a sunny day


And that is all we have to say about Morecambe; let’s hope the sun does bring some sunshine some time soon to this lovely neglected corner of our majestic island.



Kaaresuvanto, Finland (Lapland)


You will never go to a more amazing place than Lapland

I decided to spruce up my previous blog with some more images from this memorable trip, so this post is all about Kaaresuvanto, Finland (Lapland) one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit.

So before I knew it, I had added sixty eight images to be exact; I will now add some words to go with them!

We loved living in the middle of nowhere! Lapland, Finland, January 2013 Nikon D200, 10-24mm, 10mm, f3.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 1600

We loved living in the middle of nowhere!
Lapland, Finland, January 2013
Nikon D200, 10-24mm, 10mm, f3.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 1600

Kaaresuvanto, Finland (Lapland)

acording to wikipedia….

Kaaresuvanto (Northern Sami: Gárasavvon, Swedish: Karesuando) is a village in the Enontekiö municipality of the Lapland region in northern Finland, located on the Muonio River, which follows Finland’s western border with Sweden.

The village of Karesuando (part of Kiruna municipality) is located on the Swedish side of the river. According to Finnish tradition the two are considered parts of the same locality (with a population of about 470), although officially a national border bisects them. The sides are linked by a road bridge built in 1980. The area is traditionally Finnish and Sami speaking. After the Finnish War in 1809, the border was re-drawn for political reasons, not because of any cultural or linguistic reasons existing at that time. Later a cultural and language difference grew because of school and church influence.

The village got its first buildings in 1670, when Måns Mårtensson Karesuando, called “Hyvä Maunu Martinpoika” in Finnish and “Good Maunu, Son of Martti” in English, bought land from Sami Henrik Nilsson Nikkas. The vicar and botanist Lars Levi Laestadius worked in Kaaresuvanto where he founded the Laestadian revival movement named after him. In 1944 the area was burnt down by German troops during the Lapland War and had to be rebuilt.

Swedish Karesuando is the northernmost point on the major European route E45 to Gela in Italy, and Finnish Kaaresuvanto is a stop on European route E8 from Tromsø to Turku.

Kaaresuvanto, Finland (Lapland)

Kaaresuvanto, Finland (Lapland)

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Even if you don’t track those funny lights down……….
just lay back in the snow, in your suit, and look up at the stars
we are just a speck on this earth

for more amazing snaps skip to my flickr feed for wall to wall ice and huskies


Stockholm for beginners

Stockholm for beginners

After a few visits I would hope to be able to offer some constructive comments on how to tackle this amazing place.

So here are 12 things that everyone should do to maximise the benefit of time spent in this great city.

1  Wrap up warm and take a wander around


You need a big coat in Stockholm 30th December 2009 Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 38mm, f11.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 1600

You need a big coat in Stockholm
30th December 2009
Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 38mm, f11.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 1600

This is a great city for a break, especially when it is cold – I have only ever visited in the December and January period, and -23 degrees is a common sight, so take a lot of layers, get out and enjoy it!

BBBrrrr...... Stockholm 30th December 2009 Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 18mm, f7.1.0, 1/180 sec, ISO 1600

30th December 2009
Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 18mm, f7.1.0, 1/180 sec, ISO 1600

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2 Stay in a nice Hotel

Stockholm is not cheap, although there are some great hotels in the budget end of the scale, it is so expensive to do things, in my experience it pays to have a nice hotel to return to and chill in. Hilton Slussen works for me, and featured in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also.

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3 Go shopping

A lot of the shops in the centre are below ground or in large arcades – take your credit cards!

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4  Use the bus, tram and metro system to get around with a travel card

Public transport is superb, and easy to navigate

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5 Go to Skansen and see some wild animals

This is one of our favourite places, fun for everyone and lots to see. The animals are all well looked after and there are a lot activities in the festive period, including a concert on New years Eve.


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6  Go to at least three Museums.

There are a lot of good museums in and around Stockholm; three that have been great for us are listed below

1   Moderna Museet – Museum of Modern Art; currently good photographic stuff here

2  Vasamuseet – the famous ship that sank in 1628  and salvaged in 1961, amazing here

3  Nordisca Museet -Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history, a full day out here

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7 Eat oily fish and buy your wine from the (state run) wine shops

Swedish food is amazing, and sometimes rather surprising! As is buying alcohol in shops – it is only readily available in the state owned chain of off licence outlets, strictly regulated and open only at certain times. It’s very expensive to eat out, but a worthwhile experience for the entire family.


8  get on a boat out to the archipelago

This is fun and a great day out. The archipelago extends from Stockholm roughly 60 kilometres (37 mi) to the east. In a north–south direction, it mainly follows the coastline of the Södermanland and Uppland provinces, reaching roughly from Öja island, south of Nynäshamn, to Väddö, north of Norrtälje. It is separated from Åland by a stretch of water named South Kvarken. A separate group of islands lies further north, near the town of Öregrund. There are approximately 30,000 islands and islets.[1] Some of the better-known islands are Dalarö, Finnhamn, Nässlingen, Grinda, Husarö,Ingarö, Isö, Ljusterö, Möja, Nämdö, Rödlöga, Tynningö, Utö, Svartsö and Värmdö.

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The biggest towns of the archipelago, apart from Stockholm, are Nynäshamn, Vaxholm and Norrtälje. The village of Ytterby, famous among chemists for naming no fewer than four chemical elements (erbium, terbium, ytterbium and yttrium), is situated on Resarö in the Stockholm archipelago.

The shipping routes from the Baltic to Stockholm pass through the archipelago. There are three main entrances suitable for deep-draughtcraft, namely, those near Landsort, Sandhamn, and Söderarm.

9  Go up in SkyView on the Ericsson Globe.

The Ericsson Globe (as it is called in Stockholm) is something akin to an observatory. The main difference is that the Ericsson Globe, while “old” in terms of time, has a new addition – a path laid out on the exterior of the building that allows smaller globes to glide on the outside.

Each globe, called SkyView, can hold up to 16 passengers at a time. A trip to the top of the globe is three minutes, while a round-the-globe trip is twenty minutes.

This arena has housed concerts with Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, and Lady Gaga. The stadium, which seats 16,000 occupants comfortably, is a short ride out of town on the metro.

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10  See the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace and get into the history!

If you are going to Stockholm, then make sure you do some reading first and get into the history – it’s an interesting old place! The changing of the guard is a daily ritual not to be missed.

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11  Go ice skating (or let the kids)

Don’t break a leg – there are lot’s of places to skate around the city, good fun for all the family

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12   Drink Champagne & let in the New Year while locals throw fireworks at each other

This really is the reason to be in Stockholm when it’s -23 degrees. They love New Year’s Eve, it’s a party and a huge firework display.

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Be carefull – it can get a bit lively!

Langdale Pikes and a walk back to Ambleside


Langdale Pikes and a walk back to Ambleside

Even in a car full of middle-aged people, with mixed weather and an invalid on board, it is possible to experience some fantastic scenery not too far from the madding crowds of Ambleside on a half term Sunday afternoon.

Langdale Head from the road by the footpath near Blea Tarn

Langdale Head from the road by the footpath near Blea Tarn

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Therefore, a trip out to the Langdale Pikes and a walk back to Ambleside (which is only seven miles away) is a great way to spend half a day in the lake district.

A short car ride from Ambleside and you are in the heart of Langdale, surrounded by the famous Pikes, beautiful.

And if you have an invalid with you, it is possible to drive into some amazing scenery, making the distance from the car to the open world, as short as possible – so it really is possible to enjoy Langdale on one leg.

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We took a nice walk today fro Langdale back to Ambleside, only 5 or 6 miles but plenty for an out of shape bloke after a pint at the National Trust pub in Sticklebarn

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National Trust...where shall we go today?

National Trust…where shall we go today?









The walk back from the pub at Sticklebarn, via Langdale village and the new path around Elterwater was easy and rewarding – I would urge anyone with a couple of hours spare to give it a go, no hiking gear required!

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Ambleside, where it all started.


Nice to be back in Ambleside, where it all started.

Ambleside is indeed the spot where it literally all started – the place we came to live for a week to register to get married in 1989. I am glad we did.

Good Morning Ambleside

Good Morning Ambleside

Love the lakes, even on a drab day the light at 4.40pm in february can be surprising...

Love the lakes, even on a drab day the light at 4.40pm in february can be surprising…

Ambleside is good – 30 years on!

Nice to be back in the heart of the lakes with some special friends, probably 30 years since we first stayed up here, and at least 25 since we got married up here.

Pintail Cottage is where it all started - above a fudge shop.

Pintail Cottage is where it all started – above a fudge shop.


In 1989 we had to live above this shop for a week to register in the area and be married at Kendal Registry Office on 19th August 1989.

This little house over the beck is still owned by the National Trust

This little house over the beck is still owned by the National Trust

Our pals booked us all in for a lovely spa day here, we did a lot of nothing and then had lunch, it was good...

Our pals booked us all in for a lovely spa day here, we did a lot of nothing and then had lunch, it was good…

Ambleside Coffee shop heaven

Ambleside Coffee shop heaven

Many things in Ambleside don’t seem to have changed, but there are certainly more coffee shops and outdoor clothing specialists than anywhere else I have been recently!

It's nice here...

It’s nice here…

Rydal Water

Rydal Water


A Heffalump

A Heffalump

As promised, I have some more serious pics today after heading out from Ambleside and the spa, we managed a couple of hours walking towards Rydal Hall and Nab Scar.

Rydal Water and Rydal Hall

Rydal Water is a small body of water in the central part of the English Lake District, in the county of Cumbria. It is located near the hamlet of Rydal, between Grasmere and Ambleside in the Rothay Valley.[1]

Rydal Water from the'coffin route' above Rydal Hall

Rydal Water from the’coffin route’ above Rydal Hall

The lake is 1290yd (1.18 km) long and varies in width up to a maximum of 380yd (350m), covering an area of 0.12 mi² (0.31 km²). It has a maximum depth of 65 ft (17m) and an elevation above sea level of 177 ft (54m). The lake is both supplied and drained by the river Rothay, which flows from Grasmere upstream and towards Windermere downstream.[1]

Rydal Water

The waters of the southern half of the lake are leased by the Lowther Estate to the National Trust, whilst those of the northern half belong to the estate of Rydal Hall. Navigation is prohibited, except for residents of Rydal Hall.[1]

Beautiful light on Nab Scar

Beautiful light on Nab Scar

Numerous walks are possible in the surrounding hills, as well as a walk around the lake itself, which takes in Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, both homes to William Wordsworth, and Rydal Cave, a former quarry working. At the western end of the lake, steps lead to Wordsworth’s Seat, which is considered to have been Wordsworth’s favourite viewpoint in the Lake District.

We will be re-visiting many of our favourite walks over the coming days, and if the sun looks like shining, I will get out the big camera!

If not, I will be staying in the pub…

A whole new way of tidying up crisp packets...

A whole new way of tidying up crisp packets…

Cat & Fiddle A537 to Buxton in a Porsche 964

Cat & Fiddle road + Porsch 964 = FUN

Those were the days my friend...

Those were the days my friend…


This road holds a special place in the heart of petrol-heads.

This road holds a special place in the heart of petrol-heads.

To be honest, if you were to ask me what I miss most about my old Porsche 964, it would be caning it through some French countryside on the way to Le Mans, or more likely, sliding it round some beautiful bends on the infamous A537 Buxton to Macclesfield ‘Cat and Fiddle’ road.

Porsche 964 and Cat & Fiddle road

Porsche 964 and Cat & Fiddle road

We are watching you!

We are watching you!

OK so this road now comes with speed cameras on huge pylons as well as the reputation of being one of the most dangerous in Europe; so it’s no fun anymore. But to be fair, even pootling along, or being at a complete standstill up here is amazing

A lot of bikers, any day of the week!

A lot of bikers, any day of the week!

You don’t need to break the law to enjoy these roads, but a lot of bikers and drivers do…

Nice day for it

Nice day for it


Of the 264 casualties on the road since 2001, approximately 70% of those killed or seriously injured were motorcyclists, the main causes being poor cornering/manoeuvring, exceeding the speed limit, and failing to judge another vehicle’s speed/distance. The authorities are clear on the problem – “The information and statistics show that it is riding behaviour not the road condition that causes the majority of collisions. We don’t have a problem with other road users not seeing bikes, because the majority of collisions are single vehicles,”

One of the most dangerous roads in Europe.

One of the most dangerous roads in Europe.

So look out for mad bikers, speed cameras, oncoming cars in the middle of the road, aerial survailance and anything else that may cause you to crash on a quiet sunday drive….



In fact, sell the Porsche, move to Yorkshire and buy an old man’s car…….that’s what I did, and it’s a lot less strssful!

Pipe and slippers come as part of the deal...

Pipe and slippers come as part of the deal…

Èze, a renowned tourist hotspot on the French Riviera



Èze, renowned tourist hotspot on the French Riviera, is famous worldwide for the view of the sea from its hill top. Its Jardin botanique d’Èze is known for its collection of cacti and succulents, as well as its panoramic views. Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time in Èze; and so did we in 2010 and 2011!

This coastline is amazing and best explored from the water and my yacht.

My large yacht in Monte Carlo

My large yacht in Monte Carlo

Joking of course, it was far too big to get close to the beach, so we hired a car and left her in Monaco…

My prefered method of  transport

My prefered method of transport

Beautiful views out across the Med

Beautiful views out across the Med

The oldest building in the village is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix and dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Èze, in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, would hold their meetings there. The shape of the bell-turret is an indication that the village once belonged to the Republic of Genoa.
The small medieval village is famous for its beauty and charm. Its many shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants attract a large number of tourists and honeymooners. As a result Èze has become dubbed by some a village-musée, a “museum village”, as few residents of local origin live here. From Èze there are gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The motto of the village is the phrase Isis Moriendo Renascor (meaning “In death I am Reborn”) and its emblem is a phoenix perched on a bone.
The local dialect (nearly extinct) is similar to the Monégasque language of the nearby Principality of Monaco, and is related to Ligurian but with some influences from the Occitan language.
Èze is one of thirteen villages grouped together by the Communauté d’agglomération de Nice-Côte d’Azur tourist department as the Route des Villages Perchés (Route of Perched Villages). The others are: Aspremont, Castagniers, Coaraze, Colomars, Duranus, Falicon, La Gaude, La Roquette, Levens, Saint-Blaise, Saint-Jeannet and Tourrette-Levens.[3]

This rather grainy image was taken on my iphone looking across to Cap Ferrat – how technology has improved!


A long way down, there is a fantastic beach to frollick in the surf on.

A long way down, there is a fantastic beach to frollick in the surf on.

You are up in the clouds, it's not always sunny!

You are up in the clouds, it’s not always sunny!







Nothing nicer than hopping out of bed and going for a dip in a pool with a view!

The pool from the balcony

The pool from the balcony


In the evening, this is a special place to be…

On a cloudy day we drove to nearby Monaco, not one of more favoured places, but nice to watch the world go by…










All in all, a nice place to visit, take your wallet and find a friend with a posh villa; that is my top travel tip.

Boeing Factory, Seattle


Boeing Factory, Seattle

Now this is a propper boys day out, yes we had to hire a car to get out there from downtown Seattle, but it was worth it, to tour the largest building in the world!

The Boeing factory in Seattle

The Boeing factory in Seattle

in fact it was so good, we had to buy matchint tee shirts!

This is the largest building in the world – Amazing



The Boeing Everett Factory, in Everett, Washington, is an airplane assembly building owned by Boeing. Located on the northeast corner of Paine Field, it is the largest building in the world by volume at 13,385,378 m3 (472,370,319 cu ft) and covers 399,480 m2 (98.3 acres).[1] It is where wide-body Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and the new 787 Dreamliner are assembled.

Plans for the factory were first announced in 1966 for it to be the site of the construction of the 747 after Boeing was awarded a $525 million contract from Pan American World Airways to build 25 747s. It purchased 780 acres north of the then little-used Paine Field, which was operated by the US Army in World War II. Boeing had an Everett presence since 1943[2] In 1968 it began offering factory tours with the first roll out of the 747.[3]

You are not allowed to take photos on the tour, but I have a few from the day and our wider trip to Seattle, so here are some of the memories that take me back.

The Space Needle

The Space Needle

The Space Needle is an observation tower in Seattle, Washington, a landmark of the Pacific Northwest, and a symbol of Seattle. It was built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair, which drew over 2.3 million visitors, when nearly 20,000 people a day used its elevators.

Once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River,[7] it is 605 ft (184 m) high, 138 ft (42 m) wide, and weighs 9,550 tons. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour (89 m/s) andearthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude,[8] as strong as the 1700 Cascadia earthquake. It also has 25lightning rods.

It has an observation deck at 520 ft (160 m) and a gift shop with the rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 ft (150 m).[7] The downtown Seattle skyline, as well as the Olympic and Cascade Mountains,Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands can be viewed from the top of the Needle. Photographs of the Seattle skyline often show the Space Needle prominently, above skyscrapers and Mount Rainier.

Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle by elevators that travel at 10 miles per hour (4.5 m/s). The trip takes 41 seconds. On windy days, the elevators slow to 5 miles per hour (2.2 m/s). On April 19, 1999, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board designated it a historic landmark.[7][9]

Its pretty cool, very old and atmospheric – you can imagine it being cutting edge all those years ago, but now it feels rather tired and from a bygone era. We loved it!


The view from 520 feet up in the Space Needle are amazing!

The view from 520 feet up in the Space Needle are amazing!


Beningbrough Hall and Gardens

Beningbrough Hall is a great day out!

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens as seen through the huge wooden NT pictureframe

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens as seen through the huge wooden NT pictureframe



Beningbrough Hall and Gardens

Glorious gardens surround this baroque mansion with National Portrait Gallery paintings – ands it’s number 2 of 18 National Trust locations we will visit in Yorkshire this year.

From the National Trust website

Inspired by his Grand Tour, John Bourchier created Beningbrough , an Italian Palace nestled between York, Harrogate and Leeds. The impressive rooms are a perfect backdrop for the rich collection of portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, Beningbrough’s long-term partner. The paintings feature people who have made, and are making, British history and culture, and in 2015 include contemporary portraits in a display of ‘Royals: then and now’.

A working walled garden, grand herbaceous borders, sweeping lawns and a play area for children to let off steam, creates a year-round garden. Picture-postcard views can be seen from the garden and the parkland offers opportunities to explore riverside walks, ancient trees and discover hidden wildlife.

The stable block and shop at Beningborough hall

The stable block and shop at Beningborough hall

Beningborough Hall

The farm shop at Beningborough Hall

The farm shop at Beningborough Hall

Some tigers on the beach in North Berwick


In July 2013, our annual golf pilgrimage took us to Muirfield, East Lothian.

Golf anyone?

Golf anyone?

After a fantastic day on the course, the tigers were spotted on the beach in nearby North Berwick, as the sun came down, the fun continued.

Some tigers on the beach at North Berwick

Having been to Barcelona, Seattle, Dublin, Whistler in British Columbia and then Madrid all in one week, I thought it was time to come closer to home and reflect at the weekend on domestic sporting events of epic proportions – and nothing comes close to the British Open Golf Championship; especially if you are dressed as a tiger for the weekend.







Tigers on the beach

Tigers on the beach


The Lion sleeps tonight – not.


It has to be said that this was a special day!

East Lothian Local constabulary working with the gamekeepers to round up the tigers and one stray lion.

East Lothian Police rounding up the Tigers... Muirfield, July 2013 Apple iphone5

East Lothian Police rounding up the Tigers…
Muirfield, July 2013
Apple iphone5

The golf was amazing, but sadly Tiger was not up to scratch – even with our support he never delivered the result we were all hoping for.

IMG_4352 IMG_4350

Tigers in the long grass, Muirfield

Tigers in the long grass, Muirfield

IMG_4338  that was fun.




Madrid and the Museo del Prado


Madrid and the Museo del Prado

Madrid (/məˈdrɪd/, Spanish: [maˈðɾið], locally: [maˈðɾiθ, -ˈðɾi]) is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is almost 3.2 million[4] and that of the Madrid metropolitan area, around 6.3 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London andParis.[5][6][7][8] The city spans a total of 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).[9]

The city is located on the Manzanares River in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by theautonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, andresidence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of Spain.[10] The current mayor is Ana Botella from the People’s Party (PP).

The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP[11] in the European Union and its influences in politics,education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.[12][13] Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe[14][15] and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, Iberia or Repsol. Madrid is the 17th most livable city in the worldaccording to Monocle magazine, in its 2014 index.[16][17]

Madrid houses the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), belonging to the United Nations Organization(UN), the SEGIB, the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB). It also hosts major international regulators of Spanish: the Standing Committee of the Association of Spanish Language Academies, headquarters of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), the Cervantes Institute and the Foundation of Urgent Spanish (Fundéu BBVA). Madrid organizes fairs such as FITUR,[18] ARCO,[19] SIMO TCI[20] and the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.[21]


Museo del Prado, Madrid 2.3 million visitors a year make this a busy spot!


The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in centralMadrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and is considered one the greatest museums of art in the world. The numerous works by Francisco de Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch are some of the highlights of the collection.

The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents. By 2012 the Museum will be displaying about 1,300 works in the main buildings, while around 3,100 works are on temporary loan to various museums and official institutions. The remainder are in storage.[3] The museum received 2.8 million visitors in 2012.[4]

The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez. Velázquez not only provided the Prado with his own works, but his keen eye and sensibility were also responsible for bringing much of the museum’s fine collection of Italian masters to Spain, now the largest outside of Italy.

We stayed at the Hotel Vincci Soho, a modern 4* boutique hotel in the centre of the 

A nice place, near the Prado, the royal palace and some good bars and eateries.



Charter a floatplane from Vancouver Harbour to Whistler


 Floatplane from Vancouver harbour to Whistler, British Columbia.

Setting off from the waters of Vancouver harbour in a six seat floatplane to Whistler,
British Columbia, was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had 
- there is no better way to go from A to B, everyone should try this once!
This man will fly you in a floatplane from Vancouver up to Whistler!

This man will fly you in a floatplane from Vancouver up to Whistler!
Vancouver harbour, July 2009
Nikon D200 18-200mm, f8.0, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

If you have about $1,500 dollars to spare (2009 prices, may have gone up a bit!) then there is no better way to transport your loved ones from downtown Vancouver harbout, up through 120 km. of amazing countryside to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

I guarantee you willl not regret this investment – charter your own pilot and plane with Whistler Air, it is an experience that will stay with you forever!

DSC_0068 (3)

amazing, here are some more pictures – enjoy!


The Irish Museum of Modern Art, housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham


Dublin, Feb 2008, Museum of Modern Art You have to hand it to him Nikon D200, 55mm, f4.5. 1/250 sec, ISO 200

Dublin, Feb 2008, Museum of Modern Art
You have to hand it to him
Nikon D200, 55mm, f4.5. 1/250 sec, ISO 200


Our image today was taken in Dublin at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
I often miss my Nikon D200, it weighed a ton, but it took some great images!

Pike Place Market, Seattle


Today we are at a famous place to buy fish - Pike Place Market, Seattle. I thought this
was fitting as I am going to Bridlington this morning to finalise funeral arrangements
for the Nana.
Pike Place Market, Seattle 25th July 2009 Nikon D200, 180200mm Nikkor, f22.0 18.3mm, 1/250 sec, ISO 250

Pike Place Market, Seattle
25th July 2009
Nikon D200, 180200mm Nikkor, f22.0 18.3mm, 1/250 sec, ISO 250


Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople and merchants. Named after the central street, Pike Place runs northwest from Pike Street to Virginia Street, and remains one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations.

The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill, and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. Each features a variety of unique shops such as antique dealers, comic book and collectible shops, small family-owned restaurants, and one of the oldest head shops in Seattle. The upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce stands and craft stalls operating in the covered arcades. Local farmers and craftspeople sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis, in accordance with the Market’s mission and founding goal: allowing consumers to “Meet the Producer”.

Pike Place Market is home to nearly 500 residents who live in 8 different buildings throughout the Market. Most of these buildings have been low income housing in the past; however, some of them no longer are, such as the Livingston Baker apartments. The Market is run by the quasi-government Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA). The Pike Place Market sees 10 million visitors annually.

Hotel Grand Central, Barcelona


Changing my formats today after advice from Blogger chums, #oneimageonedayonelife 
will become a daily post as from February, so keep an eye out for me!

This shot was taken at a rooftop pool in Barcelona around 2007, the Hotel has become 
quite famous i think - it was nice back then and we stayed a few times! 


Barcelona Swimming Pool, c. 2007

Barcelona Swimming Pool, c. 2007