Blogs from Newbury, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury April 21st 2014

While everyone's probably heard of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, some may not yet have seen the televised period drama 'Downton Abbey'. So, a few words of background might be useful. First, I have to tell you that I didn't watch any of the programmes - period drama rarely rocks my boat. My wife Pat and millions of others did, however. If you weren't one of them, you can still watch it, for a small fee, on the itvPlayer. It won several awards and starred Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. It's thought to be one of the most widely-watched television drama shows in the world. So, maybe you have seen it - and maybe I should be sad I missed it (although I'm not!). Anyhow, research tells me that the four series and Christmas Specials ... read more
'Downton Abbey'
The Saloon
Part of the Egyptian Exhibition

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury July 9th 2011

How quickly the past six months have flown by since Alex and Anne announced their engagement and returned from Byron Bay to tell us that the wedding will be in the summer months in England and we would need to book six return flights to the UK. As in usual Alex and Anne style the wedding was planned and recorded on gnat sheets and emails flew back and forth confirming dates, ideas for venues, guest lists and catering suggestions were all discussed and explored over on conversations Skype with virtual interaction and links to possible websites, all very technical. We were certainly very aware of the huge distance that separated us from the physical support in the initial stages of the plans but with an earlier flight booked Hilary arrived as the advanced party to assist ... read more
The Murphsac Team
Reception preparations
The Male Contingent

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury June 25th 2011

Although the wedding was the main reason for us all flying over to the UK recently we were very fortunate to see many of our friends and family. With a detailed itinerary and a reliable hired car, infect we had two at one point, we were able to travel a fair few miles, up and down the M4 and the B400! HIlary managed to reunite with colleagues from Priors Court School and enjoyed an evening catching up all the news and changes at the school. She also managed a visit to the school with two colleagues from her school in Brisbane who were eager to see why she went into shock mode when she started to work at Red Hill Special School after experiencing all the facilities and space at Priors Court. Hilary managed to meet ... read more
Family picture with the grandchildren
In the garden in Winchester
Jon, Lou and Issy

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury January 10th 2011

Today I have booked and paid for my flights to Oz!!! Have to be honest with you, I was all excited and feeling like the big boy in town prior to doing this...yet as soon as the confirmation was printed my heart dropped and I sobbed like a baby. Don't get me wrong I'm excited, extremely excited in fact as there has always been something inside of me that has wanted to travel and for some unknown reason (as I'm sure is shared by many a person) I have a desire to explore and experience Australia, yet there is a HUGE fear inside as I'm leaving everyone and everything I know in order to do this...why did I think going this alone was a good idea...? Anyone? Well, I have decided to attempt to keep a ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury October 20th 2010

Sadly, all good things come to an end. So, after a party night out at Fortaleza dancing with Carlos & Co, we had one last day to relax on the beach, take a last swim in the sea, tidy up the apartment and pack. (It had been a great visit to the Algarve, with just a smidgeon of rainy weather (later redeemed by glorious sunshine), some interesting explorations and some enjoyable (and mostly cheap) nights out. The only real hiccup occurred when we lost each other for half an hour in the middle of Luz one day while trying to avoid being held up by roadworks on the main street. And we'll be arguing about who was to blame for that for many years to come!) On our last morning, we called in at the internet ... read more
The Main Bullring in Lisbon
Sunset over Lisbon Prison
Plaza Mayor at Night

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury May 17th 2010

I've known since October that I was going to England with one of my schools to visit their penpals. I was really excited about it at first, but as we got closer and closer to the departure date, I got more and more anxious. Honestly, who thought taking 23 ten-year-olds to another country was a good idea?! In typical French fashion, I had almost no information or even an up-to-date itinerary. I remember going on school trips in junior high, and there were tons of parent meetings, permission slips, information sessions, etc. Not so much for this trip. I was told about two weeks before we left to make sure to pack my sleeping bag and pillow and show up at 11am. Sleeping bag and pillow? Great... We managed to get all twenty-seven of us (23 ... read more
all 27 of us before departure
on the ferry to Dover
Dover: not that attractive

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury March 6th 2010

Kiwi Comments: New Zealanders are practical, friendly and down-to-earth people. In public places, including beaches, behaviour is quite restrained. They take a tough stand on public drunkenness - Liquor Free Zones are everywhere & lots of supermarkets have no licence to sell booze. 'No worries' (which is counter-intuitive to me) is still the favourite phrase. Where available, drink is pricey. Public Transport isn't brilliant and parking can sometimes be expensive. Free street parking is usually quite easy, though you have to be careful to move your car before the no of minutes indicated on the parking sign has expired. Roads are generally well-surfaced and road signs usually easy to follow (though sometimes, in towns, signposts and street signs are too infrequent and strangers can get lost). Speed limits are clearly shown and nowhere did I find ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury March 1st 2010

Our last day in Singapore was at least as memorable as any other day of our holiday. Singapore decided to treat us to a heatwave, with solid sunshine instead of the more usual sun, cloud and occasional shower. (Who needs a heatwave in Singapore when its pretty hot under normal conditions!) So, not realising what sort of day awaited us, after a quick dip in the hotel swimming pool, we decided to spend the day in the Botanic and Orchid Gardens. We would tough it out and not shelter in air conditioned rooms! Anyway, we enjoyed the flowers, atmosphere, ponds, fountains and parkland immensely, as the photos attest. But we didn't expect to have to find shade as much as we did. We started to melt early and had to keep topping up with liquid all ... read more
Getting Warmer
Duncan discovers Turmeric

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury January 20th 2010

This is intended as a brief description of our adventures in far-off lands. We hope that it will be exciting enough to entertain you but not so exciting as to risk life and limb. (My travelling companion has banned Bungee jumping, for instance.) Before we start, we have to try and tweak all the bells and whistles 'assisting' us in maintaining the blob. Please don't judge the blog from the quality of the first few entries. We're slow learners, but, with luck, your patience will be rewarded. The next entry will probably contain details of our departure planning and, hopefully, a little practical advice for our readers (eg. How not to prepare for your journey) ... read more
Duncan before dinner

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury November 13th 2008

Ok for those that might one day go travelling you might find this useful? The rest of you will think I am one sad loser that is writing about what he is packing. The back pack Karrimor 65L Pack What’s going in it? Sleeping Bag Mossy Net Pens Photocopy of Documents Sunglasses Belt Jeans x 1 - for those nights on the piss Waterproof top and bottoms - for when it pisses it down Sandals x 1 Shorts x 3 Swimming Shorts x 1 T-shirts x 6 Underwear x 7 Adapter Plug Alarm Clock Camera Padlocks x 6 Swiss army Knife Universal sink plug IPod Condoms - for when I meet my Thailand bride don’t quiet want kids yet lol Ear Plugs Insect Repellent x 4 Lip Salve Shampoo Sun Cream After Sun Tissues Toilet roll ... read more
All Packed and ready to go :)

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