Hastings Adventures

After afternoon tea on Monday we walked along the sea front as far as we could until we were under the cliff. There are a couple of museums for Stephen to explore.

a walk to the end of the town (1 of 1)
at the end of the path
cliff face (1 of 1)
cliff face
how to get up the cliff to see to view (1 of 1)
funicular railway
Stephen on pebble beach (1 of 1)
enjoying the pebble beach
the pier (1 of 1)
The pier, a new construction owned by foreign interests appears to be only open when there is an event.

We walked back into the Old Town and found an Elizabethan style pub where we had the two together steak special. The steaks were beautifully cooked to our specification and the meal as a whole well presented and tasty. There were chips, but not used to cover up bad cooking, as sometimes happens. We were so happy with our first dinner Monday night that we went there for our evening meal last night as well, choosing the fish and chips special this time.

_DSC2049
the pub where we had our evening meals

When we were walking Monday evening we saw a place, Pam’s Cafe that serves breakfasts. We chose it partly because we would be able to see the sea from the windows. However, it turned out to be a bad choice – the only choice was fried everything and they didn’t do real coffee. I took my laptop and planned to blog whilst enjoying coffee, but the table was sticky and I didn’t like to bring it out. So, we consider that a fail. The sea was grey, with a grey sky. After breakfast we walked back to the house to pack our things for the day out.

Our plan was to visit Bodian Castle, a bus ride away from the town. I was trying to buy a real coffee, but the Costas at the bus station/train station reported a malfunctioning coffee machine. After walking around a bit, I found a sort of funky pub that did take away coffee. Thank goodness as it was getting close to midday.

The bus ride was interesting as it took us through a part of the town which is hilly and we probably wouldn’t have chosen to walk that way. Bodian Castle is a National Trust property and located just near the bus stop – which made it ideal from the logisics point of view.

Apart from that, it is the most beautiful castle. It is a ruin, but the outside is well kept and there is enough intact inside to get a feel for what it was like to live there. The man that built it came from an ordinary manor house and he and his wife had the challenge of making a castle as comfortable as their former home. The castle has featured in documentaries, but I don’t remember seeing it before.

It was partly sunny and quite warm by the time we reached Bodian. It was a delightful experience to walk inside and around the grounds. They had the usual National Trust shop and cafe, and we made good use of both. I took lots of photos, but also bought some postcards of the castle in snow and in evening light. If we ever build a castle I want it to be just like Bodian. Below are some photos.

Bodian Castle1 (1 of 1)

_DSC2003

_DSC2021

_DSC1998

_DSC2017
There were some very large fish in the moat. This one’s face looks like some sort of mammal rather than a fish.

It’s been an odd experience as we walk around the town to seeing Hastings on signs everywhere. The was also a Carlisle hotel and I took a photo of it for Matt.

After arriving back in town at about 3.30, we went to Jempsons for our afternoon cuppa. We resisted cakes and it paid off with having a good appetite for our dinner. We walked along the sea front in the other direction after leaving Jempsons, then walked back to the Old Town to our favourite pub.

_DSC2048

_DSC2039

_DSC2034
there was a bank of fog over the sea during the afternoon, some of which blew over the town

By the time we got home we had done the most steps of any day on our trip so far, about 16,929 – about 12 kms. We slept very well indeed, though we had energy for listening to a couple of Desert Island Disk podcasts. If you haven’t been listening to Desert Island Disks it’s worth while checking them out. They have interviews stretching back 30 years. Sometimes there are interviews of the same person at vastly different stages of their life.

I needed a new book shortly before we left and chose ‘The Conqueror’ by Georgette Heyer. Her books are now available as ebooks and the connection with Hastings makes it the idea choice for reading here. The hero is William the Conqueror. I’m not sure I want to bring it up with the locals, they speak of the Civil War as if it happened a few years ago instead of centuries. Being overtaken by the Normans might be a bit sensitive for them, depending on their ancestry and loyalties.

Stephen likes to strike up conversations with other elderly men as we are catching buses. This can lead to very interesting local information.

We see very little of our hostess who is a shift worker. Hopefully we will see her when we go back to the house to pack up and we can clarify the pick up time for our bags.

 

Leaving Bath

Yesterday morning was sunny and partly cloudy, not very cold. We had a bus to catch at 12.45 p.m. and had a leisurely morning, packing up our things, having our usual full breakfast at the YHA, and then heading out for a walk in the town. We left the case at the hostel and Stephen picked it up later.

I took photos of the hostel in sunshine, some of our walk across the bridge and alongside the river, and then the street stalls in the town centre. Some of which are included in the slideshow.

The journey by bus was quite pleasant, though the heater was on full and it was quite hot in my window seat. At Heathrow we asked the bus driver to turn the heating down, which is when we found out it was stuck. Other people were also finding it too hot, so we opened the top vent.

We had a cup of tea at Victoria Station, then home to East Croydon, picking up milk and some food at Sainsbury on the way through. It reminded us that it is quite a hard slog from the station when we are tired. Having the case means that if we use the tram we have to take it up and down steps on the estate, rather than coming via ramps. I’m not sure which is harder.

In the footsteps of Bill Bryson

Today we visited Avebury, site of one of the English henges. It is quite impressive. The standing stones are mostly the result of excavation and setting in place again. We were prompted to visit by what Bill Bryson wrote in The Road to Little Dribbling although we didn’t feel, as he did, that the National Trust information was unhelpful. Maybe he didn’t concentrate when he was being told where to begin the walk. Maybe the fact that we came by train, then bus, made us more observant. We could see the stones immediately as the bus was arriving at the village.

And, we were given a little map. There was a museum showing the excavation and another showing some of the artefacts that have been recovered.

Of course, they don’t really know who built the henge or why. It dates from about 4,200 years ago. The stone used for the henge is local to the area and has been used for paving and building houses in the area. Apparently many of the standing stones were broken up and destroyed by local people. What is left is still substantial.

After we had looked in the museums and had lunch, Stephen decided to really follow Bill Bryson’s lead and walk to Silbury Hill. It is also part of the mystery – an artificial hill that has apparently been built up over a long period of time.

We bought one picnic lunch at the hostel and ate it in the cafe, alone with a lovely big pot of tea, with spare hot water.

Stephen off to Silbury Hill
Stephen sets off for Silbury Hill

In fact, he gave up after awhile. It had become very rainy and wet, and was very muddy underfoot. I had experienced it myself doing a walk partway around the circle of stones. We met up at the church. I had already been in, so he had a look, then went back to the museum for a while, whilst I retreated to the cafe.

The following are some photos from my walk in an Apple Photos slideshow. It tells a story of a rainy day, with a short burst of sun and blue sky, just before we set off on our walks.

 

 

Bath

Sunday afternoon we went for a walk to the Water Tower Park (as we call it, not the proper name) and did some shopping.

On Monday morning we were on our way early and had to stand on the train as far as Clapham Junction. We made our way to the Victoria Bus Station in good time (about an hour before our bus). Most of the people there got onto the bus before ours, so we were able to have two seats each to spread out.

The bus journey took about 2.5 hours and we enjoyed views of the countryside. We found a place for tea/coffee on arrival, then caught a bus up the hill to the hostel. Our room is nice, it has 6 beds, but because we booked an extra night he wanted to put us in one room for the four nights and it was easier for it to be the family room rather than a two bed room. The whole place is very comfortable, with an attractive self catering kitchen, a couple of dining rooms and a comfortable lounge room. We have paid for breakfasts and it’s possible to have other meals here as well.

YHAadjusted, Bath
YHA Bath
Our YHA room
Our room with windows over garden and glimpses of Bath

 

We unpacked, then went back down the hill to walk around. Stephen wanted to go to the Theatre Royal for a show, and we were able to book $6.00 tickets for a show that evening. We saved on the tickets, but had our meal at the Theatre restaurant, not cheap, but the food was good, so we didn’t regret it.

We saw King Charles III, described as future history. It was supposed to be a comedy sending up the royal family, but felt more like a tragedy, especially as it was in blank verse.

Theatre Royal, Bath
Theatre Royal, Bath.

The bus to our hostel is cheap (subsidised for the University of Bath), and runs 24/7, so no problem getting back late at night.

In the morning, very sad, I was quite ill with a headache and nausea. I skipped breakfast. Stephen went down to the Tourist Information Centre and to visit a museum and I was so ill that it was nice to be on my own. However, there were staff around and other guests, so not really alone. It was hard to imagine feeling better, but this evening I have been able to eat and drink and think I may be on the mend.

They saved a plate of breakfast for me. The chef was a bit worried about giving me warmed up food, but I didn’t want a lot anyway and it seemed to be fine. Stephen had one of their other dishes and desert, which he shared with me. A bottle of lemonade between us also helped.

We have stayed in the dining room because I want to write and their didn’t appear to be much room in the lounge. When Stephen got back we sat there for a couple of hours reading before dinner.

Uploading photos is rather slow, so this will do for this post.

Beautiful

We had an enjoyable afternoon yesterday, catching the train to Victoria Station, then a bus through the city to the Aldwych Theatre to see ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’.

When we went to a London theatre a few weeks ago there were no security checks. This time, there was a fairly careful check of our bags before entry, which we found most reassuring. The theatre was old and very pretty – though I did not take photos due to the press of people in the smallish foyer.

Stephen stood inside, then outside to try to sell our extra ticket. We had bought the tickets for this show thinking that Ron would come. Eventually he was able to sell it to a couple of American women. They had just flown in on the day and were looking for tickets and prepared to sit apart to save a little money. We were very pleased to get back most of the money. Ron had offered to pay for it, but we didn’t like to take money from him since he couldn’t help being ill.

The show itself was extremely well done. The music spanned the mid sixties to mid eighties and we knew all of it, though hadn’t been aware of who composed it. In fact, we didn’t remember Carole King as a singer. The storyline traced her artistic life from a 16 year old for about 15 years or so. There were a couple of groups of singer/dancers on stage as well as her mother, husband, manager and good friends. Very enjoyable both musically and emotionally – I expect because it was meaningful to people of our generation. They got a standing ovation at the end.

We walked along The Strand for a while afterwards to find somewhere to have a cup of tea. We had had our usual picnic lunch on the way to the theatre whilst sitting on the bus – and had banana and chocolate at interval. Still, we were quite hungry by the time we arrived home, in the dark as usual.

It was pretty cold, but I wore an extra jumper underneath my coat, and Stephen’s coat is made for very cold conditions, so we didn’t have any problems with the cold. It was fine and sunny in the afternoon, after snow and drizzle in the morning.

This morning is sunny as well. I took a couple of photos from the balcony for this post.

Sunny Day
View towards London
Sunny Day2
View to the South (used the Dehaze Filter in Lightroom)

I am doing lots of little loads of washing at the moment as we are going to Bath for five nights and I like to be up to date with washing.

Portrait of Stephen

I was fiddling around with a photo I took of Stephen at the restaurant Monday night, and finally found a ‘look’ I was happy with.

Stephen_Nov16_2015
Portrait of Stephen

We had a very windy night last night, with gusts that were almost scary given that we are quite high here and it was slamming against the windows. Today is partly cloudy, but sunny enough to make the house quite warm. I’ve switched off the heating and opened a couple of windows. Mind you, I’ve just done some housework, partly getting ready for Stephen’s cousin Ron, but partly just because it needed to be done. No wonder I feel warm!

We had a ‘heads up’ from Melanie on Monday that Ron has a cold and feeling pretty poorly, so we don’t know for sure that he will come and stay, but want to be ready, just in case.

Stephen is having a bit of a headache and nausea today, similar to what I felt on Monday. He has had a morning in bed – taking breakfast to him going up and down stairs was a bit challenging – but hopefully, like me, the fresh air will help him to recover. On the weather report it said that Saturday is to be the first really cold day here, with 8 degrees for the daytime maximum temperature. We shall see… So, far the temperatures have been mostly quite mild and our cold weather gear is not really had any sort of real test.

I’m very relieved that Lightroom has just been updated back to it’s normal importing setup, the one they introduced with the last update was slow and difficult to manage. Of course, I still don’t use it for importing from the SD card, I either use Adobe Bridge or the Sony app, so that I can put them into folders for use in any program. Then I import into Lightroom for light editing, then to Photoshop if I want to do something a bit more creative.

The photography site DPreview has finally done a comprehensive review of the Sony A7R II. They have done a few short articles on different features, and that has been incorporated into the final review. I felt it was a fair review because although it brought up some negatives, it also discussed some of the many innovative and photographer centric stuff that interests me as a landscape and travel photographer. In the end they gave it a Gold Award and 90%. One of the obvious comparisons was with the Canon 5DR, which is a 50 mp camera. For my purpose, as a stills camera, having more dynamic range is important. But in the video comparisons I liked the Canon ‘look’ very much. I can see why people still want to use Canon cameras for video. It is probably possible to replicate that look with grading, but that would take some experimenting and trialling LUTs.

I still have lots of photos that haven’t been edited and posted to Flickr. For this blog I am not choosing necessarily the best photos, but those that help to tell the story of what we are doing.

England 2014

I’m not very good at keeping up with this photography site, partly because I need time to process the photos we take. We have been very busy sightseeing and visiting people, and I’ve been very tired when we do have some down time.

I also think I need a way of automatically resizing photos for this page when I am working in Lightroom.

Even my Flickr page is over a week behind with posting images, and that site does accept photos directly from Lightroom.

Anyway, here is a photo resized in OnOne software and then processed to HDR in Nik. Taken near Bosworth Field.

Image