Monday, 30 October 2017

Hello Kindle!

Good News. We are back in Kindle. Yes! All ten titles.

We have made some changes over the last twelve months but are happy to say that we are back in Kindle. And not just that. We have added our latest release Island Interludes to the extensive list.

Just Us Two Travel books have an increasing number of full colour photographs. Indeed, the last two have upwards of twenty full colour photographs to enhance your reading experience.

Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery and Chasing Rainbows go together as Chasing Rainbows is the sequel and the real ending to Rosie's story as they finally say 'good-bye' to their Gold Wing years.

Debut Fiction the travel-based ORANGES: A Journey is not illustrated. It takes you through parts of Portugal and Andalucia in southern Spain from the coast to the mountains.

The Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides for career, employability and personal development are all illustrated in full colour with images, diagrams, charts and/or tables as appropriate to the topic. Lifelong Learning is an educational research paper and reference book. The other four are user-friendly workbooks with spaces to pause, reflect and (in print) record your answers.(You need a separate pad of paper or your PC for this in Kindle.)

All ten books are also in paperback with the Just Us Two travel and Fiction books now on Glossy Hardcover.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Seagulls and sea breezes in the late sunshine of Llandudno.

We finally made our escape!

After the fierce winds of Monday, when the tail end of the hurricane named Ophelia found its way across the Atlantic to the UK, Wednesday dawned bright and clear. Was that a hint of the rising sun peeping between the leaves of the trees?

With computer switched off and plans made, we headed down the A55 Expressway to Llandudno on the North Wales coast. It is some time since we have visited this timeless seaside town with its wide curved bay lined with Victorian/Edwardian hotels; the bay is backed by the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance. That great rock jutting out to sea called Great Orme was unchanged. The pier stretched far out to sea towards the distant windmill farm.

Our first stop, as we came out of the shopping mall under the car park, was a tea break in the upstairs cafe of the re-furbished Waterstones bookshop . I used to have book signings there in the early days before it all changed.

Strolling along the promenade, I stopped to take photos. While Allen concentrated on the map I focussed on the unbelievable fat seagull that calmly stood at the edge of the pavement. No doubt it was eyeing up unsuspecting tourists for its next 'sandwich snatch'. (This happened to us the last time we were there. I sat on a bench chatting to Allen, sandwich in one hand, when out of nowhere a seagull swooped down and snatched my sandwich out of my hand. All I felt was something bang against my head.)

A fat seagull by the sea in LlandudnoA photo of the bay in Llandudno, North Wales

A photo overlooking taken from the pier in Llandudno.We strolled along part of the pier. At least we found where the cable car station was and Allen had worked out from the map on the promenade how to get up to it in the car. Perhaps when in season? Leaning over the pier rail, I looked down at the sea crashing against the rocks and the huge wall of rock stretching away around a bend.
'Are we on the Balcon de Europa in Nerja?' I asked Allen. He laughed. The sea wasn't as calm, the sun not as strong.

Although the start of the pier was lively with the sound of music playing, further along it was all tranquillity. There are many seats along either side to rest and enjoy the gentle breeze and warm sunshine as you gaze across the vast sweep of the bay. Last time that we came, it was summer and a
perishing cold and windy day. That was the time that the seagull swooped down. We didn't walk to the far end of the pier. When you do it is as if you are far out to sea, the pier is so long.

Many of the hotels are privately owned; not all serve lunches. Having passed the famous St.George's Hotel many times we thought that this time we would see if they served a bar lunch. Perhaps in the conservatory that stretches along the front of the hotel? We were not disappointed and they even had the red carpet out for us. The sandwiches were delicious, the ambiance quiet and unhurried, the waiter service excellent.  Altogether, a good choice.

As we normally decide to do, we took the scenic route back home, travelling down through the ancient and pretty town of Llanrwst that nestled in the mountains to Betws-y-Coed, the A5 old Holyhead - London route, and home.

The sea air and sunshine the best medicine of all.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Nature's Beauty on our Doorstep in Wrexham

The glory of Autumn at Erddig. Explore. Discover. Enjoy.

The National Trust property of Erddig was formerly the family home of the Yorke family of Wrexham, Wales. When we moved to Wales in the late 1960's, Squire Yorke was a familiar and
Photo of the avenue of trees in autumn at Erddig Hall, Wrexham
unusual sight in the town as he rode around on his penny-farthing bike. 

As he had no heirs, he gave the estate to the National Trust in 1973 with the proviso that the grounds/parkland be for the public to use and enjoy at no cost. Erddig Hall and gardens were in a dilapidated way to say the least. The formal walled gardens were buried under years of neglect. The hall was in a similar state. We remember reading that, before he died, Squire Phillip Yorke had resorted to living in two rooms as he couldn't afford the upkeep needed for this magnificent house. The house was subsiding and crumbling due to earlier coal-mining.

A glimpse into the task ahead.

IndoorsIndeed on his death, one room was found to have bowls on a bed to catch the drips of water coming through the ceiling. These Elizabethan bed hangings were sent to London for restoration. This was one of many projects needed to bring Erddig back to its former glory. The downstairs servants quarters are, today, a living testament to how life was in those days. Everything is set out as it used to be - pots, pans, furniture, kitchen, . . . Some years after the initial restoration in 2013, the Chinese Room was opened to the public on a few days a week. This is just a glimpse of the beauty of the hall itself.

Outdoors. Looking at the formal gardens today, it is hard to imagine that the avenue of trees, the canal water-feature, the fruit trees trained against a wall, had all but disappeared. With careful conservation and reference to the original drawings that were found, forty years on it is a different story. Our daughter and her family, often enjoy the beauty of Erddig. Our grandson took this photograph last week as the leaves start to turn into the glorious colours of autumn. It is a great place for families. Many old crafts have been revived in the out buildings e.g. carpenter.

Parkland. Many local residents enjoy the natural beauty of the grounds on their regular walks with their four-legged friends. One feature is the 'cup and saucer', a cylindrical cascade. Many school parties enjoy educational activities.

Shop and tea room. Of course, no visit to a National Trust property is complete without a visit to the wonderful tea room before ending up in the well-stocked shop. A good place for Christmas Shopping.

Getting there.
You don't have to go far if you live in the Wrexham County. Erddig is at the south end of Wrexham. Leave the A483 at Rhostyllen and head to Wrexham town. Before the cemetery on the left on the hill, turn right down the lane at Felin Puleston and follow the signs.

"Erddig Hall is a National Trust property on the outskirts of Wrexham, Wales. Located 2 miles south of Wrexham town centre, it was built in 1684–1687 for Josiah Edisbury, the High Sheriff of Denbighshire; ... Wikipedia"

Photo by kind permission S.M.T.

Friday, 6 October 2017

On the Nursery Trail. Not Babies and Children - Gardens.

With some beautiful Cheshire countryside on the way. 

Thursday saw myself and my other half, list in one hand, set off for a jaunt into Cheshire. Our destination was Grasslands Nursery in Lower Peover and Over Peover. And you are better with a satnav if you are not familiar with the area. (I never thought that I would say that!).
First stop was a cuppa at their Snowdrop Cafe. It seems a regular stop for these hardy cyclists.
Mission accomplished, after trundling two plants down to the 'Pay Here' hut we manoeuvred them into the car and headed out to our next stop. Our visit didn't take long as I had done a web search to find who stocked what we wanted.

Grasslands is a nursery, with rows upon row of sturdy plants of all kinds. But it is not a Garden Centre and therefore does not have the usual  shop full of goodies. Therefore, we wended our way through the rich Cheshire countryside with its trees and hedges turning gold in the autumn sunshine. 

Guided by our trusty satnav we soon found Plumleys Plant and Garden Centre but went past as the roadworks and work van outside his the signs. Turning around down the leafy country lane, we soon went back through the traffic lights and into the car park. Our search now was for various garden implements and bulbs. Although a lovely shop, with an enticing plant area - we weren't looking for plants - we didn't find what we were looking for. It was too early for a snack  lunch in the lovely cafe.

The last on our list was the Weaver Vale Garden Centre - a Klondyke and Strikes Garden Centre - at Winnington, Northwich. Eventually, after reaching Northwich from a different side from what we are
used to, we headed out, passing signs for the Anderton Boat Lift at Weaverham on the way.(Memories of Sunday ride-outs on our Honda Gold Wing motorbike.) Eventually, turning down a side road, we found the most wonderful garden centre. After a spot of lunch - just a scone for me and a piece of apple pie for him - we spent a happy hour inside looking at garden tools and bulbs for the garden.

After all this hard work we treated ourselves to an early dinner out - with a special 'Dine for Two' deal at the Egerton Arms on the edge of Cheshire and Wrexham. I have to say that the tomato and olive sauce with the salmon, dauphinoise potatoes, and spinach was excellent. I could have eaten a bowl of it. No hot spices to spoil it as some chefs are want to add to all sorts of dishes for the unsuspecting diner. The Pino Grigio Blush wine was also excellent.

Guess what I have been doing today?

After a late start due to lying awake in the early hours mentally writing a fairy story, I got out the graph paper and planned where to plant the bulbs. Don't you just love playing around with graph paper pencil and a ruler? Measuring out all those squares against what you have to put in them? No, I don't just toss them in the air and see where they fall. It is all in the planning.

'Job Done' as they say.