Thursday, 5 December 2019

Bills! Bills! Money out. Money in.

Manage your Money. How to Budget Spending.

Q.  You earn £20000 a year. Do you assume that you have £20,000 to spend?  If yes - wrong.

Q.Do you merrily pay for everything by card? If yes, how do you keep track of your spending? Do you know what you are spending?

Q. Do you have a sheet (budget) that lists all your expenses? ALL your expenses or a basic one?

Convenience of Card Payments versus Cash. 

I am not a fan of contactless payments as I prefer to consciously key in my number after confirming the amount on the screen and safely store my receipt for later recording.

In one grocery store where the counter was crowded, my card must have been too near the payment unit as it just 'snatched' my card details. Upon protesting, the customer behind - who possibly thought that I was not technically literate - casually calmed my startled surprise by reassuring me that 'it would show up on my statement'. I responded that I know it will but I didn't want to use contactless. I wanted to be in control. In any case I think there is a security risk. Someone else dismissed concerns by stating that the limit is low. Even so, I don't want a stranger running riot with my card.

This is by the by but illustrates the fundamental issue of managing personal money and is the  crux of this article. Most wages are paid directly to your bank account. You never actually see in hard cash what you are paid. You rarely hand hard cash over. The concept is different.

I included a chapter on Managing Your Money in Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment. 978-1-908302-20-5 

After all, avoiding debt makes for a happier employee and reduces temptation to solve problems in other ways.

Pay Slips.

Don't just glance at it and screw it up for the bin. Check it. Your  Income Tax deductions are your  responsibility, not your employer's responsibility. They simply have your Tax Code which determines how much tax you pay. Any queries should be directed to your Tax Office.
Every employee is subject to paying a certain amount of Income Tax and National Health Insurance.

Income Tax.
An example of  basic deductions for a single person who earns an average wage.
Before income tax is deducted, a personal allowance is deducted from your gross wage.
Figures below are for England and Wales. (Source
Personal AllowanceUp to £12,5000%
Basic rate£12,501 to £50,00020%

  • Earnings of £20.000 per year minus 12,500 allowance = tax due on £7,500 @ 20% 
  • This is £1500 per year.
  • If you are paid weekly this is divided by 52 = £28.85 per week income tax due.
  • If you earn £20,000 this is £385.62 per week before deductions.
  • £385.62 minus tax of £28.85=£355.76 per week after tax,.

National Health Insurance (NHI).  
Contrary to what some believe, our National Health Service is not free - only free at point of use (sometimes with a small charge e.g. Dentist). In addition to you as an employee paying National Insurance Contributions, your employer also pays on your behalf. How much you pay depends on your 'category letter'.
Our example will use someone in Category A (Source
Category letter£118 to £166 a week (£512 to £719 a month)£166.01 to £962 a week (£719.01 to £4,167 a month)Over £962 a week (£4,167 a month)

  • We have already established that our figures are based on earnings of  £385.62 per week before deductions. 
  • No payment is due on the first £166 a week. 
  • National Insurance in this example is due on £385.62 minus £166 = £219.62 @ 12%. 
  • This is £26.35 per week NHI contribution.

How will your average take home earnings look now?

  • Weekly Gross Earnings:  £385.62
  • Less Income Tax            -£28.85 = £356.77 
  • Less National Health Insurance     -£26.35
  • Basic Net Earnings(take home £'s) -£330.42

Total deductions to the Government before you even see your earnings =£55.20. Keeping track of spending is now even more important.
(You will also see that, based on the above figures extracted from the HMRC website,  someone on a very low wage - less than £166.00 per week will pay neither Income Tax or National Health Insurance contributions.)

A simple example of budgeting your expenses.

(Extract from Managing Your Money, Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment.) Feel free to print off and use.  Pay Slip image courtesy Google Images.

Rosalie Marsh.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Our Journey: Benefits of the NHS Prehabilitation Programme.

Enhanced  Recovery Programme works.

My amazing husband went through a gruelling 4-week exercise programme tailored to his limited heart/lung capacity - which was carefully measured beforehand in the Cardio-Respiratory Unit at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. The three-weekly sessions were closely monitored by physiotherapists. Combined with group sessions for mindfulness run by the Occupational Therapist and course coordinator together with nutrition advice from the Dietitian to prepare the body for the oncoming onslaught, the aim was to raise fitness levels to enable him to cope with the operation and subsequent recovery.

He smashed all his targets in the gym, kept to the eating programme that I carefully designed to increase protein to the Dietitians advised 1.5g per kilo of body weight - without increasing sugar levels to keep with his diabetic programme - and kept up his home exercises with the 'Power Breathe' - purchased by the Shooting Star Cancer Unit - to train his diaphragm in deep breathing to aid him after anaesthetic.

Result? He not only survived the long operation but was ready to go home two days earlier that expected.

The BBC made a film of his journey and, due to 'early release' had left for home when they planned to film him post op. So Matthew and his cameraman came to us at home.

The clip  of the BBC Wales News item was videoed for me from iPlayer. We are so keen that this pilot programme in Wales is cascaded to other hospitals that we can't say enough about it. 
Best for a patient at high risk and it frees beds earlier than normal.
What not to like?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Another Twist in the Tale of Life's Journey with NHS Wales

Getting fit with around the world as I pedal and walk.

In my last post about bikes, I ended with a comment about bikes of a different kind. . .

We are fortunate in North Wales to be the first hospital in Wales to have this four week  Enhanced Recovery Programme (pre-surgery Prehabilitation run by health professionals from the Wrexham Maelor Hospital) (Photo courtesy

My husband was invited onto the programme. I decided to accompany him on his thrice weekly sessions in case he needed me to drive home even though the exercise programmes are all tailored to a patient's limitations and are under supervision by Jo and the other physiotherapists Steve and Chris. The participant is taught how to breathe correctly using a nifty piece of hand-held equipment called Power Breathe. The Shooting Star Cancer Unit in the Wrexham Maelor have provided these and there he sits twice a day practicing.
During his initial assessment I was finally motivated - no more excuses - to restart my own programme but the days of this one clashed with my local Aquafit/pool/gym days. 'Biting the Bullet' I signed up for a ten-day membership card which the Plas Madoc Leisure Centre (Acrefair) offer. It is a 'swimming and sports centre offering a tropical lagoon pool with slides, sauna and a climbing wall'. (A few years ago, the local community raised the money to save it from closure by the council.

Getting fit around the world.
Bearing in mind my own post-op recovery programme and exercise limitations, I was a little wary of resuming the rowing machine but chose a low resistance level as described in the excellent book  by Sue Croft, Physiotherapist'.
I have missed the rowing machine. In days gone by I used to sort out all my staffing and work-related problems as I pulled and released the resistance chain.

The bike and treadmill were a revelation.

In my local gym the cardio-respiratory equipment have the usual Bluetooth connections plus TV channels. I was excited to find now that I could travel the world effortlessly. Effortlessly? Well, no stressful planes or airports. Simply set the incline and speed and enjoy the scenery as you pedal and walk.
Paris? No problem. A trip around the Seine? Stroll through the streets?
The snow-covered, mountains of Tibet? The countryside of Languedoc-Roussillon in France? The green countryside of Ireland/ Germany with a choice of locations? Dreaming away really does take the hard work out of exercise. That is, until you come to a panting stop. When I have 'done my bit' I decamp upstairs to the cafe to wait. 

Other aspects of the programme for participants. 
I was interested in the sheaves of notes that my husband brought home from the mindfulness part of the programme that is delivered by Claire, occupational therapist; they covered a variety of areas. Also the nutrition guidance and monitoring from Paige the dietician on the programme. (Another spreadsheet while I worked out the increased protein levels balanced with sugar intake so as to not upset diabetic requirements.)

I do hope that this pilot programme - already rolled out across England - is continued throughout Wales by GIG Wales/NHS Wales. Speaking from a personal 'carer' point of view it has been so valuable and reassuring to both of us. As my husband commented, "You don't have time to think (and brood)". In spite of his initial reservations about a gym and group sessions, but determined to go through with it, he has thrived, stayed positive and enjoyed the interaction. I wish that it had been available to me last year.

Oh, I almost forgot! 
The local papers have picked up on it (follow the link under the photo above) with the result that BBC Wales are making a documentary and guess who is the guinea pig? Yes, my quiet and retiring husband who has been interviewed and will be filmed in hospital both before and after the operation. That is how strongly he feels about the benefits of the Enhanced Recovery Programme as he wants it to continue.
Me? I am in total awe at the skills, and seamless organization of this patient's programme in the Wrexham Maelor Hospital where everything was already booked before we even had the diagnosis.

He is a star ****


Thursday, 24 October 2019

The Cycle of a Biker's Life

Scenario: Boy meets girl. Boy rides a pedal bike to work.

Girl visits her boyfriend's home and finds him sitting on the back step with his pedal bike in bits. Unbeknown to her, this was a flavour of the future. 
Not the exact one but  the type.

Boy had a stroke if luck. A man came to the workshop where he worked  and asked him to repair the smashed wheel on his Norman Nippy 49cc  moped. The man decided that it was of no use to him and gave it to the boy-young man who was now in tinkering heaven. He tinkered, greased, fiddled and fettled until it was roadworthy. After trying it out one summer's evening, girl-young lady begged for a ride. She hopped on and rode it around the block. Although feeling as if she was flying,  at the speed she was limited to she wasn't really. 
"How do I stop it?" 
"Put the brakes on and pedal backwards."
She did - and the bike promptly fell over. 
"You are supposed to put your feet down," said  the young man laughingly as he picked her up. "You didn't tell me to do that", she retorted - not being able to ride a bike.

Young man started work in a nearby city. He needed more money for his forthcoming marriage. After battling with buses he bought his very first second-hand motorbike. An Excelsior. One foggy night on the way home from work he had an accident on a major road as a huge kerb stone from the roadworks had found its way into the road. Bike was a write-off!

The young couple were married soon afterwards and the insurance money - all £30.00 of it - from the damaged bike paid for a stair carpet. Young man bought a white BSA Bantam motorbike as he was still working in the city and struggled to work on the busses in the early morning. He added a fairing. Other motorists thought that he was a policeman as police bikes at the time were white with a fairing. He passed his bike test and bought his wife a crash helmet and goggles. This bike was wonderful. They wrapped up warmly and zoomed around free as birds. Always keen on maintenance he still took his bike to bits to oil, clean  and polish. It rained once during urgent maintenance; with no garage or shed - being just married there wasn't much spare cash for luxuries - young man brought his beloved bike into the young lady's brand new kitchen. The carburettor went into her brand new kitchen sink for cleaning. Such is love! At least the bike didn't go into the sitting room.
Image Ariel Square Four motorbike
Courtesy Google Images.

Young man went to work in North Wales for a better life and rode his BSA Bantam there every Sunday returning on a Friday or Saturday lunchtime to  his young wife and baby girl until they could relocate.

Eventually, the bike was upgraded, in turn for a a Honda 90 cc motorbike, a CZ motorbike,and an Arial Square Four 1000cc. Now this Arial Square Four was a wonder to behold. It was big. It was rusty. It liver under the dining room window. The young wife spent her afternoons when the children were in school polishing what she named as 'Gleaming Gloria'.
Young man got sick and had to sell his bike as it was too heavy for him to handle.

Twenty years and more passed passed and he was fretting that he had nothing to fiddle with. He wanted a little bike. Not for work as he had  a car for that. After looking at kit cars, little scooters and big scooters he saw a Honda Pan European 1100cc. Such is love that the wife - not so young now - did a deal. "If you have a bike, will you travel? Will you ride over the countries over which we have flown?" He said he would and the deal was done (Just us Two Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery.)

The middle-age couple were in heaven. He with his bike under his legs again. She, having swapped well-groomed hair and high heels for a crash helmet and biker boots, with the world at her feet - or at least on maps. Was this the end of the biking story? No. 

After two months, they quite by chance saw a Honda Gold Wing motorbike is a North Wales showroom. This middle-aged wife pronounced that if they were to travel, this was what they needed. "Look at the luggage space." she exclaimed, thinking about shoes, wash bag, hair bag etc. etc.

Husband walked out thinking he really had gone to heaven. Normally the husband has to persuade his wife and here his was. . .  What a birthday present he had. The chosen number plate even incorporated his age. Such was love.
And they travelled. They rode big trips into Europe and had a whale of a time.

Some years later, illness struck again. The touring bike was converted to a trike and travels resumed but this was  eventually sold as the illness made it impossible to manage his beloved bike. 

Husband needed to exercise his legs but without strain. 
He bought a brand new pedal bike with lots of gears but after a couple of rides around the block it remained in the garage.

So we have come a full circle and the pedal cycle with all its gears will soon have a new home with a young man who will ride it and have pleasure from it.

The young-at-heart but now elderly man has to content himself with reading the weekly Motorcycle News paper and watching motorbikes in MotoGP races on TV as well as motor racing in F1. Oh, and biking chat in the motorcycle club of which they have been members for twenty years. (GWOCGB)

The cycle of a biker's life.

This  is not the end though. As I write this husband is being put through his paces on cardiorespiratory  machines including a bike as part of a pre-op programme - under supervision - to increase his fitness levels of whatever is left of his heart ❤ even just a bit in order to aid recovery during and post op. Excellent #NHS Prehabilitation programme three times a week for  four weeks. Gruelling but worth it. Prayers needed.

Rosalie xx
Gold Wing  Photos copyright Rosalie Marsh
Images Google images.

Monday, 2 September 2019

The English Riviera: A Perfect Sojourn at the Palace in Paignton.

A lazy weekend in the long hot summer.

The occasion? Husbands birthday which fell during August Bank Holiday. Never one to miss an opportunity for a hotel stay we set off in the sunshine for Devon.

They say that a picture says a thousand words. As I am very late writing this blog post, I will waste no more time in sharing our delightful weekend with you and post some photos.

Firsty: The delightful Palace Hotel on the seafront and close to everything that we wanted to do - which was not much at this time! The staff met all our needs; service was seamless, silent, staff ever helpful; room was perfect with every comfort especially fresh water in the room every day; food wonderful. The view from the conservatory lounge to the gardens and Spa.

Secondly: a pleasant hour along the seafront watching families on the sands and boat-watching in the harbour ten minutes away with plenty of seats along the way.

Thirdly: a cool stroll through Victoria Park a few minutes from the hotel. Lovey to sit and watch the ducks splash under the fountain in the pond.

 After all this we settled in the hotel for lunch, a sleep, dinner, after which we listened to the wonderful and varied nightly live music. 
We can well recommend  this short programme and a stay at the Palace for a birthday treat.


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A Busy Bee with ICT Changes on Rosalie's Chatter

Hello again! Good to be back - I have been away for a while.

After much time to ponder over the last few months, I have made some much needed changes to our main website discover-rosalie and now, to this blog.

My last post stated the:
To consolidate both websites.


  • Keep a focus while maximizing visitor activity.
  • Make the whole updating activity more manageable.
  • Less duplication.
This blog, Rosalie's Chatter has a few interesting features: 
  • At the side you will see previews for two of the Kindle books. Talking the Talk is about speaking to groups in a workplace, staff , social/business meetings etc. following on to more formal presentations in a variety of more public situations. The Long Leg of Italy charts our adventures and discoveries over many years as we explored Italy from north to south both independently and as part of touring groups.
  • The side-bar shows a featured post. Currently this is our recent road trip over the border to Portugal via the excellent roads in France and Spain plus the nightmare atrocious condition of the M20 and gridlocked M25 in the UK. . . The least said here the better.
  • The archive at the side makes it easy to browse all the posts since I started Rosalie's Chatter in 2010 - Nine years ago. What a lot of travelling, learning and fun on the way.
  • This blog's header photo is updated with a simpler and clearer arrangement. 
  • I played around with the theme and have settled for now on a background of bookshelves - complete with books. The colour theme is meant to reflect the discover-rosalie website. I might go back to a plain background if you find it too fussy but I thought that the bookshelves told its own story about what I do. Given that a picture speaks a thousand words.
  • Our bookstore has moved back to our own website and away from the Christal Publishing one. It seemed confusing and obscure to me but . . .I did follow advice. I have further consolidated information. 
  • I have updated profile pictures on social media platforms.
  • The header on my Facebook page changes from time to time to keep it fresh.
  • I have retired the Just Us Two Travel and LLL Development accounts on Twitter. Too cumbersome.
  • I have rationalised the various e-mail accounts that I use for marketing and independent publishing. This involved checking each organisation and updating contact details.
All to make life simple and less stressful as I look now getting back to some serious writing and reviewing of writing plus more marketing through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter using Buffer as a one-stop scheduling platform. I do find that I am not a big 'poster' on Instagram and Pinterest. The latter seems to be losing popularity in favour of Instagram. 


Rosalie xx


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Feeling Focused - Updates to Websites.

Lying awake in the early hours this morning as dawn broke I began to plan some much neglected marketing work. The priority was the websites.

To consolidate both websites.


  • Keep a focus while maximizing visitor activity.
  • Make the whole updating activity more manageable.
  • Less duplication.
I decided to move the bookstore back to my author website I had been advised that this should be on the publisher website and so, after a lot of work, I moved it and channelled  most of the links to that site.

I reflected that this was confusing and laborious for those who visited discover-rosalie first - and the majority of visits are to that site.   

I have also analysed where the sales are coming from - distributor-wise and consolidated that. We remain with Ingram for print and e-books with their extensive worldwide channels including Amazon which saves us a lot of work and heartache. The marketing and promotion that they provide is amazing. And they put on huge promotional discounts for my books.

For instance, today
Island Interludes: Just Us Two Escape to the Sun (Just Us Two Travel Book 4) 
 is on offer at knockdown prices: Kindle £2.39. Glossy Hardcover £2.39   and Paperback £2.51

For future reference, my bookstore offers PayPal - no account needed - to purchase author-signed copies. The perfect present.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Road trip to Portugal via UK,France,and Spain .

After all the uncertainty of post Brexit travel requirements we made it!

9 hotels, 14 days, 2800 miles, temperatures rising to 35 degrees in Central Portugal.

Thanks to travel updates from we set off armed with our new International Driving Permits,(IDP) travel insurance green card, Crit'air Vignette for France plus all the other paraphernalia needed. Whatever should happen at home we were prepared.
Well the best laid plans and all that ...

Our first stop in France was Alencon north of Le Mans. The GPS co-ordinates did not take us to our hotel. Instead, Google maps and sat nav could not map it. Eventually, using the time-served method of simply asking a local,  we found our Campanile hotel on the other side of the complex nestling and hidden between other low buildings. It was clean and comfortable but somewhat tired. By this time at 06:45 in the evening so were we - and fractious to say the least.

Our second stop was at Bordeaux Sud (south). Again the GPS coordinates were slightly out. Our hotel was clearly shown by the side of the main road but the directions took us to another ibis hotel shown on the other side of the roundabout. More Google maps and sat nav comparisons followed. Oh for the days when I simply looked on the computer and got directions from AA Route Finder and gave directions from the paper map while perched comfortably on the Queen seat behind my husband as we zoomed along on our Gold Wing motorbike - at one with the world. In  the event, our hotel appeared at the side of the road before the roundabout so all was well. Housed in an old monastery, a beautifully elegant building with many stone staircases, it was undergoing massive refurbishment. Facilities were limited but the food, wine and ambiance were excellent.

The rest of the journey through Spain was uneventful and we arrived at our hotel in Portugal - eventually. Taking a wrong turning at Salamanca and heading towards Ciudad Rodriguez and Moraleja through the most beautiful  mountain scenery and breathtaking views, all seemed set fair. Until sat nav turned the driver off the long straight road to go through an old village with tortuously narrow streets. The air in the car was somewhat hot; negotiation and a firm direction from yours truly set us back onto the road following an excellent signpost until . . . off we turned again across country roads through the fields. More discussion and negotiation. We eventually enjoyed a relaxing few days with family and animals while we stayed at a lovely hotel which was surprisingly very affordable.

Our journey back took us to La Rochelle for a few days. Here the fun and games really started. 


I have to say that the 'love' part of my rekindled love-hate relationship with the sat nav came to the fore. La Rochelle is a very old medieval city by the Atlantic Ocean north-west of Bordeaux. We knew that parking was limited and that a car park was only a few minutes walk away. I had the route through the one-way system, hoping to park up to unload before housing the car for a few days.

It was market day. The streets that wee were directed down were blocked off. Round and around we went until eventually we joined the queue for the underground car park in Place Verdun. It was fairly full. On the minus two floor after going down the tight spiral we eventually found a space. I had got out while Allen used the Park Assist function on the car but with a queue forming he shot off. Where was he? My bag was in the car! No phone. No communication. I had visions of  spending the night there. Ah! there he is. So all was well. All we had to do was take the car out each morning, pay and go back in. The ticket machine read our number plate to print the reg. no. on the ticket. The lift down was on the Place Verdun. After paying at the pay station we actually sailed through the barrier exit  as once again our number plate was recognised. Isn't technology wonderful. The fruit and veg stalls on Friday outside our Hotel de Paris gave way on Saturday to clothing and basketwork stalls with the street closed off once again.

La Rochelle is delightful. We found an Italian Restaurant where we ate on Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime. The Cathedral of Saint Louis on the Place Verdun is beautiful. The organ music on Sunday morning soared higher and higher into the rafters before the start of Mass. On the Place de Verdun, it was just around the corner from our delightfully quirky hotel. With three floors and no lift we had arranged a ground floor room with a shower. We had a lovely surprise of a tiny, private terrace at the end of the inner courtyard. The high, surrounding walls gave welcome shade from the fierce heat. 

Apart from the atrocious road surfaces on the M20 in the UK and the traffic jam on the M25 west at Heathrow Airport with its five terminals, the rest of the journey was uneventful. And we lived to tell the tale.

Previous blogs write in detail about the journey through the countryside and effects and requirements  of travelling abroad post-Brexit..

Monday, 22 April 2019

About author Rosalie Marsh

Can Dreams Come True? - Opportunity. Access.

"The little girl sat at the table, carefully unwrapping the fruit she held in her hand."

"Not all oranges were wrapped in paper and she loved to choose one that was – they were special – so that she could read the labels and dream of faraway places.  This wrapper was made of flimsy white tissue paper. In the middle, there was a coloured circle with lots of foreign words around the inside but she could just make out the word ‘Valencia’. In the middle of the circle were funny pictures. ‘Mummy, where is Valencia?’ the little
girl asked the lady standing nearby."
‘It is in Spain, Charlotte, where the sun nearly always shines.'"(Oranges - A Journey.2013)

  • When bananas had arrived in the UK after the Second World War, I was fascinated to see on the map where they had grown and ripened in the hot sun. In later years I learned and saw that they also grew in the Islas Canarias and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The sight of huge, juicy, Jaffa oranges were more fodder for my dreams. Today we take for granted that foods from all over the world are readily available in the shops.
  • Learning about the explorer Marco Polo when I was about ten years of age and the richly coloured silks and the spices that he brought back from across the world transported me to distant lands. My teacher sharply brought my attention back to the lesson!
  • Later, one Christmas, I was given a pack of playing cards with pictures on the back of exotic faraway places. The picture of Istanbul caught my eye. I was transfixed and longed to travel there one day and see the sights and sounds of the bustling bazaars and ancient ornate buildings.
  • At school, an innovative and inspiring teacher taught me Spanish. She taught us about the country and customs, bringing examples of a matador hat, castanets and other Spanish souvenirs and examples into the lessons. 
I dreamed on. 

Then came the dreaded pivotal question about my future. I was just sixteen.
"What do you want to do when you leave school?" I was asked.
"I want to be a hairdresser and beautician and go on the big ships." 
Google images.
(That was after I was discouraged from becoming a nun - the convent education influence - as there was a dowry involved!)
However, girls were rarely educated beyond school age in those days. Not having the opportunity or access I dutifully got a job in an office - a bank - and followed the route of boy meets girl, a fulfilling marriage, full-time motherhood and a late career in sales management and adult learning. (I did have the opportunity, access and encouragement  to achieve this last one.) I was never bored but the dream of the big ships never left me. This dream became laid to rest over the years as subsequently the issue of motion sickness/vertigo in my travelling companion was the deciding factor. In spite of medication, short ferry journeys to Ireland, the Hovercraft across the English Channel, Isle of Wight from Portsmouth, Los Cristianos to La Gomera were all an ordeal. We satisfied ourselves in later years with overland travel and tours.

Can Dreams come true?

The time came when my husband pined for something -a little bike - to tinker with. The kit-car idea soon went out of the window when I realised that I would get wet if it rained. During a stay in Lourdes, France, in May 1998 he decided that he would like a little scooter and pulled me all over the town to admire the different models that were parked up, including Police bikes. I of course wanted to travel through the countries we had flown over in the last ten years or so, in our search for sun and exploration of other lands.
‘If we buy a scooter will you travel? Will you brave the ferry? Will you? Can we?’
The deal was done. The little scooter idea soon became a big scooter . . . a Honda Pan European touring motorbike . . . two months later a Honda Gold Wing. The ultimate touring machine. (Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery 2009/2012). 
Ireland beckoned. Europe, as I pored over maps galore. And my dream of Andalucia in the far corners of Southern Spain. Our Andalucian Adventure.

Yes, dreams can come true. . . but sometimes you have to give them a helping hand!

Nerja and Ronda, Andalucia, Spain.

Nerja, Andalucia, Spain.

Add caption
Rosalie Marsh

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Wanderer Returns

Exploring Tenby in South West Wales.

Shocking as it it that I have been away from Rosalie's Chatter for two months, my only excuse is being laid low with a tiresome virus.

We spent our anniversary weekend at the end of March with a short visit to Tenby - an ancient medieval town on the far reaches of the south coast in West Wales.Setting off in brilliant sunshine, we travelled through Mid Wales via the new Newton By-Pass, Rhayader, Llandovery with the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains to our left in the distance,Llandeilo and down to Carmarthen and Tenby.  A glorious drive through a different part of diverse Wales.
Around Rhayader we stopped for lunch choosing a tasty toasted sandwich and thirst-quenching cider (me). 
It was interesting to hear that the hotel was hosting a gin party that evening. Indeed the drinks menu had more gins than I can remember - about seventeen or more. Phew! What a party beckoned.

Our hotel of choice was  built into the remains of the old medieval walls. This proved interesting on several fronts as, in spite of having a lift, there were little flights of steps here and there. e.g. leaving the lift there were two steps down to our beautiful, seafront, special room. The room next door had two steps up. Opposite our two steps was a short flight of stairs to other rooms. We managed two steps but no way could we have hauled suitcases up more steps. In any case, it was difficult for me in my hot pink peep toe stiletto shoes. Being a special weekend, we had packed dressy clothes for evening. The lift took us down a floor to the sea facing restaurant and its own special bar and terrace - with a short flight of steps into the restaurant area and back up again. We overcame these inconveniences but forewarned is usually forearmed and there was no indication on the web of these issues. Not conducive to high heels or limitations.

Believe it or not, this unagile lady - in her new comfy trainers - negotiated the path down to the glorious stretch of golden sands. Strolling along we meandered back via the harbour and the town, pausing for breath halfway.
Saturday morning dawned with a sea mist so after a short wander in the town exploring the old streets - and finding a chemist for throat lozenges and cold cure for hubby who had come down with the virus I have battled with - along the esplanade with its pastel coloured hotels and miles of inviting sand where dogs raced about, we relaxed in our spacious room with the celebration tray of Cava, nuts, raisins, biscuits and chocolates. After such a huge breakfast, a light lunch was enough.
On Sunday, after church, we wandered into another part of town. Turning into White Lion Street we turned off into Lower Frogg Street whee a lovely small round occasional table caught our eye. One of those rare times when we both have the same thought and decisions are instant!
We also worked out where we had ridden all those years ago on our Gold Wing motorbike with two other couples. (We were visiting the GWOCGB International Treffen held that year in Carmarthen.) The lead rider commented over the CB Radio that " There are a lot of people milling about". My husband, bringing up the rear responded,"Well,it is a pedestrianised area!"
Our journey home after checking out was to this small shop to purchase it after a little negotiating.

 Deciding to return home via the west coast heading to Cardigan and Aberystwyth before turning inland to Newtown my love-hate relationship with a sat nav returned. (In Chasing Rainbows I recounted how Garmin had taken us from Abbeville towards Brussels instead of following the Paris and signposts south.) This time, on a simple route from A to B on A roads with clear signposting it suddenly took us off the beaten track onto rough country roads with a sheer drop off the tarmac and  through a forest. Suffice to say that a hearing aid comes in handy when you can drop the battery to turn it off!! Silence is golden. You also can't beat a good paper map I say.
Just after Llanon, a little village between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth where the pub was closed, we found a pub that served good food, refreshing cider and some respite for a little weep. After all I was still fragile from the virus. Order was restored.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Celebrating Just Us Two's Tenth Anniversary.

Ten years. What a lot has happened including some life-changing events. Not least having to give up motorbiking. This still grieves 'Ned' as his bike was part of him.

When we bought the Gold Wing we became 'born-again' bikers and I swopped well TV -groomed hair and high-heels for a crash helmet and biker boots. Quite a leap of faith for me. The incentive was to travel / tour abroad which was part of the deal.

So off we set - after planning, preparing, packing and loading the bike - across the Irish Sea to find my long-lost family. It was that profoundly emotional experience that was to become the start of Just Us Two and my travel writing.

After the devastation of illness some years ago we went forth with travel adventures by various means and these jaunts are told in various other books in the autobiographical Just Us Two Travel series. They are illustrated with many photos and detailed descriptions of routes and the incidents which always seem to accompany our adventures.

In 2011, I launched Christal Publishing with the publication of Chasing Rainbows --the sequel to Just Us Two - followed by the second edition of Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery. We launched e-books in various formats in all books current and future. 

I have a few copies of the first edition of Just Us Two with the IBA Winner award seal. One of these can be yours for £7.50 including p+p. This offer is only available in the UK.

Of course the second edition is always available worldwide as are all other books. 
Follow the 'Where to Buy' link at or


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Travelling Abroad in 2019 - Post Brexit.

 More specifically, travelling through Western Europe.

Plans to travel across France, Spain and into Portugal have hit a couple of 
roadblocks this year. At the time of writing we some concerns.

Would we need: 
  • Visas ?
  • International Driving Licences?
  • Would our European Health Insurance Cards be sufficient (EHIC) ?
  • Would we need more time on our Passports than at present?

One or our better decisions has been to subscribe to the website for the latest travel advice and information.This is invaluable to us.

Visas. Thankfully, an agreement has been signed allowing three months travel as a tourist or on business. No Visa needed for our planned trip. The countries we are planning on visited are covered as being in the Schengen Area.

International Driving Licence. (IDL). Yes. The type and number depend on the country you are visiting and which convention they come under. For instance we will need one IDL for France and Spain and another IDL for Portugal.

Health Cards. (EHIC) It seems that we will be OK here but of course travel insurance is essential as well.

Passports. The usual time Frame after the trip is due to end is six months but we read of possibly needing fifteen months. Check. All OK.

Information and travel advice.
The  website also gives up-to-date information and advice on any trouble areas.

With the ongoing demonstrations in France that  have not been confined to Paris it remains a worry. Current Information is that it is weekends that are most affected and to watch out for blockades on motorways and toll stations.

We are keeping a watch on developments with a view to changing travel mode plans and do a fly- drive to Lisbon but 
with journey planned and anticipated, all hotels booked, and special arrangements made many months ago this is not something that we want to do. Watch this space!

Images:; 2&3.Rosalie marsh; images.