That Was 2017

That was 2017

2017 is one of those years where we can say we did a lot and enjoyed ourselves. Some of it has been blogged, some not. Read my next post for more on that.

Here’s a quick look back at 2017

France

Our first trip of the year was to France. the first time I have been to France. It was really a great get together with friends. Eating good food and sitting ’til the early hours near the beach drinking wine and enjoying ourselves.

Blue Bayou

We stayed at Blue Bayou, with the beach just a short walk away.

A view of Beach and sky with Valras Plage on the horizon. Near Blue Bayou.

A view of Beach and sky with Valras Plage on the horizon.

Carcassonne

Flying in and out of Carcassonnne, La Cite, the old Citadel was a must for a visit.

Outside the old walled citadel, La Cité, at Carcassonne.

Outside the old walled citadel, La Cité, at Carcassonne.

Agde

Known for its naturist beach, which we didn’t visit, we had a short time there and took a boat trip, then experienced a bit of local take-away cuisine.

Boats and a big wheel in Athe Harbour at Agde.

Boats and a big wheel in Athe Harbour at Agde.

Valras Plage

We visited the market in Valras Plage and then enjoyed cocktails with a beach view.

A busy Market Street in Valras Plage.

A busy Market Street in Valras Plage.

GreatFood

As always we found great food, and even tried that French delicacy, frog’s legs.

South Africa

With family ties in SA, a long planned visit came together exactly as planned. That was a mixture of hectic days and relaxation by the sea.

Hermanus – Whales and Prawns

Having been in Hermanus once before, we had a long standing plan to visit. We were not disappointed!

Hermanus is in South Africa’s Western Cape area.

A sea view from Bientang's Cave Restaurant in Hermanus

A sea view from Bientang’s Cave Restaurant in Hermanus

Hermanus – Winelands

A day trip into the Hermanus Winelands was a surprise find. A great day out.

In the winelands near Hermanus, this was our view over lunch.

In the winelands near Hermanus, this was our view over lunch.

Umdloti

Umdloti, north of Durban on South Africa’s kwaZulu-Natal coast provided a few days of tranquil getaway.

Rough seas on the beach at Umdloti, looking towards Durban.

Rough seas on the beach at Umdloti, looking towards Durban.

Durban

Visiting Durban while staying at Umdloti, we had a few good days in the area, visiting the beachfront, harbour and the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

Durban Beachfront Bay of Plenty

 

Closer to Home

Of course it is not all about long trips. There’s a lot happening closer to home. Have a look.

 

And 2018?

Who knows. There are a lot of changes coming our way, so watch this space.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2018

Stratford River Festival 2017

Stratford River Festival 2017

Stratford River Festival 2017

Purely by accident, a few years ago, we discovered the Stratford River Festival in Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, England. An annual festival, it is held on the banks of the River Avon. The festival offers a great family day out with much for the kids and adults alike. There is plenty of space away from the river for the children to play, and plenty to do in the festival itself. Here’s a little summary of our day at the festival.

Little Red Cart Coffee
Stratford River Festival 2016

As always, first stop was the Jabberwocky’s green van, a new one this year, for one of their superb toasties. Always a great start to the day at the festival. That was washed down by coffee from Red Coffee’s Little Red coffee cart.

Shopping

[singlepic id=1264 w= h= float=none]Next stop, of course, is the shopping. Along with a range of food stalls, the festival always has a selection of toys, clothes and the like on sale. The ladies always spend a bit of time there looking for bargains. The guys, in mean time, discovered some interesting chilli sauces. Good thing we still had some coffee to wash that down.

Going for a Walk (using the Chain Ferry)

[singlepic id=1255 w= h= float=none]We took a walk around the festival area to get to the ferry across the Avon River. It’s a pleasant walk through the open green area of the Recreation Area, dominated by the view of the Holy Trinity church on the other side of the river and road.

[singlepic id=1256 w= h= float=none]The chain ferry will take you across the river for 50p. It’s a popular way to cross the river – we had to queue while a couple of groups crossed the river. Somehow the swans seem to manage to avoid it, along with other boats on the river.

Chain Ferry on the River Avon
The chain ferry will take you across the river for 50p.It’s a popular way to cross the river – we had to queue while a couple of groups crossed the river.Somehow the swans seem to manage to avoid it, along with other boats on the river.

Walking up from the chain ferry takes you around the back and side of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. Back at the river, take a cruise boat or have a wander around Stratford upon Avon.

Take a Cruise

A Cruise Boat on the Avon
One of the cruise boats on the River Avon,Seen at the Stratford River Festival 2017.

These cruise boats run all day, taking in the view down the river to the weir below the Holy Trinity Church. Then they turn and head up river. Set back from the river in green and shady areas you will see some beatiful houses.

The cruises are a great way to just chill out. The entire cruise is about 40 minutes.

On the cruise it’s also a lot of fun watching the various couples and families in different types of small boats, trying to make their way up and down river. And mind for the swans and Canada geese. How they miss being run over is a mystery.

Food

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There’s always a good selection of food at the River Festival, and it’s always popular. Here’s our favourite – slow roasted lamb in a bun with lettuce and salsa verde.Take your pick at the one of the food stands from burgers, barbecued meat, Caribbean food, a selection of Thai food, pies and more.

And, of course, don’t forget the drinks. A number of bars and stands around the grounds sell soft and alcoholic drinks. Our preference was the gin mixes supplied by a local publican.

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Relax and Listen to the Music

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At every River Festival we have been to the music has been pretty good. Definitely worth sitting back, and enjoying, perhaps with gin in hand, into the late hours.

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Heading Home

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The big wheel is a new addition to the area. It does dominate the main recreational / festival area. We chose not to do this one, though it seemed to be busy.

This is a parting view when we decided to leave, with the music going strong, enjoyed by a good crowd staying to the end.

We skipped the 10:00 p.m. fireworks and headed home. Not without sampling one of the excellent burgers from One Elm’s pop-up burger stand, offering “28 day dry cured beef burgers”. They were as good as that sounds. As we arrived home I noticed that it was just 12 hours since we arrived at the festival. A great day out. Now what date is the 2018 river festival?

Update: Next year’s river festival is 30th June to 1st July 2018. See you there!

Photo Notes

Hope you liked my photos. For the photographers out there, all of these, except the zoom shot of the band were shot with the Panasonic Lumix TZ100.

Galleries

Have a look at the full photo gallery, and the whole Stratford River Festival Photo Album.

Flying Inverted

Taken at a local motorcycle festival in 2015. And it IS the right way up. The rider was doing a jump from right to left in the photo, and did a little loop in the middle.

I like the black and white effect for this photo.

Now available from 500px Flying Inverted

via IFTTT

Sell Art OnlinePhotography Prints

River Festival

Stratford River Festival 2016 As we drove in, queueing for parking, objective number one was clearly in sight – the Jabberwocky’s green van. But we knew before we left home how that would go: brunch split between one of those excellent Jabberwocky toasties and then lamb and salsa verde from the Slow Roasted Meat Kitchen. Of course it’s the annual Stratford River Festival, held in Stratford Upon Avon, by the side of the River Avon.

We discovered the festival a couple of years ago (see last year) quite by accident. It is just a great day (or two) out at the beginning of July. This year parking was a bit of a mission due, I believe, to muddy areas in the overflow parking. After a bit of frustration we did park, fed the Pay & Display meter and headed for brunch.

Stratford River Festival 2016With no disappointment from the toasties we took a stroll around the stands seeing some interesting clothes and bits and pieces of craft and foods. Of course, as is required of a festival clothes were purchased! The required lamb and salsa verde eaten, also with no disappointment, though a spot of rain forced us to take shelter in a tent for a short while. After a short boat ride, just to be on the water, we found another little gem, in the cleverly converted horse boxes of The Little Gin Company and neighbouring Little Rum Company.

With some good music on the go, the chairs and tables of the Little Rum Company, along with a tasty sampling of gin and rum mixed with ginger beer, grapefruit, tonic and a few other flavourings made for a pleasant afternoon. As I was driving they were good enough to give me the non-alcoholic version in the form of a ginger beer!

Stratford River Festival 2016Heading for the exit, the sixties singing of the lovely Midnight Sapphires caused us to stop. They certainly had the public dancing and enjoying themselves.

Once again the Stratford River Festival was worth the hour’s drive. And next year? It’ll be in the diary as soon as we know the dates. Come and join in.