The day's end - a glass of... by candlelight. On a beach.  Even in Autumn on the Isle of Wight.

At The End Of The Day on a Beach

Sundown in Sandown on the beach. A bottle of cider and a glass of wine by candle light.

It had been a long day, finally coming to an end. Driving from London, waiting for the ferry, then finding our way down the Isle of Wight.

After we checked in to our BnB, we made our way down to the beach around sunset. A cool autumn day with a bit of a breeze, it was still warm enough to just chill out on the beach with a couple of glasses before we found some dinner.

One of first "adventures", in 2014, we had spent a few days in London exploring Camden Market and the poppies at the Tower of London, before making our way to the Isle of Wight.

See more from that Isle of Wight trip here.

Visiting the Isle of Wight is most easily done by driving to Plymouth or Southapton and catching the ferry across the Solent.

We stayed at a B n B in Sandown, which gave reasonable access to the beach, and formed a good base to explore the island.

Check this photo out on my galleries – At The End Of The Day by Jeremy Hayden and have a look at some more of my work while you are there:

Photography Prints

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Sundowners on Sandown Beach at sunset in autumn.
1938 Alvis at the Brackley Classic Cars in the Piazza event, 2019.

Classic Cars on the Piazza – Brackley 2019

Every Year, between Christmas and New Year, Brackley hosts the Classic Cars on the Piazza / Marketplace. Typically the event involves no entry fee or pre-booking. Classic car owners simply arrive.

Alvis 4.3 litre classic car
Alvis 4,3 litre

Brackley Classic Car Show, host the event. They also host the Classic Cars in the Park in Brackley in August.

This year I arrived a bit late, however the Mayor told me there had been a record turnot of over 120 cars. Certainly, when I arrived, there were still a few interesting vehicles still there.

I recognised a number of cars from previous events, but these are the ones which caught my eye.

The first to catch my eye was the very elegant looking Alvis, pictured at the top of the page. Under the bonnet was an interesting 6 cylinder engine sporting triple SU carburettors an dual fuel pumps.

1938 Alvis 4,3 litre at the Brackley Classic Cars in the Piazza Event, 2019.

A little research suggests that this is a 1938 Alvis 4.3 litre.

The brass plate on the engine mounting carries lubrication instructions, and I was intrigued by the lubricateion kit at the back of the engine bay.

Contrast this big six cylinder engine with the 996cc V-twin of the 8hp 1914 Humbrette.

Looking at the controls of the Humbrette, I’m not even sure I would know how to drive it!

Amerivcan muscle at the Classic Car show
An old Chevrolet pick up. Not quite – a look inside showed an auto transmission and a big “not original” makeover. Sounded great when it drove away!

And some of the others, just a few which caught my attention.

Morris Minor at the Brassic Classic Cars in the Piazza
And where would we be without a Morris Minor at an English classic car show?

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Classic Cars in The Piazza - Brackley 2019.
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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all.

Have fun and stay safe.

I may be living in England, but I come from Africa, where Christmas is long, hot and sunny days. So the photo is an African Christmas day sunrise – yes, I actually got out of bed at 5 a.m. on Christmas day and took the photo.

Merry Christmas wherever you are.

Marathia Sunset.
The sun slipping into the sea off the Marathia Peninsula, Zakynthos

Marathia Sunset

A Marathia Sunset.

Why “Marathia”? Simply because the photo was taken from a boat off the Marathia Peninsula, or Cape Marathia, on the island of Zakynthos during our recent beach holiday there.

There is always something special about a sunrise or sunset. Otherwise why would we get up early for the sunrise, or talk about “sundowners”.

Going for a little cruise, in an open boat, on calm water has its own attraction.

Add the two together after a fantastic day in the sun, on the beach. What better way to see in the evening, especially if it includes a free glass or two of prosecco!

Soon after arriving at Kalamaki Beach we realised that this holiday was going to be about simply chilling out on the beach. But a cruise was an attractive thought. And who wants to pass up a sunset? So we jumped at the opportunity, found the travel rep and booked.

Starting from Laganas, and visiting the blue caves of Cape Marathia along the way it was a great way to start the evening.

And The Photo

I was carrying three cameras – my now deceased Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Lumix TZ100 and old gold EOS 60D. The 60D with the Sigma 17-50 did the job nicely. A bit of basic processing in XnView MP gave me the picture I wanted.

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And More

This one will soon be in my Sunset Collection on for you to buy

Falkland Arms Pub in Great Tew, Oxfordshire.

The Falkland Arms for Lunch- Great Tew

A couple of Saturdays back we wandered over to Great Tew, mainly to visit BakerGirl (see my previous post), which, sadly, was about to close down. Being lunch time we decided to have a bite to eat at the local pub, The Falkland Arms.

The Falkland Arms Pub

Walking into the pub made me think of a “proper” English pub (from a Southern African’s view anyway). Low ceiling, a bit smoky with a lovely log fire in the fireplace – something necessary on a cold Saturday. A cosy and welcoming space.

On a previous visit to Great Tew and a short walk my wife had commented that she could “smell that the food was good” without even going into the pub. It was no disappointment.

The menu offered more than a normal pub menu, prepared on site from fresh ingredients. Indeed, the Falkland Arms prides itself on the use of local produce and support for local business.

We were too late to sample the chicken pie. Beef features very low in our diet preferences, though the beef pie was tempting. We chose a lighter option in the form of fish cakes. Served on a bed of french fries with creamed spinach, the salmon and chive fishcakes were “full meal” sized and well cooked and presented. Accompanied by a glass of wine for my wife and a glass of cider for me, they made an excellent Saturday Lunch.

Note to self – take food photos. Sorry readers, though I had two cameras, the food photos didn’t happen. May be we need another visit?

The meal cost just on £40. Arguably expensive for a pub lunch, but good value as a better quality meal. No complaints from us on that score.

Stay at the Inn

The Falkland Arms offers B & B accomodation in 6 rooms in their 16th century building. These look good and, if the accomodation is anything like the food, would be a great weekend getaway or a base to visit Oxfordshire.

A Bit of History

There is evidence that there was human habitation in the Great Tew area in the Bronze age, and the remains of a Roman Villa have been found nearby.

Th Falkland Arms pub, itself, has carried the name since 1830.

Source: Wikipedia entry for Great Tew.

Would we Return

Many places to explore, and too few free weekends, but the Falkland Arms is on the list for a return visit. Perhaps even a weekend getaway!

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The Falkland Arms for lunch.
Kalamaki Beach in the middle of a sunny Zakynthos day.

Zakynthos – Holiday under an Autumn Sun

Walking out of the hotel on our first morning in Zakynthos (aka Zante) were thinking about what adventures and trips we could do. A few minutes walk took us to nearby Kalamaki Beach. That’s when we realised that this trip was just going to be about the beach!

Days on Kalamaki Beach

Just clear water in the sun - and fish - Kalamaki beach, Zante

Sunshine on blue water, with small fishes swimming around your feet in the clear water. Gentle waves and no current to get you into trouble as you enjoy just floating around.

Sounds idyllic.

It was! That’s Kalamaki Beach in October. The Mediterranean sea water has had the summer sun to warm up, and the crowds have all gone home.

Add a kiosk offering snacks, beer, soft drinks and water just a few steps away from your sun lounger and beach umbrella. Take a walk along the beach to Kalamaki Taverna for lunch if you’re hungry.

Why wouldn’t you spend six days there, just chilling out? So we did!

Kalamaki Beach, Zakynthos

Kalamaki beach is on the Laganas Bay, at the south of Zakynthos Island and is part of a long stretch of beach (9km, I was told) which includes Laganas Beach. Laganas is the local party strip, located a few kilometres from Kalamaki. Our hotel was around 10 minutes walk inland from the beach.

This part of Zakynthos is a turtle sanctuary, so local beaches close at 7:00 p.m. The loggerhead turtles lay eggs in this area in the main summer season of June to September. October is a bit late in the season so we did not see turtles, sadly.

By this time of year the kids are back at school, so the beach was less crowded, though there were a few younger families there, along with a few “oldies” like us and some younger people taking advantage of the budget holiday possibilities.

Kalamaki beach is actually ideal for younger children (we had our grand-daughter in mind), as it is shallow with no current and small waves.

And a Beach Cat

Cats seem to be present on most Greek islands. Zakynthos was no exception. One beautiful ginger and white cat befriended us. Actually he appeared to have a human, in the form of the guy running the kiosk.

We watched on a couple of occasions as his human came down to the water, chummed it with bread and then caught a fish for the cat.

That caused a laugh with the visitors on the beach, and left one happy cat. Especially when the cat wanted to eat in the comfort of a sun lounger! He came to visit for a while.

There’s Cannabis

Anna's Market - there's "cannabis".
Zakynthos - Kalamaki beach.

On our first night one couple were telling us that “you can buy cannabis at the beach”. That seemed odd, but, when we walked to the beach, sure enough, there was a sign advertising cannabis.

In fact cannabis is illegal in Greece, however BCD products, within certain limits, are legal (as they are in the UK). Some people smoke them with tobacco, though I did see “Do Not Smoke” warnings on the containers.

Close to the beach, Anna’s Market proved very useful for the odd packet of crisps or drinks.

Cruising into the Zakynthos Sunset

We had quickly decided to concentrate on a chill-out week on the beach, but did want to do a boat trip. Sunset on the boat at Santorini, memories of Lake Kariba sunsets, these all added up to “we need a sunset cruise”. In that relaxed atmosphere, we took the easy way out and booked with the TUI agent.

All we expected was a boat trip out to see the sun setting in the sea, with a few drinks from the bar. What we got was a lot more than that, and definitely a trip to remember.

A turtle in Laganas harbour as we were leaving for the Zakynthos sunset cruise.
Zakynthos 2019 Turtle in Laganas Harbour

Collected from Kalamaki town, a short walk from the hotel, we were taken through the party strip in Laganas to Laganas Harbour. Once the guests from other hotels were on board we headed out from Laganas harbour to Marathonisi (Turtle Island). Just before leaving we were treated to a sighting of a turtle in the harbour, to everybody’s excitement. I believe, however, that turtles in the harbour are fed, so that the tourists can see them.

Marathonisi (Turtle Island)

The Laganas Bay area is the Zakynthos Marine Park, a conservation area, with a strong focus on the Loggerhead Turtle. Marathonisi, with a beach used by the turtles to lay eggs is an important part of the conservation operation, with residents limited to the turtles.

Our boat tied up on the southern side of the island, near a cave, in 5 metres of water. A few people took the opportunity to have a swim in the incredibly clear waters.

Blue Caves – Marathia Cape

Behind Marathonisi, the cliffs of Marathia Cape are riddled with blue caves. There are actually a number of “blue cave” sites around the island. A natural result of erosion of the limestone cliffs the caves vary in size and feature incredibly blue waters.

Our captain clearly knew his way around, taking us right in close to the caves. Plenty of photo opportunities there for some interesting photos.

In summer the sun sets between two little islets. Being late in the year, the sunset has moved, so we headed to sea to watch the sun slide into the depths of the ocean.

And the Sunset

There’s always something that grabs the emotions when the sun slips into the water at the end of the day.

The sun slipping into the Mediterranean off Zakynthos Islan.
Zakynthos 2019 Zakynthos Sunset Cruise

Heading back to Laganas we were treated to Prosecco. A fitting end to a superb sunset trip, as we headed back towards the lights of Laganas.Heading back to Laganas we were treated to Prosecco. A fitting end to a superb sunset trip, as we headed back towards the lights of Laganas.

Evenings by the Pool

After dinner at the hotel, there were a number of spots to sit and enjoy a few drinks. We enjoyed every evening with like-minded people just enjoying life.

Every week three musicians or groups, on different nights, entertain the guests. The artist on our last night was pretty good, much liked by some of the single ladies!

One aspect I loved – travelers over 60 (like me) always seem to be “the older generation” when you read many of the travel blogs. I was almost the youngest of these after dinner groups, and all were frequent travelers, and great fun to be with!

Zakynthos Town

The harbour in Zakynthos town.

We’re on the island of Zakynthos, so it made sense to visit Zakynthos town, right? A 15 minute / €10 taxi ride took us to Zakynthos town, dropping us at St. Dionysios Church, opposite St Dionysios Market, with a view of the harbour. The island economy relies heavily on tourism, a fact made obvious by the number of establishments offering tourist goods and services, and the number of cafes and restaurants.

We took a walk along the harbour to Salamos Square, starting point of the local “road train”. The 30 minute road train trip offered a glimpse of the town, and the commentary told of the interesting 2000 plus years of the history of the region. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Zakynthos for the details.

To be honest, we found Zakynthos town a bit of a disappointment. If museums and art galleries appeal to you then a couple of days there would be interesting, but hose hold little appeal for us.

Organising our Zakynthos Trip

Previous good experiences with TUI led us to choose an all inclusive package deal flying from London Luton, and staying at the Bitzaro Palace Hotel in Kalamaki. This proved to be a great choice for a simple chill-out holiday on the beach. That said, both TUI and a local operation offered various excursions on the island.

We generally avoid the packaged excursions, choosing instead to see what the local providers are offering. On this occasion the TUI provided sunset cruise was great and proved to be excellent value.

The buffet style food in the hotel was excellent, providing a good mix of Greek and English food, for a predominantly English group. We were too busy relaxing to be worried about finding other restaurants. With many places closing for the winter, there were still a few nearby eateries open for business.

Water is an important consideraion in this hot climate. The hotel restaurant sold water in 9l (6 x 1.5l) sixpacks for €2, and the rooms have a fridge to keep it cool. Of course one can just stay close to the bar … .

Flights and Travelling

TUI flies out of Luton.

With an outbound flight soon after lunch we planned to be at Luton Airport early, to have lunch in a pub air-side after check-in. With meet and greet parking arranged through Holiday Extras, that worked beautifully. No rush, just a pleasant meal before our flight.

The TUI flight was fine – the usual budget flight crisps and drinks and a toastie, all paid separately.

Our return flight was delayed by 40 minutes, but Zakynthos airport was fine to wait. That did mean we left Luton at midnight (meet and greet worked well) with over an hour’s drive home. Might just stay over for a night next time!

Would We Go Back

Simple answer – we are already planning it!

Zakynthos is one of the few places I have visited which really called me back!

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Autumn holiday on the beaach in Kalamaki, Zakynthos, Greece.
Camden - cranes and trees and boats spotted in the sunset after a good day at the market.

Camden Cranes & Boats

Camden cranes, boats and a tree.

Sitting outdoors at a pub in Camden Market. We had enjoyed a good day at the market. This view stood out, combining the cranes, trees, new buildings and boats by the market food stalls.

#londontourism #london #camdentownlondon #camdenlondon #camdenmarket #narrowboat #camdenlock #cranes #cranesinthesky #camdencanal #mayinlondon Posted on Instagram