Tag Archives | excursions

Ashton Court Balloon Fiesta

Yesterday, we took DS1 and 2 to their ‘camp’ (actually in a boarding school) where they will be doing their favourite activity, messing around with computers, for the next week.  On the way back, we went to Bristol Balloon Fiesta.  This is an annual balloon festival which has about 100 balloons all going up one after another. 

colourful hot air balloons

Here are some waiting to go up.

lots of hot air balloons up in the sky

Lots of them (spot the IKEA one!).  There were only a few novelty shaped balloons this year.

monster balloon

Here’s one of them.

bird balloon

Is this a kiwi?

Scotsman balloon

They played bagpipe music over the loudspeakers when this one went up.

All in all, a fun evening – and it is SO quiet at home!  DS3 goes tomorrow and then I’m off to the Festival of Quilts on Monday so this may be the last entry for a week or so.  Then there MIGHT even be some quilts on this blog – don’t faint!!

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Manhole covers and garlic!

We stayed near Tours while we were on holiday and while DH looked at the old houses I spotted some manhole covers.

manhole cover

manhole cover

manhole cover

I like this wavy design.

But the best by far was this one which we saw in the old town in Le Mans.

manhole cover in Le Mans

Truly a king among manhole covers.

My kids thought I was mad.  Taking photographs of manhole covers and garlic! 

On the Thursday there was a garlic and basil fair/market.  I had never seen so much garlic and basil in one place!

market stall with strings of garlic

garlic, garlic and more garlic!

There was white garlic, purple garlic and pink garlic.  With some onions and shallots thrown in for good measure.

pots of basil

These are all pots of basil.

green and purple basil

Not just green, but purple as well.

I like French markets.

another garlic stall

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Visit to Stoke

We went up to see my parents in Stoke-on-Trent just after Christmas.  We arrived a bit early, so we went to the Gladstone Pottery Museum.  Well, we tried to, but it was closed. 

Here are its old potbanks – these used to be all over Stoke but now most of them have been demolished now that most pottery is made overseas. 

potbanks of Gladstone Pottery Museum

We went to the canal instead.

canal with barge moored alongside bank

There are lots of interesting canal signpost/sculptures along here.

signpost by canal

signpost by canal

There was an old railway line crossing the canal here, which is now a footpath.

I love these trees and the shapes they make, especially the negative shapes between the branches.

trees with bare winter branches

The ducks were enjoying themselves.

ducks swimming on canal

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Megaliths and castles!

We saw a few old structures while we were in Pembrokeshire. These were the oldest.

These were neolithic (I think) burial sites, and there are several scattered round the coast. Our chief difficulty was finding them, as neither of them were signposted!

ancient stone burial site

This was called Carn Llidi and was along the coast path in quite a lonely, stony area. Anselm provides quite a good guide to the size of the stones.

rocky area

The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and attacking one another.

The second was called Carreg Samson and was in the middle of a farmer’s field. Here it is in the drizzle and murk…

megalithic burial site

As you can see, it is bigger than the other one…

megalith with people...

On the last day of our trip, we went to Pembroke Castle. The kids had fun because it is pretty intact for a medieval castle, with lots of steps to towers, narrow corridors leading all over the place and walks around the walls.

medieval castle


All those steps were very tiring!

three houses

I liked these little old houses outside the walls.

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