Tag Archives: travel

The Beautiful City of Oxford…

8 Dec

 

It’s been a wonderful but hard year.  Hubby and I have been busy busy busy, and last month, whilst in the throes of celebrating my big birthday (I know its hard to believe , looking at me that I’m 50), I had a bit of a mishap with a vat of bolognaise sauce and have since spent 4 weeks back and forth to minor injuries unit at our local hospital in Llandrindod Wells for the burns to be dressed.  They’re nearly better… What a wonderful team of nurses they have…

Add to that the ‘end of season’ cold/flu bug, and Hubby and I were just about ready to drop. We needed a break.

I booked two days in Oxford.  It’s one of those places we pass all the time, to and from our family in London and Essex and back home to Mid Wales, but we have never stopped there, always skirting around the bypass.

I found Abodes B&B on booking.com and, OMG, if there was ever a lovelier, more comfortable and more homely, warm welcome (other than at our own B&B #blowourowntrumpet ūüėČ  ), I can’t image  (although there is also one in Harlech… I’ll write about that another day).  When I booked I was full of the worst cold, still boob bandaged and , still had guests in the B&B.  I did try to contact the B&B to postpone but , like us, its family run and out of season, she’d gone away for the weekend and , like here, she was in a pocket of the UK that still has limited internet/phone access (hard to believe in 2017/2018 that we still have these problems).  Anyway.  having messaged the B&B asking to change the dates and being unable to contact them I was a little worried that they would not be expecting us so when we arrived and met Lliwen Williams we were so delighted.  The B&B is basically her home, with a couple of rooms open to guests and all the comforts and trappings of visiting your fave family member or friends for a couple of nights.  The double en-suite we had was warm and cosy, well equipped (beyond expectation) and, whilst it said ‘continental breakfast only’ the array and quality of food and flexibility over breakfast timings was exceptional.  Just what I needed with feeling so rough.

It was also great to tap into Lliwen’s local knowledge.  We found a great pub for in an idyllic location for our first night evening meal, thanks to her; and we used the local bus instead of park and ride saving us both time and money getting into and out of Oxford

Lliwen and her daughter, Seren (Welsh for ‘star’) were so lovely, we left feeling like we had new friends.  I cannot rate Abodes B&B highly enough.  The corporate looking  website doesn’t begin to represent the unique, warm welcome you will receive.

Oxford itself is magical, historical, romantic, stunning.  There is a brand new indoor shopping complex called Westgate, filled with all the big High Street names if that’s what floats your boat.  We didn’t go there. We wanted to discover the real Oxford.  We walked through the whole of the old city; round the ancient castle, and old prison complex; along the river and canal; through the college grounds and park; taking in the gorgeous sandstone historic architecture; enjoying the riverside tranquility and wildlife; relaxing in some of the quaint historic free-houses and buying gifts from gorgeous boutique shops selling handmade crafts and gifts.

I’d recommend this little shop which lived up to the sign outside with buckets full of quirky, unique gifts, many of which were sourced from UK-based artisans, and with the most lovely shop manager, Salleanne, who told us the stories behind some of the makers.  We came out with a bag of booty, which I can’t show you because some of it might be for you…

I can also recommend The Chequers, a Nicholson pub squeezed into a back alley of old Oxford and brimming with character, great ales and comfy sofas.  Again, the corporate website does not represent its unique warmth and friendliness.   We sat in there for ages.  Hubby tried a few real ales, they do third pints so you can have tasters , but once he’d found Saltaires Triple Chocoholic Ale, he was smitten.  the young barman, Dave, guided me through the gin menu, I settled on Nicholsons, which apparently is distilled by the great-grandson of the original Nicholsons who founded the original brewery chain/freehold pubs back in 1837 (who says drinking isn’t educational).  He also helped me work out how to use my new phone (I couldn’t work out where and how to send and receive texts!!! #nocomment )

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Lucy At Home

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Flybe to Rome

7 Oct

In my head I hear Frank Sinatra croon “Fly Me to the Moon. ..” Ok so I’m more Flybe to Rome but hum along with me I bet you can’t help yourself now can you?

Anyway I digress from my point, which was this….¬†Time out was required¬†and it had to involve minimal time on the roads. Hence our wonderfully easy and pain free travel from Cardiff to Rome using Flybe

And even though I am sat writing this at Bistro Fiumicino because of a 2HR 20MIN delay for the flight home., I still feel pretty chilled. Fiumicino airport is light bright and airy. Flybe advised us of the delay straight away¬† (although not the reason) and provided vouchers for food and drink.¬† And we’ve (have Hubby in tow) just spent 4 wonderful days in THE most amazing capital city.¬† Plus, when we do eventually touch down in the UK, it will be in Cardiff which is a teeny-weeny easy- peasy airport to navigate and a simple bus transfer to our sons house before a relatively short, but certainly straightforward drive home.

So, the reason for the delay was not the weather in Cardiff.. I thought this a bit odd because, at worst, Cardiff weather might be a bit ‘dreary’… I mean it was pretty improbably that Hurricane Blodwen had hit.

I found out because of the prompt (and unexpected ) response I received to a tweet I made to Flybe

So ‘Thankyou’ Sophie from Flybe. Problems can’t always be avoided.¬† Sometimes they happen and it’s how we handle them that matters. This is when a company can shine or fall flat on it’s face. It’s that monumental component of business that most businesses throw by the wayside in their pursuit of new customers and profits. However, keeping an existing customer is much more cost effective and I’ll cerainly be using Flybe again. Customer service is EVERYTHING….

 

CONVERSATION BETWEEN BERNI_BENTON AND FLYBE #5875152

  • 545574489's profile image

    Berni_Benton @Berni_Benton 

    ¬†so what’s the true reason for the 2hr+ delay to 11:25 flight BE4542? Rome blaming Cardiff weather

    flybe @flybe 

    Replying To: 

    Hi Berni, thank you for getting in touch and I am sorry to hear that your flight has been delayed. I have checked this and can see that the delay has been caused by a late incoming aircraft, the previous flight Cardiff to Rome suffered at technical fault this morning. Your flight is now estimated to depart at 13.40 local time. I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused – Sophie

    Berni_Benton @Berni_Benton 

     Thankyou for the info. Better have another proper cappuccino

Stargazing and Dancing at Solarsphere…

11 Aug

This weekend in Builth Wells, Powys, at Penmaenau Farm & Camping is a little known and quite fabulous music festival.¬† Coupled with astronomy and located in a designated Dark Skies area¬† this little event has a timetable of great music, largely from unsigned bands , and knowledgeable, entertaining speakers from the astronomy arena. It’s Solarsphere. I went last year.¬† It was brilliant.¬† I’m going again this year.

The atmosphere was easy-going and friendly.¬† There was absolutely no trouble at all.¬† The shower and toilet facilities are fantastic.¬† There’s a bar but campers are also welcome to bring their own just not into the event section.¬† Loads of people bring along really really large telescopes.¬† It’s really family friendly; workshops for adults and kids, stalls (I’ll have a range of cards and skyscape art with me), great and inspiring FREE talks to attend, loads of varied music and children’s entertainment. Kids under 13 get in free with accompanying adults and a 3 day/night pass is only ¬£45 (¬£20 for 13-16 year olds)¬† Bargain.

solarsphere program 2016

solarspher program 2