Joined February 2017 Message
  • Day32

    Day 32

    September 5, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Had a rest for couple of hours then Andy went to salon and I did washing. Not much really as we did most of it at Ally's.

    Tired but need to keep going till bedtime.

    Notes to selves -

    * Don't judge anywhere on first day
    * Don't buy out of date guidebooks!

    We've had a fabulous time - bring on the next trip!
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  • Day30

    Day 31

    September 3, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Very sad that trip nearly over 🙁Final packing & check out. Complained that they charged us $18 for wifi - charge immediately cancelled.

    Left bags and out to Liberty Observation Deck. Got there just before it opened at 10am so very quiet. Good views of city and buildings.

    Quite a few vagrants on the streets and parks - almost all are black. Don't seem to bother anyone. Also the city where we have seen the most seriously overweight people. I have been generally quite surprised at the small number of overweight people in the US but this place is different!

    Wandered back towards Rocky steps. Still much clearing up going on so couldn't get near.

    Had awful coffee in. Logan Square watching kids playing in the fountain. Lovely hot day.

    Went to Devon for lunch. Lovely seat looking onto street and park. Had couple of beers, lobster bisque/clam chowder & crab/club sandwich. OK but felt like a cafe and service too quick. Prices also reflect cafe rather than restaurant but it was bank holiday lunchtime and very busy. Not cheap but ok.

    Left there 1.30 - very full and still hours to kill. Sat in couple of parks then went to find beer garden - big place but shut!

    Went to Irish bar next to McGillins - grotty back yard and plastic glasses then to Bru across the street. Heaven! Huge choice of beer and the England v Slovakia World Cup qualifier on tv. Sat at bar and enjoyed victory.

    Back to hotel 5ish. Driver waiting for us. Checked in fine and sat in lounge drinking gin & red wine and eating guacamole (which wasn't very nice really but the girl on the desk told us to get in there before it finished at 6pm!)

    Had some soup & snacks then called to board at 8ish.

    Glass of fizz, red wine, steak/panko prawns. Very nice.

    Settled down and slept 3 hours ish. Breakfast yoghurt & fruit. Andy had sausage quiche that he wasn't keen on.

    Landed 8.15ish but airbridge malfunction so took half an hour to fix.

    Bags off fairly quick. Home 9.30am. Dull and raining 😢
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  • Day30

    Day 30

    September 3, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Woke up 7ish. Strange night's sleep but fine. Still pouring outside but weather forecast promising great improvement.

    Tea & biscuits in bed. Opened curtains and watched grey skies lighten bit by bit. Couldn't even see the towers next door.

    Confirmed tour for this afternoon and complained that wifi rubbish. Not particularly helpful but said wouldn't charge us.

    Set off for walk 9.30ish. Went towards Rocky Steps (Philadelphia museum of art) but totally inaccessible because of Made in America concert on 12 - 12 today. Main stage covers the steps!

    Back towards Delaware river via Chinatown. All a bit grotty and quite uninteresting.

    Stopped at Victoria pub (Liverpool flags on wall🙁) had local Slyfox beer which was very nice and bubble & squeak/mac cheese. Very nice.

    Went to waterfront and expected it to be really busy as holiday weekend but it wasn't. Atmosphere didn't quite work. Lots of ships snd submarine there but not exciting. Lacks something.

    Wandered back to meeting point for walking tour @ 2.30. About 10 in group so quite manageable. Guide took us round major historic monuments of great importance to US. Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's house, First US bank, Constitution Centre, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley. Full 2 hours after big walk this morning.

    Ended at Campos bar for free beer. Chatted to lady on tour here for business conference. Staying at Loews near us.

    Decided to share cheesesteak - so famous locally. Very tasty - chopped and griddled with onions & peppers. $10ish and another beer. Had to wait quite a while - didn't understand why because 2 cooks working v hard.

    Went for Phlash bus home. Didn't come so got different one towards home. Think it should have been $5 but we put 4 into machine and driver accepted that.

    Quick stop at hotel then out to 'oldest' pub in town - McGillens. Went yesterday and way too loud but tried it. Awful. Only 6pm but music blasting and place cold. Moved on to different bar. Much calmer and tried beer made with citrus and tonic water so was supposed to taste like g & t. It did rather! Quite pleasant.
    Then to Finn Mc Coos where we went last night. Had steak rolls & tacos. Tacos mighty spicy but tasty.

    Couple of beers then home 9.30.

    Drank rest of wine from last night.
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  • Day29

    Day 29

    September 2, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Awake early and up 8ish. John made bacon & eggs then we packed up and left them 10ish.

    Filled car and got back to airport with no trouble. Sparkles on my t shirt set off sensors so I had additional checks.

    Had coffee & cake then flight 1pm to Philadelphia.

    Quite a bumpy flight but only about an hour so no problem.

    Landed to torrential rain. Totally uneventful journey to Marriot - $35. We're on 22nd floor but gloomy view of grey skies! Shock to the system after the wonderful weather we've had most of the time.

    Nice big room, cup of tea with awful powder milk then out to find Irish Bar McGillins - supposedly oldest in town.
    Traffic busy, lots of grumpy drivers and puddles. Couldn't find pub so went in Fergie's Irish Bar. Diddly diddly band playing. Had beers $9.50 for two. Found McG but heaving and loud but still only 5pm ish so didn't stay. Went to The Bar - almost empty but was a bar and cheap and dry. $9. Then to Finn McCoos - sat at bar. $10 for 2 x 22oz beers (compared to 16oz before). Had shepherds pie and fish & chips. Perfectly ok and hit the spot on this cold & wet night. This rain is from Hurricane Harvey which has caused huge devastation in Texas. Shouldn't complain really.

    Went to 7/11 for milk, biscuits and wine. Don't sell wine!! Trudged round a bit and eventually found booze shop. Bought $10 wine then home 7.30ish. In bed to get warm by 8pm. Ate biscuits and drank wine watching 50 Shades of Grey. Rubbish film!

    Asleep before 10pm.
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  • Day28

    Day 28

    September 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Up 8ish to help tidy up. Sunny day.

    Pulled up weeds & swept by pool. Looks much better.

    Andy played a bit of footie with Charlie - he's bored poor lad. This is Labor Day weekend so he is off school today and Monday.

    Did some washing, checked in for tomorrow and sorted clothes.

    Left over lasagne for lunch then walk round local area. Enormous houses (some well kept and some not), trees and driveways. Everything here is on such a big scale - rooms, cookers, fridges, garages, cars, basements, gardens and everything is full of STUFF. The size of everything just says 'work' to us but it's just a way of life here. No pavement to walk on and quite a few cars so not really pleasant to walk.

    Home 4ish.

    Out to Exeter 6ish. UFO festival this weekend and a few examples on show!! Called at beer place but very small and didn't really appeal. Went to Margaritas Mexican. Nice food & drink and finished with deep fried icecream, Mexican hat and birthday song from staff. $100ish. Very pleasant.

    Home 8.30. Sat out by Charlie's fire pit. Surprisingly cold. Had couple of glasses of wine & nice chat. Really lovely evening.

    Bed 10.30
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  • Day27

    Day 27

    August 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Andy's 60th birthday. Phones started pinging birthday wishes from 4am!

    Opened cards (except mine! Don't know where it is!). Ally included a cheque in her card to pay parking fine - present nobody else can give. Very amusing. I got him WMM shirt and hat and hat for Tony too.

    Andy went for run then we set off for Newburyport. Lovely seaside town with big shipbuilding history. Had a walk about then delicious corned beef hash for lunch.

    Had boat trip for just the two of us with Cap'n Bob. Very good and interesting. Amazing houses on the Merrimack river.

    Back to car 3.30 and home via wine shop to buy Sebastiani wine, beer and small outside table.

    All sorted and back 5pm.

    Had very strong beer watered down with lemonade then Davey & Susie arrived but left the lobsters behind so she had to no back for them!

    Had nibbles then huge amount of lobster. Very, very messy! Lots of wine and chat, birthday cake and fizz.

    Told them our news and they will try to come.

    Bed 11ish. Quite a special birthday.
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  • Day26

    Day 26

    August 30, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Up 8ish. Tea & toast and out to Manchester by the Sea with Ally. About an hour drive. More road works but did fine. Parked for an hour and walk around. Started very cloudy and had been raining but sun soon came out. Very pretty town.

    Went looking for replacement hat and in one shop, lady told us she has been to Manchester and experienced beans on toast in Warrington! She told us where to buy hat so we found quite easily. Also bought fridge magnet.

    Had quick drive around then to Singing Beach. Looked beautiful in the sunshine but they were charging for carpark and to get on the beach so we didn't bother. There was hardly anyone around except the money collectors! Parked on the road on 2 hour limit then went for lunch.
    Went to Cala and had haddock sandwich/club/pizza - all very nice then headed back to the car. Got $35 ticket for pointing in the wrong direction. Sickening!

    Drove home via liquor store looking for John's current favourite wine Sebastiani but they didn't have it.

    Shopped at Hannafords then home 2.30. Had tea and cake brought by friendly neighbour this morning.

    Made big lasagne for tea then sat and had beer outside.

    Andy asked about warm spot in kitchen ceiling John most interested in investigating! Later discovered permanently heated pads - fire hazard.

    More chat. Bed 10ish
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  • Day25

    Day 25

    August 29, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Didn't wake up properly till 9am.

    Pottered and did some shopping. More chatting.

    Had sandwich for lunch then out to Portsmouth No sun today and a little bit chilly near the sea. Nice town - has grown and is more commercialised. Lots of bars and restaurants but all pretty quiet. Looked at Strawberry Bank but $20 each to get in and it looked really quiet so we didn't bother. Had drive along the coast. Very pretty and some beautiful houses.

    Stopped at Lowe's shop to look for small garden table, yard brush, pan scourers and plastic wine glasses. Success in all but the glasses. Home 4.30 and made cottage pie for tea.

    Ally struggling with some aspects of the new house - water is awful and needs special filtering, need treatment to disperse supposedly dangerous radon gas. Garden is a wilderness - much work to do but location is good.

    Had beer outside watching and listening to humming bird. Lovely.

    Had wine & tea and yet more chat. Bed 10ish
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  • Day24

    Day 24

    August 28, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Awake early and up 6.30. Quick shower and final pack then very swish taxi at 7.15. Miles too early so hanging about at airport.

    Flight 10ish. Landed 12.30ish. Bags quick then went to pick up car. No problem - we took all the extra insurances.

    Easy drive to Ally's new house in Stratham. They only moved in a week ago so there is much work to do. It will be lovely. They wanted to move somewhere with a bit more life, a bit less druggy, public transport and a bit less cold in the winter. They also have public transport nearby and their rubbish is collected! John's job is moving to Manchester NH in February which will be half hour drive each way.

    Chatted the afternoon away. Charlie came home from first day at school.
    John came home from first day commuting to Meredith for the time being.

    Matt has just gone to college in Montreal and Natalie in Carolina.

    Had beer, wine, lovely food and good chat.

    Bed 10ish.
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  • Day23

    Day 23

    August 27, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Slept till 8.30 ish. Tea, biscuits and out to Arlington National Memorial cemetery.

    Metro station closed for weekend work so got bus to Foggy Bottom 😀😀then metro to Arlington. Quite easy - people around for guidance but they weren't there yesterday!

    Went round on tour bus because the place is huge. Almost 1/2 million graves here and it's expanding to make room for more. 'Inurnment' new word on us! Guide pointed out places of interest. More reminders of the horrors of war. Unknown soldier, various presidents, Pentagon 9/11, Lockerbie etc.

    Went for bite to eat at cafe in park - turkey sandwich & pizza.

    Then to Holocaust Museum - another enormous place on 4 floors. Couldn't face all the reading so headed home 3.30ish for cup of tea.

    We find the museums here hard work - very little interactive, very few videos, no guided listening tours. Too much reading.

    Maid wanted to clean room so out again. Walked around block and found lots of bars and restaurants. Reminded us of Chorlton - buzzing with people enjoying Sunday afternoon sunshine.

    Back for wine hour 5pm. Asked reception to print directions for tomorrow - should only be half hourish drive to Ally's new house.

    Like this hotel very much. Would definitely stay here again.

    Back to Stoney's 6.30. Same girl serving - very friendly. Had crab sandwich and Cajun cheddar $60 inc beer. Really nice.

    Home 8ish. Glass wine & tv
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