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Mogs Travels: October 2008

Mogs Travels

Friday, October 31, 2008


It's LB's birthday today and we woke to a surprise. The fairies had visited overnight and left balloons and happy birthday banners on the caravan! Thanks TB! We haven't anything particularly special organised for today. The sun's out so we'll have a walk this afternoon then a nice meal and some bubbly for just the two of us this evening.




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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Snow

As LB mentioned, we could see snow on the Preseli Hills this morning so we took a trip up there this afternoon. We've had a fair bit of rain today so didn't think there would be any left but there was a little. Someone had been there before us and made a snowman. It was rather bleak up there with low cloud obscuring the usual panoramic views and a biting wind. Even the sheep looked cold and miserable.

Incidentally, the beach is now virtually empty. There's a couple of fishermen and some people walking their dogs but no-one building sandcastles or dams and certainly no-one in the water.

Has winter arrived?

Snow on the Preseli hills, and today we are taking the boat to have the engine made ready for the winter lay up. The central heating is full on in the caravan, and while power walking earlier today we both felt very cold. I know it's only Autumn, but it doesn't feel like it at the moment.

Even this Black Headed Gull seems to be hunching his shoulders against the cold! The weather forecast has just confirmed that we may get some more snow overnight. They have also pointed out that the snow that fell overnight in the south east of England was the first time this has happened in October since 1934! Perhaps we are in for a hard winter. LB.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Country Walks

Most walks around Pembrokeshire involve a fair bit of battering from the wind, as the coast is fully exposed to the Atlantic westerlies, which are in full flow at the moment. One of our favourite sheltered walks for when we don't want to be too windswept is from the marina at Neyland along Westfield Pill, a small inlet opening on to the Milford Haven waterway. The path follows the route of an old railway line through a nature reserve. There's lots of plant and animal species there although the birds are the most obvious. We're no naturalists and weren't looking too hard but nevertheless spotted cormorants, a heron, little grebe and white ibis as well as the more common swans, mallard and black headed gulls.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Britain, on the beach - you WILL wrap up and build sandcastles!

It's half term for most schools this week so the beach is quite busy. It doesn't matter that it's cold and windy; it's anoraks and wellies on and carry on as if it's summer. The sand is sprouting sandcastles, elaborate dams are being constructed across the streams, dogs are chasing balls and the intrepid few are in the water , surfing. We had a pleasant walk in the late afternoon sun but declined getting our hands wet and sandy.


Friday, October 24, 2008

New Windows

Having tidied up the garden we are now turning our attention to the house. Sometime in the next few months we need to decorate the bedrooms and get a new carpet for the hall and landing. The priority though, was the patio doors, leading from the dining room into the garden. We've lived in this house for twenty years and I've always hated them! They were aluminium framed ( or aluminum for my US readers!) whereas the rest of the windows are uPVC. The metal runners were impossible to keep clean and they've had condensation between the panes for the last couple of years. When we last decorated we just hid them behind net curtains which had the added benefit of hiding the rather messy garden. Now we want to be able to look out so today the old windows were replaced with nice French doors. Perhaps we'll eat in the dining room rather more now ,instead of the kitchen.

Tomorrow we're off to our caravan in Pembrokeshire for a week. We haven't been there since August so are looking forward to it. I've packed the camera and am hoping to get some nice seascapes and sunsets for you to enjoy.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cardiff Scientific Society

Many moons ago, ( in fact about 450 of them!) I was studying science A levels in a Cardiff school. One of our teachers at the time encouraged us to join the Cardiff Scientific Society. It was aimed at the general public and gave fortnightly lectures, during term time, in one of Cardiff University's chemistry lecture theatres, on a wide variety of scientific subjects. I left school, went away to Uni & didn't think about it again. I can't remember what brought it to mind but I recently Googled it and found the society still existing, in the same format and with lectures held at the same venue! LB and I are now members for the bargain price of £8 each for the year.

We missed the first lecture, as we were in France, but went this week to hear about the Herschel and Planck satellites, which are due to be launched next year by the European Space Agency. One will be looking back for evidence of events milliseconds after the "Big Bang" and the other at the creation of the galaxies. It was all explained simply and with humour so that I understood every word, at the time, although I couldn't quite manage to explain it all just now! The basic principle though is that the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation varies according to temperature. As it was very hot at the time of the Big Bang and is now considerable cooler, they have equipped the satellites with sensors to pick up the radiation existing, at the temperatures existing, at the time of the events they want to study. I think!

It was really interesting and an enjoyable evening out. I think we have got in a bit of a rut when considering evening entertainment. We tend to potter at home but otherwise, like many others, it's meals out, the cinema or occasional visits to the theatre or concerts. We need to broaden our ideas a bit and look at what else is available out there.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just a few last photos of our holiday. On our last night we stopped in Troyes en route back to the ferry port for the Channel crossing. We chose it for no other reason than it being a convenient distance between Le Puy and Boulogne. Having ridden through a very undistinguished town and booked into an Etap Hotel we set off to find somewhere to eat in the evening. As it was Sunday and nothing looked open we didn't have high hopes but surprise, surprise! Just around the corner from the hotel was the most magnificent mediaeval town centre with dozens of lively restaurants. We had a great last meal in France, starting off with snails and oysters, to celebrate the fact.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Le Puy en Velay

One day, when the weather was indifferent, we rode into Le Puy en Velay. A puy is the remains of the plug at the centre of an old volcano which is left after the rest of the mountain has eroded away. It's the same as the rock Edinburgh Castle is built on. The whole of the Auvergne is an old volcanic area and there are dozens of these puys, at least three are in the town of Le Puy. We climbed throughthe steep streets of the mediaval town centre to the cathedral on the main one and behind the cathedral to the statue of Notre Dame de Velay

The statue is huge and interestingly was made from cannons captured from the Russians at Sebastapol during the Crimean war. Here's LB walking around the base...

...and here's the whole statue. You could climb up inside and there were small windows at various points to enjoy the view.

Here's part of the town with the Cathedral and its cloister in the foreground.

This is a view of the platform it is built on. The small statue is of the architect, praying. A few left over cannons can be seen to the left of the man in the red jacket while LB is standing by the bench at the far end waiting for me!


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Auvergne Countryside

We arrived home yesterday so can now show you a few photo's of the lovely Auvergne scenery. It's a beautiful part of France and we caught it when the Autumn colours were at their most spectacular. For those bikers reading this it's a superb biking destination with wonderful roads for all sorts of bikes. We explored magnificent, sweeping, sports bike, D roads as well as more taxing, nadgery, GS type roads all with fantastic scenery & views at every corner. In fact the corners can be quite tricky when your eye is taken by another unexpected vista!


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Thursday, October 9, 2008

At large in Le Puy en Velay

Having moved on from Magny Cours we have settled into our gite, and already had one great ride up the Gorges de L'Allier, in warm sunshine. The scenery was fantastic. Yesterday however it rained all day, and we didn't get on the bikes! Today it's still overcast, but basically dry, so we've ridden into Le Puy for a wander. Have climbed up the statue on the volcanic peak overlooking the town and got wobbly legs so now recovering in internet cafe. We're both missing the internet in the gite as there is no internet access in the village we're staying in. Anyway not much more to say just have a look at the photos here the gite and town

Elvie & LB

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Race Day at Magny Cours

We wrapped up in lots of layers as the weather has been really cold so far this trip and today was no exception. There was a bit of sun but it didn't last long. the circuit is only half an hour from here so was an easy ride in with the usual mounting excitement as more and more bikes and other traffic filled the road as we got nearer the circuit. We parked up easily on a kerb and found places in a stand on the last corner with a view of the finishing line.

Magny Cours is a great circuit, modern, with good access and facilities. There are dozens of stands, entry to which is included in the standard ticket price. No-one sits on the ground. Why can't Donington do the same? The only criticism I have is the lack of large screens. There are only two though our chosen seats gave us a view of one of them.

The racing was quite good particularly the Super Stocks and the second WSB race. Bayliss won the championship after coming third in the first race and Pitt won the Supersports race and championship. It was pretty cold sitting and watching as our stand caught the bitter wind. I don't think any of us were particularly sorry when it finished and we could set off back. LB and I are now safe and warm in the B&B while the other three head north to Tours. Hope they don't get too cold & arrive safe.

Tomorrow we venture further south to the Auvergne. We won't have wifi in our gite so further updates will have to wait till we find a McDonalds!

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Book of Doors and Bed Repairs!

James and Sara's bed had a midline crisis when the supports collapsed. (We won't ask what they were doing at the time!) James went under to investigate

Two Books of Doors, freely donated at the circuit ( see here )did the trick

Then they had to test it! ( sorry it's blurry, I was laughing too much!)

Seems to work ok! Moral: Never look a gift book in the mouth!


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Sorry for the delay in updating you but we've had problems getting online and in uploading photos to the pc.

We're now safely installed in le Moulin de St Martin, above, a gite near the Magny Cours circuit after a long and cold ride south. We travelled with 3 friends who are also staying here and going to the races but will return home Sunday night. Today was spent at the practice session. We have reconnoitred the place and decided the best spot for race day. While wandering around the paddock we were presented with some freebies,

a white Sterilgarda Ducati polo shirt each and...........wait for it........

a book of doors! They're Italian and very stylish but what the ?????? Anyway am now being called to dinner, a Moroccan buffet. Will post again tomorrow


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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On the Road Again!

Not so far this time. We're off to France for a fortnight. Basically we are off to see WSB at Magny Cours and then hiring a gite in the Auvergne for week. Tonight we are in Dover, in a B&B. We've just had a meal in the local Weatherspoons and will be catching the 8.00am SpeedFerry tomorrow.

We've just hit a major problem in that we can't load photos on the blog. We've never been able to load directly from the camera but have used a card reader. The old one was getting a bit dodgy so we bought a new one. This worked at home but now the computer isn't recognising it. We'll try & get another in France but in the meantime you'll just have to put up with text.


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