Monthly Archives: Feb 2020

Glasgow, a geocaching tour guide

This trip has been a little different as it’s not the hubby and I but it’s my dad and me.

My dad is on route to the Isle Of Skye, but due to his recent challenges I wasn’t keen on him driving all that way on his own, hence the birth of a brief road trip. So Wednesday we made the journey from Dartford to Glasgow. The roads were very kind to us and the scenery as we ventured further north is quite stunning. Snow topped crisp white hills in the distance and bright blue sunny skies. Our hotel was found and after dropping of our belongings we had a stroll to a near by shop and stocked up on some goodies for our hotel picnic.

The idea of our time is to have a day exploring the city and then for dad to drop me at the airport to fly home and he will carry on his drive up to Skye.

So, Glasgow…… I could have spent time trawling the Internet looking for places to visit, but as some of you may know Rich and I are keen geocachers. Dad has been known to participate which was a good job as he has certainly walked his socks of today. I’d spent some time researching what geocachers were near to our hotel and in the local area. The good thing about looking online at geocaches is that there is often a description of the area or building and past finders photos. Some caches have physical containers that you need to locate and sign the log book, others have online questions that you need to answer before you can move on to the next stage. Glasgow is a cachers paradise with a great mix of caches to find or learn about.

The first evening here, dad and I attempted our first ever AR cache.

Augmented reality is the technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR does not create the whole artificial environments to replace real with a virtual one. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it. So for this cache we had to be a short distance away from the coordinates and by using a special app a screen popped up with information as we moved the view around. Quite clever and quirky. The last piece of information was a set of coordinates that led us to the physical log book. This was the first part of our tour guide as it was placed at a location that had a huge painted image of Charles Rennie Macintosh. I spent some time later in the evening researching his life and what he did for Glasgow. Very interesting.

The trailblazing architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is the subject of a second mural at the Clutha Bar. The design by Rogue and Art Pistol was commissioned by the Radisson RED Hotel to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth in 2018. The stunning design depicts the Glaswegian icon and his distinctive art deco and rose motif style.
The Clutha Bar features a fantastic mural on the outside wall, celebrating many of the famous faces that have been associated with the venue. From Alex Harvey, Frank Zappa, and Woody Guthrie to Billy Connolly, Benny Lynch and Stan Laurel, this piece of art highlights the unique people of the city’s history. Completed by Rogue, EJEK, and Art Pistol.

The following morning we had caches marked on our Glasgow map, our own tour guide. After a good breakfast we wrapped up warm, (it is currently 5° and cars are coming down from the hills covered in snow) our first stop was a multi cache. You have to go to the location and find out some answers to the listed questions, work out some sums then head of to the final coordinates. Quite often I over look multi caches but a fellow cacher had recommended that we visit this one and it didn’t disappoint. This was a seven meter high stainless sculpture of a giant nappy pin which stands where the old Rottenrow maternity hospital once stood

Giant nappy pin

I will add that this cache was up a very steep hill which dad took nice and slowly but managed to get to, proud daughter moment.

One of the college buildings on route uphill to Kingpin.

Whilst finding information for this cache we came up cross some more exquisite artwork. I think you’ll agree, graffiti in a striking form.

Our next target of caches were lab caches. Again these use a special app that when you near the coordinates a question appears for you to answer based on something near by to where you are standing. These again are great little tour guides as most tell here share some history of what you are looking at. This series details some buildings and monuments in the old medieval part of town and history of Glasgow cathedral.

Ornate gates leading to the oldest house.

After following our questions, we reached Glasgow Cathedral. Glasgow cathedral or St Mungos cathedral as it’s sometimes known, is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow.

Back on our caching trail we headed West in search of a cafe for some warming up time, although it was quite bright all day there were a few sleet showers which had icy winds. We found a Canadian cafe, similar to a Mac Donald’s style but way better. A hotspot for many of the college students.

Whilst travelling through this area we were also looking out for police boxes. This was another set of lab caches and made for interesting history.

One of 8 police boxes remaining in Glasgow. This one houses a very small coffee shop, Strangely they didn’t have a toilet😂

Police boxes were usually blue, with the most notable exception being Glasgow, where they were red until the late 1960. In addition to a telephone, they contained equipment such as an incident book, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.

This box houses a CBD oil shop.

The artwork along this route is plentiful and you really should are the time to stop and take it all in.

Glasgow street art regular Smug created this mural that can be found on a gable end on High Street. Depicting a modern-day St Mungo and referencing the story of The Bird That Never Flew. Fittingly, the nearby Glasgow Cathedral is the final resting place of Glasgow’s patron saint.
Just around the corner from the modern day St Mungo is the complementary St Enoch and Child, also by Smug. This tender and detailed mural, at the corner of High Street and George Street, is a contemporary interpretation of the city’s founding story; St Thenue/Enoch cradling her beloved St Kentigern/Mungo.
Covering more than 1,000 square metres and several stories, Strathclyde University’s Wonderwall was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Charter which conferred the University’s status and also the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Once we had warmed up we continued along towards the Glasgow city chambers. This is the location of an Earth cache. A cache that requires you to look at some geological elements in the area and send your answer to the cache owner. Then if you are correct in your answers you can log the cache. These again are great tour guide caches as they often give detailed history.

Glasgow city chambers

Opposite city chambers is George Square, it is home to the statue of Sir Walter Scott and Sir John Moore, and in my opinion some very lovely hellebores.

Next was some traditional caches on route to a virtual cache. The virtual again gave us some information about the monument and the area.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was best known for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (as well as giving his name to the wellington boot) and statues honouring this military hero can be found all across Britain. The Glasgow version was designed by Italian sculptor Carlo Marochetti and was erected in 1844. For the best part of 140 years, the statue stood on Royal Exchange Square without much fanfare. That all changed in the early 1980s, when a traffic cone mysteriously started appearing on top of the Duke of Wellington’s head. The origins of this practice are murky, but the most widely held belief is that a brave, drunk student scaled the statue after a night out in order to adorn the Duke with his new accessory. Despite attempts at removal by Glasgow City Council, the cone has remained for over 30 years. Whenever a cone is removed, it is only a matter of hours before a new one appears in its place.

Next on the route I think is my favourite piece of art work discovered so far today. You’ll find this fantastical floating taxi on Mitchell Street adjacent to Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, also created by artist Rogue. Capturing the attention of all who walk past, it’s a great piece to start off your trail if your following the city centre mural trail.

Titled, The worlds most economical taxi.

Just along from the taxi is another great art called, Honey I shrunk the kids.

The last cache on our list was a wherigo. This again uses an app that as you near the location some information and questions come up on screen for you to answer. This series is dedicated to Glasgow’s own Billy Connolly.

Created to mark the 75th birthday of the much-loved Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly in 2017, you’ll find two brilliant murals around the city created from original pieces of artwork, brought to life by street artist Rogue. Jack Vettriano and John Byrne were commissioned to portray the ‘Big Yin’ in their own respective styles and we think you’ll agree that the end results are an amazing tribute to one of the greatest comedians of all time! We found 3😛

So caches all complete it was time to head back to our hotel to warm up and enjoy a cup of tea whilst reflecting on the history and architecture today. 22 caches found, I’m very happy with that, especially as they took us to many parts of Glasgow we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Glasgow you have been fun x

Garden project – Phase Two

During the week i’d asked dad if when he returns from Scotland he could clear some space in the shed so that we could empty the greenhouse of non greenhouse items. Well, as you may know dad loves a project and as the sun was shining he began the massive task. Well it should be a massive task however for now he just shoved everything in his workshop so it cleared the space.

Whilst he was busy pottering, hoovering spiders and moving boxes, I decided to lay the slabs properly that we had placed on the grass earlier in Autumn to stop Suzy churning all the mud. It was bright sunshine and quite warm so I got to work. A while later, the slabs are set down in the grass and it looks much better.

Before
After

It will look more settled once the lawn is mowed better around them.

Part B of this plan was to place pots all along the edge of the patio to stop Suzy doing a mad dash along the same route down the garden to try and give the grass a bit of time to recuperate. Here’s hopeing it works.

Sunday’s plan changed last minute. But so as not to miss out on a day I decided to plant up the begonias and Lilly bulbs that Rich bought me for Valentine’s Day.

Lily’s in large pots on the floor.

The greenhouse is a hive of activity at the moment. Even Rich has green fingers and is nursing some seeds of his own. We have shelves of mini propagators and various pots. Sweet peas are sprouting in toilet rolls, cherry tomatoes and aubergines are springing into life and even the cosmos are started to poke through the soil.

Sweet peas
Tomatoes and Aubergines.
Cosmos

Each morning and night we take a trip to the greenhouse to open and close the vents and we are amazed at how these little seeds are coming into life. The cucumber plants on the kitchen window sill are doing exceptional well being that bit warmer.

Cucumbers.

Gardening is my favourite form of therapy especially at this time of year. Even today In the strong gusty wind it was warm and relaxing.

Spring is waking up all around us.

Giant Crocus
Clematis waking.
New shoots
Hellebore’s smiling
Rhododendrons in bud.


The camilla I thought I’d lost now in the ground and thriving once more.
Raspberry new shoots
Rebecca the clematis looking good
Rhubarb
My little garden helper.

Rich had purchased a Venus fly trip when we went to the gardeners world show last year. He is over the moon that not only does it go from strength to strength but it has two flower stems which today sees the buds starting to open

During the afternoon the rain set in and the wind increased. So the best thing to do is relax, cook and enjoy a roast dinner with home made Yorkshire’s which we are pleased to say were all nice and even in our second new oven ( don’t ask, long story😂)

Happy Sunday everyone. 🥰

Garden project, Phase one

A while back we discovered that our raised bed at the end of the garden had wrotten through. We looked at many ways to rebuild it, slabs, brick raised blocks but in the end we decided to replace the sleepers with new sleepers.

Partly due it being less complicated and partly it being less work as we are all struggling with aches and pains so it seems the easiest solution.

Once I told dad he was like a man on a mission. The sleepers were researched and ordered online and delivered Thursday morning. A very kind neighbour helped lift them through to the garden as they are very heavy.

That afternoon we cracked on. Well actually the old sleepers cracked as easy as anything. So they were out in no time at all.

Earwig eggs

Now I thought it would be quite straight forward. Oh how wrong 😂The old sleepers had been leaning forward for a few years so the Earth was not far behind. This meant that we had to scrap quite a layer away to realign the new sleepers into an upright position.

We battled away and finally got one sleeper in position. Boy they are heavy. After this we called it a night as tummy’s have started to rumble and quite frankly we were pooped.

Friday morning greeted us with a hard frost but bright blue skies. We wrapped ourselves up and got to work. The second sleeper was to be a little more trying. However after a lesson in how to use a power saw we had the next lined up and spotted into position. A metal post was also cut up and hammered into place behind the sleepers and screwed into place to hold them steady.

Next was to be shown how to work out how to cut an angle. Oh and a new blade on the saw made easier going. I’m sure dad was wishing he had a boy at this point but he didn’t lose his temper so I must have been a good student.

My little helper
Suzy, the sun worshiper

After some fixings and tidying oh and not forgetting using the power saw again to cut up the old sleepers it was time to call it a day. Bones aching but lots of lessons learnt. It’s looking good already. We have another stage to go and the new sleepers need to be painted but with bad weather due over the weekend that can wait till next time.

The cleaners are in, yes hoovering the grass😂
Looking good

The return to England.

Sadly was the day we have to return home. We have really enjoyed our stay in France and have been so fortunate with the weather. I stood for a while watching the fast flowing river race over the weir and it was mild enough not to need a jumper.

It was decided that we would not take the toll roads on the first part of our journey home. We wanted to see some of the villages rather than just motorway. It didn’t disappoint. Oh and a rather delicious patisserie to stock up on route.

Our lunch stop was a pretty little picnic area about 2.5 hours into our journey where enjoyed a fresh baguette from the baguette machine in Sacé this morning. ( that was a funny experience. You put €1.10 in and out pops the baguette)

Desert was Rum Baba for Rich, a traditional French cake with a small pip-pet sticking in it. Of which when he squeezed it, it soaked the cake in rum. Mine was an almond Galette. Now I though it odd that it came with a paper golden crown. But I now know it is also referred to as a king cake and traditionally eaten on the first day of Epiphany. Fortunately I had cut a piece with the surprise in as I can’t imagine hitting into it. A trip to the dentist May have been required. It has a small china object inside which resembles a cat.

If I’m right in thinking whoever was to have that piece would then wear the crown.

Time to head of for the next leg of our journey. Here we used a few toll roads to catch up some time but all the roads today were so empty. This saved us an hour so it only took us another 3 hours to reach the eurotunnel.

Once we arrived we brewed up a quick cup of tea before being loaded on to the train then enjoyed the tea with some yummy French biscuits.

Until next time.

Gardening at the Chateau

A while back my wonderful, thoughtful husband surprised me by booking us a day out. It was to be no ordinary day out! Rich didn’t mind a little gardening but this was to be a whole day of gardening with 50 other like minded folk. I was over the moon to receive this gift and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

So with our tickets booked and our accommodation found we spent a few days nearby to this stunning Chateau. In fact we were only 10 minutes away. We didn’t tell you but the previous day we swung by to have a sneak peek and it stoked our excitement even more. How can anyone not fall in love with Chateau De La Motte Husson. Home for the last five years to Dick Strawbridge, Angel Adoree, Arthur and Dorothy.

As we pulled up the drive we had huge smiles. To the left the gorgeous orangery, to our right some very chatty geese and ahead of us the 45 meter high towering Chateau. Completed in 1874 this Neo- renaissance chateau is located in the Loire valley and was previously owned by the Baglion de la Dufferie family, and purchased by Dick and Angel In 2015. They have managed to renovate a huge majority of the Chateau which can be seen on ITV’s Escape to the Chateau.

Now it may seem odd paying to go and work in someone else’s garden for the day but this was no ordinary day.

Miss Lexy at the Chateau

We were greeted as soon as we arrived by a team of 10 full time staff that now work for Dick and Angel.

Walking into this gorgeous Chateau we were greeted by Dick and Angel and invited to enjoy cups of tea out of vintage fine china and the freshest French pastries. There was no rushing so we spent some time taking in the dining room and lounge area. You really need days here to be able to take everything in.

Whilst we explored we could here a familiar booming young voice. It was Arthur and we had the great honour of being shown his toy room with his sister Dorothy. That is the room for the best games and fantasy play. There was helter skelter, huge empty boxes made in to a fort and so many toys. Not a pc insight. How refreshing. This two children are so polite and fun to be with.

It was Arthur’s 7th birthday this week and he showed great delight in showing us his new tool kit which he assured us was real.

Nearly time for our briefing on how the day was to go but not until we had our photo taken with a warm welcoming Angel.

Modelling my new tool belt embossed with the Chateau logo

The briefing took place in front of the Chateau on the newly laid patio. It was a fun briefing and we were split into teams to head to the walled garden.

Our job was to work in the quirky greenhouse and plant some seeds. We started with the sweet peas of which their was hundreds of seeds. This was a great place to work as the sun was shining and being behind glass was lovely and warm.

Two Dicks

Time fly by and after potting up and labelling many seeds and having a short break with tea and more French pastries in the boot room it was time for lunch in the Orangery.

Van De Vin

This is a room that Angel didn’t want to do to much to when the moved in as it has lots of its own charm. Plants are planted around the walls in raised beds and hundreds of fairy lights and decorations hang from the ceiling.

The long dining tables were decorated beautifully with floral display and fine china dinner plates. Also on the tables was a selection of French breads, homemade flavoured butters and smoked mackerel pate. Cider was served in cups and saucers.

The next course to arrive was home made beet soup which again was served in vintage tea cups. It was delicious, warming a little spicy and so full of fresh flavours.

Thinking that the main course was to be next we were treated to baked local Camembert with toasted pine nuts and sun flower seeds. All of the ingredients used in the meal are from local farms and suppliers. You could taste the difference.

Next to arrive was platters full of roast duck drizzled in sweet plum sauce, buttered French Charlotte potatoes and a selection of vegetables.

Feeling very full it was time to continue our work in the garden. Well we say work, it’s time spent with some very lovely people from all over the world in the sunniest walled garden, full of soft fruit trees, and new beds. Thoughtout the day more beds were constructed and dug over, ivy chopped down that has been climbing over the huge walls. Our next task was to plant up tiger nuts and then plant out the first batch of peas. the garden received a huge transformation. Dick was regularly popping round to check everyone was ok and that everything was running to task.

The day was coming to its close but before it did we changed out of our muddy boots and enjoyed a tour of the chateau with the delightful Angel. She really is the loveliest warmest lady and takes time for everyone. She showed us in so many of the rooms we had seen on escape to the chateau and recognised many of the projects they have been working on. Some things look so different when they are close up. Take the lift. It looks quite big on the tv but really you can only just about squeeze two slim people in. It really does remind you of the lift in Charlie and The Chocolate factory and sounds just like you have something stuck in the hose of the vacuum cleaner when it moves up and down the pepper pot turret.

You could spend many hours looking at all the history in the rooms. The photos don’t do them justice but the attention to detail is exquisite.

The handwashing sink in the toilets.
Now that’s what you call a shower head.
Angels collections in her craft room

After our tour it was time to unwind and relax some more and enjoy our well earned dessert.

Vintage cake stands were full of pretty little light desserts. We were encouraged to keep eating cake! Who’s going to say no to that??

Then as it was Arthur’s and his Grandads birthday this week we all joined in and sang them happy birthday with a very large chocolate cake covered in bright orange icing and cartoon characters. This made Arthur’s day.

After chatting at some length with Angels dad it was time to leave.

We have had the best day. Totally spoilt by the most attentive hosts that have an amazing eye for detail.

Thank you also Rich for the best day out. Love you lots. 🥰🥰

Chateau De La Motte Husson