Category: Days out

a few days in belgium …

a few days in belgium …

A brief write up and a bucket load of pictures from when Pat and I took a short break the week before last in Belgium. We went via the very decent and very easy eurotunnel crossing, which always make for a rapid and straightforward transit to mainland Europe, and if you’re only headed for northern France or Belgium it’s maybe the most hassle free way to go.

Our early start for Folkestone meant we missed the mind numbing traffic delays that the route south is often prone to when you either get the timing wrong or you just get unlucky.

Our crossing was routine and we were headed for Ypres pretty much on schedule.

We drove straight to our apartment checked in and were out for a wander pretty much within 20 minutes of getting there. We stayed just a two minute walk from the Menin Gate – which has its own special place in wartime history.

Ypres itself seemed to be a fairly small and compact place, and a very pretty one as well, with a decent selection of bars and enough variety of places to eat that probably cater for most tastes.

If visiting,  I would say its well worth spending some time to take in the terrific In Flanders Fields museum which is dedicated to the study of the First World War.

The museum itself is in  Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) on the market square in the city centre.  It really is first class and it’s also worth going to top if the belfry whilst your there.

We also took in the moving Last Post ceremony on both nights we were there (it takes place at 8pm, and has done every night since 1928). It’s a quite fitting tribute to the carnage and lives lost all those years ago.

We also took in a trip to the Paschendale Memorial Museum which is only a short drive from Ypres and another place that is more than worth a visit and recounts the sobering tragedy of the First World War battles that took place in that area of Flanders.

After that we made the short journey to the Tyne Cott memorial, the largest of the British War Commission memorials (in the world).

After our enjoyable and educational time in Ypres we headed for Bruges and an overnight there. We had stayed in Bruges a few years ago, and even though our stay this time was just for the one night we had a great time wandering around and ended up walking a little over 12 miles.

All in all a very decent trip and to places that I’m sure we will return to at some point.

And a few more random snaps below from our all too short break:

capital day out …

capital day out …

We had a decent day out during the week when we took advantage of the Virgin Rail cheap tickets offer – Manchester to London (return) for just £22 each.

Pat had sorted the tickets whilst i was away in June/July on one of my bike trips – and given that we have always enjoyed our trips to London we had looked forward to this for some time – our last visit was in April this year so the timing seemed about right for this visit as well.

Not only are the tickets great value, with a two hour journey time it really does mean that it’s very easy to make a decent day of it.

I don’t think we will ever get bored of visiting London there really is always so much to do, despite having traveled there many hundreds of time when working, its never quite the same when you visit somewhere in a work capacity as opposed to being a ‘tourist’.

We headed for Camden Market first of all – a place that neither of us had been to before, but  a place that is well worth a visit. It was easy to pass time browsing around the stalls (and buying a couple of bits and pieces)

After that we stopped for a beer, then suitably refreshed we headed for The Skygarden at the top of an impressive 35 story office building on Fenchurch Street.

London 181017 (71)It’s free to visit – but you do need to book your place in advance. I can imagine that on a better day (weather wise) the views would be spectacular, even with the low cloud and drizzle it was pretty impressive.

There’s a bunch of pictures in the gallery below, which include a few in the Skygarden

After the Skygarden we headed off for Leadenhall market, Covent Graden and then a wander around Harrods (and no we didn’t buy anything there), before getting an evening meal and wandering a couple of miles back to Euston for our train home.

All in  all a fine day out.


park time …

We had some time in Wythenshawe Park this week with Daniel, Emma and Harry.  Its always a reasonable park to go to, plenty of parking, decent play area for the children, woods to wander through and a small community farm. To be fair the community farm isn’t great, but the children always seem to enjoy a quick wander around there.

Our visit started well when Emma spotted a small hedgehog as soon as we got out of the car.

After that it was straight to the park area for some pretty energetic play on the most of the items that were there.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that when Daniel and Emma went on the swings they only wanted to be gently pushed – how things change, this time they had me pushing them as high as they could possibly go and then as fast as they could possibly go on the small roundabout!

Next up was time for a wander through the small woods and time to collect some ‘interesting things’ which included acorns and which in turn led to finding an oak tree and making the link between the acorn and the tree, and then of course some hide and seek, quickly followed by some tree climbing and a walk to the statue of Oliver Cromwell.

Next up was time to sit down and eat our picnic, before a wander around the small community farm. To be honest by this stage I was more than ready for the respite of that sit down and a welcome cup of coffee.

We rounded our visit off with something from the ice cream van, always a decent way to finish off a trip out with your grandparents.

All in all a decent day.


national waterways museum …

Our most recent trip was to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

29447The place has actually been around since the 1970s when it began as the North West Museum of Inland Navigation, and essentially was started by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to preserve the canal way of life.

They began by bringing together a  collections of boats, traditional clothing, painted canalware and tools.

Since then the collections have been ‘designated’, which means that they are recognised and accepted as being of national importance. More recently (in 2012) the museum was incorporated into the then newly formed Canal & River Trust.

Entry cost us each £9.75 – and the ticket allows access as many times as you like for a 12 month period, although to be honest I’m not so sure its the sort of place that would change enough over a year for many visitors to want to go back, but if you are a keen enthusiast then I reckon it’s great value.

We were there just about on opening time (10.00am) and it was fairly quiet – which suited us. There’s enough to see that will occupy most visitors for at least a couple of hours and the place is generally pretty well set out. Its spread over a reasonably sized site (seven acres), and we were glad that it was a dry and bright day when we were there. Wandering around the site wouldn’t have been half as much fun had we picked a damp day.

The museum is located right next to the Manchester Ship Canal we found it all pretty interesting as we ambled around and looked in the various old Victorian buildings, including the Blacksmiths Forge, the Power Hall and the Porters Row Cottages.

We both really enjoyed the Porters Cottages – although there was something quite sobering seeing the cottage that depicted the 1950s and items presented as museum pieces when you realize that you’re actually  old enough to recall many of the items from your own childhood!

Theres some pretty impressive double locks as well (on the Shropshire Union Canal) – there is an option to download a free app that can be used via smart ‘phone at various points and that brings exhibits to life with video clips – it wasn’t something that we used but we saw some folk using it and it did look quite good.

I understand that on some days there are characters fully costumed who talk about their way of life etc, although we didn’t see any whilst we were there.

There is also the opportunity to clamber down into a couple of the canal boats and barges and we both found it a genuinely fascinating place to visit – and we came away knowing more than we did on the way in.

On the down side we were each provided with an audio gadget that we think was supposed to provide commentary at various points, but it just didn’t seem to work – but as we hadn’t expected that we were not disappointed either and simply popped them in out pockets until we were back at the reception.

Not surprisingly there was the inevitable gift shop and cafe – both of which seemed quite reasonable with their offerings and prices.

So all in all not a bad day out at all and there’s enough there to fascinate children just as much as the adults.

Some more pictures from our trip are posted below.

If you want to receive automatic update as and when there are new blog post then simply click on the follow button.



trip to the salt museum …

For the last dozen or more years I’ve been frequently riding past a sign for the The Lion Salt Works near Northwich,

PB Salt museum 090817 (35)

For the same dozen or more years I’ve been thinking I really ought to go and have a look at it, and for the last couple of years have been ‘threatening’ my wife with a visit there .. I mean come on, just how interesting can a salt museum be?

Well last week we eventually made the trip – and I have to say it was much more interesting than we had imagined a salt museum could possibly be and we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Location wise its easy enough to find and the Sat Nav directions were spot on, its actually next to the Trent and Mersey Canal and fairly close to the Anderton Boat Lift.

The museum itself has only actually been opened for a couple of years and it really is a fascinating place to while away a couple of hours.

The place is well set out and restored and it’s easy to work your way around the site, there’s plenty of supporting words, pictures and exhibits to not only explain the process that was used to produce the salt, but to give you an excellent background to how the Lion Salt Works evolved and a real feel for the day to day working conditions and life of the Salt Works over the years.

There is an excellent online site guide here, and a brief history of the place here.

It’s a place that we have recommended  to our daughter to take her children to, as its well set up for children to enjoy just as much as adults.

To round off our trip out we made our way over to the Motorcycle Centre Orrel (near Wigan) for a quick browse around, before making our way home – all in a all a very decent day out.

There’s some more pictures below and clicking on any of them will open a scrolable gallery.






get it sorted …

When I originally started blogging towards the end of 2013 I used 55 and out as the blog title, which essentially was made up of posts around the things I was doing after calling it quits with full time paid employment.

Over the last year or so the blog evolved into the, which I suppose it a little bit niche for some folk.

I decided to set up this blog so that the has only posts that are related to motorbikes, motorbike related products and motorbike travel and that Blog posts about the other things that I do will now be posted via this site.

The get it sorted Blog title was inspired by a recent comment from two of my grandchildren when checking out when they could next stay over, they quite simply said to my wife “you need to get it sorted”