Monthly Archives: September 2013

Dubai break

A first time for us was our Dubai stopover. Coming from a tie-up between Emirates & Qantas we were doubtful that a couple of days between flights could be as satisfying as those spent in Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Once we’d explored via a “hop on/hop off” bus tour & a Dhow cruise, the city showed lots of contrasts between the modern shopping malls & skyscrapers & to the old historic & resident shopping parts. Plenty to do next time?




And so to the last leg of the trip, from Dubai to Sydney via a 13hour Airbus A380 flight – golly, such a long drag? Flying into the night & arriving at 5am means the airline expects passengers to sleep a lot. I suppose First & Business classes don’t have any trouble “enduring” the flight but I seem to only nap for short periods. Coupled with the airline darkening the cabin & limiting services, maybe Economy classes should get a discount?

For all the flights I think my ranking (based on aircraft comfort, service & quality of fittings) would be:
Emirates Boeing 777 (short haul, Glasgow to Dubai)
Qantas Boeing 747 (short haul, Sydney to Singapore)
BA Boeing 737 (long haul, Singapore to London)
Qantas Airbus A380 (long haul, Dubai to Sydney)


Scottish outings

Our Edinburgh stay provided plenty of shopping time (coinciding with some pesky showers?) but we still got in some sight-seeing, rides & drives to local towns & villages. St Monans on the coast gave a good example of what happens at low tide but was still fascinating to see its multiple layers of sea defenses; the historic harbour walls supplemented with extras over time?


Nice use of an old slipway?


A very considerate local painter?


Our last ride for this UK trip took in another of the former railways. Once again, good integration of the old infrastructure for its new uses.



Finally, the last drive of Kanga took us from Edinburgh to Glasgow airport & to the rental car return lanes. Ta Kanga, you were great.


Next stop Dubai, so long UK.

Edinburgh sights

Heading into Scotland for the final leg of our UK trip, with a week or so in Edinburgh, it looked like our “good weather luck” was due to finish? It certainly turned out wetter & colder than the previous 7 weeks but no complaints. Probably a good start along the road to Scotland was this “small full English breakfast” (I shudder to think what the menu’s larger version was like?)


The weather didn’t spoil any shopping trips & our inner-city Studio flat was ideally placed for lots of browsing. The BeSpoke Brompton dealer display was looking good for a picture – & then a customer added his M6R to it.


Lots of Tweed to look at? (everything from head to foot plus accessories)


Our visit coincided with the traditional “Riding of the Marches”, where about 250 horses are ridden into Edinburgh & finishing along the Royal Mile & up to the castle.



Walking the streets of Edinburgh & observing the historic buildings is a memorable past-time?


Brompton goodies

Our 2013 UK trip managed to accumulate a variety of Brompton goodies & cycling related items. Aside from the BWC swag, everything else came from browsing during bike shop visits.

It all commenced in Singapore, with a pair of BWC2012 socks (christened in the BWC2013 event) & the local Velcro straps.


The BWC event delivered some rewards, while the registration Musette bag probably should have been photographed then & there before various things were consumed (including the post-event vouchers for the Brompton afternoon tea & the Gin & Tonics).



All “couldn’t resist….” items – clockwise from top left:
Kojak folding tyre (travel spare?)
Lezyne Micro Drive front light (no fold interference?)
Endura Argyll cycling socks (Tweed ride or BWC use?)
Montane Featherlite jacket
Brompton toolkit
Monkii bidon cage & Brompton stem mount adapter


Another “couldn’t resist….” item was this genuine Brompton polo shirt. (It was on display, had a price tag, in my size & they let me buy it – so who was I to point out any mistake?)


Cumbria travels

Trying to play catch-up with my blogging about our UK trip & so here’s one week in Cumbria squeezed into a tale of riding, walking, driving & a train trip.

Riding was usually a case of going up & down hills but we got to take in the annual Dufton Agriculture Show. A lovely days outing at a little show with lots of variety. The car display brought back some memories: learnt to drive in a Morris Minor, a family friend had an MG Magnette, the Triumph Herald was drooled-over when I had my Standard 8 (2nd car – before turning 16 – with many Herald components) & as for the 6cylinder Triumph Vitesse…


Hard to get a clear view of all the vintage tractors, with plenty of “chewing the fat” going on?


Quiet back-roads are great; just us, the hills – & tractors? – & Village Green rest-stops.


My navigator, sorting out the paths from the bridle-ways?


Village “sculpture shop” makes good use of cutlery & bike parts?


Driving the narrow, winding roads of the Lakes District seemed tame compared with this slate mine shuttle bus taking customers to a harnessed & roped cliff walk?


Took a trip on the Settle-Carlisle railway & did a “hop off/on” to walk & to view the Ribblehead Viaduct


After Cumbria it was then a case of “so long England, hello Scotland…” as we drove on to Edinburgh – for the next adventure?

Speedy trips

Along the York-Selby Cycle Route we again came across delightful sculptures & displays. One was probably the largest I’ve seen – but there again, what else would suit this mighty former rail bridge?


There was also a scale model of the solar system, spread along the route. While my speed on the bike isn’t great, it seems that I was still traveling about 10 times the speed of light?



A slower method of travel is surely on the canal boats & many of them are seen with bikes carried on top. Bromptons would seem the ideal companions & they would hardly need to be carried atop like this pair of folders?


Village & town sights

Our cottage weekly stays are often located in small villages & upon arriving the first step is to check out the local resources. There’s usually a pub & we’ll also take in the shops, although this was the only “shop” in our Yorkshire village.


Some villages have shops that are really geared towards the day tourists & when the tide is out extra shops can be mobilised.


Villages, towns & cities can all be fascinating. Tidal conditions can change things drastically but a harbour with water is usually preferred.


With Yorkshire hosting the TdF start in 2014, some research was devoted to towns & villages along the stage routes.


Trains rule

The Norfolk Broads have a lot of back roads & most are pretty flat. I can’t see a TdF stage being run there but I certainly appreciated them. We had a few rides just exploring the roads, mostly traffic-free & coming across various sights.


This rail crossing seemed innocuous & so we scuttled across without phoning first – & then watched a railcar whistle through! I guess trains rule in these parts?


Starting one ride from a pub carpark meant we really ought to “pay our way” afterwards?


Norfolk treats

One of our delightful, sunny Norfolk days was very educational & entertaining. We discovered barns that were factories, broads that are waterways, mills that don’t grind grain, beached seals & heavenly cream scones!

Headed out on a drive & located Waxham barn. This restored historic barn was huge & built for threshing grain; very impressive – as was the Ploughman’s plate served in the cafe in an added wing. (I never cease to be amazed at the food offerings at some out-of-the-way places?)


Next stop was one of the preserved windmills, a National Trust site that provided local information & a cafe. It was all a treat, the information staff advice & food, the windmill tour, the local sights & wildlife. Our education came from understanding more about the Norfolk Broads; the low-lying lands needing continual drainage of water (to avoid returning to marsh-lands?) that is channeled into local canals & broad waterways via pumps originally operated through windmills (& now automated).


Next, acting on advice from the National Trust guides, we walked through to the coast, over the huge sand-dunes that form part of a coastal sea defence & along the sands to gaze upon dozens of lazing seals.


The final treat wasn’t the relief from finishing the long walk, nor from finding the NT cafe still open (both treats in themselves), it was the quality of the “cream scones”!