Travels With Stanley Episode 3. Leaving Saint-Jean-De-Luz for Toledo.


My Dear Beloved Reader,

This little video says it all as we leave Saint-Jean-De-Luz in the south of France just north of the Spanish border bound for the Toledo in Spain. Indeed from the sea-front of this lovely little town, you can see the Pyrenees that forms the natural border between France and Spain.

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Once we got into The Pyrenees the weather really started to deteriorate and at one point it was snowing quite heavily. We certainly didn’t envy the drivers of the convoy below

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transporting these giant wind turbine blades.

We arrived at our hotel The Eurostars Palacio Buenavista in Toledo at 18:10 after a pretty gruelling drive and we were glad to have an early dinner and an early night in preparation for our last drive to Marbella the following day.

Until my next post……………Toodleoo!

Travels With Stanley Episode Two (Rouen to Saint-Jean-de-Luz).

The Grand Hotel Thalasso in Saint-Jean-de-Luz rolls out the red carpet to welcome Diana Ross!


My Dear Beloved Reader,

Having awoken fairly early at our Rouen Hotel and re-packing a somewhat full Range Rover we sallied forth at 06:37 on a pretty wet morning for a soggy drive to the south of France. Fortunately, the further south we drove the weather improved with each degree of latitude. Our first break occured after 1 hour and fourty-five minutes having covered  98.2 miles, averaging 59mph and achieving 30.6mpg was just outside Alencon where Diana a.k.a. “She Who Must Be Obeyed” insisted that we breakfasted upon cafe au lait and pan au chocolat. Needless to say Stanley was prohibited from such a fine repast and had a delicious tin of puppy food!

After a total stop of 31 minutes we drove for a total of two hours and forty five minutes covering 149.7 miles while achieving 32.6 mpg at an average speed of 57 mph in very wet conditions especially while skirting Le Mans. We broke our journey just a tad north of Poitiers for seventeen minutes for a stretch leg break and to allow Stanley to visit the local lamp post.

Forty five minutes later having covered 49.6 miles at an average speed of 70 mph achieving 35.3 mpg in improving weather but still on the soggy side we stopped for another stretch leg break for a further thirteen minutes.

Now, my dear reader you’re probably wondering why I’m bombarding you with such statistical nonsense? The truth of the matter is that the weather had been so glum that, the only highlights, scenery wise, were various types of  gallic roadworks that, occasionally featured workmen who seemed to be committed to smoking untipped Gauloise cigarettes. We departed our stopping place, Aiffres just outside Niort, at 12:53 and settled in for the next 157 miles which took us through Saintes where we entered the Cognac area with lovely rolling pastures and plenty of vineyards. Skirting Bordeaux we continued and entered the arondissement of Aquitane and broke our journey for a late lunch at 15:25 having averaged 63 mph and achieved 33.6 mpg stopping at Saugnac-et-Muret which is on the east side of the Parc Naturel Régionale des Landes de Gascogne. We enjoyed the view while eating a humble french baguette filled with a rather non descript cheese.Twenty-nine minutes later we were back in the car feeling refreshed and releived that the sun was shining we drove for a further fifty-five minutes covering 64.9 miles at an average of 73 mph achieving 34.1 mpg we made our penulitimate stop some 21.5 miles short of our destination in order to give Stanley some exercise before we arrived at our hotel.

fullsizeoutput_d7bbWe left nineteen minutes later and arrived at The Grand Hotel Thalasso in Saint-Jean-de-Luz where they had rolled out the red carpet in order to welcome Diana Ross and her husband.fullsizeoutput_db42

We were greeted by the most courteous and helpful staff and were whisked to our suite and having quickly scrubbed up we were ready to enjoy dinner in the Michelin highly rated restaurant L’Ocean.

We were not disappointed having had our already healthy appetites tickled by an aperitif we tucked into our first course of fullsizeoutput_db34

deconstructed squid with potato risotto which was absolutely delightful. Then

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we enjoyed some sea-bass over a selection of beautifully prepared vegetables and then our our main course of

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Veal cooked two ways, crispy sweetbreads and St. Georges Mushrooms followed by

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a cheese selection and finally

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Valhrona Alpaco dark chocolate, soustons sugared peanuts but when I broke the crust

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it was just sublime.

We went to bed tired, happy and stuffed!

Until my next post of this saga…………Toodleoo!

Travels With Stanley (Folkestone to Rouen)


My Dear Beloved Reader,

I thought it was about time to put finger to keyboard and attempt to capture our travels from the UK to Marbella in southern Spain. We departed from our home to attend a board meeting at Network HQ in Edgeware some twenty nine miles from home and after having concluded the meeting we departed for Folkestone in Kent in our trusty, somewhat full Range Rover Vogue SE Auto.

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It was a damp and drizzly day and more weather was to come later!

After one hundred and one miles we were on the train and had started our journey through the Eurotunnel.

We landed on the Continent and began our journey of one hundred and thirty-three miles to Rouen. The weather deteriorated quickly and we had an unpleasant drive in driving rain and gale force winds.

We eventually found our hotel which was not too easy as the Mercure Rouen Centre Cathedrale Hotel and its garage are situated in a pedestrianised area of this pretty cathedral town. Fortunately, the local police with their inimitable gallic charm escorted our car (blue lights flashing – see the video below) to the hotel. After a pretty difficult drive we were pleased to flop into bed and start our journey to Saint Jean du Luz the following morning.

Here’s three minutes and thirty-nine seconds of video highlights from Day 1.

Until our next episode of this gripping story…..Toodleloo!

The End Of A Chapter


Today is the day we leave our vacation home in Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota in SW Florida. It’s a huge mix of emotions. Sad to leave the wonderful friends to numerous to mention who are a wonderful crowd of people who Diana and I will always hold close in our hearts yet, excited to finally settle in to our new home in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire in the UK. Although we are leaving now we will be back for vacations in the future but also looking forward to exploring new places, making new friends and capturing new experiences. So, yes it’s sad to close this brilliant chapter in our lives but excited to start a new one. To all our pals, wherever you are, stay in touch. You will always be with us.

With much love,

Clive & Diana.

A Stroll On Siesta Key, A Tupperware Beach Party, Tumblers Tumbling And A Mingling Of Mennonites!


Dear Beloved Reader,

To view any of the photographs below in their full majesty please just click on the image of your choice. As ever, dear reader, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach

Having relieved our bank account earlier today of over $2000 for a set of new tyres for my beloved Corvette I decided upon a late afternoon stroll on a very quiet Siesta Key Beach.

The Meaning of Tupperware
The Meaning of Tupperware

During my stroll it was a surprise to observe, what I could only deduce, as a learned discussion on the meaning of that most useful of plastic storage boxes known as Tupperware!

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A Tumble

Meanwhile this close-by acrobat delighted her audience with a mid-air somersault which was executed perfectly and may have had nothing to do with the aforesaid storage containers.

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The Yellow Life Guard Hut

It was no surprise, as the beach was so quiet,

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No Lifeguard On Duty

that the life guards (both red and yellow) had decided to call it a day. Although this may have been a ploy to avoid hosting a future home presentation, of that well known brand of lid snapping plastic, even though the soft hiss escaping from the storage box could be likened to the sound of the swish of surf caressing the sand on a quiet day.

Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach

This beautiful beach was now becoming empty leaving just the few

To Stand and Stare
To Stand and Stare

to stand and stare where others

The Grand Debate
The Grand Debate

debated the meaning of life and the endless possibilities of Tupperware.

Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach

So, we say farewell to the mingling Mennonites, the tumbler and the potential Tupperware hosts and hostesses.

Until my next post……Toodleoo!

The Surf’n Dudes


This morning we awoke to a thunder-storm, a tornado warning and a “small boat advisory” which means of you go out in a boat you’re completely certifiable! By lunchtime the skies had started to clear and I decided to have my afternoon stroll on Lido Key near Sarasota. It was so windy that the lifeguard was flying the forbidden swimming flags. The beach was almost deserted apart from one or two brave souls braving the elements in search of some exercise when to my amazement I came across a posse of surfing dudes. I’m not sure if “posse” is the correct collective noun for the surfing enthusiasts that I encountered but there they were, battling the waves with consummate skill. Having marvelled at their artistry in the surf it was time for me to turn homeward bound and then I came across a gaggle of lady Amish surfing spectators. I hope you enjoy the gallery below. Just click on any photograph you desire to see a full screen rendition. Enjoy!

Until my next post …..Toodleoo!

Just Some Stuff


I’ve not posted anything on this site for ages and as you know, dear reader, I normally write about business stuff but to see that sort of content, you now need to head over to theteamworksnews.com

I thought it would be good to share some photos (click on them to view full screen) that I’ve taken today while out for my afternoon walk. This is just some stuff and just for fun.

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Hunting

This Osprey was hunting and to watch the speed of the dive and capture was breathtaking.

 

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The Capture

Later on while on my way home I spotted this yacht that must have broken away from its mooring during one of the recent winter storms. A reminder of the power that mother nature has and should never be underestimated.

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Aground and possibly abandoned?

Strange to think that the winds that uprooted the yacht left these nuts attached to the tree above its new resting place!

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Just Nuts

My final pic of the day was this of the Ringling Bridge made possible by the vision of John and Mabel Ringling. This edifying structure connects Sarasota (seen in the distance) to St. Armands Circle but I will leave that story for another day!

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The Ringling Bridge

Until my next post…….Toodleoo!