And off we go – our first break for…. far too long

I try to plan as far ahead as possible but in spite of that I always forget one thing, in this case it was a portable Digital clock which would have been nice to refer to during a waiting period at night. Much more environmentally friendly than having my mobile phone switched on next to my ear.

Our journey will involve a visit to Much Wenlock in Shropshire for three nights, a rendezvous with a friend in Buxton, Derbyshire going on to Ashton under Lyme East of Manchester where we are going to stay for two nights with an old friend.  This is also an opportunity to test my new Volvo, well, new to me anyway, to see what its performance is like on long journeys. Our first stop was a comparatively new service station near Gloucester, such a relief from the traditional rather dated motorway service stations that we have become used to. The vicinity included a large farm shop full of very good quality food, a small lake and a woodland area to run around in. The designers rightly worked on the assumption that people traveling would be people who need to stock up with food.

On entry, it was disheartening as ever to see everyone masked up. We of course did not mask. If anyone wonders why, visit my website and click the buttons on the left. People seem to have this respect for authority which is completely uncalled for because the government is run by a temporary emergency committee called SAGE who has very little if any connection with Members of Parliament. They are paid for by commercial global interests. We cannot expect these people to show an interest in our welfare so really we are on our own.

Anyway, hopefully, for a few days  I will be able to defocus from this. In the restaurant of the service station I did meet a wonderful chap who it turned out  was  on his way to a funeral. He had a lovely silk tie and most importantly no mask. I complimented him on his all-purpose psychedelic tie.  We had a lovely chat, one of these spontaneous chats with strangers, and left on good terms.

Much Wenlock is a very small town with its own monastery long disused, which consists mainly of two streets running at right angles. It has many preserved medieval buildings and it is clear that the villagers take great pride in their town through decorating their properties with flowers.

We were welcomed in the Wenlock Pottery by Shelagh, who after showing us our room offered a very generous gin and tonic which I was happy to accept. It must be the first drink of this nature I’ve had for a couple years as I normally stick to wine, champagne and sometimes beer. Oh, I nearly forgot, a double whiskey and a half of Guinness does wonders. As it was still early in the day, we wandered around the town which took all of 15 minutes, and returned to the property for an early night.

A failed expedition to get a spare key for my Volvo


wheat field see below

I recently bought an old Volvo V70 for  £1250, spent about £400 on a couple of new tyres and a complete oil change and there was only one trouble with the car and that was that it had only one set of keys. Anyone who has had dealings with Volvo know how security conscious they are. I rang up a Volvo outlet to be told that the cost of getting a new key would be £250 which includes the key itself and the programming of the key. Unless the engine recognises the code, the car will not start.

I found a local locksmith who said that he did programming, so off we set to a place called Cranmore, a little village about 10 miles south of Midsomer Norton. The cutting of the physical key was easy enough but the problem came when we had to program it. Evidently the key has to be read and then returned to a unit three times with intervals of up to 15 min in between. This is a deterrent for those wishing to clone the key and steal the car. We were there for about one hour 30 min. While he was working, I went for a lovely walk on an archetypal spring – summer day with wheat blowing in the breeze. This made the visit alone worthwhile. Alas, he could not program the key so we returned empty-handed.

disused rail tracks make me very nostalgic and sentimental

I made one mistake with my  new car that I shall not make again. I had a set of new tyres fitted and one had a puncture which I did not realise and drove round on for a mile or so thus destroying the tyre. Fortunately I was able to replace it and will go along tomorrow Saturday to have it fitted. You may wonder why it is possible to miss a puncture but these tyres are of the sporty variety and are much thinner than the average model. Ah well, put it down to experience.