29 April 2007

Wooten Wawen

On the way home from stratford we stopped in a very small village called
Wooten Wawen. There was a large house called Wooten Hall and a old church (1100). We had a look around; nice sheep, ducks, trees, old grave stones etc.
The place was very English and a much prettier way home than the M5.


On Sunday we went for a drive in the arvo to stratford-upon-avon. This is the famed home of Shakespeare. It was interesting but i think the places fame has over-run the town so it is now so busy and popular that it is not that nice. There are lots of cool 4-500 yr old buildings and shakespeares house and his wifes house but mainly 10,000 people and a lot of very big car parks for all the people to park in. We had a beer in the above pub - The rose and crown and corinne bought a christmas decoration. We also finally found ourselves a modern day can opener that hopefully will work. On the drive home we asked jane to take us on a scenic route which was quite pleasant.

26 April 2007

Warley Wood in Spring

This is Warley Wood, our local park that we go walking in during our lunch time break. There was a very sudden change in the last two weeks from bare branches to masses of green leaves and flowers. The park is huge and Corinne sees all her clients here walking their dogs.
Green, sunny and warm!

24 April 2007

Driving around Snowdonia

On Sunday we went driving around an overcast north Snowdonia. Everything was still beautiful though. We travelled through many small villages, pine forests, slate quarries and valleys, we also went along the coast a few times.
At lunch time we stopped in at a pub in Caernarfon for the Roast which was absurdly huge for only 3 pounds. We also visited the Castle there which was great.

Badgers and Cars don't mix

This is a dead snowdonian badger that was playing chicken with cars in a very tight lane.
The roads in Snowdonia and a lot of country UK are very narrow, often one lane with stone walls or hedges only centimetres from the edge of the tarmac. This little fellow misjudged his run.
I have been seeing large dead furries on the side of the road and have not been able to check them out until now. I thought badgers were mainly black but they actually have a lot of cream in the under fur.

Mount Snowdon

On Saturday we decided to climb Mount Snowdon. This is the highest peak in Wales and England. It is 1,085m high. We climbed the Llanberis Path which is 14.6 km return and we gained 998m in altitude. We reached the summit in 2.5hours and returned in 2hours. The climb was really difficult and we felt like turning back a few times but we made it in the end. The scenery from the top is fantastic and the temperature seemed to drop dramatically. Luckily we'd packed our new cold weather gear so we were ok.
We've been inspired now and are going back to climb the more difficult steeper path! There are also some other mountains nearby that we want to scale.
This is the summit.

Ben talking on his mobile on the final part of our descent.

This is a view from the summit. You can actually walk along this ridgeline

This is a seagull which of course, can be found on top of Snowdon (it's not near the Sea).


On the weekend we ventured into Snowdonia National Park in the north of Wales. We stayed in the popular little tourist town of Betws-Y-Coed. The town is gorgeous and surrounded by the beautiful Gwydyr forests. We stayed in another B&B, the Bryn Conwy guest house.

The town is made up of many Victorian stone buildings and has cute cafes and touristy shops. We bought ourselves a Welsh wool rug...there are lots of sheep and wool things in Wales!

This was the window in our room in the B&B. The B&B's are definately good value.

10 April 2007

The great Australian Beer mystery

Everybody has heard about it - Poms love drinking Fosters. To anyone in Oz who has ever tried it you would know it tastes like old dishwater from the sink of a student house lived in by boys, however over here it is very popular both in bars and shops. I have tried it and discovered the difference. The fosters here is completely different than the shite we have in the motherland, so they at least have an excuse. Something else I have found here that you can't even find south of coolangatta is fourex (XXXX). This fantastic QLD beer can be bought here both on tap and in cans. The crazy thing, is that it is even more different to Oz XXXX than the fosters. Fourex here tastes like a strange german lager, nice but not Fourex.
I am only here to enlighten.

Welsh Ducks are bloody fantastic

This is what a welsh duck looks like after it has been stuffed and slowly, sumptuously roasted and basted with orange marmalade, garlic, peppper, paprika and salt for 2 hours in a birmingham oven. We bought this baby on sale in wales and cooked it sunday night - Damn i should be a duck cook. It was better than - well you know and lasted twice as long, we had some more tonight. We had a fantastic orange juice and herb reduced gravy too. Ducks are really cheap over here and are bloody delicious so we plan to get into a few. The bucther down the road sells 2 for 5 pounds - bargain.

Spring-time Walk in the Woods

Last week and on the weekend again we went for a walk in the woods near our house. There are a few "Woods" about - these are actaully large parks/forests that are designated as woods. We went walking in Hagley wood and around the area.

This is Hagley monument and is easily reached from a very 'one way' lane.

From this hill we looked across the valley and could see a random castle so we went over and explored.

Over an electric fence and besides a little cottage we found this private castle. No name and very private - definately no visitors allowed.
The area was very nice and we saw some fine english rabbits that looked like they could take on most small dogs.

Castell Rhaglan

This is Castell Rhaglan (Raglan Castle) just outside Abergavenny in Wales. It is a very impressive late medieval palace-fortress. The ruins are very impressive and you can still see the many fireplaces and beautiful windows that remain. There is a great moat with a walkway around it where roman god statues sat in little niches in the wall (the statues have long gone). The rich folk of the day would use this little walkway to get 'exercise and air'.
This is me in one of the many circular stairs leading up to the main tower.
Ben is standing in a little passage leading down to the moat. I don't know why they had stairs from the moat, maybe it's in case someone fell in.

9 April 2007

The Hunters Moon

This is the Hunters Moon in Llangattock Lingoad near Abergavenny, Wales. We went on a detour when taking Liv and Downy to Bridgend and came across this gorgeous little pub in the middle of nowhere. We had ciders and ales but decided not to eat because being easter sunday their roast was all booked out. We have come to love our sunday roast at the pub. These little pubs in the UK are fantastic and we really enjoy going to them. The food and beverages are usually great and the people are lovely.
We heard a family speaking what we thought was Welsh but it turned out they were speaking Czech. By the way, to say hello in Czech you say "Ahoy"!
Posted by PicasaThis is the pub's very friendly cat. You can tell I'm missing my Bobby.

Downy and Liv

Downy and Liv are here! They have come from Australia via Hong Kong and are going to be working 2 hours away from us in Wales. They stayed with us for a couple of nights in the Brum and we showed them the shopping delights of the big city and the smokey delights of the local pub (smoking will be banned in pubs from July...we can't wait). Then we drove them to Bridgend (Pen-y-bont) in Wales (Cymru) where they will be working. Jane directed us there via White Castle.

This is us sitting in the ruins of White Castle which was built in 1068!
Liv and Downy are living in a cute terrace house on Heol-Castell-Coity (that's a street name). The welsh names for things are crazy and completely un-pronounceable (that may not be a word either). They live in a nice quiet area with a great pub up the road and a great outlet centre up the road.

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This is Jane! She is our new best friend and makes our travels around the UK much nicer. She is a Tomtom Go710 Satellite Navigation Device. Once the company was finally paid, we went straight out and bought one. We had trouble finding our way to just about anything because the roads are so complex. Now we can type in Castle Raglan in Wales and Jane will take us straight there! She is called Jane because the voice that tells us "turn right" is called UK Jane. She warns us about speed cameras, take us to ATM's and tells us how many kilometres and minutes it will take to get somewhere.
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1 April 2007

West Midland Safari Park

Today we went to the West Midlands Safari Park. The park is about 30 minutes away in Kidderminster. You get to drive through the animal enclosures and they come right up to the car and look in your window.

This is a white rhino. There were lots of african and asian animals like lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebra, eland, wildebeast, wolves, deer, wild dogs, camels, nilgai, hippos and seals.

We had a fantastic time and you get really close to all the animals. When you drive through the dangerous animals like the tigers and wolves you have to keep your windows up and you drive into big gated areas like in Jurassic Park so the animals don't escape.

This is a Barbery Sheep who was a very friendly little fellow.

We both got to feed an eland, a giraffe and a nilgai. The elands were really funny and walked from one car to another to get fed. Unfortunately it was school holidays so there were huge traffic jams and people kept wanting to move forwards so we're going back when it's quieter.
Here are some of the animals in the park. They have a lot of white animals which people must think are great. They have white tigers, white wallabies, white deer and a large pride of white lions which are very rare and have been breeding. They had 4 cubs last year which is pretty impressive. I love the giraffes wandering among the cars. It was like watching dinosaurs walking past the car and when you fed they had to stretch right down over you into your window.