Sunday, 29 July 2018

Who Needs an Estate Agent...?

 We have now re-located just 35 miles from Polstead to Hollesley which is East of Woodbridge in Suffolk....
Our stay at Polstead was first class the same as when we stayed there last year.....
A lovely site and really helpful owners.....

The area is just made for cycling and I was out on the bike every other day covering between 40 to 60 miles each ride.
The weather has been very hot like most of the country although listening to the forecasts and news it would seem that East Anglia has 
had the hottest weather of all....

Riding in the heat is OK as you have the breeze moving over your body to help to cool you down..... it is when you stop that you can really feel the heat so I always try and choose to stop in the shade.

As I have already said the Suffolk area is great for cycling  and I have seen lots of other riders out on the roads.... Not just 'Roadies' either....  Lots of Touring and MTB riders as well.

Our move to our current site went well and in just over an hour of leaving Polstead we were setting up the caravan and awning again.
We are only a mile and a half from the coast here and it is a wild section of coast with shingle beaches and marshes which are ideal for bird watching and wild coastal walks.....

The day after we arrived Anne and I decided to walk to the coast and explore the coastline a bit. 
We were climbing down a small bank to get to a lower footpath when Anne slipped and twisted her ankle..... 
It was now proving difficult for Anne to walk properly as it was quite painful for her. As luck would have it we met an old local couple who were also out for a walk and they suggested that they would drive us back to the campsite....
They were full of information about the area and even took us to see a 'Martello Tower' a mile down the road before dropping us off back at our site....
Things like that help to restore my faith in human nature......

One of the things that I enjoy as I cycle around the Suffolk roads and lanes is checking out some of the really lovely houses in the county.....
It made me think that you don't need an estate agent if you are looking for a house just get out on your bike and ride around and you will see some really nice properties...
A couple of my favourites are shown below....


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Getting a Clearer View......

We have been in Suffolk for three weeks now and like most of the country the weather continues to be stunning.....
I have been getting out on the bike every other day usually going out in the morning and getting back about 1300hrs just in time to have a shower  grab some lunch (and over this past week) settle down to an afternoon of watching the Tour de France......

Doing a lot of regular riding and also seeing all the pro riders taking part in the Giro d'Italia some weeks ago got me thinking again about riding/sunglasses....
Over a number of years now I have kept promising myself a pair of Oakley glasses....

Up to now I have used Tifosi Eyewear riding glasses..... Although they have had some quite good reviews in the cycling press my reason for choosing them was because they had the same name as my training bike the 'Tifosi' silly I know but I am being honest here Ha...Ha...
Although they seemed to do the job I always wondered whether Oakleys would be better,,,,,

The Tifosi glasses were mid priced and I must admit that every time I thought about a pair of Oakleys it was the price that put me off.... I felt that I just couldn't justify spending somewhere in the region of between £120 to £200 on a pair of sunglasses...
I didn't believe that the gain (if any) would be worth the expense....

Anyway when we were back in Canterbury I passed an independent optician and they had a large selection of Oakleys on display in their window....

Now independent shops I like rather than a national chain.... the display in the window was really eye catching too so I ventured in...

I tried on a number of different styles but the pair that I really liked was the style that I have being thinking about for a couple of years..... the Oakley Jawbreaker.
Apparently Mark Cavendish had an input into the design of these.... they are slightly higher above the eyeline than a lot of glasses so that when you are sprinting down on the drops (as Cavendish does) the top of the frame does not obscure any of the view.... not that I intend doing any sprinting down on the drops very often....

The jawbreakers have the 'Prizm Road' lenses which according to all the advertising blurb are supposed to help you spot subtle changes in the texture of the road surfaces.... did I believe all that...no I didn't but I did like the glasses.... I'd been thinking about a pair for a long time so I treated myself and splashed out and bought a pair.....

My Oakley Jawbreakers
So are they any good...?. Are they worth the wedge of cash spent on them....?
Well surprising to say...Yes and Yes.

First of all they our beyond comfortable to wear.... 
The Tifosi's would always seem to press down on my nose no matter how much I adjusted the rubber nose piece and every so often I would have to push them back up my nose a little as they always seemed to slip down..... 
The Jawbreakers have been comfortable from day one with no adjustment required and I have not experienced any slippage on the nose at all.....

The length of the arms can be adjusted in three different positions if needed.
 I have mine on the longest length and they fit perfectly....

As for the claim about spotting subtle changes in the road surface.....well that seems to be true.
I have found that  the clarity of these glasses is superb. I have now used them over about 450 miles of mixed riding and actually look forward to putting them on......

Were they worth the money I spent on them ?
Well from my perspective yes they were.....

The only question I have is why did I leave it so long before buying a pair??
My Oakley Jawbreakers with 'Prism Road Technology' lenses
**NB: I have received no payment or incentive regarding my mention of this product. 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

A Short Visit to Canterbury....

Following our stay at Crowborough we then moved on to Canterbury...
Our main reason to visit Canterbury was to visit Craig and Caroline who until January of this year had been the managers at the Tavistock C&CC site where we have spent the past three winters.....
They took over as managers of Canterbury C&CC site in March and we were eager to see them again and see how they were getting on in their new site......

The Canterbury site is very busy with units booking in in large numbers every day.... It tends to be a bit of a transit site with people using it as a starting point for the ferries to mainland Europe..... Also visitors from the ferry use it as their first site before setting off on their tour around the UK.

It was nice to see both Craig & Caroline again.... plus two of their assistants at the site had also been at Tavistock the winter before last,,,,nice to see them all.

Anne and I walked into Canterbury from the site...it only took about 30mins.... and we had a good look around the town which is very interesting and full of history...
As far as the Cathedral goes it really was the Church of England in full retail mode.......

You cannot even get into the Cathedral grounds without paying a substantial admission charge even more to actually see the Cathedral .
The only part of the building that you could see from 'outside' the wall of buildings surrounding it was part of the roof and spire which seemed to be covered in scaffolding anyway...
From outside the Pilgrims gate where lots of Tourists were lining up to hand over their entrance fees you could actually hear pneumatic drills and other building work coming from inside the cathedral so it was not actually selling itself to us as a place of peace and tranquility....
Needless to say we passed on this tourist hotspot...!!!

The Cathedral shop was something that you could access from outside on the street.... from what I could see it was full of typical tourist rubbish.....as I said..... the Cof E in full retail mode.....

We have visited numerous Cathedrals on our travels and at almost all of them you can view the outside of the building from the Cathedral grounds without payment. Some of them have an entrance charge and others request a donation for the upkeep of the building which we have always been happy to pay but a visit to Canterbury felt like the entance to a Theme Park...

What we did find just outside of the city was St Martins church.
This was the first church founded in England......the oldest parish church in continuous use and the oldest church in the English speaking world....
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is well worth a visit.
A picture of St Martins is shown below......

St Martins Church- Canterbury
 Another place we visited was believe it or not...Ramsgate.
We had a really enjoyable visit to the town with a visit to the Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina.. The Royal Temple Yacht Club overlooks the marina....
It's quite a cosmopolitan feel to the area around the marina which seems to set it apart from others that we have visited in the past....

While we were there we also walked out to the end of the harbour wall followed by a very nice meal before we set off back to Eva and the site....a journey taken by bus of course..
Part of Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina.


 We only stayed at the Canterbury site for one week which for us is the shortest time that we have stayed anywhere since we set off in 2015..... But is was a very enjoyable one week.

The day before we left a number of trucks arrived at the site loaded with tents and equipment....
Craig told us that it was an advance party of German youngsters over here to set up a summer camp for more youngsters who were due to arrive the day that we were leaving.....

We watched these youngsters set up the camp...errecting over 25 bell tents plus other tents for kitchen....meeting place....etc...
It was really impressive to watch all these tents go up in double quick time.... each of these young people knew exactly what they had to do with some puttimg down the groundsheets...others laying out the tents....others putting in the centre poles and still more pegging them out. 
It was just like a military operation and as I said it was very impressive to watch all these young people working together as a team..... It reminded me of when I was their age and in the Scouts something which I really enjoyed....

Mind you....with 80 plus youngsters all arriving for their summer camp I was pleased that we were on the move again....
Just half of the full circle of Bell tents for the Summer Camp


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Pantiles and Photos.....

Following our trip to Brighton another trip was planned by bus...this time just a few miles up the road to Royal Tunbridge Wells.....

I had never been there before and neither had Anne... I particularly wanted to visit the Pantiles area which is at the lower end of the town....
We decided that we would start at the top of the town and work our way down and finish with the Pantiles.

The town is really like two small towns in one... The upper part is more modern with all the usual shops that you expect to find in any British town. 
If shopping is your thing then you would enjoy a visit to the  Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre. 
It is not a huge shopping centre but it does have some very nice shops including a branch of Fenwick that also has a nice Terrace Restaurant......`

Working are way down the hill we couldn't resist checking out the various jewellers shops which all had some very nice watches and unusual jewellery on offer......

One thing we noticed was that there are some very nice parks in and around the town and they seem to be very popular with local office workers taking their lunch there..... It's nice to see the parks well cared for and also being enjoyed.......

Eventually we had worked our way down to the older section of the town and the Pantiles.....
Still lots of high end jewellery shops indicating both that this is quite a wealthy area and also that it has a high number of wealthy tourists......

A view of the Pantiles
 The Pantiles has a number of coffee shops and small bistro style businesses as well as pubs and is very much a popular 'cafe culture' area in the town.
I went back to the Pantiles a few days later on a Saturday and the whole area was packed with people sitting outside drinking coffee and much stronger beverages
Another view of the Pantiles
 One of the shops in the Pantiles was an independent camera shop that I couldn't resist visiting...
For some time now I have been thinking about getting a high quality compact camera.....
Over recent years I have gone from DSLR to CSC and a Fuji X-Pro but although each change has given me in the main a smaller camera I still find that due to their size I don't carry them with me on the off chance of a good shot often enough......
These days most of my shots are taken with my phone camera and although ok for the internet the quality is not there if I want to print out a larger print....

Years ago I had a Rollei 35s film camera that I used to carry around everywhere with me. It was a very neat little camera and it was capable of some very good quality shots......
Part of that quality was down to it's Zeiss Sonnar lens..... 

What I was looking for when I entered the shop was something similar in size to the Rollei but digital of course and capable of producing really good shots......

Over the past few moths I have been checking out 'Best Compact Travel Cameras' online and the Sony RX100 series keeps coming up time and time again.

Over the past five years or so Sony has updated the RX100 a number of times and the latest model is the RX100 VI. The thing though with Sony is that when they bring out a new model they keep the previous models still available....

The guy in the shop had a flow chart with each model on it and I used that to highlight my requirements and the model that would suit me best.....
Whichever way I used it, it kept bringing me back to the same model....the RX100 III so I bought one....
4K video and long telephoto were not high on my requirement list and the newer models have improvements in those areas hence the reason the RX100 III kept popping up as more suited to my needs and photographic style.....

I won't bore you with all the technical specs except that it measures just 101.6 x 58.1 x 41.0mm and it weighs in at 290g.
It has 20mp and a 1 inch sensor....... 
I have a little Ricoh CX1 camera that I have had for a number of years and the RX100 III is really no larger than that but a lot more advanced with the larger sensor and higher pixel count and many more fuctions and controls....

A number of the reviews that I have read online that were posted two or three years ago rated the Sony RX100 III "possibly the very best compact camera currently available".
As I said that was a few years ago and things move on rapidly in the photo tech world but I am pretty certain that it will still fullfil my requirements and needs pretty well.

It has been said that the best camera is the one that you have with you.... so with it's small size I am hoping that I will be carrying it everywhere just like I did with my old Rollei 35s....
Retro style camera case for the RX100 series

The two panels on the top plate are Flash in the middle & Pop Up EVF on the right.

Zeiss Vario Sonnar means a quality lens.

**NB: I have received no payment or incentive regarding my mention of this product.**

A step closer to what is normal........

Over this past week our campsite has taken a step closer to what we think of as normality...  The sign that was put out at the entrance to ...