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JollyDays in Blackpool with Colin & Mags - July 2011

For many of our group it was their first time to visit Blackpool and, although we had mixed weather, everyone said by the end of the week that they would love to return.

We stayed at a beautiful "Leisure Village", just outside Blackpool and not only did we have extremely good accommodation but we were able to experience great entertainment every night.

We ventured into Blackpool most days and spent alot of time enjoying the activities on the piers, including rides on the Dodgems and Big Wheel. When we were not enjoying a lunch on the front it was time for an ice cream. The men enjoyed a challenge at the crazy golf and everyone enjoyed looking around the shops.

The highlight of the week had to be a visit to the Blackpool Ballroom. Many of us not only enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere in the great hall but were able to experience a dance to the organist who was playing the grand "Wurlitzer".

During the week we dined out in a several country pubs, managed a BBQ between the showers and finished the week in a very nice Chinese restaurant.

Most nights we ended up in the village entertainment bar dancing into the early hours and one night we were entertained by a very good female singer, Caroline Lowe, and a male Comedian called Frankie Allen.

Later in the week we timed our customary game of 10-pin bowling to counter the wet weather.

I am sure that many of our holiday-makers will look to re-visit Blackpool again in the future !!!

Our first day out in Blackpool...

Time for a cuddle...

A walk around our accommodation...

Michael checks out the horses...

New friends on the dance floor...

It's Mags' Birthday!!!

Some rides are for watching...

Getting ready for a bumpy ride!

Michelle bags a prize...

Thumbs up for Blackpool...

Not sure about the locals...

Having a good time...

Jonathan shows off his moves on the dance floor...

Concentrating on the 4th Hole...

The Grand Tower Ballroom in Blackpool...

Doreen has the right steps in the Ballroom...

Our night out at Bowling...

Everyone likes a Chinese meal...

Latitude with Derek & Wendy - July 2011

The first of many more trips to the family oriented festival was a complete success.

Forget the concerns over the weather, we managed to dodge the showers and breathe in the air at Latitude, Suffolk.

We found our comfortable bungalows overlooking Oulton Broad and settled in for the next four nights. It was a great base for our festival experience, in a picturesque area and a very pleasant club house. As usual we nipped off to a nice restaurant on our first night.

The first day of the festival was blessed with a dry sunny day. We took full advantage and set off early to enjoy the atmosphere as much as possible. Passing rainbow sheep on the way, we made our way to the Sunrise Arena and enjoyed our very first experience of live music in a beautiful woodland setting. We organised ourselves on our waterproof matting and just relaxed. That seemed to be the order of the day! Picnic lunch was soon on the cards, as it was on another day at the festival. The bands were fantastic and it was a good start to Latitude. We explored further as the day went on and familiarised ourselves some of the other areas around. It was so busy, but also comfortable. The festival grounds seemed to go on and on. There was more food stalls than you could count and of every variety. We visited the Literary Arena and chilled listening to a budding author reading from one of his early novels. The Comedy Arena was mobbed, so we didn’t get the chance to be involved with the fun unfortunately. We moved on and visited the World Arena and watched other acts and danced along with the music. It was good to have a wide choice of food stalls as we were going to have our dinner there too. Off to the Obelisk Arena to watch KT Tunstall before deciding nearly nine hours at the festival was enough for our first day. We decided to head home to our club house too rest and look forward to day two.

We awoke to a miserable day. Therefore it was decided to make our way to Great Yarmouth and have a game of 10 pin bowling. Amber was the top shot! There is hardly a holiday, it seems, where we don’t get a game or two in! Off home for a late lunch and then those that wished to, went for a swim before setting off for the evening at Latitude. The weather improved vastly, but of course it was rather muddy. Trying to park our minibus was fun....we managed to get stuck in the mud and needed some assistance to get out before finding a dry area to park. We were off to the main arena, The Obelisk Arena, to wait for Paolo Nutini. Apart from enjoying other groups, it was well worth the wait and we stayed late into the night. Off home we went to get some sleep for day three at Latitude.

Again, we headed off early to make the most of day three. The weather was very changeable, but overall sunny with intermittent showers. It didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the festival and we happily found cover when the rain fell. True British spirit! Our first stop of the day allowed us to watch a dance troupe rehearsing for their performance later in the day. It was a very nice location, set over the lake. We wandered on from there and made straight for the official festival merchandising stall to buy tee shirts and other memorabilia. On from there we visited the Poetry Arena and thoroughly enjoyed some of the readings. Some were extremely funny. We had a nice time and it really made a change to listen to poetry. We wandered on and took in more of the music and had another picnic. During the day we said goodbye to both Amber and Caroline. After they both went, we decided to go back to Oulton and get refreshed for dinner and a game or two of pool at the club house.

Our last day and we were off home after our usual full breakfast. Also, as usual, we didn’t head straight home. There was still plenty of time to enjoy a day together. Off we went to Ely and visited the lovely city where we marvelled at the cathedral and the immense size of such a structure in what appears quite a small city. Looking for a nice place for lunch, we found ourselves down at the Maltings. We came across a very nice restaurant overlooking the waterways. Unfortunately after lunch we had to make our way home. It was sad, but what a great time we all had at Latitude.

Thanks to Colin, Amber, Caroline, Robin, Robert, Mikey & Christine for making our first venture to Latitude the great success that it was!!

The remainder of our group enjoying a trip to Ely before heading home.

Pool at our club house in Oulton.

Robin proudly presenting his new tee-shirt.

Rainbow sheep.

The rain can't dampen our spirits!

Picnic in the park.

Rehearsal time for the dance troup.

I need a push!

Happily waiting for the next group.

We even find time to go bowling!

Lake view.

Rockin' to the band.

Inside stage.

Main stage.

KT Tunstall on stage.

What's on next?

Food City!!

It's getting crowded!

Literature stage.

Stage in the woods.

Happily waiting for the next band.

Seasoned festival goers!

Wander in the woods.

Painting & Drawing in France with Derek & Pat - July 2011

Another fantastic week at Sorrus! We had the luxury of a fabulous gite for the second year running. The art sessions that are run by Peter Wyatt are really worthwhile and very enjoyable. Everyone, including Pat, managed to paint their own style on canvas of a vase of flowers. As you can see, same subject, but with an individual stamp on each one! Well done to all. I’m sure that they will be hung on an appropriate wall for the appreciation of all. Excellent work!! As it was themed as an art holiday, we even managed to visit an art show in St Valery, where Bruce was more than miffed that we were only painting a bunch of flowers hahaha
As usual the rest of our holiday varied from day to day. We had a lovely picnic by the river in Beussent, where Eugennie decided to test the water for temperature, which I can assure you was not too warm! Naturally a visit to the chocolate factory was called for......if only they would shut the doors for a few hours!!
We played table tennis at home, where Bruce was a marvellous ball boy for Pat & Eugennie. As the weather was fine we managed three evenings with the BBQ. Several times we ate out and enjoyed the local restaurants, with their great hospitality.
Back at home, when the weather was less than sunny, we even played a couple of games of scrabble. I must remember not to play with Pat & Trisha, as their home rules are different to mine....hence, I lost!
On another day we visited the aquarium in Boulogne. It is fantastic. We spent quite a few happy hours there and watched the seals getting fed as well as seeing the penguins. Bruce managed to stroke a ray and we all thoroughly enjoyed the displays of marine life.
We visited the coast at Hardelot and also at Le Touquet. We bumped into our friends Laurence with his family and their new puppy....a Cockerdoodle. How lovely was that!!!
Travelling through the villages was wonderful too, as they have the most wonderful flower beds. They are rated for their blooms. As usual we managed to make plenty of stops for ice creams & drinks at cafes along the way.
On the way home we visited the market at Le Touquet before heading for our usual spot at the Brasserie on board ship.
It was a really good week and our thanks go not only to Eugennie, Trisha & Bruce for being such good company, but also to Peter for his enthusiasm and skill in showing us all how we can all create a painting to be proud of.

Derek & Pat

Cheers. It's almost time to say goodbye.

Our last stop in Le Touquet market before hitting the homeward bound journey.

Tickled pink!

Pick up a penguin......

Feeding time.

There's something fishy around here.....

Our beautiful gite.

Four very satisfied artists!!

Nearly the finished articles.

Now, do I need to add anything else to my masterpiece??

Midway stage

Mmmmmmm.....not just one, but two chocolate eclairs!

Now, why didn't we have a model to paint??

Ok, so what do we do next??

Chocolate heaven!!!!

Not a bad place to work.....plenty of chocs

Anyone for table tennis?

One of several BBQ's

It's a do do

Brrrrr......that was cold!

First night out