Update

Jillgirl has her surgery tomorrow and we are confident that there’ll be no big problems, but wouldn’t mind an occasionally crossed finger or two.

If all goes as planned we’ll be discharged from hospital on friday and I hope I can reactivate this blog for good sometimes next week. New posts are lingering in my mind for several weeks now and just wait to get written.

Sorry for the delay, but you know, priorities 🙂

Advertisements
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote something in this blog. I’m sorry about this delay and I’d be the first to wish it were otherwise. Our daily life was a bit rough the last couple of months and we’re still busy to sort everything out.

First, Jillgirl , though an overall healthy and happy girl, has some medical issues to be taken care of. She already had surgery when she was two weeks old and even if it was only a minor intervention she had to undergo general anaesthesia. The problem fixed then has unfortunately returned and my little girl needs another surgery, scheduled for the middle of january. All the examinations and worrying took quite some time and loads of energy.

Second, as it sometimes happens, financial commitments piled up unluckily and quite suddenly we found ourselves in a comparatively tight spot and are now fighting to make ends meet.

Third, and last, our marriage hit some rough waters and currently we’re struggling to keep the boat afloat. I guess it will be sorted out soon, either way.

But all this prevented me from writing happy and light holiday posts, searching for fitting pictures and finding funny incidents to blog about.

However, hope remains and so I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or whatever you’re doing to celebrate the winter solstice, and a very Happy New Year!

Take care!

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Short Delay

Jillgirl, currently 7 months old, is heavily teething and appropriately grumpy. We cuddle very much and I try to distract her from her pain all day and night long. It’s very tiring for both of us, too tiring for me to write new posts.

I hope that this trying time is over soon.

Stay tuned 🙂

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Wishing Well

The well at Carisbrooke Castle is donkey-driven and quite an attraction. The donkeys working there all have names beginning with the letter J: Jill, Jigsaw, Jack and Jimbob.

Jill was “our” donkey and she did a great job, just like her keeper who explained how the well worked. At the end of the presentation he told the audience that every now and then the well is cleaned and he listed the things found:

  • coins, lots of
  • mobile phones
  • watches
  • cameras

aaaaaand

  • 2 dentures

That’s the proof how jaw-dropping the donkey performance is!

Posted in Oddities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carisbrooke Castle

Sorry for the delay, I was a bit under the weather the last couple of days and Halloween additionally stole quite a big part of my time 🙂

—————————-

DSCN6359

If you ever happen to find yourself on the Isle of Wight, do yourself a favour and visit Carisbrooke Castle, especially with children in tow.

DSCN6364

The castle is old but mainly in good order. Only the keep and some side houses are in ruins but this just adds to the flair.

DSCN6371

The place has a long and rich history, though the main attraction nowadays are surely the donkeys. They have stables in the courtyard and a large meadow nearby, although they have to work for it.

DSCN6475

Their hard labour consists of treading the well wheel up to four times a day for two minutes each (outrageous!) and get heavily petted by the visitors (torture for sure!).

DSCN6404

For little (and big) explorers the walkway gives a great view of the castle and the surrounding landscape.

DSCN6365

Princess Beatrice lived there for the greater part of her life and enjoyed a wonderful garden which was recently rebuilt with the generous help of a private donor.

DSCN6394

There is a Café in the castle which offers organic and self-made food. We had carrot cake and egg and cress sandwich and they were truly delicious!

Costs:

Adult: Gift Aid Price £ 8.80 (Non-Gift Aid Price £ 8.00)
Child (5-15 years): Gift Aid Price £ 5.30 (Non-Gift Aid Price £ 4.80)

I strongly recommend the Oversea Visitors Pass, a one-price entrance ticket to all English Heritage properties valid for either 9 or 16 consecutive days. Depending on the properties you visit it will pay off after 3 to 4 sites (e.g. Battle Abbey, Stonehenge and Old Sarum with a 9 day single pass, double or family pass with even greater savings).

Opening times:

3 November 2014 – 15 February 2015:
Saturday + Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

16 February – 20 February 2015:
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

21 February – 29 March 2015:
Saturday + Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

Summer opening times for 2015 not published yet, please check their web page.

Accessibility: medium, several steps, grounds suitable for prams and wheelchairs

Restrooms: In the central courtyard

Pro: 

  • Donkeys
  • Princess Beatrice Garden
  • Donkey-driven well
  • Great view over Isle of Wight

Con:

  • Mainly outdoors

Our Age Recommendation: 0

Rating: 5 out of 5 donkeys.

Posted in Site-seeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Wardour Castle

While skimming through our new bible, the English Heritage guidebook, we found a site that looked ideal for exploration. It’s a bit offside the main routes, but we had time and were eager to see the English landscape on the way.

DSCN6283

The streets were getting narrower and more than once I was sure we got lost, but every time only seconds afterwards we found one of the little English Heritage signs pointing towards our destination. Right in the middle of a dense forest we finally found it. Only one other car was parked there and considering the drive I wasn’t really surprised.

DSCN6287

The castle, even if it is in ruins, is simply beautiful. Luckily, there is enough left to see complete rooms and even climb up to the third floor. Large displays explain the use of the rooms and how they used to look. Free audio guides give you additional information while walking through the castle.

DSCN6298

The look from the uppermost floor is just great and New Wardour Castle can be glimpsed between the treetops.

newwardour

A short walk over the lawn and along the lake, just right at the Banqueting house you can see the castle in all its ruined glory.

DSCN6337

Behind the castle is an artificial grotto, not very big, but interesting all the same.

grotto

Costs:

Adult £ 4.20
Child (5-15 yrs) £ 2.50

I strongly recommend the Oversea Visitors Pass, a one-price entrance ticket to all English Heritage properties valid for either 9 or 16 consecutive days. Depending on the properties you visit it will pay off after 3 to 4 sites (e.g. Battle Abbey, Stonehenge and Old Sarum with a 9 day single pass, double or family pass with even greater savings).

Opening times:

1 October – 2 November 2014:
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

1 November 2014 – 29 March 2015:
Saturday + Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

Summer opening times for 2015 not published yet, please check their web page.

Accessibility: medium, several steps, grounds suitable for prams and wheelchairs

Restrooms: At the Banqueting house

Pro: 

  • Big castle to explore
  • Large grounds for running around or picnics
  • Grotto
  • Changeful history

Con:

  • Mainly outdoors

Our Age Recommendation: 0

Rating: 5 out of 5 castle ghosts.

Posted in Site-seeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Sarum

Stonehenge may be iconic, but mainly it is small. Definitely not a place to spend a whole day there, especially with the nice british weather. Conveniently, another English Heritage site is just around the corner: Old Sarum.

DSCN6267

And old it is. 5000 years, give or take a few. All of the buildings are in ruins, very much to Johnboy’s delight who climbed the low walls and ran around the courtyard.

DSCN6273

Next to the Fort are the remains of the Cathedral.

DSCN6275

The church was destroyed and moved to nearby Salisbury almost a millennium ago, so nowadays only the foundations and parts of the crypt can be seen.

DSCN6281

The pics may not convey it, but this site is a nice little place to explore.

Costs:

Adult £ 4.00
Child (5-15 years) £ 2.40

I strongly recommend the Oversea Visitors Pass, a one-price entrance ticket to all English Heritage properties valid for either 9 or 16 consecutive days. Depending on the properties you visit it will pay off after 3 to 4 sites (e.g. Battle Abbey, Stonehenge and Old Sarum with a 9 day single pass, double or family pass with even greater savings).

Opening times:

1 October – 31 October 2014:
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:00

1 November 2014 – 29 March 2015:
Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:00

Summer opening times for 2015 not published yet, please check their web page.

Accessibility: easy, some steps, suitable for prams, wheelchair access possible with some assistance.

Restrooms: At the car park.

Pro: 

  • A castle where real knights and kings lived
  • It’s really old
  • Nice view of Salisbury

Con:

  • Outdoors

Our Age Recommendation: 0

Rating: 4 out of 5 stone heaps.

Posted in Site-seeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment