Glengormley has needed a quality restaurant that caters for tastes other than India and Chinese for some time and at last it is here. The staff are wonderful and take an interest in the clientele. The menu is varied and changes dependent on time of day and day of week so you are covered for everything from a bacon butty to sea bass and prawns with garlic and chilli. We shared mixed breads with dips to start and then cod gougons with mushy peas for my wife and sea bass and prawns with garlic and chilli dip for me. these came with a choice of potatoes, ours garlic saute, and mixed vegetables. We washed it down with a very palatable Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Did not try the sweet menu but ended with an espresso. Bill £48.00. No complaints at all.
All posts by Michael Jackson
The annual BBQ for the CSCRD is now back in the diary. The sun shone on the righteous and all went well.
The proceedings opened at 2 p.m. with jugs of Pimms NO 1, poured into glasses, not each! The menu included stuffed herrings, tiger prawns in a spiced coconut marinade, rib-eye steaks in a whiskey marinade ribs and a selection of deserts made by the ladies.
As is common practice at our meetings the ladies and gents sections hold separate discussions and this avoids any dissention and we are able to solve the worlds problems.
Fortunately no minutes were kept, but I can report that we adjourned at approximately 9.0 p.m
Booked a table for Josephine s birthday this evening.
As usual Michael Deane’s Love Fish restaurant is top of the list. What I like about it is the smooth service with a touch of humour and great cuisine.
Starters were Jamesons and ginger and a Bombay and tonic and then on to the serious subject of food. The seared scallops with samphire, pancetta and garlic served in individual shells are to die for and the crevettes in garlic butter with sourdough take some beating.
We chose a bottle of 2012 Pecorino to accompany the meal and it has a perfect light touch that is just that bit more delicate than the Pinot Grigio that would have been my usual choice.
For mains Josephine took the fish pie and I the grilled salmon with Bombay potatoes and curry oil. We had a side of beef dripping chips. the latter are an indulgence not to be missed!
The fish pie is the best we have tasted. Not only is the filling a selection of fish with a light touch of sauce but the buttery mash topping is so light as to be melt in the mouth.
The grilled salmon has a light crust and the curry oil gives the Bombay potatoes a pleasant “kick”. A perfectly balanced combination.
The portions are balanced so that one can partake of three courses without feeling bloated so of course we chose the cheese, accompanied by a very palatable 10 year old port.
I am not one for chutneys so this accompaniment was lost on me but the “fromage de jour” was first class. In fact it was better than the selection that Josephine was serves a a birthday special.
To finish off I took the Bepi Tolosini grappa which is one of the smoothest I have had outside Italy.
Bill total including the 10% £140 of which £63.00 was drinks. Money well spent!!
We stopped for a day in Istanbul on our way back from Nepal.
What a contrast, wide dual carriageways lined with flower beds and central reservations crowded with daffodils and tulips.
The overall impression was of a modern and spectacularly clean city.
We were booked into the Amiral Palace Hotel, a stones throw from the Blue Mosque. This is a really nice “boutique” hotel and our only reservation was the size of the room. For an overnight, or possibly a couple of nights it was quite adequate but if one has a couple of cases and a few changes of clothes it is a bit tight. The staff were friendly and helpful and duty manager suggested that, as we were only in the city for one night we must take a Bosporus Dinner cruise.
After a stroll around the local souk we took a couple of hours nap and were then picked up by the minibus to take us to the jetty.
On arrival we were a little apprehensive as to how the evening would progress as we we were shown to a table the occupants of which were at least 30 years our junior. We need not have worried, there were three Algerians, three Moroccans, a couple of Indians and a lone Japanese/American lass, all of whom immediately made us welcome.
The dinner was very good with a choice of local fish or chicken as the main course and there were a couple of large glasses of wine included.
The cabaret also turned out to be quite a class act with a belly dancer providing the main turn.
There was not too much commentary on the passing sights but nobody really noticed. Altogether a very pleasant evening.
The next morning we walked up to the Blue Mosque an around the square before our taxi arrived to take us back to the Airport.
We will be back I’m sure.
If you just want the complete photo archive there is a link to the album at the end.
The post includes some photos most relevant to the text also, rather than fill the post with a host of details, I have inserted links to the relevant websites for the hotels and all the major attractions we visited. There are also some reviews on tripadvisor. Read on, or skip to the photo link!
My 70th birthday holiday was planned to fulfill two aim: the first to visit the homeland of the Gurkhas, with whom I served in Borneo in ’65/’66, and their Museum in Pokhara and, secondly, to go paragliding from Sarangkot. We abandoned a guided tour option and decided to to see how things would pan out flying to Kathmandu for a few days and then on to Pokhara and finally back to Kathmandu.
We flew Turkish Airlines from Dublin, via Istanbul and I would recommend them for service and efficiency. We arrived at 6.15 a.m. but it was nearly two hours clearing passport control and immigration.
Getting your visa is wild – Make sure you have two passport photos (there is a guy there who will take them on the spot – at a price), the right fee (preferably in US dollars) and are in the right queue for the period that you intend to stay in Nepal. Any deviation will mean joining another seemingly interminable line of travelers!
Having finally negotiated the carousel we were accosted by a taxi agent who, having commandeered a car, escorted us to the hotel, keeping up a barrage of information and insisting that he could arrange our whole stay in Nepal. Having arrived at the hotel, the Tibet International, we told him to come back that evening with a proposal.
Of course it being early morning we were unable to get a room and the manager suggested we visit the Boudhanath near the hotel, First though we visited the roof top restaurant for breakfast.
Our friendly tour guy returned in the evening with his boss Dinesh and we were driven to Thamel, the tourist hub of Kathmandu, to their offices, Osho VisionTrecks. Dinesh went through the various options and we finally agreed a programme for the whole of our stay including taxi excursions each day to the many historic sites, flight to view Everest, air transfers to and from Pokhara, paragliding from Sarangkot and final transfer back to Kathmandu international at the end – all in £800. It proved to be money very well spent.
Driving around the Kathmandu valley is like being conducted through a building site. With a few exceptions there doesn’t seem to be more than 500 metres of paved road before it becomes a bone rattling cart track and there are buildings in various states of renovation everywhere.
Our second day started at the World Heritage Site of Pashupatinath a Temple complex dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva and the venue for Hindu cremations which are conducted on a 24 hour, seven day week basis.
We spent some time touring the complex with the help of an unofficial guide who insisted that she was “just talking to us”. Only licensed guides are officially allowed on the site. The tour included visiting the old peoples home where some local dancers were entertaining the residents.
From here we moved on to Rudravarna Mahavihar, one of the oldest monasteries in Patan (Official name Lalitpur), the city of fine arts, and one of the three Royal Cities in Nepal. Reputedly over 1500 years old It was one of the most striking of the many buildings in Patan.
Just round the corner from this is a terracotta temple dating from 1585, the Mahabouddha, which has thousands of images of Buddha engraved into its surface. It was rebuilt in 1934 after being ruined in an earthquake but there were no original plans and there were enough bricks left over to build a small shrine to Maya Devi, Buddha’s mother.
From here it is a short journey to Patan Durbar Square, the hub of the city, full of ancient shrines, temples and monuments as well as the many local shops. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the entrance to the square and then acquired ourselves one of the official guides to take us round.
This was the last stop of the day and we returned to the hotel for dinner and a well earned rest.
The next morning we were collected at 6.30 a.m. for the short journey to the domestic airport for our excursion on the “Mountain Flyer”, an 19 seat Beechcraft 1900C, the flight along the Himalaya to view Everest from a unique angle. A really wonderful experience and for Josephine possibly the highlight of the whole trip.
After this experience we returned to the hotel for breakfast and a couple of hours recuperation and the we were off again to visit the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. It wasn’t until we were almost at the end that we discovered that, in 2001, the whole of the Nepalese royal family were murdered by the heir apparent after a family dispute. No photography is allowed in this modern relic of Nepalese politics.
From here we moved on to see the Buddha Park, a haven of peace,
before moving on to the “Monkey Temple” or Swayambhunath, a hilltop complex which, as you may gather from the name, is alive with holy monkeys. Do not attempt to eat ice cream anywhere in their vicinity as you will have it snatched from your hand as soon as you are distracted.
Of course being a temple there are a lot of steps, 365 to be exact, to negotiate! Apart from the central Stupa there are many smaller ones, the Herati Devi being dedicated to the goddess of smallpox and epidemics!
We took a late lunch and returned to the hotel to recuperate.
Next morning, my birthday, started with the staff at breakfast presenting me with a cake and ritual white scarf. Today was booked for Bhaktapur, about 15 kilometers from Kathmandu. It is the largest of the Newa towns and was capital of Nepal during the latter half of the 15th century ,
The drive to get there was somewhat interesting as, apparently the direct route was closed so we had to make a detour
Our taxi driver had organised his younger brother, a registered tourist guide, to escort us. He was not only knowledgeable but spoke perfect English which mad the whole experience more enjoyable.
Bhaktapur is similar to Patan but on a much larger scale and it was as much the people,
that provided some of the most memorable experiences.
Water is still drawn form wells.
Animals are still sacrificed to the Hindu Gods in Nepal and entrails may be hung on the temple.
A custom that would definitely be frowned upon in the west is the practice of covering a baby in mustard oil and putting he, or she, out in the sun to darken the skin.
Apparently the more modern mothers now us baby oil instead of mustard oil!!
Whilst in Bhaktapur we visited a Thanka Painting school and ended up buying a Mandala, or Circle of Life painting. I have admired them for years in various parts of the Far East but watching them being painted finally convinced me I needed one!
We finally left the wonders of this amazing town and headed for hilltop village of Nagarkot for a late lunch. The clouds made getting a good photo difficult but the views across the valleys were worth the journey, as was the lunch.
And that was another day over.
Our last day in Kathmandu was spent in the city area. We passed some terrace housing on our way the Hanuman Dhoka
situated on the Eastern side of
the Kathmandu Durbar square. This is the gateway to the Royal Palaces which house the Kathmandu museum.
The square itself has the usual collection of temples and a large statue of Kala Bhairav or the Lord Shiva in his frightening aspect
And thus ended the first phase of our holiday
Next morning we took the Simrik Airlines Beech 1900 flight to Pokhara.
This is a half hour flight which can be a little bumpy at times, but one hardly notices it as there are some spectacular views out of the windows.
Having landed and collected our baggage we were met by our taxi man who would be our guide for this stage of the holiday.
We drove off to our hotel, or so we thought. Thirty five minutes later we arrived at a parking area alongside a couple of fairly shabby hotels. Josephine’s comment was, “what have you brought me to!!” However, it turned out to be the way to the Begnas Lake mooring point where our ferry was waiting to take us to the resort.
Twenty five minutes later we had our first view of the Begnas Lake Resort.
What nobody had told us and did not seem to appear anywhere on TripAdvisor is that there are 109 steps up from the landing stage to the Reception. Nor did it mention that from Reception to the road there are 274 steps up!! Do not let this deter you, the service and the food are beyond reproach.
Our room, number 33, had a large bath,
and a large bed
and not a bad view from the balcony
After settling in we thought we would try the steps up to the top road which turned out to take us thirty minutes with stops for breath at each bench, about 50 steps apart. By the time we left we had it down to 10 minutes!!
That was enough for one day so we repaired to the bar for a well earned beer.
The bar boy turned out to be a Liverpool supporter – not that you’d ever guess!
Suitably exhausted we retired for the night.
Day seven was scheduled to take in the Gurkha museum and to go paragliding from Sarangkot and our ferry back to Begnas Bazaar and our taxi was booked for 7.30 am.
We visited a Hindu shrine on the way
and then the land rover picked me up for the trip to Sarangkot. They did not mention a this point that the last 750 metres to the take off zone had to be made on foot. This was a near vertical climb which, even if I had had a camera with me, I would have been too knackered to use!!
My reply to the “flight marshal’s” query, ” Are you sure you are OK?” was ” I made it didn’t I!”
And so my pilot, connected me up and we took off
It was a pity that the weather was not better as we did not get the stunning views of the mountains as a backdrop but the climb up to 2400 metres into the cloud base was something else. As was the descent. As seen on the video which follows:
And we landed safely without incident.
From here we drove back into Pokhara and visited the Gurkha Memorial Museum.
This is really worth a visit even if you do not have the interest that I have. The section on the Borneo campaign was particularly relevant to me.
From here we went to a Nepalese fast food restaurant where the order of the day is a Thali Set, which is a combination plate for which one can get unlimited refills. Meal for three at less that £5.00!
And so back to the resort.
The next day we visited the world peace pagoda, see the first picture. As usual this involved climbing a long way up and even longer down.
We decided that, given the state of the approach road it would be better to walk down to where the tarmac started!
Having negotiated this we called in at a local supermarket and picked up a couple of bottles of wine and then had lunch at another establishment that served the Thali.
From here we went to the Devi Falls. As a tourist attraction I found it a little disconcerting to discover that the name is derived from the fact that a girl of this name drowned whilst swimming on one of the pools.
From here we visited the Tibetan refugee reservation where, amongst other enterprises, they have a carpet weaving workshop. Needless to say we now have a hand made runner on our landing.
The following day was planned for the paragliding experience and
The next day, sitting on the breakfast terrace, the morning view of Annapurna appearing out of the mist was an experience not to be missed.
The view changes from minute to minute and occasionally one get the reflected view in the lake.
We then decided that we would spend the rest of our time at the resort walking in the surrounding area rather than bouncing around in a taxi. Also, although the weather was pleasant at around 23º – 25ºC the cloud base was too low to provide classic sunrise/sunset views from Sarangkot.
We had some stunning views and also some insight into local life.
The three pictures here are of one of two girls who spent each day moving boulders about 60 yards to a building site. They carried about three boulders per load! The loader varied between this woman and a man. When not carrying their loads they could be seen chatting away on their mobile phones.
The came across all sorts of occupations as we went along:
National Grid engineers
Sweetcorn de huskers
And of course there is the local Co-op
We also encountered some of the smaller local life
On our final day in Pokhara we took the paddle boat to the Tal Barahi Temple on Lake Fewa
It is great spot for just sitting and watching the world go by
We flew back to Kathmandu to spend our last two days at the Gokrana Forest Resort, a complex a few kilometers out of the city and, as the name suggest, set a Forest reserve. there is a championship golf course attached but I did not take up the challenge.
In fact we spent the two days lounging around in the grounds watching the monkeys and getting a massage prior to the flight home. It is an excellent hotel with helpful staff and wonderful food. The security guards carry catapults rather than guns!!
And so ended two great weeks of exotic sights, sounds and smells.
See the photos at Google + The header picture for the post is the 15th century carved wooden Peacock Window in Bhaktapur, known locally as the Mona Lisa of Nepal.
Just the place to relax. Apart from the taxi not being at Dalaman airport which was a bit of a letdown we had a pretty uneventful journey to this beautiful bay to the south of Fethiye.
Ölüdeniz has most things one could want. A plethora of restaurants and bars, sunshine and friendly local populace.
Our idea was to laze about and take a few excursions and meet up with an old friend who has a apartment in Üzümlü, a pretty mountain village about 40 minutes on the bus from Fethiye.
We duly booked to visit The Saklikent Gorge and Tlos, an ancient Lycian Citadel on one day and also a two day excursion to Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and Pamukkale where Cleopatra was reputed to have taken the hot springs and St Philip was martyred.
The great thing about Turkey, apart from the weather and the food, is it’s wealth of history.
Of course there had to be another distraction! Ölüdeniz is a centre for paragliding, due to a 2000 metre mountain directly behind the town and reputedly the best thermals in Europe.
The sky is full of parachutes from dawn to dusk. Needless to say I got hooked on the idea and had to give it a try. The most hair-raising part of the whole adventure was the ride to the take off platform in a minibus. Once that was over the walking off the the edge of the mountain was a doddle!! The 25 minute descent was just mind blowing. Click the photo for the video experience.
10 December 2013
Another fairly short missive this year. It has been as eventful as ever but once again I have failed miserably to allow for the fact that it has been a lot shorter than last year. This has resulted in December taking me by surprise and leaving me little time to marshal facts and figures.
I am also trying to work out how, having reduced my working week to Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays, I seem to have less time to do all the things that, in previous years, I managed to get done over the weekend.
The most notable event of the year was probably our youngest son, Peter, finally managing to climb onto the housing ladder and moving into his apartment in May. It is quite amazing that, from a constantly full washing machine we now are lucky to make up a couple of loads a week.
On the recommendation of a dear friend, whom I first met in Corfu whilst on the Greek Interpreters Course in ‘73, and had only met up with once since, we went to Marmaris for a week in April. Barbarra bussed up from Fethiye for a day and persuaded us to visit Ölüdeniz which, she assured us, was a much better place to holiday. We dutifully took the 4 bus day excursion and were so impressed we booked for ten days in October. In the meantime I signed up for a basic Turkish course. Never thought I’d see the day!! It is also the best place to sample Doner Kebabs since I was in the Old City in Famag’.
It turned out that Ölüdeniz is one of the most popular centres for paragliding in Europe and watching them glide down and land along the esplanade gave me one of those; “I could do that, couldn’t I?” moments.
Josephine told me if I wanted to just stop talking about it to go and do it… so I did! It was an unbelievable experience, walking of a 2200 metre mountain and spending half an hour floating above the sand and sea. Definitely hooked and will be up again at the earliest opportunity.
Apart from this we found Turkey to be most hospitable with friendly people and a wealth of history and all at a remarkably economic price.
In June we made another duty trip to the Isle of Wight. The last time we were there was in 2000 to scatter my mother’s ashes on the downs at St Catherine’s. This time it was to scatter my last remaining relative’s ashes in Niton Churchyard. The one thing one can guarantee about the IOW is that nothing will have changed and it will remain firmly planted in the ‘50s. My Brother in Law had never been so we did the whole tourist thing. Picture is Old Shanklin.
This August was the 400th anniversary of the oldest Fair in Ireland. With a couple of exceptions it has been held every year in Killorglin, Co Kerry. The format is that on day one a Goat is crowned King of the Town and put high above the main square where he reigns for three days whilst the townsfolk indulge in a horse fair, cattle fair, and a myriad of street events. The Bars licensed for music until 4a.m. On the third day the goat is brought down and de-crowned and it is all wrapped up with a huge firework display
Apart from this Josephine has been busy with her walking groups and beading classes and I have continued to attempt to maintain my handicap at the same level. Even playing twice a week this is becoming ever more difficult. Still it keeps the joints moving.
And so another year draws to a close and we are still in the land of the living and in relatively good health so we wish you a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2014
REME J L U Reunion
20th September 2013
Birmingham Radisson Hotel
Programme of Events
Arrive pm 20th September 2013-06-26
Dinner Reception 1900 hrs Banquet Hall Reception
1945 hrs – Dinner
Menu :See Appendix “A”
2130 After Dinner Presentation and Speakers Corner.
“The most embarrassing moment in life”
3 Guest Speakers
Retire to the Bar.
10.30 A trip to the Military Arboretum Stafford.
1300 Pub Lunch
Afternoon free tour around Birmingham Canal Wharf Area
Very worthwhile and interesting event.
1900 Dinner Canal Bistro Restaurant for those who stay over.
Information about the Hotel, Area and BOOKING INFORMATION:
12 Holloway Circus Queensway – B1 1BT – Birmingham
|Rebecca SmithMeetings and Events SupervisorT: +44 (0) 121 654 6000,D: +44 (0) 121 654 6000F: +44 (0) 121 654 6004
Radisson Blu HotelBirmingham
Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £112 BB
Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £121 BB
Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £102 BB per room per night
Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £111 BB per room per night
Birmingham Canals provide a great place for holidaymakers to explore the city in an unorthodox way. While in the past they have been primarily used for industry, the canals now welcome visitors with guided tours and boat hire.
To explore the city centre of Birmingham, visitors to the city will need a quality hotel in Birmingham city centre. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham offers guests their choice of 211 comfortable hotel rooms and suites, each decorated in one of the hotel’s three themes.
History of Birmingham’s canals
The navigable portions of the Birmingham Canals stretch over 100 miles throughout the city and the Black Country. Originally built in the 18th century, these canals formed an essential conduit for raw materials to reach the industrial stronghold of Birmingham. In its heyday, the Birmingham canal network contained 160 miles of usable waterways.
These days, the city has transformed what once was almost exclusively for the use of industry into a viable tourist attraction. The network’s hub has traditionally been near Gas Street Basin and guests can still visit the area for boating tours or just to see the immaculately restored examples of craft that used to be common on the canals.
Travel the Birmingham Canals from a city-centre hotel
Located just minutes away fromGasStreetBasin, the main junction of theBirminghamCanals, the Radisson Blu Hotel,Birmingham will be perfect for excursions to the waterways. This hotel inBirmingham connects visitors to all great local attractions and events venues, including the nearby Make Reservation
PLEASE ADVISE EITHER ALLAN OR BARRY WHEN YOU BOOK THE HOTEL.
Another milestone reached. Josephine’s 70th on Sunday. “Quiet” family affair followed by high tea at the Oregano. Great day.
Couple more photos for this archive – 2 Squadron from August 81 and the Karting combo of Andy and Anne Livesley and Bob Hodges. Anne won best novice that year in the BAOR championships.