Thursday, 17 June 2010

Back at Malvern

Retained from the Malvern Spring Garden Show - the symbolic
25th Anniversary Garden

Home from our Irish visit (over 1,000 miles by car and coach - and sea), we had a one-day turn-around and hit the road again early this morning, headed once more for the Malvern Showground. This time it's for the 'Three Counties Show' - the "best of British food, farming and rural life" and now one of the largest agricultural shows in the country, particularly since the demise of 'The Royal'. All Malvern shows are business generators, helping to boost the rural economy, within the three counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, though visitors are drawn from far and wide. Evidently the annual regional impact of Showground activity amounts to a staggering £35m.

Build-up to the Show

I've managed to obtain a preview copy of the Show Catalogue - the Show doesn't actually start until tomrrow (Friday) and runs until Sunday. Raymond is out and about taking pics of the final build-up whilst I sit in the quiet press room with wi-fi facility. If I remember to bring all my gear with me, I will endeavour to update you on the main attractions, for with fine weather forecast for all three days, I can see we will be enjoying ourselves, as well as working.

Better still of course - if you are sufficiently local - is to come along and see for yourself. Opening hours each day are from 8.00am until 6.00pm. There are gardens to view even though the show is not devoted to gardening: the 25th Anniversary Garden has been retained, but also the Morgan-sponsored garden (Morgan being local to Malvern). I am sure Raymond still hankers after his own sportscar - the one he owned when we both met, 53 years ago this summer; it was a 1932 Aston Martin Le Mans, and he swapped it for me! Or at least he sold it so we could afford to get married.

Also retained from the Spring - the Morgan Garden

Tomorrow, we anticipate a long day; so much to see and do: regional food and drink, parades in the main arena, hot air balloons, Red Devils parachuting; the farming village; country sports and pursuits; country living, including 'Ambridge' for BBC Archers fans - which takes me back to student days when we were taught 'broacasting' by the original Carol Tregorren (1954-1957); arts and crafts; medieval village; and innumerable breeds of livestock.

Awaiting visitors, with the stunning backdrop of the Malvern Hills

And as 'Goodwood' will be here again selling their delicious mouthwatering burgers, guess where I will be heading for lunch tomorrow ?!! (see post of 8th May, 2010).

I could not close without posting this lovely shot of alliums that Raymond took for me in the 25th Anniversary Garden (see top pic also), because a) he rarely takes such shots without me asking him, and b) it's unusual that he knew what they were!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Still in Ireland

Hello from a very green and alternately sunny and wet Ireland. We have just driven from the north (Belfast) to the south (Dublin) through heavy rain and are enjoying a welcome cup of tea in our new campsite with access to WiFi and work over for the week though much still to do. We have been introduced to so many fascinating places and people and I plan to post more about our visit in due course. For the moment I just want to say 'thankyou' to the many generous organisations who sponsored the event, which was hosted by the Caravan Writers' Guild.

From the Wicklow Mountains to the Giant's Causeway, we were feted and fed and were privileged to be given access to places that are otherwise not open to the public. One such I want to share with all readers is that which we visited yesterday: the Titanic Experience. Set within the former shipyard of shipbuilders, Harland & Wolff - where of course the Titanic was built - most is in fact accessible, though additionally we were shown into the very room where the fated ship was designed.

The picture  at the start of this posting (taken from an old poster) shows the sheer size of the Titanic; the shot immediately above is of the dry dock where the ship was fitted out and made ready for the launch. Just visible on the left is the old Pump House which controlled the flow of water in and out of the dry dock. It now houses the shop and a restaurant where we were served delicious soup and freshly made sandwiches.

This is the very spot from whence the Titanic was launched down the slipway into Belfast Lough in 1912. My notes are packed away (I'm sitting in the cab of the motorhome to lap-tap this) so please forgive the lack of information. The whole shipyard area is undergoing a reformation with a new visitor centre which will be opened in 2012, one-hundred years from the ship's maiden voyage and subsequent sad demise with such a terrible loss of life. Were it not for that iceberg, today's dockyard regeneration might never have been.

I found the experience poignant and moving and took some unusual photos which will appear within my  'Irish Rhapsody' travel journal - for an update on that, please move over to my journaling blog which I will update shortly (the WiFi here is none too good and it's taking ages to upload photos.) I must thank many friends for emails to which I cannot reply - so sorry, but my laptop is set up to receive but not to send. In fact it has taken so long to write this post that we are now enjoying an 'apple aperitif', and it's time to prepare a motorhome supper.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Wonders of Modern Technology

I am in limbo for a couple of hours; afloat on the Irish Sea between Holyhead and Dublin, and able to blog courtesy of free WiFi on the 'Stena Adventurer'. The sea is as calm as the proverbial millpond; the sun has broken through the haze and we are looking forward to our  'Irish Rhapsody'.

The map above should have been posted on my Journaling blog, for I created it for the title page of the travel journal I am making whilst we are in Ireland with the Caravan Writers' Guild. The map was printed on tracing paper and stitched over a scan of an old sheet of music. I won't go into the technicalities of how it will be integrated into the page - that's for Journaling the Journal; but it will be similar to the last post on journaling at Malvern. I'll post about Ireland again whenever I have WiFi access. Right now I am waiting to catch my first glimpse of the Irish coast and Dublin's 'fair city'.