In which an ageing climber comes to terms with life closer to the ground.

6/3/2014

Looking for a home in Northumberland

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 8:26 am

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A view from the road back to Rothbury from Anlwick in January

Lynne had had enough of continual travel and wanted a home so we started the process of finding one by taking a holiday house in Netherton Northumberland for six weeks. We looked at many and got to know the local towns. We found a house and are trying to buy it. Pete and Haley, Omo and Kate and Lena and Tom came to visit us and we had some nice weekends.

Over the Christmas holiday in Dunbar I had got too keen on running and my hip became very very painful. So painful that I started French lessons and reading the Harry potter novels in French. Thinking back it must have really been hurting as that is extreme behaviour.


Some Photographs

1/1/2014

Christmas near Dunbar

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 3:50 pm
On the beach at Christmas

On the beach at Christmas

We had missed last Christmas with the family as we had been in New Zealand. Lynne and I booked the house. There were a lot of comments about how close to the A1 it was. It was very close but it is not very busy when you get that far north and the house was quiet. We were close to the sea and we had some cold sunny days. We walked around the perimeter of the Torness power station and were impressed by the concrete block defences. I ran a lot during the week and have had problem with my hip ever since. The house was nice and we had an enjoyable Christmas. Tom, Omo and Adee spent some time there which was good.

The photographs

20/12/2013

Winter in England

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 4:45 pm

Walk Derwent water

Sun rise reflected under the bridge at Ladybower

On arriving back in England after driving from Gozo we visited Sarah and family in their, new to us, house. We then went to see Al and Annie in Wimbledon. We then spent time with Judy and my parents before Christmas.

I took photographs when walking on Wimbledon Common with Al

And a

Walk near the Derwent reservoir with Lynne

29/11/2013

Christmas shopping in Siena

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 3:46 pm

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Florence or Siena? We were told by that those who know if you only have a few days Siena could be the better option. We booked a B&B on-line. When we arrived we went around the city a couple of times trying to find the address we had been given. It is a walled city and it eventually dawned on us that our address was inside the walls and entry was expensive and difficult. We parked outside and carried our cases in.

The photographs

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27/11/2013

An empty Pompei

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 11:17 am

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I last went to Pompei fifty years ago. I remember it being crowded and hot. I also remember not being allowed into the brothel. This time it was cold and empty we were nearly the only people there. We were there nearly from dawn to dusk. With no people there we got the real feel for the place and it was easy to take photographs.

I kept thinking as we walked around how high the quality of life was if Pompei was only an ordinary town. When did the quality of life get as good as this again?

The Photographs

25/11/2013

Mount Etna

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 5:29 pm

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There are hardly any trees on Gozo and we had heard that Etna had chestnut trees that looked fantastic in the Autumn. We drove up as high as we dared with the ice and snow on the road. Standing in the road was a woman in high heels, an evening dress and a fur coat. There was a fashion photo shoot. The model was asked to lie in the slush with a glass of champagne. She was not happy!

We walked around the old lava flows and enjoyed the Chestnut trees.

The Photographs

24/11/2013

Roman Villa Casale

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 3:48 pm

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We had heard from other members of the family that this was a special site and we arranged to stay in a B&B close by. We made the mistake of going looking for food in the local town after dark when we had never been there before, we struggled.

It was a cold rainy day but the Villa was sensational I did not know you could produce so much detail in a mosaic. It was interesting to find out that the craftsmen had been African.

The Photographs

23/11/2013

The Baroque town of Noto

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 9:31 am

Noto Sicilly-3

On the way to Syracuse we passed this fantastic old town that we could see on a hillside. We had already booked a B and B in Syracuse so we did not stop. We returned on our way to the Roman Villa at Casale.

The photographs

21/11/2013

Pollazo and Syracuse

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 4:04 pm
To see on is good but a pair fishing is special

To see one Kingfisher is good but a pair fishing is special

Driving back to England was going to be a holiday. I had been working for six days a week for a few months and was looking forward to the drive. The last dives I did were to complete my Trimix course the last of which was the skills session and was challenging! It had been a very busy season, the problems in Egypt had caused extra divers to come to Gozo.

We caught the ferry on the 20th of November. We enjoyed the sun set looking over Valletta and watching the starlings making shapes before roosting. We stayed in Pozallo for the night at a B and B. The next day we travelled to Syracuse finding a nature reserve and watched flamingos, storks and kingfishers.

The Photographs

23/7/2013

A day in Mdina

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 3:54 pm

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Interesting drainage and clock in Mdina

We have been a little embarrassed to say, when asked, that we have never been to anywhere in Malta but have just stayed on Gozo. We started to put this right by visiting Mdina when I had a medical appointment in Silema.

The Photographs

8/7/2013

Kate’s Graduation

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 8:57 am

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Kate after Graduation – Dr Chapman

A sunny day and a celebration that was well organised and fun. We were very proud parents.

We flew into Manchester and stayed with Judy for a couple of nights as we had arranged to go with Judy and Adee to see The Who play Quadraphenia. We then travelled by train to Glasgow. The graduation was in a hall not unsimilar to the one in Manchester university where the graduation takes place for the Trinity Y11 students.

We went for a walk with Kate and Omo to the cemetery on the hill above the cathedral. We flew back with Ryan Air that advertises Prestwick as a Glasgow airport it is actually about 40min on a train from the centre of Glasgow.

The Photographs

12/5/2013

A North Westerly Wind on Gozo

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 3:45 pm

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Sun, wind and waves Billingshurst Cave entrance Gozo

High winds and a beautiful light made some nice images.

The Photographs

17/4/2013

Our drive to Gozo with the help of four ferries

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 2:39 pm

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Lynne and Ann at Pirou in Normandy

We decided to drive to Gozo for the fun of getting there and the convenience of having a car while we were there. We left Padfield with the first flowers just opening at Swallow’s wood nature reserve and a few days later we arrived in Gozo as the harvest was being taken in. The journey showed us everything in between. We stopped for two nights with Ann.

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20/3/2013

Lake Waikaremiana

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 7:24 pm

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Lynne arrived in New Zealand hardly being to be able to walk. Our first walks were for twenty minutes along a beach. Our final trip was a New Zealand Great Walk – Day one a 6 hour walk. Day two an 8.25 hours and Day 3 5 hours. We stayed in huts and carried our own food and cooking equipment.

15/3/2013

Tongariro National Park

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 9:47 am

Tongariro Ngauruhoe and Tongariro summits-4003

We had wanted to visit this volcanic region earlier in the year but were unlucky with the weather. This time the weather was clear and cool, the first winter snows were forecast in a few days. Probably the most famous walk in New Zealand is the Tongariro crossing. Recent activity had closed the full crossing so it was a there and back option. I added the summits of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. I left a bit of skin from four fingers coming down Mount Tongariro. We added the summit of Mount Ruapehu. This was a surprise because the summit area was closed but when we got close we saw a ranger removing the notices not to go any further.

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