Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. This season we spent 5 months exploring Vanuatu and are now on the east coast of Australia.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Northern Loop

The weather might have been cold but the warmth of the welcome that we've received 'up North' has been wonderful. We've loved the proper English pubs, traditional fish 'n' chips, meet up with family and friends and even had some snow.

We spent a lovely few days with Di's Dad, sister Norma and Mick and caught up with nephews and their families in Hambleton, near Blackpool. Whilst there we met for the first time our great-nephew Freddie and great-niece Eve - not sure how we feel about being Great Aunt and Great Uncle (makes us feel only slightly old!) but it was a joy to meet the new members of the family.

Signs of Spring - Crocuses in the Poulton le Fylde churchyard

Di and her Dad

The G.A/U.'s with Eve

Freddie
A meal with Di's school friends Debbie (plus, hubby, Paul), Jane and Eileen illustrated the fact that real friends just pick up from where they left off, even if that was three years ago; something we've experienced again and again.

Nephew Gary at work in his studio
The move up to Galloway saw us apart for the first time in 3 years - Graham drove up for a couple of extra days with his parents and Di followed by train a couple of days later to allow her to have quality time with her family (and a great send-off). Just before Graham left we called in to see nephew Gary at work in his studio - have a look at his website to see what kind of magic he does with a paintbrush HERE

Whilst in Scotland we saw Graham's sister Hilary and her husband Phil. Hilary's another hugely talented artist and does wonderful portraits of pets; if you're short of a present idea have a look HERE

From Scotland we drove east to County Durham, with a tourist stop at the very good Roman Army Museum on Hadrian's Wall, to stay with Simon and Julie in Hamsterley. Simon was in the same graduate intake as Graham in his first job with Northern Foods and, like us, is following his dream. He's always wanted to make cheese so has now set up The Weardale Cheese Company (you heard of it here first, folks); if his enthusiasm is anything to go by, it'll be the great success that he deserves.


Proud man and his pasteuriser (on a non-production day so no white coat and hat)

Cheese maker and glamourous assistant - you decide which is which!
Whilst we were in the north east we were treated to a dusting of snow just to make the winter tour complete:

We'll be back in warm NZ soon!!
The 'Northern Loop' concluded with a night in our old village of Crich, Derbyshire, where we stayed with our friends Neil and Jacqui. Slightly strange to see our old house (we left there in 1999).

The Pump House, Dimple Lane
 We're now heading south, back towards Somerset. En route we've stayed in a beautiful 400 year old cottage and visited Bletchley Park, possibly one of the most important places in Britain during WW2. This deserves a blog all of its own so watch this space.

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