I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

day out


Around Christmastime 2014, our gardener Barry and his wife Mel kindly gave Wayne and I a gift voucher to dine at anyone of the Gordon Ramsay restaurants. We chose the one situated in Chelsea. We booked it sometime ago in April and finally the day has arrived to dine and enjoy the Gordon Ramsay experience.
If you are not used to fine dining it can be a little daunting and sometimes a tad intimidating. Understandably, as soon as your escorted to your table you are aware that the dining room is full, all be it that there is only fourteen tables. Any awkwardness is quickly diluted by the friendliness of the waiting staff. The tables are dressed beautifully and yet simply. There is ample space between tables and you certainly do not feel that your are sitting next to strangers on another table.
I could try and describe how everything tasted, but its an experience only your own tastebuds can experience.

ramsays 2015_2
Pea mousse was an hors d'œuvre served with a homemade ricotta and is presented with baby spring veg and flowers.

ramsays 2015_3
Agnolotti served with young peas, broad beans, St. George, mushrooms, mint, majoram and sariette de banon.

ramsays 2015_5
Fillet of Cornish Cod wrapped in kombu, sesame with shiitake mushrooms and grilled onion.

ramsays 2015_4
Roasted rabbit loin with Bayonne ham, baked turnips, toasted hazelnuts and pickled mustard seed.

ramsays 2015_7
Roast pineapple with coconut parfait, coriander, rum and lime sorbet.

ramsays 2015_8
Strawberry ice cream coated in white chocolate and served over smoking dry ice. Also served with a chocolate peanut brittle and elderflower Turkish delight.

Would I recommend you visit a Gordon Ramsay restaurant?  Hell yes but maybe only as a treat due to the fact that it can get a little exorbitant when you start adding bottles of Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin at a eye popping £2,450.
You would think that having a meal of such small dainty portions that you would be left feeling hungry, but the fact the food is so exquisitely rich, you find yourself enjoying every last mouthful and yet feeling pleasantly full.

Thorpe Park 2015

Every year I make an attempt to visit at least two theme parks, one at the start of the season and one at the end of the season and today was the first.
You would have thought that finding a rollercoaster buddy would have been easy, yes back in the days when we was younger but alas some have settled down with family life or maybe taken on a high powered job that made free now hardly any time or this kind of treat was just simply a retired treat.  Thankfully my friend Harrison was going to step out of his comfort zone and come with me to Thorpe Park and see what 2015 had to offer in the way of thrills.
The day started with a 5:30am rise for me, something unheard for those that know me, but in all honesty I actually got up before my alarm clock went off, I could not really sleep well the night before, even going to bed early did not work as I had to much excitement in me.
I headed over to pick up Harrison and then after a quick pee break we headed off to join the early morning commuter traffic, thankfully not as bad as I thought, but leaving early meant we could stop off for a drink and snack before the days adventures.
I have been seeing the steady change in Thorpe Park over a number of years and I think that today it has finally slowed down, as no new rides had emerged, lots revamped but
nothing new but that did not matter for Harrison as everything there would be new and exciting today.


Surprisingly there was not many queuing, unlike some times when I had been, might of been down to the recent Alton Towers incident.  Today the park was open for an extra hour, closing at 18:00hrs and a change in luck meant that for some reason it also opened ahead of its scheduled 10:00am with the gates opening at 9:45am, all be it only 15 minutes early, but thats enough time to make your way over to your chosen first ride of the day.
Last year when I was here with Kelly, ‘The Swarm’ ride was closed, but not today and it was our first ride of the day, we decided as the park was empty that we would ride ‘The Swarm’ backwards as when the park is in full flow that would be the longest queue line.  Later in the day we also rode it the traditional forward facing and If I had to make judgement on what was best, undoubtedly forward facing won.

swarm forwards

You expect that prices over the years slowly hike up but I was shocked that a ride photos had almost doubled in price, from £5.99 in 2014 to a staggering £10, luckily they did a deal of £30 for unlimited digital photos and that worked out great for me and Harrison, as we could download what photos we liked and also to collect every ride photo, good or bad on each ride that had a photo opportunity, in some cases we had several to choose from for each ride we went on more than once.  Personally nothing is worse than carrying around ride photos for the day or getting them all printed off at the end of the day on some shitty printer that has been over used to the point that if you shut one eye and squint then you can just about work out it is you screaming a ride and anyway digital photos last forever, my ‘Picsolve' account has a good collection starting to build up.
Todays trip saw the relaunch of Thorpe Parks ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app that normally is only in operation during the summer holidays but today and for the foreseeable future this app is here to stay.  Once registered it is a breeze to use and makes light work helping you enjoy your day whilst your vital queuing buddy waited in line for you.  Admittedly it had its faults, such as staff members not knowing the correct specially created entrances and the fact you could only add one ride at a time, but with all that aside it did mean that when ride queue lines were more than 15 minutes in length or that you just did not want to queue at all this app did it all for you.
We decided that as the park was not busy that it would be best to do all the major big rides and when boarding one ride then use the ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app to queue up the next one, then break for lunch and after lunch do all the more sedated water rides and then finish the day off with the rides that we could not use the ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app for.  It worked out great and saved heaps of otherwise wasted time.

Colossus is probably one of the oldest rides in the park to date and thats what adds to its appeal, another ride Harrison enjoyed.

flying fish
So called a family rollercoaster but when you ride this after it has had a few hours to heat up it whips round the track.

Fast paced at any time of day, whipping you around in every direction leaving you not knowing whats up or whats down, not one of Harrison’s favourites and left him feeling the need for a short ride rest.

stealth 2nd ride
I think that the Stealth ride showed just how extreme some rides can be, but this was one of Harrison's favourites.

We stopped for lunch at the newly themed ‘Celebrity Jungle’ Bush BBQ, which was really the old BBQ area that Thorpe Park had really let go, no need for a revamp here to make it look dilapidated, it was already showing signs of that by itself.  We both has the  ‘Bush Tucker Burger' with lattice fries and some critters and a Harrison had a Sprite and I had a Slushy.  Due to the renovation of the park for some new ride in 2016 this BBQ area would normally of been a cut through to the other side of the park from one themed area to another, but was now a no through zone that made it ideal for a less busy retreat and a quite area to have a sit down and lunch.





After lunch and a rest we headed to the depth charge, log flume, rapids and storm surge.  For some reason it does not matter where I sit on a water ride I end up always getting the biggest spray of water in my face or the one that gets drenched, am I just a water magnet? Oh yes and my so called friends who duck out of the way and let me take the soaking, cheers, Kelly you did that to me last year on the log flume and cheer Harrison for doing it to me this year on ever water ride, don’t think I didn’t notice.

log flume 1st ride

rapids 1st ride

rapids 2nd ride

log flume 2nd ride

It ended up a great day out even if some rides had been closed due to the Alton Towers incident and the weather though it started off with a little rain shower soon became a scorcher.  



After a long day we both knew that neither of us was going to cook and so ended the day off with dinner at the Toby Carvery in Ewell and a well deserved rest before heading back homeward.
Here is looking forward to the next theme park visit.

A Day Not Being Mum

I am lucky that when I go to any theme park, I do not have to worry about what rides I can and cannot go on, I say that because this year I took Kelly to Thorpe Park and normally when Kelly goes to such places she has her boys with her who can only go on certain rides because of height restrictions or the fact the ride might be a little to fast or scary for them, even if you have the luck of going with another adult and doing the parent swap idea where one que’s up, goes on the ride and then they swap places after the ride, it is still very much a long winded process that can really eat into you day at the theme park. So this trip to Thorpe Park was extra special for Kelly as it was just an adults day out.
I wanted it to be extra special for Kelly by taking the driving element out for her and so I picked her up about 7:30am and took a pleasant drive there, allowing for plenty of time and hoping not to get caught in to much traffic, we arrived with plenty of time on our hands and had a good hour before the park actually opened and so drove a few miles down the road to find somewhere open to grab a coffee and a snack. We found a garage that served Costa coffee and sticky cake treats and it had a nice private parking area, so I parked up and broke the rule of allowing people to eat and drink in my car, well it was a special day out.


After we had our cake and coffee we headed back to Thorpe park and this time when we arrived there was a few more cars and it was time to grab a parking bay and head to the gates and wait for them to open. Like so many other visits I wanted to get the biggest rides out of the way and so headed straight to ‘The Swarm’ but today the ride was closed so we headed for ‘Saw’.


I had in my mind a plan of action that we would try and get as many main attractions out of the way at the start of the day and then if we wanted to go on them again I would buy fast track tickets for the individual rides. That was a special treat for Kelly as she had no idea that I was going to do that for her, I wanted her to experience the top rides in the best position, it is know as pole position, it is front row seats.


The weather had turned out to be quite hot, in fact hot enough to go on the wet rides in the middle of the day rather than at the end of the day when you do not mind getting a little wet. How is it though, that Kelly actually did not get very wet at all, I took most of the soaking, oh well the day was hot enough that I dried off very quickly, we did however give ‘Tidal Wave’ a miss, that was taking getting wet to the extreme.





The park was not busy so we did lots of rides several times and then only needed to do fast-track for three of the rides to be able to sit in pole position, we even managed to spend some time in the arcade and I had to have a go on the claw grabber machines and I won a cuddly toy, we also spend a few pounds in two pence’s on the penny flips and Kelly won a few things for the boys.


All in all the day turned out brilliant, we had time to ride on all the rides, some several times, stop and have a spot of lunch with time to rest, go on the water rides and dry out and collect ride photos at the end of the day and then leave before the park closed, we actually left when we was tiered and could not rid anymore. Kelly and I are looking forward now to the next theme park visit later in the year.





Believe It Or Not

It was that time of year that I wanted to get away and have some fun time with Wayne. I was planning on going to Madame Tussauds but, when we got there prior to the opening time we saw the massive queue running down the entire side of the building. I knew that this attraction was popular but did not relies just how popular, I am so glad I did not commit myself to advanced tickets as we would have had no choice but to have waited in the very long queue and on a day that was not particularly warm, if anything it was bitterly cold. I have discovered that this attraction it one of the biggest tourist attractions that London offers and with over 200 people queueing outside before opening hours then I can now see why.
Wayne and I headed to Fortnum & Mason's Fountain restaurant for breakfast, so this minor setback in venue choice meant that breakfast was just a few minutes drive away.
The food was great and the service just as good and though the food was a little expensive it was great to have had the experience to dine at Fortnum & Mason's.
So with Madame Tussauds being off the list of places to visit, I knew of a place just a hop, skip and a jump from Fortum & Mason’s that would be just as adventurous.
A trip to the museum; Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
After a few hours at Ripley's we all headed for China Town for a late buffet lunch.



Shanghai Acrobats

Borrowing heavily from traditional Chinese circus but projecting a modern twist with its marvellous two hour extravaganza, originally directed by Cirque Du Soleil’s Guy Caron, combines acrobatics, modern dance, original music, martial arts and many other Chinese elements in an amazing adventure, with plenty of gasp-worthy moments for the audience. I can only put it into words as a total experience.


The story centres around a little girl who awakes to the sound of a noisy Shanghai street. In a half-dreamy state, she starts to imagine being an acrobat and gets taken into the world of the acrobat and begins to participate.
Because it is Cirque du Ciel (circus of the sky) then there is a lot of aerial stuff going on I particularly loved the dramatic silks where a girl just plunges from the gods down towards the stage, a drop of 30ft or more, just fantastic stuff.


The show used a mixture of recorded music and an onstage drummer, I thought the choice of music really helped the show create an atmosphere and the energy of the drummer was brilliant.



We sat there stunned to see the talents of a girl who contorts and stretches her body through yet-to-be-invented angles while supporting herself on one hand at the top of a six-foot high pole; a ballerina who stands en pointe on top of her partner’s head and then the skills of à la the Guandong Acrobatic Troupe; a posse of young men who leap through hoops and fling each other across the stage with somersaults, twists and impossible landings and who were an inexhaustible supply of wonder.



More sedate, but arguably the highlight of the whole evening, were the charming canton of girls with their diabolos. You’ve probably seen buskers at Covent Garden hurl their overgrown yo-yos high in the air and catch them on their bits of string to great applause. But have you seen them do a bit of skipping and a couple of somersaults while waiting for it to come back down and more breathtakingly in unison?



The whole show just took my breath away and left me wanting more, a great afternoon spent in Kingston Rose theatre with Wayne.

Wisley Gardens

Wayne and I spent the day at Wisley Gardens, near Woking in Surrey.
It was a great day out and the sunshine was with utmost of the day and I got to build up my portfolio as I just took lots of photos as usual. We had a bite to eat in a cafe prior to visiting the glasshouse and after a long enjoyable day we headed back via the gift shop, of course a day out would not be complete without a wander or purchase or two.