where has the year gone

By | 23/12/2022

It is November 7th (it was when I started writing this), this year is flying by and it has been a miserable year for us as a family. The year started with a broken central heating requiring a new boiler. We all got covid  (the three of us living at home at the time).

The daughter returning home with the cats (not that returning home was a bad thing, it was bad for her). The wife favourite aunt passed away. A work colleague I worked with many years ago that was also related to the wife (distantly) passed away. Another work colleague I worked with in my previous job was killed in a car crash. My diabetes is not good (nor is my weight) more on that shortly.

The wife legs have played up, but are now healed up although there are still issues. The list goes on, nothing majorly serious but it all slowly eats away at you.

The holiday, day 1

Since I last posted we have been on holiday, bit of a two centre holiday, Nottingham and York. Nottingham was a short two day affair, we were checking a shop out for our son. I say shop but this was a shop in a large factory complex where they make War Hammer Models. We left mid morning, stopped at a service stop for lunch and got to the shop around mid afternoon.

It was packed, not only is a shop but the entire public area. You can build War Hammer models there, they have displays of models (over 15000). They also have build stations where you can build and paint the models and get expert information. They also have tournaments, War Hammer is a table top game and they varies from 4ft sqaure  to 10ft – 12 ft by 4ft.

If there were not racks of models to buy around the wall there were cabinet of models that were built and painted, approx 15000 of them. The details and colours were stunning. There are around a dozen diorama around the reception


One of around a dozen diorama to view



















The shop was L shaped and wrapped its self around the tournament hall, the inside of the tournament hall was made to look like the inside of a castle courtyard. Like the shop it was heaving. There were numerous table setup, some very basic some large industrial complex highly detailed. I am not into War Hammer but I can appreciate the work and effort that goes into making the models and the dioramas.


Highly detailed painted models on display

Travelodge & Cardboard box breakfast

We left and headed for our hotel (a Travelodge) that turned out to be less than 3 minutes away. I have stayed in plenty of Premier Inn and Travelodge’s, this while being a tidy and modern Travelodge this will rank as one of the worst.  I won’t go into details but lets say never order Breakfast to Go (long life break in a cardboard box). Staff ignoring you or reception closed. When the Travelodge survey came round I slated the place.

The unhelpful staff must have been a local area thing as the pub next door had exactly the same issue.  The food was as you would expect for pub food, OK but the service was lousy.  Being told you don’t need to book a table only to find out when you turn up for  an evening meal you have to book………………

Day 2, Woolaton Hall

Sunday we spent at Wollaton Hall. Now I am not one for stately homes but with a Gin Yard (nothing to do with the drink Gin I was to find out) and industrial museum. I though it might be an interesting Sunday. I came away very impressed.  The house is set on top of a hill, with the stables and museum at the bottom slowly rising to about half way up the hill. Unfortunately the steam engine was closed when we were there but the lace making machines and the oldie style kitchen were open.

Part of the old stables has been turned into a cafeteria where we grabbed a drink and sandwich. It only when you reach the top end of the stable block you see how ornate it looks (its the end that faces the House).

Stable and Lake

The rear of the stables as seen from the top of the steps to the house, in the back ground you can see the lake which is part of the parkland open to the public

As I said earlier, I am not a person who enjoys a stately home but the inside of the house was a museum of sorts with the room holding various exhibits, including a stuffed birds and fish  collections. The one thing I found interesting and found no information about were the faces either made from stone or in the roof carved from wood. They had no information available to say who they were.

roof of the reception hall

The roof of the reception hall, notice all the painted head carvings

Looking across the park

Looking down from the house at what was the old drive to the house.

We spent a very enjoyable day in the warn autumn sun, time to return the Travelodge and pub from hell.

Could the pub get any worse……..yes

If the previous night issue with the pub was a measure of what to expect, they surpassed it.  Turning up for our Sunday evening meal, we got to the carvery, there is spilled food every where around the dishes then you get to gravy & condiment area only to find it looked more like a food fight had taken place. Imagine going to the bar to order your desert only to be told it was only available as a takeaway!! Thankfully two nights was enough and all we had booked so Monday morning we were on our way.

Day 3 onwards to York………………via Doncaster

We are heading for York with a stop off at Danum Gallery, Library and Museum. With Doncaster being a train city I was expecting to find a larger reflection of the hey day of steam trains especially as the they built trains in the city.  The train display in the Danum Gallery was small but informative, there were only two trains in the museum (full sized), there was a lot of other train related info, photo’s, models trains and train related artefact. The gallery was built around an old building (or part of) which unfortunately I have not been able to find out anything about it.

Apart from the trains, there is the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Regimental Museum, an art gallery and public museum and a restaurant. A modern building with a lot of interest. We spent an interesting couple of hours there finishing off with a nice Fresh cream and jam scones.

York Travelodge, it did not start well

We arrived at our Travelodge in York with some trepidation, after the service and cardboard box breakfast and the pub next door I was hoping for some improvement. We arrived early so had to wait before we could book in. Lets grab a cuppa in the Costa next door, sorry take out only don’t have enough staff, this is not a good start.

We sat outside in the in the wind (thankfully not raining), found they had made my Old English Breakfast Tea with milk, yuk. That went in the bin

We could of gone and sat in the car out of the wind but I had sat in the car enough over the last few days. Before long it was time for us to book in, we dragged our mounting of baggage in to the reception area. We were booked and headed for our room. I walked into the room that looked like it has just been vacated and for good measure the previous occupant emptied the content of their coffee cup over the bed.

The wife went back to reception, I sat listening to the squeaking air con unit, this is not going well.

Getting better

But this is where the two Travelodges were totally different. The staff in this Travelodge could not of handled the issue’s better, lots of apologise. Before leaving the dirty room we even got to show the coffee on the bed to a staff member who happen to pass as we were leaving the room. He could not believe what he was seeing and even he apologised.

We settled into our new room, had a snooze and then decided it was time for dinner.

This Travelodge had its own restaurant and bar, nothing special typical pub food menu.  In fact the food was that good that we did not bother going out for a meal. Down to the bar for happy hour, couple of pints dinner then back to the room.

Day 4, the Shambles

Tuesday dawned wet but becoming warm and sunny, met some friends in the city center for a cup of tea and a chat who were also holidaying in York. After going our separate ways we headed for the Shambles part of down, very narrow street section of the town. The street was cobble stone and flagstone, very uneven and by the end killing my knees.

colorful umbrella's

Copper Gate with suspended colourful umbrella’s

Old fashion shops, narrow streets, shop staff dressed in olde world attire and very crowded and busy. I have to say I really struggled on the cobbled streets. Wearing thick soft-soled trainers, I don’t know if they helped or not, but back on normal streets that the pain subsided slightly.

After shopping we decided to visit York Minster. I am not a religious person but the minster was something else. If I tried to describe the building I would not do it justice so I won’t, It was impressive

The rip off

As 5 o clock neared we headed back to our car for an unwelcome surprise,  7 hours parking ……………£19!! They sure know how to charge.


Day 5, illness strikes

Overnight the wife went down with a stomach bug, at first we were not sure if it was a stomach bug or food related (curry and maple pancake stack) but the end result was by 3am we ran out of toilet rolls. The wife complained to me that there was no toilet roll left,  I did the gentlemanly thing (NOT) of mumbling something turning over and going back to sleep. So the wife made her way to reception to ask for more toilet rolls.

Over breakfast which only I ate,  we decided if it was safe for the wife to venture out, having decided yes it was we headed for National Railway Museum in York. I have wanted to visit Museum for a long time. The wife decided that proving that we could locate the toilets she should be alright.

There is limited parking at the Museum so we ended up in a public car park by the river about a quarter of a mile away. The museum is setup over two main halls, Station Hall & Great Hall. One of the most interesting area’s was the storage room where they hold models trains, hand carts found on railway station etc.


Our reflection on the of the Duchess of Hamilton

Once we left the museum we headed back to the hotel for rest, the wife was ok but was tired from the overnight exploits

Day 6, it rained, we got wet

It was our last day and we had planed to return to the City Centre. We found another Car Park that was not going to charge two arms and a leg but it meant that we were a pair of drowned rats by the time we got to the City Centre. We were due to visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, fortunately opposite the centre was a sheltered area and while those who had not booked a time slot stood in the rains we could at least drip dry undercover. I don’t normally enjoy these single theme museum as they always seem to treat you like a 5 year old hearing about it for the first time.  But the rider though the old town was different and informative without treating you like a 5 year old.

A visit to the York Gin shop and a pub lunch round the day off for us. We made our way back to the hotel and started to pack ready for the trip home the following day.

Day 7, the trip home and now its my turn

The drive home was pretty uneventful, stopped at Watford Gap for a toilets and grabbed a sandwhich & drink. Our next stop was Rownhams Service’s on the M27. The wife need the loo’s again. I waited in the car. As we left the Services my stomach started pretending to be a washing machine. We eventually made home, glad to see our son had not destroyed the place while we were away. Kettle was soon on for a cup of team, my stomach continued the washing machine impressions. Having trunk my tea, I had that feeling that I had better get to the loo…..QUICKLY. No sooner had a got in the loo, I threw up and continued to do so until just before bed time.

Day 8, holiday is over and feeling very unwell

I was feeling that unwell that I did not return to work until the following Friday, eating consisted of tinned soup and dry biscuit. It had been an entertaining holiday, not perfect but enjoyable in places.

Surveys were duly requested by Travelodge, so I duly filled them in, slated the Nottingham Travelodge and its staff and praised the York Travelodge, never heard anything back from them though.