Southern Yacht

My little take on plus size fashion, life, travel and smurfs

Sunday, 17 June 2018

War on the Line - a day out on The Watercress Line

Hello there,

It's no secret I love military history - it's often the focus of our holidays and even my day job. So you can imagine my delight when I was transported back to the 1940's this weekend. The Watercress Line kindly invited a group of Southampton Bloggers to their War on the Line event - a glimpse into life on a Second World War railway.

War on the Line

The Watercress Line has been one of those things I've always wanted to do and I was especially pleased to be able to bring along the other half (he even dug out his flat cap and braces for the occasion!).

War on the Line

On arrival at Ropley Station we were given a map of the station, some info about the other stations on the line and a timetable (which was essential). We had unlimited travel on the trains so we able to plan our day without worrying about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We were also given ID cards - woe betide anyone who lost theirs!

War on the Line

We decided to head to Alresford first which was one end of the line. This was GI Central for the weekend with live music, a military checkpoint and vehicles.

War on the Line

War on the Line

War on the Line

War on the Line

War on the Line

War on the Line

Next up we headed to Alton at the opposite end of the line. Enroute we had a stop off at Medstead and Four Marks station where you could learn about life on the Home Front and Bringing up Baby in wartime.

On arrival at Alton station we were greeted by the most amazing singer Becki Short - I could have listened to her all day.

War on the Line

We then headed back to Ropley station where we had started. There was plenty to see on both sides of the station so we headed over the bridge (just as a steam train was underneath - keeping everyone nice and warm!).

War on the Line

War on the Line

If you fancied a bit of a change, there was Pearl's Pin-Up Parlour on hand to give you a bit of pampering, plus the opportunity for a vintage photoshoot and a new hat or two.

War on the Line
Some more amazing singers entertained the crowds and a vintage vehicle display kept the other half entertained for ages.

War on the Line

War on the Line

War on the Line was on over the weekend of Father's Day, 16th-17th June. A perfect idea for a pressie if you were stuck for ideas.

A big thank you to the Watercress Line for inviting us - we had smiles on our faces all day.

Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx



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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Do you remember back in 2014 the amazing display of ceramic poppies that was installed at the Tower of London? I never got to go and see it and kicked myself ever since.

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Well, fortunately for me and the rest of the country, some of the poppies from this display are touring the country. There are two, one is called The Wind and the other is called The Wave. 

The Wave installation came to Fort Nelson recently. Wave was created by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper at Fort Nelson for the 14-18 NOW arts project and commemorates the centenary of World War One. It's a sweeping arch of poppy heads, each one suspended on it's own stalk.

Fort Nelson is a Victorian Fort situated on the Portsdown Hills overlooking Portsmouth. It's part of the Royal Armouries Museums and on a clear day, you can get some amazing views of Portsmouth Harbour and over to the Isle of Wight.

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson

There was lots of things to see at Fort Nelson, but I think that's a post for another day. With a collection of over 350 guns, secret tunnels and 19 acres of ditches and ramparts to explore, we definitely have an excuse to make a return trip. But if you want to see the poppies, you only have until the 24th June to see them at Fort Nelson.

Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson

Does anyone else get asked to stand next to exhibits for 'scale'? Apparently it's a good way to remember the size of something....!

Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx




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Monday, 11 June 2018

Ideas for unusual days out in Devon

Hello there,

We've recently returned from a week in Devon, and while it was pretty relaxed with lots of lazing around and doing nothing, we did manage to get out and about for a couple of days. I thought I'd share these with you in case you're ever in Devon and looking for something that's a bit different to your normal day out.

First up was Cobbaton Combat Collection. I'll be the first to admit that if you're not into your military history then this might not be the place for you. However we both are and it was the perfect place to be on our one rainy day.

Cobbaton Combat Collection

The collection is spread out over 3 hangars and to be honest, it's mind boggling just how much there is. The collection was started by one man and it's snowballed from there - as they say 'a hobby that got out of hand'. Concentrating primarily on WWII there's also pieces from the Falklands and first Gulf War, military vehicles and just about anything else you can think of.

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Cobbaton Combat Collection

Next up was South Devon Chilli Farm. This is an old favourite from us. The other half loves to grow chillis so whenever we're down there we pop in to see what's new. They have plants for sale, a show tunnel (depending on the time of year you visit) plus a shop and cafe which has the most lovely food. This time around I noticed the childrens play area was being well used with lots of space for little ones to let off steam.

South Devon Chilli Farm

South Devon Chilli Farm

I couldn't leave without a cream tea plus a small selection of chilli plants which we'll try really hard not to kill!

South Devon Chilli Farm

South Devon Chilli Farm

And finally, the town of Okehampton. We were staying on the outskirts so this was our main go to place for shopping and all sorts of bits and pieces. It's the sort of place where you find all the basics, plus lots of things you never knew you needed. No visit to Devon is complete without a trip through the victorian arcade on the high street.

Okehampton's Victorian Arcade

Okehampton

So there you have it, a few of ideas for a slightly different day out in Devon. If you have any discoveries you'd like to share, let me know!

Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx
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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Basic car care for your next holiday*

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure there’s not a nicer feeling than setting ‘out of office’ on your email, closing the door on work and setting off on holiday. For me, the travelling is as much part of the holiday as the holiday itself. We like to take our car and be as independent as possible (plus there’s no weight restrictions on luggage!).

We regularly have short trips in the UK and at least once a year, we head over to France and Belgium. But as exciting as it is go on holiday, one major part of any driving trip is to make sure your car is ready for the journey. Basic car maintenance is a good habit to get into and can save you from any unexpected problems during your journey.

Basic car care for your next holiday

Having just returned from a week driving around Devon and with a trip to France on the horizon, I thought I’d share some of the basic checks we do before setting off. I normally travel with the other half and to be fair, he likes to do the checks himself. But if I’m travelling on my own, I do them myself.

The first item on our list was definitely the tyres. I always give them a once over before driving anywhere (and on both sides, it’s easy to forget what’s happening on the passenger side if you’re the driver). If the tyre pressure is too high or low this can cause uneven wear. If the tread is too low, it’s an MOT failure. Our tread is was getting low so a new set of tyres are needed before we go to France. It’s easy to check what tyres you need simply by entering your car reg online at websites like DAT Tyres where you can buy car tyres at economical prices.

Checking the oil – again this is changed when the car has its service or if you’re confident enough it can be something you tackle yourself. Check the oil level before any big trip and remember to make a note of what type of oil your car uses. I have a sticker in the glove compartment to remind of that as well as the recommended tyre pressure.

Other checks we do are cleaning the air filter, brake fluid level, the water in the radiator and making sure the screen wash is topped up, preferably with some screen cleaner to get rid of all those pesky bugs you get on your windscreen. Check your windscreen wiper blades as well. It’s amazing the difference a new set can make.


Basic car care for your next holiday

One other hint I would give for car maintenance is to read your car manual and if going on a long journey – take it with you! We had to change a brake light bulb once while in France and the whole thing was a lot less stressful knowing we had the manual to hand.

Basic car care for your next holiday

And the final bit of car maintenance? Making sure the driver and passengers are looked after. I always have a supply of snacks and drinks on hand and plan stops along the way to break the journey up. Share the driving whenever you can (unless you’re my other half who hates being a passenger) and make sure the sat nav is up to date. If you’re driving abroad remember the check the legal requirements for what you must carry in the car (high viz jackets, spare bulb kit and breathalysers for France for example).

So, there you have it, my hints and tips for making sure your car is safe and ready for your next holiday.

Thanks for reading 

Cathy
xx
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