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  • Scottish hideaway
    16th century rebuilt in 1741 There are Quoined surrounds to the windows and an elabourate stone stair with squat Ionic columns inside The west wing may date from 1787 or earlier The north wing which comprises the present main house was built in 1900 by Sydney Mitchell a two storey house with three storey tower This replaced the central house of 1785 which in turn had been built over the

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/scotland.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • Marrakech
    church I also found this to be so in Agadir in the south Ethnic groups are mainly Arab and Berber although the mountain area is mostly Berber The hotel where we stayed was graded three star It must have been build around the 1930s and although clean and the staff were very pleasant one got the impression that the owners were not spending a lot on it There were few people staying and it was probably not worth refurbishing There was a pleasant area terrace at the front of the hotel at street level which served meals in the evening but as it was bathed in morning sunshine we felt it was was under utilised for breakfasts On the subject of breakfasts this would be the main criticism of the hotel the breakfast was not up to standard The French bread was tough the cheese was a triangle in silver paper and the pain au chocolate was cold and equally tough The coffee was good But when we can get good fresh French bread from a convenience store near home in the UK there is little excuse for yesterday s fare in an hotel The local bread served with every meal elsewhere was better and that was the basis for food in the square down town in Marrakech where an egg sandwich was selling for a mere 1 dirham 8 pence The water in the room was probably drinkable although we did buy a bottle Beer and soft drinks were available in the bar We DID eat in the square this time as do hundreds of others every night It is a tradition that the food sellers set up their stalls at nightfall and serve up everything from snails and sheep s heads to Tagines of lamb with vegetables and couscous All very reasonably priced The Square buzzes with activity every night of the year W hen we returned to the hotel after our night on the town in the frenetic atmosphere of the square the receptionist asked if we were interested in a day trip to the Atlas Mountains and we readily agreed The following morning a mini coach turned up at the hotel Two other people joined us on the trip and we drove down the splendid Rue Mohammed VI towards the mountains which can be seen from the town Soon we were in the foothills on a beautiful cloudless day We called in at a pottery by a castle and watched the potter turning out yet more pots although the roadside stock looked as if he ought to take a rest I was fascinated to see how the pots were fired and he showed me a modern ten foot high gas fired kiln squeezed in between the stacks of finished pots The road narrows and follows the Ourika River into the mountains It is a wonderful high sided valley which reminded me of Yosemite the most beautiful place I have ever been The area is almost totally

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/marrakech.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • Acapulco
    the cost of the ride before getting in the taxi if you don t want the driver to take you for a wild ride Anyway as most taxis on the streets were old model VW beetles or small sized Japanese made sedans we also felt that the four of us would not comfortably fit in those taxis On the city tour the guide told us that there is all but one major street for the tourists in Acapulco and that most of the buses stay on this street The street goes by all the major hotels by the bay and goes to the old town area After we parted with the city tour and had our lunch in the old town we decided to walk back to the hotel which is visible from the old town It must have been over 100 degrees under the sun we were feeling miserable and must have looked the same About one tenth of the way a bus stopped and encouraged us in Spanish to get on It only cost us about 40 cents per person per ride From then on we looked for buses every chance we got In addition to the driver a bus usually has a helper whose main job is to look for potential customers There are so many buses that we never had to wait for more than 5 minutes We heard that we shouldn t get on the green ones forgot why Most of the times we took the blue ones which seem to stay on the main tourist street The drivers were very friendly so we never got lost There are also buses with air conditioning We took them a couple of times and found them to be more crowded than the cheaper open air ones It costs about 80 cents per person per ride on the A C buses The bay area is about 7 miles long we could not get from one place to another on foot but became very efficient at getting on the buses though we were not always sure where to get off After a few bus rides we all got the feeling that some drivers were maniacs making mad acceleration and stops just for the fun of it Our ride started with 4 other buses there are lots of buses on the street and the drivers raced each other in order to be the chosen one at the next stop BTW the buses would stop anywhere if you need a ride or want to get off Lastly our fellow bus riders never made us nervous about our personal safety The Mexicans are very friendly people The buses are not dirty but rhere may be some broken windows and graffiti Everyone decorates the driver area We were always treated to very loud popular music Acapulco is famed for its daring cliff divers Sunday I was happy to go in the pool in the hotel and cool off Then they started the water

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/acapulco.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • Derbyshire Dales
    short break or longer period in the Derbyshire Dales it is 5 miles from Chatsworth and Haddon Hall and a couple of miles further to Bakewell of pudding fame Situated in 44 acres of forested land it has received the Bellamy Gold award for conservation for 8 consecutive years all of the buildings are designed and built in Bakewell The whole of the Peak District National Park is within easy

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/derbydales.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • Egypt
    the great temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings on the opposite bank of the Nile Note The pyramids e g Giza were built as tombs for Kings and pharoas of early Egyptian dynasties as early as 2500 BC They wer often plundered and later kings 1570 1070 BC were buried in tombs carved from rock on the west Bank of the Nile opposite Luxor also known as Thebes On the Eastern Bank in Luxor and nearby Karnak they built great temples each dynasty improving on the last So the eastern bank was for the living and the western bank was largely a burial place Even so most of the tombs were robbed over the ages which is what makes the untouched tomb of Tutankhamun so remarkable Egyptian towns and cities Sphinx Avenue at Karnak The ram sphinx avenue at Karnak Statue of Ramases II at Luxor Statue at Luxor Statues at Luxor The journey along the Nile was pleasant and relaxing giving us the opportunity to see the local people on the banks going about their agricultural pursuits in the same way as they have been doing over the centuries Traditional felucca sail craft The visits to the temples were interesting but could be tiring at times especially when standing around in the heat listening to the guide explaining all the carvings hieroglyphics etc For the second week we undertook a four hour coach journey in convoy for security purposes across the desert to Hurghada on the Red Sea where we chilled out in a first class hotel Hurghada has been developed as a holiday resort consisting of a number of imposing hotels set in magnificent grounds and surrounded by souvenir shops but we did not find it as interesting as Sharm el Sheikh which we had

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/egypt.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • South African Visit
    a stop at a superb botanical garden in Kirstenbosch The hotel in Stellenbosch one of the Protea group was bordered by golf links and full of golfers Although we managed pretty well I would recommend anyone booking there would do well to get a car as it is 3 miles out of Stellenbosch and strangely taxis in South Africa do not seem to be marked as such and we were at a loss as to how to find one We had been warned about problems such as mugging and other security problems but we did not come across any examples People were universally friendly and one did not just feel it was just because we were tourists There were a few youngsters in Cape Town hoping for handouts but not as bad as London despite the terrible unemployment rate We returned to Cape Town airport and flew to Port Elizabeth where we picked up a car and were escorted to the Hopewell Private Game Reserve about 35 miles from PE This was indeed a privilege The game reserve has only been established a few years but already has dozens of animals including elephants giraffe zebra white rhino hippos scores of antelope at least a dozen different breeds and the star of the show a couple of adult cheetah who have recently had three cubs now growing fast Bruce the Manager Game Warden is a committed conservationist and was pleased to take us on numerous drives which always terminated in a bush picnic the grandest of these being a full candlelit dinner under a large tree Bruce is also a sculptor of wild animals See www brucelittle com Later we then motored on to a small place near Kenton on Sea where we stayed in a villa overlooking the Bushman s River It is a superb tidal river which is navigable for 35 kilometres up country We were able to walk down to the mouth of the estuary where the sand dunes reminded us our favourite UK spot of Wells next the Sea We booked a couple of horses and did our best to trot along the sand and along some frightening cliffs After a week at Bushmans and brief visits to Grahamstown and Port Alfred we returned to Hopewell for one night and one more safari before returning to Port Elizabeth for out flight home via Johannesburg We were fortunate to see elephants giraffe and zebra all getting on well together Happiness is holding Mum s tail In November 2009 we made a second visit to Hopewell Another good time of the year yo visit Spring On this occasion we also visited historic Grahamstown and the Addo Elephant Park While we were travelling to and from airports in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth we were astounded to see miles of townships each side of the motorway I had thought of townships as being groups of shanty dwellings not the endless accumulation of shacks that I saw Many had electricity poles

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/safrica.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • Rome
    set pieces of scenery could appear in the middle as if my magic In the case of the Colosseum there was a slow moving queue but it was possible avoid this if you went to a different kiosk and paid for a handset which gave an audio description with directions Well worth it The Colosseum Once you have had your fill of the Colosseum it is time to walk on by the adjacent arch of Constantine which spans the Via Triumphalis the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph after the many Roman conquests This route started at the Campus Martius led through the Circus Maximus and around the Palatine Hill Immediately after the Arch of Constantine the procession would turn left at the Meta Sudans and march along the Via Sacra to the Forum Romanum and on to the Capitoline Hill This is the route I suggest you follow The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city It stands 40 metres above the Forum Romanum looking down upon it on one side and upon the Circus Maximus on the other There were several fora in this area A forum was a square which usually contained a statue and at least temple to the gods It was where the Romans gathered to hear their fellow men and politicians and make their laws but also to hold ceremonies and markets The largest is the Roman Forum which contained no less than ten temples and numerous arches shrines and columns The present state of the area is in part due to the raids of the Goths and Vandals in the 5th century AD but also due to neglect during the Middle Ages when much building material was removed As you climb the steps up the hill lined with statues past a plain 7th century church you come to Piazza del Campidoglio which is surrounded on three sides by palaces In the centre is a large statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback and the pattern surrounding the statue was originally designed by Michelangelo Walking on through this square you are greeted by a view of the many ruins in the forum area At the far end of the area is Capitoline Hill which from the earliest time was the centre of political social and religious life of Rome with great temples dedicated to Jupiter Iuno and Virtus and you can look down and see them spread out before you On then if you have the time and energy make your way across the Tiber to the Vatican and of course the 17th Century Basilica of St Peter s You can see St Peters across the Tiber Entry to St Peter s is free There was a long queue reach right back to the road but St Peters is massive and cope with hundreds of visitors so it did not take long to get

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/rome.htm (2016-02-10)
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  • South African Visit - township experience
    justgiving com keith paterson I can assure you that 100 of the money will be used to help these young people As well as helping youth of a poor Port Elizabeth Township the Oliver Foundation funds pre school activities Here is a sample of one of the Zama groups enjoying themselves http www youtube com watch v iEqdMVzfqYs And in 2010 a new ballet video http www youtube com watch v Q0H39PI MhE feature player embedded Having been inspired by seeing Milwhynne a young ballet dancer from the Eastern Cape Anele composed her own ballet for the Zama Heritage Day celebrations What a talent In May 2009 a group of young rugby players under 14s visited Saffron Walden from Port Elizabeth and play local teams They wiped the local teams off the field because of the training that they had received I feel sure that some of them will eventually get to play for big teams like the Springboks There is a video on Youtube about this HERE Another video showing the Port Elizabeth choir supported by the foundation can be seen HERE One of the organisations helping these youngsters achieve more is http www unitedthroughsport org which uses sport to encourage them to achieve on the sports field and in the classroom Grandson and son in law have climbed Kilimanjaro with a group of others in aid of a very special charity that is doing excellent work in a township in Port Elizabeth South Africa They planned to raise 60 000 for projects and in the end reached over 69 000 If you find my website useful please dig deep Umzi Wethu is also upported by the Oliver Foundation They have just received a Rolex Award for Enterprise And a video recorded by a local helper can be seen at http www youtube com watch v guK07d2d6 Y NR 1 While we were travelling to and from airports in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth we were astounded to see miles of townships each side of the motorway I had thought of townships as being groups of shanty dwellings not the endless accumulation of shacks that I saw Many had electricity poles running down each of the dirt roads between the shacks but little else in the way of amenities Some attempt has been made to build small bungalows to rehouse people Some townships are official and some completely unofficial and unregulated If one is lucky one can get electricity if you can afford a card to use it If you are lucky you are not too far away from the water standpipe You are unlikely to be lucky enough to have a toilet and drains so your loo is a bucket If you are lucky this will be collected and emptied But what puzzled me was that the children especially schoolchildren were well turned out and their clothes spotless We visited some of these areas where we saw various attempts to help with creches play areas craft workshops and

    Original URL path: http://www.silverhairs.co.uk/safrica2.htm (2016-02-10)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-26