Lickey Hills

We went for a walk around the nearby Lickey Hills.

The car park was by a large open area at the top of the hill, with good views of Birmingham and the surrounding area.

Once Rocco had off steam, we followed a nice path through woods and a golf course to the visitor center, which was closed but a cafe was open.

Then more woodland paths – Rocco really enjoyed chasing sticks:

We then stopped at a large monument:

Then more woodland paths back to the beacon, where Rocco still had enough energy to chase a stick:

A nice walk, and no rain, which was a bonus.


We finally managed to find a day when neither of us were busy AND the weather looked reasonable, so it was off on a train to Hastings. The train was a bit delayed due to an “incident”, so Rocco was getting a bit bored:

A lovely journey down in a quiet carriage and an excellent (and chatty) conductor. As usual, we left the train at St Leonards Warrior Square and walked down to the seafront through the gardens:

Finally, we got to a bit of dog friendly beach and Rocco could let off steam:

Then a quick trip along the pier; all surprisingly empty:

All too soon, it was time to find our pub for lunch. Rocco was (as usual) very well behaved, and I rewarded him with some trimmings from my steak. After lunch, we climbed up to West Hill (it was easy for me as I had a very enthusiastic dog helping) and Rocco could have a good run around while we enjoyed the view.

We then wandered back to the Hastings Station – and sat in our air-conditioned train until it was time to go home.

A lovely day out!


Another fine autumn day (though quite misty to start with), so we decided to take the train to Whitstable. Apart from a bit of chaos at Bromley South with a medical emergency on (another) train, an uneventful journey through the Kent countryside.

Crossing the Medway at Rochester is always interesting:

As we pulled into Whitstable, the sun broke through from the clouds. There is a small recreation ground quite close to the station, so Rocco was able to let of a bit of steam. Then off the beach to find a pub, and after the usual rigmarole of signing in, we’re sitting on the beach with a beer:

We didn’t like the disposable plastic glasses, but noticed they had some branded reusable plastic glasses for sale, so we had our next pint in those:

A nice (but fried) lunch in the sunshine, and Rocco was pleased to get a few chips:

After lunch, we found a quiet bit of beach for Rocco to have a swim in the sea, though  unusually, he just had a paddle:

We then walked along the beach to the harbour:

Then onto the quieter beach at the east side of the town:

Rocco took an interest in a large plant container:

Then it was back to the station for our train home:

On the way back, the tide had come in and the Medway looked more inviting in the sunshine:

We sat at the end of the train this time, so Rocco had the corridor all to himself without people trying to get past!

A nice day out.

Tonbridge & River Medway

The forecast was for a very hot day, and our respective calendars were clear, so we took the train to Tonbridge.

Rocco is now getting quite used to trains:

Tonbridge really benefits from having the River Medway flowing through the town:

The ruins of Tonbridge Castle are in the background. First stop was a nearby pub, which had a nice courtyard at the back:

After many beers and a nice lunch, we set off for a walk along the river, which consists of many different channels and bridges to cross. It wasn’t long before Rocco had a swim, and luckily, managed to get out again (much of the river bank is quite steep):

Further on, we came across a (very) disused lock:

We headed back through Haysden Country Park and Barden Lake:

and after a bit of a trek through the back streets of Tonbridge, we returned to the station and our train home:

Another lovely day out!



We finally managed to find a free day with reasonable weather, so, with our masks on, we took the train to Hastings. With an almost empty train, there was less of a problem keeping Rocco out of the way than last year. An uneventful journey brought us to St Leonards Warrior Square station, one stop before Hastings itself, but a shorter (and nicer) walk to  the sea.

There is a nearby park where Rocco could have a run around:

Then it was back on the lead while we walked along the seafront to the pier:

The clouds looked a bit dark, but it stayed dry with very little wind.

We then wandered into the old town searching for a dog friendly pub with good beer. Finally, we found the The Anchor and Pumphouse, a really nice pub. We were only going to stop for a beer, but liked the place so much, we had lunch (Homemade Fishermans Pie) there as well. Rocco was well behaved, and attracted a lot of attention from the female bar staff!

After lunch, we climbed up East Hill to give Rocco a run around off the lead.

Once I found him a stick, he was happy!

Then it was back down to sea level, and a walk back to the station along the seafront:

Unfortunately, the trains were in chaos following some earlier engineering work, so we had a bit of a wait at the station:

But eventually got home OK. Another nice day out!



Emmetts Garden

Making the most of the nice weather, we booked a visit to nearby Emmetts Garden. We did the usual due diligence and printed out the ticket AND put a copy on each of our phones, only to be surprised when we turned up that they only wanted our surname…

In common with other National Trust places, it’s all been rearranged to be “Covid Safer”, with one way systems and lots of notices. But they do allow dogs!

Rocco was very good on the lead, but needed a run around, so we escaped into the adjacent ‘forest’ at the end of the garden. There is a working ram pump below a small lake there (it’s in a shed, so difficult to photograph) but there was an informative poster:

Then finally, Rocco could let off steam with a stick or two:

Not far along the track was a welcome sign:

So it was back into Emmetts for a cup of tea:

Back in the main garden, some autumn colours were appearing:

The rose garden also looked nice:

as did the rockery section:

A nice afternoon out!


Greenwich Peninsular

We decided to use the “Emirates Air Line”, more usefully known as the cable car, from Royal Docks to North Greenwich as part of our journey home today.

Online research showed that we could spend £3.50 with a contactless card at the barrier and avoid the £10-£20 “fleece the tourists” experiences heavily advertised at the entrance.

It wasn’t very busy, so we were ‘allowed’ a car to ourselves. The views over docklands and the river were great, though the sun (and windows) got in the way of some of the photos!

We then had a quick look at the busy retail park surrounding the O2 dome, then headed home for a cup of tea:

Canary Wharf

While we were in London, we decided to visit the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf (due to get trains later this year). Part of the top level is a partially enclosed roof garden:

Well worth a visit; I’m looking forward to using Crossrail trains to get there!


We decided to visit the Brunel Museum today. It’s in Rotherhithe, traditionally not the nicest area in London, but it’s now really pleasant and quiet. The museum is a short walk from Rotherhithe station:

This is the entrance shaft for the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel dug under a navigable waterway in the world. The tunnel was originally designed for horse and carts. Later it was used for the Underground, and today it’s used for Overground trains:

Inside the adjacent house, there is a small gallery with a documentary about Brunel and various models and displays relating to the tunnel construction.

The Grand Entrance Hall (inside the entrance shaft) was made accessible in 2016 and is now used as a ‘performance space’:

There are various benches outside based on some of Brunel’s more famous bridges:

An interesting small museum.

A visit to Lucy 

Having driven to York yesterday to bring Lucy her belongings, we are spending today doing some shopping while the car is here, and a spot of gardening.

She now has a compost bin.  We have agreed to encourage each other over the next few months…