Thursday, July 31, 2008


Wow, my 'class' was popular, my visitor count has gone up in leaps and bounds. Maybe I should do a few more?

I am just wadding through the pictures on my camera to remind me what I have been up to of late. Summer holidays, with no work to demark days, are always difficult to keep track of, even more so than when I was working full time. Then, the first week or so was spent in a daze as adrenaline washed away and I tried to catch up on all the HW jobs I had not been able to do during the term. Now I am only working two or three days a week that is not the case, as all those jobs are done so its more trying to find things to fill the days and enjoy life.

Last week was Whitstable Oyster Festival, much publisided on the telly. Mum and Dad offered to take me to Harbour Day and the Landing of the Oysters Parade. It was a total nightmare!!!!

Parking, which is never brilliant in Whitstable as you have to wiggle round lots of side roads or pay exorbitant charges for one of the four car parks, was nigh on impossible, especially as Dad reckoned he couldnt walk further than 400 yards. Eventually we found one though and walked to the Harbour. It was totally bumper to bumper packed and I dont do crowds well.

The Harbour Day consisted of lots of local 'producers' selling stuff at really really high prices. A small punnet of cherries were £2 (only £1.80 in Tescos), none of the hand made crafty stuff appealed (alot of it I wouldnt have given house room to) and the artist's paintings, many could have been done better by some of my reception children. No I wasnt impressed. I was less impressed by the rude ignorant people who thought it ok to walk straight through me, push me to one side or just generally knock me around without so much as a word.

These were the only redeeming feature, even though some people thought it was ok to get infront of my camera and stand there. I had alot of photos of some guy in a check shirt!!!!

The Oysters were traditionally landed at the Horsebride, so called because it was where the horse carts would back up to the water to be loaded with crustaicians. So when the town resurrected the festival, it was started from the Horsebridge with street musicians, entertainment and the first catch being bought in there. There would then be a bit of a ceremony and the first oysters eaten by some dignatory. Then the actual tasting sessions would radiate out from there as the oysters were transported around the town.

The whole thing has taken on a much more commercial air now. No way were the oysters bought in the first catch as already people on the harbour were stuffing their faces and buying bags full of the shell fish.

Anyway having dragged my dad away from the punch and judy show (which he loves)

we started out the Harbour gate. At which point another bump from a tourist and my camera fell off my shoulder hitting the ground very very hard. When I picked it up it still worked (once put back together) but the UV filter was completely smashed. This had not turned out a good outing.

Really fed up I turned towards the Horsebridge only to see my parents turn in the other direction. Apparently oysters no longer come in at the traditional point to start the Parade. Oh no. You cant make enough money down there because the space is too small. Now they come in on the beach by Whitstable Brewery. Years of tradition blown because of money!! So that was it, I stamped my feet, refused to walk down there, and we came home.

Want a giggle, well in the evening the festival week is opened with a firework show from off shore - well actually tradionally Whistable Regatta is finished with fireworks but the Oyster people stole the idea. I said I wouldnt go because I would go to the ones after the regatta as I always did. Well a lot of people did go, but some idjitt forgot to shut the hold keeping the fireworks safe from wave surges, the boat got caught in a large wave which washed over the side, filled the hold, sinking the boat and ruining the fireworks. It wasnt really funny as a lot of money was wasted and people were dissappointed. I only laughed because I felt it was payback when I discovered that the Oyster festival people hadnt just borrowed the firework idea, but that they had actually taken over the regatta and that as well as moving the landing of the oysters, had moved the date of the regatta (ALWAYS held the week before the carnival). With NO advertising!! So no one knew it WAS the regatta. So comeupance I thinks.

During the week I started my diet again and a keep fit regieme (started by dragging Martin out on Sunday which he turned into a long sea walk). I even got my bike out and cycled along the sea front one day. Mind by Wednesday the weather was far too hot and sticky to do that anymore and the rest of the week was spent mainly having showers to cool down and sitting about reading.

On Monday mum and Laura and I went to see Caspian. We had to do a matinee because it is now only showing in a few places around here, but we really enjoyed it. We are hoping for a girlie day out to Mama Mia when Laura comes back from her holiday.

Sunday I thought to have another go at the Oyster week events so again I dragged Martin reluctantly down into town. It didnt start well, with a bit of a row about parking, but eventually I did find a space even though it was right across town from the Harbour. And it was quite fun walking the roads we had walked as teenagers on our way to the pub ( a young courting couple lol).

We started on the West Beach near to what had used to be our local and the pub that Martin had played football for for years. There was supposed to be a display and workshop of willow seabirds. I'm not sure 6 counts as a display but they were very good.

It was just a shame there was no one there to talk to about them as promised in the program, and no sign of any workshops. There were three women messing about with willow in the shelter but they made no attempt to speak to passers by, in fact they were very secular, not even talking to each other and turning their backs to the public passing. So if that was the workshop it was very intimidating.

It did not really get better. The walk along the beach was not really pleasant as again there were way too many people being ignorant and walking into you with not so much as a word of apology. There was not really anything going on to do with the promised events, when we got to the Harbour it was still the same producers selling rather tired looking produce now, and again no specail events. We walked (well I was starting to stagger now, it was really hot and I was very thirsty) around to the Brewery on the beach for the promised beer festival. In the paper and on the web it had given the impression this was going on all day and into the evening, but a sign on the pub said it had finished an hour before we got there. No matter we still needed a drink so I found a not too crowded spot on the beach and Martin went in to get refreshments. He was soon back empty handed. Apparently you had to queue to buy tokens (a long queue) followed by an equally long queue to get the drinks. His trouble was he didnt know how many tokens he would need. He didnt want to get too many as they were £1 a token and we would be left with handfuls of them never using them again, or equally so he didnt want to queue for the beers only to find he didnt have enough and have to start the system all over again.

We left the beach, walked up the highstreet, went into a pub we had used before and knew to be good (which also was nothing to do with the festival, oysters or all that) and had a really pleasant drink.

It was a long walk back to the car. We were really not amused.

I was given a questionairre to fill in about the festival, I lost it before I did but I dont think it would have been big enough to cover all I would want to say! We didnt bother with the carnival this week.

We have booked 3 nights in Bournemouth as of tomorrow. May be their festival events will be better.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Loads more catch up and tieing up ends


Its so hot I have really not felt like sitting on the computer blogging. So I have not been keeping my blog 'diary that up to date. Thank goodness for cameras! Mind - mine has been through the mill a little lately, but I will come to that later.

As well as all the every day stuff I still have two days of our USA trip - so long ago now - to record. Lets get that out the way first.

Thursday 4th June 2008
Still in San Francisco

This morning we chose the ihop for breakfast as we had seen the new pancakes advertised on the telly the night before. We hadn't realised that they actually came free with a main cooked, so with more bottomless coffee cups we came out fully stuffed again.

It was our last full day so time to mop up all the sights we hadn't seen. A bus took us to Pier 39, which on first sight seemed nothing more than a tourist trap, full of souvenir shops and restaurants.
Then, as we were looking out to sea at the island of Alcatraz we heard this strange noise. Following our ears around the corner we saw ......

This is what comes of not reading the tour book - well lets face it, the thing had led us wrong several times. These darling treasures are a landmark of the city and we were totally ignorant of the fact.

We stood for quite a while watching their antics, the males were very territorial and there was lots of fun as each pushed other males off each platoon to gain the upper footing in the colony.

Surprisingly San Fran is a very windy city and even though it was our final day, I didn't want to go home not having bought anything at all, so we walked back to Fisherman's Wharf where we bought a (pink) fleece for me complete with matching (pink) baseball cap. Martin got a hat too, and I am glad we did because we ended up out in the sun all day and would have been very burnt without them.

We finally got to walk round Boudin's and enjoyed a pleasant time looking round some of the small art galleries too - not really our scene but it was out of the wind and sun and very restful.

We realised that we could use the F line bus route on our Muni cards as well as the street and cable cars, and overhearing someone say that the shopping was good on the Haight, grabbed one to take the long trip out there. The trouble was you had to change buses and as we stood at the bus stop waiting for the final leg bus to arrive we both remembered something that had happened in the square a couple of days before.

We had been on our way back to the hotel and were changing cable cars. As we stood on the corner deciding which way to go a lovely black guy called Lamont had started to chat to us. At first we thought he was drunk or selling stuff but it turns out that he had come to SF from New Orleans after loosing his home and every thing else in Hurricane Katrina. He had come to live here as he had a lady friend living here, but that had not worked out (he told us) so he was making a living 'selling' information to tourists - I have to say there was no hard sell, he gave us all the info and only asked that if we thought the info worth anything it was up to us to decide. Anyway through out the talk, he had insisted that we didn't go further in 'that' direction as it was a bad place. Lamont was a lovely guy and he didn't steer us wrong. Guess where the bus change point was? Yes, and I tell you standing there was pretty scary. Consequently we grabbed the bus going back the other way, just enjoying the sights from the window.

We got off to take a look at this building though -
in sharp contrast to the refugees, unemployed and homeless only a couple of blocks away, San Francisco city hall is very imposing and opulent.

Back safe in Union Square we enjoyed a drink before going back to our hotel to finish up the last of any goodies we had bought (muffins, coke, crisps etc), and an afternoon nap in the hopes of being awake enough to see some nightlife.

It didnt work though. After a steak in Jack's bar we were still tired and ended up returning early still worn out from sun and touring.

Friday 5th June

Determined not to go home empty handed I asked Martin if we could go find some shops on our way out to the airport. Our plane did not leave until 5 so we had quite a while to do this, it was just a case of finding where the shops I wanted were. Our room contained a telephone book and although I had not found any listed I was undetered.

So another huge brekkie in ihop again (pancakes still free as a side) and then took a leisurly time to pack and book out. We set off finding our way out and then managed to find ourselves on the I-101 again, this time heading south. It wasnt a bit we had travelled on before, and finally we got to see some of the beautiful coast line. No shops, but some lovely little villages and sweeping beaches.

Of course I could see Martin had abandoned all idea of any shopping, and the further he explored the coast line the further from the airport (and any chance of a road going in that direction) became. After a few heated words, he turned inland and we eventually ended up at the airport waaaay too early. A lovely Texan lady showed us how to ignore all the one way signs and get to the checking in taking only half the time and distance. As we had found throughout our trip, our accent made Americans stop and talk to us.

Although it had seemed like we had arrived way too early for our plane it passed quickly and soon we were taking our final look out the plane window as we left USA behind.

Make do and mend - the process of a Layout

Back in the 'good old days' scrapping supplies were no where near as plentiful, varied or as easily attainable as they are nowadays. Looking at all the new CHA stuff being previewed on various sites and forums made me think back to when I first started scrapping. There were NO bricks and mortar shops selling craft goodies anywhere within a 100 mile radius of where I lived - come to think on it there still are very few. Internet shopping was very new and scary, international Internet shopping virtually non-existent or something someone else (who was rich and clever) did. About the only three ways to get stash were a) get someone you knew and trusted to post it from the USA, buy from QVC or Ideal World, or c)go to trade shows.

Even at shows, the choice was limited, you were lucky if there was much more than cardstock, a few sheets of pattern paper, and eyelets or snaps. Well that's what I came away with on my first visit anyways.

So in order to make a half decent page, you had to be very adept at making your own embellishments. Paper piecing was all the rage, loads of eyelets threaded with ribbon, that sort of thing. Even when all those things we love to use on our layouts now started to reach us from across the pond, I was still proud of the way I could usually make my own version - shrink plastic, hand cut titles, I even once made a very ornate key using nothing but cardstock, my computer and a ton of glitter. I layered cardstock to make my own chipboard letters. I scorned those that used pre-made items as 'cheating' and taking the easy way out.

I still don't have loads of the latest up to the minute, money and an overwhelming choice often stopping my hand on the buy now button. So I thought I would share the process of this LO that uses so little in the way of modern fancy bits and much of my very old stock.

Oh and my other problem is lack of photos - in the '80's before the advent of cheap digital cameras, processing film was expensive, cameras were for high days and holidays, one film often having to last for nearly 6 months!

So for this layout I only had two very poor quality photos to work with. Thank goodness for photoshop! It took me quite a few hours of cleaning up, enhancing and cropping, enlarging to get these three alternative looking pictures, but I wanted to do Sketch 87 on Pencil lines so I persevered.


1 sheet of steel blue bazille

1 sheet light blue bazille

1 sheet of (old) Chatterbox scrapbook walls courtyard blossoms

half sheet of (old) Chatterbox scrapbook walls sky lilac

Black floss (very old reel from when I was at school!)

blue cotton (from a mixed pack bought in sainsbury)

Stickles - star dust

Peewee glitter, light blue (bought in 2000 at that first show!)
Set of chipboard letters (possibly HS but not sure as have had for over a year,) Staedtler triplus fineliner pen black (bought cheap in Sainsbury)
Foam pads bought in poundland

Black stayzon ink
White reeves acylic paint (in Tesco sale)

Corner punch large and small sewing needles

PVA glue
Autumn leaves stamp circle jounal/scroll

Chatterbox doodlegenie twitterpated

I double matted the large photo onto light blue cs and then onto the chatterbox courtyard, rounding all the corners as I went on both photo and layers. I matted the smaller photos once onto light blue cs. I positioned and stuck down.

I found a flower on google which I printed out and used in two sizes as a template for the flower (I am hopeless at free hand drawing) I matted both onto the light blue cs and then positioned and using foam squares, made into the 3D flower.
At this point the flowers didnt stand out enough so I doodled some stitching around them with the black pen. It seemed logical to follow the stitching around the frames on the photos.

I knew I wanted a florish but wasnt sure how to go about it. I needed a thinking stage, so I left it on my desk and came back the following evening. I used the doodlegenie sheet as a guide and using my coluzzle pad underneath, and the larger needle, I punched out the holes to embrodier the swirls. I really wanted blue floss for the sewing but had to make do with black as that was all there was in my sewing box. When I had finished one swirl though, it was far too harsh against the blue so to tone it down I sewed the light blue cotton around each stitch. Happier I did the second swirl, but I was still not convinced it was right.

In an experimental mood, I used the stickle to run a thin layer of glitter along the threads.

Sewing took another evening up.

Stamping the journalling block took only a minute, finding a quote to go on it that I liked took up another whole evening, and then I hand journalled as by now I really didnt want the fuss of trying to print it and line up all the lines on the stamp.

I came away for another evening to think on how to do the title. I knew I wanted to use chipboard but I only had one pink set the correct size, everything else I had was too big for the proportions. In the end I carefully peeled the pink layer off and then used white paint to colour the letters. This still was too harsh so I used my finger to smear a thin layer of pva glue over each letter and sprinkled with peewee glitter.

I finished off the title with some Heidi Swapp rub ons and I am quite pleased with a LO made mostly from old stock and scraps.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tieing up ends

Lots of bits that havent made it to my blog but should have. Photos of my weekend with my pad mates:-

The beatiful setting

Ginger giving out the secret santa gifts - I was gutted not to win the glass handbag.

We did scrap, honest. From front to back - SarahK, Louweasel, Jenrig, Valj, Fee, Annette and Angela Dougie, Suzanne, Fran, Izzy, Jafffne Then photos from Walmer Castle:-

Taken using timer after three attemps!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Castles and sight seeing

Today I was supposed to be working but at the last moment they cancelled on me. Martin had also forgotten to tell me he had the day off, so since the sun was shining, even though I was still feeling a bit rough, we decided to go look round Walmer Castle. At the door we were given the hard sell on joining National Heritage, so now, according to my daughter, we are officially old! Anyway it wasnt a bad day and in a little while I am going to go check out all the other places we can now visit for free. Only a couple more days of our usa trip to record. On the second to last day we got up a little alter and meandered round to Starbucks. It was very busy so I sat outside and waited for Martin to get the coffee, watching the world and the people go by while I stood there. I was facinated by the young guy who rocked up with a golden retriever. He tied him up outside and nearly every one who passed stopped to pet or talk to him. Turns out the dog's name was Hadley and he came by most mornings. When his owner came out, they both called in to see 'Tony' who lived next door. When they came out Tony' had obviously supplied dog treats which Hadley earned by jumping up and giving his master a proper High Five. Today Martin wanted to do all the tourist things. We set off to cross Golden Gate Bridge, to take our obligatory photos. Dolly had told us the best place to take the pics of the bridge was from the other side looking back towards San Francisco but the sun appeared to be in totally the wrong place. No matter how hard I tried I just could not get any seemingly through the veiwer decent pics of us without our faces in shade, even with flash infill. (Of course back home the photos look ok) Anyway we took a drive around to find a better view. We drove into the National Parkland where we saw a deer, a youth summer camp hostel, a rather scanky looking beach in the distance, some military concrete buildings, and finally some images across the bay. We drove back into SF to to drive down the 'most crooked road in the world' Lombard street. I have to say both of these experiences although fun were a bit of an anticlimax. Golden Gate looks impressive but compared to driving over the River Severn in gale force winds (with police moving lorries into the outside lane to protect the smaller lighter vehicles), or the huge and high dartford crossing bridge, it was a rather boring drive, and the crooked street, where you are stuck in a traffic jam going 1 mile per hour, has nothing on driving round the mountainouse hair pin bends in Corfu on the back of a scooter where you cant find second gear.

After stopping off at Safeway to stock up on munchies, we dropped the car back in the hotel car park and took the bus out to Golden Gate Park. This was a completely different bus route and I suspect we got off further away than we needed to as it was quite a walk into the park. Still we were definately using our Muni tickets to full advantage and I would recommend getting them. Using the bus/cable/street cars is by far the best way of getting round the city.

I'm not sure what I expected, and at first it looked much like any municiple park with bowling green and children's climbing frames, but suddenly we were in the which was beautiful. The first thing we saw was a humming bird all but 3 foot away from us hovering near a huge flower. I was too stunned to take a photo and by the time I got the camera on and primed it flew away. But then we saw this marvelous creature and I was a little happier.

The park was very popular as we found when we went to visit the Japanese garden. In fact there was such a queue and you also had to pay quite a steep entrance fee that we decided to give it a miss and walk a bit further in. We noticed two blokes with large cameras on tripods attempting to take photo's of something in the bushes - I am conviced it was humming birds but Martin thinks it may have been bigger birds since they were a fair distance from the trees. We watched for ages, and amazingly several people also stopped to ask what WE were looking at, but we never saw what they were taking.

By now our little leggies were well walked out, so we caught another bus back into the city. We had intended walking around the corner to a small cinema showing Indiana Jones, but it suddenly turned cold and windy so once again we collapsed into bed to watch more Law and Order re-runs. We are such light weights LOL

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

With all me pad mates


On Friday I set off for a fab weekend with some of the talented girls from the pad, to scrap, relax and laugh. Em and Maria met me in Bluewaters and we travelled up together (with the obligatory stop at Artbase on the way. Artbase was showing a distinctive lack of stock so was very disappointing, the weekend wasn't though. The company was fantastic and although I felt like death warmed up with a rotten cough and cold, I had a really good time, scrapped 2 and a half LO's plus a digi one, got to meet a heap of lovely lovely ladies and didn't manage to have a nervous moment the whole weekend.
A big thanks to all the girls who organised it all so well and to all the girls who made me feel at home.

Only two more days of my USA holiday to describe - its been taking me a while to get it all written up here. Next time we go away I am definitely taking the laptop and writing it as I go along.

So -San Francisco day 2, part 2

Having munched our subways in the square, and had a short walk around Bloomingdales,

Martin and I caught the cable car to check out the suggested Cable Car museum. Although quite small, it is housed in the wheel house where all the underground cables come together and are turned, it was really interesting.

The cables move at a constant 9 miles per hour so the cars can go no faster than that. There was also heaps about the earthquake that devastated SF

We then took the cable car out to look round North Beach, well at least that was where we thought we were going. We actually ended up in China Town which was really a small collection of Chinese shops. We treated ourselves to a large cream cake and a coffee before heading back to the hotel.

I had really fancied a KFC since we do not have one near enough to us at home and I could see one from the hotel, so we went over to order chicken (with that wonderful secret Col. Saunders recipe) and chips. We were disappointed to find that they no longer do chips - wraps or jackets only) and there was no corn on the cob side. It took us ages to decide what to have instead, but finally fed, we collapsed into bed and watched back to back episodes of Law and Order. We were way to tired after all the fresh air and walking (plus the 5.30 wake up call) to do much else.

Weeds and wildflowers

W&W have changed the way they do things and are now sending the code to download their Friday Freebies via newsletter, so you need to sign up to get it. This is great because while I check email regularly I often forget to visit W&W blog on friday. For once I was in the queue for the kit and it was a dozy!

Kelly at a very young age (still blonde!) using Tweets kit and a freebie flower transparency.

Still feeling rough (although not so bad as yesterday) so will put up rest of usa trip and weekend news later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Normal service

Normal blogging service will resume once I have got rid of yet another cold and my head is clear enough to write coherantly.

In the meantime a digi LO I did on my scrapping retreat this weekend.

Friday, July 04, 2008

National Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest

The trouble with staying in motels is that sometimes the previous room occupant is a right joker. The one who had stayed in ours was no exception as he had kindly set the alarm for a 5 am wake up call for us.

The trouble was the stupid thing refused to shut up. Bleary eyed both Martin and I pushed every button on it in every combination we could think off, but it refused to shut up. Eventually I had to pull the heavy set of drawers out from the wall and yank the plug on the thing - and it stayed like that for the 3 days we were there. In fact it was still unplugged when we left, I wonder if anyone has noticed yet?

In that wonderful AA guide I had read that Mel's dinner, just accross the road, was the place to go, so we walked over to have a coffee, and plan out our plan of attack on the city. Well Mel's might be the place to be but it was the most expensive coffee we had in USA and the service wasnt that wonderful. We vowed to find the Starbucks for next time.

All over the place we had seen muni tickets for sale, but couldnt work out what they actually allowed you to travel on. When we walked down to the wharf the previous evening we had seen the cable car turning point and muni tickets were on sale there, so obviously they included the cable car, but what else. There was only one way to find out. Peering at the window wasnt it,
asking inside was

and soon we had a 3 day pass to cable, street and underground transport all for $11 each (about £10 all told). People are wonderfully friendly in San Francisco, we were soon chatting to a couple from Arizona as we explored on the cable car, who suggested we started our tour at the cable car museum. Instead though we spotted signs on the car advertising the 46th annual cable car bell ringing contest, and guess what, it was on that day in about an hours time.

So we carried on up to Union Square, the main centre of San Fran. Desperate for the loos we ventured into Macy's where we were able to get the most fantastic view from the 6th floor and took these fab photos of the preparations going on in the square.

There was a very talanted 'Slot Blades' giving it their all with some '70's funk,
Carl the policeman doing glad handing and crowd control at the same time

the porter from the Shakespear hotel had turned out as a judge,

and the place was overrun with journalists, photographers and even a television crew.

This was obviously a big event and we looked forward with anticipation as we took ring side seats.

The main event was a bit of a while starting as we had to wait for the mayor, the sponsors and the head of the supported charity all to big it up with long speaches first, and explain the rules. These were pretty straight forward, basically anyone and everyone from professional bands to dancers could support the bell ringer.

We had managed to secure the bottom step to sit on, right at the edge of the square and very close to the action. We were going to have a terrific veiw of the goings on. Only ... remember all those journalists, camera men and television crews? All those extra dignatories and hangers ons? As soon as the first bell was rung, they were all there, right up tight against the cable car, in front of us. All the action was in the small space the other side of the cable car, hidden from most of the audience. We couldnt see much of anything at all except the backsides of the media. And those cable car bells are not that loud (see utube for examples, you can actually see on there what we couldnt).

Dissapointed we headed off to grab a coke and a subway sandwich.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

My mummy's baby's birthday

It was my youngest ones birthday today - she is 23 already.

Happy birthday

I sort of got called in to work but 2
mins after booking me they called back to say the school had changed its mind. So I went out to Asda instead and got some make up pressies for Laura and a few tops and pair of trousers in the sale. Why am I two sizes bigger on the top than the bottom? It makes buying clothes so difficult. Hopefully all the time I am spending on the wii fit will help improve matters?

Not when we went over to take the birthday pressies and ended up eating huge chunks of black forest gateaux. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Time to leave

I was really
disappointed that we didn't see any bears in the park.
We headed out of Oakland and cut across country towards San Francisco. We had come out of the park at the North end having gone in at the North end, and to be honest the journey back towards San Fran was pretty boring, as for the most part it was all flat farmland. Except as we went through the mountain pass we saw the hugest
reservoir ever.

We did finally manage to find where to put the water in the car for the windscreen wash though so at least we could see out the windows as we drove!

Mid afternoon we stopped at a large cafe come attraction area. This had apparently started out as a small stall selling cherries, but over time as its popularity as a stopping place increased, it grew until there was a cafe, a huge veg/fruit shop, a gift shop, a kiddies play park, a train ride and this little mate.

Finally we hit the outskirts of San Francisco at 3 o'clock. Martin had read in my AA travel guide book that I had bought with us, that there was a hotel situated in a road containing most of the hotels in the city, with good reviews. We drove around a bit but got completely lost even with a street map. We saw the bottom end of the
crookedist road in the world (as used in many a movie car chase), and Telegraph hill with amazing views across the whole of the Bay area, but still couldnt find the hotel.

Eventually we got out and walked, asking people in the street as we passed them. None knew of the place we wanted although they all tried to be as helpful as they could. Finally someone gave us directions but it was a bit from where we were so we went back for the car. When we finally did find the place it looked really run down and totally cheap and nasty. No wonder it had good reviews in the AA book, it was AA registered, of course they were going to big up their own places! Across the road was the Cow Hollow motor inn though,

and at $101 a night was just the ticket. Car parking was free, and we had a room that must have had a floor space equal to the whole of the floor space of our home. We never managed to find the Best Western that Dolly said she always stayed in, but we were more than comfortable for the few days we had left of our stay.

After settling in - and unpacking, finally I could stop living out or a suitcase and hang up my Fisherman's wharf. This was a very long walk, across a park, through a shopping precinct (
Safeways to be exact) and up a rather steep hill. We loved the place on sight though. The park was full of dog walkers and joggers, and Fisherman's Wharf reminded me of Margate.

There was a talented sax player busking on the sea front and we stopped to watch a spray
paint artiste making pictures of the bay at sunset. We had just the best T-bone steaks in Jack's bar for only £6 each, and finally caught the street car back.