Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Just a little bit


I didn't get out fishing yesterday, a lunch invitation from my good lady gave me an option that lately hasn't been that hard not to accept, when it comes to fishing.
So I went today instead, what a cock up I made of that too, first of all I left it too late, faffing around in the house, and then I got halfway down the road and remembered, I didn't have my coat in the car!!
By this time it was well gone 2pm, it will take me an hour if the traffic is ok to get to the river, but I forced myself and arrived on the riverbank at about 3:30.
That gave me an hour and a half to fish, as I have to be off by dusk.
Never mind, my fishing frame of mind had improved.
Because of the time left to me, I had decided not to head up stream, but to start at the footbridge swim and move down stream, then back in short testing steps.
I didn't take my centrepin, thinking the river would be quite high, but my Shimano 4000 and my old Fox barbel special. They match each other well.
The river wasn't as high as expected, but getting back home later and re-checking the water level chart, it was obvious that some gates had been opened to rush the water through. It was close to summer levels but there was colour
So I put on a quarter ounce weight and tied a a size six direct filled with a good blob of well matured Stilton, alternated with flake, and tested just three swims there and back.
By the way Gurn, the Stilton is at least a year old, and even being in the freezer during that time had "improved" the smell to such a degree that eating it was the last thing on my mind!
Anyway, not a knock, maybe I hadn't given the swims enough time, and should have put myself in one and stuck it out?
During the time I had a chat with two old gents walking their dogs, and a couple of nice youngish ladies, also dog walking.
It felt quite good to be out.
I spotted my kingfisher twice,and was nagged by old Jenny Wren , because I chose to sit myself down next to her bramble bush. Also I noticed that the drake mallard still outnumber the females, five to one.
There'll be some trouble come mating time!!
Heading home at about 5pm got me straight into the start of clocking off time, getting off the A1 at Newark took an age, arriving home eventually at 6:30.
So, four and a half hours out for 90minutes fishing!
I just have to move house
Do you know what though, I may go down there again tomorrow, this time giving myself a bit more time and some fresher Stilton, I can still smell today's as I sit here despite a good wash!

I also have a plan hatching to be fishing the WelshWye next week.

The faffing about!

The faffing about that delayed me from fishing was what to do with all the fruit we had off the trees this year, particularly the plums, and the grape juice.
Some of the grape juice I've turned into a sorbet, not bad at present although it's a bit like a granita, so perhaps I'll try it with a bit more sugar for the next batch. We've bought some cream,so I'll have a go at some grape ice cream tomorrow.
Some of the plums I've put in a litre of vodka, we did something similar a good few years ago with damsons from our old house garden, and that turned out very well.The damsons after the good soaking, were then eaten with some good homemade custard, waste not want not!
We still have some plums left, most of our cooking apples, and our pear crop to deal with,at this rate a good few.pies,crumbles and tarte tatin are likely to be heading for the freezer.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

What's up?

A new challenge

With 2013's monies still coming in and exceeding so far £2500, the boys are planning another!!

Four  fishing the Northern Rivers and a slight change in the team for four to fish the Southern rivers. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013


The abridged version
I've decided, if I can to do it, to spread the last days of the trip to this one off blog, so it will will more photo's than words.
We arrived in Moscow on Monday October 7th and will disembark on Thursday October10th.
The boat is on the outskirts of Moscow, in fact the nearest Metro is a half an hour walk through a nice park and then 9 stops to the centre.The cruise buses take on a good trip about 45 minutes.BUT, to get into Moscow centre is an all day rush hour, it's a stop start journey along roads that appear to have no rules attached to them. Lane markings are ignored,so a three lane will easily become four,even five lanes as motorists, usually one per vehicle, vie for position.

Our first organised City Tour of Moscow is timed to be 1:30pm to 9:30pm. Monday 7th October

Novodevichy Convent

Duck family presented by Betty Ford

Scenes from within the Metro

Kremlin/ Red Square entrance, underground shopping in the foreground

Long range shot of Lenin's tomb

St Basil's behind the scenery!!
As soon as we arrived in the square it became obvious that photography would be nigh on impossible.
The Winter Olympic Torch had arrived the day before and all sorts of celebrations were and continue to be underway.

Red Square

Pretty soon we were being shepherded out of the square by uniformed personnel, mostly quite young. There was no way back, so us tourists could have a wander around Gumm, the big departmental store, or people watch, as citizens were turned away at the quickly erected barriers.

We never got the chance to visit Red Square again!

Tuesday October 8th

Today we had paid for an extra tour of the Kremlin and the Armoury from 8.45 to 1.30pm.
I've Wiki'd this as we were not allowed to take photos', and we had a most disappointing 35 minute rush through, groups are not permitted to hang around.
So, a waste of money, a place we must revisit though.

The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons, jewellery and various household articles of the tsars. Nowadays, the Kremlin Armoury is home to the Russian Diamond Fund. It boasts unique collections of the Russian, Western European and Eastern applied arts spanning the period from the 5th to the 20th centuries. Some of the highlights include the Imperial Crown of RussiaMonomakh's Cap, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, and other regal thrones and regalia; the Orloff Diamond; the helmet of Yaroslav II; the sabres of Kuzma Minin and Dmitri Pozharski; the 12th-century necklaces from Ryazan; golden and silver tableware; articles, decorated with enamelniello and engravingsembroidery with gold and pearls; imperial carriages, weapons, armour, and the Memory of AzovBouquet of Lilies ClockTrans-Siberian RailwayClover LeafMoscow Kremlin, Alexander PalaceStandart Yacht,Alexander III EquestrianRomanov TercentenarySteel Military Fabergé eggs
The ten Fabergé eggs in the Armoury collection (all Imperial eggs) are the second largest collection of Fabergé eggs in the possession of a single owner.


Inside The Kremlin

The Tsar cannon
The Tsar bell


Ivanovskaya Square

Wednesday October 9th
By this time we had enough, due mainly to the Red Square closure, and couldn't make up our mind what to do.
There were optional trips lined up Sergiev Posad and a trip to the Cosmonaut Museum.
We'd had enough of the traffic, and decided either to have a walk in the park, and then maybe a trip on the Metro back into the centre.
We decided a walk and relax in the park was the thing to do,so we did.


Our overall view was that a cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow,with the benefit of hindsight, was not the best way to see the two cities.The stuff in between didn't have much appeal and seeing banks of forest not particularly interesting.
Both cities should be seen separately, on maybe long weekend excursions, and not with an organised group.
Both cites are safe, but to save traffic problems, hotels within the city would be the best option. Of that we have no doubt and will be going back.
This would enable you to see the Hermitage, and the Armoury, two must see locations,and  with plenty of time to take the beauty of both the cities in your own time.

Time to get my fishing hat on!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Captain is leaving!

Sunday October 6th

Arrive 8am Cast Off 12.00 noon. Uglich

This is the final touchdown before we arrive in Moscow and the Captain leaves the ship, apparently he only needs to be on board whilst we sail!
So tonight, by pure co-incidence to our own celebrations we have the Captain's Dinner.
Firstly though, we have another whistle stop tour, this time to the town of Uglich.
This entails a walking tour of the Kremlin,and a Home hosted visit.
We found out that a Kremlin is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities that surrounds the interior city and....churches!

Our home visit to us into the quite large house of a retired couple.A former watchmaker from the now defunct Chaika Watches, like many Russian industries since Glasnost, it has closed down.

 I must say they made a very good flavoured( a hint of coffee) vodka(moonshine) made purely for home use, and as such overlooked by the authorities.We all had three toasts from  a large shot glass and were suitably warmed.
I've seen that cat before!
 The birdlife spotted in Russia is mainly of the crow family although great tit and chaffinch seemed to be abundant in the cities
Rook and Jackdaw

Egyptian / hooded crow
Anyway back to the boat for a 12 noon sailing to Moscow and "A taste of USSR" on the Sun deck, to start the drinking and eating.

A surprise for Pauline

For our celebration tonight we have decided to grab a table for six people. There is no booking of tables, so one of us needs to join in the usual rush of those who only want to sit with their mates.
Somebody had beaten us to a six seater and reserved the table with two glasses of wine, they were knowhere to be seen so must have sneaked in below the barricade!
The glasses are moved on by an obliging waiter, and we take our seats.
Our guests are two Scots, Alistair and Fiona from Invergordon, and two Canadian ladies Nadine and Karin from locations on Vancouver Island.
We ordered a couple of bottles of special wine. Whilst the house wine was ok in large doses, we wanted to start of with something a little better.
We had hoped to keep our celebrations secret, apart from the invited few, as Pauline didn't fancy the idea of a group of Filipino waiters banging and crashing happy birthday, as we had seen earlier on the trip. 

BUT, they have ways of finding out, the passport being the easy way!!


First Course 
Trilogy of Russian Blini's 
salmon caviar, tuna tartar & smoked halibut 

Beef Consomme 
aged sherry, Siberian pelmeni & vegetable julienne 

Second Course
Grilled Scampi 
saffron risotto & lobster sauce 

Main Course
Whole Roasted Beef Tenderloin 
truffled crust, potato roulette, seasonal vegetables with Barolo sauce 

Grilled Fillet of Kamchatka Salmon 
rissole potatoes, sautéed garden vegetables with Hollandaise sauce 

Eggplant Parmigiana 
tagliatelle, Napolitana sauce 

Viking Dessert Platter 
Grand Marnier parfait, white coffee mousse & soufflé 

Fresh Fruit mixed fruit platter 

Cheese Plate
Dutch cow's milk cheese, most popular cheese in the world between the 14th and 18th centuries, ages and travels well, does not spoil, pale yellow in color, coated in red wax 

Swiss cow's milk cheese, matured for 4-14 months in humid caves, characteristic walnut sized holes 

Schardinger Raucherkase 
Austrian cow's milk cheese, smoked over beech-wood, semi-hard and a spicy aroma 

I have to say the food on board is excellent and the waiting staff very, very pleasant.

I'm awaiting the film/photo's of the "happy birthday" celebration by the waiters, but it's still in Canada.

Tomorrow we enter Moscow!


Are we there yet?

Friday October 4th

Arrive at 1pm Cast Off 5pm Kuzino

A tour of a monestary, a visit to a school (the kids were on holiday), and finally Viking show, we dodged that bit!

Nearly there!

Saturday October 5th
Arrive 3pm Cast Off 7pm Yaroslavl
 A city tour, a visit to The Governor's House and the Farmers market

Located 160 miles north-east of Moscow. The historic part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities north-east of Moscow that have played an important role in Russian history.

If you're still with me, because I'm loosing interest,I'll carry on with photo's

The Governor wasn't home so his "daughter" greeted us

for the tourists

the confluence

the city coat of arms and flag

The Assumption Cathedral

Tomorrow is the reason we booked this way of seeing Russia, it's our 40th wedding anniversary and Pauline's  bithday

Friday, 18 October 2013

Onward to Moscow

Wednesday 2nd October
on the way

Along the way

Still on the way!

Just a short stop off today at 1.30pm at Mandrogy for a purpose built shopping village for souvenir shopping, if you like that sort of thing.
Time to buy your Matrioshka doll and watch it being painted, and or, your chance to make use of a Russian Banya (sauna), or get ripped off for a bottle of vodka!
As you can guess,with years of travelling, you become aware that there is always an inclusive trip of the local craft centre, I didn't expect this so early on in the cruise, but saw it coming. Some..the Yanks paid for a "special" tour!!

Back on board and cast off at 4pm.

Thursday 3rd October (day6)

Today we visit Kizhi Island, close to the centre of Lake Onega ( see the map) the scenery along the way is very much forest and anyway most of the sailing is in the dark!

8.30am is our arrival.
The island is home to the oldest wooden church in Russia. The 14th Century Church of the Reserection of Lazarus.
No nails were used in the construction of the two churches within the fenced Kizhi Pogost, a UNESCO World Heritage site
It is currently undergoing some restoration, we couldn't get in but the construction was quite clever, particularly the method of structure to enable no water to settle and rot the timbers.

Whilst not told this at the time, it appears that most of the wooden buildings, there are 80 or so, were moved to the island for preservation.

Autumn is here
22 domes of the Transfiguration church

and the 9 dome Intercession Church of the Virgin

"Typical northern Russian house"

The area is frozen over from late October

house content

Chapel of the Archangel Michael
Anyway, quite a fascinating story of the island, the history and it's inhabitants over the years, but back the the boat, we cast off at 10.30am.for another whistle stop tour of the town of Kuzina.