Thank you Mrs. D’Souza

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This post is 3 weeks overdue. But, like they say, better late than never!

Some of you might know that I celebrated my birthday on August 16. And, this time around, Ashwina decided that she was going to spare no expense, which works perfectly to my advantage ;)

The first thing amongst them all was my Bose QC20 noise cancelling headphones. Although, they are on the expensive side, you definitely get what you paid for. Once you switch them on, it filters out all the noise perfectly. The real test for this was when I carried them along with me on the Jubilee line, which by far is the noisiest train line!

Bose QC20 Noise Cancelling Headphones

And, she didn’t stop there. The next on the list of gifts was super cool, very trendy Hugo Boss watch. It’s a personality increase just by wearing it.

Hugo Boss

And the next on the list is a something that I’ve had my eyes on for a few months and debated for a month. The MacBook Air 13-inch. I spent a long time deliberating on what laptop to buy. I debated between getting a Windows 8 Ultrabook and shortlisted the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. It’s really an awesome tablet and worth buying. The other one I checked out was the Surface Pro 3, but it is simply too expensive for the specs you get. But, I ended up actually buying what I set out to buy in the first place, i.e. the Macbook Air 13-inch. I bought the Macbook Pro nearly 3 years ago and it soon became my primary laptop. The fact that it has a Unix base really helps me work on the development of my WordPress plugins very easily. Hence, the Air was a perfect companion. I wasn’t wrong because the first plugin that I released on this gorgeous machine is Contextual Related Posts v2.0.

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Well, the gifts haven’t stopped, but who is complaining! I guess the title of my post sums up how I feel… Thank you Mrs. D’Souza :)

The Tower of London – Take 2

Tower of London

A few weeks ago, Ashwina and I decided to get out and enjoy the bit of good weather that we have had of late. While it was still below 15 degrees and chilly, it was comfortable enough to not cover up with several layers of clothing. The destination was the Tower of London. We are members of Historic Royal Palaces and the membership gives us access to the Tower of London as well as four other tourist attractions in and around London.

Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London is around 15 minutes by DLR from our house and although we had visited it nearly two years back, we hadn’t visited every part of this tourist attraction. This became very apparent today when we did the wall walk!

Since it was lunch time, we first made our way to the New Armouries which is the restaurant in the Tower of London. Known for its British food, you’ll find a good variety of food and drink to tempt your taste buds. I settled for some gammon and Ashwina had the chicken pottage. Once we were done with our lunch, we made our way to the small exhibition showcasing torture at the tower and followed this by the wall walk.

The torture at the tower shows you how crazy and scary life was for the prisoners there. And, sometimes torture was actually authorised for certain prisoners!

Torture at the Tower

Torture at the Tower

The wall walk takes you around a good portion of wall and passes through several of the towers. You start the wall walk near the portion of the wall overlooking the iconic Tower Bridge. You then pass through the Salt Tower and continue onwards to several towers. The Martin Tower, for one, has an amazing display of replicas and possibly some originals of many crowns that have been worn by the Kings and Queens over the ages. Jewellery isn’t my cup of tea, but it definitely shows the extravagance of the monarchy. You also can see replicas of the Cullinan diamond.

Martin Tower

Martin Tower

The most spectacular sight along the way is the miniature model of the Tower of London which attempts to give you an idea of what it was like to have been here several centuries back.

Miniature model of the Tower of London

Miniature model of the Tower of London

We finished our tour of the Tower with a cup of tea for Ashwina and a cup of coffee for me along with some scones and cakes. Not the best that I’ve had, but everything tastes good when you’re hungry and tired.

We ended the day by watching Noah. A movie definitely not worth watching. You can read my review here.

To India

BA Galleries Lounge Heathrow T5

My last long term visit to India was in February-March 2012 for my wedding. Since then, Ashwina and I have travelled to Scotland, Dunwich Heath, Cornwall and Paris. To make a trip to India I really need a perfect timing of decent air fares, long holidays and good weather. Post Christmas 2013 gave us this opportunity. So, we booked our tickets on British Airways, which is pretty much the main airline I use to travel and made our way to Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 on a stormy Friday after a Christmas characterised by strong winds and a small storm.

I usually prefer the day flights vs. the red eye because I can sleep comfortably in my bed after I land. This time we decided to try the red-eye anyway, being well aware of a nearly 10 hour sitting flight in economy. Thanks to my recent trips, I’ve finally reached Silver on BA and that meant lounge access! So, we got past an extra vigilant security at T5 and quickly completed our duty free shopping to find our way to the South Lounges at Terminal 5. After spending an hour there we made our way to Terminal B to the gate from which our flight was to depart.

BA Galleries Lounge Heathrow T5

Source: Flickr

After reaching the gate and having spent some time there, we soon realised that there was a problem with the flight when they didn’t call us for boarding well past the “gate close” time of 9.15pm. Sure enough, they announced that there was a problem with the aircraft and were only able to get a smaller aircraft, i.e. the 747 instead of the 777. This meant some people needing to wait back for the next flight. The price for this was a hotel stay and €600. Little wonder, they found more volunteers than willing passengers! We chose to find our way to the lounges in Terminal B, as did many other travellers on our flight. The new departure time was 00.30. (Side note: Am impressed by the BA app. I knew the updated time well before it was announced to everyone). If it weren’t for the lounge access, I must admit that Ashwina and I would have had a very rotten time waiting for the flight!

As we patiently waited in the lounge which remained open just for passengers of BA199, I decided to check out the status of our new seats. Imagine my surprise and Ashwina’s excitement when we found out that we were upgraded to Club World. So, we decided that instead of complaining about the delayed flight, we would appreciate that this trip was actually shaping up to be a decent one.

So, a little before Cinderella time, we boarded our flight and made our way across the world to Mumbai International Airport…

Cornwall – Pentargon

Pentargon Falls

After a disappointing visit to Bude, Ashwina and I decided that we would stick to Boscastle and explore Penally Hill. During our previous trips around the area, we had noticed the coastal pathway that takes you to Pentargon waterfall.

I checked out the details of the same on the South West Coast Path. This is a circular path that climbs to the very top of Penally Hill and then around the coast to Pentargon cliff where you can get a glimpse of the waterfall.

We woke up late and had a quick breakfast. Got ready and went down for a late lunch to Harbour Light. I was so impressed by the 100% Cornish Beef Burger, that I just had to try it again before I returned to London.

Armed with food in our bellies and warm jumpers and jackets, Ashwina and I set out to climb the hill.

There is a neat path that you can follow and we stuck to this route. But as you get higher up the hill, you can really fall once again in love with the beauty that surrounds you!

I tried capturing a 360 degree view of Boscastle and the coastline from the very top of Penally Hill.

We continued our journey along the path towards Pentargon waterfall. You can’t reach the edge of the falls, but you can get a glimpse of them from Pentargon cliff which lies opposite to the falls. Although it did rain the last few days it wasn’t enough to bring out the full glory of the falls and all we saw was a trickle down the mountainside.

Pentargon Falls

We had already walked a mile to see the falls and so continued along the rest of the trail which passed through a field and the panoramic path (we had partially walked a portion of this on Tuesday), before ending back to the village.

Here we rewarded ourselves with ice creams (any reason for some good ice cream). Ashwina also bought two paintings: one by Renate Forsyth which was on display at Harbour Light and another by Helen Setterington from The Old Forge which is a gallery run by Helen and her partner.

And that brought us to the end of our days adventure. We spent the rest of the evening at home cleaning up. We would make our way back to London on Monday morning. I’ll miss the quiet village of Boscastle that we grew to love, but I look forward to the hustle and bustle of city life that is a part of me!

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Cornwall – Bude

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We had planned to visit Bude, which is further North, along the coast. We took the 595 Western Greyhound from Boscastle to Bude, which is about 30 minutes away.

The journey is mainly through fields with the last portion along the Bude coastline which is as spectacular as most of the coast here in North Cornwall.

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The bus dropped us off at the Strand in Bude and at that point our misadventure began.

Bude has 3 beaches and the place is known for surfing. Other than that it also attracts hikers who travel the South West Coastal Path back to Boscastle. We didn’t have plans to do either. And, then there is nothing much to do.

We went down to the visitor centre which is just near the Bude Canal and bought a brochure for the Canal walk. It took us a few minutes to find the correct path and another 20 minutes to decide we didn’t want to do the walk.

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So we headed back to the town centre and hunted for a place to eat. The place turned out to be a disaster and the food a waste. To get the taste of the food out of our mouth we found an ice cream shop. To get the taste of the ice cream out of our mouth, we took the next bus back to Boscastle and found our way to Harbour Light where we treated ourselves to the fabulous Helsett Farm ice cream.

Overall, we felt we lost the day. We decided that we would make Sunday count since it would be the last day in Boscastle. It did. Check back tomorrow for the tale.