Sunday, 5 November 2017

Nocturnal Birds of Indonesia

To be completed

There is a new girl in my life!

Karen & I met in Abu Dhabi through a mutual friend. We went on our first date & we talked & talked for around six hours! We discovered that we had a lot in common in our family values & the way we led our lives. I felt as if I had known her all my life.

St Regis Hotel:Abu Dhabi

Karen is from Chester & that is where she lives (for the moment)! We met in London & stayed in The Waldorf Hilton, which was central for most of the places we wished to visit.

The Waldorf Hilton: London.

First stop on the tour was Harrods Department Store! Managed to only do window shopping & escaped unscathed from the experience! A close one that!

My worst nightmare!
I am a nice person,
 I don't deserve this!

A bit cheaper in Cafe Nero!

Covent Garden

Which one is the monster?

We spent a nice afternoon exploring the Covent Garden area. So much to see & do here. had a great time. The evening was spent at the theatre watching a very powerful & compelling Phantom of the Opera. 

Our cosy home for the night!

This proved to be an inspired choice
 as a place to stay: it was fantastic!

After a great couple of days it was time to move the short distance to Ewell. We were of course visiting Nicci & family, it was Peaches's 12th birthday! How time flies, it seems only yesterday that she was born!


Happy birthday Peaches!

The birthday girl, growing up fast!

Peaches & Gabe.

The cake!

Making a wish!

Cheers Peaches! Any excuse really!

 The evening of 2nd November saw us all at an Indian restaurant recommended by the guardian newspaper. The food was good & we all had a good time. We then went back for bubbles! Not the kids, just the adults! There was cake as well! It was a late night!

Me & Nicci

Two very important girls in my life.


After a bit of a lie in, Karen & I went to the cafe & Nicci cooked us a full English breakfast. It was great! It was then time to take Karen to the station as she had work to go to. 

Ready for work!

Nice to have a midwife around
 for all emergencies!

Karen is a midwife & she works in a baby factory! She told me to tell you all that he is 31 & a bit years old. This is of course true, but it is a big bit!

All dressed up!

Sara & Nicci: best buddies.


On the 4th November the Manley family had a wedding to go to. I joined them for pre-wedding bubbles at a friend's house. I watched the rugby & then had a quiet meal at a local restaurant.

Three Chelsea supporters!

The next day was a quiet one, went to watch the Chelsea versus Manchester United game at Paul & Sara's house. A nice time was had by all.

This was a new place for me to visit.
 Had a wonderful tour guide!

Mum & Dad

On 6th I traveled up to Doncaster to sort out my late father's estate & then on to Chester where Karen picked me up & introduced me to her Mum & Dad. We enjoyed a lovely evening at their house.

Rowan & me under the 
historic clock.

Rowan & Karen.

The walk along the river.

It turned out to be a wonderful, 
cold crisp winters day.

We stayed at The Grovenor Hotel, which proved to be an inspired choice, lots of old world charm. Did a bit of shopping & then went out for a very nice Italian dinner. The next day Rowan traveled over from Ilkley & we did a tour of the roman walls & a lovely walk along the river.

A nice time was had by all!

Later we met up with Karen's Mum & Dad & enjoyed a lovely late lunch. Then it was time for both Rowan & I to leave Chester to travel back across the hills to Ilkley. Karen was back at work & I had things to do!

In the local pub.

This one is better!

Tom, Rowan & Ceggy.

Spent most of the day on the 9th  Christmas shopping in Ilkley with Rowan, then we all went out for a nice meal in the evening. The next day I left & traveled on the train back to Ewell. It had been a wonderful few days.
Peaches & me.

Mia, Peaches & Gabe.

Peaches was there to meet me & I was babysitting that night. She had a friend sleeping over (Mia) & Gabe organised the tickets & cookies for the home cinema. We watched La La Land & it was great!

Meanwhile back in Abu Dhabi.....
Clare, Ahmed & Raha.

The 11th was all about watching rugby & then Gabe's birthday dinner at the local Italian restaurant. A good time was had by all.

Dinosaurs & cars
 before breakfast!


The next day there was a baby shower in the cafe & Peaches picked up some balloons! Did a nice walk in the meadows as the weather was cold & crisp, a perfect winters day.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sungai Penuh: Sumatra

To be continued.

Mount Kerinci: Sumatra

The 19th October was a long travel day, as we had to fly back to Jakarta & then fly back to Sumatra to Pedang to drive the six hours to Mount Kerinci. It sounds like madness, but the alternative is a three day drive between way Kambas & Mount Kerinci!


Mount Kerinci.

Kerinci is an active volcano!

It is quite a walk even to get to the forest.

The long route to the top!

Sunda Honey Buzzard

Mount Kerinci is yet another of these classic birding locations, holding some scarce & difficult to see mid montane & higher montane species. It is famous for being a difficult place to see birds especially if it rains! Steep slopes & deep mud are common! However on our visit we had dry & very good weather.very lucky indeed! We had two & half days birding here, on one day climbing up to 2,500 m. It was some of the most exciting birding of the whole tour.

Sumatran Frogmouth, male.


Sumatran Trogon

Shiny Whistling Thrush

Sumatran Whistling Thrush

Snowy browed Flycatcher

Schneider's Pitta; young bird.

Lesser Shortwing

Best birds included:

Red billed Partridge; Sumatran Peacock Pheasant; Salvadori's Pheasant; Sunda Cuckoo; Sumatran Frogmouth; Sunda (Collared) Owlet; Sumatran Trogon; Wreathed Hornbill; Grey throated Babbler; Spot necked Babbler; Rusty breasted Wren Babbler; Sumatran Rimator; Eye browed Wren Babbler; Sumatran Cochoa; Large Niltava; Lesser Shortwing; Shiny Whistling Thrush; Sumatran Whistling Thrush & Snowy browed Flycatcher.