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Entries from June 1, 2010 - June 30, 2010



After breakfast we packed, checked out and drove up to Ellesmere Boat Museum. We'd been there a few years before and it was a handy place to spend an hour or so before heading in to Liverpool for some obligatory shopping before catching the evening boat home. Not much had changed since out last visit, although the Porters' Lodge section was now open with its views over the lower basin and new hotel and apartment complex.

We then headed up the Wirral peninsula with the top down on the car again which made the journey through the Kingsway tunnel a bit of a novel and noisy experience.

I'm always a bit worried about being "doored" in car parks so I sought out the upper levels of the Q park by Liverpool 1. The third level was fairly quiet with most cars clustered around the lifts and stairs. Over in the far corner, all by itself, was another Porsche Boxster so I parked next to it, leaving one empty car space between us.  It looks like that owner was also worried about car park damage.hoto

Photo: Porsches in Liverpool 1 car park

My wife set off shopping again, but I soon became bored and tired in the heat so we went to the Odeon cinema to see another Isle of Man Film / CinemaNX release, Wild Target, which was a bit quirky and mildly entertaining. After the film we headed the short distance to the Isle of Man Steam Packet berth and were onboard within ten minutes. Shortly after leaving the Mersey estuary the captain pointed out that you could already see the Isle of Man in the distance due to the excellent visibility that evening. As it was shortly after the longest day the sun was only just going down behind the hills as we docked in Douglas.



Today we drove to Llanberis in Wales, mostly along motorways.

Once in Llanberis some of the attraction we had wanted to see weren't yet open or operating so we went on a guided tour of the National Slate Museum, which was actually more interesting than I'd expected. Our guide was keen to point out the largest waterwheel on mainland Britain. The largest waterwheel in the British Isles, or Europe, or possibly even the world, is, of course, our own Laxey Wheel.

By the time it had finished the Llanberis Lake Railway was operating and this was actually less interesting than I'd expected it to be. Ah well, you can't win them all.

I had lunch, an Oggie and bottle of cider, and we then went on the Snowdonia Railway for the two and a half hour return journey up to the top of Snowdonia. The single carriage was divided up in to a number of "compartments", each one holding eight passengers, so it was a fairly cramped ride up and down the mountain. Although the views from the peak were spectacular I was quite please when the descent back to Llanberis was over and we could get off the train.ho

Photo: The top of Snowdon

Rather than take the boring motorway for our return trip to our hotel we decided to go across country, lowered the car hood, and enjoyed a very pleasant drive back through the Welsh countryside, stopping for our evening meal in The Gredington Arms.

Photo: The view from Snowdon


Wrexham & iPad Frustration

This morning we drove over the border to Wrexham in Wales. After parking in a shopping centre car park my wife promptly disappeared in to the shops while I spent a frustrating half hour in an O2 shop.

I’d wanted to activate and top up the pay as you go 3G micro sim that I’d ordered with our iPad for when we were away from home. I’d imagined that this would be quite simple but after various blank looks and calls to head office I was told that I’d have to plug it in to iTunes.

I explained that I was on holiday and that I didn’t live in the UK so plugging the iPad with the O2 card into iTunes wasn’t really a viable option.

“Plug it into iTunes” I was told again. I did enquire what would happen if, for example, I was visiting from the USA of Germany, would they still tell me to go home and “plug it into iTunes”?

That was met with an apologetic shrug, but no further help so I gave up and went to wait for my wife. While waiting I spotted an Orange shop so thought I’d try my luck in there.

After a long wait for a sales person to become available it seemed I was in luck. They could sell me a micro sim and that it would work fine with my iPad – look, they even had advertising material showing an iPad on their service. I eagerly signed up, by which time my wife was waiting for me as the whole process between O2 and Orange had taken well over an hour. We headed off to have a look around Wrexham.

Photo: Closed for Alex's Wedding

We noticed in one shop window a sign saying that they would be closed at midday as a staff member was getting married and coincidentally we found ourselves at the cathedral just as the bride and her father were arriving. I took the opportunity to practice a few photos of the bride, bridesmaids and guests as I had to photograph our niece’s wedding in the near future.  

Photo: Alex on her wedding day

We drove back to the hotel near Chester and I eagerly inserted the Orange sim into the iPad and to my dismay found that I didn’t have a service. I phoned Orange support about it and was rather incredulous when I was told I’d have to phone Apple. I reckon all I needed was the Orange APN details but apparently their support desk couldn’t tell me that. I half heartedly phoned Apple and I could tell the guy at the other end was as equally incredulous as I was about the situation. To his credit he did say he’d try to find out and email the details to me.

I decided there was only one thing to do – head back to the Orange shop in Wrexham so I jumped into the Boxster and headed off. Halfway there it dawned on me that I probably could have Googled the answer on my iPhone but as I was almost there I decided to press on.

Luckily I found that same salesman was free as a soon as I walked in and after explaining the situation to him he offered to plug the iPad in to their iTunes (I presume this automatically configures the APN) and then he said it’s probably the same as the phone APN, which it turned out to be. It’s “orangeinternetif you ever have the same problem.

Photo: Starters and Real Ale in The Bull, Shoklach

In the evening we headed out to The Bull in nearby Shocklach. We had a very good meal, which I washed down with some equally good beer and my wife drove us back to hotel.


Boxster Service in Chester

We were up early this morning to take the Seacat over to Liverpool and then on to the Porsche garage near Chester to drop our Boxster off for its first service. While the car was being serviced they dropped us off in Chester, where we did a bit of shopping before being picked up again later when the car was ready.

We then drove to the De Vere Carden Park Hotel, a hotel we'd stayed at before and had our evening meal in the hotel