The south part of Tresco Island is quite different from the north with pastoral land and long white sandy beaches. This is also the area where most of its 200 permanent residents live. There's a small primary school, a church, a small supermarket, a gallery and Tresco Abbey, the home of Robert Dorrien-Smith with his wife Lucy (who was on the guitar course). They run the business as the Tresco Estate, and own Tresco island. About Tresco Island
Tresco means meaning "island of elder-trees" and is the second-biggest island of the Isles of Scilly.
Despite its small size, measuring just 1.15 square miles in area and about 2.2 miles long by 1.09 miles wide at its longest and widest, there is quite a range of topography.
The north part of the island, being exposed to the Atlantic Ocean, is a bit more rugged and hilly than the south with rocky beaches and heath land. There are also a couple of historical buildings - Cromwell's Castle and King Charles Castle.
In the winter months, when I am not sailing, I like to take a few weekends away on either a Ukulele Weekend or a Guitar Retreat. I have been using a company called Guitar Retreats for some time and in recent years they have started using more exclusive and unusual hotels and venues.
When I saw that a week long retreat was being held on Tresco Island I booked.
I researched various ways of getting there but both flying and train turned out to be either too expensive, long waits for connections or just inconvenient times. So I drove to Gloucester, stayed the night there and then onto Bude in Cornwall to stay with Stuart and Sharon, who run Guitar Retreats and then finally on to Lands End.
However, this wasn't the end of the journey as I still had to get a plane, a taxi, a boat and finally a short walk to The New Inn on Tresco.
It was a long journey, but well worth it. Tresco is a beautiful island with a sub-tropical garden at Tresco Abbey, long sandy beaches and some great walks around the island despite it only being 2 miles long and just over a mile wide.
At the beginning of February a group of us, five from Paisley and four from Edinburgh, travelled to Brussels.
Last year we had decided that we wanted to see Scotland play France in The Stade De France in The Six Nations. We looked up prices for hotels and flights and for a number of reasons - it was f term in Scotland, it was a Six Nations weekend in Paris and it was the closest weekend to St. Valentine's Day – it was going to cost a fortune. Someone had the bright idea of staying in Brussels and travelling by train to the match.
We found a great Ibis Hotel close to the city centre, booked flights and train tickets and ordered tickets for the match. I reckon for 3 nights it worked out at about half the price – and the bonus was we wouldn’t be paying Paris prices for food and drink. The Stade De France is a truly impressive stadium, but it was completely lacking in atmosphere, nothing like Murrayfield or The Principality Stadium. Due to its size with a full-sized pitch and a 400m running track, we were quite far from the action. Sadly, the game was a bit of a disappointment with neither side playing particularly well.
Brussels is a great city and I will return. We found some wonderful pubs and bars and a fantastic traditional café, Le Cirio, with ornate art-deco fittings and a great selection of beer.
I only had my phone with me so shots aren't as good a quality as they could have been.
A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Cumbria to take part in a ukulele weekend. Last year a friend and I went to Pickering on The Ukulele Express - a steam train from Pickering to Whitby - which was great fun, so I was really looking forward to this.
The venue was a Country Hotel, The Gilsland Hotel and Spa, just outside Haltwhistle. Nice place and as well as the entertainment and ukulele playing, the surrounding area was really nice and I managed out for a couple of short walks.