Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Boston Tea Party

It really is amazing how small the world is these days. Son and hier has just Facebook'ed to say he's sat outside the "World Famous" Quincy Market inBoston with a Lobster roll, crisps and soda. Now all he says he has to do is try some of this Mountain Dew stuff that everyone seems to be going on about!
According to the P&O Website historic Boston is a key cruise port for ‘fall foliage’ trips around New England and the Canadian Maritime Provinces but anytime is a good time to enjoy this friendly, walkable city - dubbed ‘The Cradle of Liberty’ for its part in the American War of Independence.
Learn its fascinating history by following the Freedom Trail or take a subway ride beneath the Charles River to Cambridge, home of the 400-year-old Harvard University. On the other hand, you could simply settle for some world class shopping and lunch with a view of street entertainers at one of the pavement restaurants in the leafy lanes which surround pretty Quincy Market.
Or spend your day exploring the citys neighbourhoods; Back Bay - filled with elegant boulevards and imposing brownstone mansions - is the trendiest district while North End displays Bostons colonial charm at its best.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Newport - Rhode Island

The boy has left New York and is now at Newport Rhode Island. Fabulous mansions, fantastic scenery and the world famous ten mile Ocean Drive make Newport, Rhode Island a must see city. From the splendour of its palatial ‘summer cottages’ to its quaint colonial streets, inviting vineyards and numerous marinas. For a glimpse into gilded age living, visit Breakers – the most opulent and elegant mansion renowned for its intricate art and craftsmanship, or marvel at Marble Cottage – a social and architectural landmark and the first of Newport’s grand residences. Both are laced with endless carpets of green lawn and beautifully manicured gardens.

Unfortunately the miles of scenic coastline are hidden by a fog bank ast the moment
Which means the claimed "rugged beauty" is not very evident. In clear weather apparently the area is ideal for sailing, riding and rejuvenating walks. For true nature lovers Newport’s sanctuaries display a wide variety of bird life and for those who want to simply relax lagoon-like Gooseberry beach is the perfect location. Other famous landmarks include Trinity Church, Redwood Library and the Gothic Church of St. Mary’s - where Jacqui and JFK were married.

UPDATE; Fog too thick to land passangers safely (Newport is a "tender" visit where the ship anchors off shore and passengers go ashore in small boasts) so Aurora has departed early and is on its way to its next port!

Monday, 26 September 2011

New York New York

The wonders of Blackberry Messenger mean I am typing this blog post and simultaneously carrying on a conversation with son and heir who is shopping in Maceys in New York. He's survived his first full transatlantic crossing (he'd been across to Greenland but not right over the pond before this trip).
According to the Aurora Cruise itinerary the ‘Big Apple’ is the USA’s most charismatic city and really does have something for everyone. Love the great outdoors? Stroll through the gorgeous gardens of Central Park, right in the centre of Manhattan. People-watching more your thing? Get a taste of local life in the quaint cafés of bohemian Greenwich Village, or star spot in the boutique and restaurant-lined streets of the sophisticated SoHo and TriBeCa districts.

Feast your eyes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or enjoy the shopping spree of your life at Saks, Macys, Bloomingdales or Century 21 on Cortlandt Street, which is the worlds largest discount warehouse and near that other must-see, Broadway.

So I'm not jealous, MUCH.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Edward Stalk - Mid Atlantic

Been a bit busy the past couple of weeks. Went to the UKIP Conference in Eastbourne, fonished off some maintemance work on one of my houses and general consultancy work and other bits and pieces. All this activity has led me to neglect my Edward Stalking. I've still been loking at "Aurora Cam" most days but haven't had time to blog about it. Anyway, son and hier sailed yesterday on a 24-night cruise to American and Canada, his first transatlantic sailing. He'll be calling at the "Big Apple" with two full days to enjoy glittering Manhattan. It"s the USA"s most charismatic city with the iconic Empire State Building, Times Square, Broadway and Central Park all waiting to be explored. The yachting haven of Newport couldn"t be more of a contrast with its fabulous mansions, breathtaking scenery and the world famous 10-mile Ocean Drive. Friendly Boston is dubbed the "Cradle of Liberty" for its part in the American War of Independence and with a full day and evening here, you can follow the Freedom Trail or visit world famous Harvard University. Portland is as much about its seascapes as its cityscapes, with an eclectic mix of waterfront pubs restaurants, galleries and boutiques.
Then it"s a journey to a string of interesting Canadian ports. First, take a stroll around the cobblestone walkways of historic St John, New Brunswick. Then, take in the sparkling coves of Halifax, the imposing walled city of Quebec, where you will have two full days, and the charming port of St. John"s, Newfoundland. They"re all yours to discover before sailing home with Aurora.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Received my free copy of "What's on Hatlepool"

Twenty eight glossy A5 pages telling me what entertainment opportunities are available at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre, Hartlepool Art Gallery, Museum of Hartlepool, the Borough Hall, Hartlepool Maritime Experience, etc.

All good stuff, until the bottom of the last page........

Wouldn't it have been nice if Hartlepool Borough Council could have supported Hartlepool business and had the WOH designed and printed in the town?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Job Shares - great idea

I remember junior school maths problems about how many holes a number of men could dig in a number of days. The answer always showed the more days a man worked the more holes he could dig. Simple really!

Now try applying simple maths to the question about how many personal policies or strategies can a number of Chief Personnel Officers write in a number of days? The answer must be that if Hartlepool can share a Chief Personnel Officer with Darlington then there has not really been a full time job for a Chief Personnel Officer at either local authority. Unless of course neither has been digging as many holes as they could? Possibly that's not a bad thing because the last thing local government wants are more strategies or policies. Of course getting absenteeism down would be one thing a dynamic personnel chief might address, but no doubt she'll be too busy driving between Hartlepool and Darlington to worry about that?

How about also sharing a Director of Children and Adult Services? The current post holder in Hartlepool is going to be filling the Chief Executive’s job for six months. The job she was doing can’t be that onerous if it can be left vacant for half a year? This begs the further question of how many people at Hartlepool (and Darlington Councils) are currently being paid a full time wage for a job that only needs to be done part time, or maybe could be dispensed with altogether. Bring on more job shares I say.

Alicante - main city and cruise port on Spain’s Costa Blanca

Been a bit quiet on the Edward Stalking front recently. I've still being logging into "Aurora Cam" but the ship has been at sea so not much to report. Today however they are docked in Alicante so there is a new view on the cam.

Alicante is built around a natural harbour and is the main city and cruise port on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Of course Hartlepool's Mayor shared a similar vision for Hartlepool to occupy the position as the main city and cruise port on England's east coast, a vision that so far remains unfulfilled. Hartlepool and Alicante do however have many things in common, apart from the blue skies and warm sunshine of course. Alicante, is also a top beach resort in its own right (Hartlepol has the Block Sands and the paddling pool, although who knows for how much longer after the Heugh falls down). Alicante has a sophisticated Mediterranean feel (Hartlepool hasn't) with its restored old town (Hartlepool Headland) adding to its charm (rows of boarded up terraced houses waiting for new Housing Hartlepool Estates?). Alicante has the attraction of its sandy beaches (Seaton?). Dubbed the ‘City of Light’ when founded by the Romans (Hartlepool, dubbed the place they 'hang monkeys' by the French?), Alicante is still a relaxing place to walk around (As is Hartlepool because all the shops are shut).

Down from the impressive Castillo de Santa Barbara fortress (Hartlepool Civic Centre) which offers impressive views across the city, most activity centres in the streets around the Ayuntamiento (Church Street), a plaza area buzzing with restaurants and tapas bars. There are also many cafés along the seafront (Navigation Point).

Works by artists including Dali, Miro and Picasso are on show at the Museo de Arte Siglo and there is also an archaeological museum (Historic Quay and Museum of Hartlepool.

So there you are, what has Alicante got that Hartlepool hasn't? Just look at these pictures. Can you tell which town each was taken in?