May 03 2009

Anna’s First Ever Trip To Cheltenham

Category: Anna's Photos,PersonalChrisM @ 2:55 am

After leaving Dad’s in Evesham, we went on into Cheltenham, where Irina had managed to find a good deal on a room at the Queens hotel. Whether the room was not as plush as their standard rooms, or it was simply a case that the hype accorded to this hotel increases your expectations, we couldn’t be sure. Nothing wrong with the place per se, just not as ‘wow’ as we expected. We met up with Ira’s friends from when she worked at PKL and had a nice meal at Cafe Rouge. From there we went on to meet up with the other Irina and her boyfriend, as well as ChrisD, Steve and Emma, over in the beer gardens.

Continue reading “Anna’s First Ever Trip To Cheltenham”

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May 02 2009

Last Visit To Dad’s

Category: Anna's Photos,PersonalChrisM @ 2:07 pm

These pictures were shot in Evesham, at Dad’s house, on the 2nd and 3rd of May. This was our last trip before heading back to Kazakhstan, though we did also spend some time in Cheltenham on the 3rd.

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Apr 20 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 7:00 am

If all has gone to plan, today Ira and I are in Amsterdam, celebrating my 29th birthday. Or should that be 30th – the day you turn 1 year old, is surely your second birthday, 365 days (or thereabouts) after the day you were born…
Anyway, despite the meandering style of this post, I’m not writing this live from our apartment in smokeland Amsterdam – I wrote most of the next two weeks worth of posts whilst still back in Kazakhstan. I wanted to keep my readers coming back for more (if you stop posting for more than a few days, you are guaranteed to lose return visitors), and as most of my friends are too lazy to guest-post. ChrisD would be a prime example – 18 months later and still no sign of his post on holidaying in Astana. So, I finally got around to clearing out all the collections of bookmarks I’d made on topics that I wanted to blog about ‘one day’.
Anyway, I hope all who read this do so in good health, to my friends in Britain, I hope to see you soon (we’ll be near Swansea 25th – 29th April (approx.) then some time in Cheltenham and Evesham, before heading back to Swansea once more, as my cousin is getting married. 4th May we head back to Astana, so if I haven’t seen you by then, you’ll have to survive until Xmas again.) To friends elsewhere, I hope things are going well, and that our paths cross again sooner rather than later…

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Apr 19 2008

Almost Gone

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 12:17 pm

We will be leaving for the airport in the next hour, and things appear to be sorted in time. Everything has been packed, I think I’ve replied to all outstanding e-mails, and this blog has two or three posts scheduled to be published each day we are away. We are in Amsterdam from 19th – 24th April, then on to Clydach until the 28th/29th April. From there, we go to Cheltenham and Evesham until 1st/2nd May, then back to Clydach for my cousin’s wedding, finally returning to Kazakhstan on the 5th May.
I hope everyone is OK, and that we’ll be seeing some of you soon 🙂

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Nov 21 2007

UK Trip Details

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 5:10 am


Once again, this post is primarily for family and friends back in Britain. A few have asked when and where we will be this Christmas time, and rather than repeating ourselves umpteen times, I thought I would post it up here, and refer people to the blog instead. More visitors never hurt the Alexa rank either 😉

Leave Astana 22nd December : 07:25
Arrive Moscow : 08:00
Leave Moscow : 10:05
Arrive Heathrow : 11:15

At this point John is hopefully picking us up in the motor-home, and driving us back to Clydach
23rd December : Flying visit to, and tour of, Cheltenham, as Ira’s parents will be returning to Kazakhstan before New Year
25th December : Something major happened this day in history, anyone recall?
27th December : Mum and John get married. 🙂 🙂 🙂 (note to myself, remember to update Outlook Contacts to Carol Kavanagh!)
29th December : The in-laws return to Kazakhstan, so following flight times are just for them…

Leave Heathrow : TBC
Arrive Moscow : TBC
Leave Moscow : TBC
Arrive Astana : TBC

New Years : At Mum & John’s place
Post-New Year : Spend some time in Clydach, Cheltenham (catching up with friends sober enough to move), Evesham (to see Dad), and hopefully London (to finally catch a glimpse of EmmaF’s new home, as well as other friends living there)
12th January : We leave Britain to return to Kazakhstan, with the following flight times

Leave Heathrow 12th January : 12:25
Arrive Moscow : 19:30
Leave Moscow 13th January : 00:10
Arrive Astana : 06:25

All flights are quoted with local times

Oh, and once again, a random two word phrase to make searching for this post, once it has slipped off the front page, a little easier. Hmm we had pink badger last time I think, so today’s phrase will be red dove.

[edit] Well, turns out there is a film called Red Dove. Involving amnesia, communism and water polo. I’m half tempted to try and source a torrent for that, it seems like an interesting mix of plot devices!

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Oct 19 2007

Back In Kazakhstan

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 1:29 am

I hope to write a few posts on my stay in Britain later, but for now I have a few things to sort out here at home.
A quick summary of some of the posts to come…
Kaliningrad Airport – Almost there in terms of earning its ‘international’ status
Amsterdam – How not to miss flights (learnt my lesson 6 years ago)
Cheltenham & Evesham – Dad and friends
Clydach – Mum, John and friends
Falmouth – Nick, his birthday, Roz, and the trip down in the motor home
Amsterdam – 4 hour stop over in the city itself
Anyway, hopefully more details to come soon 🙂

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Sep 19 2007

Tentative Dates

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 4:50 pm

I have already agreed with MattG and Miriam about meeting up with them, and have some dates in mind for when I visiting each town of my mini-Britain tour.
As you may have read recently (joke, the Amsterdam flood of posts should dry up in a month or two 😉 ) I am visiting Britain, via Amsterdam in a few days time.
The timetable will looks something like this…

Amsterdam 21st - 24th September

Britain 24th September - 16th October

Cheltenham and Evesham 24th September - 3rd October (approx.)
Clydach (nr. Swansea) 3rd October - 11th October (approx.)
Falmouth 11th October - ???
Amsterdam 16th October (8 hours)
Kazakhstan 17th October

So if I know you, and you want to meet up, feel free to drop me a line. If I don’t know you, and you promise me you are not a stalker or other type of psycho, please do feel free to contact me 🙂
This year will be the first time in something like 8 years that I will be in Britain without a car, so to friends who don’t live near Cheltenham, Evesham, Clydach or Falmouth, apologies. Big thank you to Miriam for coming down to meet up, I really appreciate you making the effort. And yes, this is also a not too subtle hint, Emma and Ramon, you have a car, I don’t now, so get your arse in gear 😉 😛

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Sep 17 2007

Trains, Coaches And Cars…

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 10:05 pm

OK, so after Amsterdam, I am travelling to Cheltenham and Evesham to spend around a week with Dad & Jan and Cheltonian friends. The next week I am travelling to Clydach, near Swansea to see Mum & John, and then some time after down to Falmouth to see my brother for his birthday (12th October).
With the Cheltenham/Evesham to Clydach journey, I need to decide whether to travel on a train, catch a coach or rent a hire car for the day.

The advantages that I can see of each…
Train – plenty of room to stretch my legs, normally has a little buffet section on board
Coach – get on coach, read/listen to music/sleep, get off at other end, often no changes required, usually cheaper than a train
Hire car – a lot more flexibility with when I leave, taking a rest break and don’t need to worry about my luggage getting too battered/stolen

The disadvantages…
Train – often pricey compared to a coach, most previous journeys I have taken have involved a change of trains
Coach – cramped, no food or drink onboard, risk of noisy/smelly/annoying passenger sitting next to me, at least on busy routes
Car – can be expensive in comparison to the others, need to get myself to the pick up and drop off points (hire car company offices)

So, after a little research, things are not as simple as I hoped. The coach (National Express) doesn’t seem to have a terminal in Swansea, the trains are not running on the first date I was looking at (Bank holiday maybe?), and the hire car company comparison sites don’t allow for picking up a car in Cheltenham/Evesham and dropping it off in Swansea to be entered into their comparison search table.

So, does anyone have any advice?

Another option I considered would be to buy a bargain banger with at least a month’s tax and MOT left, and hope it lasted while I was in the UK…

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Aug 31 2007

21 Days To Go

Category: Amsterdam,PersonalChrisM @ 6:55 pm

In just three weeks time I will be in Amsterdam. Given the time difference, I should have hopefully just hopped off a train at Centraal Station, dumped my bags in a locker (to be picked up when Alex and ChrisD have arrived a few hours later), and found a nice coffee shop to… have a coffee in (?).
Four days of rest and relaxation there, and then onto Cheltenham and Evesham, to meet up with Dad & Jan and some friends from my old home town. From there, the plan is to get to Clydach, to stay at Mum & John’s, and finally meet up with Gwen, their little puppy.
Finally, the reason for my trip being timed for this period, will be to go down to Falmouth and see my brother, Nick, for his 22nd birthday. All in all, it looks to be a packed three weeks, and I am really looking forward to going back to Britain, and of course Amsterdam.

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Jul 27 2007

Trip Planned

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 3:22 am

Unfortunately, ChrisD is not able to make it over to Kazakhstan this year. On the plus side, I am meeting him in Amsterdam for a few days of relaxation, and then travelling onto Britain to see family and friends. (My brother’s birthday is something I was hoping to get back to the UK for, and now it is sorted 🙂 .) Unfortunately Irina does not have enough holiday left to come as well, but we will all be back in Britain around Christmas time.

Anyway, my travel details are as follows :-

Leaving Astana 21st September 08:50
Arrive Kaliningrad 21st September 11:00
Leave Kaliningrad 21st September 12:50
Arrive Amsterdam 21st September 13:55

Spend 3 nights in Amsterdam, at an apartment with a view of the canal, that belongs to the Hotel Amstelzicht.
Then on to Britain…

Leave Amsterdam 24th September 18:20
Arrive Birmingham 24th September 18:40

3 and a bit weeks in Britain to say hello to family and friends. Hopefully fit in Evesham and Cheltenham, then Swansea (well Clydach actually), then down to Falmouth for my bro’s birthday.

Leave Birmingham 16th October 06:25
Arrive Schipol 16th October 08:50
Leave Schipol 16th October 16:15
Arrive Kaliningrad 16th October 19:15
Leave Kaliningrad 16th October 21:35
Arrive Astana 17th October 05:15

(All times are local)

I am going to miss Ira like crazy, but I am looking forward to the break immensely, and it will be really good to see Nick, Mum, John, Dad, Jan and some Cheltenham friends as well.

Pink Badger

Why that random phrase? One of the main reasons I am posting this flight information is so that if family want to know the details, or I am not at home, I or they can just search for a unique (I’m pretty sure I did not include it anywhere else 😉 ) phrase on this blog, and know they have the right post immediately.
You never know, perhaps pink badger is also a popular search engine search term, and I will increase this site’s traffic…. Not too likely though.

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