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A few hours in Plymouth


By balcony


A few hours in Plymouth

On Thursday I had to make a five hour journey by train from my place all the way down to Plymouth! I was dreading the last stage of 3 1/2 hours cooped up in a train carriage with nothing to see but the countryside as it passed by at great speed! I get very uncomfortable if I have to sit on a coach or train for more than an hour or so.

I took a book with me to read & a small computer which I hoped would be able to connect to the internet. A sort of “braces & belt” policy to avoid getting too bored & fed up.

In the end I couldn’t connect to the internet until the very last hour of the journey! Even then it was SOOOO S-L-O-W it took more then 30 mins just to update my antivirus definitions!!!

Anyway the reason for my journey was to meet our son who was returning from Spain with his car in the ferry from Santander. As his car is obviously a left hand drive he was quite worried & nervous thinking about having to drive on the “wrong” side of the road! But I was equally as nervous as I’m not a driver & I had never been in the driver’s seat of a car in motion before! I was to act as his “eyes” on the far side as well as his navigator!

My greatest worry was thinking about how we would get out of Plymouth during the rush hour as there were bound to be a great many cars on the roads & drivers impatient to get home after a long day’s work that might not be tolerant of a slow, nervous driver not knowing where he was going & perhaps “straying” over to the wrong side of the road. I thought once we were out of town & on the motorways every thing would be plain sailing – so it was – more or less! Our daughter had left me their navigational guide that helped out a great deal on some of the roundabouts! Without it we’d probably be going round & round some of them even now!!!

Anyway here are some photos I managed to stake of the town & I thought might be of interest to those of you who have never visited it before – like me!

At the top of a sort of park come stairway I discovered these statues:

Intrigued as to who they represented I discovered this information close by:

They are of three famous men, two of whom sailed from Plymouth, these two men I knew, Scott & Darwin, but I didn’t know of Marine Ben McBean.

I’m going to put the info on the 3 men on here so you can read it as the photo is rather small:

Charles Darwin:

Darwin’s theory of evolution transformed the way we think about the natural world. His research was inspired by his voyage on HMS Beagle, which left Plymouth in 1831, circling the world on a journey that lasted almost five years. Darwin stayed in Plymouth before the ship sailed, visiting many local sites.

Scott of the Antarctic:

Born in Stoke Dameral, Plymouth, in 1868 . Robert Falcon Scott joined the navy at 13. The Royal Geographical Society chose him as the leader for two expeditions to the Antarctic. His second expedition reached the South Pole in 1912. Tragically, he and his three companions died on the journey back.

Marine Ben McBean:

Described by Price Harry as “the real hero”, Ben McBean grew up in Plymouth. He overcame losing an arm and a leg in Afghanistan, to run the London Marathon. In his own words “this statue isn’t just about me, it represents anyone who’s overcome adversity, it’s about how you react to ‘those setbacks’.”

University of Plymouth ‘Roland Levinsky’ building:

As I continued down the very wide steps I came across these clumps of Daffodils that had obviously been growing in situ for many years:

Camellias in park:

These Camellias were making a lovely show & I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos!

The Heather looked much better than in the photo, which doesn’t do it justice. The Camellia was well shown off by the Heather.

Daffodils in street islands:

I discovered there are some, what I can only describe as “street islands”, that divide a very wide road & had plantings of Daffodils & Heucheras below palm trees. All the planting appear to be very old.

Now on my way to the ferryport:

‘King Point Marina’ near the ferryport:

There were some very expensive boats moored here:

Now arriving at the ferryport:

Here we are at last!:

Here is the closet photo I was able to get of the ferry that my son travelled on from Spain:

As you might imagine we made it home safe & sound without too many diversions & both my son & I managed to survive the journey of 6 1/2 hours with our sanity intact.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Amaryllis flowering during 2015

Next post: Allotments 2015



My son has a Satellite Navigation gadget which he clips on his dashboard. I was amazed how easily he drove into Birmingham, taking me to the Museum, the 'voice' directing him on every junction. He left me at the Museum, continuing onto a Golf Course to meet a friend, then returned after 3 hours, spot on time, to pick me up.
Suggest your son gets one, well worth the expense.

1 Apr, 2015


I'm glad your journey was a success and you arrived home safely with your son Balcony ,we always find driving on the continent much easier than in the UK .. Thank you for your photos and information I've been to Portsmouth but not Plymouth so very interesting thank you .. we have Sat Nav it can lead you astray sometimes as we have found out .....

1 Apr, 2015


Mine isn't always accurate either, I suppose because it isn't human! It's done more harm than good upon occasion.

1 Apr, 2015


Ditto Lauram we have been led up many a dusty track , our daughter was also led up a farm track last weekend when going to Lancashire to visit her brother . On the other hand they are brilliant at taking you straight to an address in a built up area /city etc.

1 Apr, 2015


You were very brave driving a LH drive for the first time in an unfamiliar city - I would have been a quivering wreck and probably so would the car.
Some interesting pics there - don't plants make a huge difference to the feel of a built up area?

Does it make any difference to a Satnav whether you are driving a LH or RH drive vehicle? On a duel carriageway it could affect where you can turn off for instance?

1 Apr, 2015


I certainly don't envy you that train journey, pleased you got home safe and sound and thankyou for showing the photo's, I've never been so its good to see them....
Satnavs are brilliant sometimes but have been known to lead folk astray, its never good to ask for a scenic route unless you have hours to spare, lol....

1 Apr, 2015


I think getting away from the Plymouth ferry port, if you are a foreign visitor, must be a nightmare! It isn't an easy process and I am glad to read that all went well for you!

The ferry is huge. Hope he had a good, smooth crossing.

1 Apr, 2015


re Satellite Navigation systems. What I witnessed was on Birmingham inner city roads. Although all the Indian taxi drivers use them in Northamptonshire.

If using country lanes, seems best to dig out the old
Barts maps if you have them in the cupboard.

2 Apr, 2015


True. I've nearly worn out the local page of our AA road atlas.

2 Apr, 2015


At his time (22.30) my son & I were making our last of 3 stops home. Unfortunately I wasn't able to use my mobile as the battery had become so drained it refused even to send a simple text message let alone make a call home to let my daughter-in-law & wife know we were still alright! As my son's mobile was Spanish he wasn't able to make calls here having closed his contract with his Spanish provider a few days earlier. (Batteries are incompatible between different phones so we couldn't even have changed batteries!)

We arrived home a few minutes shy of Midnight after driving for 6 & 1/2 hours. My son became quite confident driving after a while & we had few difficulties. Then they were because some of the exits at some roundabouts along the way weren't signalled very well. The Sat Nav my daughter gave me for the journey was a god-send as it helped us no end at the roundabouts. Even so on a couple we went round a couple of times before finding the correct exit!

I've read of stories where Sat Navs have sent people into embarrassing situations & sometimes on the News as well. I didn't have too much confidence in it to be honest so I printed out a Google map before leaving! Not that I was able to consult it - with a child's booster seat on my lap for 6&1/2 hours! I was quite relieved when we reached a point when I recognised the names of a few towns closer to where we live!

2 Apr, 2015


You both did jolly well Brian.
I managed French maps whilst cycling on the right side of the roads , got off and walked when I got to a
roundabout !
Fortunately I chose the area north of Narbonne, quiet roads, if I saw two cars in a morning it was unusual.
Coach drivers and commercial drivers do exceedingly well coping with all this complication. I admire them.

3 Apr, 2015


My family wouldn't do without their satnavs now, last year whilst on holiday in Cornwall with my daughter hers went wrong, we rang home and asked hubby for directions to the nearest Argos via our mobiles and within an hour had purchased and set up a new one in her car, we bought the same one he uses, so he was able to instruct my daughter how to set it up immediately, then we carried on with our holiday with Sydney Satnav leading the way, sometimes these modern gadgets get on your nerves but truthfully we wouldn't want to be without them..

3 Apr, 2015


@ Dianebulley: Brian hasn't made any comments on this blog of mine, Diane! Neither am I Brian! My name is David, but you can use my avatar name of Balcony, whichever you please, but not Brian! I think it's a case of mistaken identity! ;-))

7 Apr, 2015


Glad to see you were able to successfully complete your journey safely. I cannot be bothered with Sat navs. OH insists we take his on every journey. I check my maps and then have fun proving how to get from A to B the old fashioned way. One day his gadget took us down a leafy suburban street and repeated several times that I should drive straight ahead - through a raging torrent carrying quite large tree branches. It was obviously a shallow ford in better weather. I find it irritating until it catches up with MY chosen route. We went round and round the inner city of Hamburg before I stopped and asked two policemen for directions to the road we wanted. Yikes - they went for their guns. I could have done with a Sat nav on that occasion.
Those red camellia flowers are fantastic. I have never been to Plymouth but found your photos very interesting. It good to see places from a visitors point of view. As locals in our own areas we get accustomed to seeing the same things and fail to see all the planning and thought behind the layouts and statues. The stories behind the statues are interesting too.

28 Apr, 2015


We found the SatNav most useful when we came to roundabouts, of which we encountered quite a few, but until we came to within a hour or so of home I wasn't very trusting of it - having read stories like yours & having seen on the News on TV of some things that can happen with them. I had printed out some maps from Google but, there being no way to amplify them at the time of printing, they were too small to use effectively in the car - especially when you have a child's car seat on your lap for 6 hours! - & at night.

Never having been to Plymouth before I found it interesting & would have liked to have spent a few hours exploring the city but I didn't have that luxury. What I saw was what I found while looking for the ferryport. There is no public transport there - if you exclude taxis - so I was forced to make my way there on foot following the traffic signs which made for a longer, more circuitous route. I discovered this when passing through a couple of places I had already passed on leaving the train station! Nevertheless I got there with more than an hour to spare before the ferry docked, then another hour while the passengers & vehicles left the ship.

29 Apr, 2015


The lack of public transport was our lucky day as you experienced much more than you would have from a bus or taxi. Thank you for sharing. We visit Wood Green Animal Centre most years and could probably wave to you on your allotment but we never explore off the A14.

29 Apr, 2015


Well I suppose even apparently "bad" things can turn out for good! Brings to mind the saying that "Every cloud has a silver lining!"

Our daughter goes with her children to visit Wood Green Animal Centre a few times a year - the kids love it there! :-)) We ourselves went one year before her 2nd son was born & found it interesting. Unfortunately the weather wasn't very kind to us that day as we has strong, cold winds & rain. Though there was a pause in the rain for our granddaughter to enjoy herself on the swings for a while.

It would be difficult to wave to us from there, or from the A14, as both are rather too far off to be seen from the allotments field in Huntingdon. Even an Eagle, from a vantage point several 100 ft above the Wood Green Animal Centre, would probably have difficulty in seeing us! LOL!

29 Apr, 2015



29 Apr, 2015

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