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Saturday, 26 November 2016

London Christmas Lights; Oxford St, Regent St, Carnaby St, Liberty's Windows

London Christmas Lights; Oxford St, Regent St, Carnaby St, Liberty's Windows

Every year the London lights are an attraction. There have been some fantastic years, normally when a huge Christmas film comes out and they buy the streets for promotion and go to town. There have been some ordinary years. If you can't get to London and some of the other attractions we will find a few and show them to you. So, the very first is the special area.

Oxford Street and Regent Street

Oxford Street is the one people mention, but Regent Street often has the better lights. Oxford Street has a collection of lit hung ball balls and Regent Street has the huge Christmas Angels whose wings light up as a graduation, then go out and rotate again. This is the first year we have filmed them so I cannot compare, but there was a hint of me having seen these before.

Liberty's Windows

In Great Marlborough Street just down from The Palladium, Liberty's window is always worth a look and this year it is the Nutcracker Suite and as they mention the Royal Ballet, there may be some connection. It it is I saw no mention of the ballets golden girl Darcey Bussell who christened the cruise ship Azura. Did you know every cruise ship had a godmother, see our list. They missed a treat there as Darcey is very in vogue in the Strictly Come Dancing run up to Christmas.
Liberty have also got a famous clock adjoining the building across the road to the block that sits between it and Regent Street. Try and make the hour so you can hear the chimes. I suggest not one near rush hour.

Carnaby Street

The centre of 1960's fashion the street now features a Miss Sixty as well as the fabulous Irregular Modes, Doris's favourite show shop. Their lights are always different and never the same which makes them very special. The pubs round this area are also worth taking a break in. As Carnaby Street is just blocks from the attractions above it would be amiss not to take it in with the others. For the shops and the lights.
Click here for the film. It is on Daily Motion so does not appear as a box in Blogspot.



Happy Christmas, don't drink more than you need to be Merry.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Does every cruise ship have a Fairy Godmother? Which ship is Darcey Bussell godmother to?

As we approach panto season, what better question to ask, Ships? Godmothers?

The first time I entered the Arcadia I wondered why Dame Kelly Holmes had a framed picture on the wall in the atrium then on inspection I realised she had Christened the ship. Compared with Dame Helen Mirren's christening of the Ventura, Kelly's was a tame affair. Kelly had stilt walkers and balloons.

Dame Helen got a team of Royal Marine Commandos and she abseiled down the side of the ship with them before breaking the bottle of Champagne! That is the style I would expect of her having worked with her on Prime Suspect just a few years ago.

But talking of history, the picture I am using is from 1978 Sunderland Empire Panto when Doris was the Fairy Godmother, but alas not to a ship. Doris is the character that comes from the award winning web series that put 61 episodes on line, Shades Of Bad.

Earlier that year she got off a ship called a Floatel in Zsa Zsa where she was on tour with the then hit BBC TV show Seaside Special.

Little did she know then she would be presenting a TV Travel Show nearly 40 years later and off and on ships like they were taxi cabs.

BBC's Strictly Come Dancing star judge Darcey Bussell CBE can hardly be referred to as a retired ballerina. Ballerina she was and is, but retired no. She seems to work tirelessly on the dance show, with appearances and supporting good causes. She is Godmother to the P&O ship Ventura, and after smashing the bottle, she presented a Ballet on board from the Royal Ballet.

We wonder if she will be on the Strictly Come Dancing Cruises now lined up for 2017? Who will be on there, will Louise Redknapp win, will she be on the cruise? We do know there will be dancers, will be at least one judge, and the costumes will be on board ship on display. Click here for Strictly Cruise blog.

But, back to pantos and the godmothers, the list is long but we have one or two missing which you might just know, so please, take a look and help us out.

The Queen makes the list a few times and when christening the Britannia used British sparkling wine...

Does every Cruise ship has a Godmother? The fullest list of ships Godmothers in existence ! http://bit.ly/2grMgvG 

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Doris Visits will be streaming our first live TV show in 2017.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Fiji - A Cyclone then a rock band

Fiji, first rocked by a cyclone , then rocked by Status Quo.

This is an interesting blog about Fiji for those interested on how one works in a foreign place, then in the face of disaster. In 2012 people were losing and had lost their homes, but nearly a million pounds of some other people's pension funds had been invested in a film with Status Quo. So, disaster or not, life has to go on.
Not everyone would have flown to Fiji in the aftermath of the disaster, there genuinely was a food problem, no film catering, no electricity and in many places no water. That included many hotels. One of our locations, the spectacular Intercontenental had no water or electricity and closed. They did not comprehend that that would ideal for us to film in, no one to be bothered by us. So we had to wait until the tourists came back then had to move them.

Much is discussed in this film of Fiji and dealing with film making, as well as the story of the film and Status Quo themselves slowly unfolding. So as we can steal time from Doris in the edit, we will continue this story of the making of Bula Quo in the Pacific Island of Fiji.

The actual live show of this is told by director Stuart ST Paul occasionally, and he next tells it in the Pacific, on the cruise ship Arcadia during its world cruise of 2017. He joins the ship in Hawaii and will be telling the story as the ship sails down to Tahiti.

To see the part 2 of the behind the scenes film click here.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Doris Visits the World Travel Market London 2016

Doris Visits the World Travel Market at ExCel. 

You might ask what is The World Travel Market?  There are many answers. A wealth of colour is certainly one answer, just take a look at the video we did.
Videos are important at Doris Visits as we like to show you a place, then as you research you can visualise. See the cruise before you cruise the sea, or look before you book. I guess that is a little of what a trade fair is. So what are all these countries doing at this three day event here at London's Excel?
It is where any country (destination) can show itself and it's opportunities to a wide range of over 50,000 travel operatives and industry professionals. We are not just talking travel operators but government ministers, the tour and facility operators, the press and bloggers like Doris Visits. Here they can sit and negotiate and further what are hoped to be long lasting business relationships.


Our first meeting was a the Fiji stand. In 2012 we went to Fiji to make the film Bula Quo under the well documented government incentive of 47% tax back. As, in 2016, we are still waiting for this promised incentive we went to ask why it is still sitting on the Minister's desk in Suva. The deals struck and chased here and at other events can be complex and detailed but they all have the same goals. They want tourist traffic to the destination as it brings revenue. The film Bula Quo which starred Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt showed Fiji off in a fantastic light, and premiered the movie released by Universal all over the world not least in Leicester Square, London, in corperation with the UK arm of Fiji Tourism. So, four years on we are keen to see the Fijian government make good their side of the deal. Most countries, including the UK offer filming and other deals to encourage trade. The UK deal is well worked and understood which is why our studios are full to capacity.


1105We wandered through the Canary Islands section because we have just completed an extensive set of video blogs on La PalmaGran CanariaLanzarote and Tenerife. Portugal had a huge presence and of course we had been to both Madeira and Lisbon on the Iberia Cruise. We looked at places we have been but our interest turned more to the places that we know we are going to this year to film.


Our first stop was Hawaii, which is where we join the Arcadia for a leg of the P&O Arcadia's wonderful Polynesian & Asian Adventure. We fly to Hawaii at the end of January and will be staying a few days before boarding the ship to Bora Bora then Papeete in Tahiti. As film makers, one of the areas we would like to get to from the ship is the Kuala Private Nature Reserve, so we had the opportunity to meet with the director of Sales and Marketing to discuss that. Kuala is where much of Jurassic Park was filmed, and the TV show Lost.


We sail into Bora Bora on the 6th February but we sailed into the Tahiti WTM stand on the 10th November. Doris Visits tries to orientate Cruise passengers then find them something different, so we are looking for tour topics for the films while there. On the 7th February we sail into Papeete where we leave the ship and will have time to stay on the island, so we had a lot to talk about with the sales and marketing account manager for Tahiti.

Dubai, Jordan and the Middle East

These areas have such a significant place in the culture and history of every country who follow many of the mainstream religions from Christianity to Muslim. But Dubai is different, the place where there is a bar or club on every corner and 80% of the population there are non native. Like the founding fathers of America the youth have invaded the UAE because of the sun, life style, opportunities and lack of crime. A society steeped in culture and ethos, we have ten films on Dubai and blogs on Petra and Jerash in Jordan.


cruise down the Fjords is something on many people's bucket list. The Norwegian stand means business, the Norwegians drive business very well and their stand is no exception. Their Innovation Norway programme is the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry aimed at developing any company's competitive advantage in order to enhance innovation in Norway.


So it can be seen that the World Travel Market has many complex functions happening under the ExCel Roof. From offering government help to enhance trade as with Norway above, to trying to get the governments to then fulfil their promises as with Fiji above, to, mending relationships where trouble has hit. Headlines in TTG@wtm the official event daily magazine, on day two seemed to list countries mending tourism issues. They suggested that Turkey's Ministry of Culture were confident that they could restart visitors numbers having lost 30% of tourism traffic after recent problems. The facing page feature an article where Egypt's Tourism Minister had insisted that new security measures installed at Sharm el Sheikh Airport have made it safe to resume flights, The UK's Foreign Office (FCO) at this publication date are still advising holiday makers against using the airport. This in turn could affect any travel insurance you might hold. Thailand was also claiming that the country is now back to normal after the 30 day long mourning period of the much loved King Bhumibol ends on the 14th November and the reported year long period only affects government.
So, whilst the World Travel Market may come and go without you needing to be there, we just though you might like to know one of the many things that goes on behind the scenes in our day to day operations.
follow us at www.DorisVisits.com and see the film there.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

P&O Cruise Ship Arcadia World Cruise 2017 - Polynesian & Asian Adventure

P&O Cruise Ship Arcadia World Cruise 2017 - Polynesian & Asian Adventure

It is a dream, a bucket list item, but also a huge undertaking. Columbus and Vasco did it and they, like all seafarers made stops. So, 'world cruise' does not mean the whole world and it does not mean 'never getting off'. Though I add, there are those who never leave the ship.  

What does a World Cruise mean?

It probably means you are retired or you could not take 114 days off work in one stretch. Not and come home to a job still waiting. It undoubtedly means you are an adventurous.
There are those who make it the holiday of a life time, those who do it over and over again once hooked, and those who plan such a journey around family that now lives abroad, like Australia.
The Acradia is one of P&O's ships that undertakes these mammoth journeys each year and it is partly because it is an adult only ship and it is just small enough to get through the Panama and Suez Canals where as the Azura is 2 meters too wide for Panama.
What do you pack, what do you need. Not much is the real answer though you will take a lot more. When at home you probably have the same cycle of clothes, and it will be little different on board. You will go out more, because the theatre, club and pub are all just a stroll down the deck. You might use the laundry room, you might use the laundry service, but you will not be doing any cooking. Not on the Arcadia. You might on the Britannia which has a huge kitchen for cookery classes with stars.
The Arcadia will move quickly from Southampton on January the 2nd and before you know it be in Madeira, then Barbados, then on transit through the Panama Canal. Before you know it, you will have turned native and enjoy being looked after in style. USA, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Middle East ... the list goes on. If you are sitting on a nest egg, just remember you can't take it with you. Take a look at more details and some of our films that will help you plan, because the one thing you won't have easily is internet and research and some excursions should be considered before you go.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Holiday & House Buying Frauds - a nod to help you avoid being caught

Buying a House, booking a Holiday, then beware

House Buying Fraud - Scam

Our friends at Capricorn Financial would like to make you aware of a new form of online fraud that could target anyone purchasing a property. It's called 'misdirection fraud' and it is costing homebuyers £2.8 million in financial crime each year - a figure that's potentially set to grow.

In a nutshell, hackers will monitor emails between all parties in the mortgage process (client, solicitor and broker). When the hacker identifies a financial transaction is about to take place, they email the homebuyer, under the guise of either a solicitor, mortgage broker or financial institution and ask them to make their deposit into an alternative account - the fraudster's account. The unsuspecting buyer follows the instructions and the criminal collects the proceeds.

Capricorn Financial want to protect you from criminal activity by raising awareness of this growing issue. Solicitor firms are starting to make their clients aware of this risk and we'd encourage anyone in the process of buying a property to confirm bank details with their solicitor before making any transactions, especially where bank details are changed close to the completion date or details are received via email.

Anything like this we would like to just tip you the nod about.

Holiday Fraud - Scam

There are also many scams when booking holidays on line. There are many occasions when the holiday maker finds they don't have the holiday they thought. We always suggest, when possible, book direct with the operator. Use the operators main web site. They are the ones offering all the deals that are on offer in any case, so all you need to know is there on their sites. Book through our link and we get a referral, so there is no need for us to handle your money or hold on to it.
You have the safety of having booked direct.

P&O Main site, click here

Fred Olsen Site, click here

Saga Site, click here

Also, by booking with the company itself, you will be dealing direct with the company if something goes wrong. Use the link on our site and we score for the referral, so there is no need for a third party to handle your money.

Port Talk blog on Barbados with video clips+tips - look before you book

Many of you will now be thinking 'Caribbean'.


Right, it is a fun fantastic place, and no matter where you are going, or cruising it is likely you will go in and maybe out of Barbados, if not stay there like the stars. Cilla had a place there, Cliff still does as many others.
If you are just using it for transit maybe we can encourage you to see a little more of the island than just the capital, which is not why you go to Barbados. Barbados, the bearded one, with its rugged east coast that contrast so much with the sandy beaches of the west.

North of the capital you find the more traditional trendy spots and designer shops, the south is far more fun and Ousting is where you go to the Friday night fish night party. I suggest you talk to you operator if on a cruise and ask to extend your stay.... staff call it shore leave .... to stay before the cruise or after the cruise.

Even if you can't, and you have a day there, let these films show you where you can get to on public bus. Lunch at Mullins in the North East, easy from the bus terminal next to the cruise port. Or walk through the town and take a bus south and discover Worthing and Hastings (or fish night) or from that other south bus station, get a bus to the West Coast and see the Botanical Gardens and rough seas hit the beach.

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our next cruise is on the Arcadia, world, from Hawaii

Links to the films





Saturday, 5 November 2016

Who Goes to which Christmas Market ? Where are the great Christmas Markets ?

Christmas markets are now everywhere

The first Christkindlemärik claims to have been held in Strasbourg in 1570. Now markets full of seasonal trinkets, Christmas songs and carols, candied almonds, chestnuts, stollen, fragrant gingerbread and mulled wine have spread all over Europe. There are so many you could go anywhere to see sparkling decorations illuminating medieval buildings and historic town squares, but, there are some that are special.

London, Southbank

This stretches from the National Theatre to the London Eye, the huge wheel that overlooks London as a lit up city for Christmas. On a good clear night, there is no other city as spectacular as London. The streets off Oxford Street can surprise as well as the lights in the main street. Trafalgar Square was a huge disappointment for us last year. The worst decorated tree in London.

xmas-tallinTallinn, Estonia

Tallinn stands out because it is picturesque before you dress it with Christmas. This compact city with many churches comes alive at Christmas. There is a program of song and dance over this period.

Strasbourg, Europe

300 stalls, spread out over 12 locations in the city centre. This city produces a special atmosphere of warmth and generosity, an Alsatian tradition which has been successfully maintained since the first market (1570). SAGA Christmas on the Rhine goes here. Click here.


Copenhagen, brims with Christmas cheer from Tivoli to a market where all the stalls are  named after Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, tastefully decorated with thousands of Christmas lights.. The Arcadia goes there click here for details.

Zagreb, Croatia

The city streets and squares invite you to let your hair down and partake in singing, dancing, and other kinds of entertainment with family and friends. You can also sample traditional delicacies alfresco or enjoy themed programmes which take you down memory lane.

header_wismar_pic1Wismar, Germany ***

This world Heritage Hanseatic City might not be on your normal list, but it is a new stop for Fred Olson this year. Wiser is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic Christmas markets in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Fred Olson goes there 7 nights from the 15th Dec from Tilbury. Click here.

Colmar, France

Is the third largest Alsace community in the North Eastern region of France. It is a wine route and was formally German. Many traditions and Christmas is amongst them.


BrugesChocolate and Christmas. The cobble streets and squares are an ideal setting for the Christmas markets. There is always an open air ice rink. At this time of the year a ride on a horse and carriage is extra special. The OCEANA cruises there and Amsterdam for a 5 night Christmas taster from 29th December. E726 Belgium and the Netherlands. Click here.

Innsbruck, Austria

Against the picturesque mountains Innsbruck Christmas market has the snow capped advantage. It is spread over at least 6 markets with over 200 stalls and a 14 meter high Christmas tree.


Amongst the many cosy Christmas markets there is one at Liseberg Amusement park or 40km away is the Tjolöholm Castle with fireworks and other activities.    The Arcadia goes to Gothenburg - click here for details.

Bremen, Germany

Is said to be one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. Set in front of the Town Hall with nearly 200 stalls you will be able to smell the sausages cooking as well as the Christmas spirit.

St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg's Ostrovskovo Square is where the Christmas Market has been held since it started in 2006. It is a five-minute walk from the right side of Gostiny Dvor metro station, a small square dominated by the huge, bronze monument of Catherine the Great where you will find the market.

Billand, Denmark

The home of Lego, so this is a family destination. DUPLO land turns into Christmas.
Fred Olson may have the gem, Wismar in their Christmas Cruise. Click here to site.

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Friday, 4 November 2016

Don't Get Fined travelling to Southampton by car to get a cruise !!!

Cruiser gets fined £1 on way to ship - no joke, serious on many levels

A cruiser has informed us, and shown us a letter which is a FINE for driving to Southampton.

Driving to Alternative Cruise Parking the sat nav took them through a small village - and they were fined £1 !

FACT - The sat nav took the driver through a small village on the way to the cruise parking. The village is called Eling. Eling has a small bridge that you need to cross. 

OUR RESEARCH SHOWS - Quoting from the web page of David Harrison the County, District & Town Councillor . "The first historical mention of a toll being charged for use of the Eling toll bridge dates back to the 1700’s following a reconstruction of the mill and bridge during a major flood. The charge then was sixpence for a four wheeled carriage. Today, it costs a £1 to drive a car across the bridge."  

But he claims that it is being challenged. Click here for his page.

The challenge is probably from someone's huge annoyance at the way they are conducting themselves, but they are using an old law to crush them because you can't take them to court for what is probably annoying a huge number of cruisers. Let's find out more....

Let us suggest it would not take much to make this a properly sign posted toll bridge that does not upset anyone, or employ a toll collector who made himself known and collected money rather than registrations. Please note David Harrison. 

So why do they wish to do it the way they do, is it because they make more money in fines than they can from Tolls ??? Just asking.... you can make up your own minds.

The sign is not an official road sign for a toll and cannot be expected to be read by someone driving a car because they are required to look at and read the road signs that are officially there and make no reference to a toll bridge. 

Let me show you a few well
established signs for a toll bridge.

The left has a large sign, and a price. Up at eye level, and a gate.

The right is a UK road sign, up at eye level. where you are supposed to look.

Now let is show you the bridge in question that cruisers are complaining to us about. The only permanent notices relating to the toll are white boards that look like signs for selling fishing bait in what looks like an abandoned railway hut.
The temporary sign on the floor may or may not be there when you pass, and we are told may not have been there, was not seen there. The man in the toll hut appears to have pen and paper to make a note of your registration but is not required to show himself as an officer and bring attention to why he is there, if he intact was and I guess he is not covered for his comfort breaks and it is not 24hours.

So, if Mr Toll Collector is there, why does he not collect the Toll? Why is there no proper road sign on the post with other signs relating to the bridge?
Why does the council send a £1 fine in the post. Is this a money making scheme in ship's, sorry I mean sheep's clothing?

We did some digging and it appears that many people do not take this for a toll bridge, or the money collector as being present. So what is going on?

Explanation of the madness as presented

We are told .... allegedly, that it appears that some local councils in some places, not necessarily here, now have the power to process their own court papers, and it appears that having done that well for some years and got away with it, they can now fine you for anything, and then act for the court to do court paperwork and the court that never saw the paper fines you. It appears no judge may ever see any of this. In other words it appears, possibly, that within councils, eager 'legally untrained' school leavers are left to process the paperwork on behalf of the courts. So a council appears to become 'court and jury' on matters of rate or rent arrears and anything they now wish including tolls - because a system is established ....  and although it appears councils often are wrong with the rent and rate claims, and they need to be challenged, they often state that 'no correspondence will be entered into', and 'the fine has to be paid within 7 days.'

So, not that that is the case here, but just take a look at the madness. They could put up a proper sign. But forget the sign, let us look at their letter which we were allowed to see but not show you.

The letter we have been shown from Totton and Eling Council states, '.... having driven over the Eling Toll Bridge at ...... time and date .....  without paying the clearly marked fee".

Now, pardon my English, but they claim it has a clearly marked fee. They do not say in the letter that it is a clearly marked toll bridge nor that it is clearly marked that a driver should stop and pay a toll. Because one would have to define clearly under the terms of the Highway code, there is no other judgement to road signs.
They do not claim to have a proper toll road sign clearly marking it as a toll bridge because they don't. See the pictures.
But the opportunity is there because there is a road sign post relating to the bridge.
There is a post there and on the post the information a driver is required to read is that the bridge has a weight limit of 2 tonnes and a width restriction of 6ft6". That is where the driver's eye line is required to be taken. That legal post says nothing about a Toll.

Also, this bridge that has allegedly been a toll bridge since the 1700's has not given such information to the sat nav companies like other toll bridges.

The council then go on to say, in the letter which was clearly 'printed and posted', and done so because they are obviously in possession of some vehicle number plate identification. If it is the man, why did he not wave the car to pay rather than detail it for a fine?
The letter goes on to say, that 'if they have to recover the £1 in the county court the council (small letters intended) will wish to recover the £45 Court fee plus the reasonable administrative costs in taking this matter to court'.

The letter then states that no further correspondence will be entered into relating to this matter and the £1 has to be paid in seven days.

Just taking the last line on board, if any cruise driver wanted to claim the council were deficient or in the wrong, the Council are clearly saying that this will not entertain this. They infer that the matter will just get court papered, and my guess is it would go no where near a judge ... and the fine issued. That could be classed as both bullying and a threat.

Is this a clear example of April Fool at Midsomer Murders?

In a country that claims its wealth is earned from financial services, moving paper around and figures around, it appears that everyone is at it, even local councils. (who though broke all lost millions in the Icelandic Bank Crash).

So, if driving through Eling, look out for this toll both, please report to us if the signs have been improved or the toll collector is actively doing his or her job. And Mr david Harrison, feel free to answer.

Follow us at www.DorisVisits.com for cruise advice and films and video port talks.

Time to think of skiing again, but skiing is not for the young, they can't keep up

Skiing is not for the young, they can't take the pace!

That is what my children and their friends say when we ski with them, and ski all day, they stay in aprés ski until the end.

So, 'www.DorisVisits.com' loves cruising, but we love all social activities, from our golf breaks to our skiing (and a little white water rafting). Therefore, I do occasionally add other films that are not 'ship to shore' based so people do not get the wrong idea about people who cruise. We meet many fellow skiers and golfers on cruises.

We are already booked to visit Val D'sere and then Les Arcs in January 2017, and maybe we will find a few other places to explore, maybe with camera in hand. Follow the web page and platforms because after that we join the Arcadia in Hawaii so there will be some films.

Last year was our first ski trip with camera for Doris Visits in which we show the Three Valleys. Staying on Courchevel, we also covered Meribel and Val Thorens.

I have updated the Courchevel web page on www.DorisVisits.com to add in some ski tips, and one is protection. I don't mean sun cream and I expect you are already wearing a crash helmet or your insurance is unlikely to be valid, but I discuss the knee protection. As that page is often updated with tips and deals I am referring you to that blog after this. Click this text to go there.

Four years ago my partner had a long overdue double full knee replacement (over his previous upper tibia osteotomy). He was skiing twelve weeks to the day after the double knee replacement operation, but obviously with some help. His knees were so bad before replacement that he could hardly walk, and he thought his ski days were over until our son Luke bought him a pair of Mojos. These are designed for hard powder snow skiers who heliski, and want to ski all day. The leg muscles just cannot do all that work alone, especially if you are a one or two week a year skier. These leg springs do many things, but they make skiing easier, improve your style and give some knee protection. They made him ski better than he could walk.

So, in the web page I am regularly updating the tips and talk more about protection, back, hips, head and knees, and there is the film of Courchevel.  Apart from the end shot, none of it is shot with a GoPro. I am wearing my radio mike, as I do on all the cruise films, and Mr Double Knee Replacement is chasing me down the black runs with the hand held Black Magic Movie Camera and radio sound to camera equipment.

Our favourite resorts are in Austria, mine is St. Anton. I have been there since my 60th, so a return is overdue .... not long over due!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Golf Breaks in the UK - Doris Visits considers two different Golf Weekend destinations

Doris Visits considers two different Golf Weekends in the UK

Although Doris Visits is predominantly a cruise travel channel, we find fellow adventurous and like minded golfers and skiers when cruising. Not in the golf nets on the top deck of the ship, but normally in the 19th hole! Sometimes known as the crows nest or the Glass House....

So, as those who travel and are adventurous sometimes have the same interests, we have added a couple of UK fun weekend golf retreats. One north of London, one south.

TUDOR LODGE - Maidstone - Marriot Hotels

Tudor Lodge has one 18 hole coarse. It is a good coarse, varied holes. Side information is that the foxes come out to see you on the 10th, bold as brass, because they know you might have stopped for food and expect you to share.

Maidstone is just south of London, less than an hour by car or train from London. Only 20 minutes from Ashford International and Eurotunnel, 40 minutes from Dover and close to London Gatwick Airport plus major rail and motorway links, it is very easy to get to.

BELTON WOODS - Grantham - Q Hotels

Belton Woods is quite a family escape with a lot to do. There are two courses, the middle one, the lakes has quite a few water hazards as well as a few long holes. The Woods is slightly higher and wraps around the lakes. That means there are 36 holes to choose from.

Grantham is up the A1 beyond Peterborough, for us it is a mid way to meet friends from the north of the country. This link should take you to their site. They have other sites, the one in Northampton has a bowling alley as well.

I won't bother our non golfing cruise followers here with more detail, but the films look at the hotels, family facilities and the golf courses hole by hole. If you are a golfer, then do go to the web page and take a look. Click here.

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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Harry Potter's Edinburgh, the must see Potter places

Harry Potter in Edinburgh

Had J.K. Rowling never moved to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital in the 1990s, there may never have been a Harry Potter. Then, there might never have been a Potted Potter, the Edinburgh Festival favourite spoof spin off from Dan Clarkson. Dan, a UK actor now resides in the USA where he tours the show. So much has come from that chance beginning and sitting in the very red Elephant Cafe.


The city, with its narrow dark alley ways, endless stairs to climb the hill to the castle and the medieval turrets and dark stone architecture is unmistakably ‘Hogwartsian.’ The red Elephant Cafe stands out 21 George IV Bridge, and announces itself as the birth place of Potter. It is true that Rowlingwrote The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban there in that cafe, and that makes it historic to any Potter fan and it features in our film of Potter's Edinburgh, but, the humble beginning was not there.
The hard core fans will tell you that Rowling actually started in another cafe in Nicolas Street. Then called Nicholson's Cafe and owned by her brother-in-law, it is now called Spoon. Why write in a cafe? Story goes that she could not afford the heating bills to write at home, but maybe that is now folklore. The price of coffee v the price of heating is a debate. But, let us be arty and say that both were creative and you might just stay a while in both and see if it rubs off. Take a look at our film on Harry Potter's Edinburgh before we continue.


Before we wonder away from the Elephant cafe, we should take a look at Greyfriar's Bobby and the grave yard. Rowling used the cemetery as inspiration for Tom Riddle’s graveyard, in The Goblet of Fire. The cemetery houses the graves of the real life aristocrat Thomas Riddell esq and his son, also Thomas Riddell. Each year at Halloween fans are said to act out a duel over the grave of the ‘real life’ Voldemort.

Victoria Street

Don't go too far, because you can see Rowling did not have to to gain inspiration. The shops in the curved Victoria Street with their high buildings and pointed roofs are said to have been another inspiration. If they conjure up images of the magical shopping street, with AHA HA HA Jokes & Novelties then stop and take it all in. Look for the signs in the windows. There is one warning tourists to not mistake their shop for a real life take on Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

Castle & Schools

The Castle is a must see for any Potter fan, along with the buildings you take in on the way up. The steps and narrow alleyways that temp you each side can be a diversion, but from the castle you can see George Heriot's School. It is shown on our film. Again, whilst often thought to be the school that Hogwarts was imagined round, that is not the whole truth. It is our belief that it was only the headmasters office there which was taken as architectural literature for Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore's Office.
However we take you to Fettes College, Edinburgh which Sam and Finlay claim was the real inspiration for Hogwarts and we show you the school. Make your own mind up. It is a little out of town, but an easy taxi ride. It is near the Botanical Gardens.

Balmoral Hotel

Finlay takes us to the Balmoral Hotel to end the story, and maybe, if you are a real fan you will save up (a lot) to stay in the J K Rowling Suite at this luxury hotel. In January 2007, J.K. Rowling checked into room 652 to finish writing the Harry Potter series. Maybe not so much to finish it as to celebrate its completion because by the 11th January it was claimed done. Rowling scribbled in black marker pen on a marble bust, believed to be of the Greek god Hermes, not Emperor Hadrian as first thought, ‘JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11th Jan 2007.’ Whether to give the hotel some lasting memorabilia or as a publicity stunt, or as a result of the champagne, no one will know why she signed the bust.


Many thanks to Sam Cornish and Finlay Cornish with their help on making the three films we made in Edinburgh.
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Cruise The British Isles

Cruise the UK

This may not sound appealing, but some people no longer hold a passport or find insurance difficult, so a cruise staying within the British Isles can offer a time back on board a ship.
We have just been going over materials from an old film we made in Shetland, in a time of real celluloid film and the behind the scenes camera being on a strange tape format we don't have. A box full of materials we can no longer look at so it would be good to dust that off and see what was there.
But, we do have films of Edinburgh, and Halloween brought that back as the Harry Potter dark Hallows style of the city looms to mind at the end of October.

If you have never really studied Edinburgh it is definitely worth a day there. We have three films on it, one of the City, one of Harry Potter sites, and the third of the Royal Yacht Britannia. I would suggest that the Royal Yacht is worth a look. You can either get there early when it is not busy and rush round it to then go into town, or do the town first and finish at the Yacht so you are near to the ship.

There is another option, travel to Edinburgh, see the city and have an over night, then set sail from Edinburgh. That will mean you have time to see the Royal Mile and much of what it has to offer.


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