Monday, December 06, 2004

Road Trip to Cardiff with Karen Willett

With Karen having some minor boy troubles here in London at the moment, it was time to get her out of town – and what better way to do that than with, yes, you guessed it – ROAD TRIP!

During the week we decided that Cardiff in Wales was the place to play, and we booked another EasyCar Vauxhall Minerva for the weekend. We collected it from the Earls Court Warwick Road depot early yesterday morning, and headed straight out onto the M4 from Hammersmith and straight to Cardiff.

On arrival to the city, we headed straight to the just opened Millennium Centre and new waterfront redevelopment area around old Cardiff harbour, which, during its coal and resource exporting days was the busiest port in Britain, these regenerated parts of the city are just booming at the moment with reclamation and new housing.. after a look around there we went into a nearby local pub for my first sample of Brains Bitter (the local Welsh beer) and a pub lunch..

The Cardiff Milennium Centre (and the last known photo of the brown handbag!!)

On the Bristol Channel coast near Cardiff

Shane and Karen

Karen and Carly

We got back in the car and headed towards the coast and found this great spot down an unmarked lane where we walked along a pebble beach on Bristol Channel, with views over to Bristol and the amazing Severn River toll bridges.. Karen and I managed to get some great shots while the sun was still out.. after our stroll in the sun, we drove back into the city to get somewhere to stay for the night, and it was then that we realized that Carly’s handbag was missing.. I immediately raced back to the pub where we ate lunch – no handbag, went to where we parked at the beachfront – no handbag, came back to pub for a second look around and to ask the staff again, no handbag – after giving up we went back into the city with glum faces to report the stolen handbag to the police..

We’d managed to find somewhere to stay at a B&B a few minutes walk just out of the city centre, and in an effort to forget about the handbag drama we got dressed, had a quick vodka or three in our room, and went out to a city tapas bar and had a good session of red wine and plenty of good tapas, had a great chat with Karen catching up on old times and what the future holds for us all over here.. the city I just crazy, and exactly as everyone had warned us.. when we staggered out of the tapas bar the whole town was a buzz, an it was only 1am – obviously the venue licensing system is a bit different in Wales to England where its all over by midnight!

Our slow swagger home was a bit of fun, but with all the locals heading the other way towards the city, we knew we would be coming back here.. the rugby games at the Millennium stadium must be fantastic – the stadium is right in the centre of the CBD: imagine putting a stadium in King George Square in Brisbane and you can understand the scale of it.. We awoke in the morning with sore heads and enjoyed the included breakfast at the B&B, albeit very quietly.. we walked back into town and had a look through the Cardiff Castle, which was our first castle on our travels thus far, and gave us same great views over Cardiff city including that magnificent stadium.

View of Cardiff city centre from the Castle Keep, with the Millenium Stadium in the right of frame

Karen up in the Keep

Another stone circle!

We left Cardiff, knowing that we’d have to come back for a Rugby game while we’re here, and traveled back towards London via the back roads through Gloucestershire and the city of Gloucester, and then through the Cotswold’s area. This part of southern England is simply amazing, we drove through countless pretty towns and villages, and along and over the amazing canal system which seems to go everywhere!.. we stopped at a road side pub for a Sunday Roast, and were surprised to see XXXX on tap and the English bar tender wearing a Castlemaine polo shirt!!

Quick photo of a Welcome to Wales sign, as we leave Wales

Our country driving adventure continued as we trekked back towards London via Redding, and then into Hammersmith to return our very filthy EasyCar!


Currently listening to: Vertigo – U2 (off the new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
On the web: Carly comes across a hilarious website that she thinks suits me very well: go take a look at


At Wed Jan 12, 09:21:00 pm GMT+10 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who built I can honestly say that it's not a hilarious site. My guess is that the previous owners of that domain name, had a funny posting to share. You may want to consider updating your page....thanks.

At Wed Jan 12, 09:52:00 pm GMT+10 , Blogger Shane & Carly said...

Hi all,

It seems our reference to the spargoman website in the post above has received some attention from the lovely people at who are the creators of the spargoman business website (see above e-mail)..

In response, I sent them an e-mail today, reassuring them that we do not think that the website design is hilarious; rather it is the nature of the spargoman business, the link to my surname, and its appropriateness to my vanity that we were referring to and finding humurous.. see my reply e-mail to them below:

hello there,

i refer to the posting made from your e-mail address
(, on our blog - the spargo blog..

please understand that we intended no offence by provided that link and comment about the spargoman site.. it is not the site you designed that we find funny (actually its a great site for the business, well
done!), but the fact that my surname is 'spargo' and my aussie friends (imagine rugged aussie guys who would never go into a place like spargoman) think it is funny that there is a men's salon of the same
name, offering "a new concept for the San Francisco Man who wants to look and feel his best"...

in fact when i get to san francisco later in the year from london i will definitely be visiting!

my fiance found the site one day while doing some random google-searching, and sent a link around to a few friends of ours who know me well, and everyone felt that the name of the store and the concept of the business was very apt!!

i'm sorry if it seemed like we were offending the website design you created, and please understand that my partner was just showing the business website to our friends via the blog as a bit of a joke towards my sometimes over-the-top vanity..


shane spargo
London, England
(formerly Brisbane, Australia)



At Wed Jan 12, 10:06:00 pm GMT+10 , Blogger Shane & Carly said...

Hi again,

Just got another e-mail back from Jim at TJF Designs - it appears that all is good.. see his e-mail below:

No offense taken. I assumed that someone had another site up under that name before my employer bought it. I have links on a few of my own sites that can, at any time, link to a new unrelated site (really should check
those). There's also a forum based in Australia (it appears) where someone has a spargoman link in their signature.

Again, wasn't offended and thanks for the compliments. Have a wonderful, and SAFE trip on your travels.


TJF Designs
Affordable website and Database Design,
Implementation, And Maintenance





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