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Tours England
  • "...thank you for such a splendid day in the Cotswolds"
    A.F. - Utah
  • "Thank you for a fabulous tour - you are a brilliant guide - we love you !"
    B & N - Tennessee
  • "... a thousand thanks for showing us around in your wonderful and beautiful country!"
    JL - Flanders, Belgium
  • "... the Cotswold villages and the vistas were spectacular. The pub lunch was delicious and the atmosphere one of a kind"
    N & B A - California
  • "WOW!!! What a way for a Yank to see France!!! Having one of our old Allies the Brits showing the way!!!"
    WC & PC - Alabama
  • "... thank you for the wonderful tour I had with my father to Normandy and Paris!"
    JC - Florida
  • "We say more than we bargained for and then some..."
    C &C - Georgia
  • "... a rather seredipitous click on Google that let me to you and I will forever be grateful for that. What a font of knowledge you are! "
    SM - Philipines
  • "We just want to thank you again for making our vacation so special. We had a great time. Absolutely wonderful! Happy memories!"
    Mike & Jane McCool, Front Royal, VA
  • "You did a fabulous and caring job, making sure our trip was perfect."
    J & A - New York
  • "You put so much heart into what you do..."
    BE, China

Rob Little’s Blog – musings of an English / British Tour Guide where I not only vent about things that “get my goat” but, also, publish lovely photos and eccentric stories about “this Sceptered Isle”!

A scarely chaotic intersection – its “Every man for himself” here in Rethymno, Crete…..!
Friday, 22nd September 2017

A scarely chaotic intersection – its “Every man for himself” here in Rethymno, Crete…..!

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

Lunch at Rethymno harbour…..
Thursday, 21st September 2017

As the weather had cooled down a bit I decided I could tolerate to a degree at least, being dragged around the trinket stores in Rethymno, a post Venetian harbour town – rather touristy! Having said that at one point I did need the find myself a “husband crèche” to rest while my wife was “hunting”!

We had lunch at the “Seven Brothers” Taverna on the harbour and after the hard sell, decided what we wanted to eat. Two things will stick in my memory – first the young….very young….”gypsy” boy who was essentially begging. I asked the waiter he he was not in school and he said “Oh he is having an ‘away day’ with his parents“. He said it’s annoying and there isn’t nothing they could do but the parents would be hidden away somewhere taking the money off the kid. Rather sad and actually I think the restaurant owners felt intimidated not to stop the kid in case of consequences from the parents…..😢

Then there were four young people sitting next to us – seemingly two couples…..seemingly Russian. Before eating they all dropped their heads and clasped their hands in prayer. This is something rarely if ever seen and was a little humbling.

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

Yum my favourite !

…..and the present Mrs Little chose prawns !

Lunch at Rethymno harbour plus a bit of “spontaneous” music…..for the tourists !

Young kid who should be in school, begging – see the plastic cup extended in his left hand…..

Rethymno

More food porn…..well sort of !

So when (unlike me) my wife was engaging with fellow passengers on our delayed easyJet flight from London to Crete, she was told about an obscure little Taverna in a tiny village next to a church, not far from where we are staying !

Having negotiated some quite ridiculous mountain roads with sheer drops and some ending in rough tracks, we eventually came across the gorgeous little traditional village of Maza (at this location – https://goo.gl/maps/xjH2pCs6Wvx – not to be confused with another “Maza” further away towards the south coast).

So we inched into the village through narrow streets at about 3pm just doing a quick reconnoitre; intending to return at some later date…..only to be waved down by this guy who helped us to park. It was Korsta, the owner of the Dris Taverna – quite the most quaint we had seen in Crete bedecked with bougainvillea adjacent to the 13th century church of Agios Nikolaos (St Nicholas) that was so small you could easily miss it!

We told him we had already eaten lunch but that his Taverna had been recommended so we were thinking of coming back one evening, but that we would enjoy a cold drink while we were here. I asked for the menu so that we could see what food he did and he said “There is no menu it’s whatever is available on the day but there is always rabbit, lamb on the BBQ, etc”….. Sounded random but interesting !

He brought us a drink then said he would bring us some tasters of what had been eaten at lunch time that day…..so check out the photos! Of course the establishment had its full quota of dogs and cats around waiting for scraps!!

We are looking forward to a return visit to sample the impromptu “specials of the day” before we have to come home. 😢

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

The little church in Maza with the Taverna behind…..

Beautiful murals inside the tiny 13th century church painted by the famous Cretan painter, Pagomenos, who is buried beneath the floor…..

Korsta and his wife Voula’s Taverna “Dris” in Maza beneath the beautiful bougainvillea…..

The Dris Taverna in Maza

First we were presented with some vegetables…..

…..then our first experience of a Cretan cheese pie !

…..and some creatively butchered lamb !

Soon the cats were showing interest…..

And this darling dog !

With music provided by this 1980s “ghetto blaster” !

Britain may dominate dissent in the EU but less muscular countries are also well pissed off with European totalitarianism…..
Wednesday, 20th September 2017

Life in Romania has to be pretty dreadful when you hear its people saying that life was better under the communist despot; dictator Nicolae Ceausescu than it is today under today’s so-called benevolent but similarly totalitarian regime in Brussels.

In a long conversation with a restaurant owner here on Crete, I’m told that under Ceausescu people had certainty. Everyone had a job, a car, money and somewhere to live although there was often nothing to buy in the stores. Romania manufactured and exported many industrial products in those days.

Today there is a shortage of jobs and crime is endemic in the cities. There are beggars and homeless people on the streets and life is hard. Yes the stores are full of product but there is no money to buy it!!

The Austrians and Germans have laid claim to everything of any worth that Romania has to offer; breezing into the country and effectively looting antiquities and other items at bargain basement prices, and there seems to be nothing the local people can do about it.

Mark my words we in Britain may be the first to show our displeasure by voting to leave the EU but there are plenty of counties, watching on the sidelines how the BREXIT process goes with a degree of envy! Yet the Luxembourg drunkard, Jean Claude Juncker, is calling for closer and closer integration into the European superstate even at this sensitive time…..the whole idea is a house of cards…..

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

A crescendo of noise as dawn breaks over Crete…..


[Turn your sound up to maximum!]

A crescendo of noise as dawn breaks over Crete…..then I heard a bit of a kerfuffle coming from the ground adjacent to the villa and this guy is stalking around with some kind of rifle and a couple of dogs.

My immediate thought was that the CIA had tracked me down !

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

Blow out…..!

Today’s blog from Crete is entirely focused on our amazing meal at the Drosostalia Taverna in Armenoi last night in some kind of chronological order starting with the sun setting behind the white mountains on route !

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

The Drosostalia Taverna in Armenoi

For the starter, I remembered the fried mushrooms from last time – aren’t the portions tiny…..?

Bev fancied the “Country Sausages” for her starter…..

Then after hearing that our main course only came with chips (fries) she asked if we could have a small – very small – salad…..gesturing with her hands that we only wanted a small portion. “Ok” the waiter said – “I bring you salad for one!” The gargantuan offering arrived with tomatoe, onion, green chilli, cucumber, green peppers and olives!

Then I had the lamb chops – butchered unconventionally for the Western European using the “chop and hack” method for cutting meat. Nevertheless it was supremely tasty but I resorted to eating them with my fingers!

Bev chose the chicken “stick” for her “main” !

The the gluttonous English were force fed watermelon…..

…..along with the obligatory Raki !!

You know the old story…..”So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces…..left over by those who had eaten……”

We’ll be eating this for days !

Who says the British Pound doesn’t go as far as it used to !!

The most amusing tweet after yesterday’s performance at The UN…..

Amusing tweet after President Trump’s speech at the United Nations yesterday:

My thoughts are with the UN interpreters at this difficult time

Rob Little
British Driver / Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England !

Monday – more compulsory relaxation !
Tuesday, 19th September 2017

Monday – lunch at Almyrida…..followed by a siesta and a swim just before sunset off the rocks at Ombrogialos – just 10 minutes from the villa ! This is the life !

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

The coastline near Almyrida, Crete

My lunch…..

Bev’s lunch

The coastline near Ombrogialos

The coastline near Ombrogialos

Towards the beach at Ombrogialos

Stunning swimming from the rocks in Ombrogialos – volcanic rock formations…..beautiful – and a flat calm !

Come on in – it’s wonderful! Swimming off the rocks at Ombrogialos…..

Our one-eyed guest at dinner in Vamos last night !

A fishy lunch !
Monday, 18th September 2017

[Midday today, Monday! That’s 37C for you metrics! I recon 99 sounds better.]

A few photos from yesterday, Sunday, as we drove west to a Restaurant, “Waves on the Rock” near Ravdoucha for a fishy lunch – or actually a mollusc and Cephalopod lunch for the more pedantic.

I wanted squid and octopus and they said it was not possible but the waiter brought me some anyway !!

Great place – we shall return !

Rob Little
Tour Guide
Let’s Tour England and Crete !

Our pool this morning

View of Kalives

Great protection from the sheer drop hundreds of feet below…..

Bottom right is my car window, then a crumbling road and a sheer drop !

We are heading for a restaurant just this side of the promontory on the left

The Beach next to the restaurant

Squid…..yummmm!

And my octopus “on the house” !!

Something else “on the house” – the Raki!!

Fishing boat

Fantastic view as we climbed back up the steep and winding hill !

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Noss Shipyard on the River Dart…..

September 18 1942, was the blackest of the war in Dartmouth. Just before 11:30am before any air raid warning was sounded, six German Fokke-Wulf 190s flew up the River Dart valley and bombed the Noss Shipyard, the coaling ships moored in the river and the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC). Twenty men were killed at the shipyard, four coal lumpers lost their lives and a Wren officer was killed at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

My Dad’s brother, Bert, age 17, took a direct hit. I have tried to imagine how things must have been at home at Agra Villas, Kingswear that evening when one of the family was lost, for ever – for my Nan, Gramp, and their two surviving sons – Frank (Jack) who was also at the shipyard at the time of the bombing, and my dad, Reg. A horrifying thought.

One of the Masters at the College, Edward Arthur Hughes MA was present at a meeting that was taking place in the Commander’s cabinet the time of the attack and reported this:

At 11.22 a.m. the five of us were still sitting round the table discussing evacuation when the shock of a bomb falling on B Block brought us to our feet just in time to see a Nazi plane flying across the parade-ground towards the town. Then, at the sound of machine-gun fire we took refuge under the table or behind the settee before the second bomb fell, very near the north-west corner of the Quarter-deck. The blast drove the Commander’s solid oak door against the chair in which Lieutenant-Commander Agnew had been sitting, smashing it to pieces. It was not until the Alert sounded that we got up to grope our way through pitch darkness. ‘At any rate,’ said the Commander, who by this time was wearing his tin hat, ‘in dealing with evacuation we chose a most appropriate subject!’…..”

The raid had been carefully planned and brilliantly executed by well-trained pilots. Examination of the contours of the ordnance map will show that German pilots flying at ‘nought’ feet across the Channel had the choice of several routes which would enable them to attack without exposing themselves to A.A. fire for more than a second or two. The six planes which took part in the operation came down Noss Combe. Two attacked the College and two the shipping, sinking one ship. The other two bombed the Noss works of Messrs Philip & Son, who built 230 vessels during the war for the Admiralty and Royal Air Force. The works were badly damaged, twenty employees were killed, and forty were wounded. The planes were not fired at by the few guns in the neighbourhood.

Rob Little
Nephew of George Herbert Frank Little

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Noss Shipyard on the River Dart.

Noss Shipyard on the River Dart.


May the Victims of the Noss Bombing on September 18th 1942 Rest in Peace

FREDERICK CLARENCE ADAMS (age 22 from Dartmouth)

JOHN RICHARD ASH age 21 (from Brixham)

DAVID BOTT (age 28 from Dartmouth)

JACK GEORGE CHARLES BUSTIN (age 52 from Paignton)

ROSIE ANNIE CRANG (age 20 from Dartmouth)

THOMAS FARR (age 58 from Dartmouth)

RICHARD FRANKLIN (age 26 from Dartmouth)

LIONEL EDGAR HOLDEN (age44 from Dartmouth)

WALTER LEWIS (age 44 from Dartmouth)

GEORGE HERBERT FRANK LITTLE (age17from Kingswear)

HENRY JAMES LUCKHURST (age 70 from Dartmouth)

JOHN MARTIN (age 48 from Dartmouth)

ERNEST POOLE (age51 from Dartmouth)

SYDNEY JAMES ALFRED POPE (age 17 from Dartmouth)

HUBERT ERNEST WILLIAM PUTT (age 37 from Townstal, Dartmouth)

EWART EDGAR TRANT (age 27 from Dittisham)

NELLA EILEEN TREBILCOCK (age 28 from Cornwall)

SAMUEL JAMES VEALE (age 21 from Dartmouth)

FREDERICK THOMAS SKINNER VICKERY (age 28 from Dartmouth)

HAZEL JOAN WEAVER (age 20 from Dartmouth)


Rob Little says:The surnames of most of these people are very familiar to me…..”