Thursday, August 30, 2007
The summer has been cool and wet – mostly, at any rate. We’ve done spectacularly well for peas and not badly for broad beans. The runner beans, after a slow start, are doing ok. Likewise the dwarf beans. The soya beans are dying. I think it’s too cold for them at night. We’ve also done really well with the shallots and the onion sets. The onion seeds have produced wee tiny little onions. The Builder and I have decided to replant them in a new bed and see how they get on next year. We aren’t sure if we should “rest” them over the winter, so are going to transplant half and “rest” the other half and see what happens.
The corn has done nothing. It’s minute. It’s not doing anything at all. Freyja was at the York maize maze earlier this week and reports that the corn there is also much shorter than it usually is (though not as short as mine, which you couldn’t possibly make a maze with unless it was for hamsters!). The pumpkin plants are growing vigorously but aren’t producing fruit. The zucchinis are producing fruit, but not in the considerable quantity you might normally expect.
And my poor potatoes. They’ve been attacked by slugs, munched by wireworm, hit by blight. We’ve cut all the plants down and are digging up the tubers as and when we can. I have to say, they’ve produced a prodigious quantity of potatoes but the quality is somewhat impaired. The Duke of York and Arran Victory have held up quite well – about half of them are suitable for storage. Lady Balfour (maincrop) and Pink Fir Apple (salad potatoes) are even slightly better. But my poor, poor Ambos. We’ve left them in the ground so far. The first few I dug up are almost useless. Pity, because they’re a lovely potato to eat. I might give them another try next year just in case their plight was caused by this year’s weather conditions rather than an intrinsic problem with the potato.
The tomatoes are doing ok. The ones in the garden were looking a bit blight-ridden but we treated those and all is well – for the moment. The cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen. The only problem is that the temperature is plummeting at night and it might be getting too cold for them. Fingers crossed. The ones in the greenhouse (large/beef) on the allotment are going great guns. So too are the cape gooseberries and the yellow capsicums – at least, the plants are. There’s no fruit on them yet. I think next season I’ll use the greenhouses as propagators in the spring. None of my “tropical” seeds germinated early enough this spring in my propagating tents at the house. Though May was unusually chilly.
But not a bad season so far. We’ve had to buy an extra (small!) freezer to store the peas, beans, shallots and other things. The later sowings of carrots are coming along. We ate the whole of the first lot quite quickly. I must remember next year to keep sowing new boxes as the first ones germinate then there won’t be this kind of carrot hiatus!
The cabbages/broccoli/sprouts are coming along quite well. I’m really pleased with the Chinese cabbage. It’s holding its own against the caterpillars! I’m intending to put out some more seeds, and also some pak choi and some greyhound cabbage seeds. I just need to clear one of the broad bean beds – and hope for a reasonably warm autumn!
And now we need to start preparing for autumn and for winter and to start planning for next year. More digging for The Builder!!
Both The Builder and I worked on Saturday.
Sunday we pottered about, went to Beeley to the Devonshire Arms for a rather magnificent lunch, pottered about the Chatsworth farm shop, ambled into Bakewell (where we were a bit surprised by the crowds – we continue to think of Bakewell as one of our shopping places, not as a tourist destination which is how the rest of the world sees it!) and trundled home again. Lovely, restful day.
On Monday we decided to take ourselves to the Dunstan Hall garden centre in search of some new garden shears. They didn’t have any (though they did have some interesting carrot seeds and one or two other nice things). We struck out, across country, intending to go to Chatsworth garden centre. Nice drive. Lovely road. Magnificent views. Then we got down to the main road – and the traffic was at a standstill heading towards Chatsworth as far as the eye could see. We changed our minds, headed back into Chesterfield and went to B&Q instead!
Tabitha and Gareth have been at the Leeds Festival this weekend. We’ve been babysitting the rabbits. It’s a high anxiety activity, looking after someone else’s rabbits! I fretted all the time lest they chew their way out of the hutch (which they’ve been trying to do with varying degrees of success since they arrived) and escape! They did look somewhat bored, incarcerated as they were in their hutch. The Builder made them a temporary run, using the former pea-support wiring. The bunnies thought this was great – they jumped in and out of their hutch and rampaged around and ate the weeds and the pea stalks and things. Happy bunnies. Taffa and Gaz came back from the festival on Monday night and we ate, drank and made merry until quite late. They left again on Tuesday lunchtime, taking the bunnies with them. The garden seems strangely empty without them! Marlo had been quite enjoying lying on the outside table watching them bounce about – and had showed no interest at all in eating them or chasing them. Thank goodness! It is a good example, mind, of the need to have the Spare Bed ready for visitors at all times - you never know when people may decide to drop by, eat, drink and make merry - and unexpectedly stay overnight!
I had a happy Tuesday doing absolutely nothing. Nothing at all – apart from cooking brunch for Taffa, Gaz and me. There were many things I had intended to do; none of them were done. Not one. I did make some bread, but that wasn’t on my list of things to do. Was nice bread, though! It was quite nice having a day in which I did nothing at all – I did feel ever so slightly guilty about it though. Something along the lines of it being a waste of a free day!
The Builder’s van is very, very poorly sick. It quite spectacularly failed its MOT (annual road worthiness test) and is going to cost a small mortgage to get fixed. That van has been swallowing up money since it arrived. We have decided that enough is enough. It needs replacing. We have been keeping our eyes peeled. The more interesting question is what to do with the dying van. Scrap it, trade it in? Trading in is the better option ,but that requires the “new” van to come from a dealer. And that’s expensive. The Builder continues to hunt, ponder and muse.
Freyja and Mark have gone to York. They’ve been playing with the Vikings and the dungeon
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Lindsey and Ian have gone to
We had a good day on Thursday. Ian had a teleconference with Very Important People around the world. Lindsey and I went and watered the tomatoes and dug up potatoes. We packed everything up ready to take boxes and things to the post office. We trashed the lounge room with suitcases and papers and wotnots. We checked the postage rates for large boxes full of stuff. We gulped! We checked the excess baggage rates. And unpacked the boxes and abandoned the post office idea. We packed the cases (well, when I say I …) and then we took ourselves into
Lindsey, Ian and I were off to
Then Lindsey and Ian checked in for their ferry trip and I came home. Alone, apart from Jenny.
It is not as much fun shopping in Waitrose without Ian :-(
I ran across The Builder in Waitrose. We trundled home together to a quiet, empty house. It is perhaps just as well that we were going out for the evening, otherwise it would have seemed quiet and empty indeed. As it was, we took ourselves back into
And that, really, is the end of my Great Eating Adventure around
The Builder was at work on Saturday. I was not. I was, in fact, Home Alone virtually all day which is unusual generally and unheard of over the last month. I engaged myself in thoroughly cleaning the house, which is suffering from neglect, not having been attended to at all sine Lindsey arrived over a month ago. The spare room is now ready for visitors. The lounge room is clean and tidy. The bathroom is sparkling. Even the kitchen is nice and clean and tidy. I, on the other hand, was knackered by the time The Builder got home. Fell asleep watching the telly, and was mightily discomfited when Lindsey rang from
Somebody send Ian back. He’s gone away and taking his touring sunshine event with him. It’s rained without ceasing since yesterday morning. My nice tidy lounge room is now hosting the washing! Lindsey reports that it is drizzly and bracing on their boat touring the fjords.
Back to work tomorrow after three weeks off. Will seem very strange
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I was going to say that I’ve never been on a steam train before. But that is patently absurd. I have, of course, been on Puffing Billy. Better to say that I’ve never previously gone anywhere on a steam train. And certainly never been to the seaside on one!
Lindsey, Ian and I did yesterday (the poor Builder is still at work while we are holidaying bravely!). We were off to
So. Off we trundled nice and early to catch a bus to catch a train to
We came back, collected the car keys, Jenny the Sat Nav and the car and off we went.
You should have seen the M1 heading south. It was like one of those absolute nightmare scenarios they sometimes dramatise on the BBC or Channel 4. The accident was between Junctions 29 and 28 and the motorway was closed. The traffic was being headed off at J29 but was backed up solid and unmoving from Meadowhall onwards (so Junction 34 or so). Checking the traffic alert, all the alternative routes south were solid and stationary too. Quite glad we were heading north!
It took an hour to get to
And then our train arrived at
Steam trains chuff like a proper train as they get going!
And people stop to look as you go past.
And they wave!! Everybody waves. The station staff come out to admire as you pass their stations. Little old men lean on their walking sticks and wave. There was an old lady sat up in a first floor window who waved. There were two boys doing star jumps on a trampoline and they were waving. I wonder what it is, this compulsion to wave at steam trains.
The sheep do not wave. They run away!
The train goes on that route three times a week for around six weeks during the summer. You’d think people would get a bit more blasé about it. Or that the sheep would get used to it. But they don’t.
We were extremely fortunate in
We didn’t do much in
And if the train company does the same trip next year, The Builder and I might take a few days in
We had dinner at home. Ian and I cooked it together. With Marlo supervising. And everything except the sausages was home grown. Mashed potatoes, caramelised onions, runner beans, peas, herbs and all. Was a very pleasant end to the day
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
We did come back from
Then we went back to his tiny cottage out in the sticks. Tim was driving his TVR. Lindsey went with him. He put his foot down and disappeared in a pufffffff down the road. Ian and I *hoped* that we would eventually run across him again, because we didn’t have his address to put into Katie. Then we went round a corner and found a HUGE big bright yellow combined harvester pottering along the laneway, holding up Tim’s TVR and another car in front of him. I think Lindsey thought her head was going to fall off when Tim first took off!
Tim has a pig. Molly. A Vietnamese Pot Belly. And boy is her belly potted! She’s very wobbly! And she comes when she’s called. Tim hopped out the car, called her and she came staggering out of her hut, clearly having been sound asleep. She eats, amongst other things, potatoes. Huge big ones. I like Molly. I got to scratch he behind her ears. There are also large-ish calves in a barn round the corner. I liked them too
In addition to his TVR, Tim also has a racing Austin 7 and a Mini Cooper. Oh, and a cute red tractor with digging bits at both ends. He’s also in the process of doing up a mostly derelict house just along from his cottage. The estate he lives on and where he does a good bit of handyperson activity, have told him he can have it for life if he does it up. I think even I might learn to be handy if that sort of offer was on the table!
We came home through the Cheviots, hit traffic at Newcastle, lost it again just beyond Gateshead and were home in The Sidings in time to join The Builder for fish and chips for dinner. I think he was quite pleased to see us, though he was oblivious to our arrival when we got there, being engaged in watering the garden. Marlo noticed us though!
On Saturday the poor Builder had to go to work AGAIN. Lindsey, Ian and I went into
Sunday saw us heading back into
Since then, we’ve been fairly quiet. The Builder is back at work. Ian has gone to
Lindsey is in
Friday, August 10, 2007
Ian had to go to
It’s a very pretty drive up to
They gave him a visitor’s parking permit without any argument at all!
So. While Ian was communing with doctors and psychologists, Lindsey and I went off to explore. We had intended to potter about in the town centre. Alas, we were tempted by a high wall, a cemetery and a tempting looking hill over a path. Off we diverted.
In the meantime, I was beginning to think fondly of the idea of a loo stop. Couldn’t see anything that looked remotely like a public loo. So we stopped at a fish and chip bar near a golf course and asked where the nearest public conveniences were. Ooooh. Sucking of teeth. Probably the nearest ones are on the beach. Tell you what, just pop round the side and I’ll let you in to use ours. Well, what could I do? I bought a serving of chips to take with us on our walk! Can’t think of many other people who’d let complete strangers in to use the loo!
I hadn’t realised that
Ian’s business associates had suggested that we go back along a road crossing the Cairngorms. So we did. And collected a good few bridges on the way. The
Ian decided to go back to
Got back to
Thursday, August 09, 2007
We had a lovely day yesterday. We went out on a boat!
There are three hour trips from a little quay at Queensferry under the Forth railway bridge to
It was a lovely trip to the island. Then we spent a merry time exploring the abbey. We might have gone to the top of the tower except that a lady told us the tiny staircase was much too narrow for her to fit on, and she was half the size of me. I reckon we’d have got up, but there were plenty of other things to look at so we didn’t bother.
We meandered up a mown path through loads and loads of different kinds of seagulls, then made our way back to a courtyard in the abbey, where we had a magnificent, Marks and
Then it was time to board the boat and go back to Queensferry.
It’s a nice drive between Edinburgh and Queensferry, even if Katie did take us all around the houses getting to the
We saw lots and lots of seagulls today. Different sorts. But no guillemots. And no puffins, despite the fact they said that there are puffins on the island. We did see some grey seals lolling about on Haystack rock on the way back though. They were cute. Still, one day I would like to see a puffin in the real.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
So. Off we set, out into a lovely, sunny
Two minutes after we left the flat, I put my cardie on!
We had a lovely walk through broad, tree-lined streets towards the city centre. Reminds me a bit of some of the most expensive bits of Fulwood. But I’m curious why Scottish cities have such lovely, wide streets and English ones don’t.
Anyway. We found ourselves in the city centre absolutely surrounded by other tourists and crowds and hordes of people coming in on buses. The Edinburgh Festival proper doesn’t start for a few more days yet, but the Fringe is in full swing and I think the tattoo is underway. Plus, of course, it’s August. And the queue to buy tickets to the Castle was about three hours long. We decided that we didn’t need to see the Castle quite that much and went off for an amble around the parks and shops and laneways and things.
Then we had lunch in The Advocate. I haven’t been in there before and was a tad worried by the fact that Pizza Hut and the Italian chain restaurants and so on had queues coming out of them and The Advocate did not. But I think that might just be because the queued-for places are international chains which everyone recognised and overseas tourists may not think about eating in pubs. Whatever the reason, it was a good choice. The food was lovely, there was at table service and the pub was great.
Then we strolled back to the flat. Ian had an appointment to talk with someone at the Royal Infirmary. Lindsey and I walked to Waitrose instead. Bought the makings of a fish pie and came back by what turned out to be a much shorter route. We had followed the directions out which are meant for cars and walked back following a footpath through a little hospital. Much, much quicker.
And so a pleasant evening eating fish pie and drinking wine and watching Coast on DVD. Ian had seen advertising for series 3 when he was visiting the Open University earlier in his trip and was curious. I don’t have series 3 yet on DVD but I do have 1 and 2.
It’s another lovely, sunny day today. We are hoping to go out on a boat trip
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I’ve invaded sunny
We got back to The Sidings quite late on Saturday evening and had a lovely, gentle, quiet Sunday. We didn’t go any where. The Vixen sat untroubled out in the road. The Builder put the gazebo up. Ian connected himself to the ether by pulling a cord through the dining room window and sitting outside in the courtyard with his laptop. Lindsey, The Builder and I went to the allotment and inspected the magnificent tomato plants and the almost magnificent yellow peppers and cape gooseberries in the greenhouses and dug up potatoes and shallots. We weeded the raspberry bed, pruned the finished canes and mulched it. Then we celebrated our endeavours with Spanish cava (that’s fizzy wine not some strange South East Asian drug) in the sunshine. Then Lindsey, The Builder and I went around the washland and wetlands walk. The cows were sunning themselves. The mighty Rother was glistening. We had roast chicken for dinner. It was all good.
On Monday, The Builder went back to work. Well, someone had to! Lindsey, Ian and I in the meantime pottered about, ambled into
I eventually decided that we had gone via
Mind you, it was certainly a scenic route. And we stopped in Carnforth for lunch and found a very cute pub right next to the canal. It was rather lovely, eating BLTs and watching the boats and the water in the sunshine.
Where Katie really comes into her own is when you get to your destination and are trying to find your way through unfamiliar streets to where you want to be. Katie brought us to the apartment with no trouble at all. And it’s quite a nice apartment, near Morningside, looking towards Blackford hill with an observatory on the top. I fancy we may be going to the top of the hill at some point!! I was gazing idly about when I saw an odd little animal dashing around. What is it? Aha – it’s a grey squirrel. I had forgotten about grey squirrels. We never ever see them at The Sidings. We didn’t see any in Wiltshire/Dorset/Hampshire. I have got out of the habit of expecting them to be about (there were loads around The Mudhut).
Lindsey let Ian and me loose in Waitrose by ourselves :-S We bought the makings of a pork
Lindsey has been complaining at The Sidings that she is permanently getting bitten by fleas, midges and any other biting beastie who happens to be passing. We've come here - and I have arisen from my bed covered in huge bite marks. Where's the aeroguard?
A serious disadvantage of going away and leaving The Builder behind is that I had to make my own morning cup of tea this morning. That won’t do. Won’t do at all. I shall have to send for him. Or buy a tea maker!
Monday, August 06, 2007
SATURDAY 28th July
I had a chocolate pastry twist for breakfast today. It was very yummy. The Builder had a raisin pastry. He seemed to enjoy that too. We were waiting at the
It was not raining!
You could see the remnants of the flooding around
We saw two parachutists floating down to earth as we passed
We stopped in
And then we drove to Berwick St John, past the regimental badges cut into the chalk in a hillside, past Wotsit St Martin, down along a twisty road and into the village. The cottage is one of three in restored cow and calf sheds, a short walk from the village pub and really rather nice. Lindsey, The Builder and I went to find a way up onto the iron age hill fort which looks down upon us. Ian did not come, having buggered his back using a Parisian loo (dangerous folks, those Parisians; designing loos that sneakily attack you and render you hors de combat!) We eventually found the way up to the access stile, but decided that a clamber up it might be better done with plenty of time in hand and not at gin and tonic time in the evening! Perhaps on Thursday when Ian has to go to
Sausage and mash for dinner.
SUNDAY 29th July
Poor Ian is poorly sick. His back is still knackered and he was up all night with diarrhoea :-( After breakfast, Lindsey, The Builder and I made a mercy dash into
He came too.
All was going well until we were trundling through the New Forest and The Builder randomly turned off to
We have discovered that Ian gets car sick. He was a very fetching shade of green when we got out the car. I don’t think he enjoyed the twisty roads at all. Though we did see lots of
We parked up in the town centre car park and had a remarkably nice roast beef lunch in The Angel (Ian had chicken pie) then we drove down to the harbour car park, planted Ian on a bench overlooking the boats with the Sunday papers, and went off for a mooch about and to find ice cream. Then we drove to
Was a lovely day. The sun shone. It was pleasantly warm. We went to the seaside. Anyone would think it was summer!
I made a “pizza” for dinner, using sliced potatoes for the base. I rather liked it. I think the others did too. Certainly there was nothing left!
MONDAY 30th July
We were off to Lyme Regis to meet Farishta for lunch. The Builder and I had decided to go via Sherbourne and Yeovil. Katie, Ian’s GPS, was determined that we should go via
Actually, it’s quite fun having a GPS in the car. And it would have been mighty useful when I went to collect Lindsey from
We arrived in Lyme Regis in good time to meet Farishta. The sun was shining. It was a lovely afternoon. We ambled down to what Farishta says is the best fish and chip shop in Lyme (and where I have previously been, many years ago, with Simon and an infant Yvette) to acquire haddock, chips and fizzy drinks, then we went and sat in the churchyard, overlooking Lyme Bay in the sunshine to eat them – unmolested by marauding seagulls. And very nice they were too. Right. Time for a walk. We made our way through the crowds (although, it wasn’t really as crowded as I would have expected it to be, given that it was the seaside in the summer holidays and it wasn’t raining. You’d have expected ravaging hordes!) to the Cob where we went for a stroll along. We decided not to attempt the grannie’s teeth steps back down. I have been down them before and they’re OK once you get onto them. It’s the launch into space to get onto them that is a stumbling block (pun intended :-) ) We made our way up through the top of the
I found a little road running down to the beach at
The Cerne Giant, who could really do to have his chalk cleaned, for he is a bit grubby, has acquired a friend. Somebody has painted a large Homer Simpson in the field next to him. For some reason Mr Simpson is wearing a nappy and brandishing a sombrero. I assume this has something to do with the Simpsons film which has recently come out. However, since I am entirely unlikely ever to see this film, the significance of the sombrero and the nappy is likely to remain a mystery to me for ever!
We called into Shaftesbury for salad supplies to supplement the quiche and returned home to Berwick St John for a rather pleasant supper. It was a good day.
Ian doesn’t get quite as car sick if he sits in the middle seat in the back. He can see where we’re going if he does that. He can’t sit in the front. If Katie and The Builder are to continue their gargantuan route battle, The Builder needs his navigator (ie, me!) with him!!!
TUESDAY 31st July
It’s a miracle!! Katie and The Builder agreed which way to go this morning. Well, mostly they agreed. We’d been into Shaftesbury to see if there is an internet café (there isn’t, but there is always the library) and we were off to the
There are some fantastic views on the road between Shaftesbury and Sixpenny Handley. We stopped to admire Wiltshire and Dorset, laid out before us, glistening in the sunshine.
Lunch in the Red Shoot was very pleasant (though not the steak and stilton I was expecting – grilled rump, chips, mushrooms and salad. No need to book for the Talbot in BSJ for this evening, then!
We stopped at the deer watching platform. Just as the deer were being fed their lunch. Very clever of The Builder! Then on through The
I had told Lindsey that Lepe is a sandy beach. And it is. But not when the tide is right up high and all you can see is the top of the beach shingle. A chocolate milkshake before proceeding (Ian has been yearning for an iced coffee, which you can’t get at the beach side cafes. He has fixed this problem by buying a chocolate milkshake and a short black coffee and adding them together. Not quite iced mocha! Then we went for a meander along the beach. And a soft whipped ice cream with flake before Lepe-ing back in the car and heading back.
The Builder and Katie more or less agreed about the way back as well. IT has to be said that The Builder wouldn’t have headed back into the Forest from
So, it was a good day. Nice and sunny. Lots of animals. A pub. A beach. Lovely.
Or – it was a lovely day if you were Lindsey, Ian or me. The poor Builder didn’t have quite such a good time. We were sitting in the Vixen at Lepe beach, eating our ice creams when a small boy approached the car next to us and SCREAMED at the top of his voice for the rest of his people to hurry up. Yelled and screamed. “WHY CAN’T ANYONE HEAR ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” The Builder retorted that he could hear him quite adequately. And the little boy turned round and told him to f*** off. I turned round to look at him – and found him looking quite abashed. A bit astonished that he’d actually said it. Then he looked around to see if his mum had heard. Fortunately for him, she hadn’t!
Then we took Ian to Waitrose. Lost him. Found him again. Lost him again. Eventually gathered him up and approached a checkout till. The Builder had put down his basket and was watching Ian make another escape attempt when a tall, elegant looking lady backed into him, towing her very full trolley backwards. Properly ran him over, she did. And rather than apologising, which is what normal people do, she shouted at him – because she had been intending to use that checkout. Now why she couldn’t wait is a mystery to me. WE only had a basket so weren’t going to be very long. But no. When The Builder (who had, after all ,been there first) refused to move she stormed off swearing at him. Never been sworn at in Waitrose before. And you don’t expect elegant, grey haired ladies to swear at you for getting to the checkout first! You’d think people would have better things to worry about!! After avoiding being run into by two other grey haired ladies who tried to drive into him while we were attempting to get out of the supermarket (we’d recaptured Ian) we headed directly home before anyone else could swear at or try to break The Builder. Plied him with vodka and wine and stir fired beef and he was happy!
Had a lovely walk this morning. Lindsey, The Builder and I went down to the pub to see what time it serves food in the evenings (we’ve decided to go on Thursday) and to see if there’s a bus (there is) and went for an amble down a little lane near the farm gate and found lots of lovely houses. It’s a beautiful village, is Berwick St John. Seems odd that there’s no shop, though. I’d have thought it was big enough to support a shop.
WEDNESDAY 1st August (How did that happen? What happened to June?)
I’ve been stroking cows!! Well, calves. Big calves. Ian was stood out on the steps to the barn this morning (only place you can reliably get mobile phone signals here). I took his coffee out to him. And a whole load of calves came over to the fence to see what we were doing. I stroked one on its nose and scratched it behind its ears and it licked me :-) I like cows!
We took ourselves off to Shaftesbury this morning with a view to visiting the library so we could reconnect Ian to the internet. Alas – the library is closed on Wednesdays!!! Ian is suffering technology withdrawal. We shall have to go to
But first, I want a mooch about Shaftesbury. There are many interesting shops. There are nooks and crannies. And there is a pub where, quite some time ago, while in there for a mid afternoon pint I saw people eating prawns out of pint pots. I want to eat prawns out of pint pots! So we did. We sat outside on one of the terraced deckings in the sunshine and Lindsey, The Builder and I had pint sized beer glasses (with handle) filled with prawns on trenchers with slabs of brown bread and seafood sauce, accompanied by salad, washed down with a glass each of dry white wine. Was fantastic. Ian was there but, no doubt influenced by his technology withdrawal, had a burger with chips instead of a pint of prawns. It must be said, it really was lovely. The view from the terrace wasn’t bad either.
When I was packing to come away, my hand hovered over my pair of shorts. Don’t be ridiculous, thought I. It hasn’t stopped raining for weeks. You won’t need shorts. Then we got here, the sun came out, it’s been warm and bright, and we’ve been visiting beaches. I now have two new pairs of shorts and a pair of three quarter length trousers.
So. A(nother) mercy dash to
We are now back in Berwick St John. My phone remains in Whiteley. I left it in the pocket of a cardie I borrowed from Jeanette as the temperature fell when the sun went down. Wednesday is my night for talking to Tony over the net. In the absence of a handy messenger, we rang him on my mobile phone. Then I automatically put it in the cardie pocket without particularly noticing. Poor phone. Abandoned in a cardie pocket :-(
I have a hippo. Jeanette, Matthew and Rebecca found it and bought it for me. It’s a large money box. Freyja’s hippo collection appears to be developing a colony in Tupton!
THURSDAY 2nd August
Ian disappeared off to
Back to the cottage. We are, actually, quite short of milk and perhaps wine. Look at map. It is quite a step to Ludwell. I wonder what time the little bus goes? Amble down to the bus shelter to find out. Eeeek. 7 minutes before it’s due. Rush up to the cottage, grab The Builder and Lindsey, run back to the bus shelter. Wait for bus. Even then we nearly missed it – a van pulled up and was asking where he was on the map and the bus stuck its nose around the corner to see if anyone wanted it. We abandoned the misplaced van driver and waved the bus down.
We didn’t go to Ludwell, in the end. We decided to go right into Shaftesbury where we had a couple of hours before the next bus back. We ambled around and looked at the shops and some of the town. We went into the little museum. Our ticket allowed us into the Abbey gardens as well so we went to investigate. It was created by King Alfred for women; it’s first abbess was his daughter. There’s not much left of the abbey, but there is a rather nice herb garden. Then we realised that our couple of hours was nearly up and we still hadn’t got the milk or the wine. Acquired both and wandered back to the bus stop.
And so back to the cottage. Sat about for a bit, then I decided that there was an iron age hill fort behind us (not that I decided that – there was an iron age hill fort behind us; Winklebury camp) and that we should go up it. Off we went. Up we went. Slowly. Doing a Margaret quite frequently (stopping to look at the view, take photos etc, so called because Margaret used to stop to take photos of flowers for her flower census but which also allowed her to catch her breath). Nearly at the top. Oh no – there’s more beyond that apparent brow. Up we went. Up and up. OH NO -- this hill never ends. Now there’s an earth rampart to scale. But we made it. Feeling very glad that we hadn’t been the people who had to build the ramparts and defences. Fantastic views from the top though.
And back down. Plenty of nice exercise. I even got a bit of stitching done in the morning. Ian came back before 8pm and we had little tiny steaks with boiled potatoes and salad to use up as much of the food we had left. For we are moving on on Friday and I don’t want to bwe carrying food with us unnecessarily. The Vixen is not absolutely elastic when it comes to luggage space.
FRIDAY 3rd August
And it was a lovely morning. We were up and moving around reasonably early. Although we can stay in the cottage until 10:00 on Saturday morning, we are off to
Ian found a cappuccino machine loitering in the car park on the way back to the car!
The intention had been then to do a drive by of Stonehenge with a quick dash into the shop to buy
The Builder dropped us at the Yew Tree pub in the next village along from his parents and went to collect them. We’ve never been in – and it’s really lovely. And the food is magnificent. Really magnificent. I had sausages!!!!!!!!!!! They were on the board as award winning, specialty sausages and there was a choice of flavours. I had lamb and mint, pork and leek, and old Charlie (I didn’t enquire who Charlie had been!) with an enormous mountain of mashed potatoes and onion gravy. Lindsey had lasagne. Everyone else had steak, kidney and guinness pies. And very yummy it was too. Then The Builder took his folks home and Lindsey, Ian and I walked back in the sunshine. We must go there again – I would be interested to know what their Sunday lunches are like.
So. Now we need to make a dash to
Have now spoken to Peter and Joan. We are visiting them tomorrow evening for dinner before heading home.
The most direct way to
Dinner in the Boathouse, sat outside overlooking the river. Another excellent pub experience. Lindsey, Tabitha and I had beef in Yorkshire wraps – flat
We’ve had lovely experiences in the pubs this week. Finger bowls when we’ve ordered seafood, apologies when things have gone slightly awry, chefs ambling around and seeing if we were happy. That chap in the Now Not Famous Red Lion could learn quite a lot from them. I wonder if he ever does go out and see what other pubs do?
Back to T and G’s place, where we found their pal Batch waiting for us. Inside for a nightcap or two, and so to bed. The poor Builder must have been knackered. He’s driven miles and miles and miles and miles today.
We noticed, as we were heading into
SATURDAY 4th August
We had a lovely day in
Happily, he hadn’t.
So we wandered into town and pottered in the market and inspected the outside of the colleges and pottered about and walked around the back of Clare’s and down onto the Backs and ambled along the river and played by the canals and had wine in the Anchor and watched the punts playing dodgems and ate souvlaki on Jesus Green and walked some more and chatted and pottered and played. And the sun shone on us cheerily.
Then we went back to Tabitha and Gareth’s and they went to the pub to meet a pal and we sat outside in the garden in the sunshine until it was time to remove to Girton, leaving Tabitha, Gareth, Batch and the pal behind for Taffa and Gaz were having a party.
We were off to meet Joan and Peter for dinner at the Old Crown. They were in good health and spirits and seemed quite chirpy. Also pleased to see Lindsey and Ian. I think they thought we might not go and visit them. Unlikely, but there you go. And Peter hadn’t picked up his emails so hadn’t read the one from me asking if they would be At Home for a visit today. At least, he didn’t read it until Wednesday. Dinner in the Old Crown was fantastic. Ian says that his was possibly the best duck he had ever tasted. I have to say that my salmon salad wasn’t at all bad, either.
Then we left Joan and Peter and made our way back through the twilight to Tupton, where we found Marlo seriously lamenting. Tammy had been feeding him until Thursday afternoon when she went on holiday with her parents. Daniel was supposed to be taking over – but I’m fairly certain he hadn’t. There were too many sachets of food left if he had been fed on Friday or Saturday morning. And he gobbled up what I put down for him in no time flat.
Then he purred a lot!!!