On Saturday morning I made a cake and stewed some apples, and made some savoury pastry and simmered some onions and sliced loads of vegetables. On Saturday afternoon we went to Bishops' House and then went shopping. On Saturday evening I assembled an apple cake, and a raised ham and vegetable pie and even made a little something for us for tea.
We got up quite early on Sunday. We cleaned the house and tidied up and prepared some home made crumbed chicken nuggets and The Builder picked loads of beans and scrubbed loads of potatoes. We set the table and got prepared. And we spoke to Stella and Tony and Lindsey and Ian who were recovering in Melbourne from the family celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the family in Australia. And then more Australians came to visit. In person. At our place.
When we went to Fiona and John's place last Sunday for Sebastian's birthday party, Jane (the visiting mother) had expressed a wish to come to our place to see the garden and the allotment. so we invited them all to lunch. John had other plans, but Fiona, Sebastian and Jane came round to help us eat the chicken, the raised pie, the roasted potatoes, the beans and the apple cake. And they managed to view the garden and even the allotment before the rains set in. So we didn't have a new set of Aussies visiting, but it was a first visit for Jane (and Sebastian) to our place. Fiona had been before, although some years ago.
But there was one more Aussie yet to visit. Although she also counts as a Scottish visit, holding, as she does, both nationalities. But she lives in Geelong, so when Freyja came back from Melbourne after Christmas and said that Friend Irene was doing the Coast to Coast walk in the summer and did we think we might be able to catch up while she was loitering more or less in our corner of the world, we said yes. And then promptly forgot all about it until Freyja reported back to us in May or June and said the dates were now set and what did we think. There was a rest day scheduled for Richmond on the Tuesday following the August public holiday. Freyja, Simon and I could manage the Tuesday off. Tabitha, alas, could not. But the rest of us arranged to meet Irene in Richmond on the Monday evening for dinner, booked ourselves into accommodation for the Monday night and left Tuesday to sort itself out, depending on the weather.
It is just as well that The Builder and I had a conversation about travel arrangements a couple of weeks ago. He was puzzled that I hadn't already bought the train tickets. But you can't get to Richmond by train. We'll take the car and pick up Freyja and Simon on our way past. "What do you mean you can';t get there by train? Of course you can" "No you can't. The train line closed decades ago. A Beeching cut, I believe" "No, no - you can get there on the underground" Realisation dawned. "No, no. We're not going to Richmond in London. The Coast to Coast walk doesn't go via London! We're going to Richmond in North Yorkshire. In the car!!"
And so we did. We all registered in our various digs for the night (Freyja and Simon in The Unicorn; The Builder and me in the Castle house). Then we went for a wander around the town and along the river. Then the gentle drizzle became more persistent and we took refuge in the Town Hall Hotel, where Irene met us after she had walked in to Richmond, located her accommodation and had a shower. We decided to stay in there to eat. My pie and chips was remarkably nice!
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny, so we went to the Richmond Castle for the morning and had a great time mooching around. Then we made our way down to the old station which is now used to house a cinema, a bakery, a micro-brewery, various other things - and an eatery where we had lunch. And then we made our way back to where we had parked the car (no parking in the town centre during the day for non-residents), along the river. The Builder caused something of a consternation by turning his ankle in a small hole by the path and executing what I have to say was a spectacular series of sideways rolls down the hill towards the river. Fortunately he only broke one bottle of three artisan beers that he was carrying and not any bits of himself. But he does have some interesting bruises and scrapes! And, of course, only two of the three different beers we had bought in the micro-brewery for him to try!
Irene has continued her way on the Coast to Coast walk today. Simon, Freyja and I have returned to work. The Builder in his guise as the Under Gardener has been picking fruit and vegetables for us to try and squeeze into our rather full freezer.
And Cally has started school today for the very first time. She finished at the nursery where she has been going since she was nine months old on Friday. Today marks the start of a whole new life for her.
Simon took these two photos at the Castle yesterday:
|Freyja, me and Irene.|
|Click on Freyja and me to get to my photos|