Rosemary and I visited Valerie and Norman in Leicester, staying the night. Rosemary was persuaded to walk around the Botanical Garden, something I have already done. This time we entered the cactus hothouse to see some fabulous specimens. The sculptures in the garden intrigue me.
Ravi and Simon arrived for a pub lunch at the Cradock Arms. The place was heaving and we were lucky to be able to park. The pub was the start and end points of a club’s monthly walk trip. We all departed and went our own way after lunch.
Weekend away in Leicester drinking Whiskey in the National Space Centre. Poor R had a dry weekend, Whiskey or Whisky is not her favourite drink.
As some weekends start, we loaded up the car with a chainsaw and hedge trimmer and headed off to Leicester by way of Nuneaton. We needed to pick up the ashes of my Aunt Margaret who had been cremated on August 30th after she died on the 30th of July.
Arriving in Leicester in time for lunch at the Halcyon Kitchen. I had a lovely veggie salad dish, though missed the black pudding which should have come from Norman’s all day breakfast. A coffee in the Northern Cobbler before the gardening starts.
My favourite gardening is always with a chainsaw, cutting and destroying must have been instilled in me from the Doom Computer Game. I started off well with the carnage and destruction, but the chain oil reservoir had not been closed properly and a trail of oil was dripped through Valerie & Norman’s whole house. Oops, thankfully the route taken was on tiles. Phew! So a spot of decimation in the garden, opening up the canopy with the removal of some trees and ivy, all completed before nightfall.
Viv and Bill arrived for an early supper, a lovely bean stew/soup. Then it was on to the Space Centre for the Whisk(e)y tasting organised by 23 wine and whiskey.
You were given a tasting glass and a map of the Space Centre with the locations of the different whisk(e)y stands. These were peopled by 23 wine and whiskey, or by the actual company distilling the whiskeys. You went from stand to stand to try the different drinks, trying to act intelligently and making cerebral comments. This becoming more difficult as the time passed. The samples were small, but there were many to try.
At the same time, there were master classes, these were sold out well before the day. They took a theme, mine was American Whiskeys. On show were Bourbon, Wheat Whiskeys and Rye Whiskeys. This class took an hour and was fun, with a very knowledgeable and entertaining compere.
In the main hall, there were whisk(e)ys from Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, America, Canada, Japan, Sweden and India. The Indians even produced a peat tasting drink with peat imported from Ireland and Islay.
Was a very enjoyable evening. My regret was, unlike Rosemary, I did not see much of the Space Center. The positive of this I will have to go back.
The next day, after a slow and late rise, was breakfast, a walk and lunch at the Cradock Arms. I was amused when we all ordered out pints of ale, Tiger, and Rosemary also had a pint. One taste of it and you could see she realised her mistake. For some reason, she thought we all had ordered a lager. I ate a traditional Sunday lunch of pork belly, once Rosemary realised I had been served Viv’s turkey, and Viv had been served my pork belly.
After our visit to Stoneywell, we visited Abbey Pumping Station. This pump was built to pump Leicester’s sewage away for treatment. The pump has been preserved and has steaming days when it is worth visiting.
As well as the pump there is a museum featuring items from Leicester’s industrial past. There is also a display on how sewers work, which amused children for hours as they flushed a model turd down the loo and through the sewers.
The next day we went back to Abbey park where there is a ruin of an Abbey. Coffee in the pavilion teas shop.
We had an excellent trip to Stoneywell National Trust House. The weather could have been a little better.
Lovely little National Trust house, with fabulous gardens. First off, you must book to come here, you can not just turn up. This is because of planning regulations and limited access. The car park is a little way off from the house, a mini bus will pick you up and ferry you to the house. They were waiting for us in the car park. The same on return.
You see the house with a guide in small groups. There were four in our group. The house was built of stone in 1899 and was originally thatch. After a fire the home was re-roofed in slate. The house is built into the rock of the nearby hill. The house is also a built as a zigzag, is not straight, it has no square walls, no right angles to be seen anywhere. Much of the furniture is original.
Up in the stables there is a small cafe where you can sit inside or outside. Alas we visited on the most miserable and cold day of the year, and we decided not to sit outside, and we also gave most of the garden a miss. We were told it was planted so there were some flowering plants at all times of the year. We did see snowdrops.
We definitely must go back on a warmer dryer summer day and see it when we can relax in the garden.
The staff were amazingly pleasant and informative about the history of the house. While we waited for the bus to take us back we had a great conversation with them.
We visited Valerie and Norman for a couple of nights. On the Tuesday we set off with hedge trimmer and chainsaw to trim their hedge. First job on arrival was to consume an excellent soup lunch. Then the hedge was attacked, lopping off a couple of feet.
That evening we walked to The Cradock Arms. We ordered and were soon eating. But there was a pub quiz that night. What to do. We adjourned to the bar and entered the quiz, team was named SadGits. We didn’t come last! Walked back home, nursing our bruised egos.
Wednesday morning after a fry up, we headed out to Southwell and parked in some free parking by the leisure centre. Our first stop was the Southwell Minster where we spent more than an hour looking around. Rosemary was hunting the carved mice on the furniture, think she found 9 of the 22. There were numerous carving of small heads, one which looked very much like Donald Trump, which even had been mentioned in a church pamphlet. The small carved heads stood in contrast to the rather squat fat pillar holding up the knave.
The chapter house had exquisitely carved leaves throughout. These leaves have caused a few books to be written. The chapter house also housed a picture exhibition themed on Adam and Even. There was some quite interesting representations, Unfortunately the two we might have considered buying had been sold,
A quick walk down the road to The Hearty Goodfellow for lunch. Small pub, with good beer and menu. I ate a special of Moules Frites, We then walked to the Workhouse owned by the National Trust. Interestingly, there were some rooms that had been turned into bedsits for mothers with children which were still being used in the 70s, the fathers had to stay away. Tea and then back to the Minster to visit the Great Hall in the Bishop’s Palace.
On the way home we made a detour and stopped at the excellent pub called The Ale Classroom. The Classroom is small, two rooms, but sells excellent beers, constantly changing, all served straight out of the cask. Rosemary, embarrassingly for me cos I had to buy it, wanted lager.
Back to V&N’s for a good pasta supper. The next day we left mid morning to drove back in some large downpours. Thank you Google, you seemed to have missed predicting those. Back at home there had been little rain and the garage was progressing.