Saturday afternoon thought it about time to use NT cards, but where to go? Chose Greys Court in Oxfordshire; slight en route diversion due to someone shifting signage around (seems to happen a lot lately).
On arrival were told it was unusual for the house to be open on a Saturday (later surreptitious inspection of guide book showed this to be true, but R opted for convenient silence on subject). Decided to view house, ice-house, grounds, tower & tea shop followed by donkey & horse wheels in that order. House a picture of Tudor elegance from the outside. Only part of ground floor is viewable. Some amazing plasterwork ceilings greet you from the hall onwards. R worried over cracks in one room, but outside inspection didn’t show them (and R always worried over cracks in houses). Delightful rooms which speak of it still being a well-loved lived in house, (although the tv seemed a tad too casual). The kitchen was interesting – a strange mixture of Tudor panels, huge Aga in correspondingly huge inglenook and modern units, but a lovely tiny wall-mounted bee-hive ornamented bookshelf with an Elizabeth David amongst the cookbooks.
Ice-house was thatched and hence unlike any other we’d seen. Nearby (R thought) were signs of v old fortifications (wonder if the house guide book mentions them?). Gardens good, especially the wisteria walled garden where the plant forms the roof. Good views from the tower and we were told May was a good time to re-visit and look down on the wisteria and bluebells. Must make a Google calendar note and also note to bring camera next time. Donkey wheel a bit sad thinking of the poor animals bringing up the water from the well. S thought it over engineered. Still looked as though it could be used today.
Been here three days now, flew up on Monday. Funny flight, the captain took us to 38,000 ft where there was thin cloud, and it was rough, so he had to drop 2,000 ft and it was smooth flight, but a 120 mile an hour head wind. Took off late, London air traffic control, but we are in Luton, miles away fom London, and you don’t see any other aircraft. They obviously need more advanced systems that can figure this out.
Staying down in the Hollyrood, so I have breakfast every day, and the Mai Thai for supper. I wish I was logical and had eaten my way through the menu in order. Instead I dither and pick and choose. Now I have no idea which menu items I have not eaten.
Spent Saturday morning shopping, generally unsuccessfully, and the afternoon gardening. There is so much work to be done there this autumn. Definitely going to be a chain saw massacre on some the trees. They all seem to have grown suddenly, and the ones near the house will need a little trimming back. Then the graveyard has some dead elms which should come down. Looks like the wood store will be full for the winter.
R wants to replace the Pampas grass with some butterfly friendly plant. G must have overheard what I said about setting it on fire and roasting the hedgehogs living in it, because he sent R an article on hedgehog friendly gardening.
Sunday went to M&D for lunch and tea. Had a leg of lamb this time, roasted and not BBQed. Very good indeed. Also picked up our 25th wedding anniversary present. A lovely Ann Blockley painting and a silver topped jar with a bee in the decoration. As we left it started pouring with rain, expected a bad journey home, but luckily it all cleared up on the M40.
Managed to eat in the Mai Thai every day. Wonderful food, brilliant ambiance. And good Internet access.
Not so good going home, bit of a delay on Easyjet. Flight was a little rough, and coming into land we were in cloud with the spoilers on for over 5 minutes, and the occasional 360 turn. Probably going deaf now because I had to turn the MP3 player up loud to counteract the noise from the vibration caused by the spoilers. I really must catch an earlier flight home. Getting home at 9 on a Friday is a pain, especially now it is getting dark.
Back up in Edinburgh, starting my third day now. Travel up was easy, plane left early, arrived early and in the office by 9.30
Not staying in my usual hotel but down in the McDonnald by Holyrood. That means I will be eating at the Mai Thai, and will be eating breakfast as well. Breakfast is included in the price of the room. Not included means I go hungry, included means I eat. Been eating fish for breakfast, loading up on healthy omega fats.
Last two evenings in the Mai Thai. I have now updated their website, changing their menu and updating the gallery. Just leaves the reviews to do, and maybe add a special news page. The site had not been updated since it was created over a year ago, and all that time it says, ‘Taking bookings for Christmas’ Ah well.
I also complained about the Plough and Anchor website, how that was never updated, how they should be changing the menu when the menu changes, how they should announce all the bands on the site as soon as the booking is made. Maybe they should have a review section with some pictures etc. I think they thought I was looking for business.
Oh the food at the Mai Thai was the usual Very Good. First night I did not order duck. This choice was commented on by the Thai waitress. Not the usual duck, sir
The postponed tug of war between Wotton and Kingswood was held this Bank Holiday Monday. Weather not so hot, but sun did show and it never rained. Good food as usual, and a few beers. Fifty or so attended, not many though from Kingswood. Will have to expend a bit more effort in getting people out to the event.
Wotton won the mens and womens tug of war, while the children from Kingswood were victorious. Pictures in due course.
After the BBQ, had a drive in a Honda go cart-on George and Annie’s field. Time trials, alas I was last, but then I don’t have the practice and I was only a couple of seconds behind. [Editor’s note: Steve had about 40+ years on his opponent, G&A’s eldest grandson, during these trials.]
Ate at the pub in Ludgershall with George and Annie. Pretty good value and very well presented. Well worth a visit.
Selina and Graham attended our BBQ this weekend. Unlike John and Carol, we were able to call on the weather Gods and arranged a sunny day. They excelled themselves and provided us with several days of warmth.
Our BBQ was lamb shoulder. Now where have I had that recently! Mum in law, Winnie, was present having stayed most of the week. She was taken back to her home complete with Freeview Box, which I set up. Drive down was bad with all the traffic going to Bournemouth. Drive back was good, except for the 45 minute hold-up while someone was air-lifted from the road after an accident, but it wasn’t us, so we should feel thankful.
Back at home I strimmed down the thistles on the field. Hopefully last time this year.
Today Saturday must have been the warmest this year. The sun shone all day. The spirit (not allowed mercury any more) in the thermometer rose to a startling 25 Celsius. BBQ time, so a British lamb shoulder onto the Webber in time for Selina and Graham who were coming around for tea. Even Gran managed to stay up until after 22.00.
On Friday I had a quick drink over at the local pub to meet up with George to check if I needed to do anything for Monday’s tug of war. The pub has been busy putting up a conservatory, building a patio and fencing off all the unsightly areas. The car park has now been covered with fine shingle. I had a go at Jake about their out-of-date website.
Good news on Friday. The bank in Scotland wants me back for a couple of weeks work. So will be catching the flight from Luton early on Tuesday.
Had a quick trip to Edinburgh for the day to do some presales work, selling my body. Slight detour on the way to Luton, found Dunstable was closed with some gas pipeline work, so had to detour almost back to the zoo. Weather was bad both in Luton and Edinburgh.
Had some time to spare, so visited the bank and said hello to the iBuy team, and picked up a few items I had left in my desk. Had a successful meeting with the insurance company and then flew back home.
The National Art Theatre in Princes Street is doing an Andy Warhol Exhibition and had decorated the facade in suitable style.
Met over at John and Carol’s for a BBQ. Not very good BBQ weather. Poured with rain, John tending the lamb shoulders standing under an umberella.
At the BBQ were Ann and Chris, Peter and Janet, Robin and Tessa and Stuart and Pamela.
As John said after the BBQ.
Congratulations Gang,… and thank you for coming and brightening what would otherwise have been an otherwise dreary Saturday afternoon/evening It was great to see you all even if we did end up inside. Not really a surprise given this year’s track record.
Met Mike at the Monument for a walking tour of Newcastle. Wish I had taken my camera with me, there were some good views of the Tyne and the bridges which would have made some good photographs.
Of course the tour included visits to a number of pubs and the trialing of a few ales.
A walk across the Millennium bridge to walk through the Sage Centre, which alas was closed.
Friday was the drive back home. Not a bad drive, except for sections of the A1, where trucks insisted on doing their slow overtaking manoeuvres. Back home in around 4 hours, only hold up was on the M18 as we join the M1 caused by some road works.
Stayed in on Wednesday. Had to watch some television, the Tulip hotel Internet connection was down. I am sure most times I visit that hotel the Internet is down. So saw an episode of Hero’s followed by Ann Widdecombe on Prostitution. She totally dismissed the forward thinking approach of New Zealand. A bit of a bigot I am afraid.
Drove to Gateshead today to work on a Java web application change wanted by a customer of ours. Journey was not bad other then a section around the M1/M18 junction where I was stopped for 40 minutes.
In the evening met up with Mike and Reiko at their house in Newcastle. It is very large and still has lots of original Victorian features. The foot high skirting boards, the moldings and the fireplaces are all in place on the ground floor.
Today the gate on the footpath between us and our neighbours was installed. The neighbours over the weekend also dug a large pond in their garden.
The local pub is part way through installing a conservatory, and building a sitting out area around the back. They’ve also started landscaping at the front – some good hanging baskets to attract the punters, perhaps.
The weekend saw Rosemary and I travel to Norwich to stay with Mike and Ann. Took masses of photographs which will be up the the site soon. Saturday saw us go to Winterton-on-sea for a walk along the beach and sand dunes in the bright clear sunny weather we are at last having. The windmills on Scroby sand acting as a futeristic backdrop.
Sunday was a broadland day at the South Walsham. Here they have walks through the wood which is cut through by masses of dykes. Lots of wildlife, very quiet and peaceful. Took masses of photos of which one or two are reasonable. There was the opportunity to take a boat trip on two broads, Soth Walsham Inner & Outer ones, which allowed me to take some close-ups of the bird life. Rosemary will fill in the names of these.