Mums The Word

May 9, 2008 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

My first Guest Blogger:  My Mom …

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Sara & The Husband for inviting me to visit.  It was a fabulous trip.

Whirlwind – best word to describe it – a whirlwind of sights, sounds, experiences and tastes.

Birmingham.

April 28.

Arrived late morning after a long flight full of interesting characters. Made a quick tour of the Bull Ring and returned to the flat where the H (or SIL in my case) was home from work. We all enjoyed Sara’s tasty lamb stew, thoughtfully prepared with a separate pan for me with a much lower Scoville unit rating.

April 29.

To market, to market – and what a market it is – outdoor setting full of fresh fruits and veggies, breads of all types, any kind of cheese you would want and more, more, more, with vendors calling to you to buy their wares. Home again, home again…

Walking tour of downtown Birmingham. We came across a small monument to the soldiers of WWII. Inside was a beautiful stained glass window, and notes and flowers had been left in memory of loved ones lost in the war. Peaceful, reverent and serene.

On through the city (and the rain) to the canals. A small pink waterbus was calling to us, so we took a boat ride.

I loved the “street signs” on the canal – little islands with directional markers.

Other longer boats moored sadly by the wall rather than putting happily down the canal.

Fish & chips tonight at a local pub. Yum!

London.

April 30.

We had a lovely breakfast of fruit, scones and lemon curd…mmmm…and caught our train to London. Lots of sheep and lambs dotted the countryside.

After I crumpled my train ticket by stowing it in my pocket, Sara would not allow me to keep my 3-day tube (subway) pass.  At every every entry and exit of the tube she handed the pass to me and then promptly took it back for safekeeping.

Rain, rain, rain. Cold wind.

Following the hotel check-in we hit the streets surrounding Covent Garden and found several wonderful shops, especially vintage clothing shops where my simply adorable daughter(one of two, I might add) purchased a very cute skirt.

Rain, rain, rain. Cold wind.

Fabulous lunch at an Indian restaurant.

Rain, rain, rain. Cold wind.

What I had learned at this point:  I must walk as fast as I possibly can to keep up with the daughter and take advantage of every brief street corner stop to renew my energy.

What Sara learned at this point:  She must slow her pace a bit so as not to lose me.

Somehow we found a compromise, mostly to my favour (I love the English spelling).

 

Unable to find the Apple Market, we headed to Albert & Victoria Museum via the tube.  Contrary to the tour booklet listing it was closed.

Side note: This is the only proof of the wool cap I purchased at a London market to keep my ears warm.  It was lost in a rushing throng of people on the tube during rush hour the next day.

Walking along the Thames (in the rain, of course) we caught sight of The Eye (super huge Ferris wheel) from under the blue plaid umbrella wisely purchased earlier in Birmingham.

The Eye was never operating during the visit, so we didn’t get to ride on it.

Finally we reached our next goal – Fleet Street – 3 short blocks of Sweeney Todd infamy. We walked all 3 blocks (on both sides) just to say we did. It is now a business and office district, but there are still some shady characters about.

May 1. Happy May Day!

Traditional English breakfast and we finally found the Apple Market. Today it rained less and generally was sunnier.

We headed to Buckingham Palace, but due to the huge crowd we mostly “heard” the Changing of the Guard rather than “saw” it.

While waiting it started raining, and almost on cue everyone across the street from us raised their umbrellas in unison.

We did get to see some of the pageantry of the daily event, including this band as well as a horse regiment and another marching regiment with guns fitted with very large bayonets.

Perhaps the best time (along with Stonehenge) was an impeccable performance of King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It was an amazing production. For once the rain was quite appropriate. As if on cue it started raining at the onset of the famous storm scene and the sun shone through at exactly the right moment when the storm ended in the play. Perfect timing. Pictures were not allowed during the show, but Sara snapped this one earlier.

http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/

On to the Royal British Museum where we could have spent hours more.

First stop – the Rosetta Stone – amazing to see the relic we all learn about as children.

Creepy shadows from a large ceiling exhibit. Below that I am studying a crystal skull that was claimed to have ancient mystical powers but was later proven to be a Victorian hoax.

Dinner at The Sussex pub where I had a meat pie (shades of Sweeney Todd!!)  This was a late night and the streets were teeming with people and three-wheeled bicycle taxis.

May 2.

Stonehenge, which Sara wrote about previously.  It was well worth the trip.  We saw endless beautiful, bright yellow fields of what we learned is rapeseed, which is grown for production of biofuels.

Back to London and on to Birmingham. What a fabulous day!

May 3.

The last day was spent in the English countryside at Bolsover Castle and Chatsworth Estate, as mentioned by Sara. Both were simply magnificent.
For lunch we stopped at the Blue Bell pub. The SIL ordered the Cumberland Round, which was a circular link of sausage the size of the plate served with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes in the center (and he ate all of it).

I ordered the Roast of the Day (beef) with Yokshire pudding, which isn’t pudding at all (as we know it), but rather is similar to a large, well-browned cream puff shell served with the beef and gravy. Like everything else to date it was very good.

On my last evening I ventured out alone to a store about 5 blocks from the flat to purchase scones to bring home. It was a successful excursion; I returned unscathed.

It would be impossible to cover everything we did.  It was an amazing trip.  Thank you again to Sara and The H. 

 
 

 

 

  

 

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Entry filed under: Travel, Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Stonehenge – Getting There Independently Danger! Danger! High Voltage!

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