Blighty?

Climate Change, Drought, Climate, Dry

Wind

Wet

By clouds beset

Dark skies

Puddles in the making

Where are such English summer days

With these strange sunny days

And long spells of baking?

Are you sure this is Blighty old

Or am I somehow mistaking?


Padre

Reflections on the English weather of late.

Tilbury

Public Domain

The drums have beat the muster call

To form upon the green

And we shall march to Tilbury

To stand with our queen

We shall see off the Spaniard foe

Who dare defile our land

We for harth and for our church

Will make a heroic stand


Padre

Bells

Bells, Bell, Bell Tower, Masonry, Metal, Ring
Pixabay

A ram’s horn signals to a chosen people

A high holy day

While in the minaret a human voice

Calls the faithful to pray

But among England’s villages and fields

It is the sound of clappers on bronze

With patterned peals

Bats and starlings take flight from the parish tower

Till the campanologists have finished their hour


Padre

Leaving London

 

Vehicles On The Road

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels

Leaving London – crossing Thames

The capital departed – to find hidden gems.

Goodbye Westminster, Soho, and more

There’s far more places than “The City” to explore.

Visitors and tourists this error don’t make

To just stay by the Thames-side,

An entire island to forsake.

Fens and Broads; Moors and Downs,

Quaint little villages, and Market towns:

All await you – if London you just quit

And without London weighting,

You might save a bit.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Culinary “Pub Crawl”

It’s Travel Tuesday, and while I considered posting this for a Foodie Friday, it applies to both equally well.  The Market Town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk (England) has a redeveloped cattle market and this in turn links in with the main shopping precincts.  There are a cluster of eateries on Auction Street, and their are several more across Parkway.   This led me to come up with a frivolous but fun exercise of a “food crawl.”

My journey began with a starter/appetizer at the Japanese themed Wagamama.  It is typical of the chain in its seating setup with bench type seating, but a few table and chair seatings along the windows.   The service was attentive, and the order was prepared quickly. I had the vegetable tempura which was lightly battered, and had a great balance of types of veg – sweet potato, broccoli, and red bell pepper.  So far a good start on my food journey.

Mains came from the Portuguese/Peri Peri themed Nando’s.   The ordering system is of the pay at the till, and they will deliver to the table type.  Fountain drinks are self-service.  There were several good vegetarian options, and on this occasion I opted for a medium spiced “Beanie” burger with a side of garlic bread and peri peri chips. The veggie paddy was well made, and prepared, and the sides were tasty. There was also a good assortment of sauces to add to the burger.  The server was polite, and helpful, and the decoration was minimalist, though Latin music in the background gave it some atmosphere.  Toilets are up stairs so that should be taken into consideration if you have limited mobility.  The food was good, however and it was time for dessert.

The “afters” came from Carluccio’s Italian eatery.  This is a great restaurant with a lot to offer. There are breakfast menus, and a large selection of Italian dishes, but I  there for the “pud.”   I had tiramisu and a scoop of cherry ice cream.  The ice cream is above average, which was disappointing from an “Italian.”  But the tiramisu was really outstanding. It is made more traditionally with “lady fingers” rather than soggy cake. It was creamy, and not overly sweet, as some store-bought tiramisus are. It was a great finisher after a spicy burger from Nando’s.  A note to those with disability.  Carluccio’s has a clearly marked disabled access toilet on the ground floor, and it is right next door to Nando’s

Then it was coffee time.  This was from Costa Coffee. The shop is huge as compared to many Costa outlets, and it is well laid out and clean as well. The quality of the drink was good and had the smooth Costa blend that I prefer over harsher coffees. It was unfortunately very busy there, so was some wait for it to be prepared. Since the shop is large, there was ample seating both in and outside, and I was able in the end to just sit and sip my drink, and reflect on my culinary journey.

Overall, it may have been slightly more expensive than eating in a single venue.  It did however allow me to stretch my legs, and to have each course settle before moving on.  If Peri Peri is not your thing, there is a Byron Burger outlet making “real burgers” directly opposite Nando’s.  In the end, it was a fun time.

Padre

Afternoon Tea for a Travel Tuesday

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I have to admit that I still occasionally cringe when I hear American (and some other) visitors describe England as “quaint.”  It seems that the image of Bertie Wooster, Bowler hats, and Downton Abbey still prevail.  But one area where this nostalgic England still does have a foothold is High Tea.

Okay, let’s get this straight the country does not stop at 3 pm and the entire populous settle down to crumpets and gooseberry jam.  In fact, in the modern UK it is more likely that a ready-made supermarket sandwich will be wolfed down on the run, washed down with a Starbuck’s coffee.  But sometimes, especially on special occasions it is nice to slow down and enjoy some luxury.

Afternoon tea, is a real treat, and in recent years we have marked my wife’s birthday with the indulgence.

The top photo is of a High Tea we enjoyed at the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston, Norfolk last year, to celebrate my wife’s birthday.   We booked the tea (and High Teas often need pre-bookings) there as we have stayed at this hotel before, and it is a favourite venue for us.   We ate on the terrace overlooking the sea, and it made a pleasant back drop with a clear sunny sky, and the beach and sea below us.

The tea was well brewed, and came in a generous sized pot.  It was accompanied by finger sandwiches (salmon and cream cheese, ham and cheese, prawn with mayonnaise,  and cheese and pickle).  A portion of sharp cress was provided that could be used to enhance the sandwiches as well.  Two warm scones, with clotted cream and jam were next.  This was followed by an assortment of macaroons, mini cream cakes, and a chocolate and an apple tart. The portions were sufficient to leave us both satisfied.

The price is reasonable for the experience at £15 per person with tea or coffee (2019 updated price) and a £10 booking fee is required.  The service was very friendly and attentive, and it made for a lovely afternoon together.

Link:  Cliff Hotel High Tea

Another nice venue is Harriets Cafe Tea Rooms in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.  This venue offers a step back into time, with marble-topped tables, chandeliers, and big band music all to enjoy.  The service was on our professional and friendly (and the retro uniforms helped the ambiance as well). There was no sense of rush, and it was a time to just savour the drinks and take in the experience.

When we arrived we were offered chilled water with lemon wedges (another blast from the past, as most places don’t offer this these days). We had ample time to review the menu and to take in the atmosphere.  We ordered cream teas to our own tastes, a lovely chai blend for me, and Rooibos for my wife.  The tea was loose leaf, and individual strainers, and additional hot water were provided to make the most of the brews.  The scones were fairly large, and had a good balance of moistness without feeling underdone.  I far prefer this to those that crumple at the first attempt to cut them.  All in all is was a lovely spread with nice presentation.  At about £21 per it is a bit more dear, but the nostalgia and atmosphere are worth the price for the experience.

Link: Harriet’s

This year we made our High Tea visit to The Swan in Lavenham, Suffolk.  This Medieval Inn with its timber frame construction is wonderful to behold.  Inside there are still the beams, but also modern luxury.

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Gallery

The Gallery dining room is overlooked by a grand piano, and the gardens are just beyond period windows. We sat near a huge inglenook fireplace, and the atmosphere was a perfect as the meal.

We had our choices of teas, which were served – “on fine Royal Worcester Crockery specifically created for The Swan by Walpole of Stoke-on-Trent, whose prestigious special commissions are found in many of Britain’s Royal palaces – the perfect crockery then upon which to savour our delicious treats (Swans’ quote).”  I had the English breakfast tea and my wife, Redbush.   Both were loose leaf, and served with strainers, and it was fitting with surrounding luxury.

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Royal Worcester

Unlike some venues where the entire meal is served on a stacked “High Tea Tray”, the Swan served in courses, rather than all at once. The tray does make its appearance during the dessert course however.

 

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Finger Sandwiches

The sandwiches, were a nice mix with salmon, egg, ham, and cucumber. The scones were light and flavourful. The cakes were luxurious and the chocolate one was absolutely rich.

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Cakes and Scones

The service was attentive, and the server even offered to take pictures for us.

At £22.50 per person, it is the most dear, but the price is exceeded by the measure of luxury and service.
Happy travels, and I hope you find your perfect breaks.
Padre

 

 

Golden Mile

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“But it isn’t,” eleven-year-old David said, shoving the brochure back into the display case at the Sea Life Centre.

“Isn’t what?” his grandmother asked.

“A Golden Mile,” David said matter-of-factly.

“But Great Yarmouth is the Golden Mile,” she said.

“First of all,” David began, “Google says the beach here is over a mile long.  Secondly, it is hardly golden.  It’s just sand.”

“So at least a mile is gold coloured,” Grandmum suggested.

“Then they should say come to Great Yarmouth with its approximately one mile of yellowish sand,” he said defiantly.

Seeing she wasn’t going to win this, she said, “Why don’t we get an ice cream and go over to the beach at Gorleston?

 

Padre

115 Words

What Pegman Saw: Great Yarmouth, UK

The Red-Faced Field-Furrower

Atilla the tractor 1

CCC#30

 

Above is a rare photo of a Red-faced Field-Furrower in its natural Norfolk habitat. Norfolk is known for these beasts who are not only seen to leave tell-tale groves in the ground, but have been known to snarl traffic for miles at a time.

[With my apologies to David Attenborough]

Padre

Anglesey Abbey

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Down the Garden Path

Anglesey Abbey is a  former priory about five miles outside of Cambridge. With the closure of the monasteries, the house was robbed of stone and roofing, but was later bought and restored.  and it became the estate of the Fairhaven Family.  The house and its grounds are now owned by the National Trust.

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Approaching House

We have made a few trips to the gardens over the years and usually they provide a variety of beautiful blooms.   Some trails in the right season are covered with bluebells and early spring has daffodils.   Our most resent visit was a little disappointing as it was post daffodil (mostly wilting heads) and pre-bluebell.

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Bluebells from previous visit

The gardens also have a large number of statues which make for some interesting explorations in their own right.  So, despite the seasonal variations on the blooms, the statuary is a constant to enjoy.

The shop and snack bar are in a modern annex near the entrance hall, and most all of the usual National Trust fare and gifts can be found there.

Padre