bad weather, bath and beyond

Friday, 8 June 2012

given that we were home the previous night gone midnight, the constant pain in my neck and knowing that we had an early start to get to the country, i did not get a very good sleep. we were up the time we would normally to get to work, and out of the house by 8. we went via paddington, so i was able to introduce mama to paddington bear at long last! we arrived in swindon just after 10:30 where there was a smiley derek waiting for us. first we headed to the fashion outlet village, where i has been told I could get some decent ted baker  and boyfriend some decent  nike discounts. unfortunately, the products we were hoping to get discounted were not there, so while mama and derek came away with a fair haul, we sadly did not.
from there we headed off to historic lacock, via an amazing old english country pub which we think was called the wellesley arms. we were the only people in there besides the owners/runners of the pub/b+b, but after about 15 minutes it started to fill up a bit. our lunch was really cheap but definitely delicious, and after the quick pit-stop off we went again. the weather was really awful so we could really only duck in-and-out of door frames and shop fronts to avoid it, and finally gave up and headed for the red lion for a pimms and some warmth! historic lacock is best known for the traditional and historic look of it, which is used all the time for period movies, most recently 'pride and prejudice' and 'the other boleyn girl', but also more regularly for the filming of tv programmes too. it was really pretty, just such a shame that the weather was so bad! i literally fell asleep on the way back to derek+coral's cottage, and apparently missed some important stuff. the most important stuff was yet to come in my opinion... puppies!
derek+coral are well-known cocker spaniel breeders, and they have recently had another litter. all but one of the litter had been sold, but they chose to keep one male because of his colouring. he is a ginger muffin! his name is martin but his show name is derecor d'artagnan (named after the musketeers) and he is a sweet pea! as well as martin there are 8 other adults and 1 pregnant bitch called martha (who i renamed miss marple) who was a ginger pup just like martin so she looked just like his mama! they were adorable. as well as the dogs (one 2 in the house, the rest kept in dog kennels - could you imagine 9 dogs inside!?) there were 4 flat-faced cats (their names escape me. i referred to each of them as 'cat'), so it was a real animal kingdom, you knew who was in charge. they also have a  beauuutiful garden with the most amazing plantlife. even in the rain, they were bright and colourful, and definitely cheered the place up. we had an amaaaazing roast dinner, followed with homemade pavlova slash lemon meringue pie. the recipe is an old family one, but mum can't remember ever having made or had one made by her mum, so we think it was never introduced past my nan's generation. it's basically a pav, but in the middle, before the cream, is a thick layer of lemon curd. ZOMIGOSH it was easily the most sickly sweet slash delicious thing i have had in a very long time. with a few glasses of wine under my belt, and the recap of the televised jubilee concert finished, we decided on an early night. we had a big day planned for the wednesday.

we were off to bath! mama had visited bath the last time she stayed with derek+coral (remember when we left her in the country and came back to the big smoke? yeah, then) and had enjoyed her time there so much she made a request that we would all be able to go back for a proper guided tour. enter the rain. the weather was soooo bad though, and although it hadn't started by the time we got there, it threatened to rain any moment. we boarded the bus and sat atop in the open air, with our fingers crossed. the first leg of the tour was great, with no weather issues. We went up the hills and saw the bath skyline right out past the city. it is a beautiful city, with mostly the same colour stone used on the original buildings and roman baths.
after the first bus tour we met up with derek for lunch at pizza express where we were able to use our taste cards to get buy-one-get-one-free mains and starters. lunch was on mum, and with the discount she saved over £25! (as a side note; those cards have really come in handy, and we made back the initial cost in the first meal. look into it!) after lunch we made the second leg of the tour, through the city, which is when the skies decided to break and the downpour ensued. boyfriend and i ducked down inside the bus while mama stayed on top and braved the weather. to be fair, she did have a rain coat while we had nothing. we were still able to see the sights of the beautiful city, just from the safety of the bus! once off the bus, we ducked in and out of shops again, and made our way into the marketplace for safety before we finally decided to make a dash for the car, as we had quite a drive home ahead of us.

we hit up the local pub just outside of latton for dinner that night, derek+coral's son robert joined us also, where we again dined on magnificent home cooked country fare, and .. had quite a bit to drink. back home, boyfriend had a few glasses of brandy (who does he think he is!?) then we retired (drunk) close to midnight. we had a great day! we woke early on our last day to the promise of a cooked breakfast, then we were delivered to (super twee) cirencester for a spot of charity shopping and afternoon tea at dobby's plant centre, before being delivered back to the swindon station for our journey home. the weather was still awful the whole day, so was fairly difficult to get into the whole historic-town gaiety through the soaked clothes, drenched hair and running makeup. we didn't really find any quality stuff in the shops either, just some chic-lit books and the 'sound of music' on vinyl for me. boyfriend found nothing at all, same with mama.
all-in-all and despite the weather, we three had an amazing time in the country. derek+coral were fantastic hosts, and we very much hope to visit them again soon, when our polluted lungs desire a break once more.

it is nice to be back, and today i haven't left the couch. i have made about half a dozen bows to add to the collection though, which i guess is something. mama has been off in london checking out museums and markets again, and is now back, thoroughly pooped. tomorrow i think we're planning to visit some environmental markets in regents park, or maybe camden. hell, maybe both.

until next time...

e x