An English road trip: over the strand

Our second stop after Canterbury was the little town of Wymondham Near Norwich where our friends Blair and Sarah live. Blair isn't technically family but our parents are very good friends and I did use to call his parents auntie Sue and uncle Ted. I even planned to marry his brother Ross when I was about 6. That didn't work out. We used to go on holiday together when we were little, either to Wells-next-the-sea in Norfolk where many hours were spent lying on our tummies fishing for crabs, or somewhere in Normandy to stay on a farm where we would eat fresh salty butter each morning and spend hours watching the cows and killing off precious brain cells by putting our fingers on the electrified fences. 

Anyhoo. Blair and Sarah took us to Little Snoring where his parents live. (True story. There is also a larger village nearby called Greater Snoring.) Sue is an amazing cook and treated us to a real traditional English meal: roast beef with all the trimmings!

Everything was home cooked, including the home grown vegetables and the best Yorkshire puddings ever.

 But wait, you haven't seen the half of it!

Local cheeses and crackers, in real English fasion. Although in real French fashion we had the cheese before the desert. Yep, in the UK desert usually comes BEFORE cheese. The English are so daring.

Ready? Really ready? I hope you've had a big lunch because you're about to get seriously hungry.

 That's right. Pavlova baby!

But there's more

Cherry tart! Of course I had to try a bit of everything for blogging research purposes. I wouldn't want to disappoint my gourmet bunnies now would I? The verdict? Everything was delicious and I was as stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey at the end of it all.

On the way to Little Snoring we drove to Overstrand to see the sea. 

I wonder how that message thing works. Do you pay to have a message written up there? Do you write it yourself? I'm really curious. It's a sweet idea though. I guess you'd then have to tell the people whom the message is for that they should go for a walk at Overstrand on that day. And what if it pours with rain and they don't leave the house and never see the message? It's all very mysterious.

Our first encouter with an ice cream van. Our second encounter is coming up a little further down the page.

You can see Cromer Pier in the distance. Such a beautiful quiet beach.

Too quiet.

 And then it happened.

We were walking barefoot along a wooden beam with some rusty metal on the side of it to get down to the beach. Guess who almost cut their little toe off? 

It was a pretty ugly gash so I'm going to spare you the picture of it. Let's just say it was very long and very wide and just above the nail. Probably very painful too, although with boys you never really know...ever heard of the man-flu? 
It reminded me of the time Boyfriend dislocated his collar bone falling of a bike the day before we went on holiday to Brittany. Or the time he got bitten by a dog filming a music video. Or the time he hit his head on a shelf in the bathroom and ended up with a huge gash and a trip to the ER for stitches. Let's just say someone is accident prone... 

After a delicious lunch and an afternoon out in the garden in the sunshine we drove back to Wymondham for a walk around the village.

On the way there we came across another ice cream truck! This time we got a chance to chat to the driver. When I say we I mean Boyfriend of course. This video says all there is to say about my fearless other half. You can even see Blair & Sarah's house in the background at the end! It's got an old grey car and a new black car parked in front. You know which one is ours.

Then we went off into the village for a drink at the pub. On the way we met Thomas the tank engine,

A cute little station cottage complete with white picket fence,

And the tracks, as you can see, were very clean and free of leaves. Why?


 Good leaves. Keep off the tracks. 

 The abbey grounds at sunset.

And finally! The pub!

Sarah taught us a hilarious game which involved crossing our hands and tapping once, twice or three times to change the sequence or skip a hand. Wow that's a very bad explanation, let's see if I can find one online. YESSS: here it is! We were all a bit tired and useless so it made things even more fun. 

Then off home we went for pork pie and other yummy things. 

All in all, a perfect start to our holiday. Thank you Blair and Sarah for a lovely time. See you soon in Paris!!


Down the rabbit hole

I'm having a hard time with the blog at the moment. I lost a lot of readers when I went on holiday and I don't know how to get them back. By posting more? By posting less? Longer posts? Shorter posts? Ah! More interesting posts! Only one problem remains: No. Time. To. Post.

Also, I've got so much stuff I want to share on here and I don't know where to start. I'm so tired and so grumpy at the moment. So I've decided to take the pressure off and post less, and in a completely random way. Yes, in my book the answer to lack of time and structure is less organisation. On the upside, this means my posts will be wildly fascinating and choc-a-block full of information. On the downside, if at first you don't see a post, come back again the next day. Or the day after that. As long as you come back that's ok with me. I want to take the time to proof my posts and improve them over the course of a couple of days, that way they'll be extra special and I won't feel like a flake and a fraud expecting people to think my blog is brilliant.



Now if y'all don't mind, I'm going for a nap. 


An English road trip: Canterbury credit crunch

As our first stop, Canterbury was THE place to do the usual stuff we do when we get to the UK: change money, raid Boots, buy a pack of Marks & Spencer's bras, etc.
Canterbury didn't disappoint. 
Our lovely B&B 

was right in the middle of town so as soon as we'd finished our full English

We headed out into the wild. Well, after feeding our burnt toast to the birds of course.

We actually spent so long dragging our lazy feet from shop to shop (and buying shoes for Boyfriend, for whom a simple decision once he has found a pair he loves takes an average of 45 mins) that we ran out of time and didn't get to see much of the old town. We did see the cathedral though. That's because we paid nearly 10 big shiny pounds each to get in. Yep, religion is expensive. I get the thing about paying for the upkeep of religious buildings though. Here in France you can get into most cathedrals for free, but actually you don't go in, because they end up being pretty depressing places with peeling walls and dead (or even plastic, yikes!) flowers. So we were allowed to pass through the gates:

I'd like to add that the exit is on the other side of the courtyard where you are forced to walk through ye official Canterbury Cathedral Souvenir Shoppe. Fridge magnets, jumbo crayons, tea towels...you name it, God made it. All very pious.

 It's pretty imposing from the outside and pretty beautiful on the inside. 

I was just getting into the spirit (harhar) of things when Boyfriend decided he was getting blisters from his new shoes. I swear it's like having a 5-year old sometimes. So out we went and off he hobbled to the "Security" house to beg the policeman for a plaster or two. Just to make sure he was able to improve his English I stood well away and pretended not to know him. 

It took a bit of cuddling and cheering up but he survived. In fact when I think about what happened to him the next day I think this must have been a kind of mental preparation. More on that another time. Then we were off again! 

I tried to take some artsy pictures but not sure they were a success.

I like these "warm tones" better


We had a bit of a magical moment when the choir started their Christmas Carol rehearsal. 

The rest of the town is really pretty too but I didn't capture it very well. Please remind me to take some photography lessons! I so desperately need them! Either that or to read the instructions that came with my camera...

 What a change of architecture compared to Paris!

Everywhere we went we saw flags and bunting, in fact I might have to get a bunting themed post ready for you on of these days. Parajubilympic!

We decided to take the smaller roads up to Norfolk and we came across a few little countryside gems

 Check out the four star bird house

Check out the birds!I had never seen this much wildlife ever before. The sad thing is that most of it was lying by the side of the road. There's too many roads in the UK!

 Thatched cottage alert!

When we finally got to Wymondham we were welcomed by Blair (childhood friend, parents went on holiday together etc.) and his wife Sarah and their lovely cat Tigger in their brand new house. And what a house. Guess what? I haven't got a single photo of it. Epic fail. But I have got photos of food. YAY!

Haloumi and vegatable skewers! Blair is a bit of a barbecue expect and treated us to home made burgers of all sorts, hot dogs, sweetcorn, the works.

Lamb burgers topped with cheese, prize winning sausages, potato salad... ok now I'm hungry!

Are you hungry? 

Next up on our adventure: the beach!!! Get your bunnykinies out ^^


Royal arcopal

As requested by my friend Lou, here is the low down on my new favourite mug! Being used too!

It's the only nice-ish item of royal paraphernalia I was able to get my hands on during this trip. That's mostly because I could only find mugs with the Queen on, and the Queen is always frowning on her mugshots (sorry, couldn't resist!) and I do like to look at a smiley face when I drink my tea. I found it on our last day in Bexhill for £1. Lucky or what? But then when we got home and I washed it I turned it upside down (to give it a really good clean, because who knows where it's spent the last 30 years?). Guess what? It was made in France...by Arcopal...a little disappointing! But on the plus side, this means it's sturdier than anything else in our cupboard, along with my pretty collection of vintage dotty mugs and cups from a Paris fleamarket which I've already told you about, but here they are again just in case you missed them:

(The second green one isn't missing, it was being used at the time!)

Now on to the hairstyle. What can we call it? The wet dog combover? There's probably a more flattering name for it. Anyway, it seems like all women (or maybe only Lou's Mum, my mum and Lady Di, maybe our mums were highly fashionable style icons!) had that hairstyle in the eighties, and to prove it to you, here is a lovely picture of me and my mum which I got from my auntie Linda when we visited her at her house near London. I'm really pleased because there are hardly any photos of us two when I was a baby (my dad was always very busy mowing the lawn and taking pictures of trees). I love love love it. 

This is a photo of the photo, sorry for the bad quality. I didn't have time to break the scanner out of its hiding place in the cupboard. So that's the light reflecting off my mum's head, not a bad case of dandruff...I've got lots more family photos to scan so watch this space, they'll be getting their very own post sometime soon. I promise it will be festival of big glasses and bellbottoms and flowery dresses.

As for drinking out of a mug with Charlie's face on it...well, I kind of have a soft spot for him now that I've read The Queen and I and Queen Camilla. I have to hand it to Sue Townsend, she knows how to paint a pretty picture of awkward people, even if it is just a story. Am I boring you with my books again? GO AND BUY THEM AND YOU'LL UNDERSTAND. 

In the same charity shop in Bexhill-on-sea I also found this little set of four cups (tea cups? coffee cups?) and two tiny little cups that could only be used for an espresso, or for flowers. Since we don't have an espresso machine, I'm guessing flowers. They're so tiny! We didn't really need them but at £2 for all six it was a good deal. And they're so cute, so vintage, so charming!

Off they go to join the collection!

What next? My new rabbit friend? The mysterious plate off rocks and leaves? My life-time supply of cheddar? Well, that one is pretty self-explanatory really. Tonight we eat the last pork pie! Then I'm going to go on a diet forever and ever. At least until my next trip to the UK.