VACATION ADVENTURES (PART II) -
All things considered, we ate rather well in England and tried many a thing. But why on earth, anyone would want to take a perfectly good pea and make them mushy is beyond me. Leave my peas intact as God made them, thank you very much!!!
The wedding (actually renewal of vows & reception) of my nephew and wife was in a lovely, little old church. Of course, most churches in England are centuries old!!!!
The service was simple, with three hymns, a reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and of course, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, renewal of vows, a short message by the vicar, my prayer for the couple, and the blessing by the vicar. I don't know what the vicar thought as I prayed that my nephew and wife's marriage be a holy adventure, ever fresh like new fallen snow (it was 83 degrees and muggy that day), willing to try new and different trails and have the ability to meet the moguls of life with determination and flexibility. The two of them are both snowboard instructors and met on the slopes of Colorado. It seemed fitting for them and and they smiled and their eyes sparkled with amusement. The vicar, I don't know, because I couldn't see her face!
The reception was held in a Marquee (big, white tent) with chandeliers, a band, and catered. Outside there was croquet with mallets that looked like they were on steroids compared to the ones we play with each summer at the Lake, and lawn bowling.
Cocktail hour was Pimm's and beer.
Dinner was a catered affair of whole roasted pig, potatoes, rolls, stuffing, green salad and salads of all kinds: rice, couscous, pasta, and broccoli. Dessert was a fresh fruit cup - with or without a meringue shell, chocolate pudding, and some cheesecake. Everyone had champagne for a toast and the wine and beer flowed freely.
The food was simply scrumptious and delicious.
The band could have played some more slower, danceable numbers, but, I suppose we are now in the "older" generation!!!
The Loos were posh! Imagine, granite countertops, hardwood floors, modern looking faucets, wainscoated with chair rail, etc. They didn't look like portable potties here - you know the utilitarian blue fiberglass pods that every town puts up for their hometown festival. There was even piped in music - like Frank Sinatra!!!!
By midnight the festivities ended and we had to park our minivan on the street as the Hotel locks its parking lot at 11 pm!!!
The morning brought another English breakfast and a parting of our ways as LH and I headed to Herefordshire and the others stayed a day longer.
It was only good directions on Google and my eagle eyes (ok, not so eagle with trifocals anymore) that got us to the lovely cottage we rented for a week smack in the middle between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye in the middle of farms and fields. The hedgerow street became narrower the closer we got to the cottage, until it went beyond 1 lane with cutouts to pull in to let another car pass, to a more gravel land that tunneled into a wood totally cannopied by trees and then the turn off to the cottage. With the hedgerows so tall and grown, you can't see what's coming like a big potatoe truck right when we pulled onto one street and had to back out!
We noticed that there are lots of pubs in England, but not all of them are open, or serve food, or are open Sunday evening or open when you think they should be. Maybe, we just didn't have good luck. We ate Italian on Sunday night as it was the only place in Hereford serving food. One night, we wanted to try a local pub a couple miles away that had such good reviews from everyone who stayed at the cottage. They were closed due to a technical difficulty (broken stove, perhaps?).
Tried to eat in Ross, but the one place was closed and directed us to another place that was serving. At two evenings, we picked up interesting frozen/refrigerated dinners and heated them in the microwave, because our lunch was larger than we expected and our appetite for dinner was less. They have wonderful frozen dinners like shepherd's pie, tandoori chicken, curried dishes, and even paella. Sure beats chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and corn!!!!
LH likes grocery stores for whatever reason. We hit every major grocery store chain in Britain - ASDA (Walmart), TESCO, MORRISONS and SAINESBURYS. Not to mention SPAR (the 7-11). It does give one a pulse of the country, culture and people by revealing what they offer, how much items cost and what folks are buying and into.
We managed to visit Stonehenge, Salisbury - mostly the Cathedral with the most intact and legible copy of the Magna Carta, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Shakespeares'sights, and lunch at the Old Thatch Pub. Hereford and its cathedral with the Mappa Mundi - a Medieval map of the world and how they saw the world, a small art exhibit, a church that was half restaurant and have church right in the sanctuary, an old tudor house musuem and lots of walking, and a trip through Wales and all of its hills and sheep, and over the Cambrian mountains to the coast of Cardigan Bay where we visited a museum, walked the bay abit, had lunch, and I found a most beautiful teal purse by a London designer.
We never went to London and just enjoyed the English countryside and smaller towns and lovely sights. It was a good week, graced and blessed and we found our way back to our cottage every evening!!! Thanks be to God!