Bank Holiday

Hooray for long weekends, or as they call them here – bank holidays. I believe the term bank holiday was traditionally when bank’s closed for the day however, not sure when they then extended it to us plebs. Personally though, happy to get any day off work. The weather has been stunning and so it has been a weekend of walks, washing (while the sun shines) and generally continuing to discover Bristol.

Wedding Anniversary

We happily celebrated another wedding anniversary on Tuesday. Congratulations also to my mum and dad that celebrated theirs on Monday.
We weren’t planning on doing too much but seeing as apparently this one is traditionally celebrated with either fruit or flowers we decided to go to dinner (of course with a fruity dessert!).
Dinner was actually fairly atrocious. I could quite happily say that I have never in the past had chewy prawns but this was a first for me. Also, not sure how badly you must cook in order for a prime rump steak to come out tough. Steve didn’t fair any better with his meal. Then they had the cheek to automatically add a tip to their bill. We only noticed this after the payment went through the Eftpos. Normally we are very happy to leave a tip however 1) we would like the choice 2) the food should at least be edible. So, I did ask for the money back in cash. How mean!
However, we did then go on to find a wonderful place that does excellent desserts. The atmosphere was relaxed, the surroundings really light, bright and airy. A real winner. We shared an almond tart and baked vanilla cheesecake. Personally, I normally don’t like either of these but thought I would give it a go. Just wonderful. The place is called Bordeaux Quay and is highly recommended. Steve also tried a Pear Cider which was a bit sweeter than he thought it would be. Again, I don’t really like cider but this was great. To top it off they even provided a good drop of coffee. What a winner. All in all, a rather great night, sitting, chatting, laughing and just generally still enjoying each others company even after all this time. What a blessing to have such a wonderful friend.

Bristol Balloons and Game Pie

Friday night we decided to go on a “hunt and gather” mission to find dinner (being very lazy as we were on Friday night). We did end up walking into the city so this must go towards “brownie points” earned towards the “gathering” aspect. Anyway, as we walked out the front door I noticed a huge hot air balloon coming our way. It was very low and such a lovely sight to see. I am quite taken with their quiet, steady movement, bright colours and of course the fact that you have a lovely warm fire source so close to hand. So here are some of those photos.
In addition, on Wednesday I usually go to the Farmers Market at St Nicolas Square which is a short stroll from where I work. I am always looking for lovely, fresh produce, especially raspberries in particular seeing as they are in season here. This time I came away with a nice bunch of beetroot (with some tips on cooking it and the leaves as I have only ever had canned beetroot), a punnet of fresh raspberries and a game pie. I had to attach a picture of the contents of this pie as it just sounded incredibly over the top. I can truly say that this is a first time dish for me as the majority of the ingredients I have never eaten before, this being the pheasant, rabbit, guinea fowl, partridge and pigeon. I don’t even know what a partridge looks let alone understand what it was doing sitting in the pear tree 🙂 Anyway, verdict on the game pie? Very gamey. OK, too obvious. Very strong taste similar to an ale pie but without the yeasty after taste. Would I have it again, maybe not, however Steve seems to be sold on it. I must admit however that the pastry was perfect!
By the way, my beetroot didn’t come out that great. Apparantly it needs a lot longer than 5 minutes to cook (that was me of course being very impatient!) Any good beetroot recipes please forward them as I still have half a bunch left.

Movie: The Simpsons Movie

OK, so we were having movie withdrawal symptoms. There hadn’t been anything released for a few weeks so we were keen to see anything and the Simpsons was that "anything". What can I say besides, its a longer version of what you get free to air, and we were suckers enough to pay £6.20 each to watch it. It wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, however the laughs weren’t as hearty as they could have been, the one liners from Homer too far and few between and really just a bit too odd sitting there for an hour + when you are so used to the 30 minute laugh fest on tv. Probably a 3 out of 10 (my lowest score this year).

Sudeley Castle Jousting Competition

This weekend we went to Sudeley Castle – – which is just outside of Cheltenham in a town called Winchcombe. It took about 45 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads to Cheltenham and then 2 buses later we entered Winchcombe. This is a little township with the thatched roofing and Coltswold stone. Just beautiful. From here it was about a 10 minute walk to the castle through the countryside. The grounds are incredible with stunning gardens, oak and chestnut trees. Inside the grounds they had a display of what life would be like in the 15th century with wool spinners, gun powder maker, a guy making lead bullets and people cooking over open fires. Just after midday the joust began. I was very excited to see this. The knights looked incredible in their chain mail and colourful cloaks. They put on an incredible show even if the crowd was a bit lack lustre. Well I have finally seen a joust. Apparently they run courses in it around Warwick Castle area. Hmmm, my new sport? I think not.
After the joust it was into the gardens. Dad, you would have loved it. So many roses, lavendar, knot gardens, hedges, the smell from the flowers was incredibly heady and delightful on a perfect summers day. We have both even managed to come away a bit burnt. Unfortunately we under estimated the heat of the day.
Well, I can say that I truly have loved this area and would be more than happy to come back and just sit in the gardens watching the flowers grow and listening to the bees.
No wonder Katherine Parr (King Henry VIII’s last wife) lived here with her 2nd husband, Thomas Seymour until her death. It is spectacular.

Bizarre morning

First off, happy birthday Grandad. Sorry to hear that you haven’t been well. I got up early this morning hoping to chat with you and nana on Skype but mum texted and said you had been in hospital. Love to you all and hope you are feeling better soon in the meantime you are in my prayers everyday as always.

Woke up to another surprise this morning. I am not one for sleeping in. I wake up every morning whether weekday or weekend between 6.30 and 6.44am. That’s not a surprise just a bizarre body clock. I woke up to a silent street. Not so surprising seeing as it is the weekend. I then went back to sleep after trying to contact mum on Skype. A bit unusual for me as I never sleep in. It must have been because I am feeling a bit sick and it was so quiet this morning. Woke up again at 10am. Very eerie now because it was still silent outside. Decided to get up have a shower, have a cup of coffee. No milk. Stepped outside to cross the road to get some milk from the supermarket. Still no traffic! Very strange as it is usually full on with cars and buses. I look left and right and what do I see – police tape! Oops.

It would seem that there was a shooting last night outside the local pub where someone appears to have been killed. The forensic crime team is crawling around on all fours doing the whole “CSI” style photographing, numbering, scribbling in notepads etc. What is scarily surprising is that I don’t seem shocked. Steve asks me if I’m OK and I answer yes. What is wrong with us that someone could be shot near our home and the whole street doesn’t bat an eyelid but continues getting on with life moving around the tape. Is it that we are so desensitized to death that we no longer connect to it on a personal level? Is there so much evil that we see and hear about everyday we don’t react anymore to it? I am not too concerned about where we live as this could happen to anyone, anywhere. More concerned about the fact that everyone seems happy to continue on with their daily life as if nothing happened. Not sure what to think of it all. Bizarre.