You’re doing what?

It’s a fabulously warm today here in Bristol. The sky is blue, the mercy has hit 23 degrees, only a slight breeze and where am I? Doing laundry at home!!!
Sadly this is a great day to finally air the dooner, pillows, wash everything in sight so it can hang out to dry in the wonderful sunshine for a change. Rather embarrassingly I will admit that another rather odd pet like is the smell and feel of freshly washed and sun dried laundry.
I will manage to try and claw back some sort of dignity by saying this is probably only the 5th time I have been given a day worthy of laundry drying in the 2 years we have been here! Does that somehow make it less embarrassing?

Cars, ferries, buses and feet

Finally we had a chance to get away for a weekend. We took off mid afternoon Friday and hit the road to Dover. Probably not the best idea hitting London traffic on a Friday afternoon but amazingly it only added about an extra 15 minutes to our travel time.
From Bristol to Dover is about 3 1/2 hours of mostly highway driving so very easy going however incredibly boring. With the long days of summer in full swing we got to Dover with plenty of daylight hours left to explore.
We stayed just outside of Dover in Alkham at The Marquis. I have yet to do my Trip Advisor recommendation on this hotel but in short it was a lovely stay, fabulously comfortable bed, excellent shower and they even put together a breakfast tray for us as we were leaving in the morning before the normal breakfast sitting started. All this for only 55 pounds. Not bad.
Dover on the other hand was rather less glamorous however this was to be expected as a port city. We got to see the White Cliffs of Dover and Samphire Hoe. This was rather interesting as Samphire Hoe looks like it is a natural cliff face however it has actually been man made from the materials extracted during the Euro Tunnel Channel construction. Amazing! Much less amazing were the White Cliffs. Pretty yes, interesting, not really. I am glad I have seen them but to be honest they didn’t really excite me at all.
It was then off to Folkstone for fish and chips for dinner before hitting bed ready for our ferry adventure to Calais.
Generally foot passengers are a rarity on the ferries. Some don’t even accept them onboard (e.g. Norfolk Line). Here I was being all organised and pre-booking etc and in reality the guy at the counter said there were another 280 seats still available for foot passengers. Even during peak season you can generally be guaranteed a seat.
It was great to go back into France. We spent Saturday eating cheese, bread and pastries, walking on the beach and generally walking all over the town. Then we took a bus ride out to Cite Europe to visit the hypermarkets. This place is HUGE. It has the largest Carrefour supermarket I have ever seen! It could take you hours to walk around here but we weren’t really that keen on doing any shopping. Traditionally Brits come here to stock up on tax free items such as wine, spirits etc. To be honest, unless you are a regular drinker or own a shop I don’t know that it is really that worthwhile. We didn’t even bother buying any cheese as the brands on offer were no different from what we can get in England and the prices were marginally cheaper.
Calais was holding a music festival all weekend so by 4pm the streets had been closed off to cars and we had the run of the town. Live music, food stalls, good vibes. Thankfully our hotel was tucked just off the main street as the music was very loud!
Sunday was spent eating more cheese, bread, pastries and I even had some mussels with Roquefort cheese. Delicious!
Most people I have spoken to wondered why we bothered going to Calais. Personally it was an ideal weekend destination which we found relaxing, full of good food places, a lovely long beach and very easy to walk around. It was only 15 minutes walking time to the port from the city centre so we didn’t even need to bother with the bus. It was also a great opportunity to practice my tragic french! Once I finish downloading the photos I will post some.

Eating Out: Robin Hood’s Retreat

I mentioned in an earlier post about having found a new local (pub that is). How surprised we were to find that they also do incredible meals. Definitely not your typical pub grub.
Granted it is pricer than we would normally pay however these meals are not intended to be slugged down.
For 14.50 each you were able to choose 2 courses. I will never pass on a dessert if given the opportunity so opted for a main and dessert.
I had the sea trout with puree peas, royal potatoes and some incredible dressing that I forgot to take a note of. Followed by, strawberry jelly with white chocolate parfait.
Steve had the pork belly with potato and sage and mustard lentils followed by a cheese dish with crackers, caramelized onions and pickles
My descriptions unfortunately give no real justice to the meal. I mean how good can mashed potatoes be? Put it this way, we rarely eat potatoes but could seriously be converted by this mash! I have no idea what they did to them but it can’t be good for you as it tasted deliciously evil!
It took us over an hour to eat and although the meals were not portion sizes you would expect to get from pub fare, the quality of it ensured you ate slowly and lingered over the taste sensations. We probably could have forgone dessert (or maybe the cider before hand!).
No wonder this place got a mention in the 2009 Michelin Guide (we found this out after the fact).
In short, save your pennies and treat yourself out for a night! It’s worth it.
Robin Hood’s Retreat

Another quiet week

This whole working weekends is getting rather old.
Thankfully next weekend we have free so we are currently researching locations for our next adventure.
The weather was gorgeous today and we ended up finding a local that we like. Well its not really that local (have to drive to it). The Robin Hood on Gloucester Road is rather laid back with some good ciders on tap, if that takes your fancy. Had curry for dinner and slowly watching the sun go down (10om at night, how crazy is that!)

New look

To go with the new moon, a new look to the website.
Actually, Steve recently updated his site which looks really cool and I got website envy. He helped me to look for a new site image and this is the result.
With the new upgrade to WordPress it makes it a lot easier for me to edit the site and upload the header picture without having to bug Steve all the time.
So what do you think? A bit snazzier? Easier to read?
Now I can change the header more frequently too. I know it is supposed to rotate pictures itself but haven’t figured out how to do this yet. Might still need to bug Steve for a bit longer with help on that.
P.s. Gemma – now the subscription should be working!