Friday, May 3, 2013:
Once we actually arrived at John and Tracey’s it was quite late and I was proportionally exhausted. John, Stephanie’s father-in-law, had the Stars and Stripes flying on the flag pole when we arrived and was ready with an American salute. He is so silly! James told us before we left the house that John had requested that James text him “the eagle has landed” once Steph and I arrived from the airport. It tickled me pink.
I stayed up chit chatting with Tracey for a bit after everyone else went off to bed. We shared a lovely lovely lovely Kopparberg. Now, since I’m a bit of a foodie, a lot of my memories of the trip are food/drink related. This Kopparberg is, hands-down, the best cider I’ve ever had. It was super sweet, but not so acidic that it hurts your stomach. Yum.
The next day Tracey fed me a crumpet with cheese spread (yummmm) and after my first cup of tea since my feet hit the ground, she sent me upstairs to get showered and dressed so that I might ride to Lincoln with John to look at a car. We took the convertible and enjoyed the incredible warm, sunny day by taking the long way there. I love North England. The people are so nice and interested in having a chat. The hills are just roll-y enough to make the landscape beautiful but not severe. Rape fields are absolutely everywhere. Rape, or rapeseed, is has a beautiful yellow flower that makes the fields quite easy to spot. We use rapeseed oil quite commonly in the states, we just call it Canola oil. Even though rape is no laughing matter, I get tickled every time I see one. A field, not a rape.
We kept seeing these funny-shaped, tower like buildings (that I thought looked a lot like a Dalek) and when I finally asked what they were, John said that they were old windmills without their fans that had been used to grind flour (the fans were missing, give me some credit. I do know what a windmill is.). On the way back to the house, we stopped at one that was still functioning and had a tea shop attached. I took some pictures of the mill, we snuck inside for a peek and then had coffee cake (made from the fresh flour, of course) and tea. OMG. The coffee cake?! So yummy.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I woke up the next day and grabbed a shower immediately. Sometimes that’s just the only way to wake up. When I came downstairs, Tracey handed me a card, two gifts and a cup of tea and delightedly reminded me that it was my birthday. Well. That got me. I had COMPLETELY forgotten. 25. It’s quite the big one. It was the reason I made this trip such a priority. And here, I was wrapped up so much in playing with Annabelle, drinking tea, and catching up with people I hadn’t seen since June of last year, that I had absolutely spaced.
Anyway, I digress, Steph and Tracey had both gotten me lovely cards. Tracey had also gotten me a box of summer themed fruity chocolate truffles (YUM. Does she know me, or what?) and a bath soak set that I have used multiple times already. Did I mention that I’m eating the chocolates RIGHT NOW?!
So we decided that the day was to be spent at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. I will admit that it looked a bit bleak at first. Steph kept insisting that the sun would come out and it would warm up, but when we got there it was cold and rainy. Not at all promising. We hid in the gift shop for a bit until it stopped really raining and then we walked about the grounds where the old house used to stand. True to Steph’s word, the sun came out and it got quite warm, though still with a firm breeze. When we walked back to the cars to have a bit of lunch, there was a cricket game happening near the car park. I though it was super interesting, since I’ve never actually watched a cricket game before. James, bless his heart, tried to explain it. Repeatedly. I still don’t get it, but I’m sure that is due much more to my lack of sports knowledge than his lack of explanatory skills. Sorry, James.
We drove back to the entrance of the park and set up a picnic where we had ham sandwiches, tea, Lilt, Scotch eggs and chips. Annabelle laid in the sun and laughed all afternoon. Steph’s gift to me was my PRETTY PRINCESS birthday cake and my tiara. All in all, it was a perfect birthday. A good #25. I have some videos of My Annabelle and the birthday serenade on my Facebook that I may try to plug-in here later.
Oh, and also, John got all road-raged on because he clapped at someone while we were driving back from the park. Seriously. Steph had to call the police. It was intense. Didn’t like it.