Steve n Jen's UK adventures

UK and European adventures. Read on my pretties, and discover what two stray Aussies can get up to on their travels.......

30 May 2011

May 2011 b

Hey Bart, good to see you're enjoying the blog! Yep, British Library should be everyone's list of things to see in London. Well, on with the blog....

Tues 17
Jen got wobbly legs cycling to and from work for the 1st time in many months.

Wed 18 May 2011
Steve has finished edging his new shield and transferred the straps on the back, ready for action. Can you spot which one is which?  :-)

Fri 20 May 2011
Steve and Finn come collect Jen from work at 4pm and we immediately fight our way from east to west across London. We arrived in Tretower, in Wales, at about 9:30pm and checked into our B&B (a timbered house built in the 1750's). We walked across the road and into the field right up to the SCA campsite which was being put up in the dark, and helped out where we could.

Sat 21 May 2011

Tretower Castle and 15th century manor-house, Wales!
Steve got a sore back bent over the spit roast pig in the kitchen all day. ALthough he wasn't the head cook, he had an absolutely excellent time using this lovely tudor kitchen. Jen ran about taking loads of photos and introducing people to Finnian. A court was held with many various awards given, the most notable being to Gonz/Duarte who received the equivalent to White Scarf. During feast, Steve carved for and served the high table. Jen played harp for a short time.
We were all on display for the public much of the day, with the site closed to the public at 5pm, and our lot had to be off-site about 30 mins after that. We all enjoyed some civilised drinking by the fire in the SCA encampment (in the field behind the castle) well into the evening.

Click on the images to enlarge them:

Above: The SCA encampment - yonder behind ye olde Welsh castle
Above: Jen especially LOVED this pretty garden and its fountain!
Above: Steve watching the spit pig, Edith ablur at the bench.
What a kitchen! No electricity, just firewood.
A lovely feasting hall.

The perfect SCA photo - but our
cook's too busy to give us a smile!
Duarte gets a special
award from the King.

Not a bad place for a spot of lunch, wot wot?

Sun 22 May 2011
This morning after a fine breakfast, we headed off for some sight-seeing for Finnian. We stopped in at Raglan Castle, traipsing all about the castle including the newly re-opened and renovated grand staircase, then we set off to Tinctern Abbey. (for pictures of Raglan, search in the top left searchfield). We'll be back for Ffair Rhaglan in August.

Above: Love the view of the forest through the windows of this magnificent ruined Abbey.
Above: Finnian enjoys a spot of sunshine, but hates the fact it's from the lack of roof (ruins).

Steve drove us home and after unpacking we were exhausted and ordered pizza. A pretty full weekend!

Mon 23 May 2011

Early afternoon, after work, Jen and Finnian were chatting downstairs when there was a massive THUD which shook the whole house. Looking out the front window we saw a neighbour quickly get out of the truck/ute he'd parked and run into his house. He had backed into our brick front fence and broken it, and hoped ho-one was home to notice (cheeky b*gger)! Anyway, luckily for him his brother or housemate is a bricklayer and they agreed to demolish and completely rebuild it, supplying the bricks as well as the labour.

Tues 24 May 2011
This afternoon Jen flexed off work to wander about a trade show about greeting cards. Picked up some tips and ideas, considering whether to have a go at topping up the income this way.

Tonight we had Kev over for dinner and lots of ales, hurrah! 

Wed 25 May 2011
Finnian met up with Jen for lunch, and in the afternoon Steve dropped him off at the local tube station to make his way back to Heathrow and onward homebound to Brisbane Australia. Finn farewelled us with his plans of moving over to the UK, obviously quite taken with the country.

Fri 27 May 2011

Jen woke up and found the world spinning nauseatingly. Steve went off to work, Jen went back to bed to snooze it off. Ate breakfast cereal in bed, horizontally, not as easy as it sounds. By 8:45am she was still not well and called in sick. Steve came to the rescue at 4.15pm with lunch as Jen wasn't able to stay vertical long enough to do this. Jen was finally past the dizzy spell at 9am the next day.... that's 32 hours in bed, not fun.

Sat 28 May 2011
This morning we awoke (at 9am) to the sound of mallets pounding the front of our house. Or rather, the front fence being demolished. They'd finished the fence and cleared the debris away before 5pm. They refused offers of coke / lunch during the day, but accepted the keg of good dark ale that Steve had mistakenly thought he'd bought for himself.  :-)

So here's the before and after for our new fence. Once it's properly dry we'll paint it

We booked flights to France. Yes we're going to spend our 10 year wedding anniversary (that's 18 years since we started dating!) in a nice little chateau in France.

Sun 29 May 2011
First thing in the morning Steve manfully went to the gym. Jen Tubed it to the other side of town to buy fabric, only to find the shops were closed. So instead she spent a few hours wandering about the big Westfield shopping centre to satisfy the need for some retail therapy. We stopped in at friends' place to top up their pet cat's food and water dish... and while in the area stopped into a local favourite pub for some excellent roast dinner. We watched some Blakes Seven episodes before bed.

Mon 30 May 2011
Today's a bank (public) holiday here in the UK. Steve had a nice relaxing day and an afternoon workout. Jen seized the day and did some exercise and housework as well as a bit of clothes mending. Back to work tomorrow.

16 May 2011

May 2011 a

Ledge is done, and the panelling at right
of the bath is finally patched and painted.

Sat 07 May 2011

DIY day. Sanding, wood puttying, waterproof sealant and painting in the bathroom. Steve used his manly muscles to get the sealant laid down. In two days the sealant will be dry and the final coat of paint can go on, hurrah!
OK here's a photo taken once it's all dried and finished:

Sun 08 May 2011
Today we picked up an old friend Finnian from Heathrow. Since he assured us he was feeling great upon arrival, we took him off to see the top 4 on his list of things to see.
First up was the chalk horse + uffington, 2nd Avebury with Silbury Hill and the avenue of kings. 3rd Sanctuary just down the road from there, and finally finishing with a stop uphill of Stonehenge. Oh yes he was beside himself with excitement!

Finn above the Chalk Horse
Steve poses in front of a bunch or rocks

To top off his first day in the UK we took the road home along the north bank of the Thames, most spectacular going around the Parliament Square roundabout (Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben) along past the London Eye etc, etc, etc.
Mon 09 May 2011
Tonight after work Steve cooked up a tres delicious ancient Roman recipe of tuna steak with Tuna Sauce. Oh my gawd it's good.

After dinner we took Finn to Tower Hill and the Tower (London Castle, you could say) to familiarise him with the Tube system. It works well, as Finn is off like a shot the next morning, out on the town on his own.

Wed 11 May 2011
Jen attends a day-long seminar on the Adobe CS5.5 - very nice stuff thank you very much.

The theatre's almost empty, before people come back in from Tea break.

Afterwards she met up with Finnian and let him loose on the Treasures Room at the British Library. He was well-impressed with the 2 original Magna Carta's in there, let alone Shakespeare's Folio, Beouwolf, Gutenburg bible, the famous Composers' cabinet, the Davinci cabinet, and all the other amazing things on display. Oh and a fun little cabinet with hand-scrawled lyrics for several Beatles songs. Not a bad tourist stop considering it wasn't on his radar as somewhere to visit.
After yet another yummy Steve-cooked dinner, we all 3 headed over to fighter practice where Finn reminisced about his glory days.

Fri 13 May 2011

Tonight we bought tickets for gigs in November - Tori Amos and Sisters of Mercy. Sweet.
Tonight Steve took Finnian to pick up his hire car. We watched a DVD (Prince of Persia) until late.

Our first Blue Moon rose has fully opened up. It's Steve's favourite, with a full and heady fragrance, and delicate blue shade to its petals.

Sat 14 May 2011
Very early this morning Finn headed off toward Brighton and a proper visit to Stonehenge too. He'll be back with us on Wednesday.
So, a nice relaxed weekend for us, doing very little. Yay!

01 May 2011

Apr 2011 b

Fri 22 Apr 2011
Easter. Hooray, we're on holidays now for the next 11 days straight!

So, we spent a few hours packing and then tidying up the house, clearing the fridge and out with the garbage. Hopped in the car about 2pm and Steve drove us to the Bristol area. Arrived and stayed with our friend Mary, who cooked us a lovely pasta dish.

Sat 23 Apr 2011
In the morning, the three of us had a deli breakfast in the neighbouring village of Chipping Sodbury. Then we said our farewell to Mary, and headed on down towards Penzance. On the way unfortunately a small stone chipped the windscreen and rapidly grew into a nasty crack.
We decided to skip any sightseeing, had the windscreen looked at, and were advised it's still legal to drive. Since there's only emergency repairs available over the Easter break, we decided to deal with once back in London at the end of our holiday.
Arrived 2pm in Marazion and collected the keys to our rented self-catering flat.
Steve was super enthused by the view and we went down to the beach straight after we'd dumped the luggage in our new home. Jen thinks she spotted Hugh Grant coming up these stairs a minute before this photo was taken, but thought it too rude to stop him for a picture. 

In the afternoon we drew up a shopping list and headed down to the local supermarket so Steve could cook us dinners - yay!

Sun 24 Apr 2011
Here's the view we woke up to this morning: Saint Michael's Mount.

 Since it's really really cold and windy outside we decided to enjoy the view from the warmth of the flat. We watched loads of old Blakes7 episodes. A bit later in the afternoon we did manage to make it out for a walk on the beach, once the tide was out.

For the next few days we mainly stayed in, with afternoon walks on the beach - for us this is mainly a very relaxed holiday, with lots of books and magazines, and watching old episodes..... and eating Steve's yummy dinners! He cooked every night, what a great husband.

Mon 25 Apr 2011
A short walk further along the beach.

St Michael's Mount: click on photo for enlargement
Tue 26 Apr 2011
Unfortunately it's still fairly windy but so beautifully sunny outside. Jen's been gradually getting more and more sick with a very nasty head cold, including night sweats and dry hacking cough. So, staying indoors seems a grand idea.

Wed 27 Apr 2011
Jen's coughing gets a little worse. We decide to pack up and go home tomorrow, two days earlier than expected, for Jen to get better in the familiarity of our London home. 

Anyway, here's morning and evening, from the living room window... note: ye olde style'd ship moored off the Mount. Note also the tide - the Mount is accessible by land only when the tide's out.

Land's End: click on photo for enlargement

Thu 28 Apr 2011
Steve drove us to Land's End where we made like tourists and bought a few trinkets and postcards and such-like; then drove 432 miles to get us home (with the occasional pit stop).

Fri 29 Apr 2011
The Royal Wedding. Yes we watched it, switched off for the hour of pap (having looked up the schedule) and switched back on again just in time for the balcony kisses and fly-over. And so the happy couple seemed to get through it all with good cheer. We couldn't help but reminisce fondly of our own wedding day. Pip's slinky gown reminded us of Soph's wedding dress - we all knew you were quite the trendsetter Sophia!

Sat 30 Apr 2011
A lovely sunny day.
Steve has a great love of Porsche Boxsters, and before we consider actually buying (a 2nd hand) one, Jen took one for a spin (test drive) today. As it turns out, Jen really doesn't understand Steve's passion for these cars, and moreover, the impracticality of the teensy weensy boot space would make it pretty useless for us.... "But fun to drive" says Steve! We wouldn't even be able to fit his armour bag in it. Oh well there goes that dream, alas poor Steve.

Sun 01 May 2011
Steve helps Jen with a spot of DIY in the shower (rotten wooden ledge) - what a good man!