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.......

31 July 2011

Jul 2011 b

Not a huge amount happening this fortnight...

Mon 18 Jul 2011
Tonight we rented the Harry Potter final movie (Part 1) in preparation for watching Part 2 at the cinema Tuesday night.

Wed 20 Jul 2011
Steve goes off to SCA fighter practice, adding new tricks to other peoples' games.

Thu 21 Jul 2011
Tonight Jen brought home most of her team workmates for dinner. Steve cooked up a fabulous NZ lamb dish - cooked in a little olive oil, corriander, leeks and garum (fish sauce). Went very well indeed. All finished off with chocolate ice cream and fresh strawberries for desert mmmmmm.  Recipe for the lamb dish can be found on Steve's food blog:

Sat 23 Jul 2011
Today we had Kev and Tash over today, to watch movies and drink Ale! Movies watched were: Dune; Whalerider; and Hawk the Slayer. Steve also cooked up succulent juicy meat steaks and oven roasted veggies. YUM!

Sun 24 Jul 2011

Steve cooked up eggs benedict for breakfast this morning, and we waved Kev and Tash bye bye about lunch time. We took it easy for the rest of the afternoon.

Tue 26 Jul 2011
So, today, after waiting with other peoples' screaming kids for 2.5 hours, and forking over £1.3k ... Jen is now officially allowed to stay in the UK for as long as she likes. Steve's visa doesn't run out till 2015 so there's plenty of time to spread out any future costs. Another year in the future Jen will be able to fork out the same again to become a UK citizen if she so chooses.

Wed 27 Jul 2011
One year to go til the Olympics! This shot taken at Jen's work, with the Olympic stadium and the "ArcelorMittal Orbit" in the background (the red thing). This thing's going to look a bit like the Eiffel Tower on acid. It's going together like a giant Meccano set. We heard that it's being put together by only 4 blokes.

The red thing is called the ArcelorMittal Orbit
Tonight Steve went off to fighter practice again.

Thu 28 Jul 2011
This morning Steve got up early and dropped the car off with our favourite mechanic, where it will stay for about the next 3 weeks in all likelihood. It needs a service but also a new windscreen and generally a good look over.
Fri 29 Jul 2011
Jen wakes up with a sore throat and sniffles. Just her luck. Must focus on getting better, as we'll be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary in France next week.

Sat 30 Jul 2011
Mary came all the way from Bristol, and together with Jen they set off for Edith's hen's do at the 'Make Lounge'. Here about 10 of us sheilas mucked about with fragrances and created massage bars, bath bombs, lip balm and sugar scrubs. Then off to a pub for a couple of hours and topped off with dinner at a Turkish restaurant.
Meanwhile at home, Steve pulled apart is PC. It "blue-screened" on him last night, and he eventually found that one of the memory cards is flaky and plays up when it gets hot. At least he now knows where the problem lies.

Sun 31 Jul 2011
Steve cooked eggs benedict with home-made hollandaise sauce for breakfast and after some jokey phone conversations with Finn, we saw Mary off back home. As it was such a sunny nice day we took a stroll in the local park which includes a nice rose garden. Here's Jen smelling the roses in her "summer jacket."

23 July 2011

Jul 2011 a

Only the weekends were interesting this time....
Sat 02 Jul 2011
Today we had Sophie, Paul and Chris come over and join us for a movie marathon - a good 12 hours of the extended Lord of the Rings DVDs. Not sure how we would have survived without Steve cooking up the cheesy nachos for lunch and ravioli and garlic bread for dinner.

Sun 03 Jul 2011
Had a nice sleep-in after yesterday's movie watching efforts. A restful day today.
Hooray for our occasional summery days - the agapanthas are flowering very nicely (pictured, right).

Sat 09 Jul 2011
Today Jen left home early to sit the 'Life in the UK' test, not far from home. She was a bit disappointed with how easy it was. Next step - booked the appointment to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain, for early Tues 26 July.  Steve was good enough to drop Jen off at a funday show (before lunch) which was hosted by her workplace. Had a very uneventful time there as the first aider, thank goodness. Had fun inflating lots of helium balloons (with artwork on it Jen had designed).

Sun 10 Jul 2011
Escape to the countryside... or rather, escaping London. GREEN is what we've been sorely missing!!!!!

Enroute to our destination, we drove through a little village called Eynsford. Steve was certainly impressed to see the "ford" part of the village name still there and still in use. It was such a lovely warm sunny day, the local kids were running amok on the grass and in the river.

Our first destination today: Lullingstone Roman Villa (below).

Below: Having looked at the floorplan above, you can see one semi-circular room and here is the mosaic floor of that dining room, looking out through the audience chamber, toward the front verandah of the home. Oh, and the green tinge is just the strange lighting in the museum.

So having looked through the museum, we drove back up the road and had a gourmet lunch at the pub on the riverside in Eynsford.

Next stop: Old Soar Manor.

The blurb about this place says: "Old Soar Manor 1290. This knight's house is a rare survival from the time of Edward I. Dating from 1290 it was constructed as a fortified manor house. The rich Culpeper family who built it employed masons to construct a dwelling of Kentish ragstone that could be defended if attacked. Old Soar Manor in stone proclaimed to the world the wealth and standing of this important family."
The manor is left open and unattended, so it was really nice to have the place to ourselves for most of the time we were there. It butts on to a more recent (privately owned) brick house which is on the site of the community hall/court which was originally part of the complex.
What is open to the public is 5 rooms: 

Firstly, on the ground floor (under the chapel) is a small room with info boards about the dwelling, as well as photos of interesting local buildings and their history.
Also on the ground floor is a large cellar room with domed ceiling. Above this is the main hall (pictured below).

Off from the main hall is the chapel, and also a 3 person wardrobe. That is to say, drop-toilet for 3 people at a time. It was also a kind of cloakroom (wardrobe) as this smelly room keeps away moths which like to chew holes in clothes. Didn't take pics of the wardrobe sorry.
Below: the chapel.

Sat 16 Jul 2011
Steve drove us up to visit Deb & Clancy (Cambridge area) and help out at a medieval style demonstration there. Steve was well-pleased to be using his fab new shield for the first time.

After the demo, we headed back to Deb & Clancy's place to hang out (also with Richard and Lena who're visiting from Lancaster), chatting and chowing down on juicy BBQ steaks, sausages, and chicken breasts - happily washed down with copious amounts of beer, ale, etc etc. Steve stayed up chatting until about 4am!

Sun 17 Jul 2011
More chin-wagging over breakfast, then we finally headed home and took it easy for the remainder of the weekend.