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.......

26 August 2012

Aug 2012 b

Sun 12 Aug 2012
Last day of holiday. Last day of the Olympics. Jen's workplace had been transformed into Kenya House - here's a photo of what it looked like during the Games.

Steve made up a large batch of gourmet raspberry and white choc muffins for Jen to take next day to work, celebrating her birthday on Tuesday (and her line manager's last day tomorrow). Boy are these ever sooo tasty!

We watched the closing ceremony, live on the telly. As the fireworks were going off at about midnight, this is the view we had from the master bedroom upstairs. You can see the top of the Mittal Orbit lit up in red light.

Tue 14 Aug 2012
Jen's 37 today. Thanks Steve for the nice card, and her present was this high quality USB microphone to help her experiment with music. 

Wed 15 Aug 2012
Tonight Steve drove to Finnian's place and stayed the night, since he's outside London and on the west-sid, making it easier for him to be at an SCA meeting in Wales at 9am the next day.

Thu 16 Aug 2012
Steve arrives onsite at Ffair Rhaglan, an excellent SCA medieval event held annually at Raglan Castle in Wales. Jen's at work.

Fri 17 Aug 2012
The weather at Raglan was torrential and squally, with some people finding their tent up a tree! Others had broken poles. Luckily for us we enjoyed staying at the nearby travelodge. Hot showers and clean loos are such a simple pleasure. 

Sat 18 Aug 2012

Throughout the event Steve's got in plenty of training for others and much fighting in different parts of the castle, all good fun. He's also been enjoying cooking on Clancy's new craticula (roman fire stove). Since the weather has fined up a bit, Jen ran about and took some snaps.

Later in the afternoon, Genevieve (Elizabeth) was raised to the Order of the Pelican, and we both spoke on her behalf. All in all a lovely ceremony that seemed to go really well. Further to this, Steve got not one but two awards: The Panache (for cooking skill), and the Order of the Robin - a courtesy award.

Sun 19 Aug 2012
Home once more, and the laundry begins!

Mon 20 Aug 2012
Jen's been on ebay again. This time, she's re-sold a little something (from ebay) for a very nice profit, after having cleaned it up and taking better photos.

Wed 22 Aug 2012
Laundry is almost done. Unfortunately Jen had a little accident with Steve's fighting aketon. The inner padding (wool) has severely shrunk! Oh dear - time for lots and lots of unpicking!

Thu 23 Aug 2012
Finnian came over for a yummy dinner and a spot of SCA fighter practise one-on-one with Steve. He also dropped off another of Jen's ebay purchases (a lovely little carved chair) which he had kindly collected for her a few weeks ago. It's finally here!

Sat 25 Aug 2012

Jen and ebay.... the sale of the little glass ring-box more than covered the purchase of this enormous flemish style brass chandelier. Nice! Oh, and here's some pics of that nice Pugin style chair Finnian dropped off for Jen.

Steve helped Jen disassemble the chandelier for storage and eventual polishing. It is now in a much more manageably sized box!

Sun 26 Aug 2012

Today we headed into west London to see the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Ashmolean. When we got there however there was a sign apologising that the exhibition is closed until Wednesday "due to unforseen circumstances". Oh well, we'll have to visit again later.
So we enjoyed the lovely sunny weather and strolled back through the large public gardens in Holland Park (pictured, left).

We eventually ended up at the Jumbuck Pie shop in Shepherd's Bush, where we picked up some Aussie treats. (Also the first cans of Solo we'd had in a goodly long while).

Mon 27 Aug 2012
As its a long weekend, we'll be enjoying a little quiet time at home. Back to work on Tuesday.

11 August 2012

Aug 2012 a

Sat 04 Aug 2012
Today is our 11th wedding anniversary, and 19 years since we started dating. 

We drove up to the Holy Island and wandered through the oldest church on the island, St Marys church; the ruins of Lindisfarne Abbey and briefly through Lindisfarne Castle. We saw the famous Viking Raider's Stone in the Abbey exhibition - it's so nice to see the carving on the back as well as the front!

Above (R): St Mary's Church; (L) a carpet modelled from a carpet page in the Lindisfarne Gospels.

About an hour after taking in the above view of the castle from the Abbey's cemetery, heavy mists rolled over the island. There was no possibility of admiring sea views from Lindisfarne Castle. Perhaps the vikings raided while mists such as these shrouded their dragon-topped ships... and you can easily understand the old tales of dragon's breath being related to this place. 

Above: heavy fog on an otherwise bright sunny day.
Photo taken from the foot of Lindisfarne Castle looking out toward the sea.

Above: lovely dining room in Lindisfarne Castle
Sun 05 Aug 2012
Steve and Alex spent a few hours fighter training together, while Alex's two little girls (aged 3 and 5) watched cartoons. Jen kept herself busy with some reading, and in the afternoon we all walked to the local park for the girls to have a play. 

Mon 06 Aug 2012
So today we headed south towards Cambridge. On the way we stopped to look through Gainsborough Old Hall, as we'd heard the medieval kitchen is excellent - and we were not disappointed. 


The kitchen's about 3 stories tall but open without floors above. The size of the room was enormous, with huge fireplaces on opposing sides, two bread-baking ovens on one side, and a wide serving portal in the fourth wall. Oh yes, and the great hall was splendid too (seen above and below)! 

Above and below: the medieval kitchen at Gainsborough Old Hall

We arrived at Deb and Clancy's place in Mildenhall
(near Cambridge) in time for dinner and drinks.

Tue 07 Aug 2012
Today we spent the whole day at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge - very tired feet. The museum itself is an impressively decorated Victorian building (left).
The variety and quality of artwork and artifacts on show were excellent! Highly recommended.

Wed 08 Aug 2012
We both clambered down into a Neolithic flint mine today at Grimes Graves. There are over 400 pits (filled in vertical shafts) at the site. At least two have been excavated and one is open for the public to crawl about in. Below you can see one horizontal layer with glossy black flint.

Thu 09 Aug 2012
We visited Ely Cathedral today, an ancient pilgrimage site, which contains the tomb of St Audry. Those zany Victorians were let loose on the ceiling, but hey they did a brilliant job of it. The adjoining Lady Chapel is quite lovely too, and is the largest chapel (adjoining a church or cathedral) in Britain. 
Ely was once an island, with many eels in the waters surrounding it, up until of course the fenlands were drained so the land could be used for crops.

Above: our view during lunch - Ely Cathedral

Above(L-R): The Lady Chapel; and the famous 14th Century Octagon Tower, the main structure of which are the eight vertical timbers, made from eight enormous oak trees! The local bridges needed to be strengthened (in Medieval times) to get these timbers onsite.

Above: the front door....

Above: the ceiling was painted in the Victorian era, but is an excellent effort; really lovely.
Below: also decorated by the Victorians.
This structure is the original Octagon (also known as the Lantern,
as it was a beacon across the fens), an enormous vaulted timber structure
and roof for the heart of the Cathedral. 

Above: the 12th C Prior's Door

Above & below: Inside the Lady Chapel.

Fri 10 Aug 2012
This morning we arrived safe and sound back home. A couple of loads of laundry done, food shopping done, Jen applied for a few more jobs. Steve finally spent a little bit of time watching some Olympic sport for the first time this holiday!

Sat 11 Aug 2012
Jen spends much of today selecting top photos and writing up two very FULL weeks worth of blog....