DIY and Me! :)

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DIY and I go together like Morecambe and Cream and Peaches & Wise!
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So, I deliberately stepped outside my comfort zone today and dropped in on my friend Chris. The plan was to lend a hand with his latest garden project. This required sawing, screwing, drilling, measuring and aligning – all the ingredients of a typical DIY job – involving some lovely ‘big-boy’ toys!


Big Boy Toy!
Four hours later, there had been no major problems, no missing limbs – just a couple of very smug blokes admiring their creation!
We even got time for lunch where Chris, conjured up some homemade Stilton and Broccoli soup helped along with a spice-mix that I’d never heard of before – the mysteriously named Zhoug!


The it was off to help out Trish bluetooth her shiny new iPhone to her car. That task was much easier, and it was sorted in a flash! Home by 4 where Ann had prepared a full roast – yummy! Then it was out for a walk, dropping-in on Jo and Janet on the way back before settling down back at ours to catch Sunday’s first episode of BBC’s production of Howard’s End.

London Calling!

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It’s been a while since we did this – and we’re certainly packing it in – a short two-day break to the Capital!

Deep breath, and here we go!

…Train from Bedford… …a brief meeting with Chris, our Financial Adviser… …dump our bags at the Hotel… …Champagne Lunch at the Ritz (thanks Roger, Jane and Oliver!)… …check into the Hotel… …off to Theatre-land to see The Play That Goes Wrong …an organised walk around ‘old’ Westminster (weather permitting)… …then the Churchill War Rooms …Dinner in Theatre-land… …the Opera (The Egyptian love-fest Aida)…

…and finally, probably for me, a lie down in a darkened room!

Friday, 20th We left ours just after 8.30am and had a hassle-free drive over to Bedford. That meant that we were parked in good time and caught the first off-peak (9.23) out of Bedford, getting us into St Pancras just before 10.25. So far, so good. Then, it was a shortish Tube journey round to JLT’s HQ in Houndsditch for our pre-arranged meeting with Chris, getting there just before 11am. It was a very productive get-together, and we’ve kicked-off our financial plans for 2018.

Meeting over, it was of to the highlight of the day – Champagne Lunch at The Ritz – courtesy of Roger, Jane and Oliver. We were last here with (a young, free and single) Roger, we think, over 25 years ago where we had both fallen foul of the very strict must-wear-a-tie-if-you’re-coming-in-here rule! As a punishment then, we had to wear some hideous polyester clip-on creation. The mental scars have just about healed, and this time I was prepared (although to tie a tie these days, is not the everyday routine it used to be!)

We were slightly early, arriving just before 1.20, but were soon seated and marvelling at the restaurant’s decor… Wow! what a posh place! …and busy too! …and good to see the tie dress-code being enforced. – as I checked-in our coats, an unsuspecting punter in front of me was spotted choosing from a drawer of hideous coloured ties before being allowed to set foot in the dining area! Been there, done that!

Dress-code inspection over, the rest was easy! Sit back and enjoy service and food at the very top of its game. Waiters-a-plenty, immaculately dressed in tails and white-tie completed the full-on dining experience. Fantastic! Just thirty minutes in, and the place was almost full (this was a popular dining destination, and the staff did a great job keeping us all fed and watered).

The Menu didn’t disappoint! I chose the Goose Liver, Loin of Lamb and the Soufflé, whilst Ann enjoyed the Monkfish, Guinea Fowl and also the Soufflé – all washed-down with a glass of ice-cold champers. Yum-yum… and some! With every course, prepared and presented with total dedication – as well as a full description of each by our Waiter – this was truly outstanding food with service to match!

In truth, although the portion sizes weren’t that large, the addition of hors d’oeuvres and petit-fours meant that by the end of the meal we certainly felt stuffed and it would have been rude (in spite of our stuffed-ness) not to complement our desserts with a glass of dessert wine and to finish with a coffee! All-in-all, the meal took a very relaxed two-hours, but as we left, it was clear that many of our fellow diners were planning to make an afternoon of it (maybe even a day!). Pi**-heads-of-the-week award must have certainly gone to the two guys sitting a few tables away, who managed to guzzle their way through two bottles of champagne AND a bottle of white wine during the time we were there. As we left, I saw one of them perusing the wine-list!! Let’s hope livers are on a two-for-one offer – yeesh! How do they do it??!! Sweeeeet! A glass of white Pineau des Charentes

We headed back to the Tube – and our Hotel. We’re staying at the Arbor City Hotel again (we were last here back in February 2016), a lovely modern affair, just a spit from Aldgate East tube and the famous Brick Lane. It’s in the very old and run-down part of Whitechapel, although these days, the area is looking more like a Manhattan skyline!

The view from Room 216

Just time for ‘feet-up’ before heading out to the Duchess Theatre for the 7.30 performance of The Play That Goes Wrong. It’s not everyone’s idea of humour, but it certainly tickled our funny-bone! Now in its third year, WhatsOnStage.com commented “It’s as though The Mousetrap has been taken over by Monty Python”. Suited us then!

I just managed to grab a quick snap of the Stage just before the Fascist-inspired Programme Seller told me off for daring to take a photo. It looked a simple set up (the Stage, not the Programme Seller) but as we were to discover over the next ninety-minutes, appearances can be very deceptive!

As expected, the Play was full of surprises. The performance even involved the audience before the 7.30 kick-off! (I won’t spoil the surprise here). It’s fair to say that just like their previous Play that we saw back in June 2016The Bank Robbery that Went Wrong – they pushed the boundaries of Theatre performances and set design in every sense, much to the delight of tonight’s audience! In fact, part of the fun for us was hearing the lady, a few rows behind us, fall into uncontrollable hysterical laughter at every sight-gag. I’m sure, in a previous life, she must have been a hyena! Getting the audience involved even extended to the Bar during the interval, where one of the actors (in character) was seen being manhandled towards the exit.

Wow! What an event!! Great entertainment, great energy and superb production values. If you prefer your humour slapstick, very visual and with a smidge of Basil Fawlty, this is the one for you! Those looking for a gentler style of humour, you’d be better off with 42nd Street across the road! The production finished around 9.30 and after giving our Oyster-cards a bit more of a workout, we were back in the Hotel by 10.15 – knackered (it must have been all that laughing!)

What a day! Highlight was most definitely Champagne Lunch at The Ritz – such a FANTASTIC experience all round, and lovely gift too! Thanks Roger, Jane and Oliver.

Saturday, 21st Ahh, the sounds of Friday-night London, there’s nothing quite like it! The gentle hum of the traffic, the occasional police siren – and (just for us) a gang of totally paralytic females outside the hotel at silly o’clock, screaming their lungs out! This meant that one of us didn’t sleep very well – and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of mankind today! – whilst the other slept through it all, not waking-up until 7am.

Lucky me!! After a quick Continental (the breakfast, not the dance) one of us was ready to take on the world, whilst the other probably just wanted to find last night’s funsters and murder them. Well, this is Jack the Ripper territory!

A quick check of the weather forecast after breakfast revealed a deteriorating day, with more than a chance of rain towards lunchtime. We decided therefore, to abandon the ‘Old Westminster’ walk and bring forward our visit to The Churchill War Rooms.

After the short hop on the Tube to Westminster, and then a short walk, we arrived at Clive Steps, home to the Rooms.

  We weren’t disappointed! The War Rooms were just packed with information about Churchill. And, whatever your views of him as a wartime leader, you couldn’t fail to be impressed by the sheer amount of information on display. From static displays, to interactive maps, films and re-created rooms, this place had it all.

    An hour-and-a-half later, we were all ‘churchilled-out’ and decided to head for John Lewis in Oxford Street in search of a replacement for our Christmas tree that met its fate as part of the clear-out during our Lounge project earlier this year. We decided to walk from the War Rooms to Oxford Street, that on reflection, wasn’t a great idea – for two reasons. One, it felt like it was miles from where we were (it was!) and two, we went via Burlington Arcade and Bond Street where nearly every shop is a Jewellers. Understandably, one of us was distracted by all the bling on offer (Actually, Ann was too!)

On the yomp walk there, we passed through the famous Arcade and then onto Horseguards, where there was plenty of both – horses and Guards… and (we’re not sure why) dozens of armed policemen too! Whatever was going on, had certainly attracted the crowds – but we seemed to have arrived just as ‘it’ was ending.

Having safely navigated the shops in the Arcade and Bond Street (without as much as a ruffle of plastic) we arrived at JL. First stop, a place to eat, in the appropriately titled ‘The Place to Eat’ (how do they think of these names?). In a complete contrast to yesterday’s complete ‘blow-out’ of a lunch, today was a more modest affair – and I didn’t need a tie either! ..a humble bags of crisps, a cake and a coffee! After a quick mooch round, we decided to head back to base as somehow the AC had failed in the shop and we were roasting (it also explained why most male staff were in shirt-sleeves!)

Time then for a short rest in the Hotel before heading back into Theatre-land and a planned meal at the Koha Restaurant in St Martin’s Court for 5.30.

…and what a find! Nestled between the Stage Doors of The Wyndham and Coward Theatres, this wasn’t a particularly large restaurant – almost intimate – and they offered an exciting French-inspired menu. It was a bit off the main drag, which meant it was fairly quiet when we arrived – that’s just how we like it! Service was very attentive without being OTT and we were soon studying the wine-list and menu. With a G&T, a Cosmopolitan Cocktail and a couple of glasses of wine on order – as well as the food, all we needed to do now was sit back and wait for the Chef to do his magic. There was an acceptable wait between courses, that did suggest to us the food was cooked from scratch… Risotto for me as a Starter followed by the own Burger… ..and Bailey’s panna cotta to finish!

By the time we left just after 7, the place was much fuller – obviously, it’s a well known eatery and overheard conversations suggested there were quite a few ‘regulars’ eating there pre-theatre. I have a feeling we’ll be back here again next time we’re heading for the Theatre or Opera. A great eatery! The big event for this particular visit ‘to the smoke’ was a spot of culture in the shape of ENO’s 2017 production of Verdi’s #Aida. It’s a re-imagined version abandoning the traditional costumes, but the tunes stay the same!

This was a very lavish affair and the familiar tale of boy-meets-girl/girl-loves-boy/girl-ends-up-as-slave/slave owner loves boy/Egypt-declares-war-on-Ethiopia/slave’s father-invades-boy’s country/girl-wrestles-with-who-to-support/girl dies (as per most operas!).

Phew! Are you keeping up at the back? ENO’s lavish love-fest was spread over four Acts with an intermission halfway, and ran for just over two-and-a-half hours. The sets were fantastic, the lighting imaginative, the costumes gorgeous and the voices sounded like they were made from honey – the only thing that spoiled it (for me) was how depressing the storyline was! (I really should have read the full synopsis more thoroughly beforehand). I know already, if you’re the leading lady in opera, you’ve a higher-than-average chance of ‘pegging it’ by the end, but this was the most depressing storyline I’ve ever experienced (and yes, I do watch EastEnders!). What was Verdi ‘on’ when he wrote this? Whatever it was, he should have changed it and perhaps gone down the Pub instead – or the restaurant we visited earlier, as that would have certainly brought a smile to his face! It wasn’t a complete sell-out, but based on the screaming of ‘bravo’ over my right shoulder when the cast took to the stage at the end, many were impressed with tonight’s performance.

As we left the Theatre with the masses and walked to the Tube, it felt good to be part of the ‘buzz’ in London – especially on a Saturday night.

This was a great way to finish our latest trip into this fair city and we’re heading home after breakfast tomorrow.

Passport to Pimlico

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Day 1 (Thursday)

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Dolphin House Serviced Apartments

So, here we are at the Dolphin House Serviced Apartments in Pimlico, London, for a short break. It’s an opportunity for us to be tourists for a few days, and take in the sights and sounds of the Capital. Wow! the Apartment provides everything – a spa, a grill …and a gym (bugger!) What we hadn’t realised when we booked this was that it was also the weekend of the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations – cue a VERY busy London!

First impressions of our Apartment were good. It’s a sizeable space with a separate bedroom, a small kitchen (with two rings, a fridge and a microwave), a lounge and a bathroom (with a full-sized bath!)

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Superb Spec!

After unpacking followed by a quick cuppa, we slipped into FTM (full tourist mode) and headed off to Tate Britain. It’s not my first choice of Galleries – but it was good to look round and see the variety of exhibits on show. And what a mix! from the weird to the wonderful: dancers dressed in red, prancing along a white line painted on the floor, and in a room not far away, the massive Turner Exhibition. No prizes for guessing my preference, but ‘each to their own’ as they say!

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Typical Range of Exhibits!

Not only were we in FTM, we were doing it all on foot, attempting to avoid lifts and wheeled transport whenever and wherever we could. And so the great yomp began and we trekked past Millbank… Houses of Parliament and then into Haymarket, all in the general direction of Piccadilly Circus – and our final destination: The Criterion Theatre.
 
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We were a bit early for the Theatre, so we looked for somewhere to eat and stumbled upon Byron. We’d not heard of this burger-chain before, but the menu looked very un-McDonald’s, it wasn’t that busy, and the decor looked comfortable. Once we were seated, the place quickly filled-up. Obviously, this place is a ‘known’ and we weren’t to be disappointed – yummy food, fuss-free with a happy-smiley waiter too! All-in-all, a perfect start to our evening.

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Byron Burger!

But we were still too early for the Theatre, so we headed off for the ultimate in retail therapy: Fortnum and Mason’s in Piccadilly. Posh or what!? with prices to match. It’s the only shop I’ve ever been to that sells TWO shades of Lime Marmalade! There’s posh!

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Retail is (definitely) Detail!

Having kept a firm hold on Ann’s purse, we were off (finally) to the quaint 588-seater Criterion Theatre to see ‘The Comedy about a Bank Robbery’. I haven’t been here since Angela and I saw The 39 Steps back in April 2014. It’s a very unique building with beautiful tiling on the inside walls and it has a really small scale feel to it. Lovely!

Criterion Theatre

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The Criterion Theatre

Well, what about the Play itself? It came with plenty of good recommendations from the newspapers, but that’s sometimes not a guarantee is it?! We needn’t have worried though: the audience were giggling within minutes of the first scene – and it just got better, and better (and better!). I thought at one point I was going to wet myself (sorry Mum!) – it was hilarious… but it didn’t stop there! Everything about it was entertaining. They acted their hearts out – and some! They sang, they danced and changed their own scenery.  The creative use of the acting-space was just amazing and I think they really pushed the boundaries of what can be accomplished on a three-dimensional stage. Spoiler alert! Go to the loo BEFORE it starts, you’ll thank us for it later – especially the scene with the jug! ‘nuf said!

If you like your humour ‘obvious’, a bit corny and very visual, this has to be the best Play you’ll ever see (unless you get to see their first – ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ – and their next: ‘The Pantomime that Goes Wrong’). I won’t give away the overall plot here to tonight’s performance, but I guarantee your jaw will be on the floor once you’ve seen it. British Comedy Theatre at its best – and quirky too!

five star

And, at just before 10pm, it was all over – and the cast (and us, the audience) looked exhausted – for all the right reasons. Wow!

We headed out of the Theatre and walked all the way back to the Apartment, retracing our inbound walk more-or-less step-for-step. London was buzzing – as it always is – but the very overt presence of armed police looked, on the surface at least, to be something to be concerned about. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as we first thought though as we realised that there had been a ‘Beating Retreat’ event a little earlier and everyone was clearing up – including the Police and their rifles.

By 10.30 we were back at the Apartment… knackered!

More London-fun tomorrow!


Day 2 (Friday)

After a late, late Breakfast, it was off in search of the sites in the direction of Victoria.

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Look what we found on the way to Breakfast!

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Westminster Cathedral (RC)

First stop, was the rather splendid Westminster Cathedral. Unfortunately based on the ‘hand on my shoulder’ after we sat down to listen to the man-in-cloth up the front, no photography was allowed! Today’s sermon was on the ancient act of a man writing down ‘I divorce you’ three times if he wanted to re-marry. Powerful stuff, but to me, his voice was all a bit depressing and down-beat. We left for a look round the shops nearby before doing some people-watching in the very busy Victoria Station.
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Busy Busy!

Then it was off to The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria (the location of my first blog on the 23rd May, 2004 –  Back in the day, I was there on business and whilst waiting for the client, I attempted to get my head around this new thing called ‘blogging’). Back to 2016 and we were here to meet up with Connie, Dad’s ex-work colleague and who we’ve kept in touch with since his passing.

The Grosvenor Hotel - Victoria
The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria

Connie was in good spirits (as always), unfortunately, the restaurant staff were not! and although the meal itself was excellent, the indifference of the waiters coupled with the table next to us allowing  their three monsters little cherubs to literally ‘run amok’ and test their lungs for screaming volume, rather took the edge of the experience. I took the opportunity to demonstrate the  infamous ‘Palmer-Stare’ at their mother who, a few minutes later, got up and left! More likely a coincidence, but it felt good. We said goodbye to Connie just before 2.30 and then took the rather longish walk to Oxford Street.

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Scenes along the way to John Lewis

We took in Buckingham Palace along the route as well as Bond Street (no, we can’t afford THAT!). We got the impression that you’ve got to be rich to even DRIVE down this road based on the number of personalised number plates and, wait for it… the GOLDEN (not gold) Range Rover parked outside one of the gazillion jewellers!

Our final stop for the day was Oxford Street’s John Lewis. We haven’t seen it since its revamp and it looked splendid! Every department was at least twice the size of our nearest branch in Leicester – and everything was dressed within an inch of its life!

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Someone loves Cushions!

The TV department was simply massive – as were the TVs themselves and it’s the only store I’ve seen with a separate ‘smart home’ section – the freezer with the built-in Tablet caught my attention as well as the rather gorgeous J-series Samsung 4k UHD HDR TV (three-letter acronym translation available on request!)
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A quick stop in the basement food-hall and we were all set for our carpet picnic tonight.

4pm and our feet were now killing us. So (even though we’d promised to walk everywhere) this was a perfect opportunity to jump on one of the new Routemaster buses to take us back to Victoria Station. From there, we hobbled back to the Apartment just in time for the six o’clock news.

Knackered again – but for all the right reasons!

Tomorrow, we’re heading for Woolwich Arsenal for a look round and then we’re meeting up with our friends Rosi and David who are also staying in London.


Day 3 (Saturday)

After a quick breakfast we were out the door by 8.45 and heading ON FOOT TO the first Thames Clipper of the day from the London Eye. We were heading for Royal Arsenal (the final stop on the Clipper’s route) and the Armaments museum called Firepower.

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The Most Scenic Way to get Across London

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We’re Here…

The journey took just under the hour (longer, but it’s much more scenic than the Tube). On arrival, the place was already buzzing with people and there was a local market there too.

Inside the Museum, it was all very impressive, and well worth the trip.

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Very Impressive Exhibits

However, the saddest news of all was that in spite of the impressive range of exhibits, we learned that the place is due to close in a month to make way for a dance studio! It’s been re-located to Salisbury and therefore removing the link with the local area.

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After a quick look round the local Woolwich Market in Beresford Square, it was a short walk to Woolwich Arsenal DLR where we took the shortish ride to Tower Gateway. Our plan was to hopefully get a good vantage point of the Queen’s 90th celebrations on the River. We didn’t hold out much hope, but we thought we’d give it a go anyway! We headed for the Tower of London and looked for a suitable place to position ourselves. As luck would have it, we found the perfect view of Tower Bridge and and had a reasonably good view of the flotilla accompanying the Royal Barge, Gloriana.

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God Bless you Ma’am!

…and if that wasn’t a stroke of luck, we also managed to get a table for two overlooking the River at a Bistro called Coppa Club
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Prime Position

Great food, blisteringly fast service, a perfect temperature and a first-class view of the River proceedings! – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Then it was off to catch-up with our friends Rosi and David, who, quite by chance, were also in London to see the Flypast over Buckingham Palace. After a quick phone-call to establish the best place for a meet-up, we took the Tube back to Victoria and headed for their location – The Rubens Hotel. We had a small bite to eat and caught up with all their news before taking the walk up to Covent Garden. Luckily, we’d missed the rain shower that did its stuff whilst we were inside the Hotel. Highlight of the walk for me was the big screen at Piccadilly Circus and also the shock of seeing a dozens of cyclists completely NAKED, (yes you read that correctly!) biking their way in protest of car-drivers – much to the delight of the Police and public alike. I think the only people who might have NOT enjoyed it would have been cycle-clip manufacturers! No photographs unfortunately!! as it took us all by surprise and they were gone in a flash! (see what I did there!?)
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Piccadilly Circus (Honest!)

After a quick look round, Covent Garden, we decided to rest our feet at the nearest place that had seats, beer and chips (in that order!).

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Corny Name or What!?

Step forward the pun-laden Rock and Sole Plaice where, in spite of the waiter’s initial reluctance to let us have any chips WITHOUT fish, did us proud and ticked all our three boxes!

5.30: Time to call it a day and we all headed off in the direction of Covent Garden Tube – together with the most of mankind it seemed! We didn’t have to wait long and we were soon back at the Apartment totting-up the number of miles we’d walked today. It turned out to be a total of NINE miles – that’s a new daily record for us and our feet confirmed it!

It’s been a great few days – and confirmed our liking for Apartments over Hotel rooms (especially when they’re the same price): superb location, lots of walking, good food and a chance to catch-up for some quality time with friends. Now it’s back to reality as we need to pack as, we’re checking out tomorrow first thing.

I finished off the evening by watching the most appropriate film for our stay – Passport to Pimlico!

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Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Bye-bye London – until the next time!

Mid-week Break in Worthing

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Wednesday
We set off just after 8.30 and decided to go via the A14, the M1 and the M25 via Heathrow (rather than our ‘normal’ A14-M11-M25). Distance-wise there wasn’t much in it, but Google Maps suggested it would probably be quicker – at just under three hours. Well, even though it didn’t seem like it at first as it turned out to be a very stop-start journey punctuated by some occasional rapid progress, we arrived at our first stop – Northbrook College in Worthing – just before 11.30 – and our friends Ian and Sharon arriving around the same time.


No, we weren’t returning to education, but taking advantage of the twice-weekly ‘silver-service’ lunch opportunity managed by the catering students. First impressions were mixed as we found it impossible to actually get in to the building! A helpful (but security-immune) Student, pointed to the swipe-card gizmo, but let us in anyway!

We found our way to the waiting area, where after checking our names, we were informed that we should have waited downstairs to be collected. Onwards and upwards (literally), and we were invited to order some drinks. How about a J20 and a Guinness, a Coke and a red wine? Half marks as we were told that they didn’t have any J2O nor any Guinness but luckily, Ian got his Coke and Ann got her red wine, after assertively asking for a wine list!

After being seated, we were given the menus with some delicious options to whet our palates. The service was brisk and we were soon looking forward to our choices. I won’t embarrass anyone here, but it was all a bit lack-lustre. The food looked good and was well presented, but flavour-wise, it was disappointing. For staff that were supposedly trained in silver-service, the behaviours fell very short of the mark. Anyway, it didn’t stop us enjoying the company and we were soon up-to-date with all the gossip!

We finished noshing and nattering just after 2pm and then headed back to I and S’s for a cuppa before heading off to Worthing town for some retail therapy. We each bagged a few bargains and then headed off  to M and S for some provisions and then onto our ‘home’ for the next two nights: The Castle Inn Hotel in Bramber. We found it pretty easily and a warm welcome awaited us.


And what a lovely room! A comfy and wide bed, free wi-fi, TV with every possible channel and a nicely (and tastefully) decorated room. Perfect!

We ate the M and S food, watched a bit of TV and planned our walks for tomorrow after retrieving some leaflets from Reception.


Thursday
After a hearty breakfast, we looked through the various leaflets to determine exactly which walk we going to do. In the end, we opted for the ‘Three Churches walk’ (the red dotted line on the map) covering four miles and (predictably) taking in three Churches – not too long and a bit of history thrown in too! Spot on!!

The weather looked good and after a short walk from the Hotel and we were at our first Church – St Nicholas – close to Bramber Castle… the oldest Norman Church in Sussex… and closed!
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Church of St Nicholas

 

The Remains of Bramber Castle

The day was getting even warmer and it was turning out to be a perfect day for walking with some great views of the countryside.




One Church down and two to go! Next on the list was St Peter-in-Beeding (originally a Benedictine Priory)…


…and also locked and closed!
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Perhaps we’d be luckier with the last of the three – St Botolph’s…?


…and we were! Looking at the Visitors’ Book confirmed that this was indeed a popular place – over 100 visitors last month alone!


With the three Churches ticked-off, we deviated slightly from the planned route – making it slightly longer – and headed off towards the town of Steyning.


Scenes of Steyning

It was all very ‘English’ and we had a good look round. Eventually fatigue got the better of us and we dropped into the aptly named The Steyning Tea Rooms. It was less about hunger for us and more about somewhere to rest our feet but the menu was impressive and we settled for ‘Scone Overload’ – savoury scones to start , apple scones, cream cheese and onion marmalade, followed by err, scones, jam and clotted cream!


Game of Scones!

Then it was a shortish walk was back to the Hotel for a brief ‘feet-up’.

Time for a rest!

A quick look at Ann’s phone app revealed that we’d walked a total of 6.9 miles today – that’s a new daily record for us, and the pedometer (and smug-o-meter) was edging off the scale!
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In celebration mood we headed for the Beer Garden to enjoy the continuing sunshine where we idled away the afternoon doing nothing-in-particular – and that suited us perfectly. A few hours later, it was a quick change of clothes and we headed back downstairs to the Pub for our evening meal.


Now that’s what I call a Burger!

It was a great way to end our last full-day here – great food, a great hotel and a great walk!


Friday
We were up slightly earlier than yesterday with a plan to leave the hotel by 9ish. We actually got away before 9 and had a smooth journey up to my Brother’s. We caught up with all their news and Neil let me have some of his ‘hand-reared’ plants – Tomatoes and Chillies.

The journey home wasn’t so good! What should have taken about two hours ended up being a almost three-and-a-half. A combination of Friday, traffic, bank holiday traffic and a few accidents earlier in the day meant that every route we took, was a problem.
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Traffic aside, it’s been a great break and I think we’ve decided that wherever possible in the future we’ll try and book mid-week getaways instead of ones at weekend as everywhere is a bit quieter (excluding the roads!) – and a bit cheaper!
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Oh dear, now I’m really starting to sound like a Pensioner!
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