Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Sunday in England

We left Cornwall yesterday and drove to Cheltenham where we spent the night in a hotel that was once a grand old home. Clarence Court was on a street with some of the biggest trees I've ever seen. The biggest problem with the hotels in the cities is parking.
There was a small area for diagonal parking but no way out except the way you came in when you leave, so it means backing out a long, long way and trying to avoid the cars lined up diagonally and the ones on your other side that are parked helter-skelter here and there. Any space a car fits--in it goes!
The hotel manager greeted us warmly and inquired where we all hailed from. As the conversation went on, he slapped the desk and said to me, 'I just love your Kansas accent!'  I am an oddity here in England, I guess.
We had a drink in the bar/lounge on the lower level, which is half below ground and half above the street level--the typical English basement. Dinner was next in the hotel restaurant called Joules'  I had monkfish that was superb, done with an onion, veggie, pernod sauce that added just the right touch. For dessert, I opted for a cappuccino and one bite of Ken's apple tart.
Our rooms were small but nice. Very old building with high ceilings and very tall windows, but the bed linens and draperies and furniture were all very up to date and appealing. As was the small but totally modern bathroom. A very nice walk-in shower with royal blue tiles on the floor and around the mirror. A half wall of glass block on the shower. It's fun staying in these old buildings that have been made contemporary.
I stepped outside the hotel door this mornng to be greeted by the loveliest toned church bells which rang for some time. A perfect way to begin this day.
This morning we headed back to our friends' home in Hibaldstow. It's sunny and pleasant--66 degrees. Nice after the high 50's we experienced this past week by the sea.
Tonight, we are going to our friends' daughter's home for a South African braii. That is the term given to a cookout. Traditionally, it means you will have sausages, chicken and lamb chops--some of each--that have been grilled. I'm looking forward to it.
We've enjoyed time spent in England this trip and a couple of others previously. It's a beautiful country with a history to be proud of. Every now and then, we see a chain restaurant from America and somehow, I wish they weren't here. I'd like to keep England all England. But the Brits love their McDonald's and KFC and Starbucks.
We have two more days to enjoy here before we fly home on Wednesday. Time does fly when you're having fun!

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