The Americans have been and gone. I think we showed them the best time we could, and I know a certain someone who was particularly pleased to have her Auntie and Uncle about (I think she may have worn them out regularly, but that’s what you do at 3 (and a half)…
It’s been a slightly mad and mushed in weekend (or long weekend, as it started on Thursday). The jet-lag on their part has been very helpful in accommodating to our schedules!
They arrived on Thursday afternoon, (and I now know that the lay-flat beds in first and business class aren’t as exciting as I thought – I think the perception changes when you’re used to the knees-in-the-seat-in-front-of-you position, but let’s not go there just now…). And they brought some wonderful things with them! I have a tin of pumpkin! I have Extra Dessert Delights gum, I have cinnamon gum, I have mint flavoured oreo-cookies, and an exceptionally exciting Wilton Haunted Gingerbread House kit – (thank you thank you thank you). And Monkey has a lovely, pink, sparkly, Barbie princess costume for Halloween 🙂
After we picked the little one up from nursery and she got over her shyness and giddiness (she just laughed for a good hour or so), we headed out to our favourite local eatery, Brotherton’s Brasserie (http://www.brotthertonsbrasserie.co.uk), AKA, The Dinner Store (because it is a store that sells dinner), for some wonderful pizza and pasta, although my brother had the guinea fowl (everything is nice there – so love it). No starters (we usually don’t have room in the tummies for all that), and we were all too tired for pudding on this occasion, but the mains were excellent. I had the Capricosa pizza, which was loaded with really fresh vegetables, whilst D had a red onion and salami pizza which looked outstanding, SIL had the pasta fruti di mare, which I have had before (she confirmed its lushness), Bro-bro had the guinea fowl with peppercorn sauce, and Monks had her favourite pasta bolognese. The three adults excluding me had Moretti to drink (as it’s on tap). No pictures were taken (I find it a bit difficult to pop out a camera at the dinner table when you’re out – at home is one thing, out is another). But it looked a bit like this:
On the Friday, we had a full day together. After the happy couple had their hotel breakfast, I went to get them and we went into town for the day. I was the day’s driver, and only slightly horrified (actually, really, really horrified) to find that parking in the city is now GBP4 for 2 hours, and that 2 hours was the max… This did not leave much time for much of anything. We hit a museum, a bit of shopping, and the covered market where fresh dates were purchased (so good), before a quick trip to a pub for a drink (I got to explain the difference between an eating and a drinking pub…), then back towards home before the parking expired and the meter man came to ticket me, for lunch at another local eatery, Hampers (http://www.hampersfoodandwine.co.uk/). We had taramasalata to start, then SIL had the quiche, bro-bro had the pork-pie ploughman’s, and I had a standard ploughman”s. All delicious. We usually go there for the sandwiches, but we were not long before dinner, and honestly, the food was quite filling!
I made dinner at home for us all, and we had cake for pudding (that pumpkin cake), before all separating into our parts, as it were, and calling it a day.
The Saturday resembled the Friday, with a spot more shopping, and we took them to another of our favourite local places, The Crown and Tuns, better known as The Pie Place, (http://www.puddingface.com/). They pretty much only serve pie (they have 2 or 3 non-pie dishes, but really, why bother?). We had a turkey, sage and onion stuffing pie, the venison with bacon and shoe-string potato pie, the lamb hot pot pie, and the peppercorn beef pie. The little one had a bit of our pies, as these are honking big pies. And D was ever so happy as he convinced bro-bro and SIL to have pudding – I think he has regular dreams of their bread and butter pudding… It’s a lot of pie, so going that extra way in the stomach stretching department is unusual, but has to be done on occasion. I should stress that the ability to have both pie and pudding is something that is gained over time, and is best not accomplished at once.
Again, no photos on the day, but it looked a bit like this:
Or at least, it used to…
Today, we’re taking them to a brewery, then Yesterday, we took them for a late Sunday lunch at The White Hart (our posh local eatery- http://www.whitehartwytham.co.uk/find.htm). We have a tendency to love it there, and hate it at the same time. We haven’t been in a few years, but alas, it’s still the same. Excellent food, terribly slow service (we’ve been forgotten before!). What to do!? Roast dinners, burger and stuffed aubergine were had by the table, along with two appetizers (baked Camembert, and a pint of prawns – literally – ie, served in a pint glass – clever), and a plate of pasta for the pasta monster (but it had cheese so she wouldn’t eat it). My only complaints are:
1. Far too much oil – my salad just had a pool of it sitting in the bottom of the bowl – no vinegar, salt or pepper, just oil, and not particularly flavourful oil… huh.
2. The streak of hummous on my plate / tile (trying to be ultra-posh, they substituted slate tiles for plates for some dishes – didn’t always work, and so not practical). If hummous is on a plate, shouldn’t there be something to scoop it up with? I kept wondering where my veggies or pita had gone to. Lovely stuff, but missing that bit.
We didn’t stay for pudding – which was just fine and dandy, although when they’re on top form, they do a lovely dessert. They just weren’t there yesterday.
The bro-bro and wife-wife have now left our not-so-sunny shores for more French climes – and the Alps. At the very least, they won’t be hungry for a while!