We have packed so much fun into the last couple of days, it’s hard to know where to begin.
We set off first thing Friday morning to drive up the M4, because we had plans to meet Mary for dinner that evening and we thought we’d take the opportunity to explore somewhere on our list. We read online that parking was difficult, so armed with maps and a sense of adventure, we left the car by the river and walked up this little snicket, hoping we were on the right track.
Sure enough, the path opened up and there was the entrance to a place we’d read so much about but actually, knew nothing.
The bursts of colour were exactly as I’d expected and the whole place was a feast for the eyes.
I’m not sure I’d describe it as a Nursery with a restaurant attached, or vice versa – the dining room extended throughout the whole place and in every corner, we came across small tables and chairs tucked in under a plant or two.
We enjoyed our coffee and cake, had a short mooch around admiring the sumptuous arrangements of flowers and fruit before thinking we’d better get ourselves back to the car and head on into the city. It was starting to rain.
We hurried along, passing wise advice posted to the fence by the meadows, thinking this was a surprisingly bucolic scene for somewhere so close to suburbia.
Looking across the meadow, we spotted a large building on the brow of the hill, so I zoomed in using my new camera in the hope of identifying features.
I paid little attention to the photograph I took until I arrived home this afternoon and noticed the small group of people on the grass there in front of the trees.
Time to zoom in again!
Well, would you look at that! A photo shoot in progress and a rather Victorian look to the little vignette of the photographer and his assistant, don’t you think?
I’m afraid I still couldn’t identify the large building! (I can now: it’s the Royal Star and Garter Home and I’ve just spent an interesting ten minutes reading all about a charity of which I knew nothing until now!)
Another photo shoot was taking place on Oxford Street, the following day. Perhaps this was more of a TV shoot though – Indian we thought. They were doing well to keep the area clear of passers by, because as usual, the street was awash with people. We hurried along back to the hotel though, because it was starting to rain.
It was fun seeing Mary on Friday night and a last minute stretch of the table to accommodate Edward was a bonus too. Great food, wonderful service and the most amazing views at Galvin at Windows. It was a short and sweet catch up with them both however, because after a brief scurry and a couple of errands on Saturday morning, we were off into Hertfordshire, where my hero had a concert to sing in.
Sitting outside in the humid early evening air, we spotted the most enormous fungi growing under a tree in the churchyard. Going over to take a photograph, I was delighted to be rewarded by the most beautiful patterns on the cap of each mushroom.
Each one slightly different, they were growing in such a quiet and undisturbed corner I felt very lucky to have seen them!
The concert was good and the audience appreciative, though I spent my time trying to identify the reason why one particular lady looked so very familiar. From the minute she arrived, I felt I recognised her and having checked that she wasn’t a “friend” of the choir, I had narrowed it down to the WI. More than likely, she was someone I’d come across at a meeting or at our college and that was that.
Or? It’s funny how my brain works. Suddenly it came to me…a clear picture of the lady in question standing in a queue to board a plane in Dubai, another of her sitting in a Trivia team each afternoon and yet another sitting on the row in front of us dressed in tiara and pearls watching the Royal Wedding! For sure, I believed that we had travelled together on our cruise this Easter…I had to go and chat to her, to check and satisfy my mind.
Bingo! Spot on!
It took her a while to work out how she knew me, but I knew as soon as I said “Hello” that she did. What fun to go through the “small world” conversation and to realise that though we live a hundred miles apart, we move in similar circles when all is said and done.
(Alan and Jane, you’d have spotted her right away, too!)
This morning, we were up earlier than we needed, but took advantage of the bright and sunny morning and left straight after breakfast to visit Bicester Village. The bear above is called Porridge, by the way.
Hmm. It was interesting, for sure. We bought some teacups and saucers and some soap – but really, we felt like fish out of water! Not being designer label types, we enjoyed watching the people rather more than visiting the shops and with a table waiting for us at The Trout, we left three or four cars to fight over our parking space and headed down the road towards home. As we left, the heavens opened and people were running for cover.
The Trout is a great place to eat and our Sunday lunch was super. My roast beef came with all the trimmings, including a Yorkshire Pudding so good that even my Mum would have been impressed! As we sat looking through the window, the heavens opened and the poor souls who’d chanced it and found no table indoors were left to shelter under the umbrellas.
With full tummies we headed home, thinking how remarkable it was that we’d managed to stay dry the whole weekend, even though it’s poured down at times. As we negotiated the tourists in Bibury, we voiced our usual reminiscence of changing our small baby’s nappy on the wall there by the river, some 26 years ago. One day, we’ll petition for a blue plaque on that spot!
Now, we’re home and though we’re pleased to be here, we both agree that it’s been a terrific weekend.