Monthly Archives: March 2015

UK trip Week 2

Week two has been less hectic.

Thursday started fairly slowly. We decided to go to Brent Cross to look for some random things. While getting some lunch we came to the conclusion that very few places in the UK know how to make a really good cup of coffee. The addition of coffee machines in many places is a good start but the coffee regularly seems to taste burnt or bitter, maybe we are just spoilt with really good coffee everywhere in New Zealand. Wendy spent the night with Sophie and Lucy in Berkhamsted.

Friday morning there was an eclipse, but it was too cloudy to see much aside from it getting dark and a little cold. As we had tickets to go to the Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio for 5pm we decided to have a larger than usual lunch with Denise at the Harvester at the Green Man. We headed to Leavesden around 4 and spent the next 5 and a half hours walking round the tour looking at sets, props, costumes and behind the scenes pieces on the 8 Harry Potter movies. We could probably have spent longer but the tour closed at 10. Stupidly we only had our phones to take photos with and many are blurry, so we will have to go back again on another trip and take decent cameras with us.

Saturday we had planned to have dinner with Cole, Adam and Denise. Given we had all day with little planned we decided to head into London for the day. First stop was the Early Music Shop in Denmark Street. Wendy was missing having a harp to play and we had wanted to take a look at some music. They very kindly let Wendy play one of their Camac Harps while Ian looked through the sheet music, books and also at the recorders and other instruments. While we didn’t buy another harp, despite Wendy saying she needed one in the UK, we did pick up some music and a new renaissance descant recorder. From there we made our way to Hamleys to try and get an Evenstar for Wendy’s outfit. We also caught up briefly with Cole. In the evening we joined Adam and Cole at a very nice Italian restaurant in East Finchley for dinner and a catch up before the wedding.

Sunday we had arranged to meet Sophie and Ant for lunch. The weather was good so we went for a walk around Berkhamsted Castle and then along the canal, stopping for a late lunch in The Boot alongside the canal. After a great time with them we headed back to Denise’s along the back roads so we could see some of the countryside.

Last time we were in the UK Wendy wanted to go to Hampton Court Palace, on that trip we ran out of time so on Monday we decided to spend the day there. We spent the day looking round the Henry VIII exhibits. Hampton Court now has 4 actors that help play out some of the story of Henry and Anne Boleyn. Each hour for around 15 mins there was a short piece so between sketches we looked round the palace. Aside from the Henry VIII areas there is also the William III apartments, the Georgian exhibit and the Cumberland Gallery which we completely failed to look at. We did manage to walk through ‘The Wilderness’ and do the maze but there was so much more to see in the formal gardens. I think we could easily have spent 2 days at the palace to fully explore it.

Tuesday we had arranged to spend with David. He came over just after midday and we went out for lunch at Harvester.

Wednesday we packed the car up for the next road trip. We headed up the A1M and then through Baldock and Royston, stopping for lunch there. Then we worked our way cross country to Haverhill where we stopped and had a look round for a bit and found coffee, which was surprisingly good. Then it was on to find David and Danielle. Wendy was going to a harp recital that Danielle was giving in the evening while Ian spent the evening talking with David about all sorts of things.

Week 1 of the holiday

So we are 1 week in and it has been a busy one.

Arrived around lunch time on Thursday, headed to Denise’s house to drop bags etc. Then into Edgware to pickup UK SIM cards and a car. By 7:30pm Ian was asleep.

Woke up Friday around 9am and started sorting out what we would need for the first road trip; TORM, West Dean and Southampton.

Drove to Ryton on Dunsmore to attend The Original Re-enactors Market (TORM). Had a good look round all the stalls and picked up a couple of bits. Then off to the hotel to catch up with various people. Stayed up until around 1am talking to people. Saturday started with breakfast at 9am and then off to the market again.

Continued looking round the stalls and picked up a couple of things that we had seen the day before but wanted to think on. Found someone that can make Ian’s outfit for our wedding so he got measured. Just need to confirm styles and colours.

Saturday evening was spent back at the hotel for dinner with various traders and re-enactors. After the previous late night we opted for an early night.

Sunday started with packing and breakfast. The plan for the day was to drive to West Dean sightseeing on the way. After leaving Coventry we decided to stop in on Coombe Abbey. While this is now a hotel we had a good walk round the gardens, despite the cold. From there we headed to Cirencester for lunch and then on to Avebury. We spent a couple of hours walking around the town looking at Europe’s largest stone circle.

From there we drove to some of the outlying bits of the Avebury circle and then on to Marlborough for a late afternoon tea.

Then it was onto West Dean to catch up with Jennie and Mike, as well as Lucy. After dinner and a bit of chat we headed to bed.

Monday started out as a bit of a lazy start. After breakfast we went into Salisbury to have some lunch and then look at the cathedral. As well as having a good look round we got to look at one of the 4 remaining original copies of the Magna Carta. Then it was back to West Dean for dinner. Ian fell asleep on the couch for a bit, it has been a bit of a theme of the first week.

Tuesday we had a look at the 14th century chantry, all that is left of the first church in West Dean. From there we went to Romsey to look at the Abbey, then onto Southampton to visit Ben and Meri.

As they had been renovating Tuesday evening was spent helping unload a storage trailer before ordering chinese. Ian again fell asleep on the couch.

Wednesday was an early start to get back to London. Stopping off at Ian’s mums to drop bags before heading to Cole and Adams ‘Stag’ do. They had decided to do some archery and then go to a friends place for a BBQ. An enjoyable afternoon and evening was spent catching up and talking about random things. Then back to Denise’s to sleep.