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.