L - Pan fried mackerel salad
R - Hot chocolate mousse

A Week of Contrasts … in More Ways Than One! Part I

A Week of Contrasts … in More Ways Than One! Part I

My Boy waiting for his torch to be lit

We were s’posed to have headed south on the Thursday for BOGG to do two days work just outside Portsmouth on the following Monday, but the Boy was doing his Olympic Torch Relay and was disappointed that we weren’t doing anything afterwards to celebrate. Feeling guilty, I organised an impromptu barbie with his friends and some of our closest neighbours. He was lucky with the weather; it was a gorgeous evening. We had just about enough food, but not nearly enough bread and more than enough booze! Oh and we hadn’t even packed for our week away!

Friday morning saw us up before sparrows’ fart, packing furiously and throwing everything in the back of the Lump. We set off in the pouring rain heading to our oldest friends, The Aitkens, for a couple of nights.

Making good time down the A68 and not setting off any of the money generating cameras, we stopped for breakfast at the rather fine looking George Hotel in Piercebridge on the banks of the River Tees. Shouldn’t have bothered –fur coat nae drawers!

If I’d seen an Ark drifting down the road, it wouldn’t have surprised me; incessant rain is not my idea of summer!

I could have spent a fortune here

Stopping off in Bakewell for a pudding and a lardy cake, we dodged puddles and raindrops. I found these vintage goodies  down a wee alley but didn’t buy anything; shame really cos there were some very pretty bits and bobs.

An hour later we clambered back into the car, with our damp clothes drying under the turbo-boosted heater; we smelled like a pair of damp dogs!

Ben made this a day after Midsummer Day

The rest of the journey was uneventful and a pleasant evening was spent with the Aitkens, some beer, some wine and a carry out curry followed by Ben’s fabbytits Swedish Summer cake.

Have to admire the British tenacity!

Saturday had us spending a seriously wet day at the Three Counties Show in Great Malvern.

Kune Kune piggies – Māori for fat and round or maybe just tasty!

The highlights were the chickens, miniature Kune Kune pigs and the wonderfully eccentric Sophie Grigson who is as mad as a box of frogs and we loved her. With some of the audience eating various pasties, she wanted to know what was in them and at one point I thought she was going to nip down from the stage and accost the bloke in the first row. Go girl!

We loved her madcap and eccentric style!

The low point, apart from the weather – really bad vino at one of those wine-tasting tents. I wanted to tell the rep his products were utterly dreadful; the price for a case came in at a whopping £325! We felt justified telling him we prefered our wine from Naked or the local offie at a more reasonable price. He didn’t look impressed and we left wishing we hadn’t bothered.

We departed Chez Aitken on Sunday afternoon with a mix of more rain with the threat of sunshine and pootled down to the Premier Inn, Binnacle Way, Portsmouth. I won’t waste my time or yours, dear reader, with tales of our catastrophe of a dinner. If you’re interested, have a look at BOOG’S TripAdvisor review (SimonH).

L – Pan fried mackerel salad
R – Hot chocolate mousse

Dinner on Monday night was far more enjoyable, cheaper and excellent value. Where did we eat? Brasserie Blanc at Gunwharf Quay. Never had a bad meal from this restaurant chain and I wish we had one in the Burgh!

Bray’s Cottage pork pie made a fab lunch

The two days spent in Portsmouth were gorgeously hot and sunny. Lunching on Bray’s Cottage pork pie at Caracoli in Arlesford, followed by, cake of course!

Decisions, decisions! I scoffed the passionfruit after the pork pie

I also visited Fishbourne Roman Palace with its amazing mosaics that I realised I’d seen over four decades ago on a school trip to Swanage.

Beautifully preserved mosaics – hard to believe they are almost 2000 years old

Lunch was a scone-with-a-view down at Chichester’s old harbour at Bosham.

Scone-with-a-view

It had to be a light lunch because, for the next two days, we were staying at the TerraVina Hotel in the New Forest and I was expecting great things. To say I wasn’t disappointed would be one helluva understatement!
To be continued …

© Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2012.

4 thoughts on “A Week of Contrasts … in More Ways Than One! Part I

  1. sounds lovely Lea….I LOVE Brays Cottage Pork Pies…wish we could get em in Edinburgh! Will have to bring some back with me from my NOrfolk holidays

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