Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sunday Lunch, Lavenham Part 1

One of the advantages of holidaying close to home is that friends can come and visit
Sunday saw our close friends Ken & Lorraine come up to spend the day with us and here we are having Sunday lunch at The Angel Hotel, one of Marco Pierre White's Restaurants
For my USA friends he is a celebrity chef

The walls are covered with photographs of various celebrities

Above photograph from the website

The Angel Hotel, set in the historical marketplace in the picturesque village of Lavenham in Suffolk, was first licensed in 1420 and is believed to be Lavenham's oldest inn. 
Although much altered over the centuries, The Angel still retains much of its Tudor character. Around 1500, the gable ends were added and brick chimneys installed. The pargetting of the solar ceiling is from the early 17th century and in the 18th century the roof was raised, sash windows installed and the whole of the outside plastered over.
Restoration work was carried out in the 1950s and in 1990 the open plan ground floor was created. Recently purchased, renovated and refurbished by Marco Pierre White, the Angel Hotel is now an integral part of his Wheeler’s of St. James’s country inns and is one of the most stylish of all Suffolk hotels

For desert I had Raspberry Soufle and I have to say that it was the best soufle I have ever tasted
Once brought to the table the waiter pressed a whole raspberry into the top of the soufle and then poured some of the hot Coulis into the hole saying that this stops the soufle from collapsing. It certainly worked

Here you see we were joined at the next table by
Griff Rhys Jones
comedian, actor, TV presenter, author and champion of architecture ancient and modern

We had a great holiday in the beautiful village of Lavenham and surrounding countryside and there will be lots of pictures soon
We were also blessed with hot and sunny weather staying in a luxury cottage

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Come & See the Olympic Torch

It is a beautiful hot sunny day and we walk into town to see the Olympic torch keeping away from the town centre which we are told will be crowded

After a short wait (some had been here for a long time) the Police begin to arrive so not long now

The relay bus which drops off the next flame carrier about 10 minutes in advance
How fortunate we are to find ourselves at a change-over point 

Just dropped off and waiting for the flame to arrive

High Fives all round

The Coca-Cola bus

More Sponsors - Samsung this time

and Lloyds Bank

and here I am chatting to the next flame carrier

and here it is

just passed on
for the uninitiated each carrier has their own torch which is lit by the flame of the previous runner

Just 24 hours ago a carrier was dropped from a helicopter and zipped with it across the River Thames on a wire
I would like to have seen that

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Hassle of Olympics 2012

I have been asked by a number of 'bloggers' what effect the Olympics will have on people living in and around the London area.
Gosh, where do I begin?
This could be a long post but I will endeavour to keep it as short as possible!

Some views taken from inside the Westfield Shopping Mall in the rain about a week ago showing the stadium, some venues and masses of hospitality tents.
Even this trip did not run smoothly. We were unable to drive as one cannot park here until late September so had to take the train instead. Not so good with shopping to carry but less so, when over the train speaker system comes the message that "this train will not be stopping at our station due to station closure because of a security alert." So, do we get off one stop before or one stop after?? On our previous visit we had to leave the Mall for a while because of a security alert!

Where I can I will just use bullet points
Road closures

People asked to avoid central London altogether if journey not necessary

VIP lanes right across London for Olympic officials (There was an interesting photo on TV where on a 2 lane road one was a bus lane and one an Olympic lane. No sign to tell people that for the duration the bus lane could be used so there was confusion as to where to go!)

Bespoke cars for athletes and parking fees wavered

Re-phased traffic lights giving priority to Olympic traffic

Speed humps removed on some roads to give and easier ride

Some businesses  feel business will be crippled

Our son who works in central London and has to use the train that passes the Olympic village will have to work from home where possible and people who can are being urged to do this 

R.A.F planes and helicopters patrolling the skies

Ground to air missiles on rooftops

Royal Navy war ship on Thames

Restricted flying zones over venues and 'no-fly' spaces

McDonald's and Coca-Cola are sponsors so no other food and drink allowed in venues other than what is bought there

The biggest McDonald's on the planet is situated slap-bang in the middle of the Olympic park. The vast 2 storey restaurant will serve
1,200 customers per hour

McDonald's were unhappy that manual workers on building sites were wanting to bring in fish and chips for their lunch. Eventually they gave way and said it had to be fish and chips, chips bought alone  were not allowed

Health Protection Agency has set up what is being called, ' the biggest health survey-lance system in the world!' This will involve tracking information daily from surgeries, Twitter, Facebook etc., to prevent disease  sweeping the Olympics or indeed the country. The influx of visitors has begun as more than 14,000 athletes from 205 Olympic teams and 170 Paraplegic teams start arriving.

During the games an extra 4 million people are expected to visit the capital.

On the busiest day , August 4th, 700,000 spectators will be 
criss-crossing London to see events at 11 venues.

Cafes, burger vans and snack bars surrounding event areas will face spot checks while Olympic arenas are already being monitored for
Legionnaire's Disease.

Messages about personal hygiene will be visible throughout the games and British athletes have already been advised not to shake hands with anybody.

5,500 troops deployed to help with security

Local churches have pastoral teams to take care of and/or pray for those needing same

Alan and I will certainly be staying away from the event areas until late September but we are sure to be affected by the extra volume of traffic on our roads
I personally  am not interested in spectator sport and shall only watch the opening and closing ceremonies

I will however be going to watch the Olympic Torch pass through my town on Sunday before going on holiday on Tuesday to stay in a very pretty village in Suffolk just one and a half hours away
The good news is that the Jet Stream is on it's way North and we are forecast to have warm and sunny weather in the 80's f. for this coming week.

I will be taking my lap-top away and will hopefully get to catch up on visiting my blogging friends
Life has been particularly busy for various reasons including having someone who we had not seen since the early 80's staying over the last 3 weeks

Have a good weekend everyone

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Jet Stream Go Away!

Dare I say it! It has not rained at all today in my neck of the woods!

This is how the centre of my garden looked on Sunday and for most of the year

This is the garden last week of a couple from church who live just 7 doors down. Mine was certainly not as bad as that higher up the hill.

Our newspaper is describing the constant rain as having been positively Biblical. Floods have swept across Wales, Yorkshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon . Some home owners in the North of England have been flooded for the 4th time in a month.

It is all the fault of the jet stream which marks the boundary between cold polar air from the north and warm tropical air from the south. This powerful conveyor belt of winds in the upper atmosphere that swoops our way across the Atlantic  bears much of the responsibility for whether we enjoy bright springs and balmy summers, or a soggy April followed by a damp May, June & July.
When the jet stream is blown by strong winds from the west, it heads north towards polar latitudes leaving Britain - safely insulated below it - in a region of relatively high pressure.
When the jet stream is weak it meanders like a sluggish river and dives southwards towards the tropics bringing us low pressure and we end up with weeks or months of cloud and rain.
Apparently it will begin to travel north next week

Good news for us as we are going on holiday for a week

Due to the weather our bottom of the garden project is taking months instead of weeks. Still quite a way to go but it is progressing.
Here I am wanting to make a 'quirky' corner where the shed once stood
Quite a number of ideas floating around in my head

We have been unable to match our old concrete slabs so are in the process of moving slabs around so that any new ones that don't match can be hidden in the corner and mostly under the storage unit that we plan to erect 

so all adding to the time
None of this has been levelled off yet

Now I wonder what you think of this?
I saw it in a charity/thrift shop and immediately knew I could find a place for it in my 'quirky' space. Alan said 'no way' , the couple standing next to us just smiled and the lady at the counter giggled so I duly left the shop.
Just 2 minutes down the road I told Alan I really would like it so back we went to much amusement for those in the shop

Here it is - I think it is fun and since the photo was taken I have placed some terracotta pots behind it that match the colouring 

Here we have some colour from today and we can see how one dry day makes such a difference

Some Olympic info. for next post before I continue with my Kent photos

Friday, 13 July 2012

Quex Park - Part 3

Well what was the first thing we did when leaving the museum, we headed straight to the tearoom for a very nice lunch

We stayed away from the cakes as we knew there would be some waiting for us back at the cottage

The house was now open and here we see many artefacts brought back from Africa

A mansion house has stood here at Quex since the 15th century
Adapted by a succession of owners, it was demolished in 1806.
By 1813 John Powell had an elegant country retreat built. The Major's father henry Horace Powell-Cotton inherited the estate and extended the house in 1883 to include the oriental room and dining room
It is still a family home so only part of the house is on show

This very special clock is mesmerising to watch as the small steel ball rolls back and forth through each minute
Click to enlarge for more detail

Embroidery set in such intricately carved wood
Have been here some hours now so we are off to
 Minster Abbey founded in 670 ad as there is plenty of the afternoon left