Mims' Musings

Archive for June 2011


It’s been nearly 2 weeks since we got back from our venture up North,  so it’s about time I wrote about it before I forget, and also because there’s so many more blog posts which I have lined up, like an interview with comedian Daniel Sloss, a write up of the Stitched Science event at the Science Museum, and whatever adventures this weekend brings (you better subscribe in case you miss  any of those!)

 

Anyway, on Day 6 of our trip we went up to Edinburgh. The drive took a little longer than we expected, and then there was the nightmare of realising our car was too tall to fit in most of the car parks. The result was a briefer trip to Edinburgh than most of us would’ve liked! At least I can now say I’ve officially been to Scotland (just Wales to go and I would’ve covered the UK!).

 

For lunch we found Loudon’s, a Cafe that reminded me a bit of the Leon food chain, in fact I wonder if it’s a related company. I was blown away byhow they made such simple food amazingly delicious. I had a gammon and smoked cheese sandwich and thinking about it makes me want to go recreate sometime in the near future. Considering the gammon was as good as the special occassion Christmas ham that we have, the prices were so reasonable! Actually everywhere seemed reasonable compared to London.

On our whistlestop tour we popped into Edinburgh Cathedral. I was quite distracted by the whole experience of the Royal Mile, but I made sure I spent a minute or two looking at this amazing stained glass window. I just love how all the colours are so vivid and how you can see all the detail from far away.

Whilst promenading down the Royal Mile I swiftly realised that what I thought was a mild dislike for bagpipes, is in fact a full blown detestation. The moment of realisation was when we walked into a shop and there was an overwhelmingly annoying noise which sounded hauntingly familiar. We then realised that it was Coldplay being covered by someone on the bagpipes. My ears still haven’t recovered to this day! Thus a new philosophy of mine was born:
Coldplay is Coldplay and Bagpipes are Bagpipes, never the twain shall meet!

Seriously. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

 

 

I feel that I needed to include this picture of Edinburgh Castle, although we didn’t go in we could see it from nearly every angle while we were searching for a car park. When we walked through the grounds to get to the Royal Mile we saw the stands being assembled for the Military Tattoo, I’ve never seen it on TV but hope to catch it this year.

I was so happy I got to see one genuine thistle. I bought a thistle charm for my travel charm bracelet which is soon becoming full.

As per tradition, I wanted to make sure I got a football shirt from Scotland, to add to my ‘sportswear of the world collection’, comprised of an Irish Rugby shirt, my Scotland football shirt, an Ateneo Volleyball Shirt (from the Philippines) but not an England or Arsenal shirt yet. (shocking…) I was so happy when I found the Scotland shirt in my size seeing as we only had half an hour to acquire one. Colin got the yellow one as well so now we look like a beautifully sporting pair. Also his is beautifully sunny and bright!

On Day 7 we had an amazing lunch in the Treehouse Restaurant, Alnwick. I wanted to go there as soon as I learned of its existence when we arrived, and it didn’t disappoint.

Every last detail was thought of, each chair looked like they were made from tree trunks and there were plenty of fairy lights, candles and an awesome open fire. It felt like we were in some sort of fairy tale. I wish we had such magical place near London so I could celebrate my birthday there!

 

This is the food I had there, it’s mainly here so I can remember how much I love Minute Steak.

After all the fun of Treehouse dining we then found that they had rope bridges! Properly wobbly ones! Greatly unsteady and fun once I got over my initial fear of bouncing on them!

 

After lunch Colin and I went to Barter Books in Alnwick which is one of the biggest second hand bookshops in the UK. I was hoping to find a nice bargain to treat myself with, so imagine my horror when I realised the cheapest books were £30 and there were many that were £500 and above! So as amused as I was by the train set that runs between the bookcases we swiftly exited with our wallets still intact.

Day 8 was spent driving back home. We had a stop in Durham where we managed to catch up with Ian who was a great guide through the vast landscape that is Durham! He also led us to La Spaghettata which was a great meal to end the trip with, now that I’ve been enlightened by Vodka pasta my life will never be the same again.

 

That concludes my account of our Northern venture. I now feel a bit better about covering a bit more of British ground, but my geography of England is still awful as I was reminded last night while playing on a Pub Quiz machine. It’s not my fault though! At school geography was about rivers and mountains and how they were formed and stuff.

Check back soon to catch up on my latest shennanigans, and if you haven’t already- Subscribe!!!!!

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Today Colin and I decided to have a more relaxing day, having a lie in and an easy start, doing some blogging/crafting, watching Smallville (the first season, as I’ve somehow let the whole series pass me and I understand it’s about to get to the proper underpants over tights stage).

My family went out to a Lake for the afternoon so at around 5pm Colin and I took a walk to the beach nearby. We went past the river where we saw a duck and her ducklings, several awesome dogs and lots of swans.

We then spent a good 3 hours walking along the beach. We had so much fun finding random shells and sealife on the beach that before long we’d walked far further than we thought we had! It was so relaxing to see all the different patterns, textures and colours in nature. So I tried to capture as many as I could in photos.

Amongst my favourites are the crab which was the only whole alive crab we saw, the live clam and the violet coloured jellyfish. Here are my photos of the day:



This area has a lot of castles, it seems like nearly every sign points to a castle. On Day 3 we visited Warkworth Castle which is just down the road from where we’re staying. It looks like it was an impressive structure in its time. What we don’t understand is the whole process of ruins becoming ruins.

Where do the extra stones go?

Why are the outlines of rooms left uneven?

Why not level it all out to one neat row?

So many questions!

Anyway that delightful pictures is Colin and I climbing through the ‘hole’. It used to be a chapel when the castle was in full use.

After the castle we came home to watch the Queens Club Tennis Final between Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Unfortunately we didn’t see any of the table tennis game pictures above!  It was the first time 3 generations of our family had all sat down to watch tennis (my grandmother and her sister, my parents and us). What intrigues me is how when Murray wins he is labelled the ‘young British hopeful’ but when he does badly he’s suddenly the ‘Scottish national’? What would happen if Scotland did break away from the United Kingdom? Who would we claim as our tennis hopeful! We would be doomed!

Day 4 saw us venture to The Holy Island, Lindisfarne .  There was much excitement in the house as the journey there would need to be accurately timed to get across the causeway before the tide came in and after it went out. The first time I learned the term ’causeway’ was when we read The Woman in Black at school.  I couldn’t help but reflect on that book as we drove across the causeway to Lindisfarne, but I soon forgot what I was thinking when we got there. We ate in a lovely pub where the sparrows were so tame they took bread out of Colin’s hand!

We took a walk up to the Lindisfarne Castle, which used to be an old battery. We found it amusing that they’d made such an effort to build this castle yet it didn’t see a battle for 300 years before it became a residential castle. I was impressed with how warm it turned out to be, we even managed to get tans- something we thought would never happen so far north!

After the castle we relaxed on a hill looking over the sea, then walked down into the town where we saw the old Priory. Next to the Priory was St Aidan’s Winery where we sampled Lindisfarne Mead for the first time. I’d never tried mead before and couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted. They also had many different flavoured wines which I would have liked to taste, like Elderberry, Damson and Strawberry, as well as Toffee Liquor. They also had honey scented candles which reminded me of candles I used to have when I was a child, shaped like beehives with little decorative bees on them.

Our last stop on the island was the Gospel Gardens, where we were intrigued by an emblem of a goat with wings. When we left the island we were all exhausted. We were all surprised with how enjoyable we found it, it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in the North East, especially to see how peaceful it is, such a change of pace to London life!

So far Day 5 has been a really relaxing day, but who knows what adventures this afternoon will bring!


7 People

7 Seater Car

7 Hour trip (Allegedly…it turned into 8)

7 Day Holiday.

This is how our adventure ‘Up North’ began. We’re now staying in a place called Warkworth, Northumberland, I’d be lying if I tried to claim that I have any idea where we are. One side affect from having an international family is that my British geography is awful. I just know that we’re definitely North, and furhter north than I’ve ever been before.

Spending 8 hours in a car with my family (and lovely boyfriend of course), did seem like a daunting prospect. The ideal solution would have been to read for the whole journey- but alas! motion sickness prevents me from such literary bliss. Anyway here’s some things I did come up with to ensure that the 350 miles just fly away.

1.  Breaks

This is the most important part of planning a long drive. The skill isn’t just where to stop but when.  If the stop is too early then the obstacles of thirst, hunger or needing the bathroom may get in the way of your ultimate most comfortable journey. Of course you don’t need a delicious beer to make it a good break, but it does help!

2. Sleep

This is my preferred option. However on this particular occassion I had some trouble drifting off. Here is Colin demonstrating this technique perfectly.

3. Raindrop Race/Window Drawing

Particularly useful if you’re going up north. On this occassion I drew an ‘egg’ and watched the raindrop sperm fertilise it.

5. Games

Small ones without many pieces work well. This is the extremely addictive Lonpos which is a great travel game, or at least it would have been if my brother didn’t drop one of the pieces.

6. Listen to Music

This one will only work if you have a fully charged iPod, otherwise it can be annoying when the battery runs out and you’re only 5 miles away from home. However if you’ve remembered to charge it, setting yourself a task like making sure every song has a star rating can be fun.

7. Think about the Destination

Realising there’s a lovely comfy bed waiting for you is good motivation when you feel like you’ve become too intimate with your car seat.

AND WHEN YOU GET THERE:

1. Don’t fiddle with things you don’t know how to work!!!

This is my Dad managing to set the heating to come on and off at 6 different points during the day.

2. Appreciate the ameneties

This is what we want our future house to look like =)

Finally…

Relax and enjoy! Which we intend to do!

Check back later in the week to see what else we do during our week in Warkworth




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