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Friday, 12 July 2013

Life: escaping to and from Stratford-Upon-Avon and simple pleasures

Last weekend, I went home to South Warwickshire. My cousin's daughter was playing the young Anastasia in Finding Anastasia and we were keen to watch her.

I was determined this time, that in addition to visiting relatives, that I would show Martin around some of the delights of the area. Well, that didn't go to plan. We planned to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon on Saturday calling in to see my cousin and auntie en route. She warned us that the traffic would be terrible and she was so, so right.

Driving into Stratford proved to be a nightmare - so much traffic. We should have taken this as a bad sign i.e. go home, but we persevered and ended up doing park and ride (using the train).

I have never seen Stratford so busy in my life, ever. We had to pigeon step our way on the bridge across the river.

I really do love Stratford, but I'm so boring and I really hate big crowds like that. We stayed long enough to take a few snaps of the river and Shakespeare's birthplace before heading straight for my grandma's house in Kenilworth.

I grew up with my Grandma in her house and, when I was younger, I don't think I would ever have guessed how much I would one day appreciate spending an afternoon lying on a rug in her garden.

We spent the whole afternoon lazing in the garden enjoying the quiet, reading Game of Thrones (I'm still only 51% of the way through it on my Kindle and I feel like I've been reading it my entire life!) and loving being away from hugely hectic London.

Victoria plums

The following day, we took Grandma to one of my favourite restaurants in Kenilworth - The Cross.

It didn't disappoint. Grandma and I began with a delicious braised lamb starter which I unfortunately ate every singe mouthful of before I remembered that I ought to have taken a photo of it. Martin had a hen's egg and chickpea salad which I did manage to take a snap of.

This was followed by a mango jelly palate cleanser.

I took this picture and really liked the reflection!

For her main, Grandma ordered hake with crab bisque. Judging by how quickly it disappeared, she obviously loved it. Martin and I ordered pork (which was little dry) accompanied by some delicious salt baked beetroot. I also had my first foray into black pudding which I thought was tasty and surprisingly sweet. I am trying so hard to be less fussy!

roast pork, shallots, black pudding and salt baked beetroot
hake and crab bisque
For pudding, Grandma ate an incredible strawberry parfait with thai basil meringue. The day was scorching and this was a beautifully light summery pudding. Martin ordered chocolate mousse. I couldn't resist the cheeseboard despite the boiling weather. The Cross always has such nice cheeses and this was no exception, although I thought it was odd that the waitress couldn't name any of them when I wanted to know what they were. The cheese was accompanied by some oaty crumbly plain biscuit type things and tomato chutney which must have been the best accompaniment to cheese I've ever had.

After lunch, we went to watch the Wimbledon final with some of my great friends - the Ashley family. Jeremy had been quite unwell the week before, so it was good to see that he was feeling much better. I think the Murray win must have certainly helped too!

How're you enjoying the hot weather? Have you been holding lots of BBQs?

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