After a week in Rochester we headed to Framlingham on Thursday, spent the night on the outskirts of Ipswich, visited the kitchen showroom on Friday morning to choose our appliances and then headed West to Wellington where we stayed the night at the Old Orleton Inn just off the M54.
This is a very high quality inn that does B&B. The place has been very tastefully decorated and beautifully fitted with a great deal of thought going into the interior design. Our room was equipped to a very high standard with a good (and free) broadband connection, iPod docking station, large flat screen TV, DVD player comfortable bed and a good selection of toiletries, hot drinks, biscuits and even chocolates. The restaurant is part of the "slow food" movement in which everything is cooked fresh and they obviously have a very good chef. The service was good but we felt a bit let down by the decor of the dining room. There were three interlinked dining rooms, two were buzzing, brightly lit and attractive; the third was dark and uninviting but sadly had the only table available ( we assume- as that was were we ended up). It's a pity as this spoiled the stay for us and left us feeling as if we had our noses pressed up against the window of somewhere better but we couldn't come in. I would certainly recommend a stay if you are visiting the Wellington area but if you do, try and get a seat in the nicer dining rooms as, although we made a reservation earlier in the week, we felt as if we were in the overspill room.
From there it was on to Llangollen to visit our oldest friends Dave and Janet. Janet made a huge effort to join us having undergone some surgery recently that would have kept a lesser person bed bound. We enjoyed a light lunch at the lively Gales Wine Bar, had a walk with their four dogs in the beautiful Welsh countryside and then topped the day off with dinner at a pop-up restaurant in a nearby village pub that was holding its last night of dining.
The young chef was leaving for a top job in a Snowdonian country house hotel and it wasn't difficult to see why he landed the job as the standard of food was very high. An added bonus for us was that we were allowed to bring our own wine and Dave very kindly furnished us with a fine champagne and equally fine bottles of red and white wine. It was great to see old friends and enjoy their weekend cottage; we even had the luxury of a bath for the first time since leaving Southport (our Premier Inn rooms have all had showers).
Our visit to Llangollen was all too short and now we find ourselves back in Rochester where we are staying for a few days to oversee some work at Paul's house. We're going to make use of the house as a base for a few days out around the fabulous Kent countryside and may even get the chance to visit some old friends from the days when we lived in Edenbridge back in the late eighties. The weather forecast is fine so things are looking good.