Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Road Trip Continues

We left the AA Pub Of The Year 2012/13, The Black Swan in Ravenstonedale, on Wednesday morning after three nights of relaxation. It's a pub that's well worth all the accolades, with good food, pleasant surroundings and, above all, extremely friendly and helpful service. I think it's that side of the business that tipped the awards in The Black Swan's favour although a beer drinker might well tell me that the fabulous variety of fine ales that they serve may also be a factor.

From Ravenstonedale we had a leisurely drive to Sedbergh before a quick stopover in the lovely town of Kirkby Lonsdale for a coffee and a bit of shopping. We then headed for Ribchester to visit friends Mark and Nita who joined  us for dinner at The White Bull in nearby Alston before putting us up for the night in a very comfortable bed. Staying in a house was a nice change from the Premier Inn. 

On Thursday it was a short drive to nearby Southport where we stayed with my mum for the night and enjoyed some of her delicious home cooking. It was good to see Mum for the first time in four months and we look forward to stopping over in Southport again in a month or so en route to Suffolk again.

Friday saw us in Ormskirk visiting our old friends Dave and Jane Haworth. Marion headed off to Liverpool for a little bit of shopping in her favourite stores with best friend Jane. Dave and I joined them later for a dinner at San Carlo. It's an extremely brash and busy place - perfect for people watching. You would never guess that the country's economy is in some sort of slump; the place was heaving at five p.m. and was jam packed for the rest of the evening. It's a great place to go and we must thank Dave and Jane for their generosity in treating us to the meal.

After a good night's sleep in Ormskirk we headed back to Southport to collect our car which we had left for a service having done 14,000 miles in a few months. We got the garage to fit a full set of tyres; although they weren't quite ready to be changed it's getting colder and we're likely to see icy roads soon. I don't want to put our lives at risk for the sake of saving a few quid.

We were in Southport to attend our old Instanta colleague Nick Neal's surprise 50th birthday party. Nick, pictured above with his lovely daughters Laura and Millie who worked so hard to make the party a big success, enjoyed a great night with plenty of friends, colleagues and customers (who have also become friends) many of whom had travelled miles to be there. 

We enjoyed meeting plenty of old colleagues again (including Craig above) after Liz's party last Saturday. I won't embarrass anybody with photos of the later revelry. Suffice to say, a good time was had by all.

Today we headed off from Southport to Suffolk and I'm writing this from the Premier Inn in Ipswich where we are now regulars. Off to meet the builder in Framlingham tomorrow to see how things are progressing.