Thursday, 3 August 2017

Visitors And Visits - A Packed Fortnight

My plans to keep the blog updated regularly fell apart again for the best possible reasons - visitors. We drove up to Southport early in the morning on 21st July to collect my mum for a rare visit to Suffolk. The traffic on the way back was heavy but Mum survived over five hours in the car.

We didn't want to exhaust her during her stay so we spent a lot of time relaxing around Framlingham, having coffee in the Dancing Goat and reading the papers at home. We did manage a couple of trips out though.

We had to go to Bury St Edmunds to collect a new car so took the opportunity to visit the museum to see the Lost Property Exhibition of mostly detecting finds. 

I didn't quite share top billing with Bill Wyman but it was good to see ten of my finds on display.

Whilst on the topic of detecting, September's edition of the Searcher dropped through the letterbox and I was absolutely delighted to see this -

I really appreciate the support that John Winter of the Searcher has given me. I'm thrilled with the positive response.

It was the B200 we were changing.  We've been using this car for our regular trips to Kent and it's been very reliable although the sports specification and suspension meant that, whilst it was very nippy, it was was not as comfortable as the CLS.

The replacement is a C200. It's extremely comfortable and a nice drive. After all the bad press for diesel we've opted for petrol this time. We would have liked to go electric or hybrid but it just isn't practical for the long journeys we do very regularly.

The highlight of Mum's stay for her was a trip to Rochester to visit her great grandchildren Catherine and Teddy. She loved playing with them and they loved the rare chance to see their Great Nana.

A week after picking her up, it was time to say goodbye to Mum. We took her to London.

And the helpful guy at Euston who was taking her to her seat, offered to give us all a lift to see her off. It was quite an experience driving around Euston concourse. Either all the travellers are deaf or they just can't be bothered to move for the trolley and it took some skilful manoeuvring to get us to the platform.

We stayed on in London and went back to the Cantina Del Ponte near Tower Bridge. 

It's a friendly place with good food....

...and a great view if you get an outside table.

After a night at a Premier Inn we went to the nearby Walkie Talkie building for breakfast.

Although the breakfast is nothing special, the views from the Sky Pod and Sky Garden are spectacular and make up for the self-service and paper coffee cups.

An experiment with the panoramic camera facility.

After breakfast we walked down to the South Bank and enjoyed a brief disco dancing session with a Conchita Wurst lookalike who picked Marion out from the crowd for a quick chat.

More traditional entertainment came in the guise of Morris Dancers who were holding some sort of competition outside the Tate Gallery to the bemusement of the many foreign tourists.

After lunch in the always good Terrace restaurant at The National Theatre we went to the matinee of Mosquitoes - the sold out show in the Dorfman Theatre in the round. Starring two Olivias (Colman and Williams) as sisters with differences, the acting is brilliant but the plot, centring around the loss of a child, the slow decline of an elderly mother and the problems of a bullied son, set in Switzerland where one of the sisters works on the Large Hadron Collider, seemed contrived to me and,for all the thespian excellence on display, I didn't enjoy it much. Marion did enjoy it and it has been critically acclaimed so I am probably in a minority.    

Without pausing for breath it was back to Rochester on Sunday to collect our two grandchildren for a brief visit to Framlingham.

The castle was hosting a jousting tournament.

It was a colourful event and the children enjoyed it.

Although Catherine was happy enough with her paints in the garden.

It was back to the castle again on Monday where Catherine enjoyed scrambling up the hill to the ramparts. Marion joined her but didn't join in rolling back down again.

After all too short a visit it was another drive back to Rochester on Tuesday before tidying up the house after all the visitors.

Last night we headed to Snape Maltings for the first of three visits we've booked to the Snape Proms. We had an excellent pre-concert dinner at The Plough And Sail. I was very impressed. We've been a bit disappointed with meals at the concert hall restaurant (although the view is spectacular) and the pub was a lot better and slightly cheaper for the set menu.

The concert, performed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was brilliant. With no instruments or backing of any sort the nine strong group put on an amazing vocal performance of harmonic African melodies accompanied with high energy dancing for almost two hours. If you ever get the opportunity to see them - grab it.

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