What a great time. Emma and James’ friends and family are a real hoot. They all could not have been more welcoming. The food was great. The entertainment was great, there was a violinist for the cocktail hour and a duo for after the meal. The Scottish in me was very pleased that I was able to keep the open bar going long into the night before we got near our budget. Needless to say, the guests were pleased with that as well. I do not believe I will make more commentary, just let photos tell the story. One more thing, I was able to get through my introductory toasts without my mind going blank, a true fear I had, the best man’s toasts we’re truly grand and James made a most touching toast.
Just to mention it again, the purpose of this trip is to have a celebration of Emma’s and James’ marriage. The celebration is tomorrow but today is the day to get the venue prepared. The event will be at a place called “The Blue Ball Inn” in the town of Sidford. Sidford is just a little over a mile inland from Sidmouth. Along the Side river.
On the way we stopped for “Cream Tea”, a tradition in Devon. This consists of tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam. In Devon the clotted cream goes on the scone first, then the jam. In Cornwall the jam goes on the scone first then the clotted cream. In Devon the practice of jam first is considered to be not at all proper.
On the way to the Blue Ball we went across the Ford at Sid Creek. Why build a bridge if it isn’t necessary
Well, we got to the Blue Ball. It is truly a lovely place and the owners are fantastic and accommodating people. We met the Reeves and had a great time decorating the venue.
This evening Tina and I kicked back in the cottage we rented while James, Emma and Jim went out with friends for pizza. The big day is tomorrow.
Today we are taking an excursion to the “Jurassic Coast”, to the town, “Lyme Regis”, known as the “Pearl of Dorset”. It is called the “Jurassic Coast” because it is famous for some significant fossils that have been found here. There are large cliffs formed in the Jurassic on the coast that expose fossils as the shoreline cliffs erode. Also, it is a very picturesque town. The bus trip was interesting, many small villages reminding me of British mysteries I have seen at home. The roads are not wide enough for traffic in both directions in many places. There must be some kind of code as to who backs up when vehicles encounter one another on a particularly narrow section of road. Probably the biggest vehicle dictates who backs up. Also, bikes have the right of way. Bikers can slow traffic for miles.
It was a lot of fun taking a double decker bus to Lyme Regis. I also appreciated the fact that none of us had to drive. We didn’t have to figure out driving on the wrong side of the road and deal with the mystery as to who has to stop and back up on the narrow roads. We met James’ parents in Lyme Regis and spent a great few hours with them and had a great “al fresco” lunch. This is the town where “The French Lieutenants Woman” was filmed. There is a protected harbor with a large sea wall. Lyme Regis is larger than Sidmouth more crowded with tourists and a more “touristy” atmosphere.
We made it back to Sidmouth without incident. It is interesting to me that the shops and restaurants have such limited hours. The earliest coffee shop opens at 8:00 am and at 9:00 pm all the restaurants are closed. The shops are open until 5:00 pm at the latest. I suspect that some of this is due to Covid. The service industry here is having a hard time finding help as is the situation in US. Funny thing, the shop I go to in the morning to pick up coffee (Café Americano they don’t do filter coffee here) is a space converted from a place called “Trump”, he’s everywhere.
One somewhat surprising issue are the Seagulls. I realize that this is a coastal area and that this is their habitat. However, what is with the nocturnal racket. All night long there is a continuous riot among the Seagulls.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Sidmouth is a gem of a town. The population is about twelve thousand, not including tourists. It seems to me that most of the tourists here are English people on holiday. Unlike London where most appeared to be international. The pace here is definitely slower. The exciting thing about today is that we will be able to meet James’parents. Really looking forward to that, I hope they are as well. Today we are enjoying a kickback day after the hustle of the last couple of days. Plus the weather is cooler.
I am starting to notice a lot of small differences. There are few paper products such as paper towels. A loaf of French Bread is called a “French Stick”; I would call it a “Baguette”. I also found a brand of potato chips (crisps) with my grandmother’s name Tyrell. The family name has gone through several spellings over time in the US.
I previously mentioned that the local specialty in Sidmouth is hard cider. The true local stuff is called “Scrumpy”. Evidently the name comes from the fact that it was originally filtered through straw where it picked up various other particles of stuff. So, it looked “Scrumpy”.
We met James’parents for dinner. They are a truly nice couple. We feel blessed that our daughter has such nice in laws.
Over 100°F today in London. Subway on reduced schedule due to heat. Jim flew in this morning and we met him at Waterloo Station for the trip to Sidmouth. Hope it gets cooler closer to the coast.
Got to Sidmouth with Jim. Sidmouth is truly a gem.
Had fish and chips again. I think that will be my last venture into that particular dish for a while. Not that it isn’t good, but I don’t think my body can take more fried foods.
Stopped in a local specialty wine and craft beer store. Locally, ciders are the thing. They have been brewing hard cider here since the beginning of time. There are as many varieties of cider here as there are of craft beer other places. I tried one that is mid taste. Still too sweet for me.
More photos tomorrow.
Without Emma, Tina and I are on our own today. This will be our last full day to explore London. On the agenda are Harrod’s and Knitting Hill. Emma’s friend, Alex, suggested Knitting Hill and it sounds like a fun area to explore. We also spoke about going to the Tower of London. Looking forward to meeting Jim tomorrow morning. Spoke with him last night; he is ready to go. He will meet us at at our Airbnb upon his arrival. Really hope he will get a better sleep on the plane than I did.
Tina and I seem to be starting a tradition: visiting major European capital cities on days of record high temperatures. We caught Madrid at 104°F and now London at 100°F.
A long hot day today. First we went to Harrod’s. Had a small breakfast and picked up some things for a lunch in Kensington Park. Food was excellent. Should be for the price they charge. We then went to Kensington Park, ate our lunch, visited the Dianna water park and saw where Wills and Kate live.
Heat is beginning to impact the trip in a number of ways. Restaurants and Pubs are closing their kitchens because of the heat; trains are going to be cancelled tomorrow because of the heat. Announcements are being made to restrict travel to necessary only due to transport cancellations. Never a dull moment in the Krueger household.
Did I mention that there is very little air conditioning in London?
We all slept like logs last night. After a great meal at a nearby Lebanese restaurant we all passed out for the night. This morning Emma and I found a nearby French bakery. Yes, I do mostly talk about food.
Tina and Emma indulged me. We went to the National Gallery, London, and saw the three Caravaggio’s that they have here. I believe I should start a list of the Caravaggio’s that I have seen.
Also saw Hogarth’s “Marriage A-la-Mode”, a series of paintings I have wanted to see since college. We also saw a number of impressionists. We met one of Emma’s friends from Vietnam at the gallery cafe and had a great time chatting with her.
We next ventured to the opposite side of the Thames and had a great lunch at the roof cafe of the OXO building.
Emma traveled to Devon to meet her husband this afternoon. Although we were sorry to see her go, it is certainly good to meet James after having been apart for a while.
We finished the day by having a traditional English roast dinner per Emma’s suggestion. We went to a neighborhood pub near our Air B + B.
Last minute haircut but made it to the bus. Emma, Athena and I are on our way.
Peter Pan got us to Boston. And the silver line got us to Logan. Had a small snack and got on the first air leg. Flying to Atlanta to catch a flight to London seems like going the wrong way. Even if you look at the spherical geometry, it’s the wrong way.
Made it to Atlanta and are on the plane to London. As we were leaving the plane inbound to Atlanta, the pilot asked where we were heading. When I said London, he said “I hope you didn’t check any baggage”. I hope he was making a joke regarding the recent baggage problems at Heathrow. Needless to say, I am now in a state of concern about luggage.
Made it to London. Baggage arrived without a hitch. Figured out the tube (subway) to our lodgings.
First day in London we set out to see some sights.
As I had previously posted, our daughter, Emma, got married while in Vietnam. Due to Covid we were not able to celebrate the event with her in Southeast Asia. To correct that, all of us (Tina, Bill, Emma and Jim) will be traveling to England, Emma’s husband, James’ home county. In England we will host a celebration for family and friends. This will be an opportunity for the rest of us to meet James’ family, something Tina and I are looking forward to. The logistics are a Gordian’s Knot of activities. Last week Emma came to the US with their dog, Noodle. Emma could get to the US with Noodle but not to England then to the US with Noodle. The tangled web of travel plans to get everyone to England and back is something I am not going to attempt to describe.
This afternoon, thinking that all was ready, I checked the Delta App on my phone. Flight cancelled. we were rebooked on different flights to England. After three hours on the phone we managed to get on the same flight. Sans Comfort Class and sans direct flight.
As the adventure progresses, I will be posting photos and descriptions of the proceedings.