We had managed to get hold of dear Carol early and she had arranged to get us into the visitors suit at their sheltered accommodation complex (a very nice watering hole, in a very nice part of the country with very nice people). So heading into town we headed for the evasive Morrison’s of yesterday (it was only about 150mtr from the round-about that we had used the last evening to turn and back track.
We done a raid and of course bought far more than we had envisaged, but used the impending visit of Linda’s Dad as an excuse, well at 93 years of age you can hardly expect him to eat foreign muck can you? Shopping done we headed for the M5 and Pershore reaching there mid-afternoon, had a cuppa with Carol and Bill, Linda had a pet with Zebadee, their ancient cat and then had a bit of shut eye. We had arranged to go out to the fantastic Thai restaurant that Pershore has on its high street.
We walked past the wonderful Abbey and a window full of passion fruit, until we arrived at:
|The passion fruit hanging like large green eggs|
We got home and it was time for bed, so bed it was.
Wednesday 21st August
Stratford on Avon
We had decided to visit the Bards birthplace as this was another place that Linda had never visited, it was also many years ago that I had visited it and Carol (almost a local) said much had changed, so after breakfast off we jolly well went, not a lot of traffic and in almost no time (though not in the 12 minutes that Carol is purported to have done it in) we had followed the parking signs across the bridge and into the very large car park with large parking bays (a must for a 6mtr camper).
The spires and willows that line the river banks
A very fine engine room
It was just a short walk across the meadows to the chain ferry, we jumped aboard (well I jumped, Linda hobbled) and we crossed the river Avon in style, not Regal, but in style. It was a very warm day and the weeping willows that line the bank were a beauty to behold.
The ducks quacking and diving, the Swans majestically gliding and the Canada Geese shitting all over the place (they really are a waste of space and are best roasted). We alighted (well in sorts) and walked past the Swan theatre
and watched a narrow boat emerging from the locks at the only remaining coaling wharf (Brandon).
Opening the lock gates
We then walked into town, it being about time for a spot of lunch and Carol had informed us that she had discovered this small fish restaurant, that served the world’s best fish and chips (I have eaten in many, many world’s best, so am a bit of a sceptic in these matters).
The Kingfisher is its name and it is quite unimposing, a small down the alleyway (seem to have been down a few alleys on this holidays) chippy, it is not at all pretentious doesn’t even have table clothes, but the fish and chips, are absolutely fantastic, I had plaice and chips (on Carols directions) and Linda had her normal haddock and chips, mushy peas bread and butter and a mug (no cups here)of builders tea. This to my way of thinking is how fish and chips should be served and reminded me of the Friday Fish and Chips at the Low Lights chippy on the Fish quay at North Shield, these we had as apprentices before going to the wooden Dolly (Prince of Wales) to make a nuisance of ourselves.
Juice White fish, with a fine crispy batter
The batter was ever so light and crisp, no stodgy half raw inside bits, the chips fresh cooked, the fish cooked to perfection, I mean just cooked, still moist and glistening inside, that lighter than air batter. I suppose we could have done without the mushy peas but old habits die hard and they are part of the ritual.
There are not a lot of tables in the Kingfisher (and I think that is good) but all seats taken and the one old lady had everything in grip and the fish fryer a master of his craft, nothing in the fish fryer until you ordered and the portions are just too much (a small portion of chips would have done both of us).
Is it the best in the world? I am totally adverse to that silly term, it is used so much on TV and far too often, until I have eaten at all of the Fish and chips shops in the World I shall never be able to answer that question. But, of all of the fish and chips I have eaten so far, it will be in the top ten. So not only does Stratford upon Avon have a bloody good theatre, a mighty fine script writer, poet and thespian (even if he didn’t write them all) but also can lay claim to having a mighty fine Fish and Chip Shoppe.
We next visited Waterstone’s, the bookshop, as Linda wanted to get books for birthday presents or at least that is what she said (Linda we do not need any more books and I have an e-reader). Linda then said you pop off and wander and I will saunter my way back to the river and the ferry, I shall meet you back there. So while Linda sauntered, I meandered around this and that looking at various pieces of architecture and buildings all with a sign wafting in the breeze pronouncing it to be ye oldie building from pre 1600s and had been slept in by all and sundry (I do hope that they have changed the sheets). I think that this is the type of things that our Cousins from across the pond like as having no culture of their own try and hang onto our coat tails in such matters. I believe that they are all part of a Scottish Clan, an Irish Hooligan family or in some way part of our Wills family.
I got my liquorice fix from a Ye Oldie Sweet Shoppe (well I couldn’t go back empty handed could I? sauntered back towards the chain ferry and caught Linda just as she was emerging from the rear of the theatre, I think they have done a very good job on it and must try and take in a piece of classic theatre when next in the area, may be next June time.
Across the ferry and then to the van and off back to Pershore, we parked the van and then walked into town as I wanted some of those famous Pershore plumbs for my Rumtopf. In years past I have used the ones from Linda’s Hof in Kiel but as we are no longer able to scavenge these, I thought then it will have to be Pershore's. The whole town is done out in Purple ready for the coming plum festival (following bank holiday weekend), it is great when a town, goes to town so as to speak, all ver4y impressive. Linda also wanted to write some more post cards (where ever does she find all these friends and she is not even on Facebook). She popped into the post office, I went into No 8 (the arts and culture centre that Carol and Bill are such leading lights in), I ordered the carrot cake and coffee and just a coffee for Linda.
Cards written, coffee drunk and cake eaten of we went first into a shoe shop (she does have a lot of shoes does that lass) and I picked up my plumbs.
Headed back to where we had parked the van, outside of the Sheltered accommodation, in a perfectly legal manner may I add, when almost there I noticed a police car, a bus and a gaggle of people. Carol was part of the gaggle and came towards me to tell me that because of a car parked on the opposite side of the street, the bus did not have enough space to pass and was just about to be rerouted with multiple police escorts. I apologised to the young police officer for any inconvenience that I may have caused, but he said he was sure it was the fault of the car parked on the other side of the street and thanked me for being so understanding and moving my van to the opposite side to allow the bus to continue on its journey. After all of the exertions and excitement it was time to have a lie down, as that evening Carol was cooking for us.
The evening meal, Carols spiced belly pork, rice and stir-fried vegetables and Bills Whisky
I am sure it was not how the script had been written but as it turned out we had a fantastic meal (I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Carol and Bill and I broached the best part of a bottle of whisky. This was before Bill thought that if he was to have any left for the next day it was time for me to leave.
So thanks to the both of you for a very enjoyable 2 days.
Pershore to Polstead, ferry and home
The Brewers Arms is a pub that you now find the length and breadth of Great Britain, they can no longer make a living selling only beer so the main stay of their income is food, some do it well some do it not so well some should be hounded out of the trade. I am pleased to say this was one of the former, because of its proximity to the campsite it is well frequented, though I also noticed what looked like locals (straw in mouth, smock coat and cotton hat pulled over the straw coloured bedraggled hair – Suffs Just joking, honest).
Now this is in no way high end dining and does not proclaim to be it is just good honest well cooked food, with no frills. There is a time and a place for Michelin food and we often do go for it, but this our last night in the UK we wanted a good roast and we got it. Mine was two slices of beef, about 5mm thick juicy and tender, the vegetables all well-cooked (I mean well cooked in the sense of not being cooked to a pulp).
My plate was full and I mean full, I was bloated and truly enjoyed every bite.
Linda had the gammon and Turkey and could not finish all of her Turkey and I couldn’t help her, the shame. I washed it all down with a glass of wonderful Suffolk Draught Cider, I had been told about it from some friends of ours and had had it at Carols the night before (she had been told about it by our mutual friends). If you have never tried it you surely should, I never associated Suffolk with Cider, this being as I thought the domain of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and of course Zommerset! I have now discovered another county to add to those.
We got up before the larks, but not before the pigeons and the bleeding cock, got everything ready and headed off, Linda commented how lucky we were that they had opened the gates before the advertised time of 07:00, to which I replied with a wry smile, “THEY didn’t open the gates”!
It was an uneventful trip to Harwich with the exception of going into Colchester (why did I listen to Linda and not my Sat Bitch)! Arrived and boarded got seats in the Stena lounge and settled down to write this blog. We arrived on time and headed for home arriving at 02:00 hrs. this morning, van now unpacked and the washing machine on the go.
The garden had been well looked after by our neighbours and the flowers in full bloom and the butterflies enjoyed it.