Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Woodlands Tavern - don't bother

When we were in the UK, we went out for a family meal one evening to the Woodlands Tavern in a village called Llanfair Discoed, in Monmouthshire, South-east Wales, between Chepstow and Newport.

It looked nice from the outside, and we were shown to our table in the dining area, which was empty of other patrons - not a good sign. To add to the imposing atmosphere created by an empty dining room, we were shown to our seats by a 'hostess' who can only be described as a dragon. She had obviously been at the back of the line when personality and sociability were given out. Her facial expression could curdle milk. 

We were given a basket of fairly ordinary bread rolls while we were waiting to order. However the wait for our food became so long (close to an hour) we asked for more bread. The waitress looked shocked when we asked...I expected her to say "MORE!!! you want MORE boy!" but instead she declared that it would cost 60p (about $1) ...per additional bread roll. You have to be kidding me!
When the food eventually arrived it was good (or was it just that I was so hungry...). Anyway, bottom line is I would not recommend this place however good the food was, because of the dragon-like nature of the hostess, the lack of atmosphere in the dining area and the petty penny-pinching for the bread. Thumbs down from me I'm afraid!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life without kids

The kids have been staying with my parents in the UK for the past 2 weeks. I am experiencing a strange conflict in my mind between missing them and enjoying the freedom of no kids. We went out for a quiet meal on Friday night, had a lie-in on Saturday, relaxed on the deck in the sun this afternoon, and now am relaxing with a glass of wine, contemplating which I like best....

A right good read

Isn't it wonderful when you are in the middle of a book that you just can't put down? I have been gripped by a book called "Before I go to sleep"  by S.J.Watson. Its a story about a woman who, after an accident, has terrible amnesia problems such that she cannot retain memories from one day to the next. So each day she wakes up next to her husband not knowing who he is, in a house she doesn't recognize, in a body that is 20 years older then she remembers. She has to rely on what she is told to know who she is. The story develops as she finds out that all is not what it seems and she is not always being told the truth. Its a fascinating book, highly recommended. But now I have read it I feel a bit lost and I now need to find another that can take its place. But that's the good thing about think there will never be a better one but there always is.

When the cats away...

Who would've thought that clearing out the shed could be so entertaining?!
When we were away a couple of weeks ago my neighbor was feeding my cats. I put out a feeder full of dry cat fod in shed as an "emergency backup". She emailed me and said that the food was all gone and suggested she get some more. I was amazed as the feeders contain enough food for a herd of cats for a month! Anyway, I was clearing out the shed today when I came across a large flowerpot full to the top with dried cat food! Whats going on I thought? Has my neighbor ignored the cat feeder and loaded up the flowerpots with food? Possibly she was setting a challenge for the cats to keep them amused?...

Anyway, all became clear as I moved the pots out of the shed. There in the corner of the shed was a tiny mouse. He'd obviously been doing some food hoarding ready for the winter. I screeched and hopped around a bit (I was only wearing flip-flops after all!), then called Tony to come chase it out of the shed. This he did then went to the store. After he left I sorted through more pots in the shed, only to discover the remainder of the "House of mouse" nestled in the corner of a large flowerpot, three pairs of eyes all staring up at me. A few shrieks later and they were deposited at the back of the garden. The cats were watching me with a confused expression on their face, probably thinking "Aw, come on! You're not suggesting we should work for our dinner are you?! Can't we just have Fancy Feast like we normally do?"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

Here’s my list of the good, the bad and the ugly from old blighty.

First the good:

Marks and Spencer clothes
Marks and Spencer shoes
Marks and Spencer sandwiches
Pub meals
Chip shops
Roast Chicken flavor crisps
Sunday Roast dinner with meat, gravy and lots of veg
Turkish Delight chocolate
Real Cheese

And now the bad…

Speed cameras
The cost of living
The cost of Petrol/gas
Paying for parking
Trying to find a parking spot in a multi-storey carpark
Trying to park any car larger than a Mini in a parking spot

..and finally, the ugly

No, not Abba...the litter that was the town centers, in the parks and on the beach.

Bournemouth in the sun

Back from a 2 week stay in the home country. We spent the first few days in Bournemouth to allow us to unwind a bit before facing the onslaught of family visits. Overall we enjoyed Bournemouth. The weather was wonderful, we had a "heatwave", which in British terms means it did not rain for 24 hours and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds (just kidding!). However the heatwave did bring out all the worst in a British beach vacation. There were crowds of people wearing socks huddling behind extensive windbreaks, reading the Daily Mail. At the end of the day the beach was littered with Carlsberg lager cans ("probably the best beer in the world") and drunken louts with bare chests. Thank goodness the UK does not get many heatwaves...

Don't pass me...I'm not in your age group

Inspired by Tony's 10K run, the Veale family decided to run in the Sharon Timlin 5K at Hopkinton on June 18th; to be specific, Robert, Tony and I ran the 5K and Emma ran the 1 mile kids race. It was a fun day out, only spoiled (in my opinion) by the fact that I had to run 5K. I must say I was exhausted and was just glad that I was still vertical when I passed the finish line. Not sure I'll be doing that again in a hurry (or even slowly). No pictures unfortunately, apart from the copyrighted ones taken by a photographer. But they would not have been pretty anyway so probably for the best

Rather him than me

My husband Tony has been doing a lot of running recently. He started by signing up for a couple of 5K runs, then challenged himself in a local 10K race. The weather was perfect for the run, not too hot, dry etc. I took the kids along to cheer him at the finish line. He did a respectable time of 51mins 42 secs, not bad for an old guy :)